Touchdown!

I guess I lied about the three articles yesterday! Well, here’s another two. This article is from the 2007-08-23 print of the 新京报, the Beijing Paper. Not too many America related articles in the International section, this one was from Miscellany. I decided that since I translated the setting off article, I might as well finish off with the returning home. This one is a Xinhua Press piece, the author being Deng Yushan.

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An Injured “Endeavor” Returns Home Safely

- Returning home before schedule to avoid the hurricane; NASA temporarily halts all flight plans.

On August 20 12:32 EST (August 22 00:32 Beijing Time) the United States space shuttle Endeavor safely touched down at the Kennedy Space Center. Although the damage on the belly of the Endeavor did not have any effect on the return home, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to temporarily stop any further shuttle launches until the problem of the outer fuel tank’s foam material falling off is resolved.

The 6 Astronauts are in Good Condition

After the Endeavor safely touched down on the 21st, the 6 astronauts were in good condition, but the female teacher Morgan still hadn’t acclimated to the effects of gravity, and was temporarily unable to stand up and move about. NASA head Michael Griffin said that she’s in fair condition, and she just feels “a little unwell”. The Ground Control Center joked with Kelly, asking him if he wanted to turn the shuttle around and take another trip into space. He replied, “First let us rest for the weekend, and then ask us again on Monday.”

Because of worry about the effect of hurricane “Dean” in the Atlantic, NASA decided on the 18th that the Endeavor would return home a day early. Because of this the Endeavor separated from the space station on the 19th, and foregoing the custom of circling the space station several times to “say farewell”, headed directly for earth after the separation procedure.

Two Flight Plans Within the Year Have Been Cancelled

After the Endeavor’s successful return home, although the safety concerns triggered by the shuttle’s belly injury vanished into thin air, the problem with the exterior fuel tank shedding foam material still troubles NASA.

After the Endeavor safely touched down on the 21, NASA employess quickly gathered at the side of the shuttle to examine the damaged insulation panel more closely, and there were a few staff members taking pictures. William Gerstenmaier, the Deputy Director responsible for the space exploration program said that the damage looked only slightly worse than it did in orbit. “A work team is going to remove those insulation panels, and insure that there isn’t any damage to the material underneath”, Gerstenmaier said.

And according to an introduction by Wayne Hale, the manager of NASA’s space shuttle program, NASA will temporarily suspend all shuttle launches until the foam material problem is resolved. NASA had originally planned to carry out shuttle missions in October and December of this year.


Translator’s notes:
- Scott Kelly, the pilot of the Endeavor this time around, must be well known in China, or the writer just forgot to introduce who he is.
- Ahhh! Chinese names are so frustrating. I’m tempted to just leave everything in pinyin.
- Nothing much to say, I should find some articles on China’s own space program, and see how that’s going, I haven’t heard from them in a while, aside from their plans with Russia. I guess it’s being overshadowed by the 2008 Olympics for the moment!

Comments/corrections welcome.

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What's Going On?

This article is from the 2007-08-22 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A32 under the International News–Military Affairs section. It was written by a Zhang Le.

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The United States Will Train Abbas’ Security Forces This Fall

- This is the first time the US State Department will start training for Palestinian military personnel; the details of the program have yet to be released.

On August 19 the US State Department made an announcement that its plan is to begin cooperative training with Abbas’ security forces in the fall of this year, which indicates its support for the Palestinian National Authority Chairman Abbas.

In this year, Hamas’ armed activities have become increasingly frequent. Particularly since the beginning of June, when Hamas, by means of armed force, actually took control of the Gaza Strip, and their frequent conflicts with armed forces loyal to Abbas’ Palestinian transitional government. Under these circumstances, America beginning to consider supporting Abbas will thereby isolate Hamas.

America Will Train and Guide for Half a Year

According to reports, the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security will be mainly responsible for implementing the plan to train Palestinian security forces, and this is only “part of a series of programs”. However, corresponding announcements didn’t reveal whether or not the American and Palestinian governments have any other training programs that would be unsuitable to announce to the public.

An announcement issued by the State Department said that Abbas’ security forces will receive training from American forces for half a year, from about the autumn of 2007 straight through the beginning of 2008. According to an introduction, the main purpose of this cooperative training is “very clear”. It will be to help the Palestinian government, especially by training Abbas’ security forces to provide necessary and sufficient security for the Palestinian National Authority. America’s basic consideration is still to guarantee Abbas’ safety.

This announcement also stated that after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, forces loyal to Abbas have constantly been in a confrontational position with Hamas’ armed personnel, and the Palestinian government worries that Abbas’s security is threatened. Although Hamas has indicated that it will not initiate any attacks against Abbas himself, the calls within the government to strengthen Abbas’ security forces have been loud. This training program will “provide security for the Palestinian people, oppose terrorism, build trust between the factions, and will at the same time help to fulfill the safety requirements between the state of Palestine and Israel.”

