Archive for July, 2012


* Powerless again: Northern, eastern grids fail

The Hindu: “The northern and eastern grids tripped on Tuesday, leading to power failure in several States of the country affecting hundreds of millions of people.

The northern grid collapsed for a second day on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the power supply was restored in the entire northern region following a disruption on Monday. The eastern transmission lines too failed on Tuesday afternoon, said officials at the Power Ministry and electricity companies.

Services in the national capital came to a grinding halt as power supply snapped around 1.30 p.m. The load fell to 40 MW and all of Delhi’s generation station stopped working, because of the cascading effect of the fault in the grid.

“We don’t have the details yet, but yes, there is a problem with the Grid again. Right now, the priority is to secure power supply for emergency services,” said a senior official of the Delhi Government’s Power Department.

On Monday, eight states attached to the Norther Region plunged into darkness after a grid collapse.

PTI adds:

Power supply was disrupted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam and Punjab, among other States.

“Yes, I’ve heard that the northern and eastern grids have failed. We are looking into the matter. We are inquiring,” Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

The power crisis led to immediate shutdown of Delhi Metro lines in the national capital, while a host of other services including railways were also affected.

“We are again having problems in northern grid,” K. Soonee, CEO of Power System Operating Co said.

Power Ministry officials said that eastern grid has also failed. The reasons for the grid failure were not immediately known.

While an almost 15-hour power crisis was seen in the northern part on Monday, the crisis on Tuesday reached the eastern region as well.”

via The Hindu : News / National : Powerless again: Northern, eastern grids fail.


This post supports my view that the Chinese authorities are trying very hard to listen to the people.

China Daily Mail

Foreign agencies report from Beijing, and SCMP says in its report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told” that after weekend riots, China’s “top Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday urged authorities to listen to people’s concerns about pollution, after fears over a new industrial waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.

“‘The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,’ said a signed commentary in People’s Daily.”

China “should strive to ‘establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion’, it said.

“Authorities in Qidong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, agreed on Saturday to cancel plans to build the pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.

“They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, Oji Paper, would pollute a nearby fishing port.


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* Synopsis of “From the Ruins of Empire”

Synopsis from Penguin Books –

“Viewed in the West as a time of self-confident progress, the Victorian period was experienced by Asians as a catastrophe. As the British gunned down the last heirs to the Mughal Empire, burned down the Summer Palace in Beijing, or humiliated the bankrupt rulers of the Ottoman Empire, it was clear that for Asia to recover a new way of thinking would be required.

Pankaj Mishra‘s fascinating, highly entertaining new book tells the story of a remarkable group of men from across the continent who met the challenge of the West. Incessantly travelling, questioning and agonising, they both hated the West and recognised that an Asian renaissance needed to be fuelled in part by engagement with the enemy. Through many setbacks and wrong turns, a powerful, contradictory and ultimately unstoppable series of ideas were created that now lie behind everything from the Chinese Communist Party to Al Qaeda, from Indian nationalism to the Muslim Brotherhood.

From the Ruins of Empire allows the reader to see the events of two centuries anew, through the eyes of these journalists, poets, radicals and charismatics, who created the ideas which in turn were to doom the new empires, and which lie behind the powerful Asian nations of the twenty-first century today.”


* Northern India hit by one of the worst power breakdowns

The Hindu: “In what was one of the worst power breakdowns in the country, the Northern Grid crashed early Monday morning plunging eight states into complete darkness, disrupting inter-state train services, adversely hitting health services and impacting millions of lives.

The tripping of the 400 KV Bina-Gwalior line, which flows into Agra-Bareilly at 2.35 a.m. wreaked havoc on the power generation and transmission systems leading to shut down of all major power plants including hydro power stations in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, which are all a part of the Northern Grid.

The immediate impact of the grid collapse was the shortage of around 32,000 MW of power. The last such collapse of the Northern Grid, which caters to around 28 per cent of the country’s population, took place in 2001. India currently faces around 8 to 12 per cent peak power deficit, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

The massive shutdown had a crippling effect on inter-state passenger and goods trains that came to a screeching halt. Early morning office goers and school children had a harrowing time as traffic signals went on the blink leading to traffic chaos in the affected States including the Capital Delhi.

Hospitals too had to scurry around for alternatives and back up supply. A majority of the hospitals claimed to have alternate supply arrangements, yet reports of services being disrupted trickled in from several places.

