Archive for ‘Construction’


China’s Sichuan earthquake death toll rises to 12, with 134 injured

  • Authorities report roads closed and 10,000 buildings damaged after magnitude 6.0 quake on Monday night
  • More than 100,000 people affected
Residents gather in the open in Changning county on Monday night after a magnitude 6.0 hit the area. Photo: Xinhua
Residents gather in the open in Changning county on Monday night after a magnitude 6.0 hit the area. Photo: Xinhua
The death toll from a strong earthquake which hit the southern Chinese province of Sichuan late on Monday night has risen to 12, with 134 people injured.
More than 100,000 people were affected – mostly in the epicentre at Changning county in Yibin, while more than 10,000 buildings were damaged, according to a statement by the local government on Tuesday.
Land subsidence and a landslide caused by the magnitude 6.0 quake, blocked a highway, several major roads and numerous village roads, the statement said, while a major bridge in the area was also at risk.
The Yixu highway in Changning had been closed and authorities were assessing the Dongdi Bridge. The Yibin government statement also said workers had been sent to clear the affected village roads.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake was centred at a fairly shallow depth of 10km (6 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage to buildings and infrastructure.

An aftershock measuring magnitude 5.2 later hit the same area, the USGS said.

More than 300 firefighters were sent to the scene overnight, as well as rescue personnel with 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots and other emergency supplies, according to state news agency Xinhua.

In 2008, China’s worst earthquake in recent years struck the mountainous western portion of Sichuan province, leaving 87,000 dead, 370,000 injured and 5 million people homeless. That earthquake was about 400km (249 miles) from Monday’s earthquake.

A 1976 earthquake centred in the northeastern city of Tangshan killed at least 250,000 people.

Source: SCMP


Aarey forest: The fight to save Mumbai’s last ‘green lung’

Aarey ForestImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Aarey forest is in Mumbai city

The Aarey forest, a verdant strip that lies at the heart of India’s bustling Mumbai city, is often referred to as its last green lung. But now, locals say, it’s under threat from encroachment. BBC Marathi’s Janhavee Moole reports.

As a child, Stalin Dayanand used to picnic in the Aarey forest.

“It was the only place where you could go and play, climb trees or just sit and eat under the shade of a tree and be close to nature,” says Stalin, who prefers to go by his first name.

Now the 54-year-old is the director of an NGO that works to protect forests and wetlands. He is fighting for Aarey.

On 6 June, the government cleared 40 hectares (99 acres) of the 1,300 hectare forest to build a zoo, complete with a night safari.

Another slice of it is being claimed by Mumbai’s new metro rail which is currently under construction. Thousands of trees will have to be felled to construct a new multi-level parking unit for the metro.

Media caption What happens if you ban plastic?

Stalin has petitioned India’s Supreme Court challenging the construction, but the case is still pending.

Locals and environmental activists like him are up in arms because they fear the government will eventually clear the way for private builders to encroach on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which lies to the north of Aarey. Spread over 104 sq km (40 sq miles), this protected area makes Mumbai one of the rare cities to have a jungle within its boundaries.

Their concern is partly fuelled by the fact that this is prime location in a city where land is scarce and real estate prices are among the most expensive in the world.

But officials dismiss these fears as unfounded and point out that the construction for the metro only requires 30 hectares of the 1,300 hectares that make up the Aarey forest.

“This is the most suitable land due to its size, shape and location,” says Ashwini Bhide, managing director of the Mumbai metro rail corporation.

Residents of Aarey colony and Aam Aadmi Party members protest against cutting of trees to build a metro shed at Aarey Colony on 2 October 2018 in Mumbai, India.Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Plans to fell trees in the forest have led to protests

She adds that the city badly needs a “mass rapid transport system”. India’s financial hub is congested and infamous for its crawling traffic jams and its local train system heavily overburdened.

Officials say that the metro will eventually carry around 1.7 million passengers every day and bring down the number of vehicles on the road by up to 650,000. The city’s current colonial-era railway system, which is effectively its lifeline, ferries some 7.5 million people between Mumbai’s suburbs and its heart on a daily basis.

But they have been up against the city’s residents, including activists and conservationists, ever since news emerged in 2014 that trees would be cut to make way for the metro.

