Earthquake Kills at Least 50 in China

The earthquake’s damage was heaviest in rural Yiliang county, in a mountainous northeastern part of Yunnan province, near the border with neighboring Guizhou province.

The earthquakes immediately rekindled memories of the 2008 earthquake in Yunnan’s neighboring Sichuan province, which left more than 80,000 people dead. Thousands of students then were killed after shoddily built schools collapsed, sparking nationwide outrage toward the government over lax building standards.At least one elementary school collapsed in the earthquake, local authorities said, and rescue missions were underway. Local authorities said it wasn’t clear whether any students had been killed in the quake.

Rural Yunnan and Guizhou are among China’s poorer regions, and heavily populated by non-Han Chinese ethnic minority groups, such as the Yi and Hui people.

Xinhua said the first earthquake, which reached magnitude 5.7, struck at 11:19 a.m. Friday morning. At least 16 aftershocks followed, the strongest of which measured magnitude 5.6.A local government statement released Friday said at least 1,200 homes and buildings had been destroyed by the earthquake and 10,000 had sustained serious damage. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported 700,000 people had been so far affected by the earthquakes.

A spokesman for the local government’s earthquake relief center said roads to the area had been severely damaged and police, firefighters and volunteers were working to repair them. Xinhua said landslides and rock falls had also caused significant damage and were hampering rescue workers’ efforts to reach affected villages.

The Chinese government is under heightened pressure to respond quickly to potential sources of social unrest ahead of its sensitive, once-a-decade leadership change, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks or months.

High casualties among children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake sowed widespread public discontent in China. The government since promised to improve building safety, particularly in China’s earthquake-prone southwest.

The quake was widely discussed on China’s popular online forums Friday, where many questioned how a moderate-strength earthquake appeared to have caused extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. The earthquake measured at a relatively shallow depth of 14 kilometers (8.7 miles), authorities said.

“A sub-6 magnitude earthquake and schools again collapse,” one person lamented on Sina Corp.’s popular Weibo microblogging service.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many schools had been damaged in the quake, but some online users said one school damaged wasn’t in session at the time the earthquakes struck late Friday morning.

Yiliang county, which is administered by the nearby prefectural city of Zhaotong, has a population of some 585,000 people, according to the local government, and has been designated by higher authorities as an area of particularly high poverty. The county’s population is largely rural and harvesting rice, corn and other crops serves as a major source of income.

Xinhua reported power and telecommunications in severely hit areas had been widely disrupted.

Obama: Our problems can be solved

“You will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation,” he told the Democratic National Convention. Describing Republican policies as “take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning,” Obama said voters have “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

“Our problems can be solved,” he said. “Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.”

Obama, who won his historic nomination and election in 2008 with a theme of hope and change, suggested that his administration’s successes — prominently including the turnaround of Detroit’s auto industry, which was a constant theme all week — would lead to more jobs, economic expansion and personal opportunity for all Americans during the next four years.

“I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car,” he said. “Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.”

He said his new agenda would create a million new manufacturing jobs by 2017, cut the growth in college tuition costs in half and trim $4 trillion from the deficit during the next decade.

He also set goals of doubling exports by 2015, cutting oil imports, creating new jobs in the natural gas industry, recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers over 10 years and training two million workers for jobs at community colleges.

“I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country — goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit; real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation,” he said. “That’s what we can do in the next four years.”

Obama’s speech accepting his party’s nomination at the Time Warner Cable Arena capped a three-day political convention that came fast on the heels of the Republicans’ last week in Tampa, where former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated. Today, the general election campaign begins in earnest, with voters set to decide on Nov. 6, a bit more than eight weeks away.

Obama was headed to New Hampshire and Iowa with Vice President Joe Biden for events today. Romney was to campaign in the same two states, only in reverse.

Detroit’s automakers played a prominent role throughout the Democratic convention, with speakers noting Obama’s decision to invest billions of dollars in General Motors and Chrysler, both of which are now profitable and automakers as a whole have added 160,000 jobs since June 2009. Though government still stands to lose $19-billion or more out off the total $82-billion put into the companies, Democrats repeatedly said through the week it may have saved a million jobs nationwide.

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking before Obama, noted Romney’s metro Detroit roots – his father, George, ran American Motors and was a three-term governor of Michigan – but said Mitt Romney opposed the administration’s saving of the companies.

“It’s not that he’s a bad guy,” Biden said. “I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don’t think he understood—I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant-to all of America.”Picking up a theme he sounded four years ago, Obama said Americans should know there will still be struggles, adding, “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve the challenges that we have built up over decades.”

Obama noted the death of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, carried out by Navy Seals in 2011. He praised the sacrifice of servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan and said the war there would end in 2014.

Jill Alper, a Democratic consultant in Grosse Pointe, said the speech, like all given in this setting, was intended to connect with undecided voters while whipping up the base.

“We give our proxy to them,” she said. “What (voters) want is someone in that chair who would do what they would do.”

The conventions served to draw the battle lines more clearly: Obama and the Democrats presented themselves as the victims of economic circumstances and unyielding partisan politics while embracing policies to expand health care coverage, rewrite student loan guarantees, encourage the use of alternative energy and protect women’s work and reproductive rights.

At the same time, they are asking families earning $250,000 a year or more to return to the tax rates that they paid in the 1990s.

Romney and the Republicans have argued for lowering corporate taxes, simplifying and lowering other rates and trimming government spending, charging that the Democratic program has cost too much while failing to create the necessary jobs or economic boost.

Democrats said Republicans want to roll back opportunities and protections for all Americans. Republicans say Democratic spending and regulation is stifling economic growth. Negotiations between the two sides in Congress for long-term solutions have been largely fruitless as Republicans — in control of the House and with a big enough minority in the Senate to block most legislation — have dug in since 2011 and refused higher spending levels or any move to raise taxes.

New job numbers are due out this morning, potentially blunting Obama’s speech.

When he took office, the nation was fighting two wars and suffering an economic slowdown, with financial institutions failing or on the verge of collapse, credit markets frozen, the housing market under siege and the auto industry on the brink of failure.

So far most recent national polls have shown a virtual tie between the two nominees. Obama leads in some key swing states — including Michigan, according to recent polls. But Romney appears to have closed the gap in others.

Whether Michigan remains in play could be a key question. The Obama campaign has treated it to date as safe territory, with Obama not making any visits to the state since two fund-raisers in April. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that some pro-Romney organizations that had been spending in the state had stopped.

Romney’s campaign insists it won’t abandon Michigan.

“I don’t think it’s done” in Michigan, said former Gov. Jim Blanchard, a Democrat, who expects the polls to tighten despite the state going Democratic in every presidential election since 1992; Obama’s 57%-41% win over McCain, and Romney’s argument against the Obama administration’s decision to rescue GM and Chrysler. “I think 2008 was an aberration,” Blanchard said.


Leave a Reply

Reset password

Enter your email address and we will send you a link to change your password.

Get started with your account

to save your favourite homes and more

Sign up with email

Get started with your account

to save your favourite homes and more

By clicking the «SIGN UP» button you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Powered by Estatik
error: Content is protected !!