Operations at the major oil refineries in Panipat, Mathura and Bhatinda remained unaffected as these facilities have their own captive power plants and do not rely on the grid for supply.

While Power Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde said he could not pin point the exact reason for the collapse, PGCIL and Northern Region Load Despatch Centre officials said that it was rampant overdrawal by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana that led to the collapse that in turn paralysed services.

The last time the grid collapse occurred was in 2001, it has happened now after 10 years. At that time, the power breakdown took place at midnight and normalcy was restored by 4.30 pm.

PGCIL chairman and managing director, R.N. Nayak said the situation had been restored to normal by 4 pm. The Northern grid was generating around 29000 MW of power by late evening, which was about 2000 MW of the peak demand.

Hit by the sudden collapse of the grid system, the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) officials swung into action with Mr. Nayak and his team of officials reaching their monitoring centre at 3 a.m. to assess the situation and work on a rescue package. By 8 a.m., PGCIL officials claimed to have restored around 40 per cent of power.”

via The Hindu : News / National : Northern India hit by one of the worst power breakdowns.


* India’s Power Demand Fuels Bhutan’s Economy

WSJ: “When northern India was hit by its worst power outage in a decade early Monday – bringing trains to a standstill, creating massive road jams in the absence of traffic signals, and keeping thousands of offices and factories shut – the country’s leaders turned to its tiny neighbor Bhutan for help.

The Himalayan kingdom responded by releasing additional power from its hydroelectric plants, allowing New Delhi to restore some order while government officials and engineers worked to fix its electricity network.

This example of David coming to Goliath’s rescue speaks of Bhutan’s successful efforts to increase its electricity generation capacity to help boost its modest economy.

Bhutan – which is just 1% of India’s size and has fewer than 800,000 people compared with its neighbor’s 1.2 billion – now provides 1% of India’s electricity needs.

India has a deal to buy 5.480 billion kilowatt hours of power from Bhutan in the year that began April 1. The number might seem small, but it is hugely significant for Bhutan.

The electricity sector’s share of Bhutan’s economy has reached almost 20%, and it now outstrips agriculture as the single-largest contributor to gross domestic product, according to a World Bank report published in September.

Bhutan’s gross domestic product grew 8.1% in the year that ended March 31, 2011, helped by the construction of new hydropower projects, the report added. It anticipated that electricity exports will be the country’s main source of growth in the short-to-medium term.

Bhutan has hydro power potential of 30,000 megawatts, about a fifth of India’s own potential. However, the hydro projects in India aren’t making much progress due to strong protests from environmentalists and other issues.

So New Delhi is focusing on tapping the potential of land-locked Bhutan. India has helped build 96% of the kingdom’s overall hydropower capacity (1,472 megawatts.)

In July 2006, India agreed to develop and import 5,000 megawatt of electricity from Bhutan by 2020. The target was doubled to 10,000 MW in May 2008.

India also has a significant military presence in Bhutan, which it views of strategic importance as it shares a disputed border with China.”

via India’s Power Demand Fuels Bhutan’s Economy – India Real Time – WSJ.


* Tailored in China, for Team World

China Daily: “The record number of Olympic teams clad in clothes bearing Chinese innovations brings a “made-in-China” to “created-in-China” paradigm shift to the London Games. Erik Nilsson, Wu Ying, Cecily Liu, Wang Zhenghua and Tiffany Tan report.

While much ado has been made about the fact that Team USA‘s uniforms for the London Olympics are made in China, less attention has been given to the record number of foreign teams’ uniforms not only manufactured, but also designed, by domestic companies.

Leading the pack is home-grown label Peak, which sponsors seven countries that will participate in 20 events in London, a major backer at the Games after Nike and Adidas. Because the design process takes months – it may take up to a year until manufacturing is complete – Peak had to turn away 10 countries that approached it for the 2012 Games.

Next up is Li-Ning, named after and founded by the Chinese Olympic champion, which sponsors teams from eight countries and more than 600 individual athletes from 17 countries across the five continents – one for every Olympic ring.

Other companies with foreign clients include Adivon, Qiaodan, Erke, 361 and Xtep. A far greater number of domestic companies manufacture uniforms, apparel and merchandise developed at home and abroad.

“The phenomenon indicates domestic sportswear companies are rapidly growing and earning a say on the international stage,” says Jian Jie, senior sponsorship products manager of Li-Ning’s sports resources products department.

“It also shows that brand influence becomes increasingly important in the sportswear field and ‘made in China’ is gradually transforming to ‘created in China’. The alliance between a domestic brand and an international brand can internationalize Chinese brands and generate greater access to the partner’s market.

