2008年5月31日 星期六

Peru Guards Its Guano as Demand Soars Again

Peru Guards Its Guano as Demand Soars Again

Published: May 30, 2008

ISLA DE ASIA, Peru — The worldwide boom in commodities has come to this: Even guano, the bird dung that was the focus of an imperialist scramble on the high seas in the 19th century, is in strong demand once again.

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Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Workers collect guano on Isla Guañape off Peru, which conserves the resource to prevent depletion. Guano's status as an organic fertilizer has increased demand. More Photos »

The New York Times

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Surging prices for synthetic fertilizers and organic foods are shifting attention to guano, an organic fertilizer once found in abundance on this island and more than 20 others off the coast of Peru, where an exceptionally dry climate preserves the droppings of seabirds like the guanay cormorant and the Peruvian booby.

On the same islands where thousands of convicts, army deserters and Chinese indentured servants died collecting guano a century and a half ago, teams of Quechua-speaking laborers from the highlands now scrape the dung off the hard soil and place it on barges destined for the mainland.

“We are recovering some of the last guano remaining in Peru,” said Victor Ropón, 66, a supervisor from Ancash Province whose leathery skin reflects his years working on the guano islands since he was 17.

“There might be 10 years of supplies left, or perhaps 20, and then it will be completely exhausted,” said Mr. Ropón, referring to fears that the seabird population could be poised to fall sharply in the years ahead. It is a minor miracle that any guano at all is available here today, reflecting a century-old effort hailed by biologists as a rare example of sustainable exploitation of a resource once so coveted that the United States authorized its citizens to take possession of islands or keys where guano was found.

As a debate rages over whether global oil output has peaked, a parable may exist in the story of guano, with its seafaring treachery, the development of synthetic alternatives in Europe and a desperate effort here to prevent the deposits from being depleted.

“Before there was oil, there was guano, so of course we fought wars over it,” said Pablo Arriola, director of Proabonos, the state company that controls guano production, referring to conflicts like the Chincha Islands War, in which Peru prevented Spain from reasserting control over the guano islands. “Guano is a highly desirous enterprise.”

Guano is also an undeniably strenuous enterprise from the perspective of the laborers who migrate to the islands to collect the dung each year. In scenes reminiscent of open-pit gold mines on the mainland, the laborers rise before dawn to scrape the hardened guano with shovels and small pickaxes.

Many go barefoot, their feet and lower legs coated with guano by the time their shifts end in the early afternoon. Some wear handkerchiefs over their mouths and nostrils to avoid breathing in guano dust, which, fortunately, is almost odorless aside from a faint smell of ammonia.

“This is not an easy life, but it’s the one I chose,” said Bruno Sulca, 62, who oversees the loading of guano bags on barges at Isla Guañape, off the coast of northern Peru. Mr. Sulca and other workers earn about $600 a month, more than three times what manual laborers earn in the impoverished highlands.

Peru’s guano trade quixotically soldiers on after almost being wiped out by overexploitation. The dung will probably never be the focus of a boom as intense as the one in the 19th century, when deposits were 150 feet high, with export proceeds accounting for most of the national budget.

The guano on most islands, including Isla de Asia, south of the capital, Lima, now reaches less than a foot or so. But the guano that remains here is coveted when viewed in the context of the frenzy in Peru and abroad around synthetic fertilizers like urea, which has doubled in price to more than $600 a ton in the last year.

Guano in Peru sells for about $250 a ton while fetching $500 a ton when exported to France, Israel and the United States. While guano is less efficient than urea at releasing nitrates into the soil, its status as an organic fertilizer has increased demand, transforming it into a niche fertilizer sought around the world.

“Guano has the advantage of being chemical-free,” said Enrique Balmaceda, who cultivates organic mangoes in Piura, a province in northern Peru. “The problem is, there isn’t enough of it to meet demand with new crops like organic bananas competing for what’s available.”

That explains why Peru is so vigilant about preserving the remaining guano, an effort dating back a century to the creation of the Guano Administration Company, when Peru nationalized the islands, some of which were British-controlled, to stave off the industry’s extinction.

Since then, Peru’s government has restricted guano collection to about two islands a year, enabling the droppings to accumulate. Workers smooth slopes and build walls that retain the guano. Scientists even introduced lizards to hunt down ticks that infested the seabirds.

The guano administrators station armed guards at each of the islands to ward off threats to birds, which produce 12,000 to 15,000 tons of guano a year.

“The fishermen instigate the most mischief here,” said Rómulo Ybarra, 40, one of two guards stationed at Isla de Asia, which otherwise has no regular inhabitants. (The island has a tiny cabin called Casa del Chino, a reference to the Asian ancestry of former President Alberto K. Fujimori, who used to come here to unwind in solitude.)

“When the fishermen approach the island, their engines scare away the guanay,” Mr. Ybarra said, referring to the prized guanay cormorant. “And further out at sea, the fishing boats pursue the anchoveta, something we cannot control.”

The anchoveta, a six-inch fish in the anchovy family, is the main food of the seabirds who leave their droppings on these rainless islands. The biggest fear of Peru’s guano collectors is that commercial fishing fleets will deplete their stocks, which are increasingly wanted as fish meal for poultry and other animals as demand for meat products rises in Asia.

While the bird population has climbed to 4 million from 3.2 million in the past two years, that figure still pales in comparison with the 60 million birds at the height of the first guano rush. Faced with a dwindling anchoveta population, officials at Proabonos are considering halting exports of guano to ensure its supply to the domestic market.

Uriel de la Torre, a biologist who specializes in conserving the guanay cormorant and other seabirds, said that unless some measure emerged to prevent overfishing, both the anchovetas and the seabirds here could die off by 2030.

“It would be an inglorious conclusion to something that has survived wars and man’s other follies,” Mr. de la Torre said. “But that is the scenario we are facing: the end of guano.”

Andrea Zarate contributed reporting from Lima, Peru.

2008年5月30日 星期五

notorious 1968 Generation( German)

Inside Europe | 31.05.2008 | 07:05

What did Germany's notorious 1968 Generation actually achieve?

In the late 1960’s, protest movements sprang up around the globe. It was a heady time of hippies and sit-ins, anti-Vietnam protests and demonstrations against authoritarian regimes.

The nightly news often carried pictures of long-haired students clashing with riot police on the streets. This protest wave hit Germany as well, as young people, mostly university students, took to the streets to demand change. This so-called 1968 Generation has almost become almost legend in Germany--although whether they caused more harm or more good is a matter for debate.

Reporter: Kyle James

Ireland commemorates victims of the Great Famine

Inside Europe | 31.05.2008 | 07:05

Ireland commemorates victims of the Great Famine

The so-called Great Famine which devastated Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century was a transforming event for the country.

Caused by the failure of the potato crop during the 1840’s, it resulted in the deaths of around a million people from starvation and disease and lead to one and a half million Irish emigrating. Five years ago Michael Blanch, a Dublin taxi driver, started lobbying for an official annual remembrance day for the victims of the famine. And he’s now one step closer to seeing that aim realized. The Irish government has announced that it’s setting up a group to organize such an event.

Interview: Helen Seeney/Michael Blanch

2008年5月28日 星期三

“Battle at Kruger,”

First, a Hit on the YouTube; Now, a TV Documentary" by Brian Stelter
"我們這星期來讀一篇發生在南非 Kruger National Park 裡一則令人眼睛大開的報導,而且大家在閱讀這篇的時候,還可以上 YouTube 去看看真實的畫面。....."

