Archive for Vietnam’s Neighbors

Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide – EcoWatch

Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide

There is no reason why India should face hunger and malnutrition and why our farmers should commit suicide. India is blessed with the most fertile soils in the world. Our climate is so generous we can, in places, grow four crops in a year—compared to the industrialized west where sometimes only one crop is possible per year. We have the richest biodiversity of the world, both because of our diverse climates and because of the brilliance of our farmers as breeders. Our farmers are among the most hardworking, productive people in the world. Yet India faces an emergency, in our food and agricultural system. This emergency is man-made.

Firstly, the poor and vulnerable are dying for lack of food. According to the Deccan Herald, Lalita S. Rangari, 36, a Dalit widow and mother of two children of the Gondiya tribal belt, allegedly died due to starvation. Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indu Jain of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court have served notice to the government of Maharashtra seeking its reply to the starvation death of a Dalit widow.

Photo credit: Nourishing Revolution”Even as India gets richer, we have emerged as the capital of hunger and malnutrition. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 42.5 percent of children under five years old were underweight. This is more than double the African average of 21 percent, which until recently was the face of hunger.

The second tragedy is that our food producers, the small farmers who have provided food to more than a billion Indians and hold the potential to provide healthy food for all, are themselves dying because of agriculture and trade policies which put corporate profits above the rights and well being of our small farmers. More than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1995, when the rules for the globalization of agriculture of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were implemented, transforming food into a commodity, agriculture into corporate business and shifting control over seeds and food from farmers to a handful of giant multinational corporations.

The third tragedy is that even those who get food are being denied their right to healthy and nourishing food. The explosion of junk food, of pesticides and toxics in our food, have created a disease epidemic that is a human tragedy and an economic burden. There is an epidemic of diseases related to our lifestyle and food, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, infertility and cardiovascular diseases.

The recent Maggi noodle scandal highlights the rapid invasion of junk food in the Indian diet. We are what we eat. When we eat food full of toxic chemicals, we pay the price with our health. India has emerged as the epicenter of diabetes.

In 2004, 8.2 lac Indians were diagnosed with diabetes and 2.6 lac succumbed to the disease. In 2012, the diabetes numbers jumped to 180 lac diagnosed and 7 lac dead. In 2010 alone, India spent 32 billion dollars on diabetes care. Cancer has also seen an increase by 30 percent in the last 5 years, with 180 million people affected in India. At 10 lac treatment per cancer victim this multiplies to 300 billion dollars, or 18 lac crores in rupees.

In extensive studies reported in “Poisons In Our Food” by Navdanya, elevated levels of PCBs, DDE and DDT have been found in the blood of women suffering from breast cancer. Studies show that 51 percent of all food commodities are contaminated by pesticides.”

Source: Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide – EcoWatch

Posted in: Agriculture, Climate Change, India

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59000 farmer suicides in India over 30 years may be linked to climate change- study says – By Vidhi Doshi – The Washington Post

August 1, 2017


A farmer sits on a dried-up patch of land in the southern Indian state of Karnataka in May 2015. (Jagadeesh Nv/European Pressphoto Agency)

“Every year, thousands of Indian farmers commit suicide. Now one researcher thinks it may have something to do with climate change.

Tamma Carleton, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, compared almost five decades worth of suicide and climate data and concluded that temperature variations in India may have “a strong influence” on suicide rates during the growing season.

In her study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Carleton estimates that more than 59,000 farmer suicides over the past 30 years can be linked to global warming.

Carleton’s findings are particularly worrisome and come just two months after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate accord, which was adopted by 196 countries, including the United States under the Obama administration in December 2015. As part of the agreement, world leaders committed to holding the average global temperature rise to “well below” two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. After President Trump pulled out of the accord, many countries, including India and China, said they would continue to honor their commitments under the accord.”

“. . . . High temperatures in the growing season reduce crop yields, putting economic pressure on India’s farmers, she writes. “These crop losses may also permeate throughout the economy, causing both farming and nonfarming populations to face distress as food prices rise and agricultural labor demand falls.”

Rainfall in the growing season, too, is important, Carleton suggests. More rain means higher yields, she writes, noting: “Suicide rates fall as growing season rainfall increases.”

