Unnoticed events of 2007

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Wilf Day
Unnoticed events of 2007


Wilf Day

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangzhou_Bay_Bridge]The longest trans-oceanic bridge in the world was completed [/url]June 26, 2007: the HangZhou Bay Bridge southwest of ShangHai, China.

Why is it worth noticing? Because, remarkably, it's nothing but a $1.4 billion six-lane 36-kilometre shortcut.

Compare it with, for example, the[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oresund_Bridge] Oresund Bridge connecting Denmark with Sweden [/url]that opened in 2000, the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe. That one gave Sweden its historic first direct connection with the mainland of Europe.

But the HangZhou Bay Bridge simply cuts a few hours off the trip from the NingBo region's 6 million people to ShangHai's 16 million. The new HangZhou Bay Bridge Expressway from NingBo's metropolitan area (pop. 2.4 million) and CiXi City (pop. 1.2 million), a toll-road like all Chinese Expressways, will be a lot faster route to ShangHai than the present expressway though HangZhou. Good for NingBo's prosperity. Worth $1.4 billion to them?

All those products we keep buying from China seem to have given them a lot of money to throw around.

I would never have heard of the HangZhou Bay Bridge except that, next April 7, Margaret and I will be zipping down the 8-lane HuHang Expressway from ShangHai to HangZhou, and Google Earth told me that, before we're even half-way there, we'll pass the turnoff to the new HangZhou Bay Bridge.

But that's nothing.[url=http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/6320618.html] In March 2006 the central government approved the ShangHai - HangZhou maglev rail project[/url], so tourists to HangZhou can be whistled directly there from PuDong Airport at speeds up to 450 km/hour.

Actually, I'd rather see the country.


Great topic! I've uploaded the thread title to rabble's front page, in hopes that it will get some attention.

Michael Hardner

Bridge stories don't usually get the juicy coverage they deserve, I guess.


Bridges aside, what were some of the other stories that went unnoticed in 2007?

Wilf Day

[url=http://www.mpnewsflash.com/go.php?show=newsdetails&title=Top%20Stories&i... the Indian province of Madhya Pradesh, a socialist Kishor Samrite won a by-election from his jail cell:[/url]


his victory is a cause of alarm for both the major parties. Samrite had contested the election from jail.

He had taken up the issue of corruption. The extortion from buyers and sellers at the cattle mandi was also a major problem for people in the area. When he sat on dharna, he was beaten up by police.

Samrite had set afire police chowki and vehicles. He was then charged with dacoity and thrown behind bars. This led to popular support for him and poor-dominated constituency voted overwhelmingly for him.

[url=http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20071212/846793.html]He and 14 others were then acquitted for lack of evidence. The case was registered in connection with a demonstration against local market contractors on December 31, 2006.[/url]

In the 2003 provincial General Election the BJP had won 173 seats, Congress 38, Socialist 7, GGP 3, BSP 2, RSMD 2, Independent 2, Nationalist Congress 1, CPM 1, JD(U) 1. In Samrite's riding he had run third with 16.37%.

[url=http://www.indianexpress.com/story/254222.html]Now his supporters regard him as Robin Hood, while his political rivals accuse him of sympathising with Maoist Naxalite rebels.[/url]


Now that he has won his freedom after spending 11 months in jail, the Samajwadi Party MLA from Lanji is giving the state Government sleepless nights.

He has gone to town about corruption in jail and questioned the minister in charge of the district who spent Rs 60 lakh from the MLA’s fund.

Within hours of his release, he squatted at the Balaghat collectorate to highlight the drought-like condition, the migration from the backward district, one of the three Naxal-affected districts in Madhya Pradesh, and the rampant corruption in jails. “You get everything in jail if you have cash. Even supari (contract to kill someone) is taken and powerful convicts run a parallel administration,” he said. The maverick MLA admitted that he himself enjoyed facilities but did not have to pay for them.

“I was jailed as part of a conspiracy,” he told The Indian Express on Tuesday. He has written to the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Governor highlighting the alleged injustice and also referred to the conditions in jail. The 41-year-old was jailed on the charge of looting a PDS shop whose owner was diverting the ration into black market last year. The charge did not stick as most witnesses turned hostile.

The bachelor MLA loves to take on the system and is facing charges in few cases. On Monday, he charged the minister in charge of Balaghat, Chandrabhan Singh, of spending nearly Rs 60 lakh from the Lanji MLA’s fund. “Only Rs 17,000 is left with the district collector now. I will lodge a police complaint against Singh for unauthorised spending,” he said.

Singh said he was authorised to spend from the MLA’s fund after his death and complete the works sanctioned earlier. The by-election was caused by Dilip Bhatere’s death on May 6. Bhatere had spent only Rs 20 lakh till his death but Singh spent nearly 60 lakh from May 6 to November 3.

The BJP had taken victory in Lanji for granted but Samrite upset the calculations. “Bureaucrats and politicians think I am a fool, they don’t know how intelligent I am,” he said rather immodestly and warned the Government of more such shocks. “I have more ammunition which will be used soon,” he said.

“He won precisely because he was in jail. His mother and sister moved around seeking votes for him,” said BJP’s Balaghat unit chief Ramesh Ranglani, dismissing Samrite as ‘meddlesome.’ He alleged that Naxalites appealed for his victory two days before voting.

