China has promised major steps to improve air quality as smog and greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, reports today’s Asia Times. “On June 14, the State Council released a package of 10 anti-pollution measures to ease the emissions crisis, state media said. Topping the list is a pledge to cut pollution from six smog-producing industries by at least 30% per unit of output by 2017, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
“The government has already targeted producers of thermal power, iron and steel, petrochemicals, cement, non-ferrous metals and chemicals with rules to make them gradually comply with international standards in 47 cities.
“The 2017 target is seen as speeding up the process in the six dirtiest industries that account for over 70% of emissions, according to Chai Fahe, vice president of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, cited by the official China Daily. Despite a series of efforts, the government has made only limited progress in cleaning up the big six emitters. The same group was cited as the source for 70% of power consumption and sulfur dioxide releases as far back as 2007. But there are signs that the new government is serious about making faster progress on environmental issues after rising public anger over urban smog. “It has proven that environmental crises can stir controversy and greatly undermine social stability,” Xinhua said in a separate commentary. Continue reading “China’s pledge on pollution”
“Air pollution in Beijing has reached truly apocalyptic proportions,” reports today’s Asia Times.
“Last week saw the highest smog measurements for north Chinese skies since the implementation of modern monitoring methods. Vulnerable residents of the Chinese capital were advised to stay indoors, as facemasks and air filtration systems were sold in record numbers. On Monday, kindergartens and primary schools in Beijing suspended outdoor physical education classes to protect vulnerable young bodies from the noxious haze.
“The toxic air that stagnates around Beijing could be blown away by a serious rearranging of national priorities. Continue reading ““Airocalypse” Now”
Mainstream movies continue to minimize or exclude Asian characters, even when depicting historical events about Asia itself.
Is this authorial racism, a market-driven response, or part of a broader ethnocentrism in audiences?
These issues are taken up in a recent essay by David Cox appearing The Guardian entitled “Attempting the Impossible: Why Does Western Cinema Whitewash Asian Stories?” Opening paragraphs of the story are below:
“The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed at least 227,898 people. Around a third of these were children. The economy of coastal south-east Asia was devastated, with the loss in some places of two thirds of the boats on which fisherfolk depended. The environment was irreversibly defiled. Since many of the bodies were never found, psychological trauma was compounded by the tradition in many of the areas affected that the dead must always be buried by a family member. Continue reading “Where did the Asian characters go?”
In most discussions of nation-building, functioning legal systems are seen as useful indicators of a society’s coherence and long-term stability.
The Asia Times say in a piece today entitled “Asia is short of respect of law” that
“The rule of law – an essential element of good governance – is prospering best in the countries of northern Europe and worst in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, according to the latest edition of a five-year-old index released here Wednesday by the World Justice Project (WJP). Continue reading “Nations of Laws”