According to the World Health Organization, India accounts for the highest number of suicidesin the world. A staggering 133,623 people took their own lives in 2015, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 12,000 of those were farmers and agricultural laborers, almost one-tenth of the total.

According to Indian authorities, bankruptcy and indebtedness or farming-related issues are cited as the major causes of suicide among farmers in India.”

Source: 59,000 farmer suicides in India over 30 years may be linked to climate change, study says – The Washington Post

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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1,000 Pieces of Plastic Found Inside Dead Whale in Indonesia – By Daniel Victor – The New York Times

“More than 1,000 assorted pieces of plastic, including 115 cups, 25 bags, four bottles and two flip-flops, have been found inside a dead sperm whale in Indonesia, according to local officials.

The whale, found washed ashore Monday in Wakatobi National Park, was already decomposing when rescuers arrived, so investigators were unable to determine if the plastic caused its death, said Lukas Adhyakso, the conservation director of the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia. The plastic weighed about six kilograms, or 13 pounds, he said.

But images of the dead whale resonated in Indonesia, a country that has started to reckon with its outsize use of plastics. Indonesia, a nation of about 260 million people spread over thousands of islands in Southeast Asia, was the world’s second-biggest producer of plastic waste in 2015, behind only China, according to a study in the journal Science.”

Source: 1,000 Pieces of Plastic Found Inside Dead Whale in Indonesia – The New York Times

Posted in: Indonesia, Population Growth

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Opinion | The Dangerous Naïveté of Trump and Xi – The New York Times

Nicholas Kristof

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist    Nov. 17, 2018,      280 comments

 

President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing last November.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

 

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President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing last November.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are a bit alike, and that presents a danger to the global order.

The American and Chinese leaders are both impetuous, authoritarian and overconfident nationalists, and each appears to underestimate the other side’s capacity to inflict pain. This dangerous symmetry leaves the two sides hurtling toward each other.

The 10 percent tariffs already imposed in the trade war are scheduled to rise to 25 percent in January, but there’s also a broader confrontation emerging.

Trump and Xi may well be able to reach a cease-fire in their trade war when they meet for the Group of 20 in two weeks. Even if a deal is reached, though, it may be only a temporary respite that doesn’t alter the dynamic of two great nations increasingly on a collision course.”

Source: Opinion | The Dangerous Naïveté of Trump and Xi – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Thank you Nicholas Kristof. Yes, and here are the top comments, which I endorsed:

ShenBowen
New York
Times Pick

I agree with many things in this article, but I’m not certain that Xi has shown himself to be ‘impetuous’. On the contrary, I believe that most of his actions are deliberate and carefully considered. I have been impressed with Xi’s constraint in his responses to Trump’s Twitter rants. If Xi was ‘impetuous’ he might have pulled the trigger and put an end to the Chinese buying of US Treasury Bonds. Also, I suppose that you could make the argument that the two men are ‘a bit’ alike, but there is one very big difference, Xi is a very intelligent man and Trump is not.

Aaron commented November 18

Aaron
Tokyo  
Times Pick

And those of us in Japan and Korea are caught in the middle. The contest will likely be decided by which side has the most friends. Indeed, the TPP would have been a very strong economic platform favoring the US. Trump chose to scuttle it and he has also chosen to starve the state department, effectively crippling the two biggest, peaceful levers America had to work with: trade incentives and diplomacy. Hopefully the next US President will revive these programs, but for now, we haven’t much choice but to hunker down.

 

Posted in: China, Nicholas Kristof, Trade and Trade Policy

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How China Took Over Your TV – By QUOCTRUNG BUI and SUI-LEE WEET – The New York Times

“It’s not just about powering growth. It’s also about national security and self-sufficiency.

China wants to build homegrown champions in cutting-edge industries that rival Western giants like Apple and Qualcomm. While China has a long way to go, the Communist Party is bringing the full financial weight of the state and forcing other countries to play defense.

In doing so, China is staking out a new manufacturing model.

