WBEZ | Asia http://www.wbez.org/tags/asia Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Deadly Fungus Threatening the Future of Bananas in Asia Could Spread around the World http://www.wbez.org/news/deadly-fungus-threatening-future-bananas-asia-could-spread-around-world-114130 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1249337589_b11286a6a0_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Could the plant fungus called the Panama disease spell doom for&nbsp;the banana as we know it?</p><p>&ldquo;Thousands of varieties of bananas are grown throughout the world, but only one makes it to store shelves. It&rsquo;s a banana known as the Cavendish,&rdquo; says Simran Sethi. She&#39;s author of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.harpercollins.com/9780061581076/bread-wine-chocolate" target="_blank">Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love</a>.&nbsp;The Cavendish is ubiquitous &mdash;&nbsp;the yellow, not-too-sweet, popular banana. &nbsp;</p><p>But the Cavendish is, in a sense, a marked man. It&#39;s&nbsp;facing extinction.&nbsp;That&rsquo;s according to scientists in the Netherlands who have been studying the deadly plant fungus called the Panama disease that&rsquo;s already destroying banana crops in Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. But experts warn that it&rsquo;s only a matter of time&nbsp;before this pernicious plant disease reaches Latin America, where the majority of the world&rsquo;s exported bananas come from.</p><div><div><p>What&rsquo;s interesting, Sethi explains, is that this is not the first time a variety of banana has been wiped out. &ldquo;The Cavendish is the replacement banana for the one banana that used to be on store shelves, which was the Gros Michel back in the 1960s.&rdquo;</p></div></div><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="A man carries bananas at the Tropical Nordeste S.A farm, in Limoeiro do Norte, in Ceara state." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/RTR4VWAF.jpg?itok=kPnz_o7j" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="A man carries bananas at the Tropical Nordeste S.A farm, in Limoeiro do Norte, in Ceara state. (REUTERS/Davi Pinheiro)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>Back then, it was a soil fungus that destroyed the Gros Michel and now a variant of that plant disease is threatening the Cavendish. &ldquo;Here it is again,&rdquo; says Sethi. &ldquo;Tropical Race 4, which is a strain of the exact same fungus, is now wiping out the Cavendish. The challenge is we don&rsquo;t really have another banana in its place that&rsquo;s ready to go to offer instead.&rdquo;</p><p>Scientists in the Netherlands report that Tropical Race 4, a variant of the Panama disease, is already destroying banana crops in Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. That may seem far away, especially if the bananas you buy come from Ecuador.&nbsp;But they warn that it&rsquo;s &ldquo;only a matter of time&rdquo; before the pernicious plant disease reaches Latin America, where the majority of the world&rsquo;s exported bananas come from.</p><p>The economic impact of this plant fungus is potentially huge. Cavendish bananas represent nearly one-half of global banana production and exports. &ldquo;It&#39;s remarkable what is happening now to the entire industry, and 15 percent of bananas throughout the world are exported,&quot; Sethi said.&nbsp;&quot;In places like Ecuador, bananas are one of the top exports. We&rsquo;re talking about something that is going to cripple economies.&rdquo;</p><div><img alt="Ecuadorean banana&amp;#039;s farm workers wash bananas during a packing process in Babahoyo." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/RTR4VXYO.jpg?itok=rmbg-QAX" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Ecuadorean banana's farm workers wash bananas during a packing process in Babahoyo. The banano is one of the star products of Ecuador for Exportation. (REUTERS/Guillermo Granja)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>And as it turns out, the banana is not the only endangered food. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not only seeing this with the banana, but we&#39;re seeing this with multiple foods.&nbsp;Slowly, slowly, slowly &mdash;&nbsp;they haven&#39;t yet reached our store shelves here in the United States, but the producing countries are really starting to suffer.&rdquo;</p></div></div><p>One reason the Cavendish is endangered is that it&rsquo;s a monoculture crop. This one variety is grown all over the world, and that makes the crop more vulnerable to disease, says Sethi.&nbsp;&ldquo;Increasingly, most of our food is grown in monoculture as mono-crops. It&#39;s an efficient way to be able to irrigate everything at the same time, treat everything at the same time. But what you should understand is that if one disease comes in, or one pest comes in, it wipes out everything.&rdquo;</p><p>Sethi says it&rsquo;s a familiar story. