A 12-year plan to move hundreds of millions of rural residents into cities is intended to spur economic growth, but could have unintended consequences, skeptics warn.
Posts tagged asia.
Hundreds of heat related deaths since May.
Recent extreme temperatures that are commonly followed by floods can largely be attributed to climatic warming.
In 2010, the May temperature in Mohenjo-daro, a semi-ruined city in Sindh province, reached 53.5C (128F), the fourth highest temperature ever recorded in the world and the highest ever in Asia.
Heartbreaking and absolutely infuriating. Click through for article and video.
This occurred shortly after 178 countries, including the US, rejected an agreement to protect elephants from ivory poaching. The demand for ivory is driven by Asia’s fast economic growth, lack of education, the Catholic church (yes), and corruption.
Poachers have killed 28 endangered forest elephants in the Nki and Lobeke national parks in southeast Cameroon in recent weeks, the conservation organization WWF said on Wednesday.
With demand for ivory rising from Asia, poachers have reduced the population of Africa’s forest elephants by 62 percent over the last decade, putting the species on track for extinction, conservationists say.
The parks of southeast Cameroon, along with parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, have some of the last significant populations of forest elephants.
“Elephants in these two protected areas in the Congo Basin are facing a threat to their existence,” said Zacharie Nzooh, WWF Cameroon representative in the East Region.
Nzooh said that between February 10 and March 1, WWF found the carcasses of 23 elephants, stripped of their tusks, deep in the Nki national park. A further five were found without their tusks in the Lobeke national park, further to the east.
“The poachers used automatic weapons, such as AK-47s, reflecting the violent character of elephant poaching,” he said, adding that park wardens lacked good weapons.
Vicious, invasive gallinipper mosquitoes are coming to eat you. They were brought to America by tropical storms, which deposited eggs in Florida. (Can’t wait for the headlines out of Florida this summer.)
Super-sized mosquitoes as big as quarters which can bite through clothing are headed to Florida ‘in large numbers’ this summerMega-mosquitoes which are the size of quarters are expected to take over areas of Florida ‘in large numbers’ this summer, scientists have warned. The hurricanes of last year brought large numbers of the insects to the Central and South Florida area which laid dormant eggs in the soil near ponds and streams. Now scientists are predicting heavy rainfall will come again and cause the eggs to hatch, releasing the super-sized bugs in large numbers.
The special breed of the nuisance bug, which can be 20 times bigger than common menacing Asian tiger mosquitoes, are described as ‘notoriously aggressive’. They were handed the perfect breeding ground by last year’s tropical storms, according to scientists at the University of Florida, so are coming to a town near you.
Psorophora ciliata, or Gallinipper mosquitoes as they are commonly known, have half inch long bodies and the same black-white color pattern of the more common Asian Tiger Mosquito with a wingspan of 6-7 millimeters.
They have a ‘Persistent biting behavior’ and their bite is much more painful. ‘The bite really hurts, I can attest to that,’ said Kaufman. They can also bite through light material, and like other mosquitoes only the females bite, the males Gallinippers feed on flower nectar. They also feed on other mosquito larvae and even tadpoles and are most active at dusk and dawn.
It seems that Gabon’s elephants are getting squeezed in a deadly vise between a seemingly insatiable lust for ivory in Asia, where some people pay as much as $1,000 a pound, and desperate hunters and traffickers in central Africa. It is a story of temptation — and exploitation — and it shows that the problem is not just about demand, but about supply as well. Poverty, as well as greed, is killing Africa’s elephants.
See also NatGeo’s blockbuster report exposing how the Catholic Church in the Philippines is responsible for a lot of ivory poaching.
IS CENTRAL ASIA ON THE VERGE OF A WATER WAR?
Whether it’s Israel maybe pre-emptively striking Iran, Afghanistan spiralling into sectarian violence, Libya becoming home base for Al-Qaeda, or Syria continuing to be the site of a government-led genocide, there’s no shortage of potential dirty wars and ominous harbingers in the Middle East and Central Asia. While everyone is focusing on the recent turmoil in Benghazi, a new kind of conflict is rising in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that could eventually lead to the first water war of the 21st century.
