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Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

October 02, 2016 from VOA  
Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

What covers nearly 29 million square kilometers of this planet beneath the sea?

The answer is seamounts.

Seamounts are mountains, usually volcanoes, that rise up from the sea floor. Some of the volcanoes are ancient, some are still active. But they are hard to find because they do not reach the surface of the water.

Scientists say seamounts cover more of the earth’s area than deserts, tundra, or any other land-based habitats. Marine life gathers at seamounts because they carry nutrient-rich water upward from the sea floor.

In September, a group of scientists set out to explore Cook Seamount. It rises almost 4,000 meters from the Pacific Ocean floor about 160 kilometers off the island of Hawaii. Humans have never seen it up close before.

The Associated Press went with the scientists, and provided exclusive images and information about this seamount and the marine life around it.

"Pisces V surface you're going in. Roger, going in."

Three people went in a submarine down to over 900 meters below the ocean surface to the top of the seamount. As the blue waters became darker, underwater creatures that glow, by chemically creating their own light, began to swim past the submarine.

The scientists dove below the level where sunlight can reach.

They spotted some wonders-- like a rare octopus with big fins that look like elephant ears. One even changed colors as it swam by the submarine.

The scientists also found several kinds of deep sea corals on the seamount’s sides. These included a possible new species of violet-colored coral they named “Purple Haze.”

Conservation International and the University of Hawaii worked together for the trip to Cook Seamount.

Greg Stone is the lead scientist with Conservation International. He spoke to AP news service on the ship.

“This three day expedition is the start of an effort to survey seamounts throughout the Pacific Ocean over the next five years. And we hope to study a total of 50 seamounts.”

He said humans know very little about seamounts, but they are a “key part” of what drives the ocean. Stone said he wants to find out what is living on the seamounts and how they support ocean life.

“From that, we will understand ocean health, and ocean health relates directly to human health.”

M. Sanjayan is Executive Vice President of Conservation International. He told AP that there are “10,000, maybe 100,000” seamounts across the world’s oceans. He called them “hotspots for marine diversity,” and because most have not been explored, he expects that they will see things new to science when they get there.

Sonia Rowley is a researcher at the University of Hawaii who is taking part in the project. She will be studying the samples taken from Cook seamount.
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

“They were really magnificent actually, there were these huge structures that were going like tens of hundreds of meters high, and then on the edges they were kind of encrusted in many places with this beautiful purple Gorgonian sea fan.”

Cook seamount is an extinct volcano, which means it is not active anymore. It is part of a group of undersea volcanoes known as the Geologist Seamounts, that are about 80 million years old and could hold many new animal species. They could also contain elements such as nickel and cobalt that mining companies could extract.

One of the other two seamounts studied on their trip was Lo'ihi, an active volcano.

Lo'Ihi has been studied by manned submersibles over the past 30 years.

The scientists saw an “old friend” on Lo’Ihi—a shark they had seen there before. They also saw a two-meter long eel and a number of new geological formations around the volcano’s crater.

Scientists say Lo'ihi could someday be the newest island in the Hawaii chain as volcanic activity pushes the seamount upward. But do not look for it to break the surface of the water any time soon. Estimates are that it will not be for tens of thousands of years, if ever.

I’m Anne Ball.


Caleb Jones of The Associated Press wrote the exclusive report. Anne Ball adapted his story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, and find us on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

exclusive –adj. not available anywhere else

habitat –n. a kind of place where certain kinds of animals and plants live and grow

marine –adj. having to do with the sea

virtually –adv. through digital technology rather than physically

encrusted –adj. covered, overgrown

crater –n. a round hole at the top of a volcano or caused by the impact of a meteorite

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Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

October 01, 2016 from VOA  
Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

Antarctica is home to the largest ice mass on Earth.

The continent sits on 14 million square kilometers of rock. About 98 percent of the land surface is covered by ice.

Beautiful lakes have begun to appear on the top of the ice. They look like islands of deep blue in an ocean of white. These lakes are called supraglacial or meltwater lakes.

Although the lakes can be beautiful, the ones scientists studied are a sign of trouble. Amber Leeson is a scientist with Lancaster University in England.