There Are Many Choices for Training Sites

It is reported that the US State Department often carries out military training for a small number of “friendly” foreign militaries. However, announcements about the Abbas training have been very “conservative”, and have not yet made public a few key points of content: in the half year of cooperative training, which types of training programs the American side plans to provide for Abbas’ security forces, and which methods will be employed to improve their combat effectiveness and their ability to defend Abbas and the Palestinian government.

A military source on the Palestinian side has said that there are many choices for a site where Abbas’ security forces will receive American training, and one of them is Abbas’ security forces’s Jielike Training Camp. This military source revealed that this is the US State Department’s first time developing military training for the Palestinian security personnel, and is also the first time since the 1990s that American security staff have directly “commanded” Palestinian security forces.



Translator’s notes:
- I can’t find the name of that training camp.
- I don’t know what they mean by help “fulfill the safety requirements between the state of Palestine and Israel.”
- Let’s see if this comes back to kick us in the ass a decade or so down the line.
- And wow, I didn’t realize how little I knew about Palestine and the the current situation. I had translated the entire article thinking Abbas was a faction, when he’s actually the President and member of the Fatah party, the party name was never mentioned. And these security forces are actually just his Presidential Guard! What a crazy place. I was recently getting my hair cut, and in the salon a little boy, I guess a family member of one of the hairdressers, asked me if it was true about the Korean hostages in Afghanistan, he’d saw a news story recently. And I said yeah, and luckily had happened to be following the story. And the guy cutting my hair says something to the effect of, “Why does this stuff happen in the world? Nothing like this ever happens in China!” Ah China, heaven on earth.

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Three Way

From the 2007-08-21 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A23 in the International News-Headlines section. The article was written by Wu Ni. I was a little busy yesterday and the day before and did not have a chance to get to a 网吧 to update my blog, so there will be three articles today.

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The North American Summit Holds a Wide-ranging Discussion About “Economic Prosperity”

- Analysts say the summit shows that America longs to intensify relations with its neighboring countries.

On the 20th, American President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, and Mexican President Calderon began a two day summit in Montebello, a city in the western part of the Canadian province of Quebec. This summit will revolve around the main topic of “economic prosperity”, and the issues to be discussed are border safety, promoting competitive power against India and China, energy sources, the environment, and food safety.

Actively Promoting a Free Market Economy

America, Canada, and Mexico are attending this summit because of their status as “North American Free Trade Association member countries”, the intention being to promote their “partnership for security and prosperity”. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in 2005 America united with Canada and Mexico to promote this plan, in the hopes that this partnership would strengthen cooperation in trade and security. It’s preticted that this “partnership for security and prosperity” will be brought into the agenda of this summit.

The leaders of the three countries are all considered new conservatives, and are all supporters of a free market economy. Bush’s former Under Secretary of State Nuolijia said, “Mexico and Canada have nicely presented two moderate right wing leaders, and they have many views in common with Bush.” It may also be on the agenda to explore how to join together and deal with Venezuelan President Chavez, because Chavez is actively promoting a turn towards the “left” in South America.

Will Discuss the Chinese Toy Problem

The summit’s issues include global competition, food and product safety, energy sources, the environment, and others, and the Chinese toy problem will also be within the scope of the discussion.

Border safety is going to be the most important issue of the summit. According to an August 19 report made by the Canadian media, the leaders of the three countries will issue a joint statement at this summit, establishing a detailed procedure for opening the borders, and determining how to guarantee keeping the three countries’ borders both secure and open in the case of another terrorist incident like 9/11.

Border economic security will be another important point to be discussed. The Canadian ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson, indicated that a major intention will be to move this three year old project forward, and find a balance between “border safety” and the “free flow of people, goods, and investments”. This type of free movement is a key element that will make the three nations stronger and increase the competitive power of the world’s primary economic powerhouse.

It Will Be Difficult to Get Positive Results from this Summit

Christopher Sangzi, a specialist at Canada’s Strategy and International Problems Research Center, thinks that the summit will not achieve many gains, and will only make clear that America now wants to intensify relations with its neighbors. “The message America wants to communicate to Canada and Mexico is that even though Iraq and the War against Terror are the main points of United States foreign policy, America still wishes to spend time and effort to improve relationships with its neighbors.”