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s happening now with coffee, we saw this happen with the Irish potato famine,&quot; she says. &quot;Slowly, all these crops that are being grown in monoculture throughout the world are starting to suffer from various types of changes that were in some cases unanticipated and certainly ones that are wreaking more havoc than we would have expected had we grown crops&#39; bio-diversely, grown multiple crops together.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></div><div><div><p>Meanwhile, agricultural scientists and plant geneticists are working around the clock to develop a new type of banana to replace the Cavendish. But it&rsquo;s a race against time. So far, the fungus appears to be impervious to treatment. Researchers have documented the fungus has spread to Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Mozambique&nbsp;and Queensland, Australia.</p><p>So how soon will our beloved Cavendish bananas <a href="https://twitter.com/Independent/status/672715924118614016" target="_blank">disappear from the shelves</a>?</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a really good question and I wish I could answer it. But it&#39;s the same kind of variability that we see with climate change,&quot; Sethi says. &quot;We don&#39;t exactly know what will happen but what we do know is everything that we see in the grocery store is going to start to shift. This happened with potatoes, with the Irish potato famine, this isn&rsquo;t new. It&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s happening to coffee, two countries have declared states of emergency because of coffee leaf rust wiping out coffee plantations, and now we see it with bananas. This is something that we will continue to see happening if we don&#39;t start to take more pro-active measures as eaters, and as people who want to support conservation of diversity in foods.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-12-10/deadly-fungus-threatening-future-bananas-asia-and-spreading-everywhere" target="_blank"><em> via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 10 Dec 2015 15:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/deadly-fungus-threatening-future-bananas-asia-could-spread-around-world-114130 Chicago Folklore Ensemble honors the music and oral traditions of Chicago’s immigrant communities http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-14/chicago-folklore-ensemble-honors-music-and-oral-traditions-chicago%E2%80%99s <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/intheshoplight.jpg" title="(Photo courtesy of The Chicago Folklore Ensemble)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228406597&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global Notes: Chicago Folklore Ensemble inspired local immigrants</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The Chicago Folklore Ensemble blends together oral history and traditional music in original compositions. The Ensemble has collected the stories and music traditions of master musicians from the Chicago immigrant communities of Ghana, Serbia, Argentina, Thailand and Jordan. Chicago Folklore Ensemble will perform live in the Jim and Kay Mabie Performance Studio.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong>Guests: </strong><em>The Chicago Folklore Ensemble</em>&nbsp;(<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-079f3a85-67ee-2dfb-e72c-7e2d6fc4ef31">Lucia Thomas-violin; </span>Sam Hyson-violin; Robert Fisher-viola; Khari Lemuel-cello; Sojourner Zenobia-storyteller)</em></p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228411199&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">First 2016 democratic debate shows foreign policy divides</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The Republican party&rsquo;s 2016 Presidential debates have offered plenty of talk on foreign policy, but last night was the first time most Americans heard from the Democrats. How did the Presidential hopefuls fare on foreign policy? We&rsquo;ll discuss with Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large of The Atlantic and editor-in-chief of AtlanticLIVE.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://twitter.com/SCClemons">Steve Clemons</a> is the Washington editor-at-large of The Atlantic and the editor of AtlanticLive. He is also the s<span id="docs-internal-guid-079f3a85-67f1-438f-1b68-6cdeb382ee3c">enior fellow/founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.&nbsp;</span></em></p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228407673&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Fair trade in Asia a key focus in this year&#39;s &#39;GlobalFest&#39;</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Chicago Fair Trade (CFT) will have its annual gala, &lsquo;GlobalFest&rsquo; on Friday. The event aims to educate on how fair trade improves lives and stabilizes communities in developing countries. This year&rsquo;s theme focuses on Asia. We&rsquo;ll talk about GlobalFest and fair trade in Asia with Katherine Bissell Córdova, executive director of CFT. We&rsquo;ll also talk with Tony Dreyfuss, co-founder and owner of Metropolis Coffee, CFT&rsquo;s newest partner. His company works with coffee farmers across Asia.