Four Essential Facts About China's Eco-Mess
Thousands of pigs were found dead in rivers supplying Shanghai's water, a grisly discovery that has drawn attention again to China's toxic pollution, which contributes to some 700,000 deaths each year. Here are some points of concern:
Tai Lake--a massive basin that holds China's third largest body of freshwater, providing water for 30 million people--has been classified as a major natural disaster by Beijing after decades of toxic contamination.
The soil and water around Tianying, a Dickensian manufacturing center in northeastern China, have been poisoned by lead runoff. Locally grown wheat carries 24 times the permissible level of lead, a known neurotoxin.
Once fertile farmland in Linfen, China's coal center, is dotted with mines that spew thick plumes of choking smoke.
Concentrations of airborne particulate in Urumqi--a major transport and cultural hub of 3 million people in northwestern China--consistently measure 10 times the level that the U.S. deems safe.
HOW DOES THE U.S. VIEW THE REST OF THE WORLD?
A survey asked Americans whether they looked favorably on other countries
Why Kenya's Election Shows a Defiant Africa
The election as Kenya's President of Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, represents a defiant mood of self-assertion in Africa. Ten years of dramatic economic growth and a growing political maturity have coincided with economic meltdown and political dysfunction in the West. As a result, Africans increasingly find both the reason and the authority to challenge Western intervention, whether it comes in the form of foreign diplomats, foreign aid workers, foreign correspondents or, especially, foreign judgments on human rights.
The ICC, based in the Hague, is a particular focus of African anger. The court accuses Kenyatta of being one of three Kenyans who orchestrated a spate of bloody tribal violence that followed the previous election in 2007--08 and in which some 1,200 people died. But the ICC's focus on Africa--nearly all its investigations concern Africans--have earned it accusations of bias. And its premise for intervention--that it is needed to help those who cannot help themselves--comes across as patronizing and provokes fury.