You’ve Seen the YouTube Video; Now Try the Documentary

Published: May 10, 2008

There is a moment of foreshadowing at the end of “Battle at Kruger,” the eight-minute African safari video that has drawn more than 30 million views on YouTube.

David Budzinski, a tourist from Texas, has just recorded a stunning scene straight out of a wildlife documentary. A small pride of lions and a crocodile have pinned down a cape buffalo calf, prompting an angry herd of buffalo to fight off the predators and save the babe. A fellow traveler remarks, “You could sell that video!”

After returning home, Mr. Budzinski tried, but National Geographic and Animal Planet were not interested. Only after the battle — alternately terrifying and heart-warming — became one of the most popular videos in YouTube’s history did the buyers come calling. Last summer the National Geographic Channel purchased the television rights to the video, and on Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, it will devote an hour to a documentary deconstructing the drama.

“We look at YouTube too, just like everybody else,” said Michael Cascio, the senior vice president for special programming at the National Geographic Channel.

Several television series — including ABC’s summer show “i-Caught,” CW’s short-lived “Online Nation” and CNN Headline News’s “News to Me” — have tried to translate the Internet’s user-generated content to television. In fact, “i-Caught” featured a report on the Kruger video.

But “Caught on Safari: Battle at Kruger” is believed to be the first hourlong documentary to be inspired by a YouTube clip.

The quality of Mr. Budzinski’s video contradicts the increasingly outdated dog-on-a-skateboard stereotype of YouTube. The site, which had more than 3.4 billion video views in February, now serves up seemingly every type of video in existence. Still, the wildlife tug of war stands out. National Geographic screens nature videos every day, “and this is an incredible sequence by any stretch of the imagination,” Mr. Cascio said.

Indeed, the producers found that it was rather easy to fill an hour talking about the short video. The documentary dissects the primal behavior of the animals and answers a question that aspiring videographers have asked: how did he get that shot?

The “battle” happened in September 2004, during Mr. Budzinski’s first visit to Africa, at the Kruger National Park in the northeastern corner of South Africa. Mr. Budzinski, who works as a supply manager for Chevron in Houston, was riding in the back of a sport utility vehicle with his wife, two other tourists and a tour guide. The guide, spotting lions sunning themselves by a watering hole near where a herd of buffalo was walking by, decided to see what would happen. Before long the lions attacked the herd, singling out a buffalo calf and overwhelming it by the water’s edge. By the time a crocodile had entered the fierce fight, Mr. Budzinski said, he was thinking about turning the camera off.

“I didn’t want to see a bloody mess,” he said in an interview.

But then the story shifted. On the video the hissing of crocodiles and the snarling of lions subsides. The herd of buffalo returns in force to surround the lions and protect the offspring. Adhering to the short-form spirit of YouTube, the complete tale concludes in slightly more than eight minutes.

“It’s a feel-good story,” Mr. Budzinski said. “It’s like watching a Disney story.”

Frank Watts, the safari guide, compared the experience to a meteorite’s hitting Earth. “They probably hit Earth quite regularly, but nobody sees them, and no one photographs it,” he says in the documentary. “I don’t know of anybody who’s ever seen anything like this before.”

Sensing they had just witnessed something special, Jason Schlosberg, another member of the safari group, asked Mr. Budzinski for a copy of the video. Mr. Budzinski tried unsuccessfully to sell it to television networks. “They all told us the same thing — they don’t accept any footage from amateurs,” he said.

For almost three years the film essentially sat on the shelf. But a year ago, when Mr. Schlosberg used YouTube to share the video with a friend — it was easier than making a DVD copy and mailing it, he said — “Battle at Kruger” started spreading virally on the Internet. Before long, National Geographic contacted Mr. Schlosberg, who in turn called Mr. Budzinski. That tourist turned online star had never heard of YouTube.

The two men struck a deal to share in the profits. Mr. Schlosberg, a photographer, now sells prints of the video clip and runs battleatkruger.com, listing merchandising and licensing opportunities.

The National Geographic Channel producers took Mr. Budzinski back to Kruger National Park to film the scenes needed for the television version: the group riding in the S.U.V., the tour guide pointing toward the watering hole, the cameraman zooming in. But the documentary ends with the real action: the original YouTube video.

Enhanced by professionals, the television video is clearly superior to the blurry and heavily compressed version viewed online. Then again, television viewers can’t immediately comment on the video, share it with friends or produce a video response.

Mr. Cascio called the documentary “complementary” to the online video. “We were able to add depth and context,” he said. Wildlife experts analyze the methodology of the lions’ attack, discuss the herd behavior of buffalo and predict whether the buffalo calf will survive the attack. (In the original video it is seen walking shakily back into the herd.)

While some YouTube viewers were fascinated by the behavior of the animals, others marveled at Mr. Budzinski’s ability to train his wife’s Canon ZR50MC camera steadily on the action. He was equally surprised: he had little experience with the camera and says he was very lucky that day.

In the documentary Richard Goss, a wildlife filmmaker for National Geographic, admits he would have loved to have been there with a high-definition camera. But, he says, “any film sequence that is revealing and as spectacular as that, I just admire, whoever it’s shot by.”

2008年5月15日 星期四


看過 CNN對古城的報導 在再搜集這


Stone soup

May 15th 2008
From Economist.com

A history of destruction and restoration

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday


EYAL ZIV (pictured below) says he hears Jaffa's buildings talking to him. They all say the same thing, he laughs: “Please restore me”. As the architect in charge of Jaffa's renovation programme, he has plenty of work. Jaffa was neglected for decades after Israel's establishment in 1948. Manshiyyeh, once a mixed Arab-Jewish area bordering Tel Aviv, was bulldozed and turned into a park. Hundreds of villas in Ajami were demolished. Jaffa was incorporated into Tel Aviv—a peculiar irony, as a century ago Tel Aviv began life as a suburb of Jaffa.

Recently, however, Tel Aviv launched a multi-million dollar programme to renovate Jaffa, which is blighted by high crime, drugs, gangs and unemployment. The programme is part social improvement and part urban makeover. Eyal is restoring Jaffa's unused train station, while the old port is being turned into a chic waterside neighbourhood.

Eyal grew up in Old Jaffa and works with his childhood friend, Fayeez Abu-Nasser, a stonework specialist. They share a passion for the city. “Even if we don't do a good restoration, we can make a good relationship between Jews and Arabs and all the people here,” says Eyal. “To do things correctly, with the people, to ask their opinion and work with then, not against them.”

Their first project was restoring Jaffa's clock tower, one of more than a hundred built across the Ottoman Empire a century ago by Sultan Abdel Hamid II. Eyal and Fayeez then started work on the surrounding piazza and the neighbouring shops. Five years ago, the square was run-down and grimy. Now chic boutiques and crowded cafes flank the tower.

In fact this is not gentrification, but re-gentrification, say Jaffa's Arab inhabitants—a reminder of the city's pre-1948 glory days. Eyal says he tries to avoid politics and focus on the buildings. Each project is preceded by meticulous research, using old books, maps, photographs and archive materials. “If you want to restore something then do it exactly like it was. It doesn't matter whether it was Palestinian, British, or Turkish. The city is like a book, when you open the book you see its pattern. That's my responsibility, to do it very straight and very honestly.”

Still, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict means Eyal and Fayeez are working in a political minefield. Each building was once fought over, and their histories are still contested. In November 1947, the Jews accepted the UN’s plan to partition Palestine, but the Arabs rejected it. Fierce fighting erupted immediately between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, especially along the border area. Elderly residents of Tel Aviv still recall Arab snipers shooting into the city each night from Jaffa. Both sides bombed and terrorised civilians.