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What makes the issue complicated is that the Aarey forest is the site of competing claims.

It’s locally known as the Aarey “milk colony” because most of the land was given to the department of dairy development in 1951. But they are allowed to grow cattle fodder only on a fraction of the land. The rest of it is densely forested and dotted with lakes, and the Mithi river flows through it.

Aarey is also home to tribal communities who live in settlements known as “padas”.

“We are not getting basic facilities here, and now metro authorities want to take away the jungle which belongs to us too,” says Asha Bhoye, who belongs to the Konkani tribe and lives in one of the 29 padas. Plans to relocate some of the tribal communities have also met with resistance and led to protests.

Stalin alleges that instead of declaring the Aarey forest a protected area, the state government has used the opportunity to parcel away pieces of it first to the dairy development department and now to other projects.

Aadivasi Halka Sanvardhan Samiti and Tribals of Aarey colony protesting to demand protection of Aare forest.Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Tribals who live in Aarey demand that it be declared a protected area

“Aarey Forest is part of the same forest as Sanjay Gandhi National Park and we are fighting for the national park itself. In the name of public good, the land is being opened up for developers. It’s a systematic effort to destroy the forest.”

Activists fear that after the parking units are built, other projects will be permitted, further threatening the area’s ecology and wildlife, which includes leopards.

So locals have joined the fight enthusiastically, even leading hikes into the forest to raise awareness. “We bring people here, make them familiar with the forest – there are many species of spiders like trapdoor spiders, the site [of the parking unit] is a leopard site,” says Yash Marwa, a screenwriter who is among those campaigning for the forest.

“Mumbai needs to be liveable”, he adds. “We need to talk about good quality of air and life before talking about infrastructure and development.”

Stalin agrees, saying that “air quality and temperature seem to be last among people’s priorities.”

But he is determined to not give up.

“If I couldn’t do something for my city I’d consider I’ve failed myself.”

Source: The BBC


Do you believe in UFOs? China hints at test of new missile

BEIJING (Reuters) – With a cryptic message about UFOs and a picture of a missile launcher, China’s military has hinted that it has carried out a test of a new missile, after images of an object streaking towards the sky circulated on Chinese social media.

The People’s Liberation Army typically does not announce new missile tests, but occasionally drops hints about what it is up to, amid a massive modernisation push championed by President Xi Jinping to ramp up combat capabilities.
On Sunday, footage circulated on China’s Weibo microblogging service of an object travelling up into the sky, leaving a white trail behind it, over the Bohai Sea, partly closed at the time for military drills.
That caused some Chinese internet users to wonder if it was a UFO, though most thought it was probably the test of a new underwater launched ballistic missile.
In a short post on its official Weibo account late on Monday, the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force showed a picture of what looked like a road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launcher against a night sky.
“Do you believe in this world there are UFOs?” it wrote in the caption, without offering further explanation.
The navy then chimed in on its Weibo account with a picture of a missile being launched from underwater heading off into the blue sky above, with a similar caption: “Do you believe in UFOs?”
Defence publication Janes said on its website that the weekend pictures could have been China’s next generation submarine-launched ballistic missile, the JL-3.
The Ministry of Defence did not respond to a request for comment.
The development of the nuclear-armed JL-3 is being closely watched by the United States and its allies as it is expected to have a longer range than its predecessor and will significantly strengthen China’s nuclear deterrent.
In its latest annual survey of China’s military modernisation, the Pentagon said last month the new missile would likely to be fitted on China’s next generation nuclear missile submarines. Construction is due to start in the early 2020s.
Source: Reuters

China, BiH, Serbia to remake classic movie “The Bridge”

SARAJEVO, May 10 (Xinhua) — An agreement has been signed in Beijing on recording a remake of the 1969 movie “The Bridge” by the Sarajevo Film Center (SFC), Shanghai Huahua Culture Media Co. Ltd and Dandelion Productions Inc. of Serbia, SFC Director Jasmin Durakovic told Xinhua on Friday.

Directed by Hajrudin “Siba” Krvavac, “The Bridge” tells the story of partisans during World War II who send an elite team of explosive experts to blow up a strategically important bridge.

