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Posts Tagged ‘waters’

Tropical depression affects southern waters

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

A tropical low pressure zone is now centered 240 kilometers east off Khanh Hoa – Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces’ coast, 9.7-10.7 degrees latitude north and 110.1-111.1 degrees longitude east on Monday.

The position of the tropical depression off Vietnam’s southern coast on December 13 (Photo: national weather bureau)

According to the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center, the winds near the system’s eye have peaked to Category 6 (39-49 kilometers an hour).

In the next 24 hours, the tropical depression will move westward at a speed of 5-10 kilometers an hour, the center stated.

Consequently, the system will move closer to the southern coast. That is, 110 kilometer east off Ninh Thuan to Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.

Because of this tropical depression, the waters off Binh Dinh to Ca Mau will become rough, as strong winds affect costal areas.

Meanwhile, a cold front will move south and will affect northern Vietnam by tomorrow morning.

The cold front will cause scattered rains to develop in the north and medium to heavy rain in the central region. The sea will be rough. In conclusion, it will be very cold in the northern mountain areas.

Source: SGGP

U.S. aircraft carrier heads for Korean waters

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 6:50 am

A U.S. aircraft carrier headed toward the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, a day after North Korea launched dozens of artillery shells on a South Korean island.

The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, which carries 75 warplanes and has a crew of over 6,000, left a naval base south of Tokyo on Wednesday morning and would join exercises with South Korea from Sunday to the following Wednesday, U.S. officials in Seoul said.

“This exercise is defensive in nature,” U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement. “While planned well before yesterday’s unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK (South Korea)-U.S. alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence.”

China came under heavy pressure to rein in North Korea after its reclusive ally fired dozens of artillery shells at the South Korean island, killing two South Korean soldiers and setting houses ablaze in the heaviest attack on its neighbor since the Korean War ended in 1953.

President Barack Obama, woken up in the early hours to be told of the artillery strike, said he was outraged but declined to speculate on possible U.S. military action.

However, in a telephone call with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Obama pressed the North to stop its provocative actions.

The U.S.-led U.N. Command said it had asked North Korea for talks to try to reduce tension on the divided peninsula.

“We’re in a semi state of war,” South Korean coastguard Kim Dong-jin told Reuters in the port city of Incheon where many residents of Yeonpyeong island fled in panic as the bombardment triggered a fire storm.

The bombardment nagged at global markets, already unsettled by worries over Ireland’s debt problem and looking to invest in less risky markets.

But South Korea’s markets, after sharp falls, later started to rebound.

“If you look back at the last five years when we’ve had scares, they were all seen as buying opportunities. The rule among hedge funds and long-only funds is that you let the market sell off and watch for your entry point to get involved,” Todd Martin, Asia equity strategist with Society Generale in Hong Kong, said.

Despite the rhetoric, regional powers made clear they were looking for a diplomatic way to calm things down.

South Korea, its armed forces technically superior though about half the size of the North’s one-million-plus army, warned of “massive retaliation” if its neighbor attacked again.

But it was careful to avoid any immediate threat of retaliation which might spark an escalation of fighting across the Cold War’s last frontier.

“My house was burned to the ground,” said Cho Soon-ae, 47, who was among 170 or so evacuated from the island of Yeonpyeong on Thursday.

“We’ve lost everything. I don’t even have extra underwear,” she said weeping, holding on to her sixth-grade daughter, as she landed at the port of Incheon.

South Korea was conducting military drills in the area at the time but said it had not been firing at the North. It later said it would resume those drills once the situation stabilized.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called on China, the impoverished North’s only powerful ally, to help rein in the hermit state.

China has long propped up the Pyongyang leadership, worried that a collapse of the North could bring instability to its own borders and also wary of a unified Korea that would be dominated by the United States, the key ally of the South.

In a clear prod to Beijing during a visit to the Chinese capital, U.S. North Korea envoy Stephen Bosworth said: “We call on all members of the international community to condemn the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) acts and to make clear that they expect the DPRK to cease all provocations and implement its denuclearization commitments.”

On Tuesday, Obama said he would urge China to tell Pyongyang “there are a set of international rules they must abide by.”

Beijing said it had agreed with the United States to try to restart talks among regional powers over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

A number of analysts suspect that Tuesday’s attack may have been an attempt by North Korean leader Kim jong-il to raise his bargaining position ahead of disarmament talks which he has used in the past to win concessions and aid from the outside world, in particular the United States.

“It’s Mr Kim’s old game to get some attention and some economic goodies,” said Lin Chong-pin, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taipei.

Several analysts believe the attacks may also have been driven by domestic politics, with the ailing Kim desperate to give a lift to his youngest son, named as heir apparent to the family dynasty in September but who has little clear support in the military.