Economic textbooks lay out a common trajectory for developing nations. First they make shoes, then steel. Next they move into cars, computers and cellphones. Eventually the most advanced economies tackle semiconductors and automation. As they climb up the manufacturing ladder, they abandon some cheaper goods along the way.

That’s what the United States, Japan and South Korea did. But China is defying the economic odds by trying to do all of them.

Look at the evolution of what China sells to the rest of the world. As it ramped up its manufacturing engine in 2000, China was pretty good at making basic products like toys and umbrellas.”

Source: How China Took Over Your TV – The New York Times

Posted in: Business and Finance, China

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Suicides Among Japanese Children Reach Highest Level in 3 Decades – The New York Times

By Motoko Rich and Makiko Inoue

“TOKYO — Suicides by young people in Japan rose to their highest level in three decades in 2017, according to new figures released by the government.

Japan has a persistent problem with suicides, although the number has been declining over all. But child suicides have risen recently, with experts pointing to school pressures and bullying as likely triggers.

Last year 250 children in elementary, middle and high schools committed suicide, the highest number since 1986, according to data released last month by the Education Ministry.

According to the Education Ministry survey of schools, most of the students did not leave any explanation for why they decided to take their own lives. Of those who did, the most frequently cited reason was worries over what path to take after graduation. Other reasons included family problems and bullying.”

Source: Suicides Among Japanese Children Reach Highest Level in 3 Decades – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Apparently, the schools do not have a School Counselor, like American public schools all do.

Posted in: Japan, Science

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Opinion | Could Asian-Americans Turn Orange County Blue? – By Viet Thanh Nguyen – NYT

Viet Thanh Nguyen

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

Mr. Nguyen is a contributing opinion writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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South Vietnamese and American flags flying at the an annual Vietnamese boat people ceremony at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, Calif., in April.CreditCreditLeonard Ortiz/Orange County Register, via Getty Images

“When I was a freshman at the University of California, Riverside, in 1988, I drove a carload of excited fellow Vietnamese students to nearby Orange County. It was only 13 years after the end of the Vietnam War, but already there was a Vietnamese American Dream, symbolized by our destination, the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster. To the strains of Vietnamese pop music, we ate Vietnamese food, browsed Vietnamese goods, and sat in the balcony of the American-style mall, sipping Vietnamese iced coffee while we watched Vietnamese people.

The mall was the heart of the Little Saigon in Orange County. By 1988, Little Saigon was already firmly established, with multitudes of Vietnamese shops, restaurants and businesses lining Bolsa Avenue. This community was populated with Vietnamese and ethnic Chinese refugees who had fled the end of the war. It was deeply anti-Communist. Orange County as a whole was also anti-Communist and quite conservative, but it was also very white at the time. The arrival of so many refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and 1980s was not welcomed by everyone in Westminster and Orange County.

Thirty years later, Westminster has a Vietnamese-American mayor, and Orange County has elected several Vietnamese-American politicians. Most have been Republicans, and vocally anti-Communist. But Communism is no longer the national issue it once was, and while the older generation of Vietnamese-Americans tends to be Republican and conservative, the younger generation has largely abandoned the Republican Party, either to become Democrats or independents. These shifts point toward larger changes in the once staunchly Republican Orange County, which is today leaning more Democratic and independent. The political changes are at least partly due to demographics in a county that is now one-fifth Asian and one-third Latino, whereas in 1980 four out of five residents were non-Latino white.

This mix of demographics and ideology in Orange County may be one of the prime reasons the Republican Party is committed to an anti-immigration agenda that seeks to turn America back to before 1965. It was then that a new law, the Immigration and Naturalization Act, created a more equitable immigration policy. For decades before, the United States had kept people out who came from Africa, Asia or Latin America, beginning with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. If you hail from one of those continents, the 1965 Immigration Act has mostly been a success. But for the Republican Party, whose base has beenmostly white for years, the prospect of a majority-minority country that has arisen after 1965 might spell political decline.”

Source: Opinion | Could Asian-Americans Turn Orange County Blue? – The New York Times

Posted in: North America, Politics and Economics

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Opinion | Trump to China: ‘I Own You.’ Guess Again. – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

Shopping in China

“Early in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” a Chinese-Singaporean father admonishes his young kids to finish their dinner, saying, “Think of all the starving children in America.” I’m sure that everyone of my generation in the theater laughed at that joke. After all, we’d all been raised on the line: “Finish your dinner. Think of all the starving children in China.”