Translator’s notes:
- Not sure who the “Deputy Secretary of State Nuolijia” is. The State Department has Deputy Secretaries, none of whose names seem to fit, and then Under Secretaries, a ton of them, and I’m not going to look for a matching one.
- Also not sure what the Canadian Strategy and International Problems Research Center is, so I can find that guy’s name either.
- Fairly straightforward article. I thought the author was strangely mute about the poisonous toy problem, highlighting it yet giving it only brief mention, but I suppose that’s not something China wants to talk about all that much. Otherwise the article was fairly neutral.
- Although I am for the idea of a single North American nation, I can imagine the difficulties that would be involved in terms of culture, bureaucracy, language, etc., and I’m not even that knowledgeable about the inner workings of the governments of Canada and Mexico. Exactly how such a Union would be formed is an interesting idea, I’m sure that plenty of people have done research on this, I’ll look it up at some point.
- Oh yeah, almost forgot, the accompanying picture for this article was a lot of protesters standing behind a line of policemen.

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Be Positive

From the 2007-08-20 print of the 新京报, the Beijing Paper. On page A21, in the International News: Asia Pacific and Europe section. Written by Xu Chao, and is from the Xinhua Press. Under the “Taliban Kidnaps 23 South Koreans” news track.

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The Taliban Threatens to Kill More Korean Hostages

- A spokesperson says that continuing negotiations won’t yield any progress; on the 17th 4 Afghani engineers were also kidnapped by the Taliban.

Calling himself the Taliban’s spokesperson, Yousef Ahmadi said on the 18th that if the South Korean party doesn’t express a more “positive attitude” in future negotiaations, then the Taliban will kill more hostages. Before the Taliban released two of the female South Korean hostages on the 13th, the Taliban had also threatened to kill them.

Ahmadi said that the face-to-face negotiations between the Taliban and the South Korean government’s representatives concerning the hostage problem have already failed, because the South Koreans did not respond to the Taliban’s demands.

“If the South Koreans don’t express more positivity during the negotiations, then in that case two hostages will possibly be killed,” Ahmadi said in a telephone interview with the Korean United Press Agency. He reiterated the demand made by the Taliban that 8 Talibani prisoners be released still “hasn’t changed”.

This is the newest threat since the release of two female South Korean prisoners. On the 19th of July the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean hostages, and afterwards killed two of the men. After the release of the two women, the Taliban still holds 19 South Korean hostages captive. Ahmadi said the upper levels of the Taliban are now discussing how to deal with these 19 hostages.

“I think that continuing negotiations won’t improve anything. I am currently waiting for the decision of the (Taliban’s) upper levels,” said Ahmadi.

And while this kidnapping affair has yet to come to a resolution, on the 18th two more kidnapping incidents occurred elsewhere in Afghanistan. Afghani authorities confirmed that on the 17th armed Taliban forces kidnapped four Afghani engineers in Afghan’s southern Kandahar province. The four engineers were kidnapped in Shawalikute, in the north of the province, where they were constructing a bridge. The building project is sponsered by the Afghani government.

Translator’s notes:
- Pretty straight forward article. It read much faster since I had all the vocabulary from the last one. I felt like I should follow up that lost hostage story, and sort of see where it goes. Otherwise there was an article about the US Navy pulling a video one of its officers posted on Youtube. Okay can’t talk too much I’ve really got to use the bathroom.
- Also didn’t know what name Shawalikute is transliterated from originally, but like I said I have to go to the bathroom.

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Leftovers

From the 2007-08-19 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), in the Global Publications-Front Page News section on page B05. This was written by a Xie Lai, under the heading of Observations.

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Is America Turning to the Left?

The time of the “Big Shuffle” that Rove dreamed of never came to pass. Instead the exact opposite occurred, and the Democratic Party recovered both Houses of Congress after Bush’s approval rating dropped to the lowest point of all the American presidents in the past 30 years. Now the democrats are itching for a fight, and are preparing to launch a turbulent offensive in the 2008 general elections.

Bruce Babbitt, the Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton era, believes that Rove’s error lay in “knowing too much.” He said, “If you take into account every public opinion poll and every interest group’s viewpoint when you are looking at a problem, then you can’t honestly establish policy. And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from policy being able to achieve actual results.”

Andrew Kohut, the Chairman of America’s famous public opinion polling organization–the Washington Pew Research Center, pointed out that with the Rebublican Party’s failures in domestic and foreign policies, the subsequent estrangement of public opinion can’t be avoided. According to data from a 2002 Pew Research Center public opinion poll, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party had been equal to one another; each side had 43% of the pollees consider themselves to belong to one of the two parties. But after 5 years, 50% stood behind democratic lines, and only 35% still answered that they were Republicans.

However, just because the conservative party is going through some troubles does not mean the liberal party will achieve an automatic victory. Democratic campaign analyst Mark Meiershi said that 9/11 let the Republic Party achieve temporary glory, but the following Iraqi war quickly leveled that success, and now everything has returned to the original state. Until today, there has still been “no sign that the Republican Party occupies an advantageous position, but it also doesn’t signify that the Democratic Party’s time has come. In fact, the split between party lines has been growing larger, and the voters in the two parties are less and less willing to vote for the opposing camp.” Meiershi believes that despite the Bush administration’s quagmire, in the 2008 presidential election the Republican Party still has at the very least a 40% chance at victory.

