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Travel Safety Update - Asia / Pacific.

New York (AirGuide - Travel Safety Update Asia / Pacific) Jun 20, 2010

Afghan poppy blight a small hit Controversy is raging among the Taliban and Afghan farmers, who claim chemicals sprayed by outside forces rather than naturally occurring fungus are responsible for the destruction of poppy fields. But the 25 percent reduction in opium output expected this year is a small hit when commitment to curbing the industrial-scale production of narcotics is distinctly lacking. Jun 19, 2010

China is key to nuclear conflict solution North Korea and China used to be as close as lips and teeth,a Korea Times writes in its May 7 editorial, describing the close relationship between China and North Korea. The article noted the high anger and frustration of South Koreans at China, because Chinese President Hu Jintao had met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Beijing just a few days after President Hu received South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Shanghai on April 30. However President Hu had not informed Lee about his planned meeting with the reclusive North Korean leader. In an attempt to ease Seoul's deep disappointment, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited South Korea on May 28. As reported by Reuters, PM Wen told his host, President Lee, that his country condemned any acts threatening stability on the Korean Peninsula and understood South Korean grief over the sinking of a naval ship, which Seoul had blamed on Pyongyang. Wen also pointed out the prospect of expanded trade ties - a free trade agreement between China and South Korea is just a matter of time according to President Lee. Indonesia also condemned the sinking of the South Korean ship, but like China it refrained from pointing fingers at the reclusive state. Jun 19, 2010

Heavy rains flood Singapore shopping district Heavy rains caused the worst flooding in 26 years in Singapore's central shopping district and snarled traffic throughout the island Wednesday. Rescuers pulled about 70 passengers from cars and buses as flooding shut down Orchard Road, which is lined with high-end shopping malls popular with tourists. Also, one of Singapore's main highways was closed for hours, blocked by a large tree that fell in the storm. No one was injured, the Civil Defence Force said. About 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell in two hours Wednesday morning _ about 60 percent of the average monthly rainfall for June, the Public Utility Board said. Jun 17, 2010

Two strong quakes off Indonesia's Papua Two quakes off Indonesia's easternmost Papua province within minutes of each other killed two people and damaged hundreds of buildings, but did not impact a major LNG project, officials said on Wednesday. A 6.4 magnitude quake was followed 10 minutes later by another of 7.0 magnitude nearby, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Indonesia's meteorological agency said the quakes occurred around 120 kilometres southeast of the island of Biak, at a depth of 10 kilometres, and issued a tsunami warning. BP said that its Tangguh LNG project in Papua was operating normally and was not affected by the quake. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said a 47-year-old woman and a five-month old baby who lived in Serui on Yapen island had been killed. Jun 17, 2010

China's gun culture grows China and guns have a long history. The country invented gunpower and developed one of the world's first guns, known as the "fire spear". Rifles played a major role in China's modern history, from the fight against the Japanese army to the communists' victory over the Nationalists. In 1938, Mao Zedong famously said that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun". That comment perhaps foreshadowed the gun control laws later implemented by Mao and the Communist Party - some of the most severe firearms laws in the world. China has imposed a blanket ban on gun ownership, including replicas. Since 1966, the government has prohibited the private manufacture, sale, transport, possession and import or export of bullets and guns. Possessing a single gun can yield a three-year prison sentence, while perpetrators of gun crimes are often executed. Jun 16, 2010

China nuclear firm denies leak, admits tube cracks The operator of a nuclear power plant in southern China has acknowledged possible cracks in fuel tubes but, contradicting Hong Kong authorities, denied that any radiation had leaked out. However, the notice said that on May 23 technicians detected abnormally high radioactivity in the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station's systems, which it said may have been due to cracks in fuel tubing. Washington-based Radio Free Asia first reported a leak at the plant, which the Hong Kong government confirmed on Tuesday. Daya Bay is located about 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Hong Kong in China's Guangdong province, and is part-owned and managed by CLP Power, Hong Kong's largest electricity supplier. The Hong Kong government's statement had said there was a "very small leakage at a fuel rod" that had been completely quarantined. Jun 16, 2010

Small leak at Chinese nuclear plant A nuclear power plant in southern China that supplies electricity to Hong Kong suffered a small radiation leak last month that was contained, the government said Tuesday. A fuel rod at the Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station experienced a "very small leakage" that increased radioactivity levels slightly in the nuclear reactor's cooling water on May 23, Hong Kong's Security Bureau said in a statement. The leak was "completely quarantined and, therefore, had no impact on the public," the bureau said. Jun 16, 2010

N.Korea completely cuts off state rations: aid group North Korea has completely cut off state food rations after China failed to supply the impoverished communist country with extra cereals, a welfare group said Monday. The ruling communist party announced in a directive on May 26 that there would be no state rations for a while, said South Korea's Good Friends group which has contacts in the North. People were authorised to buy food supplies through private markets, it said, adding the directive was due to delayed shipments of food from China. Private markets are now open around the clock across the North, he said. The North suffered famine in the mid-1990s which killed hundreds of thousands and it still grapples with severe food shortages. The UN children's fund estimates one third of children are stunted by malnutrition. The state food distribution system collapsed during the famine. Free markets sprang up and were condoned for a time. Since 2005 the regime has been reasserting its grip on the economy, with controls or outright bans on the private markets. Jun 15, 2010

Flood in China leave 16 dead, 24 missing from landslide A massive landslide in southwestern China killed at least 16 people, and 24 were missing after flash floods in the east, officials and state media said Tuesday. The landslide in Sichuan province occurred early Tuesday morning after heavy rains, said a man from the local Communist Party's propaganda department. He said at least 16 people died and seven were hurt in Pengta township. Like most Chinese officials he would give only his surname, Zhang. In eastern China's Fujian province, at least 24 people are missing after flash floods and landslides Monday that swept away a bus and minivan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Only seven people have been rescued after the two vehicles, which carried 31 people, were swept away on a mountain road, Xinhua said, quoting local Communist Party official Zhang Guowang. Rescuers are clearing away debris that blocked roads and searching for the missing. Rainstorms have pounded Fujian since the weekend, and rain is forecast for Tuesday. Jun 15, 2010

China to spend USD4.7B on Yushu quake reconstruction China will spend 32 billion yuan (USD4.7 billion) on reconstruction of a remote Tibetan region after an earthquake in April devastated the area, the country's Cabinet said Sunday. The April 14 quake in Yushu county of Qinghai province flattened tens of thousands of houses, killing 2,698 people. The State Council released the three-year reconstruction plan for the quake-hit region on its website. Priority would be given to the reconstruction of houses, as well as schools, hospitals and other public facilities, the plan said. The plan included the building of about 31,000 houses in rural areas and nearly 30,000 houses for urban residents. Funding for the reconstruction will come mainly from the central budget, with contributions from provincial finances and donations, the statement said. Jun 14, 2010

British Airways British Airways 777-200ER sustained substantial damage to its right Trent 895 engine while en route from Singapore to London Heathrow on June 15 and diverted to Amsterdam Schiphol "reporting multiple technical problems and a low fuel state,"according to Ascend. The consultancy and data services provider said the damage to the engine turbine and outlet area occurred approximately 5 hr. prior to landing. The aircraft, MSN 30315 built in 2001, landed safely and there were no injuries to anyone onboard. Jun 17, 2010

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Comment:Travel Safety Update - Asia / Pacific.
Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jun 21, 2010
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