It’s fair to say that when Louise Arbour, the hard-ass former UN prosecutor of war criminal Slobodan Milošević, lists her bets on future wars, the rest of us should take her seriously. In December 2011, writing for Foreign Policy, Arbour predicted Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, two obscure Central Asian countries to most westerners, as potential combatants in a war over quickly depleting water resources. Judging bycurrent tensions between the two, she might be right.
Basically the Tajiks, who are already plagued by an Islamic insurgency, plan to build the Rogun dam on the Vakhsh River. The river is a major tributary to the Amudarya—the main water vein for downstream Uzbekistan. While the hydroelectric power from the proposed dam would make the Tajiks rich, it’ll make the Uzbeks thirsty. This has been a problem for Uzbekistan since Stalin’s failed plan for the Transformation of Nature during the 1940s drained the Aral Sea (Uzbekistan’s main water reserve) to irrigate cotton fields.
Pissing off the Uzbeks, however, may not be what the Tajiks want to do. Besides being geopolitical wildcards, Uzbek President Islam Karimov is widely considered a tyrant, ruling over his country’s oil reserves and national wealth since a questionable 1991 election. He’s also a cheap imitation Saddam. And like any delusional dictator, he’s known for his outlandish behavior: like rewriting history books to make himself the spiritual descendant of the warlord Tamerlane, owning a soccer team in the national league (who are conveniently champions nearly every year), and allegedly ordering the assassination of a political dissident hiding in Sweden. Human Rights Watch even accused his regime of systematic torture, including boiling rebels alive.
Nearly 750 villages suddenly flooded in Myanmar (aka Burma). Over 30,000 people evacuated. Hundreds feared missing, including children. 500,000+ acres of farms flooded.
More, including donations, at Global Voices.
Siberian Salamander can freeze for years down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Remarkable Freezing Salamander
Found mainly in the Arctic Circle, Russia and Northeast Asia, the Siberian Salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii) is a unique creature that can survive long periods of time frozen. The adult salamander is able to adapt to temperatures as low as –45 degrees Celsius by replacing the water in its blood and cells with ‘antifreeze’ chemicals, thereby protecting its tissues from damage. Other animals are known to use glucose or glycerol for protection in a similar fashion, but the exact mechanism the Siberian salamandar uses to produce its chemicals is so far unknown—but it’s highly effective. They can survive frozen for years, metres under the permafrost, and then they just casually thaw out and walk off again. Local legends claim that salamanders have revived after being frozen alongside mammoths of the Pleistocene age, but although they’ve been found 4–14 m deep in ice, it’s more likely that they just fell down cracks in more recent years. If we could discover how these creatures manage to produce antifreeze chemicals, the process could have useful applications in food storage, medical supplies, and protection of people who live or explore in the snow.
Finned and left to drown.
Another critically endangered grey nurse shark has washed up on an eastern Australian beach, with its fins removed. The first shark washed up in early August and was a rare young breeding female with both dorsal fins removed - a huge blow.
“The shark was still alive when it was found on the beach and suffered a slow, cruel death.” said MP Cate Faehrmann.
An investigation is under way but the fact of the matter is that current rules and regulations are simply not enough…
“It’s a Girl, a film being released this year, documents the practice of killing unwanted baby girls in South Asia. The trailer’s most chilling scene is one with an Indian woman who, unable to contain her laughter, confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.
The statistics are sickening. The UN reports approximately 200 million girls in the world today are ‘missing’. India and China are said to eliminate more female infants than the number of girls born in the US each year. Lianyungang in China has the worst infant gender ratio on record with 163 boys born for every 100 girls. Taiwan, South Korea and Pakistan are also countries in which unwanted female babies are aborted, killed or abandoned.
Gendercide in South Asia takes many forms: baby girls are killed or abandoned if not aborted as foetuses. Girls that are not killed often suffer malnutrition and medical neglect as sons are favoured when shelter, medicine and food are scarce. Trafficking, dowry deaths, honour killings and deaths resulting from domestic violence are all further evils perpetrated against women. This femicide has led the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces to report in ‘Women in an Insecure World’ that a secret genocide is being carried out against women at a time when deaths resulting from armed conflicts have decreased.