“The alliance during the Olympics can also increase the exposure of the domestic brand, promote its brand value and further its recognition at home and abroad. Through cooperation with the foreign brands, domestic brands can also improve.””

via Tailored in China, for Team World[1].


* China Court Dismisses Ni Yulan’s Fraud Conviction

NY Times: “A Chinese appeals court on Friday threw out a fraud conviction against a human rights activist who has fought on behalf of people evicted from their homes, but it upheld a separate conviction against her for causing a disturbance, her lawyers said.

A lower court had ruled that the activist, Ni Yulan, and her husband, Dong Jiqin, acted in an unruly way when they failed to pay for their stay at a hotel — where they had been detained by the police — and mistreated staff members. It also ruled that Ms. Ni had received money through deceit.

One of her lawyers, Cheng Hai, said the higher court, the Beijing First Intermediate Court, had rescinded the fraud conviction and reduced Ms. Ni’s prison sentence by two months to two years and six months after the person who gave Ms. Ni the money told the court it was a donation.

“We consider it a success,” said Dong Qianyong, another lawyer for Ms. Ni.

Public disturbance convictions against the couple remain, and Dong Jiqin’s two-year sentence handed down by the lower court stands, Mr. Cheng said.

Mr. Cheng said he planned to appeal again for Ms. Ni’s release.”

via China Court Dismisses Ni Yulan’s Fraud Conviction –

Yet another indication that China is softening its approach towards dissidents.

See also:


* Thirsty South Asia’s river rifts threaten “water wars”

WSJ: “As the silver waters of the Kishanganga rush through this north Kashmir valley, Indian labourers are hard at work on a hydropower project that will dam the river just before it flows across one of the world’s most militarised borders into Pakistan.

The loud hum of excavators echoes through the pine-covered valley, clearing masses of soil and boulders.

The 330-MW dam shows India’s growing focus on hydropower but also highlights how water is a growing source of tension with downstream Pakistan, which depends on the snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture.

Islamabad has complained to an international court that the dam in the Gurez valley, one of dozens planned by India, will affect river flows and is illegal. The court has halted any permanent work on the river for the moment, although India can still continue tunneling and other associated projects.

In the years since their partition from British India in 1947, land disputes have led the two nuclear-armed neighbours to two of their three wars. The next flashpoint could well be water.

“There is definitely potential for conflict based on water, particularly if we are looking to the year 2050, when there could be considerable water scarcity in India and Pakistan,” says Michael Kugelman, South Asia Associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.”

via India Insight


* Bo wife murder charge vexes skeptical Chinese

Reuters: “China’s ruling Communist Party might insist that the murder charge against Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai, is a simple case of all being equal before the law, but winning over the jury of public opinion is proving tough.

Since China’s last big political scandal — the purge of Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu in 2007 — its citizens have flocked to sign up to the Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo, ensuring this time there will be lively public debate about the case against Bo and Gu, despite tight censorship.

In its first official statement on Gu’s case since April, state news agency Xinhua ran a brief report last week saying China will try Gu on charges of murdering a British businessman. The news spread rapidly on Weibo.

While state media generally stuck to reprinting that story, the influential tabloid the Global Times on Friday wrote an editorial warning nobody was above the law.

But that is a line the party is going to have a hard time convincing people is true, as suspicion swirls that populist politician Bo and his wife Gu are victims of a power struggle — and no more corrupt than other Chinese leaders.

People already have little faith in government statements despite repeated pledges to be transparent, after the SARS cover-up in 2003, among others, and refusal to discuss events such as the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.”

via Bo wife murder charge vexes skeptical Chinese | Reuters.

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* China waste water pipeline scrapped after protest

BBC News: “Authorities in China say a project to build a waste water pipeline in the city of Qidong has been scrapped after a protest over pollution.

Demonstrators took to the streets of the city, north of Shanghai, and ransacked local government offices. They said the pipeline, proposed as part of a paper-making company, would pollute their coastal waters.

China has seen rising anger about environmental damage after three decades of rapid economic growth.

The thousands of protesters overturned cars as well as storming the local government offices and throwing documents from the windows. Items which the protesters allege are often received as bribes by officials – such as wine – were also seized from the offices, reports say.”

via BBC News – China waste water pipeline scrapped after protest.

Yet another example that ‘people power’ is beginning to affect decisions by local authorities in China.

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