And in American history, examples of being favored by public opinion and yet being unable to rally this advantage are not few–for instance in the early 90s public opinion clearly favored the conservative party, but Americans were simply not interested in the radical government projects the Republican Party was proposing. Karl Rove is a recent lesson in such failure.

So will America welcome a new era for the democratic party? Kohut thinks that this will depend on two criteria: first, the Democratic Party needs to win the 2008 presidential election. Looking at the current situation, although the Democratic Party seems to have few advantages, who can tell who will be ensured the last laugh? Secondly, and more importantly, after winning, the Democratic Party needs to resolve the domestic and foreign problems left behind by the Bush administration–the Iraq problem, medical insurance reform, the income gap between the rich and poor, etc. Kohut says that of course the direction of public opinion is important, but it will only be through producing a successful leader and realistic results that the democrats will truly be able to usher in their own era.


Translator’s note:
- I’m not sure if they translated that “honestly establish policy” bit right. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like that’s how it should be translated, and maybe the original quote was something along the lines of “honestly can’t make policy” or some such.
- “And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from a policy being able to achieve actual results.” Ba-zing.
- Mark Meiershi, democratic campaign analyst, I don’t know how to translate that last name, and I can’t find him on the internet. Well, on the first page of Google.
- It’s funny how they list the rich/poor gap and medical insurance as a Bush administration problem. The Chinese are definitely rooting for the democrats, although I have talked to a few old men who are fairly sure either party will change America’s power-mad and blood-thirsty tendencies.
- Here’s an article on Russian media control:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/17/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-BBC-Broadcasts.php
I can’t decide if it sounds worse than China. The article I linked to yesterday, about the bridge collapse, I made sure to look for in the paper today. I found it buried in the Regional News section, overshadowed by a different infrastructure calamity. There was another mine collapse that trapped near 200 people. Although America has had these fairly recently as well, it certainly never meets the extent of the Chinese disasters.

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Electric Medicine

This one’s from the 2007-08-18 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报). It was on page A21, no author listed, and it’s from a Xinhua Press dispatch. This one is related to healthcare in the United States.

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America’s Nationwide Electronic Prescription System Opens

- Patients can use electronic prescriptions to pick up medicine from pharmacies in every state throughout the country.

The American state of Alaska received the electronic prescription system this week, becoming the last state to be added to the system. Now America’s patients can use the electronic prescriptions written by their doctors to pick up medicine from pharmacies of all 50 states.

In the last year, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia have all entered the system, and the addition of Alaska has completed the nationwide network.

In contrast with written prescriptions, electronic prescriptions have clear advantages. They will reduce the likelihood of pharmacists giving out wrong prescriptions because they are unable to read a doctor’s handwriting, and will also reduce the amount of work that will have to be done by the medical and insurance industries. Because the prescriptions entered into the system will go directly to the pharmacists, this can prevent the likelihood of counterfeit prescriptions. And for patients travelling to places without having brought their medical records with them, electronic prescriptions are a great convenience.

An Alaskan representative, democrat Bessie Davis, says that although the promotion of electronic prescriptions in Alaska still needs some time, in the end these types of prescriptions will be a great convenience to many people. She said, “I hope we will as fast as possible become a part of this new system, the overall proportion isn’t strong.”

However, there are also those who think that electronic prescriptions will bring no small amount of problems themselves. A few people believe that electronic prescriptions will be vulnerable to computer attacks by hackers, and that it will be difficult for some doctors, who have for so long written out prescriptions, to alter their habits. The Alaskan Pharmacists Union Executive Chairperson Nancy Davis said, “Doing this will have a big effect on some smaller pharmacies.” She continued to say that electronic prescriptions require a high speed integrated network and special internet services, and at the same time new software must be bought, and all of this will increase the costs of implementation.


Translator’s notes:
- I’m pretty sure the name Bessie Davis translates as such, I can’t find her on the internet, maybe she’s a state rep?
- The line “the overall proportion isn’t strong”, I’m very sorry, sounds like a babelfish translation. It’s a phrase I really can’t figure out, I’m going to ask my tutor tomorrow and I’ll get back to this.
- Nice and fast little article, about healthcare, which is different then what I’ve done before, but I think I’d like to do some articles that have to do more with science or medicine themselves. I feel like I’d have a stronger background in those subjects. Unfortunately the Beijing Paper, which I usually buy, is more of a current events publication, and it doesn’t have a section devoted to science, just stories every once in a while.
- AP Press article about media censorship in China:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081700752.html

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