Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ciao Rainforest, Ni Hao Urban Planning (Link Round-Up 8/18/12)

I'll be working on articles for Gapers Block and other places in the near future, so these link round-ups may be less frequent.

But don't worry, your favorite dose of globalization news and articles will still be here. I think.

Vietnam's war on bloggers
Tan, along with Phan Thanh Hai and Nguyen Van Hai, better known as “Dieu Cay,” was a member of the Free Journalists Club, an unsanctioned group pushing freedom of speech in Vietnam. Without the relevant government permission needed to form their group it was deemed illegal.

The three bloggers are scheduled be tried under section 88 of the criminal code, which relates to propaganda against the state. A maximum sentence could carry with it 20 years in prison, though most bloggers tried receive lower sentences.

It’s the latest in a string of arrests of bloggers and other dissidents. According to Human Rights Watch ten activists have been sentenced this year.
Few species survive in Brazil's fragmented Atlantic rainforest
Pockets of forest that survived clear-cutting and fires are scattered across the original domain of the forest. Some are the size of a football field, some half the size of Long Island, and although they are small by comparison with the forest’s former dimensions, they remain important refuges for the enormous biodiversity that the region still boasts.

Yet these scattered patches are not providing many important species the protection that they need to thrive, according to a study published online on Tuesday in the journal PLoS One. Researchers quantified the presence of 18 types of mammals in a sample of 196 Atlantic Forest patches and found that only about 22 percent of the animals that originally inhabited the areas continue to survive there.
The souls of Chinese cities
In recent years, jousting and differentiation among Chinese cities has grown quickly. "There's wasn't as much regional competition before the 1990s," Tao Ran, a scholar at the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, explained at a conference in Beijing earlier this year, "but the gradual privatization of industry has intensified cooperation for investment." Since the late 1990s, land sales have been a major source of city revenue, allowing an even greater degree of independence. Chinese cities have "a surprising amount of autonomy in terms of fiscal and legislative authority, even more than in the United States," explains Daniel Bell, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and author of The Spirit of Cities. He thinks the rivalry between cities can be a good thing, pointing as one example to how the historic coastal cities of Dalian and Tianjin have each upgraded their infrastructure and now alternate as host cities of the Asian World Economic Forum meetings, better known as "summer Davos." During the Soviet-influenced era, urban planning was more homogenous, but now "city officials are asking themselves: What are the values that make us particular and distinguish us from other cities?"

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