2011年12月23日

金正日死去 クリスマス前夜の悪夢


The Death of Kim Jong Il: A Nightmare Before Christmas
( TIME )

Death came by way of physical fatigue, as Pyongyang's official news
agency had it. But Kim Jong Il had worn out his welcome again and again
on the international stage, claiming attention only by way of nuclear
powder puffs and tremors as well as the constant threat of taking out
one of the world's major economic powers, South Korea, the miracle
mirror image of his own depressed and dark North Korea.

How he really died -- of natural causes or of, well, intervention of a
military or conspiratorial sort -- will help determine the nature of
the successor regime. To have legitimacy, whatever that means for North
Korea, the new government will be headed by his son Kim Jong Un,
already designated the heir in elaborate if cloudy rituals toward the
end of 2010. The fear is that the new leader, who is only in his 20s,
may be required to show his teeth and cold-bloodedness as proof that he
has come of age. How that manifests itself is the stuff of nightmares
for Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow and Washington.

Famine and economic collapse have always threatened to erode the
totalitarian steel underpinning the Kim dynasty. And such anxieties
have always put Seoul and the dynamic industries of South Korea at
risk. As much as the North has used the South as a hostage -- the South
Korean capital being almost literally a stone's throw from the
demilitarized zone -- successive governments of Seoul have been moved
by blood ties as well as willful denial that Pyongyang might actually
visit the prosperous cities of the south with destruction. The next
few weeks and months will likely be nerve-wracking for the South Koreans.

As the half-century old arbiter of stability in Asia, the U.S. must now
confront another potential crisis -- even as the Obama administration
tries to disentangle itself from foreign broils. The one thing that can
be said for Kim Jong Il is that, as troublesome as he might have been,
he did not quite start a horrendous war, as his father did. But who
knows if Kim Jong Un will take after his grandfather?

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(1) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年12月20日

抗議する人〜タイム今年の人〜


The Protester
( TIME )

Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by
professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by
the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history. Back
then, when citizen multitudes took to the streets without weapons to
declare themselves opposed, it was the very definition of news --
vivid, important, often consequential. In the 1960s in America they
marched for civil rights and against the Vietnam War; in the '70s, they
rose up in Iran and Portugal; in the '80s, they spoke out against
nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Europe, against Israeli occupation of
the West Bank and Gaza, against communist tyranny in Tiananmen Square
and Eastern Europe. Protest was the natural continuation of politics by
other means.

And then came the End of History, summed up by Francis Fukuyama's
influential 1989 essay declaring that mankind had arrived at the "end
point of ... ideological evolution" in globally triumphant "Western
liberalism." The two decades beginning in 1991 witnessed the greatest
rise in living standards that the world has ever known. Credit was
easy, complacency and apathy were rife, and street protests looked like
pointless emotional sideshows -- obsolete, quaint, the equivalent of
cavalry to mid-20th-century war. The rare large demonstrations in the
rich world seemed ineffectual and irrelevant.

It began in Tunisia, where the dictator's power grabbing and high
living crossed a line of shamelessness, and a commonplace bit of
government callousness against an ordinary citizen -- a 26-year-old
street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi -- became the final straw.
Bouazizi lived in the charmless Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, 125 miles
south of Tunis. On a Friday morning almost exactly a year ago, he set
out for work, selling produce from a cart. Police had hassled Bouazizi
routinely for years, his family says, fining him, making him jump
through bureaucratic hoops. On Dec. 17, 2010, a cop started giving him
grief yet again. She confiscated his scale and allegedly slapped him.
He walked straight to the provincial-capital building to complain and
got no response. At the gate, he drenched himself in paint thinner and
lit a match.

"My son set himself on fire for dignity," Mannoubia Bouazizi told me
when I visited her.

"In Tunisia," added her 16-year-old daughter Basma, "dignity is more
important than bread."

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 特集記事 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年12月15日

放射線を浴びたベビーフード 日本の災難はまだ続く


Irradiated Baby Food Spotlights Ongoing Woes for Japan’s Food Sector
( TIME )

On Tuesday, Japanese food producer Meiji announced the recall of
400,000 cans of infant formula after traces of radioactive cesium were
found in the company’s milk powder. Tests of the “Meiji Step” batch
of formula with an October 2012 expiration date detected cesium-134 and
cesium-137 at levels of 15.2 becquerels per kilogram and 16.5 bq/kg,
respectively. The company was quick to point out that those numbers are
well below the Japanese government’s permissible levels of dairy for
infants, which is 200 bq/kg. But that’s unlikely to mean much to
parents of nine-month-olds. Growing children are particularly sensitive
to the effects of radiation, and have been a focus of health concerns
since March 11’s triptych of disasters sent radioactive plumes across
Japan’s airspace.