Source: SGGP

EU treads uncharted waters to defend single currency

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 9:40 am

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union faced a new round of risky treaty change Friday after its leaders agreed to embark on landmark reforms designed to wade off another financial crisis by shoring up the euro.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media prior to a European Union summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels. AFP

Sweeping reservations aside, the union’s 27 leaders wound up heated talks that dragged on into the early hours with an agreement to rewrite the EU’s main treaty only 11 months after it came into force.

“This spring we overcame a deep crisis of economic and monetary union,” said EU president Herman Van Rompuy, referring to the bail-out of Greece.

“Our next political duty was to draw the lessons for the future, to make the European economies more crisis-proof.”

Yielding to pressure from an “impassioned” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leaders agreed to prepare a “limited” change to the hard-fought Lisbon Treaty, a decade in the making after fractious negotiations and failed referendums.

But diplomats warned before the ink was dry that the road even to light change could be rocky.

It will be “very difficult” to get a unanimous agreement on rewriting the treaty, one senior diplomat said.

“It’s mission impossible as there’ll be as many opinions on the subject as there are EU states.”

Germany, backed by France, demanded a rewrite of the Lisbon Treaty to enable it to back the creation of a permanent rescue fund enabling the union to rescue members in financial distress.

The agreement hammered out after seven arduous hours of talks agrees to establish the fund — known as a permanent crisis mechanism — to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole.

It invites Van Rompuy to undertake consultations on a limited treaty change required to that effect, with more talks set for a December summit and a final decision on “light” treaty change to come into force by mid-2013.

That is the expiry date for a temporary fund set up in May to reassure markets in the aftermath of the Greek crisis.

Germany contributed the lion’s share of eurozone commitments to the 440-billion-euro European Financial Stability Fund, but feared opposition from its powerful constitutional court to further aid failing a change in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

But some states fear that referendums in places like Austria or Ireland, whose Prime Minister Brian Cowen said it was “too early” to call, could unleash unintended damage.

Already both houses of parliament in London would have to ratify a change.

“Taxpayers should not be the only ones to shoulder the responsibility,” Merkel said of the type of perpetual rescue fund taking shape.

The treaty contains a clause banning members from bailing each other out.

Van Rompuy however said the clause would remain untouched — another would be changed instead.

Another German demand, for a suspension of voting rights for repeated debt and deficit offenders, was left hanging, to be faced afresh at a December summit.

Agreed economic reforms include tougher sanctions and stricter surveillance, even if penalties would be less severe than initially imagined.

For the first time, states would have to deposit monies with the EU, with the interest potentially withheld even before governments cross an existing three percent of gross domestic product threshold for annual deficits.

Another development would see sanctions applied to states whose overall, accumulated debt goes beyond 60 percent of GDP and who do not take steps sufficiently quickly to bring the level back down.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media prior to a European Union summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels.

Source: SGGP

Reinforced Thai capital readies for rising waters

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

BANGKOK, Oct 24, 2010 (AFP) – Bangkok braced for rising waters encroaching on the fortified city on Sunday as the death toll from two weeks of nationwide flooding rose to 38, emergency officials said.

The floods, which began on October 10, have affected millions of people across huge swathes of the country, inundating thousands of homes and leaving authorities struggling to reach people stranded in remote areas.

A woman stands in flood water outside her house in Bangkok on october 24, 2010. AFP

The capital has reinforced its flood walls with 200,000 sandbags and will build temporary wooden bridges in 27 communities to help people cross over waterlogged streets.

More than 1,000 water pumps are on standby and authorities are preparing schools, monasteries and mosques in 13 districts for evacuation.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that while floods in the kingdom’s east and northeast were declining, the situation in central provinces was concerning, especially with high tides expected in the next few days.

“I’m trying my best to mobilise all possible assistance to solve this problem,” he said on his weekly television broadcast.

The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand reported a further six deaths to add to Saturday’s toll of 32, who were swept to their deaths or killed in accidents as vehicles were carried away by the churning waters.

The two worst-hit northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram have each reported six deaths, while six people were also killed in Lop Buri and three died in Khon Kaen.

A further 17 people have died in eight more provinces across central, northeastern and eastern areas, including one in Nonthaburi province, just north of Bangkok.

The Irrigation Department on Saturday issued warnings to people living in seven low-lying provinces, including Bangkok, as water from further north began to flow downstream.

Around 4,000 cubic metres (a million gallons) of water per second was expected to flow into the capital’s Chao Phraya river, which coupled with high sea levels surging from the other direction could cause floods in parts of the city.

More than 2.5 million people, or 828,443 households, have been affected by the two weeks of flooding, which has hit 30 out of Thailand’s 76 provinces, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

Bad weather has battered countries in the region in recent weeks, with dozens killed in Vietnamese floods and nearly 50 people left dead in the Philippines and Taiwan by Typhoon Megi, which has roared into southern China.

In western Myanmar, Cyclone Giri killed at least one person on Friday and left tens of thousands in need of help.

Source: SGGP