That little line contained within it many messages: The first, which any regular traveler to China’s biggest urban areas can tell you, is that rich China today — its luxury homes, cars, restaurants and hotels — is really rich, rich like most Americans can’t imagine.

The second is that this moment was destined to be a test of who will set the key rules of the global order in the 21st century: the world’s long-dominant economic and military superpower, America, or its rising rival, China. And this test is playing out with a blossoming full-scale trade war.

What does such a test of wills sound like? It sounds like a senior Chinese official telling me at a seminar at Tsinghua University in April that it’s just “too late” for America to tell China what to do anymore on issues like trade, because China is now too big and powerful. And it sounds like President Trump, in effect, telling China: “Says who? Show me what you got, baby!” Or as Trump actually tweeted last week: “We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us. … If we meet, we meet.” “

Source: Opinion | Trump to China: ‘I Own You.’ Guess Again. – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

By Mohammed Hanif

Mr. Hanif is a Pakistani novelist.    Sept. 26, 2018

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The Pakistani military in Karachi this month commemorating its second war with India in 1965. Both sides claimed victory.CreditCreditAsif Hassan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“KARACHI, Pakistan — Four years ago when India elected the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) to power, Pakistan’s iconic feminist poet and peace activist Fahmida Riaz recited a poem of despair, comparing new India to old Pakistan:

Turns out you were just like us,

Where were you hiding all this time, brother?

In Pakistan, Ms. Riaz is not only considered a hopeless peacenik but also a bit of an India lover. She has reason to be. In the 1980s, like many writers and activists, Ms. Riaz was made to leave Pakistan by the then military regime. While others took refuge in Western countries, Ms. Riaz chose to go into exile in India, where she then lived for more than six years. She is a much-loved poet who is not afraid of speaking truth to power at home and abroad. She is also not afraid of hoping.

Last Thursday other peaceniks in Pakistan and India were hoping, too, as the two countries agreed to resume talks. The wave of optimism lasted a day.”

Source: Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

Posted in: India

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Editorial | Will Donald Trump Stand Up to China? – The New York Times

“President Xi Jinping has imposed China’s most sweeping internment program since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when more than one million people were killed and millions of others were imprisoned, tortured and humiliated.

Citing credible reports, a United Nations panel last month said up to one million Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim minority, are being held in detention camps without benefit of any formal legal process. The repression is severe enough to have raised concerns even within the Trump administration — not known for a preoccupation with human rights abroad — and the administration is weighing possible sanctions against the regime, a step that justice clearly demands.

Mr. Xi is China’s most powerful modern leader, and he is turning his country into an economic and political powerhouse. But his achievements are deeply tainted by human rights abuses, including the repression of the Uighurs, the largest of the Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China.”

Source: Opinion | Will Donald Trump Stand Up to China? – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  I support this editorial, but not holding my breath.

Here are some good comments which I endorsed:

Jim Hugenschmidt
Asheville NC

How can we accuse China of violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights when was are the ONLY industrialized country that has never ratified that pact?

Our history of standing up for human rights in other countries has been based on self-interest. Why would we intervene on behalf of a people with no oil or strategic value?

I will say that while our own history of human rights violations is nothing to brag about, we have made progress, albeit uneven, and are doing better than many places. We need to hold the belief that we are committed to human rights here and abroad and that this commitment should be renewed by this administration.

The one thing that stymies my imagination is Donald Trump making a speech in sympathy with the Uighurs.

Larry Eisenberg commented September 18

Larry Eisenberg
Medford, MA.

I do hate at this point to tattle
D. Trump is outmatched in this battle,
Purely on IQ’s
Trump is bound to lose
The bars of his Playpen he’ll rattle.

Bikome commented September 18

Bikome
Hazlet, NJ

President Trump does not care two hoots about human rights. He instead admires dictators and autocrats. He could be hypocritical in many things but not when it comes to administration of totalitarian regimes.

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, China

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