"We really weren't expecting to find lakes as far inland as 20 kilometers, which was the furthest inland lake we found during the study. And it was important that we found the link between the atmospheric temperature and the depth, number, and size of the lakes..."

Scientists say Antarctica has always had supraglacial lakes appearing on the ice during the summer months. But the more lakes there are, the more unstable they make the continent’s ice shelf.

Ice shelves are permanent, but floating pieces of ice that connect to the land. They form where a glacier or ice sheet reaches a coastline and into the sea.

Leeson says water from the lakes can drip down through the glacier, causing the huge river of ice and snow to weaken.

"If they form on the grounded ice, which is the bit of the ice sheet that sits on the bedrock, then the water they contain can drain away through the ice to the base, where it can lubricate the flow of the ice and make it flow a bit faster. If they form on the floating part of the ice, which is where the ice shelf extends over the ocean and begins to float on the sea, by repeatedly filling and draining they can actually weaken the ice shelf."

Leeson and other scientists believe that lakes are partly responsible for the collapse of the Antarctica ice sheets.

"...the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed in 2002 and we think that this is because it was covered in lakes in the years prior to collapse, and that by repeatedly filling and draining, they weaken the ice sheet, leading to its eventual disintegration..."

 And as temperatures rise, the team expects to see more and more lakes appearing in the continent. The scientists fear that all that meltwater could raise the world's sea levels.

I’m Marsha James.

Marsha James wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Her story includes information from an Associated Press report. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

ice mass - n. a large piece of ice

supraglacial lake – n. any pond of liquid water on the top of a glacier

ice sheet – n. a very large and thick area of ice that covers a region

ice shelf – n. a floating sheet of ice permanently attached to a land mass

glacier – n. an large areas of ice formed from falling snow and building up over the years

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US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

2016-10-01 from VOA
US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

The United States announced criminal charges and economic sanctions against four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company earlier this week.

The U.S. government said it acted to punish them for suspected support for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

On Wednesday, a State Department official suggested that more Chinese companies and individuals could face investigation for suspected violations of sanctions on North Korea.

The State Department’s coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee.

He said, “It would also be useful if Chinese banks and companies understood that increasingly dealing with North Korean companies, especially those that are sanctioned, is going to be risky.”

Two days earlier, the Treasury Department announced criminal charges and economic actions against a Chinese seller of industrial machinery. It named four top officials of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Developmental Company Limited (DHID).

The four include the company’s chairwoman, Ma Xiaohong. They are accused of plotting to avoid sanctions against North Korea, and using American financial businesses to hide the money they earned illegally.

Chinese officials also are investigating the company. They are looking at its connection with the Kwangson Banking Corporation, a North Korean bank. U.S. and United Nations have said the bank has provided financial services in support of North Korea’s weapons programs.

A State Department officials said, “This shows we can work cooperatively with China; we both see it in our interests to apply greater pressure on North Korea.”

On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spoke to reporters about the U.S. action. Spokesman Geng Shuang said China was prepared to support U.N. resolutions against North Korea. The resolutions call for sanctions to punish the North for its nuclear and missile tests.

However, the spokesman expressed opposition to other countries using their own laws against companies or people within China.

“I want to stress that we oppose any country enacting so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ using its own domestic laws against a Chinese entity or individual,” he said.

In March, China agreed to the strongest U.N. Security Council sanctions yet to limit trade with North Korea.

The council's members have approved other actions to punish the country for its nuclear activities and missile program. Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

North Korea has faced severe international sanctions to punish the country for its nuclear activity and missile program.

Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

However, new research suggests that North Korean state-operated businesses are using middlemen in China to avoid sanctions.

I’m Mario Ritter.

This story was written from reports by Pete Cobus and Nike Ching for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

entity –n. a legal business or organization, something that exists by itself and is separate from other things

middlemen –n. people who buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else

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New Tech Tools Might Help Americans Choose a President

2016-09-30 from VOA
New Tech Tools Might Help Americans Choose a President

Six weeks remain until elections in the United States. Yet many Americans say they still do not know who they want as president.

