Archive for August, 2007

Virginia Tech: No Accountability

August 31, 2007

Two students found dead in a campus dorm.  This had never before occurred.  Not on this campus.  Not at Virginia Tech.

The police “assumed” a domestic dispute was the cause.  The campus remained un-alerted.

My F.B.I. Dad taught me at the age of six: never assume.

An English teacher had a student exhibiting such unusual, some said evil, writing and actions that other students would not come to class.  The teacher alerted the university and nothing happened.

The school sent the student for medical care then never checked to verify his status or condition.  He may have been diagnosed as a threat to the university population yet the school didn’t follow up.

The Virginia Tech study panel that reported to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine yesterday recommended no accountability from anybody following scores of deaths on the campus.

Kaine said the school’s officials had suffered enough without losing their jobs.

That is not the point.

The point is that “we,” the people, have a right to safe, proper, careful, thoughtful leadership and administration.

In Washington DC Republican Senators are recommending that one of their fellows step down for a lack of judgment.

Just a two hour, maybe less, car ride south in Richmond, Virginia, after scored of student deaths on on Virginia state-run college campus, there is zero accountability.

Why?  Why should the president of the university be allowed to retain his job after running a campus with slipshod security, safety, and human services?

We have written about this several times in the past and ask readers to think this through, read more and comment.

John E. Carey
August 30, 2007

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

Virginia Tech President Should Resign or Be Fired

The Campus Security Question

Parents Demand Firing of Virginia Tech President, Police Chief Over Poor Handling of Mass Shooting

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McCain Resurects Vietnam POW Experience With Video

August 31, 2007

By Carl Campanile
The New York Post

August 31, 2007 — Trying to revive his presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain released a video yesterday touting his storied military service – including extensive footage of him as a badly injured Vietnam POW being interrogated by his captors.

The opening of the film shows grainy footage of a gaunt, 31-year-old McCain sitting up in a body cast.

“What is your name?” a Viet Cong officer asks.

“McCain,” he answers, puffing on a cigarette.

McCain, a Navy pilot, was captured in October 1967 after his plane was shot down near Hanoi while on a bombing mission. He ejected and landed in a lake, breaking both arms.

A narrator’s voice talks about McCain’s leadership. “Most certainly, it is a matter of the heart. The heart to have humility. The heart to never surrender,” the narrator says.

Of the top-tier candidates in either party, McCain is the only one to have served in the military.

Later in the video, McCain says Islamic extremism will be the struggle of the 21st century. “I, with considerable ego, say I’m the best prepared and qualified to meet this challenge,” he says.

The video also includes interviews with McCain’s mom and two colonels he served with.

“I’m the luckiest guy I’ve ever known,” McCain says.

Related:

Vietnam veteran McCain back from the dead … again

McCain: Last Man Standing
(February 8, 2008)

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

August 31, 2007

John E. Carey
The Washington Times
August 26, 2007  

President Ronald Reagan, asked if he trusted his main communist adversary, Soviet leader Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, said: “Trust, but verify.”

That may be the best way to describe how everyone who does business with China should operate. A long series of product safety scandals rocked both China the producer and almost all other nations, China’s customers, since last December. The lesson for the West certainly is, “Trust, But Verify.”

We consulted with a manufacturing process and quality specialist with experience in China who told us: “I found it impossible to get companies in China to acknowledge that foreign customers needed to exert some control over the process and thus the product. The Chinese just would not listen. Now they are reaping the result.”

The process engineer finished with this: “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the West.”

Even so, on Aug. 18, China’s director of product safety, Li Changjiang, said on China’s state TV network, “More than 99 percent of our goods meet standards. Demonizing Chinese products, or talking of the Chinese product threat, I think is simply a new kind of trade protectionism.”

He went on to say this last nine months of scandal and bad news about China’s products was all “politically motivated, unfair, biased and poisoned by jealousy.”

Maybe so Most Honorable Li Changjiang, but since your TV appearance

–The government of New Zealand began to investigate clothing imports from China after some were found to contain dangerously high levels of the chemical formaldehyde. Concentrations up to 900 times the normal safe level of formaldehyde were found in woolen and cotton clothes from China. A physician told us, on the condition of anonymity, “This level of formaldehyde is toxic, even cancer causing.”

–A Beijing factory was found to have recycled used chopsticks and sold up to 100,000 pairs a day without any form of disinfection. This is so blatantly wrong and dangerous that no further comment is necessary.

–The U.S. corporation that imports SpongBob SquarePants journals made in China announced that the products contain toxic lead paint. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered a recall.

And just to remind the Most Honorable Li Changjiang, on Aug. 5, China’s deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, said: “At present, the food safety situation has improved, yet is still serious.”

“Since last year reports of ‘red-yolk duck eggs’ and so on have often caused wide concern in society about food safety, and warned us that our country is in a period of high risk,” Ms. Hui said, referring to a contaminated egg scare.

“Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project, which needs society to work together and comprehensive prevention,” she added.

Toys, toothpaste, cough syrup, seafood, eggs, pet food and a host of other products made in China have been found to be unsafe, poisonous or toxic since last December.

And China has been less than 100 percent truthful. China rarely if ever speaks the truth. And now the world knows.

But many in the world knew before, or should have. And companies such as America’s Mattel Inc., the toy company, did not do due diligence by properly verifying Chinese claims and thoroughly inspecting products made in China. Mattel had to recall 18.7 million toys. One Mattel executive, who asked us not to use his name, told us, “We lost control of the manufacturing process.”

“There is no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country,” said the acting chairwoman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nancy A. Nord. “It’s totally unacceptable and it needs to stop.

Children were put at risk. The head of one of the Chinese companies involved committed suicide. All this was unnecessary.

Pssst. American companies: You cannot trust China. You have to verify.