Durakovic emphasized that all movies directed by Krvavac are precious cultural assets in the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) film archives.

He hopes that the remake of “The Bridge” — and possibly also of “Walter Defends Sarajevo” — will present the culture of BiH and the region through the global language of the film to today’s audiences.

Durakovic said he was highly confident that the remake will attract audiences in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, in other European countries and even in the United States.

In a telephone interview with Xinhua, Huahua Chief Executive Officer Kefei Wang, said his company will use cutting-edge film technology to present this period of history and its heroes “so as to revitalize the classics and live up to the profound expectations of the people of China, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina for movies.”

Production on the remake will begin in early 2020.

Source: Xinhua


Chinese truck driver collapses steel bridge and dumps 100-tonne load of concrete pipes into river

  • Driver who used map app to find construction site sent to crossing for light traffic
  • Villagers say bridge was used by pedestrians and cars only
Recovery crews attempt to pull the truck and its load from the river in eastern Zhejiang province. Photo: Weibo
Recovery crews attempt to pull the truck and its load from the river in eastern Zhejiang province. Photo: Weibo
A trucker in eastern Zhejiang province collapsed a steel bridge by crossing it with a load weighing 50 times the bridge’s capacity.
The driver, surnamed Zhang, said he missed the two-tonne load warning sign when he tried to take dozens of concrete pipes to a construction site on Thursday morning, reported.
He was not familiar with the area and used the bridge suggested by his digital map.
When the laden truck, weighing about 100 tonnes, was halfway across, the structure gave way, pitching the vehicle and its cargo into the water below. The driver managed to escape.
The truck’s load was 50 times the bridge’s breaking capacity. Photo: Weibo
The truck’s load was 50 times the bridge’s breaking capacity. Photo: Weibo
Truck driver left hanging after crane smashes into bridge
Residents of a nearby village said a concrete bridge on the site fell into disrepair and was dismantled. It was replaced with a temporary steel structure a couple of years ago.

The new span was intended only for foot traffic and light vehicles, they said.

The pipes were recovered on Thursday evening.

Source: SCMP


Chinese media call for crackdown on motorists using mobile phones after latest fatal crash

  • Stiff penalties like those given to drink-drivers needed to make people wake up to the risks, newspaper says
  • Commentary comes after woman who died in high-speed crash is found to have used her phone 34 times in 30 minutes
The fatal crash in Fujian province was caught on surveillance camera and the footage was shown by Photo: Weibo
The fatal crash in Fujian province was caught on surveillance camera and the footage was shown by Photo: Weibo
The death of a woman in a high-speed car accident who is believed to have been sending messages on her phone at the time of the crash has sparked calls in the Chinese media for harsher punishments for reckless driving.
“Death or causing death as the result of driving when using a phone is a very serious consequence of people becoming slaves to mobile phones,” Beijing Youth Daily said in a commentary on Thursday.
“To reverse the harm caused by this behaviour, they must be punished in line with the punishments for drink-driving.”
The article came after on Sunday published footage from a surveillance camera of the fatal accident in southeast China’s Fujian province. The film shows the woman’s car speeding through a tunnel before veering on to the wrong side of the road and crashing into a wall. It then flips over and bursts into flames.
The victim is believed to have been using her phone at the time of the crash. Photo: Weibo
The victim is believed to have been using her phone at the time of the crash. Photo: Weibo

A police officer interviewed in the video said the driver, who was not identified, had not been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident and had been observed speeding, cutting in and out of lanes and using her phone 34 times in just 30 minutes.

“I think all four factors contributed to her accident,” he said. “But the fundamental ones were speeding and using a mobile phone when driving.”

Five children killed as driver crashes into group crossing road

The video report said the woman sent a total of 16 text and voice messages from behind the wheel, one of which said that she was driving at 120km/h (75mph).

While drink-driving is a criminal offence in China – with a maximum penalty of six months’ detention, loss of licence and a five-year ban – the top punishment for using a phone while behind the wheel is a 200 yuan (US$30) fine and the loss of two licence points. Drivers start with 12 points and can be suspended from driving if they lose them all.