In January 1948 the Stern Group, the extreme Zionist militia, blew up the New Seray building on the corner of Clock Tower Square, home to Jaffa's municipal offices and a soup kitchen for poor children. Dozens were killed or injured. The mass Arab exodus began, especially of the middle-class and urban elite, which could have provided communal leadership in the testing days to come.

The remains of the New Seray stood empty for decades. Eyal and his team took an innovative approach to its restoration. They rebuilt the 19th-century neoclassical facade and the neighbouring building, soon to be the Turkish cultural centre. The area to its side is now a pleasant open space with stone benches and palm trees, cooled by the sea breeze. Its borders precisely match the building’s former walls. The urban space remains but its usage evolves. One day, says Eyal, the New Seray may be completely rebuilt; removing the benches to make space for new construction would be easy.

In a region deeply polarised by history and conflicting narratives, Eyal enjoys a rare, philosophical perspective on his work. “This is history, the destiny of the city. Its rulers all build and destroy. First the Turks, then the British and then the Israelis. We are starting not just to rebuild things but to connect them together again. Because Jaffa has to be the place where Jews, Muslims and Christians can connect, like they used to.”

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THE Yafa Café is just north of the Old City. Founded in 2003 by Dina Lee, a Jewish woman from Jaffa, and Michel el Rahab, an Arab businessman from Ramle, the Yafa Café is dedicated to dialogue and co-existence; it sells books in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

It's a tiny place, with barely half a dozen tables, good coffee and great food, but its reputation is growing: in January 2008, the New Israel Fund, which supports co-existence projects, awarded the café the first Israela Goldblum Prize, worth $15,000.

The cafe also hosts lectures and discussions, and offers Arabic courses. Dina and Michel call the café a reminder of Jaffa’s glory days, before 1948, when about 90,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out, depending which history books you read. Dina and Michel say they will use the Goldblum money for more Arabic teaching, and to create an archive for books, documents and photographs about Jaffa.

The Yafa Café is a cherished place in Israel: Jews, Muslims and Christians are all welcome; they share tables and discussions (full disclosure: I read from my book here to a gratifyingly heavy turnout). Its regulars include observant Muslims, like Safa Younes (pictured), and Yudit Ilany, a Jewish social activist. Safa studied women's and gender issues at Tel Aviv University and worked for six years as a probation officer in Tel Aviv and Jaffa—an unusual career for a young Muslim woman. Her clients included numerous drug dealers and criminals.

She helped found a new Arab women's organisation in Jaffa called Urs al-Bahr—“the bride of the sea”, Jaffa's former name. Urs al-Bahr is based in an apartment in Ajami, a run-down quarter of Jaffa, which is blighted by high levels of poverty and unemployment. Arab women in Israel have two major problems, says Safa. “Firstly, that they are women, with less rights than men, and secondly that they are part of a national minority, as Arabs in a Jewish state. We want to change that, not from the top, but from the bottom up.”

Thanks to places such as Yafa Café, Jaffa's younger Arab generation is finding its voice, and a space in Israel's lively civil society. “The Arab women of Jaffa need their own place, to learn computer skills—almost nobody among them knows how to use a computer—to take courses in Arabic literacy and English. A place that they can feel is their own. We tried to make Urs al-Bahr like someone's home, so the women would come because it is a feminine space.”

Yudit, a close friend of Safa's, is also a regular at the Yafa Café, when she is not battling Amidar, the Israeli state housing company. In the last few years Amidar has issued 200 eviction notices and three hundred requests to “amend their legal rights” to families in Jaffa and its environs. Most are Arabs. Property prices are booming in Jaffa, thanks in part to the millions being spent by Tel Aviv to improve schools and infrastructure.

Ajami may be rough, but its stunning beach makes it a desirable area. Yudit took me to meet the Hatabs, who face potential eviction. The Hatabs say they have owned their home for six generations, long before Israel even existed. Youssef Hatab shows me a document signed in 1952 by his grandfather. It's a rental contract for his own home, which had been appropriated by the state. But Mahmud could not read or write Hebrew and signed with his thumbprint, surrendering his rights.

The activists argue that Amidar wants to kick out Arab families out of Ajami because they are getting in the way of developers. Amidar counters that the Hatabs illegally built an extra eight rooms without planning permission and failed to pay rent for them. Amidar argues this is all a simple matter of law, and only the activists are making this into a political issue. But in Jaffa, housing and new developments are always political.

Either way, the Hatabs are being squeezed. New residential developments loom over the one-storey family compound, just inches from their property line. Whatever the legal rights and wrongs of their case, it's extraordinary that planning permission for the neighbouring developments was ever granted. It's hard not to see the walls squeezing the Hatab family as a metaphor in bricks and concrete for Jaffa's poor Arab families.

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A SHORT walk from Old Jaffa is a narrow alley known as the Street of the Money Changers. It was here in the late-nineteenth century that the Chelouche family set up shop after emigrating from North Africa. The family patriarch, Aharon Chelouche, was a money changer and jeweller. Coins then were often made partly of silver or gold, and Aharon knew precisely how much metal each coin contained, when to melt them down and when to sell. There is still a grill over the shop's door to let the fumes escape when metal was melted down.

With his profits Aharon bought large tracts of land around Jaffa. Back then the price of a plot was set in throws of a stone—the buyer would hurl the stone as far as he could, repeating the action until he had covered enough land. Aharon soon became an expert stone-thrower.

AFP The orange city

Towards the end of the nineteenth century Aharon sold some of his land for the construction of Jaffa's first Jewish neighbourhood. The city could no longer house the waves of Jewish immigrants pouring into the Holy Land. According to family legend, that land became the settlement of Neve Tsedek, which is now part of Tel Aviv.

Aharon Chelouche built a large Arab-style house—one storey with a spacious hall and rooms leading off it—where he, his wife and children lived. The family was part of the elite of the Yishuv, as the Zionist-state in the making was known, but nurtured good relations with the Ottoman authorities. When Aharon Chelouche's carriage overturned in a wadi, a dried out riverbed, the governor of Jaffa built a bridge for him.

One son, Yaakov, became the treasurer of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, which financed the Jewish settlements. Yaakov was always preceded on his rounds by his kawas (bearer), who wore a special uniform and carried a polished baton, with which to hit the ground and clear a path for his master. Yaakov’s brothers, Yosef Eliahu and Avraham Haim, owned a construction company and a factory that supplied tiles and housing materials.

The Chelouches were Sephardi Jews, whose ancestors had fled Spain in 1492 for north Africa. They enjoyed good relations with their Arab neighbours. They ate the same food and spoke Arabic, not Hebrew, at home. They were astute businessmen, socially conservative but engaged with the world, and well-versed in manners and mores of the Levant. When Yaakov visited a client who owed the bank money, the debt was never mentioned. Instead he gossiped about the neighbourhood, the orange crop and their families.

Marriages were arranged—not forced, but encouraged—and the Chelouches intermarried with the Moyals, another dynasty of Jaffa’s Sephardi Jewish elite. Josef Moyal was granted an honorific title by Sultan Abdul Hamid II for his help building Jaffa’s clock tower at the start of the twentieth century. His son, Shimon Moyal, sat on Jaffa’s city council and translated the Talmud into Arabic. The Sephardi Jews hoped to be a bridge between the new immigrants and the Palestinians. Josef’s grandson, Avraham Moyal, who lives in Jerusalem, still describes himself as a “Jewish Palestinian”.