The brutal irony of femicide is that it is an evil perpetrated against girls by women. The most insidious force is often the mother in law, the domestic matriarch, under whose authority the daughter in law lives. Policy efforts to halt infanticide have been directed at mothers, who are often victims themselves. The trailer shows tragic scenes of women having to decide between killing their daughters and their own well-being. In India women who fail to produce sons are beaten, raped or killed so that men can remarry in the hope of procuring a more productive wife.
It is an oft-made argument that parental discrimination between children would end if families across south Asia were rescued from poverty. But two factors particularly suggest that femicide is a cultural phenomenon and that development and economic policy are only a partial solution: Firstly, there is no evidence of concerted female infanticide among poverty-stricken societies in Africa or the Caribbean. Secondly, it is the affluent and urban middle classes, who are aware of prenatal screenings, who have access to clinics and who can afford abortions that commit foeticide. Activists fear 8 million female foetuses have been aborted in India in the last decade.
The Chinese cultural bias towards male children is one exacerbated by the birth control policy. India, however, poses a more complex problem where the primary cause is a cultural one.
Activists attribute a culture of valuing children by their economic potential to South Asia’s patriarchal social model in which men are the sole breadwinners. Sons both carry the family name and work from a young age. Daughter, on the other hand, impose the burden of a dowry before leaving the home upon marriage. Strict moral codes, onerous cultural expectations and demanding domestic responsibilities are all forces that further subjugate women.”
“It’s a Girl” is a jaw-dropping documentary about women killing their unwanted newborn daughters. I’ve written dozens of posts about women, women’s rights, and vulnerability to climate change, here. The climate connection can be found in my post on a report covering Adaptation, Gender, and Women’s empowerment, here.
“In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.
This documentary film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.
Learn more about the film at www.itsagirlmovie.com”
Dan Rather goes after the shark finning industry for HDNet and Bliptv. His voice cracks and wavers…
Major warning: the video shows absolute horror, especially at the 4:50 mark. (Sorry everyone, this is just one of those things that really, really needs to be stopped. Choose your petition, here.)
China’s Appetite for Wood Takes a Heavy Toll on Forests More than half of the timber now shipped globally is destined for China. But unscrupulous Chinese companies are importing huge amounts of illegally harvested wood, prompting conservation groups to step up boycotts against rapacious timber interests. ›
“…China is increasingly seen as a predator on the world’s forests.
China is now overwhelmingly the biggest global consumer of tropical timber, importing around 40 to 45 million cubic meters of timber annually. Today, more than half of all timber being shipped anywhere in the world is destined for China. Many nations in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa export the lion’s share of their timber to China.
China faces three criticisms by those worried about the health and biodiversity of the world’s forests. First, the country and its hundreds of wood-products corporations and middlemen have been remarkably aggressive in pursuing timber supplies globally, while generally being little concerned with social equity or environmental sustainability. For instance, China has helped fund and promote an array of ambitious new road or rail projects that are opening up remote forested regions in the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Asia-Pacific to exploitation. Such frontier roads can unleash a Pandora’s Box of activities — including illegal colonization, hunting, mining, and land speculation — that are often highly destructive to forests.”
” According to a UNICEF report, Children’s Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific(PDF), children will be among those most affected by climate change. Millions of children across East Asia and the Pacific already suffer from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation, and are vulnerable to food shocks and risks of disease. Climate change is expected to worsen this situation.
The leading killers of children worldwide are highly sensitive to climate change. UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi said “higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrhoeal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, while children’s underdeveloped immune systems put them at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications.”
The UNICEF report released today presents an analysis of the climate change trends and potential impacts on children in East Asia and the Pacific, drawing on findings from five UNICEF-commissioned country studies in Indonesia, Kiribati, Mongolia, the Philippines and Vanuatu, as well as children’s own perspectives on climate change and other research. This research was supported by Reed Elsevier, which works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and New Scientist.
“The findings in this report remind us of the connection between climate change and the other challenges confronting children,” said Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “They also remind us that children’s experiences, and the risks they face in terms of their health, education and development, are unique.” “