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul><li style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-079f3a85-67f4-67b9-7437-1da70787bb43">Katherine Bissell Cordova,is the executive director of Chicago Fair Trade. </span></em></li><li style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><em><a href="http://twitter.com/TonyDreyfuss">Tony Dreyfuss </a>is the co-founder and owner of Metropolis Coffee.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228408631&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">World History Minute: The Battle of Hastings</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">On this day in 1066, William II of Normandy a.k.a. William the Conqueror, began the Norman conquest of England, ending centuries of Anglo-Saxon rule on the British isle. Historian, John Schmidt, author of On This Day in Chicago History, will tell us about the battle that not only changed England, but the course of Western Europe &lsquo;s history.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-079f3a85-67f9-dd43-7c82-3133c1382bf9"><a href="http://twitter.com/JRSchmidtPhD">John Schmidt</a> is the author of &#39;</span>On This Day in Chicago History&#39;.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 14 Oct 2015 14:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-14/chicago-folklore-ensemble-honors-music-and-oral-traditions-chicago%E2%80%99s Where could Ebola strike next? Scientists hunt virus in Asia http://www.wbez.org/news/science/where-could-ebola-strike-next-scientists-hunt-virus-asia-111324 <p><p>A few years ago, disease ecologist David Hayman made the discovery of a lifetime.</p><p>He was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge. But he spent a lot of that time hiking through the rain forest of Ghana, catching hundreds of fruit bats.</p><p>&quot;We would set large nets, up in the tree canopies,&quot; he says. &quot;And then early morning, when the bats are looking for fruit to feed on, we&#39;d captured them.&quot;</p><p>Hayman didn&#39;t want to hurt the bats. He just wanted a few drops of their blood.</p><p>Bats carry a&nbsp;huge number of viruses in their blood. When Hayman took the blood samples back to the lab, he found a foreboding sign: a high level of antibodies against Ebola Zaire.</p><blockquote><p><em>Inside the virus hunter&#39;s lab: Kevin Olival and Mindy Rostal, with EcoHealth Alliance, careful take blood, saliva and fecal samples from Rousettus fruit bats in Costa Rico.</em></p></blockquote><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=371994171&amp;mediaId=372736011" width="600"></iframe></p><p>Right away, Hayman was concerned.</p><p>Ebola Zaire is the deadliest of the five Ebola species, and it has caused the most outbreaks. The antibodies in the bat&#39;s blood meant the animals had once been infected with Ebola Zaire or something related to it.</p><p>Hayman knew West Africa was at risk for an Ebola outbreak. He and his colleagues even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3376795/">published</a>&nbsp;the findings in the free journal&nbsp;<em>Emerging Infectious Diseases,</em>&quot;<em>s</em>o that anyone in the world could go and read them,&quot; Hayman says.</p><p>He thought health officials would also be worried. &quot;We were all prepared for some sort of response, for questions,&quot; Hayman says. &quot;But I have to say, not many came. ... Nothing happened.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/29global-popup_wide-09dc8e233bbbbec0eec2b3dcf620ab5a0e0a08dd-s1200.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 320px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Ecologists found signs of Ebola in a Rousettus leschenaultii fruit bat. These bats are widespread across south Asia, from India to China. Kevin Olival/EcoHealth Alliance" />That was two years ago. Now, with more than 20,000 Ebola cases&nbsp;<a href="http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/situation-reports/en/">reported</a>&nbsp;in West Africa, health officials are definitely listening to Hayman.</p><p>Scientists think&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/19/341468027/ebola-in-the-skies-how-the-virus-made-it-to-west-africa">bats likely triggered</a>&nbsp;the entire Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Just as Hayman predicted. &quot;It&#39;s not a good way to proven right,&quot; he says.</p><p>So now the big question is: Where else in the world is Ebola hiding out in bats? Where could the next big outbreak occur?</p><p>To find out, I called ecologist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/about/experts/20-olival">Kevin Olival</a>&nbsp;at EcoHealth Alliance in New York City. Olival hunts down another virus in bats, called Nipah. In humans, it causes inflammation in the brain and comas. &quot;It&#39;s the virus the movie&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCAQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.imdb.com%2Ftitle%2Ftt1598778%2F&amp;ei=tOqZVLOSNfjbsATNj4L4DA&amp;usg=AFQjCNFE_RJFVRroyLgwml_lZbnAGwKegw&amp;sig2=Iq1zBWCArqBq_v3-_J1M0g&amp;bvm=bv.82001339,d.cWc">Contagion</a>&nbsp;is based on,&quot; Olival says.