Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for May 8th, 2011

The dead hand: Mubarak stokes sectarian strife

Posted by Charles II on May 8, 2011

Ian Black, The Guardian:

Egypt’s transitional government moved quickly to defuse tensions after Muslim-Christian clashes in Cairo left 12 dead and cast a cloud over hopes for peaceful post-revolutionary change.

Angry demonstrations erupted in the capital after a Coptic church in the Imbaba neighbourhood was burned down on Saturday night. Military police separated opposing camps at one protest reminiscent of the dramatic events that overthrew the regime in February.

Fighting broke out over rumours, which turned out to be false, that a Christian woman was being held inside a church and prevented from converting to Islam.

Egyptian media described the Imbaba attackers as Salafis – fundamentalist Muslims who want the imposition of sharia law. The Salafis, often with links to Saudi Arabia, are seen as having become more visible because internal security is less repressive now than before the revolution. It is also widely believed that elements of the Mubarak regime are encouraging them.

The incident was condemned by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main Islamist grouping.

Mubarak’s all-but-dead hand continues to throttle peaceful progress toward genuine democracy, or so it is widely thought.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 2 Comments »

China Rushing to Adopt Green Power, Manufacturing, and Living

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2011

If a non-trivial number of Capitol Hill legislators of both parties didn’t owe their jobs to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Nuclear, China wouldn’t be trouncing the US in green growth:

China’s production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

“The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively,” said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.

The PRC is the largest cleantech producer in terms of money, with green technologies making up more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its annual gross domestic product. The US? We’re 17th.

It’s not just that the Chinese want a monopoly on worldwide cleantech, though that would be a nice side benefit for them. They want to flat-out survive. Human-caused global warming is a direct and growing threat to China, and the Chinese elites know it.

Seeing empty deserts where glaciers once stood not so long ago — glaciers that feed the great rivers of both China and India — was a real eye-opener for the Chinese central government. The worldwide economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise as not only has it slowed down the rate at which factories and power plants contribute to global climate change (thus buying the world an extra 18 months in which to get its act together), it allowed the central government to force the shutdown and retooling of older, polluting establishments so that they would run greener and cleaner upon reopening.

Of course, this also means that China is no longer as “business-friendly” as it once was, so various industries (such as HTI, or Hutchinson Technology) are looking towards Thailand, Indonesia and even India (Foxconn, which makes Apple’s iPads and iPods and iPhones, is going to India from China later this year) in a desperate bid to avoid having to honor environmental and labor regulations. But Thailand is an unstable mess and India and Indonesia are themselves cracking down on polluters and exploiters.

The free ride for the polluting and exploiting CEOs is over. Increasingly, they are being forced to choose between cleaning up their act or attempting to set up shop in places that are either politically unstable or have no infrastructure capable of supporting a multinational business.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in China, infrastructure, international, solar, wind power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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