Now, there are some new tech tools that might help them decide. Startup businesses are creating products that try to change behavior and increase political activity.

Brigade is one of those startups. The California-based company runs a social media site and mobile app. It did not even exist in 2012, when the U.S. held its last presidential election.

Brigade is a platform for debating and deciding political positions. Users can follow the political issues that interest them, such as gun rights, immigration or the environment.

Matt Mahan was a creator of Brigade and now serves as its chief executive officer. He says a few problems need to be solved to increase American civic involvement.

“We need to give people easy access to the information they need to make decisions, but we also need to embed that within their social lives, we need to make it part of the conversations they’re having with friends, and we need to create cultural norms around participating."

Brigade lets users debate issues and try to influence other people online. Users can also see how their opinions compare with other users as well as political candidates.

"I think that's kind of the point of democracy -- is to create this public square where people can discuss and debate their values, and their perspectives on issues and, ultimately, create trade-offs and come to a conclusion about what's the best way to move forward to kind of create the greatest good for the most people."

Crowdpac is another politically-minded technology company. It also did not exist at the time of the 2012 presidential election.

Gisel Kordestani is Crowdpac’s chief operations officer. The company is, in her words, “using technology to try to help the average citizen to connect and engage in politics.”

The Crowdpac website describes itself as the first crowdfunding site designed for politics. It provides information about individuals seeking public office. It also helps users find and support the candidates who share their opinions. And, it helps those running for office raise money. It does this through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the activity of raising money through small donations from a lot of people. Generally, crowdfunding takes place on the Internet.

Kordestani said technology companies are changing how Americans take part in politics by creating new ways for political participation. That is why, she thinks, politicians should look to Silicon Valley, America’s technology center.

“This region has just grown over the last four decades, has grown into not a powerhouse just in the U.S. but globally, in setting the technology, the platforms and the rules of engagement of society, for work, for the environment, globally.”

Kordestani said many tech companies in Silicon Valley also recognize the importance of working with politicians and the government to create positive changes.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Elizabeth Lee reported on this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story

startup – n. a new business

mobile – adj. able to move from one place to another

access – n. a way of getting at or close to something or someone

embed – v. to set or place firmly in something else

conversation – n. a talk or discussion

participate – v. to be involved with others in doing something

crowdfunding – n. the act of seeking donations from a large number of people, especially on social media or through a website

globally – adj. of or related to the whole world

platform – n. a structure where people or machines do work

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David Titcomb: Transforming Classical Music at New York Orchestra

2016-09-29 from VOA
David Titcomb: Transforming Classical Music at New York Orchestra

That music is Symphony No. 2, known as the Resurrection Symphony. Austrian Gustav Mahler composed the piece in the late 1800s.

Classical musician David Titcomb feels strongly about the composer and his work.

“Mahler is just… It’s so evocative. It’s so emotional and maybe those are cheap thrills, but to me they are deep emotional works especially the Resurrection Symyphony.”

Music has filled Titcomb’s life from almost the start. An inspiring music teacher handed young David a trombone to play in elementary school. He could barely make a sound at that time. But, he stuck with it.

Titcomb studied music at the State University of New York, Purchase. He went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale University School of Music.

David Titcomb played the trombone professionally for more than thirty years. He says it was a difficult decision to stop playing and to do something else.

“When I had to decide to stop my career as a player and move on to just the organizing of an orchestra, it was my heart and soul to play in orchestras and after a 30 year career I think I had done my part and wanted to move aside, now I’m semi-retired I only play the trombone in my wife’s rock and roll band now, but for 30 years I was a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra and I also played very often with the Metropolitan Opera and various other freelance organizations and the New York City Ballet as well.”

Now, Titcomb is the Managing Director for the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY). The organization held its first performance last March. It hopes to bring new audiences to classical music. It aims to make performances higher tech and more affordable.

Titcomb praises the more than eighty orchestra musicians, describing them as among New York’s finest.

“The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York its comprised of many musicians who I have worked with over the last 30 years and many of them continue to work in the major companies at Lincoln Center including Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera and we came together shortly after the nuclear disaster and tsunami in Japan.”
 