</p><p>Nipah has outbreaks every few years in Bangladesh. So Olival went there back in&nbsp;2010 and captured a bunch of bats. Many had signs of Nipah in their blood. Others had something surprising: &quot;There&#39;s antibodies to something related to Ebola Zaire.&quot;</p><p>Before this discovery, scientists thought Ebola Zaire was found only in Africa. &quot;If you think about geographic space,&quot; Olival says, &quot;it was a big shock to find evidence for this virus in a very faraway place in south Asia.&quot;</p><p>Olival and his colleagues&nbsp;<a href="http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/2/pdfs/12-0524.pdf">published</a>&nbsp;these findings in February 2013. Then, a few months later, a team&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492202/#__ffn_sectitle">reported</a>evidence for the virus in China.</p><p>The bats with these antibodies have a broad range across south Asia, Olival says. &quot;These species are found all the way down into parts of Indonesia.&quot;</p><p>The data suggest that Ebola Zaire is far more widespread around the world than previously thought.</p><p>So does that mean Ebola could have outbreaks in Bangladesh, China or Indonesia?</p><p>&quot;Well, that&#39;s a tricky one,&quot; Olival says. &quot;I think if you have the right combination of potential events, and sort of the perfect storm brews, then, yeah, it&#39;s possible.&quot;</p><p>Now, there&#39;s no sign bats have infected people in Asia with Ebola Zaire. And antibody tests can&#39;t say whether the virus in the bats was specifically Ebola Zaire or something related.</p><p>But Olival isn&#39;t waiting to find out. Both he and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/learning/colleges/college-of-sciences/about/veterinary-and-animal-sciences/staff-list.cfm?stref=021350">David Hayman</a>, who&#39;s now at Massey University in New Zealand, are working on ways to predict when and where Ebola and other deadly viruses will cause outbreaks.</p><p>In particular, Olival is working with USAID to build an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/programs/28-predict_program">early warning system</a>&nbsp;for dangerous viruses. The system could alert communities when the risk of an outbreak is high. People could be more careful while hunting bats or avoid their guano.</p><p>&quot;The ultimate goal is to move toward prediction,&quot; Olival says. &quot;Again and again, we&#39;re hearing with the current massive Ebola outbreak that if it was detected earlier it would have been better contained.&quot;</p><p>Because both ecologists agree: It&#39;s not a question of whether a virus in the Ebola family will cause an outbreak outside of Africa, but a matter of when and where.</p><p>- <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/01/02/371994171/where-could-ebola-strike-next-scientists-virus-hunt-in-asia"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 08:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/where-could-ebola-strike-next-scientists-hunt-virus-asia-111324 Obama's trip to Burma http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-14/obamas-trip-burma-111104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP945017957012_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama&#39;s trip to Asia included a stop in Burma. We talk about the visit and the state of democracy in the country with Maureen Aung-Thwin of the Open Society Foundation.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-burma/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-burma.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-burma" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Obama's trip to Burma" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-14/obamas-trip-burma-111104 Obama's trip to Asia http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-12/obamas-trip-asia-111091 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP951396059537.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama started his trip through Asia this week in China. He and Chinese President Xi Jinping came together to discuss a host of issues, including an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. We&#39;ll discuss the two countries&#39; goals with Asia Society&#39;s Orville Schell.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-china/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-china.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-s-trip-to-china" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Obama's trip to Asia" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-12/obamas-trip-asia-111091 Asia's Economic Imbalances http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asias-economic-imbalances-107866 <p><p><strong>Stephen Roach</strong> argues that behind most major financial crises&mdash;the Asian financial crisis, the US subprime mortgage crisis, and the European debt crisis&mdash;are unsustainable economic imbalances. With the future of global economic growth still in question, the outlook may depend critically on how the United States and Asia move to address them. Roach recommends that developing Asian nations consume more and strengthen the services side of their economies, while the United States should consume less and stop scapegoating the renminbi. Can Asia and the United States overcome the many structural challenges to fix their economic imbalances?