October 2017 | 上海夜生活,上海夜生活网,上海夜网论坛

Hundreds missing in Laos after collapse of dam under construction

BANGKOK ( ) – Hundreds of people in southern Laos are missing and many are feared dead a day after a hydropower dam under construction broke, killing several as it swept away homes in flash flooding, state media reported on Tuesday.

More than 6,600 people are homeless, the Lao News Agency reported. It showed pictures of villagers wading through muddy floodwater carrying belongings. Others boarded rickety wooden boats or stood on the roofs of partially submerged houses.

Officials have brought boats to evacuate people in San Sai district of Attapeu province, where the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam is located, as water levels rise after the collapse, ABC Laos news reported.

“The disaster has claimed several lives, left hundreds of people missing and more than 1,300 families (6,600 people) homeless,” it reported.

The South Korean company that has a stake in the project said part of a small supply dam was washed away and the company was cooperating with the Laos government to help rescue villagers near the site.

“We are running an emergency team and planning to help evacuate and rescue residents in villages near the dam,” a SK Engineering & Construction spokesman told by telephone.

The $1 billion project was to build two dams with five auxiliary dams used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dams.

Another official of SK Engineering & Construction said the company ordered the evacuation of 12 villages as soon as it became clear that the dam could collapse.

Later, the company said in a statement the upper part of the supply dam was lost by torrential rains on July 22 but its repair work did not go smoothly due to the rains and more portions of the dam were上海419论坛 fractured and overflowed in the following day.

The South Korean foreign ministry said in a text message to reporters that 50 workers of the company and three from Korea Western Power Co. who were stationed at the construction site had been evacuated.

The dam collapsed at 8:00 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on Monday, releasing 5 billion cubic meters of water and several hundred people are missing after homes were swept away, the Lao News Agency said. It said several people had died.

A video posted by the ABC Laos news on its Facebook page showed villagers stopping to watch fast-flowing water from the side of a riverbank.

Another showed a distraught women getting into a wooden boat with her baby, saying that she had to wait to be rescued after the floodwater came and her mother was still trapped in a tree.

The prime minister of the Communist-run Southeast Asian nation, Thongloun Sisoulith, has suspended government meetings and led Cabinet members to monitor rescue and relief efforts in one of the affected areas, the state agency reported.

“BATTERY OF ASIA”

One of Asia’s poorest and most secretive countries, Laos is landlocked, but aims to become the “battery of Asia” by selling power to neighbors through a series of hydropower dams.

Lao experienced one of its worst natural disasters in 2013 when five major monsoon storms hit in a period of three months, according to the ReliefWeb humanitarian information portal. It said that approximately 347,000 people were affected by severe flooding in that disaster.

Environmental rights groups have for years raised concerns about Laos’ hydropower ambitions, including worries over the impact of dams on the Mekong River, its flora and fauna and the rural communities and local economies that depend on it.

The collapsed dam was expected to start commercial operations by 2019 and export 90 percent of its power to Thailand under a Power Purchase Agreement between the Xe-Pian-Xe Namnoy Power Company (PNPC) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

The remaining 10 percent of power would be sold to the local grid under an agreement between the PNPC and the Electricite du Laos.

PNPC was established in 2012 by SK Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. (SK E&C), Korea Western Power Co. Ltd. (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl (RATCH.BK), Thailand’s largest private power producer, and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE).

Ratchburi Electricity Generating Holding Company said in a statement the dam, which it referred to as ‘Saddle Dam D’, was eight meters (26 feet) wide, 770 meters (2,526 feet) long and 16 meters (52 feet) high.

The dam “was fractured and the water had leaked to the downstream area and down to the Xe-Pian River which is about five kilometers from the dam,” said Kijja Sripatthangkura, chief executive officer of Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Company.

International Rivers, a U.S.-based group that works to protect rivers and the rights of communities dependent on them, said the accident exposed “major risks” associated with some dam designs that cannot cope with extreme weather conditions.

“Unpredictable an,上海夜生活桑拿会所Edison,d extreme weather events are becoming more frequent in Laos and the region due to climate change,” the group told in an e-mail.

“This also shows the inadequacy of warning systems for the dam construction and operations. The warning appeared to come very late and was ineffective in ensuring people had advance notice to ,上海夜网Ray,ensure their safety and that of their families.”

(For a graphic on ‘Map locating the collapsed dam in Laos’ click tmsnrt.rs/2JLQY4F)

Written by shyw on October 14, 2017 Categories: wkmeiwsovh Tags: , ,

Australia to pass foreign interference laws amid rising China tensions

SYDNEY ( ) – Australia is expected to pass legislation on Thursday aimed at preventing interference by foreign governments, a move likely to further stoke tensions with major trading partner China.

Mirroring similar rules in the United States, Australia will require lobbyists for foreign countries to register, and makes them liable for criminal prosecution if they are deemed to be meddling in domestic affairs.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year referred to “disturbing reports about Chinese influence” as justification for the measures.

China has denied allegations of meddling in Australian affairs, but concern over Chinese political donations and relationships between lawmakers and Chinese businesses has intensified in Australia.

“I,上海夜生活论坛Paxton,t will come down to whether China is cited when the legislation passes. China will not want to again be singled out,” said James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

The legislative package before the Senate includes the new Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill, which requires the registration of lobbyists working for foreign governments.

Another amended law expands potential crimes to include meddling by these agents.

