Archive for April, 2020

Chinese Agents Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The alarming messages came fast and furious in mid-March, popping up on the cellphone screens and social media feeds of millions of Americans grappling with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spread the word, the messages said: The Trump administration was about to lock down the entire country.

“They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters,” warned one of the messages, which cited a source in the Department of Homeland Security. “He said he got the call last night and was told to pack and be prepared for the call today with his dispatch orders.”

The messages became so widespread over 48 hours that the White House’s National Security Council issued an announcement via Twitter that they were “FAKE.” “

Source: Chinese Agents Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Espionage & Soft Power, Military Affairs and Espionage

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Hu tieu, a Vietnamese dish spiced with prosperity and climate change – by George Black | Vital Signs | The Guardian

“On a visit last month to the town of My Tho, the capital of the Tien Giang province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, I found a riverside restaurant that served the local specialty, a dish called hu tieu. It’s a delicious soup, dense with stretchy rice noodles and topped with succulent locally farmed shrimp.

These two ingredients of hu tieu have set the delta on a remarkable path to prosperity. In provinces like Tien Giang and neighboring Ben Tre, as one drives east toward the South China Sea, the landscape is stitched together with fertile rice paddies and brackish ponds teeming with shrimp. This transformation has taken place in just one generation.

As late as 1990, 15 years after the Vietnam war ended, the country faced the threat of famine, and rice was strictly rationed. Now, thanks to the government’s “rice first” policy, many farmers get three crops a year, including one in the dry season, from November to April. Earnings from this year’s harvests have broken all previous records. Last year, Vietnam overtook Thailand as the world’s leading rice exporter, with 90% of the export crop grown in the Mekong Delta.”

Source: Hu tieu, a Vietnamese dish spiced with prosperity and climate change | Vital Signs | The Guardian

Posted in: Agriculture, Business and Finance, Climate Change, Climate Change Polluters

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Vietnam just sent 450,000 protective suits to U.S. health workers. – George Black

Vietnam continues to astound me. They just sent 450,000 protective suits to U.S. health workers. That’s on top of supplies they’ve sent to many other countries, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. They’ve done nationwide social distancing, systematic contact tracing, and two and a half months after their first case they are still holding it down to 255 with no fatalities. All the headlines are about the success stories in Singapore and Taiwan – which together have a total of 2,290 cases and 11 deaths. Their combined population is less than 30 million. Vietnam’s is 95 million. Do the math. I’ve written to the New York Times urging them to cover this story. Credit where credit is due. 

Source: (83) David Lindsay

Posted in: Public Health, Vietnamese Foreign Policy

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Opinion | On the Coronavirus, God and the Chinese Communist Party – By Yangyang Cheng – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Cheng is a particle physicist.

Credit…Illustrations by Angie Wang

“CHICAGO — My mother believes that God and the Chinese Communist Party will defeat the novel coronavirus.

“Pray for Wuhan. Pray for China,” she urges me, referring to the capital of Hubei Province, where the outbreak started. It is early February, a week and some since Wuhan was placed under lockdown. My mother lives in our hometown in a neighboring province, and like most places in China, her city has enacted quarantine measures. But she is relatively safe there, and knowing that brings me selfish reassurance as I watch the crisis unfold throughout China: I am her only child and live on the other side of the planet, which is still barely touched by the coronavirus.

Every morning since late January, I have woken up in Chicago to a string of messages from my mother. The emails and texts continue through lunchtime; occasionally they pop up in the afternoon, and I know it’s been another sleepless night for her.

My mother forwards me reports from Chinese state media about how the government is taking swift action to combat the epidemic. She sends me screenshots of conversations with friends, as they discuss life under quarantine and how to convince unruly family members to stay inside.”

Source: Opinion | On the Coronavirus, God and the Chinese Communist Party – The New York Times

Posted in: Public Health, Vietnam News and Current Events, Vietnam Post War Advances

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Opinion | How South Korea Solved Its Face Mask Shortage – By E. Tammy Kim – The New York Times

By 

The coronavirus erupted in South Korea in late January, six months into Yoo Yoon-sook’s new job. She had just moved from Seoul, where she spent three decades working in the same pharmacy, to open the Hankyeol (“Steadfast”) Pharmacy in the city of Incheon, near the international airport. Ms. Yoo hadn’t really gotten a sense of the neighborhood around her new pharmacy “before this all happened,” she told me. It became all coronavirus, all the time.

Incheon’s 1,100 pharmacies, including Ms. Yoo’s, began to sell out of KF-94 face masks, the equivalent of the American N95. So did corner stores and large retail chains like E-Mart. As Koreans learned of the scale and aggressiveness of Covid-19, first from Chinese reports, then from a surge of cases at home, the mask with the weave and construction that proved most effective against the virus could not be found, except at exorbitant prices online. Customers grew angry waiting outside stores. One Incheon pharmacy posted a sign saying, “Regarding masks: Threats, physical violence and insults against employees are punishable under criminal law.”

Such was the extent of the “mask crisis” when the central government decided to intervene in production and distribution. At the end of February, it announced that it would purchase 50 percent of KF-94 masks from the nation’s 130 or so manufacturers. The government began to ship these masks, at a discounted price of 1,500 won each (about $1.23), to some 23,000 pharmacies, in cooperation with the Korean Pharmaceutical Association.

Source: Opinion | How South Korea Solved Its Face Mask Shortage – The New York Times

Posted in: Korea - North and South Korea, Public Health

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