Mahler Symphony No. 2 music is reflective of a project dear to David Titcomb’s heart.

David Titcomb has worked effortlessly along with PONY Principal Conductor Maestro Atsushi Yamada on bringing the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and more than 100 choral students from Japan together to perform. The program is called Project Hand-in-Hand.

Project Hand in Hand aims to use performance to support disaster relief, cultural exchange, and education.

David Titcomb says it is a collaboration.

“With our good friend Atsushi Yamada whose our conductor who we worked with at New York City Opera back in the early 2000s and we started as the friends of Japan orchestra we played a concert actually it was Resurrection symphonies about a year after the disaster in northern Japan and we brought over 100 kids just to kind of show them that we were still paying attention and we wanted to give them some inspiration to continue to deal with their troubles and manage.”

The joint performance with the PONY musicians and Japanese high school choir also includes students from American universities.

Titcomb says the collaboration makes him happy.

“Bringing the kids over to play at Lincoln Center a lot of these kids have never been out of there prefecture let alone been on a jet into New York to perform at Lincoln Center. So seeing an orchestra of 90 players on the stage and making music together with a chorus of 200 that what makes me smile.”

Hand in Hand was created in response to the earthquake and tsumani in Japan. Earlier this year, Japan marked the 5th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in 2011. More than 18,000 people died or disappeared. The 9.0 magnitude quake struck offshore, creating a huge, powerful surge of water that rushed inland. Whole towns were destroyed in moments. And, the tsunami caused a major failure at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The result was the worst nuclear disaster the world had ever seen.

More than 150,000 people were forced to leave their homes. Many have not been able to return because of radiation danger.

David says just like the Resurrection Symphony No. 2 by Mahler the music starts dark and has feelings of loss and by the end of the symphony, it is a triumph resurrection and things are reborn. This is the hope David Titcomb and PONY have for the victims of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

I’m Marsha James.

Marsha James wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Try this video quiz to test your understanding of the story.
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Words In This Story

evocative adj. bringing thoughts, memories or feelings into the mind

thrill – n. a feeling of great excitement or happiness

resurrection – n. the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again

symphony – n. a long piece of music that is usually in four large, separate sections and that is performed by an orchestra

semi-retired – adj. working only part time at a career or job because you have reached the age at which you no longer need to work full-time

freelance – adj. working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company

comprise – v. to be made up of something

triumph – n. a great or important victory

reborn – adj. brought back to life

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American College Students Know Little of World Events

September 27, 2016 from VOA  
American College Students Know Little of World Events

Young people in the United States do not have a strong understanding of the world and their place in it.

Two U.S.-based groups, the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Geographic Society, commissioned an online survey earlier this year. They wanted to know what young people educated in American colleges knew about geography, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics.

In general, the results were not very good.

The bad news

The survey was given to over 1,200 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 years. All of them currently attend, or formerly attended, a 2- or 4-year college or university.

The average test score, out of 75 total possible answers, was 55 percent.

The study identifies a few important questions that American students did not know about their own country.

For example, less than 30 percent knew that a treaty requires the United States to protect Japan if it is attacked. Only 30 percent knew that the only part of the U.S. government that can declare war is Congress.

The online survey produced findings that are similar to the findings of other recent studies.

The Internet

Part of the problem, say the organizers of the survey, is the Internet. They say it is becoming harder to get good information about what is happening in the world today.

Susan Goldberg is with the National Geographic Society. She says people never have to see anything that differs from their understanding of the world; many get their news from a newsfeed.

Forty-three percent of those questioned said they read about national and international news on Facebook.

Another problem is that classes do not require students to learn about international issues. That is the opinion of Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"The problem is schools do not require that students take these courses to graduate," he said. "There is a fundamental difference between offering a course and requiring it."

If such information is not required, Haass said, then the United States could have leaders like Gary Johnson. Johnson is the presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party. He did not know about the Syrian city of Aleppo when a reporter asked him about it.

The good news

The survey results were not all bad. The young people who were questioned demonstrated a good understanding of climate change and renewable energy.

Even if the young people failed to understand many of the questions, the majority of them said that international issues were becoming more important to them.

