World View: Massive Explosion in Tianjin Highlights China’s Dismal Industrial Safety Record

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Massive explosion in Tianjin highlights China’s dismal industrial safety record
  • Greece’s island Kos moves to center of Europe’s migrant crisis

Massive explosion in Tianjin highlights China’s dismal industrial safety record

Tianjin China
Tianjin China

A massive series of industrial explosions occurred early on Wednesday in Tianjin in China. There was one large explosion, equivalent to 3 tons of TNT, and followed by an enormous explosion a few minutes later, equivalent to 21 tons of TNT. The explosions were felt ten miles away. Hundreds of people were hospitalized. The area where the blast happened has many factories, but also worker dormitories and apartment buildings.

Tianjin has a population of 15 million, behind Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. It’s a major industrial hub for China, with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies based there.

Bribery and corruption are common in China, and factory owners often use it to evade regulations, with the result that there are frequent building catastrophes. In July, 15 people were killed and more than a dozen injured when an illegal fireworks warehouse exploded in northern Hebei province. And at least 71 were killed in an explosion at a car parts factory in Kunshan, near Shanghai, in August last year.

The Tianjin disaster is the third in a series of major recent humiliations for China in its attempt to displace the United States as a world economic and military leader. First, China’s huge stock market bubble has been imploding, and China has almost destroyed the Shanghai stock market as a market by using regulations and a tsunami of money to prop it up. And then, in the last few days, China effectively declared war on the world’s currencies with a surprise 2-3% devaluation of the yuan (renminbi) currency. As of Thursday, China has devalued its currency each day for three days in a row. AFP and Al Jazeera

Greece’s island Kos moves to center of Europe’s migrant crisis

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since World War II. With over 200,000 migrants having arrived in Europe this year alone, including 124,000 in Greece, the news focus has moved from place to place, including Italy, Athens, Hungary, and Calais.

Focus is now moving to the Greek island of Kos, where migrants have arrived from Turkey, usually having escaped from Syria or Afghanistan.

Kos has a population of 33,000, and around 7,000 migrants are now waiting to apply for immigration papers. On Tuesday, police beat back migrants with truncheons and sprayed them with fire extinguishers and teargas to prevent a stampede as they were being relocated to a local football stadium after camping along roads and beaches for weeks.

The migrants, including women, children and the elderly, are locked in the football stadium for hours, in the open air under an extremely hot sun, without access to washing facilities or toilets, according to reports. International humanitarian organizations are speaking of “totally shameful” conditions.

Greece’s government is sending a cruise liner with a capacity for at least 2,500 people, converted with a reception center, to process migrant arrivals. In addition, riot police from Athens have been dispatched to Kos. The extra police deployment came after the island’s mayor warned of “bloodshed.” Kathimerini and AFP

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Tianjin, Shanghai, Greece, Kos
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