But the Moyals and the Chelouches were soon marginalised by the Yishuv's leadership. The Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe and Russia knew no Arabic and had no interest in learning it. Most were socialists or Communists and distrusted the Sephardim. The Ashkenazim ignored their carefully-nurtured relationships with the Arab grandees.

Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche despaired of the Zionists leadership’s insularity. The Yishuv, he wrote in his autobiography, considered every factor except one: the Arabs who lived in Palestine. “During this period of building our country we know nothing about Arab customs, habits, manners, tribes and social trends, their economic and cultural situation and more. In all the Zionist literature there is not even one book that would describe these people's lives accurately or contain genuine information about their situation.”

Aharon Chelouche's house still stands on the street in Neve Tsedek named for his family, and is about to be restored. Faded lettering is visible above the entrance: Frères Chelouche, and in Arabic, Ikhwan Chelouche (Chelouche Brothers).

The governor’s bridge still spans the wadi, which is now a car park. Like the Palestinians, the Sephardi Jews are part of Jaffa’s lost, or marginalised, history. How different that might have been had the Chelouches and the Moyals been able to bridge the divide between the Ashkenazim and the Palestinians.

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I FIRST visited Old Jaffa, the heart of the ancient city, about twenty years ago. I walked down narrow lanes and stepped alleys, all carefully restored and turned into an artists' quarter, crowded with tourists perusing the paintings and jewellery. Our guide related the Israeli version of Jaffa's history: the prophet Jonah vainly fled God from here; the ancient port was taken by the Pharaohs, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, Napoleon, the British, and then finally, in May 1948, by the Israelis. I returned last month to make “Jaffa Stories”, a film for the BBC.

Old Jaffa still dazzles, but for all its beauty something is missing: the original inhabitants. Old Jaffa is a city of ghosts. This week Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary, which the Palestinians remember as the nakba (the catastrophe). Jaffa, known in Arabic as Urs al-Bahr (Bride of the Sea), was the cultural capital of Palestine. It was home to publishing houses, newspapers, cinemas, theatres, sports teams and social clubs.

Jaffa boasted a thriving Arab middle class, proud of their Palestinian heritage but rooted in the modern world. It had a complex and deep relationship with Tel Aviv, the neighbouring Hebrew city. Jaffa's pillars were men like Ahmad Hammami, a scion of an old Jaffa family who, like many Jaffans, worked in the orange business. The city smelled of citrus; the groves stretched for miles all around. Ahmad built a large stone villa on the southern tip of Jaffa, in an area called Jebaliyyeh. He lived next door to his cousins, and the two houses shared a lush fruit garden, from which Ahmad’s wife, Nafise, would make jam.

That world ended quickly in April 1948. Jaffa was awarded to the Arab side in the 1947 United Nations partition plan—an Arab island surrounded by Jewish territory. The mainstream Zionist militia, the Haganah, had no plans to attack, believing that the city would surrender. And indeed its mayor was already negotiating with the Zionist leadership. But Menachem Begin, leader of the right-wing Irgun, wanted to capture Jaffa to build his political capital in the already simmering rivalry between the left and right wings of the Zionist movement.

So at the end of Passover the Irgun launched a rain of mortars onto the ancient port. Tens of thousands of Palestinians fled. Perhaps unnecessarily—for the attack stopped after three days when the British, still the Mandate power, intervened. Even now those few thousand Arabs who stayed will argue that Jaffa was abandoned, even betrayed, by its inhabitants.

But hindsight is an easy virtue, and those were days of terror. So much so that Ahmad Hammami, who had planned to stay, came home and put his family into a taxi and sped to the port. They packed what they could as the mortars rained down, grabbed some jewellery, rolled up some Persian carpets and squeezed themselves onto the SS Argentina. It took them three days to reach southern Lebanon.

While researching my book, “City of Oranges”, which tells the lives of Arab and Jewish families in Jaffa, I became friends with Hasan Hammami (pictured above, at right), Ahmad's son. He is now in his seventies and lives in the United States. Hasan wrote his memoirs and shared them with me. They are a poignant, moving account of a life spent in exile, of career and material success that fail to compensate for the loss of a homeland. Hasan's book resembles nothing so much as the memoirs of Jewish exiles from pre-Holocaust Europe, a longing for a rich and vanished world.

I also came to know his sister Fadwa and his daughter Rema, who live in East Jerusalem. One day Fadwa and Rema took me to the Hammami villa. It is now an Israeli old people's home. The rooms have been chopped and divided by cheap aluminium partitions and an institutional smell lingers. Concrete covers the garden; the fruit trees are gone.

The suburb of Jebaliyyeh has been renamed Givat Aliyah—hill of aliyah, meaning immigration to Israel. Still, the Hammamis return, especially when a new baby is born. I learnt a lot that day about the experience of exile and dispossession, one thing at least that Jews and Palestinians can share. Ahmad Hammami never saw his home again after 1948. But his stone villa still stands, a mute and still-elegant reminder of a lost world, of Jaffa’s glory days before the nakba.

台灣的製造業 2006


行 政院主計處於日前發布2006年工商及服務業普查初步統計結果,提供了近五年來產業變化極豐富資訊。在過去五年間,2001年台灣陷入50年來首度負成 長,自2002年國內外景氣開始回溫,尤其2004-06年的三年間全球經濟平均每年成長率,根據國際貨幣基金(IMF)統計高達5.2%,台灣也恢復到 5.1%的成長;顯然各產業都發生變化,而其中以製造業變化最為顯著。茲就工商及服務業普查提供的統計資訊,分析五年來台灣製造業的變化。


五年來傳統製造業活力重現。台灣傳統製造業在出口導向政策引導下,自1960年代初期開始至1980年代中期的20多年間快速發展,對整體經濟發展及就業 有重大貢獻。但至1980年代後期,由於勞動短缺,工資大幅上升及投資環境的改變,傳統製造業優勢逐漸消滅,業者不得不另覓適當環境,開始移往勞動成本低 廉的東南亞及中國大陸生產;尤以1991至2001年的十年間傳統製造業外移速度最快。就歷次工商普查資料觀察,以傳統製造業從業員工而言,1996較 1991年減少19.4萬人或9.0%,2001年再較1996年減少21.9萬人或11.1%,可見傳統製造業萎縮之快速。惟這次普查2006年傳統製 造業不僅從業員工人數止跌回升,較五年前增加8萬人或4.6%,生產價值更大增62.8%,相較非傳統的高科技產業產值增加70%,毫不遜色。雖傳統製造 業從業員工及生產總值占製造業比重持續下降,但降幅較前十年大為減緩,而且分別高占製造業的六成八及六成四,仍然是製造業發展的主軸。

傳統製造業近五年來活力重現,還有下列四大特色:一是傳統製造業勞動生產力大幅提升,五年間增加56%,遠較非傳統製造業增加33%為高,使兩者間的差距 大為縮小。二是傳統製造業資本生產力大幅提高,五年間增加41%,而非傳統製造業資本生產力五年來停滯未變,顯示傳統製造業資產運用效率,相對較非傳統製 造業大幅提升。三是由於勞動及資本生產力的提升,使其利潤率自五年前的3.2%,2006年倍增至7.7%,與非傳統製造業的7.8%,並駕齊驅,傳統製 造業已非微利產業。四是在勞動生產力大幅提升的貢獻下,傳統製造業勞動成本占生產總額的比率大幅下降,自五年前的15%降至11%,與非傳統產業相等。凡 此均顯示台灣傳統製造業歷經20多年的淘汰起伏調整,勵精圖志,轉型升級,終於脫胎換骨,不論是持續生存者,或新進入者,多是體質堅強,經得起國內外市場 競爭的考驗。