</p><div>Stephen Roach is a senior lecturer at the Yale School of Management and a senior fellow at Yale University&rsquo;s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs. He was formerly chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and the firm&rsquo;s chief economist for most of his 30-year career there. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 1982, Roach served on the research staff of the Federal Reserve Board and was also a research fellow at the Brookings Institution.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCGA-webstory_12.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Recorded live Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at the Union League Club of Chicago.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asias-economic-imbalances-107866 Asia's New Great Game: The Coming Conflict in Asia http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asias-new-great-game-coming-conflict-asia-107176 <p><p>Rising tensions between major powers in Asia pose new risks to the region&rsquo;s prosperity and stability, and possibly to international peace. Despite decades of rapid economic growth and social improvement in Asia, a flammable mix of still-bitter historical grievances, increasing resource competition, arms racing, and nationalist feeling&mdash;especially among the young&mdash;is fueling disputes such as those among China, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations over claims to tiny islands in the seas around China. As the United States &ldquo;rebalances&rdquo; to Asia, these geopolitical fault lines and flash points threaten to derail the Asian engines of global growth and involve the United States in irreconcilable regional rivalries and even military conflict.</p><div><strong>Marshall M. Bouton</strong> has been president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs since 2001. Prior to that, he served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Asia Society. His previous positions included director for policy analysis for Near East, Africa, and South Asia in the Department of Defense, special assistant to the US ambassador to India, and executive secretary for the Indo-US subcommission on education and culture. He is an author or editor of several books, articles and op-eds on India, Asia, and US foreign policy. Bouton earned a BA from Harvard, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the University of Chicago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCGA-webstory_10.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br />Recorded live Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at&nbsp;The Ritz-Carlton Chicago</p></p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asias-new-great-game-coming-conflict-asia-107176 Asia and the Great Convergence http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asia-and-great-convergence-106669 <p><p>The complex interaction of trade, capital, information, and technology is leading to an unprecedented level of human interconnectedness. This highly networked global society means record numbers of the world&#39;s population are moving into the middle class, especially in Asia. However, as illustrated by the global financial crisis, interconnectedness carries risks of contagion as well. <strong>Kishore Mahbubani</strong> argues that new policies and approaches to governance are needed to solve pervasive problems such as financial volatility and health and climate issues. How does Asia, which accounts for over 60 percent of the world&rsquo;s population and a significant portion of the emerging global middle class, fit into this era of convergence?</p><div>Kishore Mahbubani is the dean and professor in the practice of public policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. From 1971 to 2004 he served in the Singapore Foreign Ministry, where he was permanent secretary from 1993 to 1998, served twice as Singapore&rsquo;s ambassador to the UN, and in January 2001 and May 2002 served as president of the UN Security Council. Mahbubani is the author of Can Asians Think?, Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World, and The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines have listed him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world, and in 2009 the Financial Times included him on their list of the top 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>His most recent book is,&nbsp;<em>The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World.</em><br />&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCGA-webstory_8.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>Recorded live Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at The Chicago Club.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 11:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/asia-and-great-convergence-106669 China's Red-Hot Growth Gives Policymakers Pause http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-02/chinas-red-hot-growth-gives-policymakers-pause-92733 <p><p>The U.S. economy is struggling to grow. The European Union is trying to contain a debt crisis. And, in a case of bad timing, the world's fastest-growing major economy, China, is trying to slow down.