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Hong Kong by-elections underway

Hong Kong’s by-elections, triggered by the resignation of five legislators, Wong Yuk-man, Tanya Chan, Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Chan and Alan Leong, will take place today.

Hong Kong skyline

The five legislators left the Legislative Council earlier this year in protest of the government’s indifference towards universal suffrage and the abolishment of functional constituencies.

The elections started at 07.30 (23.30) local time today, and are due to end at ten o’clock tonight. Results are expected to be released tomorrow morning.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang has decided not to vote. Financial Secretary John Tsang, who was in Shanghai, stated that “Donald Tsang will expound on his opinions”. Read More…


21 dead in China coal mine explosion

At least 21 miners in China are dead after an explosion at a coal mine in the southwestern Guizhou province earlier today, according to reports.

Anshun prefecture within the Guizhou province

The incident occurred at the Yuanyang mines in the city of Anshun. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, there were ten other workers in the mine who were rescued.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, although it is being investigated, Xinhua reports. The colliery is operated by the government of the local township.

A rescue worker present at the scene says five of the survivors were hospitalised due to carbon monoxide inhalation. “We arrived at the mine to carry out the rescue at midnight, and helped bring three of the survivors out of the shaft,” he told Xinhua.

Despite an initiative to increase the safety of collieries, Chinese mines are among the most dangerous in the world; official statistics say 2,631 workers died in 1,616 separate incidents last year, although the figure is down 18% from 2008.

On this day May 12, 2008

A devastating earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people, less than three months before China hosted the world in the 2008 Summer Olympics.2008_Sichuan_earthquake_map

The epicenter was 80 kilometres (50 mi) west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, with a depth of 19 kilometres (12 mi).

The earthquake was also felt in nearby countries and as far away as both Beijing and Shanghai — 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) and 1,700 kilometres (1,056 mi) away — where office buildings swayed with the tremor.

Approximately 15 million people lived in the affected area. It was the deadliest earthquake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, which killed at least 240,000 people, and the strongest since the 1950 Chayu earthquake in the country, which registered at 8.5 on Richter magnitude scale. It is the 19th deadliest earthquake of all time.

Strong aftershocks, some exceeding magnitude 6, continue to hit the area even months after the main quake, causing new casualties and damage.

On this day May 11, 1995

In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

Participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, was opened for signature on July 1, 1968.

There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council). Read More…

Expo 2010 largest world’s fair, opens in Shanghai

Expo 2010 Shanghai China is being held on both banks of the Huangpu River in the city of Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, from May 1 to October 31, 2010.

Expo Axis, Shanghai

It is a World Expo in the tradition of international fairs and expositions. The theme of the exposition is “Better City – Better Life” and signifies Shanghai’s new status in the 21st century as the “next great world city”.

More than 190 countries and more than 50 international organizations have registered to participate in the Shanghai World Expo, the largest ever. Read More…

Death toll from China earthquake passes 2,000

The death toll from a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in the Qinghai province in western China has surpassed two thousand.

Xia Laxiu, Yushu county

The official number of dead is now at 2,039, with another 195 missing. 12,135 people were injured by the temblor, over 1,400 of which were said to be in serious condition.

The quake’s epicentre was in the Yushu county. On Tuesday, rescuers were still searching for survivors buried beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings in and around the town of Jiegu, one of the most badly affected places.

Officials have increased their relief efforts, bringing food, blankets, tents, and other assistance to the area.

Yesterday, an official remembrance day for those killed was held; public entertainment was limited and national Chinese flags flew at half-mast.

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck China

According to the Xinhua News Agency, 617 people have been confirmed dead, 313 missing, and 9,110 injured of which 970 are severely injured. The epicenter was located in Rima village  a sparsely populated area on the Tibetan plateau that is regularly hit by earthquakes.

The earthquake occurred as a result of strike-slip faulting in the tectonically complex region of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. This earthquake occurred several hundred kilometers north of the convergent India:Eurasia plate boundary, where the Indian Plate is moving northwards with respect to Eurasia at a rate of approximately 46 mm/yr.

This convergence drives the uplift of the Himalaya Mountains, at a rate of approximately 10 mm/yr, and the Tibetan Plateau, which is an extremely broad region of thickened and uplifted crust sitting above 4.5–5 km.