在非傳統製造業的高科技產業方面,在近五年來的發展亦有下列三大特色:一是非傳統製造業的高科技產業,在一般印象應是技術密集或資本密集產業;但這五年來 從業員工增加19.1萬人,高占製造業從業員工總增加27萬人的71%,其中又以半導體及影像顯示產業增加16萬人高占總增加人數的60%最為突出,成為 製造業創造就業的最大功臣。二是海外生產依賴度大幅提高;五年前非傳統產業海外生產占營業收入的比重才15%,2006年躍升至48%,而且五年來非傳統 產業營業收入能大幅成長1.45倍,主要靠海外生產增加貢獻了70%,顯示國內接單海外出貨,已是非傳統產業成長動能的最大來源。三是成為最大吸金產業; 近五年來非傳統產業實際運用資產增加4.3兆元,高占製造業運用資金增加額的四分之三,資金運用愈來愈高度集中;而使每一員工資產運用額,非傳統產業相對 傳統產業大幅增加,2006年幾達後者兩倍。但其勞動生產力與傳統產業比較,五年前還高出41%,2006年降至20%;顯現非傳統產業資產運用效率,相 對傳統產業每下愈況,這應是台灣高科技產業的最大隱憂,不能忽視。

就工商普查資料觀察,五年來整體製造業發展,表現相當優異;不過除就業增加非傳統產業優於傳統產業外,不論生產的增加、勞動生產力的提高、資金運用效率的 提升,傳統產業均優於非傳統產業。但五年來製造業增加投入人力中的71%,增加投入資金中的四分之三,所投入的高科技產業,其表現反不如傳統產業,是否什 麼地方出了問題,期望新政府上任後,能深入檢討,謀求改進之道,否則對未來長期發展不利。

2008年5月14日 星期三

Tiny Bodies in a Morgue, and Grief in China 聚源

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Tiny Bodies in a Morgue, and Grief in China

Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

Parents at a makeshift morgue on Wednesday in Juyuan, China, held the body of their child, killed in Monday’s earthquake. More Photos >

Published: May 15, 2008

JUYUAN, China — The bodies are everywhere. Some are zipped inside white vinyl bags and strewn on the floor. Others have been covered in a favorite blanket or dressed in new clothes. There are so many bodies that undertakers want to cremate them in groups. They are all children.

“Our grief is incomparable,” said Li Ping, 39, eyes rimmed red, as he and his wife slowly, carefully pulled a pair of pink pajamas over the bruised, naked body of their 8-year-old daughter, Ke. “We got married late, and had a child late. She is our only child.”

The earthquake that struck Sichuan Province on Monday has so far claimed 15,000 lives across China, and thousands more people remain missing or trapped beneath rubble. But the awful scene at this local morgue is a sad reminder that too many of the dead are children in a country where most families are allowed to have only one.

These children symbolized the earthquake’s seemingly indiscriminate cruelty. But the cruelty, in the eyes of their parents, was also man-made.

Several schools in nearby Dujiangyan collapsed while classes were under way. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited two of them, including Xinjian Primary School, where parents say officials told him the death toll was 20 pupils.

“I am Grandpa Wen Jiabao,” the prime minister said as he watched two children being pulled from the rubble, according to Xinhua, the official state news agency. “Hold on, kids! You’ll definitely be rescued.”

But enraged parents interviewed at the morgue on Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning say local officials lied to the prime minister to hide the true toll at Xinjian, which they estimate at more than 400 dead children. Several parents blamed local officials for a slow initial rescue response and questioned the structural safety of the school building. They were also furious that officials forbade them to search for their children for two days and then allowed access to the bodies only after the parents formed an ad hoc committee to complain.

“Before Wen Jiabao came, the whole school was filled with children’s bodies,” said one mother who sat outdoors at the morgue with her husband in the early morning darkness beside the covered body of their 8-year-old daughter. “Her father and I had stood outside the school since the earthquake. We pleaded with the government: ‘If she is dead, I want to see the body. If she is alive, I want to see her.’ ”

Her husband, a thin man, leaned forward into the yellow light of two candles. “We’re telling you the truth,” he said. “Get the truth out.”

The morgue is an hour outside Dujiangyan on an isolated rural road, yet the parking lot was filled at 1:50 a.m. on Thursday. Parents and other family members clustered around the bodies of their children. Some burned fake money to bring their lost child good fortune in the afterlife. In one room, 25 small bodies were scattered on the floor. Some children had already been taken away; an empty white body bag lay near a sneaker and a filthy pair of boy’s trousers. Some families had placed flowers or incense inside empty water bottles as makeshift memorials.

“There are more in there,” said a man, pointing to a rear door. He walked outside to a walkway and paused. Scores of bodies, covered with sheets, were lined in two long rows on the concrete floor. Others were placed in an adjacent room. Parents sobbed or sat silently beside bodies.

“They are all students,” said the man in the blue shirt. “Look,” he said pointing to a red and white jacket folded beside one body. “That is the school uniform.” He pointed to a Mickey Mouse backpack. “There is a book bag.”

The two rows of bodies came to an open door that led to the large steel furnaces used for cremation. In China, the dead are almost always cremated fairly soon after death. Usually, there is enough time for funeral ceremonies and rituals, but parents said that officials were worried about cremating so many bodies before they started to decompose. So some parents have been asked if their children can be cremated with dead friends to save time.

Parents say they were only allowed to begin identifying their children on Wednesday. The bodies had remained inside the gated grounds of Xinjian Primary School for two days until officials began transporting them to the morgue on Wednesday.

The earthquake struck at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, and many parents rushed to the school. Xinjian had about 600 pupils, ages from roughly 7 to 12. When parents arrived most of the building had collapsed. They frantically pulled away bricks and chunks of concrete with their bare hands.

“We pleaded with the administrators to help us,” said one mother, Chen Li, 39, who came to the morgue on Wednesday to identify her son, a sixth grader. “We yelled, ‘Where are the soldiers? Send them to help us!’ ”

Parents say neighbors and students from a nearby college arrived by 4 p.m. to help with the digging. Local officials and school administrators also came but then left after inspecting the site. Two more hours passed before a large group of paramilitary police officers arrived and told the parents to leave because the area was too dangerous. Parents were relocated outside the school gate, unable to watch as the officers began digging.

Ms. Chen said her son, Zhang Yuanxin, was discovered the same day as the earthquake but then left uncovered in the rain with other bodies on the playground. She said two trucks arrived Wednesday and carried away bodies shortly before Mr. Wen arrived for his inspection.

“I think there were 50 bodies in two trucks that were carried away,” Ms. Chen said. “I asked those people, ‘Are you taking the bodies away?’ ”

But she said local officials lied to her and said they were only taking away tents.

Parents say they became so angry over the situation at the school by Tuesday that they formed the committee and complained to local officials. Officials in Dujiangyan could not be reached for comment, but parents say the officials relented on Wednesday by moving the children’s bodies to the morgue and providing shuttle buses for people waiting outside the school.

At the morgue on Wednesday, parents walked through rooms lined with bodies on the floor, lifting sheets in the unwanted search to identify a lost child. Cai Changrong, 37, held an urn containing the ashes of his cremated 9-year-old daughter. His wife, Hu Xiu, could not stop wailing.

