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Posts Tagged ‘Infrastructure’

Must-Reads from Around the World: March 20, 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 20, 2012

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking during a Ramadan Iftar banquet in honor of Muslim clergymen, in Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2011. (Photo: SANA / EPA)

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD SPEAKING DURING A RAMADAN IFTAR BANQUET IN HONOR OF MUSLIM CLERGYMEN, IN DAMASCUS, SYRIA, 24 AUGUST 2011. (PHOTO: SANA / EPA)

More Syria Leaks – Al Jazeera reveals details from confidential Syrian intelligence and security documents handed over by one of the government’s most trusted officials who recently fled to Turkey. The trove shows President Bashar Assad’s strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including orders to stop protesters from getting into Damascus and detailed security plans for crushing protests in the cities of Aleppo and Idlib, as well as warnings about countries trying to influence Syrian diplomats to defect and indications the government spied on last year’s Arab League monitoring mission in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »

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The end of American atom smashing

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 2, 2012

Photo from United States Department of Energy

Photo from United States Department of Energy

After a quarter of a century, scientists operating underneath the surface of the Earth today will pull the plug on Tevatron, bringing the massive atom smasher to a screeching halt.

And just like that, another nail is hammered into the coffin for the American scientific community.

Many scientists have touted Tevatron as the most successful atom smasher in the history of physics. Since 1985 it has been operating outside of Chicago, Illinois and its technology has allowed experts to pinpoint some of the building blocks of the universe.

Abroad, however, the Large Hadron Collider, a similar structure underneath the ground at the French/Swiss border, has usurped the Tevatron as the most powerful machine of its type. Its accomplishments since its construction in 2009 have been remarkable, and American investments domestically cannot compete with the research being carried out by the LHC.

In other words, the Tevatron is no match for what lies across the pond and underneath the Earth.

“The machine has discovered what it could discover within its reach,” Gregorio Bernardi tells The Washington Post. Bernardi is a physicist at Fermilab, the Energy Department facilities that has overseen the Tevatron for years.

At 2pm this afternoon, Bernardi will pull the plug on Tevatron. “That will be it,” he tells The Post. “Then we’ll have a big party.”

Other scientists don’t necessarily see a reason to rejoice, however. Read the rest of this entry »

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The World’s Most Earthquake-Vulnerable Cities

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 20, 2011

Tiffany M. Luck

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In Pictures: The 20 Most Earthquake-Vulnerable Cities
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Earthquake Reaction And Overreaction
The World’s Most Earthquake-Vulnerable Cities
China’s Mandate Of Heaven
A Tale of Two Disasters
Quake Could Rock China Life
Economic Impact Of China’s Great Quake

The earthquake in China’s Sichuan province killed perhaps 15,000 people and left thousands of people buried under heaps of rubble.

And while a massive quake like this one–magnitude 7.9–would undoubtedly do damage to any world city, the death toll and degree of destruction has more to do with investment in well-designed infrastructure capable of handling a massive earthquake than the quake itself. Unlike the Beijing Olympic venues, built to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, the majority of China’s infrastructure in the area proved ill-prepared for a shock like Monday’s–felt as far away as Hanoi, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand.

Blame the mortality spread on exponential population growth, increasing poverty and lax or nonexistent building codes. In short: Poor nations–like China–run far greater risk of earthquake fatalities than rich ones.

In Pictures: The World’s Most Earthquake-Vulnerable Cities

GeoHazards International, a nonprofit research group aiming to reduce suffering due to natural disasters, measured the lethal potential of seismic disasters facing small and large cities in Asia and the Americas–areas most at risk for seismic calamity. The sample cities spanned both developed and developing countries. Variables measured: building frailty, potential for landslides and fires, and the rescue, firefighting and life-saving medical abilities of local authorities.

Kathmandu, Nepal, ranked first in the 2001 study, followed by Istanbul, Turkey; Delhi, India; Quito, Ecuador; Manila, Philippines; and Islambad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan–all of which could expect fatalities in the tens of thousands if disaster struck. The only first-world cities on the list were in Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe. Fatalities in these cities were estimated in the hundreds, not thousands.

Events since then show the estimates to be fairly accurate, if not low. The magnitude 7.6 quake that struck the Kashmir region of Pakistan in October 2005 killed more than 73,000 people, many in remote parts of the country, not dense urban centers like Islamabad. Geohazard’s study predicted a 6.0 hit on Pakistan’s capitol would kill 12,500 people.

In a 2004 paper, Brian E. Tucker of GeoHazards warned the problem would become worse, citing a study of estimated earthquake fatalities based on population growth and construction changes in northern India. One scary finding: A magnitude 8.3 earthquake striking Shillong might kill 60 times as many people as were killed during a similar size quake that hit in 1897, even though the population of the region has increased by only a factor of about eight since then. Reason: The replacement of single-story bamboo homes with multistory, poorly constructed concrete-frame structures, often on steep slopes, has made the population much more vulnerable. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Security Chief Goes on Tour—How Is Asia Reacting?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2011

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Over the past week, as I’ve traveled across Asia, I’ve discovered an unlikely partner in my continental peregrinations:

China's Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang arrives for a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, August 17, 2011. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters)

China’s security chief Zhou Yongkang. The senior Chinese envoy’s travels have taken him to Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Tajikistan. The final stop is Mongolia, where Zhou is expected to head on Tuesday.

In Zhou’s wake, the narrative has tended to follow the same plot-line: first, China’s state media proclaims “mutually beneficial cooperation” and “longstanding friendship” between Beijing and the local government. Then a raft of trade deals or bequeathing of military goodies is announced. Finally, an undercurrent of unease follows, with regional analysts wondering about China’s growing economic and security might.

Last Saturday, Zhou was in Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen. In addition to various mining, road-construction and farming deals, China has agreed to supply nearly $200 million in helicopters to Cambodia. Beijing is already the Southeast Asian nation’s largest foreign investor, and Hun Sen, who has quietly evolved into one of Asia’s longest-serving strongmen, has been vociferous in his support of China. His enthusiasm for Chinese largesse stands in marked contrast to his feelings toward Western donors who tend to attach pesky strings like human-rights commitments to their aid. The Phnom Penh Post quoted a local researcher worrying that “Cambodia will become subservient to China.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The 13 Countries That Control the World’s Gold

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 31, 2011

Even if 2011 has gotten off to a rough start for gold, everyone knows that the value of gold is at historic highs.  What is interesting is that there is rarely a discussion about which countries actually have a lock on the world’s gold.  24/7 Wall St has compiled a list of the top 13 nations which hold the bulk of the world’s gold reserves and added in an outlook for 2011.

After having peaked above $1,420 per ounce at the end of 2010, gold has recently traded under $1,330 per ounce and has basically put in 3-month lows.  As part of its analysis 24/7 Wall St.  looked at the trends of the world’s top holders that may drive demand up or down ahead in 2011 after taking a look at the new data from the World Gold Council.

Many issues should be considered in gold investing including demand from the private sector for bars, coins and jewelry along with industrial use.

1) United States holds 8,133.5 tonnes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Job-Creation Idea No. 13: No Better Time Than Now To Build The Future

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 28, 2010


Not only American but also the whole world needs job.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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