Only two percent said that knowledge of foreign or non-U.S. cultures was not important. One percent said knowledge of world events was not important.

Haass says these findings suggest the need to find ways to get good information to students, both in school and online. To help, the Council on Foreign Relations is creating a new program called CFR Campus, designed to help build knowledge about global issues.

I’m John Russell.

Kevin Enochs wrote this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

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Words in This Story

survey – n. an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something

commission – v. to order or request (something) to be made or done

newsfeed – n. An electronic transmission of news, as from a broadcaster or an Internet newsgroup

online – adj. connected to a computer or the internet

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Health Experts Warn of Overuse of Antimicrobials

Health Experts Warn of Overuse of Antimicrobials

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

For today’s report, we talk about the dangers, not of an illness, but of medicines -- antimicrobial medicines. Health experts are more and more concerned about the overuse of antimicrobials. A growing number of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are developing resistance to these drugs.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the growing resistance is a threat to people and animals alike.

The FAO recently noted an "increased use and abuse of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare." It said their use and abuse has led to a growing number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to traditional medicines.

FAO officials say this can be seen, for example, in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The problem is so serious that U.N. officials called a high-level meeting to consider the dangers of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is also called AMR.

But just how widespread is antimicrobial use?

“We don't really know how much of the antimicrobials, including antibiotics, are being used in food and agriculture.”

Juan Lubroth is an expert on animal health. He serves as the Chief Veterinary Officer for the FAO. He says there are many unanswered questions about the manufacturing and marketing of antimicrobial drugs.

“In fact, we don't really know how much is being made. Who is buying? Who is selling? How much is the international traffic, either as drugs ready to be used or the active ingredient inside a drug that is then formulated someplace else?”

Doctor Lubroth says the overuse of antibiotics involves everything: humans, animals and agriculture get caught in what he calls a cycle of disease transmission.

“We can get sick. They can get sick. They can die. They need the antibiotics to be given in a proper way so they can recover. So, it's not only about food and agriculture. It's also about our dogs and cats, our mascots.”

Misuse of antimicrobials includes failing to follow directions and possibly taking someone else’s medicine. Lubroth admits that even he has misused antibiotics.

“Even I'm guilty. My physician may have given me antibiotics to take for the course of a week, seven days, and I stopped at day six. Well, that's bad. That's not good. That's a misuse of the antibiotics.”

Failure to follow directions when taking medicine is one way germs can develop a resistance to a drug.

The FAO says that antimicrobial medicines are critical in the treatment of farm animals and plants. "Their use," it says, "is essential to food security, human well-being and animal welfare."

Lubroth says the Food and Agriculture Organization has developed a four-part action plan for antimicrobial resistance.

“One is to create the awareness among the general public of the issue. Two would be to have the evidence. Have the surveillance in place that I can monitor when the antimicrobial resistance appears, and I report it in a timely fashion...”

The action plan calls for strengthening governmental agencies that deal with public health, food and agriculture. It also calls for sharing of information with each other and with medical experts.

Another part of the plan is to provide support for good practices in food and agricultural systems and the effective use of antimicrobials. Such drugs are often used in small amounts in animal feed to support growth. Once in farm animals, they become part of the food chain.

“I think that the consumers should be empowered to really push their governments or their food providers that they want safe food -- wholesome food. I think we can all agree on that. We may disagree on some of the specifics of how to get there, but I think that the consumer and the voice of the consumer has to be heard.”

Lubroth says "the long-term consequences of not being able to use an antimicrobials because of resistance” would be terrible. He adds that the medicines bring a "global public good to the planet."

I’m Anna Matteo.