“We didn’t find any bruises or injuries on her body,” said Ms. Hu, the mother. “But she lost all her nails. She was trying to scratch her way out. I think my daughter suffocated to death.”

Several parents wanted an investigation into the construction quality of school buildings in Dujiangyan. They say six schoolhouses collapsed in the city, even as other government buildings remain standing. One man said officials built two additional stories on the Xinjian school even though it had failed a safety inspection two years ago — allegations that could not be verified.

Mr. Li, the father dressing his dead daughter, also said he believed that the school was poorly built. He arrived at the school minutes after the quake and spent the next four hours searching for his daughter. His forearms were bruised and his fingernails were split and bloodied from digging.

He proudly handed over his cellphone and showed a picture of his daughter, Ke, taken last week. But Thursday morning, he and his wife were preparing for her cremation. They struggled to slip her into the pink pajamas and then dressed her in a gray sweatshirt and pants. Her mother placed a white silk mourning cloth under her clotted black hair.

Mr. Li said he lost his job in 1997 and had been living on a meager welfare payment. He said the school was filled with children from poor families. “My daughter was a very good student,” he said. “She was a quiet girl, and she liked to paint. We’re putting her in these clothes because she loved them.”

He said he was angry and sad. He said his daughter’s body was still warm when he found her at the morgue on Wednesday. He wondered how long she lived beneath the rubble. And then he turned away, leaning down slightly, and whispered in her ear.

“My little daughter,” he said quietly. “You used to dress yourself. Now I have to do it for you.”

Zhang Jing contributed research.

New US Embassy in Berlin

Architecture | 11.05.2008

New US Embassy in Berlin Triggers Architecture Debate

Removal of the scaffolding from the US embassy construction site in Berlin has triggered fresh debate about this symbol of Washington's power on the site of the former Berlin Wall.

The embassy is set to be inaugurated on July 4, US Independence Day, but tourists are already snapping pictures of the building, which has a front door on prestigious Pariser Platz, with the Brandenburg Gate, French embassy and luxurious Adlon Hotel as neighbors.

Its completion fills the last gap on an upscale square that in less than two decades has turned into a gallery of contemporary architecture. The US project was delayed by years of wrangling with the city of Berlin over buffer zones to foil car bombings.

A model of the embassyBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A throwback to 1980s post-modernism?

Lines of waist-high pillars are the most obvious security features around the four-storey sandstone building, which has its longest frontage not on the square but on a four-lane road, which is where most tourists in buses will see it first.

The embassy Web site says the design is intended to "provide an open yet secure presentation of America."

Great view -- for the ambassador

From the penthouse, US Ambassador William Timken will have a panorama of Berlin history all around him.

The view has been carefully composed to show the Quadriga horses on top of the Brandenburg Gate seeming to ride across the embassy's rooftop garden of native American grasses. Timken will also have a close-up view of the dome on the Reichstag and the Tiergarten park. To the south, the embassy faces the somber Holocaust Memorial, with the office towers of Potsdamer Platz, 400 meters (a quarter of a mile) away.

Timken remembers standing on the site as a visitor to Germany in the early 1990s when it was weed-covered wasteland.

"The Berlin Wall had stood there just a short time before with the 'death strip' next to it," said Timken, who arrived as ambassador in 2005. "I couldn't have imagined it as the site for our embassy." He spoke of his "wonder" at the embassy's return to the historic site.

Security before aesthetics

Timken and Ellsworth Kelly in the new embassy's courtyardBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Timken (right) has defended the building

Much about the building's design seems influenced by security needs rather than such emotions: the walls are reinforced, the glass bomb-proof, and a strong fence separates the site from the main road where visitors to the consular office enter the building.

The security is part of the price the United States has paid since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

But compared to the old US embassy in Berlin, which is isolated behind ugly concrete and steel barriers with gun-toting guards, the airy, $120-million (78-million euro) new embassy with its many windows seems like a project in disarmament.

Dated, 1980s design, say critics

But architecture critic Gerwin Zohlen is unimpressed. He partly called the newly unveiled exterior "boring" and a "rather uninspired" example of 1980s post-modernism that was already out of date.

He suggested Berliners nickname the building by California architects Moore Ruble Yudell the "Pancake," in reference to the main-road side that tourists will pass on their way to the Holocaust Memorial.

"It gives the impression of being horizontally stretched out," he told DPA news agency.

Instead of projecting the grandeur of a superpower, the building suggested a nation that had given up being world policeman and withdrawn into self-defense, Zohlen said.

"It would look okay in the US Midwest. But it doesn't suit an inner city in 'Old Europe.'"

A segment of the Berlin Wall in the courtyard of the embassyBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A segment of the Berlin Wall is on display in the embassy's courtyard

Zohlen said the stonework was shoddy and the building looked "cheap," a view that has a basis in fact, since the US Congress pared back the construction budget by $60 million compared to the original proposal.

He called the building "bunker-style," a charge also lobbed at the French embassy, which opened across the square in 2003.

Ambassador Timken, however, spoke out in defense of the building's security features before the scaffolding came down, saying it was the price of building on the inner-city site.

It would have been easy to build a compound with an ample buffer zone well away from the city center, but the diplomats had wanted to be "part of Germany" at the heart of Berlin.

Berlin makes concessions

The city wanted that too, and made some concessions so the project could go ahead. Ebertstrasse, which separates the embassy from the park, was slightly realigned so the buffer zone would be wider.

The French embassyBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The French embassy

In any case, the US mission is not the only embassy fixated on security. The British embassy ensured that Berlin closed its street to all traffic.

The US link to Pariser Platz goes back to the early 1930s when the United States bought a fire-gutted palace there, but could not restore it at first because of the Great Depression.

When Adolf Hitler came to power, the US embassy was in rented premises.

The embassy finally moved to Pariser Platz as Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, was drawing up grandiose plans to rip down the old diplomatic quarter of Berlin and put a Nazi showcase in its place. Germany and the United States went to war in 1941.

The postwar communist authorities ripped down the ruins, but the land remained US property and was recovered after the communist system collapsed in 1989.

DW staff / DPA (ncy)

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楽しみ満載鉄道 台湾・嘉義

楽しみ満載鉄道 台湾・嘉義1


曙光 来光







 車掌の翁幸昭さん(52)は「春は線路沿いの山桜が特にきれいで運転も楽しい」。嘉義駅はリュックを背負った家族連れでにぎわう。若者のカップルは「山 で1泊します。山菜料理が楽しみ」。朝早く山頂でご来光を見て下山する人も多い。楽しみ満載の阿里山鉄道は台湾観光のハイライトだ。(文と写真・野嶋剛)

2008年5月13日 星期二

四川 估十萬死 ? Responding to disaster

"中国地震死亡及失踪人数已达约6万人" 5/15

四川 估十萬死




汶川七萬人 失聯




天氣壞 空降不成



Responding to disaster

May 12th 2008 | BEIJING
From Economist.com

An earthquake kills several thousand people in China, as authorities try to react fast


ANOTHER natural disaster in another Asian country claims many thousand lives. But the response of China’s government to an earthquake that struck the central Sichuan province on the afternoon of Monday May 12th appears to be strikingly different to that of Myanmar’s brutal regime after its cyclone earlier this month. News of the cyclone took several days to trickle out from Myanmar, where the government’s response has been desperately inadequate. In contrast, details of China’s earthquake are being spread quickly, and the official response has so far been unusually open.