</p><p>Shanghai has been one of the world's hottest real estate markets, but it's too hot for Chinese officials who are fighting high inflation and what some fear is a housing bubble.</p><p>Earlier this year, the Shanghai government tried to slow down real estate sales by restricting people from outside the city from buying more than one property.</p><p>James Ye of Shanghai Pujing Real Estate sits in an office filled with agents hunched over computers. He says the government policy is working; deals for existing homes are bad.</p><p>"Last year, I sold one property a month," he says. "Now, I sell one property every two or three months."</p><p>The real estate policy is part of a broader plan by the Chinese government to slow the country's staggering growth.</p><p>Andy Rothman, who follows China's economy for CLSA, an independent brokerage and investment group, says the Chinese government wants to slow down the economy and improve the quality of what it produces.</p><p>"Here in Shanghai over the last 10 years, the government has raised the minimum wage by 160 percent," he says. "And this is a deliberate effort to get out of the business of focusing on low-value-added shoes and toys and move more up market for better quality jobs that pay better."</p><p>Rothman says he expects China's economic growth to fall below 9 percent next year — the slowest rate in a decade, but still fast by global standards.</p><p>"Strong growth is China will put a floor under the global slowdown, but it's not going to save the world," he says.</p><p>One reason: Most Chinese just don't have the purchasing power.</p><p>"Chinese consumers are spending a lot. Retail sales growth is 17 percent," Rothman says. "But the Chinese consumer doesn't have enough money to make up for American consumers not going shopping."</p><p>Rothman has a point. China is getting wealthier, but most Chinese still don't have that much money.</p><p>Xiao Yandong makes a living standing in Shanghai's financial district selling pancakes each morning for about 50 cents each. He makes 200 Chinese breakfast pancakes a day, seven days a week. He earns just $500 a month. Xiao doesn't have much disposable income. He hasn't taken his wife and 8-year-old daughter out to eat all year.</p><p>"We buy groceries to cook at home, because eating out is too expensive," he says. "Each meal out costs between $40 and $50 and then it's gone. So, we take the subway to friend's house to eat dinner."</p><p>Whitney Wang, an English teacher, strolls by on her way to work. She earns more than three times what Xiao does, but she's saving most of it for an apartment. That leaves little to spend on Shanghai's pricy merchandise.</p><p>"Jewelry's something I haven't buy for a long time," she says.</p><p>During the global slowdown in 2008, the Chinese government spent billions of dollars on roads and bridges to prop up growth. This time, another dose of government stimulus spending seems less likely — unless, demand for Chinese exports from Europe and the U.S. plummets.</p><p>"If millions of migrant workers who are in factories, especially in southern China, making iPads and microwave ovens and DVD players, lose their jobs, then you'll see a few quarters of stimulus to find temporary jobs for those folks," says Rothman from CLSA.</p><p>The U.S. and Chinese economies remain highly interdependent, but China faces its own unique challenges: Its leaders are certain to focus on the risks to their economy before addressing the problems facing the U.S. and the EU. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317628741?&gn=China%27s+Red-Hot+Growth+Gives+Policymakers+Pause&ev=event2&ch=1125&h1=Asia,Economy,Business,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140994129&c7=1125&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1125&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111003&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sun, 02 Oct 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-02/chinas-red-hot-growth-gives-policymakers-pause-92733 The Curious Case Of The Vanishing Chinese City http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/curious-case-vanishing-chinese-city-92280 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/lim_vanishing_city1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Imagine a city like Los Angeles disappearing from the map completely. That's exactly what happened to Chaohu, a city in eastern China's Anhui province with a similar population — about 4 million — which has vanished in an administrative sleight of hand.</p><p>That was the Kafkaesque reality for Chaohu's inhabitants, who went to bed one night and woke up the morning of Aug. 22 to find out that their city no longer existed. For many, their first inkling that something had changed was from the local news.</p><p>"Anhui province is today announcing the cancellation of Chaohu city," the broadcast said. It went on to explain that the city once known as Chaohu had been divided into three. The nearby cities of Hefei, Wuhu and Ma'anshan each absorbed a piece of territory. The broadcast confusingly described the move as "an inherent need at a certain level of economic growth."