So Pssst. China. Get with the rest of the world. Join the 21st century. Abide by our product requirements. Read, understand and follow the specifications. Enforce your laws, make new regulations where needed, and admit the truth.

Finally, there are geostrategic implications to all of this. China holds more U.S. debt that almost any nation except Japan. China now is one of the largest manufacturers of American goods. China has embarked on a huge military build-up. But nobody knows how much China is spending on defense, and procurement projects are shrouded in secrecy.

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said recently of China, “We are watching very carefully.”

The problem with China is that you cannot always see through to the truth.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times. He has lived in China.

Related:
China Watch

Beijing Has No Control Over Food Safety

China Called Threat to World Peace

If China Has Nothing to Hide, Why Do They Hide So Much So Often?

China: You Won’t Get The Truth

The Misery of China’s Mines

August 24, 2007

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, August 24, 2007; Page A01

XINTAI, China, Aug. 23 — The first sign of trouble was a stream of water that burst from a wall deep in the mine, Wang Kuitao recalled. Within minutes, he said, the water was everywhere, rushing down the shaft carrying tons of mud. Another disaster was on the way, Wang quickly concluded, one more in the cruel rhythm of China‘s deadly coal fields.

“I said to myself, ‘Something terrible has happened,’ ” Wang recounted later to a group of Chinese reporters.

Read the rest:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/23/
AR2007082302386.html

Hunt closes in on sunken World War II submarine

August 24, 2007

photo

(U.S. Navy photo)

The Grunion was part of the effort against Japanese forces when it disappeared in July 1942 near Alaska with 70 men on board, including Byron Traviss of Detroit. His family lived on Tireman.

A year ago, sons of the submarine commander began a search, using the ship Aquila. This week they reported finding the sub.

August 24, 2007

The USS Grunion submarine, sunk during World War II with 70 men on board, including one from Detroit, may have been found this week in the depths of the ocean off the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

Read it all:
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070824/NEWS01/708240405

China pushes back at critics on recalls

August 24, 2007

By David Lague 
International Herald Tribune 
August 23, 2007

BEIJING: China is intensifying a campaign to shore up its reputation as a trading powerhouse following a spate of embarrassing product recalls and contamination scandals.

As feverish preparations continue to host the Olympic Games next year, the ruling Communist party is taking the offensive to defend its export performance.

China is still sending a clear message that it intends to crack down on tainted or defective goods.

But it is also accusing the United States of protectionism, faulting multinationals for negligence, accusing the foreign media of sensationalism and finding flaws with U.S. imports.

This sharp rhetoric also features in an internal public relations campaign. State controlled media on Sunday began broadcasting a week-long television series, “Believe in Made in China.”

Read it all at:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/24/business/safety-web.php

China Calls Toy Recall ‘Responsible’ But Doesn’t Itself Take Responsibility

August 23, 2007

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press

BEIJING – China on Thursday said a global recall of millions of its toys was the responsible thing to do, but said that was the result of new industry standards — not poor quality.

Meanwhile, a Cabinet-level panel announced the launch of a nationwide safety campaign focused on food and drugs, as well as increased monitoring of exports. The measures underscored government efforts to win back consumer confidence.

Earlier this month, Mattel Inc. recalled almost 19 million Chinese-made items around the world including dolls, cars and action figures. Some were contaminated with lead paint….

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070823/ap_on_re_
as/china_tainted_products_31

Japan courts India to counter China: analysts

August 23, 2007

by Parul Gupta

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Japan‘s bid for a strategic partnership with India aims to counter China‘s rising influence, with Tokyo omitting Beijing from its vision of an Asian ‘arc of freedom’, analysts said Thursday.

The highlight of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s three-day visit to India was the signing of a roadmap for strategic and global partnership between the two Asian giants.

Abe called for greater political, security, defence and trade relations.

 Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070823/wl_
sthasia_afp/indiajapandiplomacychina_
070823122502

Related:
Japan Worried By North Korea, China

300 minor girls raped in Pakistan in 2006

August 23, 2007

Thursday August 23, 2007

Lahore, Pakistan: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said that 420 women, including 185 minors, were reportedly raped and 424 women, including 115 minors, were reportedly gang-raped during 2006 in the country.

The War Against Rape (WAR) coordinator Sidra Humayun gave these figures on the second day of a training workshop for female medico-legal officers.

The workshop was organised by German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) in collaboration with WAR.

Doctors and NGOs participated in the workshop and shared the details of gang rapes and medico-legal facilities in Pakistan.

The WAR distributed copies of Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Act, 2004 among participants, the Daily Times reported.

Dr Zanib Parveen discussed medical protocols and procedures for examining a survivor of rape or sexual assault, and Dr Akmal Shaheen conducted the first regular session on laws relating to sexual violence and the measures required before a medical examination.

Barrister Haider Mirza was the legal resource person for the session.

Fatima Memorial Hospital Lahore’s emergency medicine head facilitated a session titled ‘rape kit: an international perspective’, which was aimed at introducing the rape kit to participating doctors so that they could use it in practice in near future while examining medico-legal crimes.

GTZ is part of the Women’s Protection Project initiated by the Punjab Government’s Social Welfare and Women’s Development Department.

Vietnam reacts to Bush speech

August 23, 2007

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese fought for “a righteous cause” during the U.S. war but preferred to focus on the present, a government spokesman said on Thursday in reaction to President George W. Bush’s speech comparing the Iraq and Vietnam conflicts.

The war leaves consequences that are still visible today, and so are our memories,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Dung said at one of his twice-monthly media briefings.”But as a nation with a tradition that treasures peace, we are determined to not forget the past but value the present and look forward to a better future with other countries including the United States.”

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070823/wl_
nm/iraq_bush_vietnam_dc_1