Within 12 hours of the massive earthquake in China, the authorities reported that nearly 9,000 people had been killed. They also gave warning that casualty figures are likely to rise. The quake struck at 14:28 local time on Monday, when children were at school and many workers were in their offices and factories. The epicentre was in Wenchuan County, some 90km northwest of the provincial capital of Chengdu.

Measured at a magnitude of 7.8 by Chinese authorities and at 7.9 by the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake flattened schools and other buildings, interrupted transport, water and telecommunications services, and rattled tall buildings in many of China's largest cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, several hundred kilometres away. Tremors registering at a magnitude of 3.9 were felt in Beijing, provoking frantic evacuations at office towers throughout the city.

China’s central government responded promptly. President Hu Jintao has called for an “all-out” effort to rescue survivors and to provide for the injured. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew to Sichuan within hours of the earthquake, telling state-run media en route that China faced “a major disaster” and calling for “calm” and “courage”. Coming from a government that usually strives to downplay bad news, this is a clear indication of a truly dire situation.

According to state media, Chinese army units are being deployed to assist with relief work (again in contrast to the ineffective army in Burma). One immediate priority was a site in Juyuan Township, about 100km from the epicentre, where 900 youths were thought to be buried under the rubble of their collapsed three-storey school. Chinese media said cranes were excavating the sites as children cried for help from beneath the detritus and as ambulances waited together with frantic parents.

China's official Xinhua News Agency reported 8,533 deaths in Sichuan alone, as well as scores more deaths in neighbouring provinces. In Sichuan's Beichuan County, some 80% of buildings were reported to have collapsed. Damage at a chemical plant was also reported, with hundreds of people buried and tonnes of poisonous liquid ammonia released. Train and air services into Chengdu and surrounding areas have been badly disrupted. Telephone services, both fixed line and wireless, have also been damaged.

As Beijing prepares to host the summer Olympic Games in less than three months, officials were quick to report that the city's dozens of Olympic venues were built to withstand earthquakes and that none had suffered damage. Authorities also said that no damage was observed at the massive Three Gorges Dam, located on the Yangtze River, several hundred kilometres east of the epicentre. That is just as well. Holding back an enormous reservoir, the dam was built in the face of strong opposition from critics who gave warning, among other things, that it would be vulnerable to earthquake damage that might cause disastrous floods.

China has moved quickly to mobilise, but has yet to respond to offers of foreign aid from the governments of Japan, the Czech Republic and others. Given the magnitude of the disaster, and the likely increase in the death toll, China certainly faces further tests on the efficacy of its response. It may also be troubled by unsettling questions about its level of pre-earthquake preparedness. It is one thing to build dams and Olympic venues to proper standards, but with so many other buildings collapsing particular scrutiny may fall on China's system for setting and enforcing construction codes in earthquake-prone zones such as Sichuan.

‘No Hope’ for Children Buried in Earthquake

‘No Hope’ for Children Buried in Earthquake

Published: May 13, 2008

DUJIANGYAN, China — The children who were considered fortunate escaped with a broken bone or a severed limb. The others, hundreds of them, were carried out to be buried, and their remaining classmates lay crushed beneath the rubble of the schoolhouse.

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Aly Song/Reuters

Rescuers on Tuesday extracted the bodies of six children from the site, in the city of Dujiangyan.

“There’s no hope for them,” said Lu Zhiqing, 58, as she watched uniformed rescue workers trudge through mud and rain toward the mound of bricks and concrete that had once been a school. “There’s no way anyone’s still alive in there.”

Little remained of the original structure of the school. No standing beams, no fragments of walls. The rubble lay low against the wet earth. Dozens of people gathered around in the schoolyard, clawing at the debris, kicking it, screaming at it. Soldiers kept others from entering.

A man and woman walked away from the rubble together. He sheltered her under an umbrella as she wailed, “My child is dead! Dead!”

As dawn crept across this shattered town on Tuesday, it illuminated rows and rows of apartment blocks collapsed into piles, bodies wedged among the debris, homeless families and their neighbors clustered on the roadside, shielding themselves from the downpour with plastic tarps.

The earthquake originated here in the lush farm fields and river valleys of Sichuan Province, killing almost 10,000 people and trapping thousands more.

One of the most jarring tragedies of the disaster was the school collapse in a suburb of Dujiangyan. At least several hundred children were killed, perhaps as many as 900. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew here on Monday to survey the destruction, but he was powerless to ease the suffering of the survivors.

In the center of town, a woman said she had called local government officials 10 times to plead for help in rescuing her son and mother, but no one had come.

So on Tuesday morning, she stood crying before the remains of her apartment building. Her 5-month-old son was still buried in there, as was her 56-year-old mother.

“I was outside when the earthquake hit,” said the woman, Wang Xiaoni, 26. “I ran back even while the ground was still shaking.”

She shook her head. “Who’s going to help them now?”

People wandered up and down the street taking photos with cell phones and digital cameras. “This isn’t even the worst-off area,” one man said.

One block over, the façade of a white six-story residential building had sheared off, leaving one side of the apartments open to the air. Each living room had a television set untouched by the earthquake. But in the cascade of rubble at the foot of the building, a lifeless head and arm stuck out of the debris, and another body could be seen on the other side of the mound of rubble.

Across the street, a young man and his older sister walked out of an apartment building with a red duffel bag and armloads of bedding they stacked on the sidewalk.

“Everything in the apartment was destroyed,” said the man, Ji Yongtao, 27, waving a hand up at the second floor. “We need to find a place to live. We’ll spend the night in a building that was recently built, or on the first floor somewhere. We’re not going back up there.”

Dozens of people had gathered on the sidewalk by a major intersection down the street. They were constructing a huge tent, pulling a tarp over upright wooden poles they had lashed together. This would be their home for the day, and maybe the night, and maybe the next few days and nights.

Busloads of soldiers rode past in the street. But there was no immediate help for the people.

“We left with nothing but the clothes we’re wearing,” said Hu Huojin, 38, cradling her 6-year-old son in her arms. “We don’t dare stay in our homes. We’ll return when we’re told it’s safe to go back. Otherwise, we don’t dare live there.”

She gazed out at the wet street.

“I can’t even remember how long the ground shook,” she said. “It was enormous.”

An elderly couple stood under a store awning on the edge of the tent village. The man held the family dog, Chou Mer, but they had not seen their son, a cab driver, since he left home hours before the earthquake.

“We still haven’t heard from him,” said the mother, Yang Limei, 58. “Last night, we kept calling him, but we couldn’t get through. I don’t know what to do. We can’t even wait for him at home.”

Her husband, Chui Xianchao, 63, said, “The walls are still standing, but everything else fell to the ground.”

Ambulances roared by on the way to the hospitals in Chengdu, the provincial capital. Another bus rolled past carrying soldiers.

The army had appropriated public buses throughout the region, and men wearing green fatigues peered out the windows at the homeless in the street.

“No one’s come to help us yet,” Mr. Chui said. “Those soldiers are going somewhere else.”

A few miles to the south, in front of the collapsed school, a half-dozen soldiers linked hands to form a human blockade in front of the rubble. Two women tried to push their way through. The soldiers did not budge.

“There are still children in there, and we can’t help them if you keep trying to get in,” one soldier said.

The only people allowed in were teams of rescue workers and doctors. A group of doctors in white lab coats sat in a bus, waiting their turn to help. Some slept. They said no one had been brought out alive in hours.

