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June 10, 2009

Palau Agrees To Accept Chinese Muslims Held At Guantanamo

Palau Island

President Barack Obama ordered that Guantanamo be shut down by January 2010. Since the order came down U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried has been leading the U.S. State Department’s efforts to resettle the Guantanamo detainees.

After months of negotiations, Palau President Johnson Toribiong said on Wednesday that his government would be “honored and proud” to take in the  17 Uighur Chinese Muslim prisoners who have been held for years at the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for suspected terrorist acts. The Bush administration refused to designate the Uighurs as “enemy combatants” but would not release them.  In late 2008 a U.S. federal judge ordered the men to be released into the United States. That ruling was eventually overturned by an appeals court.

Sandra Pierantozzi, Palau’s minister of state says her nation is glad to have the Uighurs. “If they want to settle in Palau we would welcome them,” Pierantozzi said. “This is very much in line with the culture of Palau, where people who drift in and who needs settlement and place are welcome to our shores and our tradition will take care of them and insert them into our society.

The Uighurs are from China’s western Xinjiang province and Beijing has accused the Uighurs — who dominate the province — as separatists who want to create an independent “East Turkestan.” The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia.

Washington is refusing to send the Uighurs back to China, fearing they would be persecuted.

Pierantozzi says her nation is not concerned over China’s likely displeasure over the resettlement of the Uighurs. “We continue to conduct business as usual, we are a free sovereign country, we are free to make decisions for us, as we believe and see for our benefit,” Pierantozzi said, “and also we are a small country but we are a part of the United Nations and the world community of nations, so we try to do our part.”

The Pacific island nation of Palau is located southeast of The Philippines, south of Guam and north of Indonesia.  Palau is a former U.S. trust territory who has been independent since 1994 and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, China’s longtime rival, rather than Beijing.

It has been reported that the Palau government agreed to accept $200 million in aid from the U.S. in exchange for accepting the Uighurs. 

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July 28, 2008

Olympics — Extreme Pollution Dangerous For Athletes And Spectators

 The Olympics is less than two weeks away and despite the fact that the Chinese government has stopped traffic for the past two weeks and released rain clouds in hopes of ‘clearing the air’, pollution in Beijing remains extremely high. Visibility was down to half a mile in some parts, including the National Stadium, while the Athletes’ Village complex could not be seen from the nearby Olympic Green.

 Doctors have warned that the heavily polluted air in Beijing is dangerous not only for the athletes taking part, but also for spectators.

According to US doctors, people in certain risk groups who breathe high levels of pollution may be at an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of exposure. They also risk suffering blood clots in their legs on the plane home.

(more…)

July 15, 2008

Frankenstein Weather? China May Artificially Change Weather For The Olympics

Xinhua, BEIJING — If bad weather threatens the August 8 opening of Beijing’s Olympic Games, then meteorologists may change the weather, according to a Chinese meteorology official. CHINESE scientific research weather experts say they have stopped the rain from falling in experiments aimed at guaranteeing a dry opening ceremony at Augusts’ Olympic Games.

With no roof on the showpiece Bird’s Nest stadium, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been charged with developing methods of preventing wet weather spoiling what promises to be a spectacular start to the Games on the evening of August 8.
“Our experiments with rain mitigation have been aimed at light rain,” said Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation at the bureau.

“With heavy rain it is more difficult. The results with light rain have been satisfactory.”

Ms. Qian said different strategies were used to stop rain on different types of clouds, but both had proved not to harm the environment.

“For cold clouds below zero degrees, we use a coolant made from liquid nitrogen to increase the number of droplets while decreasing their mean size,” she said.

“As a result, the smaller droplets are less likely to fall and precipitation can be reduced. For clouds above zero degrees we use the seeding agent silver iodide to accelerate the droplets’ collision and coalescence, producing a downdraft which suppresses the formation of clouds.”

China has long used weather manipulation to increase rainfall in the parched north of the country, firing seeding agents into the clouds using anti-aircraft guns.

This method might also be used to prevent wet weather at the stadium by inducing the rain to fall before it reached the target area.

The weather bureau is also working hard on preparing for one of the pre-Games highlights, the ascent of the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest.

“We will have very detailed forecasts,” Mr. Wang said. “We will be able to tell the organizers: the winds are too strong, you cannot do it on this day, or, you can do it on this day.”

 

 

 

 

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