The news underscores the continuing problems that Japan’s food sector
faces nine months after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since
Chernobyl. For years, Japanese food exports have been lauded for their
safety and quality in Asia and beyond; after thousands of children were
sickened by melamine-tainted formula in China in 2008, trusted Japanese
brands of milk powder flew off Asia’s shelves. But since March, traces
of radioactive materials have been found in several Japanese products
grown or processed in the vicinity of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi
power plant, from fish and beef to rice,vegetables and tea. Several
countries placed bans last spring on Japanese food products, including
Hong Kong, the sector’s biggest customer. Though most have since been
lifted, the taint -- both real and imagined -- of food produced near
Fukushima remains. And while it does, large swaths of rice paddies and
vegetables fields surrounding the plant are likely to stay deserted.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年12月12日

70年前の記事で振り返る ホノルルの悲劇


Tragedy at Honolulu
( TIME )

The U.S. Navy was caught with its pants down. Within one tragic hour --
before the war had really begun -- the U.S. appeared to have suffered
greater naval losses than in the whole of World War I.

Days may pass before the full facts become known, but in the scanty
news that came through from Hawaii in the first 36 hours of the war was
every indication that the Navy had been taken completely by surprise in
the early part of a lazy Sunday morning. Although the Japanese
attackers had certainly been approaching for several days, the Navy
apparently had no news of either airplane carriers sneaking up or of
submarines fanning out around Hawaii. Not till the first bombs began to
fall was an alarm given. And when the blow fell the air force at Pearl
Harbor was apparently not ready to offer effective opposition to the
attackers.

The Japs came in from the southeast over Diamond Head. They could have
been U.S. planes shuttling westward from San Diego. Civilians'
estimates of their numbers ranged from 50 to 150. They whined over
Waikiki, over the candy-pink bulk of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Some
were (it was reported) big four-motored jobs, some dive-bombers, some
pursuits. All that they met as they came in was a tiny private plane in
which Lawyer Ray Buduick was out for a Sunday morning ride. They
riddled the lawyer's plane with machine-gun bullets, but the lawyer
succeeded in making a safe landing. By the time he did, bombs were
thudding all around the city. The first reported casualty was Robert
Tyce, operator of a civilian airport near Honolulu, who was machine-
gunned as he started to spin the propeller of a plane.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 特集記事 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年12月08日

あちらに誰かいますか? 宇宙人を探す新たな方法


Anyone Out There? A New Way to Look for Alien Life
( TIME )

Thanks largely to the Kepler space telescope, astronomers have
discovered more than 2,000 planets orbiting distant stars -- not half
bad considering that until recently we knew of only eight planets in
the entire universe, all of them in the immediate neighborhood. The
point of Kepler isn't simply to rack up numbers, though: the ultimate
goal is to find worlds similar to Earth -- places where there's a
chance that alien life might have taken hold. Those planets could then
get a closer look as a new, more powerful generation of telescopes
comes on line.

But the search for life across interstellar space will still not be
easy, and even the most advanced telescope on the drawing boards will
have to work hard to suss it out, so it will be key to choose the best
possible targets. That's the reasoning behind a new paper in the
journal Astrobiology in which environmental scientist Dirk Schulze-
Makuch, of Washington State University, along with nine other
colleagues, has proposed a new planet-classification scheme to make the
sifting process easier.

Actually, they've proposed two schemes, designed to let observers slice
their searches in two different ways. The first and crudest of their
methods is something they call the Earth Similarity Index, or ESI.
That's just what it sounds like: it's a measure of how closely an alien
world matches Earth in terms of size and temperature. The temperature
is important because biologists say liquid water is an essential
ingredient for life as we know it: nutrients can dissolve easily in
water in order to circulate to every part of an organism. Blood, after
all, is essentially just water with stuff dissolved in it.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 科学 | このブログの読者になる |

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