2008年5月2日 星期五

Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing Air Terminal Goes All Out for the Games

China Photos/Getty Images

The recently opened Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport was designed and completed in record time for the Summer Olympics. It can handle 50 million passengers a year. More Photos >

Published: May 2, 2008

BEIJING — Beijing airport’s new Terminal 3 — twice the size of the Pentagon — is the largest building in the world.

Adorned with the colors of imperial China and a roof that evokes the scales of a dragon, the massive glass- and steel-sheathed structure, designed by the renowned British architect Norman Foster, cost $3.8 billion and can handle more than 50 million passengers a year. The developers call it the “most advanced airport building in the world,” and say it was completed in less than four years, a timetable some believed impossible.

It opened in late February with little fanfare, but also without the kind of glitches that plagued the new $8.7 billion terminal at Heathrow in London, a project that took six years to complete.

This is the image China would like to project as it hosts the Olympic Games this summer — a confident rising power constructing dazzling monuments exemplifying its rapid progress and its audacious ambition.

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While much of the world has focused on protests trailing the Olympic torch, China’s poor human rights record, its pollution, product safety and child labor scandals, workers here have been putting the finishing touches on one of the biggest building programs the world has ever seen.

Beijing hopes to overcome these negatives, and the dark sides of its roaring economy, by emphasizing its ability to upgrade and modernize, at least when it comes to buildings and infrastructure projects. The main Olympic stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, is already widely admired for its striking appearance and its use of an unusual steel mesh exterior. The nearby National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, is a translucent blue bubble that glows in the dark.

And east of the main Olympic arenas, construction is winding down on the new headquarters of the country’s main state television network, China Central Television, or CCTV.

That $700 million building, designed by Rem Koolhaas, consists of two interlocking Z-shaped towers that rise 767 feet and may be the world’s largest and most expensive media headquarters.

New York has the Chrysler Building, Grand Central and the Guggenheim Museum; Paris has the Louvre and the Pompidou Center; now Beijing is determined to build its own architectural icons.

“Beijing is a huge experimental site right now,” says Zhu Wenyi, dean of the school of architecture at Tsinghua University. “This modern architecture is the identity of modern China.”

But sometimes the sheer scale of the buildings overwhelms everything else. Thirty years after economic reforms began, this country has built a series of super structures that almost seem intended more for the Guinness Book of World Records than cityscapes.

China is home, for instance, to the world’s largest shopping mall (the seven-million-square-foot South China Mall); the longest sea-crossing bridge (it stretches 36 kilometers, or about 22 miles, over part of the East China Sea); the largest hydroelectric dam (the Three Gorges project); and the highest railway (an engineering marvel that crosses the Tibetan permafrost 16,000 feet above sea level, the so-called roof of the world).

Late last year, Beijing opened what may be the world’s largest performance hall, the National Center for the Performing Arts, a $400 million concert hall, opera house and theater center even bigger than the Kennedy Center in Washington. Nicknamed The Egg, the Chinese center’s titanium dome rises above a wide reflecting pool.

For decades, the ruling Communist Party used huge building programs to lure foreign investment and to create millions of jobs. But this new wave is different.

“This is just the start,” said Ma Yansong, a 32-year-old architect who studied in the United States and runs a practice here. “The last 10 years we’ve had landmark buildings in Beijing and Shanghai. But now, the private developers are coming in, and second-tier cities want to develop.”

In recent weeks, many Chinese have complained about what they say is Western media distortions about China and its role in Tibet, where riots broke out last month.

Indeed, behind the increasingly nationalistic counterprotests is a fear that China’s Olympic moment is being overshadowed by critics and that the country’s remarkable achievements are being ignored.

Many Chinese say that will change on Aug. 8, 2008 — an auspicious date by traditional reckoning because 8 is a lucky number — as the world focuses on the Olympics and China’s undeniable accomplishments.

In Beijing, officials have used the Olympics to justify razing old neighborhoods and relocating tens of thousands of poor residents, with hopes of remaking the city into a modern capital of new highways, subway lines and gleaming skyscrapers.

Similarly, city officials in Shanghai have relocated huge factories and thousands of residents along the Huangpu River to prepare a two-square-mile site for the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai’s own coming-out.

With China rapidly urbanizing, there are now dozens of other big cities developing master plans and commissioning new skyscrapers, expressways and whole shopping districts.

In Macao, one of China’s special administrative zones, the Las Vegas-based Sands Corporation built a 10.5-million-square-foot casino, hotel and convention center, which opened last summer to huge crowds.

Not everyone, however, is pleased with the development transforming China’s cities. Old neighborhoods and important historical buildings are being demolished. Expressways and skyscrapers have erased cultural signposts. Even some leading Chinese architects and urban planners are crying foul. And all this growth depends largely on energy derived from coal, which fouls the air, distracting from China’s gleaming new palaces.

Others complain that too many foreign architects are being showcased, at the expense of China’s home-grown talent, that Chinese elements are being lost — like Beijing’s old courtyard-style homes — and that overaggressive development is littering the landscape with modern monstrosities.

“I’m completely against this big architecture; it’s a total waste,” says Yin Zhi, president of the urban planning and design institute at Tsinghua University. “The government wants to grab the Olympic opportunity to remake Beijing, spending so much money on these stupid projects. Why not use the budget to improve Beijing’s traffic system? Why not improve the quality of people’s lives?”

Professor Yin went on: “China, as a developing country, is not supposed to spend so much on these eye-catching projects. It shows in some ways that China lacks confidence.”

But Beijing seems eager to show the world it can attract world-class architects to China, and it has lured big names, including Zaha Hadid, a distinguished architect from London.

Local developers are rushing to capitalize on this moment of extreme transformation. A rising middle class and the emergence of a car culture in China are creating opportunities to build new cities and suburbs, and many cities want to prove they are fast-developing, hoping to lure even more investment.

With the economy booming, air travel has also skyrocketed, creating demand for new airports. Indeed, even after a building boom over the past decade, the government says it plans to build another 97 new airports by 2020.

Here in Beijing, the construction of Terminal 3 was accelerated to meet the surge in air travel into the capital, and to create a dazzling new gateway to the city in time for the Olympics.

Foster & Partners, the British architectural firm, won the design competition less than five years ago, in late 2003. The firm quickly set up an office here and in March 2004 began work on a 14-million-square-foot project that would eventually dwarf all five of Heathrow’s terminals combined.

The developers wanted to incorporate Chinese characteristics, so they sought the advice of a feng shui master. They selected red and gold as the dominant colors, to match those of old palaces and the Forbidden City.

Then they raced the clock.

“In November 2003, we were awarded the contract,” says Mouzhan Majidi, the lead architect on the project for Foster & Partners. “Within a week, we had to have a Foster office in Beijing.”

Siemens, the German company, built a sophisticated baggage handling system that can sort and transport 19,200 pieces of luggage an hour through the nearly two-mile-long building. Workers lifted and placed a giant roof designed to look like the scales of a dragon.

The building opened ahead of schedule, largely because Beijing had turned the site into a 24-hour-a-day operation, with tens of thousands of workers living on the airport grounds. It is the kind of operation that can be found only in China.

Beijing supplied an army of workers. “When I think back to our site visits with Norman, it was an incredible scene to see 50,000 people working on a building,” says Mr. Majidi, who works closely with Norman Foster, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect. “It evoked what it might have been like to build the pyramids.”

Still, it may not be big enough.

In January, Beijing’s civil aviation authority announced that yet another international airport was needed in the city. Construction is expected to begin soon.