The film shows the car crashing into a wall before flipping over and bursting into flames. Photo: Weibo
The film shows the car crashing into a wall before flipping over and bursting into flames. Photo: Weibo

According to a Ministry of Transport survey cited by Beijing Youth Daily, people are 2.8 times more likely to have an accident if they make a phone call while driving and 23 times more likely if they look at their handset.

While the strict enforcement of drink-driving laws has helped to change motorists’ behaviour, using a phone behind the wheel is still widely regarded as acceptable behaviour, the commentary said.

“I don’t know how many disasters like the woman in Sanming [a city in Fujian] are needed to alert people,” it said.

“[But] amending the road traffic safety law to make [the offence of] driving while using a mobile phone equivalent to that of drink-driving and implementing corresponding penalties can … help to reduce the devastating consequences.”

A commentary on, the website of the official Guangming Daily newspaper, also called for the offence to be criminalised.

People know the risks but disregard them because the legal consequences are very small, it said.

Source: SCMP


Cambodian, Chinese entrepreneurs meet to explore business opportunities

PHNOM PENH, April 18 (Xinhua) — A Cambodian and Chinese entrepreneurs meeting was held here on Thursday, aiming at exploring opportunities for trade and investment, officials said.

The meeting brought together nearly 20 entrepreneurs from southwest China’s Sichuan province and about 20 Cambodian business executives.

Ek Sam Ol, president of the Cambodia-China Friendship Association, said that currently, many enterprises from Sichuan have been doing businesses in various sectors in Cambodia.

“The forum is a good opportunity for the entrepreneurs from both sides to exchange experiences and to explore opportunities for investments or business partnerships,” he said.

Sam Ol said China is currently the top foreign investor in Cambodia and Chinese investments have importantly contributed to socio-economic development in the country.

He said Chinese investments have focused on a variety of sectors including transport infrastructure, hydropower plants, industrial zones, garment and footwear factories, banking and finance, real estate and construction, agriculture, tourism, and airlines.

Source: Xinhua


Chinese State Councilor calls for enhanced production safety, fire control


Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong (C, back) speaks at a meeting ahead of the central government’s tour of inspection on provincial governments in production safety and fire control in Beijing, capital of China, April 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)

BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong stressed Wednesday that major accidents must be prevented and contained.

Efforts should be made to stabilize and improve production safety and fire control, Wang said at a meeting ahead of the central government’s tour of inspection on provincial governments in these fields.

The tour of inspection is an important institutional arrangement that focuses on the implementation of the central authorities’ decisions and plans in production safety and fire control, Wang said.

Local governments which failed to rectify their problems and saw recurring accidents will be strictly held accountable, Wang said.

A specific inspection will be held for work related to dangerous chemical products, while checks will be made in coal and non-coal mines, transport, construction and fire control.

Local governments should live up to their supervision duties and take effective prevention measures to fundamentally keep safety accidents from happening, Wang said.

Source: Xinhua


China to enhance BRI cooperation with Croatia: premier


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L, front) attends a grand welcome ceremony held by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (R, front) at the St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb, Croatia, April 10, 2019. Li held talks with Plenkovic in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

ZAGREB, April 10 (Xinhua) — China is ready to enhance the synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Croatia’s development strategies, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.

Li made the remarks when holding talks with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

Hailing the long-term friendship between the two countries, Li said China and Croatia have enjoyed a healthy and sound development of bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties.

He said China stands ready to work with Croatia to strengthen mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation and carry on friendship on the basis of mutual respect, equity and mutual trust, so as to explore new dimensions for bilateral relations and push forward bilateral cooperation to a new level.

On practical cooperation, Li said China is ready to expand the scale of two-way trade, boost the level of two-way investment, and increase the import of Croatian specialty products that suit the demands of the Chinese market, and deepen people-to-people exchanges including culture and tourism.

“China will support its companies to participate in the construction of Croatian ports and railways in line with market principles,” Li said.

The Chinese premier is scheduled to inspect the Peljesac Bridge project with his Croatian counterpart on Thursday. The bridge, which used European Union (EU) standards and funds, is contracted by a Chinese company through bidding.

“The Peljesac Bridge project is a model of tripartite cooperation among China, Croatia and the EU, and realizes mutual benefits and win-win results,” Li said.

Li stressed that the 16+1 cooperation mechanism has played an important role in enhancing cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and cementing the European integration process.