Having cleared the lower house, the package is expected to pass in the Senate where the main opposition Labor Party has said it will support it. The Senate had been expected to give its approval on Wednesday, but time was taken over other items, and the legislation was held over until Thurs上海419论坛day.

Another planned bill, banning foreign political donations, has yet to be introduced in the lower house.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said law-making was a country’s internal affair and he declined to comment, though he did appeal for all countries to “abandon Cold War thinking”.

“We further want all other countries in the world to follow the principle of not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs,” Lu told a daily news briefing.

“So we hope that all countries can abandon Cold War thinking and on a foundation of mutual respect and equal treatment pursue better communications and cooperation. We believe this better fits with the interests of all countries’ peoples.”

The widening diplomatic rift between Australia and China has affected some of their $125 billion in two-way trade as Australian wine exporters such as Treasury Wine Estates faced delays getting some products through Chinese customs.

Despite Australian efforts to ease the curbs, wine is only trickling into the industry’s most lucrative market, expected to be worth more than A$1 billion this year.

Australian cattle graziers and citrus growers also fear they are being sidelined by China as a result of the row.

HUAWEI HANG UP

Against this backdrop of cooling relations, Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] has emerged as a lightning rod for Australian security fears.

The world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment and the No. 3 smartphone supplier, Huawei has already been virtually shut out of the giant U.S. market because of national security concerns.

It is lobbying to a,上海夜生活桑拿会所Rebel,void a similar fate in Australia, sponsoring more overseas travel for politicians than any other company in recent years, and arranging for John Lord, chairman of its Australian unit, to speak in Canberra on Wednesday.

Lord, a former rear admiral in Australia’s navy, said security concerns based on Huawei’s links to China were “uninformed or just plain wrong”.

“In our three decades as a company no evidence of any sort has been provided to justify these concerns by anyone ever,” Lord told the National Press Club of Australia, adding that Britain and New Zealand had permitted 5G investments by Huawei.

“Nothing sinister has been found. No wrongdoing, no criminal action, no intent, no back door, no planted vulnerability and no magical kill switch,” he said.

Huawei provides 4G equipment to three of the country’s four major carriers, Vodafone, SingTel’s Optus and TPG Telecom Ltd, but was blocked in 2012 from providing broadband equipment.

Turnbull said the government was still mulling Huawei’s role in the country’s nascent 5G network.

“We’ll continue to consider that and get the best advice on that from our national security agencies,” he told reporters in Canberra.

U.S. services, private payrolls data highlight slowing economy

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. services sector activity hit a more than 19-month low in March and private payrolls grew less than expected, underscoring a loss of momentum in the economy that supports the Federal Reserve’s move to suspend interest rate hikes this year.

The reports on Wednesday came on the heels of some modestly upbeat data earlier in the week, including retail and motor vehicle sales and manufacturing. Investors are worried about a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter.

The Fed last month ended its three-year campaign to tighten monetary policy, dropping projections for any interest rate increases this year. The U.S. central bank lifted borrowing costs four times in 2018.

“The yin and yang of the numbers makes it clear that the year of tax-induced solid growth is over,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. “But growth is still decent.”

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its non-manufacturing activity index fell 3.6 percentage poin,上海021夜网Kailani,ts to 56.1, the lowest since August 2017. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Last month’s sharp slowdown in services industry activity reflected a 7.3 points drop in the production subindex. Activity was also weighed down by decreases in new and export orders measures. A gauge of service sector employment rose. But many industries continued to believe that their inventories were too high, a potential hurdle for increased production.

The ISM said while b,上海夜网千花Qirin,usinesses in the services sector remained mostly optimistic about overall business conditions and the economy, “they still have underlying concerns about employment resources and capacity constraints.”

It said 16 industries, including utilities, real estate, finance and insurance, healthcare and social assistance, information, and professional, scientific and technical services reported growth last month. The two industries reporting contraction were education services and retail trade.

WORKER SCARCITY

Businesses in the accommodation上海夜生活论坛 and food services industry complained that “labor is tight and in short supply.” Similar complaints were also voiced by businesses in the transportation and public administration sectors.

Miners said activity “held flat,” while businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services reported that an “initial surge in busine,上海夜生活桑拿会所Lance,ss at the beginning of the year has peaked and settled to a more stable level.”

The economy is losing speed as stimulus from the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion in tax cuts diminishes. It is also facing headwinds from slowing global growth, Washington’s trade war with China and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Growth estimates for the first-quarter range from as low as a 1.4 percent annualized rate to as high as a 2.1 percent pace. The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

“For the most part, GDP source reports have firmed lately following some very weak readings around the turn of the year,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “The timelier survey data signal that the recent firming may be temporary.”

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell, while stocks on Wall Street rose.

The shortage of workers could be curbing job growth. The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private employers added 129,000 jobs in March, the fewest since September 2017, after creating 197,000 positions in February.

The ADP figures came ahead of the Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public- and private-sector employment.

The ADP report, which is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics, has a poor record predicting the private payrolls component of the government’s employment report. But job growth has slowed from last year’s 223,000 monthly average pace.

Economists polled by are looking for private payroll employment to have grown by 170,000 jobs in March, up from 25,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have increased by 180,000 jobs after a paltry 20,000 gain in February.

“There is sure to be a bounce back in the official data given how weak February was, the only question is how big it will be?” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

According to the ADP report, employment in the goods producing sector fell by 6,000 jobs in March, with manufacturing payrolls shrinking 2,000 and construction shedding 6,000 positions. The services sector added 135,000 jobs last month, concentrated in professional and education and health services.