</p><p><strong>Complaints Of Illogical Redistricting</strong></p><p>"I'm unhappy about it," says a man who gives his name as Mr. Luo. "Chaohu was great. Why did they get rid of it?"</p><p>Luo is busy gambling on cards — which is illegal in China — just yards from the police station. Among his fellow gamblers, this bemusement is common, followed by resignation.</p><p>Rumors had circulated for a few weeks beforehand, but there had been no public consultation and no official notice, with residents not being told about the new boundaries in advance.</p><p>This division of Chaohu has led to some strange anomalies.</p><p>For example, in Lintou town, a bridge serves as the new boundary dividing Hefei from Ma'anshan. This means that, for some, the five-minute bicycle ride between home and work has become a trip from Hefei to Ma'anshan and vice versa. The residents of Lintou complain that the redistricting is illogical.</p><p>"Ma'anshan is too far away," complains a man who gives his name as Mr. Zheng. "It's 50 miles away, compared to [Anhui's] provincial capital, Hefei, which is only about 30 miles away."</p><p>In the longer term, residents worry that being hitched to Ma'anshan will be bad for their village. Everyone is aware that Hefei is the major beneficiary of this move: Its area will increase by 40 percent, and it will become the biggest city in China in terms of area, according to the local media.</p><p>Hefei will also now take over the whole of Chao Lake, after which the city was named. Some argue this is good for the lake, since Hefei will be able to spend more money cleaning it up.</p><p><strong>A 'Vampire City'</strong></p><p>But if China's true religion is the pursuit of GDP growth, then Chaohu is being sacrificed to that end. One small district of Chaohu, Juchao, has been rechristened Chaohu, but it has been downgraded to a county-level town, and placed under the administration of Hefei.</p><p>Online, some Internet users have jokingly begun to refer to Hefei as a "vampire city," since they are accusing it of "sucking the blood" from Chaohu.</p><p>Economics professor Jiang Sanliang from Anhui University explains the thinking behind the decision:</p><p>"Chaohu's development hasn't been good, but Hefei is industrializing and urbanizing. It needs land, so absorbing Chaohu will benefit Hefei. The government hopes that redistributing the land will improve the entire province's GDP," he says.</p><p>In recent years, Hefei's GDP growth has been an average of 17 percent. So this move serves the long-term aim of boosting Hefei's competitive advantage by giving it land to expand, so it can challenge the more prominent cities of Nanjing and Wuhan.</p><p>In what used to be Chaohu, the city government offices are, for once, deserted.</p><p>There's no sign at the gate, because Chaohu city no longer exists. The government buildings themselves are eerily quiet, since the local government, too, has been dissolved and no one can really explain what's going on.</p><p>"I've got no official ID, so don't try to interview me," an officious official tells NPR as he bustles around his office in the news division of Chaohu city's former propaganda department.</p><p>He pretends to be busy dusting his shelves. In reality, he's waiting — with all the other ex-Chaohu officials — to find out which of the three cities he's been reassigned to.</p><p><strong>A Hometown In Song Only</strong></p><p>At the park, a surprising number of people are happy about the departure of government officials.</p><p>"It's a good thing," says one old man who gives him name as Mr. Guo, as others nod in agreement. "There's too much corruption. The officials take all our money."</p><p>He is sitting in a pavilion by a lake surrounded by willow trees, listening to a group of retirees singing songs and playing traditional Chinese instruments. As soon as the group is asked about the disappearance of Chaohu, a blazing row breaks out.</p><p>"We're not sure if this is good or bad," says Fan Shihong, shaking his head.</p><p>"Of course it will be good," the others yell back, subscribing to the bigger-is-better school of thought. This could even be the first step of a bigger redistricting project in Anhui, according to the Chinese press, during which some cities will disappear and others will expand.</p><p>Once the shouting is over, the musicians launch into a 1960s song named "Chaohu Is Good." It describes the long miles of shoreline alongside Chao Lake, and it mentions the songs sung in the willow shadows praising their hometown. All those are still there. But technically, their hometown of Chaohu is not. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316633529?&gn=The+Curious+Case+Of+The+Vanishing+Chinese+City&ev=event2&ch=1125&h1=Asia,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140633602&c7=1125&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1125&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110921&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/curious-case-vanishing-chinese-city-92280