Friday, March 11, 2011

The Seventh Dalai Lama, Tsangyang GyatsoImage via WikipediaTibet is not and has never been part of China...

There has never been any doubt in my mind that Tibet is not a legal part of China. I knew that as a child in primary school in New Zealand. back in the 1950's.  China invaded Tibet in the early 1950's and forced Tibet to become part of the Communist Peoples Republic of China, ruled and dictated to by the Chinese Communist Party. Over 1.2 million people have lost their lives trying to defend their country against the Han people who also took over China itself. So it is an ethnic as well a a political situation. China has tried to undermine Tibet by re-populating parts of Tibet with ethnic Han people from mainland China, as it has become known.

The Chinese have also tried to denigrate Tibet's religious leader, the Dalai Lama who had to flee to India after the Chinese communists took over Tibet. There is a big difference between  CPC and China itself. There are many ethnic minorities that have been forced to become part of Communist China. I doubt if there are  many people around the world who believe the propaganda of the Communists. I certainly don't!

I heard a pretty pathetic statement recently that China is trying to claim Tibet because Princess Wen Cheng married the Tibetan ruler way back in 641 AD. Any legal  claims would be decided by the male line in any case. China needs a very  good history lesson in any case. The dominant ethnic Han overpowered and decimated other ethnic groups in China They have then invaded, overpowered and absorbed many other ethic groups from outside China, such as the Tibetans. The rule of the gun is now being supplemented by economic power,  throughout the world as well.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 01:  (L-R) L...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

New Zealand PM: Parts of quake-hit Christchurch City to be abandoned...

WELLINGTON:  New Zealand — Some 10,000 houses and several hundred commercial buildings in Christchurch will have to be demolished because of earthquake damage, while some parts of the city will have to be abandoned altogether, New Zealand's leader said Monday.

The magnitude 6.3 temblor that hit Feb. 22 shattered homes, heritage buildings and office blocks, and caused 166 confirmed deaths. Officials expect the toll to rise to more than 200 as rescuers continue to search for bodies in the rubble.

Prime Minister John Key said some 10,000 houses will have to be demolished in the city, including 3,300 that were damaged by an earlier magnitude 7.1 quake on Sept. 4 that caused far less damage. Several hundred commercial buildings in the downtown area also will have to be bulldozed, he said.

"Potentially there are some ... areas of Christchurch which will need to be abandoned and we will have to provide other alternatives for people to live in because the land has been so badly damaged, we can't fix it -- certainly not in a reasonable time frame," he said.

Earthquakes can cause sections of earth to liquefy and push up to the surface as watery silt, a process called liquefaction. In Christchurch, 260,000 tons of silt have already been scraped away.

"There are some parts of Christchurch that can't be rebuilt on" due to damage from liquefaction, Key told reporters.

He said modular homes will be brought in to provide temporary housing for some of the many thousands of displaced.

Work crews are still clearing rubble from the earthquake, which badly hit the downtown area and cut water and power services across the city. Almost all electricity supplies have been restored, but residents in the city are being told to boil tap water because of the risk of contamination.

Officials say some 70,000 people -- one-fifth of Christchurch's population of 350,000 -- have left the city temporarily as a result of the quake.

A national memorial service is planned for March 18, and Key said the open-air service in a city park could attract up to 100,000 people.

KR says:  This is all speculation at this stage. John Key thinks he is the Mayor of Christchurch as well. Decisions will be made later after consultation with all parties involved.

Acknowledgements: CTV News

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

After the earthquakeImage by Nick in exsilio via Flickr

NZ can learn from Christchurch earthquake - engineer's claim...

New Zealand should be more aggressive in making buildings able to withstand earthquakes and can learn from Christchurch's devastating quake, a leading structural engineer says.

President of the Structural Engineers Society John Hare, who is working with an urban search and rescue team at the badly damaged Christchurch Cathedral, said Christchurch may have been "a little passive" in strengthening its buildings.

The same could be said for other centres nationwide, such as Auckland, Mr Hare said.

"I would hate to have an earthquake in Auckland, because I don't think there has been very much done about it at all, I think people have been very complacent," he said.

"I think a lot of engineers perhaps were not listened to."

Because modern earthquake standards only took off in the mid '70s, it was important to retrofit buildings built before to reduce the level of damage in an earthquake.

The aim for designers was to make buildings able to withstand a one in 500 year earthquake event and hopefully a one in 2500 year event.

"What we've had was pretty much equivalent to a one in 2500 year event, or maybe even more," he said.

"I think people may be fooled by the fact it was only a magnitude 6.3 earthquake... magnitude is one measure - you have also got to consider things like depth and proximity."

With the devastation caused by Christchurch's earthquake "fresh in the mind", Mr Hare hoped New Zealand would be more aggressive in strengthening buildings in the future.

"I talked to a builder a few days ago... who said 'when we were doing some of that work you told us to do we used to think you were going over the top, but now I'll never say that again'."

"Preparedness is the answer, the better prepared we are the lower the impact would be," Mr Hare said.

Thomas Heaton, professor of engineering seismology at Caltech in Los Angeles told the LA Times that New Zealand was not the only country which could learn from the quake.

California, which has multiple fault lines running under it, had similar problems when it came to quake strengthening building as New Zealand, Mr Heaton said.

A big concern was the damage to concrete-framed office buildings erected in the '60s and '70s, which California had a lot of, Mr Heaton said.

"People who are living and working in these buildings are largely unaware that they're in buildings that are deemed by most professionals to be dangerous."

The immediate priorities for engineers following the quake was helping with the rescue and recovery operation, determining which buildings were safe and trying to get essential services back online.

Mr Hare said he dreaded to think how long it would take to restore some services.

Acknowledgements: - NZPA
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