“In that case, the government should resign owning up responsibility for allowing Naxals to thrive in the state,” Samrite retorted. He said he was accused of supporting Naxals because he raised issues like lack of development and non-payment of remuneration to tendu leave pluckers, which the Left-wing extremists also highlighted.

For those who might want to know just where this interesting event happened, Madhya Pradesh (Middle Province or Central Province) is a major province of India lying northeast of Mumbai and south of Delhi; its largest cities are Indore and its capital Bhopal. With a population of about 67,000,000, it is divided into 48 regions. The most southeasterly is Balaghat, 520 km by rail from the capital of Bhopal. The southeasternmost of Balaghat's six tehsils (comparable to small counties) is Lanji, which is also one of the district's eight Assembly Constituencies. So this puts Lanji at the border of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Far from urban.

[ 28 December 2007: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]

Wilf Day

Two from me. Zero from the rest of us? Really?


It's difficult to asses "unnoticed" stories, so much depends on how things play out down the road. I am reminded of Reagan's gutting of the anti trust laws in the States so long ago, that took more than a decade to play out.

Similarly, the canceling of the supercollider project at about the same time might have been a snore fest or esoteric, but it seems to me from that point on the U.S. lost it's engineering supremacy.

Few would have, at the time, seen how the first has lead to the big boxing of our cities, and hastened the advent of corporate control to the extent it has, and fewer still would have projected the loss of engineering supremacy from the supercollider cancellation.

This years "unnoticed" story might not be the turmoil in manufacturing-- the affects are noticed today, but the real story behind that is governmental abandonment of this sector of the economy.

Along with the economic ripples it has, it also sends ripples on a longer wave length, below the surface.

Or not. We'll see.


Well Wilf, I'm going to have to add the Ontario Citizens' Assembly and the MMP referendum to the subgroup of "barely noticed and quickly forgotten" events.

NOW magazine review of 2007 - no mention
OFL Convention - 45 minute speech by Wayne Samuelson and other speeches by Howard Hampton, Jack Layton and Ken Georgetti - no mention

In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I was the only one who raised it at the OFL.

[ 29 December 2007: Message edited by: Polunatic2 ]



Originally posted by Polunatic2:
[b]Well Wilf, I'm going to have to add the Ontario Citizens' Assembly and the MMP referendum [/b]

The what? What are those? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]



Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
[b]Similarly, the canceling of the supercollider project at about the same time might have been a snore fest or esoteric, but it seems to me from that point on the U.S. lost it's engineering supremacy.[/b]

If you line up the specifications of the LHC at CERN and the cancelled SSC, you find that they're virtually identical.

In short, physicists would have discovered the Higgs Boson by now if it existed, and it would have been an [i]American[/i] scientific triumph. Now, if it's detected, it will be a [i]European[/i] one.

We can't even blame the Repubs for this one - the Dems had Congress and Clinton was in the White House when it got killed.

[ 31 December 2007: Message edited by: DrConway ]

[ 31 December 2007: Message edited by: DrConway ]

Wilf Day

Here's one with greater significance: after a great national debate, the people of China got the revised holiday schedule they wanted.

Backtrack to 1999. With economic reform, so many Chinese people had moved to growth areas to get better jobs that they decided to have three "Golden Weeks" each year. Quite ingenious: take a three-day holiday, move the previous weekend so that businesses are open on Saturday, move the subsequent weekend so that businesses are open on Sunday, and you get seven straight days off. This meant everyone could have a week to travel home to their families or relatives.

The problem was, as prosperity grew, almost everyone did travel. Travelling during Golden Week was chaos. The great god Productivity was not pleased.

So in 2006, delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference brought up proposals to cancel both the National Day (autumn) and May Day Golden Weeks, arguing that the holidays have not achieved significant results in promoting internal consumption, which was the original intention for these long holiday weeks. Rather, the delegates said, these Golden Weeks have disrupted people's regular 5-day weekly schedule and are increasingly impeding commerce and international trade, as many key government agencies, especially those related to customs, tax/tariff collection, and legal affairs, are shut down for seven days. Instead, they proposed, these days off should be spread out to other traditional holidays not currently recognized as public holidays, including Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Qingming (Memorial) Festival.

Golden Weeks were sustained as weekly holidays through 2007 while the great national debate raged.

The committee reviewing the new plan posted it for public comment in November 2007, with the intention of implementing it in early 2008. The May Day holiday would be reduced to one day, with new one-day holidays for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Qingming Festival. The Spring Festival and National Day would remain three-day holidays, though they would be adjusted to prevent them from becoming seven consecutive days.

The public comment was hostile. Public opinion surveys were taken. It was the closest China has come to a referendum. The public voice was clear: maybe three Golden Weeks is too many, but don't touch two of them.

The government listened. On Dec. 16, 2007, the calendar reform decision was announced: the Chinese population is to lose only one of its golden weeks, the May Day holiday.

The new calendar, which comes into force on January 1, 2008, will increase national holidays from 10 to 11 days: lose two in May, regain three traditional ones.

The National Commission for Development and Reform said that the new plan would ratify Chinese traditions, better distribute holidays and prevent the “overcrowding” of the “golden weeks.”

Power to the people.