News from Asia: Links & comments 10/14/13

World Action Now on Fukushima by Harvey Wasserman for Common Dreams

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off the California Coast by Ann Werner for the Malibu Sharkbytes blog.  Hat tip to Mike Connelly for both these links.

The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the 2011 earthquake is still a danger not just to Japan and neighboring countries, but to the world.  The first link is to a video by nuclear journalist Harvey Wasserman, explaining the danger involved in removing damaged nuclear fuel rods.  It is like lifting 660-pound cigarettes from a crumpled pack, and hoping not to leak any tobacco.

But the rods can’t be left in place because the plant continues to leak radioactive water.  Bluefin tuna caught off California have traces of radioactive cesium, an element that does not occur in nature but only as part of nuclear reactions.  Cesium, however, is excreted from the body.  Much more dangerous is radioactive strontium, also present in the fuel rods, which accumulates in the bones.

Wasserman is circulating an on-line petition calling for the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to take over removal of the spent fuel rods.

Report: Chinese University Students Forced to Manufacture Playstation 4 in Foxconn plant by Eric Kain for Forbes.   Hat tip to “B Psycho” of Pyschopolitik.

Report: Chinese students forced to make PS4 for Foxconn by Samit Sarkar for Polygon.

In many Communist countries, high school and college students were required to put in compulsory labor on harvests and other necessary tasks.  Compulsory labor evidently is still a part of China’s Communist capitalism.

A Chinese newspaper reported that more than 1,000 students at Xi’an Technological University were required to put in two months work for Foxconn, the giant Chinese manufacturer of electronics components, as a condition to graduate.  It was called an internship, although students said they were not employed in their fields of study.  They were paid $262 a month, the same as other workers.

As “B Psycho” said, if there is a labor shortage, why not offer higher wages?

Chiang Mai locals shocked by ‘rude’ Chinese tourists by Amy Li for the South China Morning Post.

Manners lost in translation by the Bangkok Post.  Hat tip to Jack Clontz for both these links.

Millions of rich Chinese tourists visit Thailand each year, giving a boost to the country’s economy.  But the tourists aren’t always culturally sensitive, as indicated by these two newspaper articles about the behavior of Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai, a northern Thai city that was the scene of a popular Chinese movie comedy, “Lost in Thailand.”

Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy? by Christine Gross-Loh for the Atlantic.  Hat tip to Jack Clontz.

Prof. Michael Pruett’s course in Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory is the third most popular undergraduate course at Harvard University, behind only Intro to Economics and Intro to Computer Science.

The classical Chinese philosophers teach the importance of good habits, self-awareness and the little things of life, and the unities of head and heart and of mind and body.  Some students say these teachings changed their lives.

The previous articles show that the Chinese don’t necessarily live up to the best values of their culture and traditions.  Then again, you could say the same of us Americans.

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