China appreciates Croatia’s work on facilitating 16+1 cooperation and is ready to make joint efforts with Croatia toward a successful China-CEEC leaders’ meeting, Li said.

This is the first time ever by a Chinese premier to visit Croatia since the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Plenkovic welcomed Li on the visit and said Croatia stands ready to strengthen the understanding of China’s history and culture, share China’s development opportunities, support the building of the Belt and Road so as to benefit the two countries and peoples.

Noting the high-level development of bilateral relations, Plenkovic said Croatia and China will ink a series of cooperation documents during Premier Li’s visit, which demonstrates the latest achievements of practical cooperation between the two sides.

“The Peljesac Bridge is highly rated by the Croatian people and China is Croatia’s important partner on infrastructure construction,” said the Croatian prime minister, adding that Croatia is willing to further enhance cooperation with China in politics, economy, culture, tourism and port infrastructure.

Saying he is looking forward to co-chairing the eighth leaders’ meeting of China-CEEC, Plenkovic also commended positively the outcomes of the 21st China-EU leaders’ meeting and said as an EU member, Croatia stands ready to play an active and constructive role in cementing the development of EU-China ties.

After the meeting, Li and Plenkovic witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents in areas including trade and investment, tourism, quality inspection and sports. The two sides also released a joint communique between the two governments.

Prior to the meeting, Plenkovic held a grand welcome ceremony at the St. Mark’s Square for Li.

Source: Xinhua


China’s bridge to North Korea opens 3 years after it was built – but why now?

  • Buses from the North make return trip to China on Monday, according to South Korean media
  • Opening of Jian-Manpo border crossing had been delayed during heightened tension over sanctions on the North
The bridge crosses the Yalu River on the border between China and North Korea. Photo: Kyodo
The bridge crosses the Yalu River on the border between China and North Korea. Photo: Kyodo
China and North Korea have finally opened a border bridge built between the two countries in 2016, in a potential boost to the North’s economy as Beijing tries to balance its concerns about its neighbour against ongoing international pressure for it to denuclearise.
A border checkpoint and bridge connecting the Chinese city of Jian with North Korea’s Manpo were open on Monday, following three years of delays since they were built.

Four buses crossed the border from North Korea in the morning and returned to the hermit kingdom about an hour later carrying about 120 people, who included tourists, according to South Korean media. It was not known whether the people travelled from North Korea or boarded the buses in China.

The bridge had remained closed on its completion in 2016, with Beijing taking a cautious approach at a time when it faced international scrutiny of whether it was fully implementing UN Security Council sanctions on the North.

to enforce the sanctions after a UN committee accused it and South Korea of being reluctant to enforce a ban on coal exports from the North.

But there has been a change in the status of the Jian-Manpo border crossing – built near to where Kim’s father, the former leader Kim Jong-il, was reported to have crossed the border in 2010 in a rare trip outside his country.

Kim’s second summit with Trump in February collapsed against a backdrop of continued economic struggles for North Korea. Beijing is wary of instability around the North Korean regime posing a threat to the security of China’s northeast, fearing an influx of refugees into one of its poorest regions.

North Korea’s trade has suffered to the extent that the Korea Development Institute said in February it had almost collapsed.

The North’s exports to China – which accounts for the bulk of its trade – plunged 87 per cent year-on-year in 2018, according to data compiled by South Korea’s Korea

International Trade Association, while there have been myriad other economic problems at a time when Kim has vowed to deliver on the economy.

In April last year, Kim announced that Pyongyang was moving away from its twin-track “byungjin” policy of developing nuclear weapons and the economy simultaneously to focus exclusively on rebuilding the economy.

Boo Seung-chan, adjunct professor at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the bridge’s primary use would be to boost tourism in North Korea, which is not restricted by the UN sanctions.

“Tourism is the only sector left for the North Koreans to earn foreign revenue,” Boo said. “Besides, China can only offer its financial help through the tourism sector as it does not wish to violate UN sanctions.

“China’s Korean peninsula policy is to maintain the stability of the region. It may also be drawing a road map for when sanctions may be lifted, finding its means to accelerate its economic engagement to increase its sphere of influence.”

Source: SCMP

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