 

Joe DeCapua wrote this report for VOANews.com. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

mascot – n. a person, animal, or object used as a symbol to represent a group (such as a sports team) and to bring good luck

consequence – n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

food chain – n. a series of types of living things in which each one uses the next lower member of the series as a source of food

empowered – v. to give power to (someone)

veterinary – adj. relating to the medical care and treatment of animals

ingredient – n. one of the things that are used to make a food, product, etc.

formulate to create, invent, or produce (something) by careful thought and effort

cycle – n. a recurring series of events: as

transmission – n. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another

awareness – n. the state of knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists

surveillance – medical n. close and continuous observation or testing

fashion – n. manner or way of doing something

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シリア危機 露には停戦実現の責任がある

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Russia responsible for prevailing on Syrian govt to honor ceasefire
シリア危機 露には停戦実現の責任がある

A ceasefire in the civil war between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s administration and rebel forces is on the brink of collapse just one week after the agreement, mediated by the United States and Russia, took effect. This is a serious situation.
シリアのアサド政権と反体制派の内戦を巡り、米露が仲介した停戦合意が発効からわずか1週間で崩壊の危機に陥った。深刻な事態である。

The Assad administration, which is supported by Russia, unilaterally announced the end of the truce and resumed an offensive, claiming that its foes did not observe the agreement. The announcement was apparently prompted in part by suspicions that the United States had bombed Syrian government forces by mistake following the ceasefire.
ロシアの支援を受けるアサド政権が、停戦終了を一方的に宣言した。「反体制派が合意に従わなかった」と主張し、攻撃を再開した。停戦発効後、米軍が政権軍を誤爆した疑いが浮上したことも、背景にあるのだろう。

We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a convoy carrying food and medicine was attacked from the air on the outskirts of Aleppo, northern Syria. The attack forced the United Nations to suspend aid shipments.
看過できないのは、シリア北部アレッポ郊外で、食料や医薬品を運ぶ車列が空爆されたことである。国連は輸送活動の一時停止に追い込まれた。

Roads leading to some sections of Aleppo remain sealed off as government forces besiege them, and hundreds of thousands of residents are isolated and facing air raids and starvation. Didn’t the United States and Russia hurry to reach a ceasefire so as to deliver aid supplies safely and avert a humanitarian crisis?
アレッポの一部地域は政権軍の包囲作戦により、道路が封鎖されている。住民数十万人が孤立し、爆撃と飢餓に苦しむ。米露が停戦を急いだのは、支援物資を安全に届ける手段を確保し、人道危機を回避するためではなかったか。

The United Nations and other parties concerned naturally condemned the airstrike, describing it as a “flagrant violation” of international law. The United States and Russia have engaged in a mud-slinging battle, with Washington claiming the attack was carried out by Russian or Syrian government aircraft and calling for the perpetrators to be held responsible, while Moscow denied culpability.
国連などが「極めて悪質な国際法違反」として空爆を非難したのは当然だ。米国は「ロシアもしくは政権軍による攻撃」と断じ、責任を追及した。ロシア側は否定し、泥仕合が続いている。

The two countries also played a leading role in bringing about a truce in February, which lasted only a few months. The Assad administration and rebel groups were supposed to hold peace talks to establish a transitional government by August, but the plan fell through.
米露は2月にも停戦合意を主導したが、数か月で破綻した。政権と反体制派が和平協議を進め、8月までに移行政権を樹立するという構想もすでに頓挫した。

Don’t maintain status quo

The United States aims at ousting the Assad administration as quickly as possible and forming a new government. Ending the Syrian civil war, which has continued for five years, would allow the international community to focus on defeating the Islamic State of the Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group. It also would serve to help resolve the refugee crisis. We consider this a reasonable approach.
米国は、アサド政権の早期退陣と新政権の発足を目指す。5年に及ぶ内戦を終結させれば、過激派組織「イスラム国」の打倒に国際社会が集中できる態勢が整う。難民問題を収拾する契機にもなる。妥当な考え方と言えよう。

However, Russia’s stance poses a problem.
問題なのはロシアの姿勢だ。

It places top priority on maintaining the Assad administration, which has been said to have used chemical weapons, and seizing the initiative on the Syrian situation from the United States. Moscow intervened militarily in Syria a year ago on the pretext of eradicating ISIL, and it has carried out airstrikes and other attacks to help government forces come from behind and take the offensive.
化学兵器使用も指摘されるアサド政権を温存し、シリア情勢の主導権を米国から奪うことを最優先目標としている。1年前に「イスラム国」掃討の名目で軍事介入し、劣勢だった政権軍の反転攻勢を空爆などで後押しした。

Russia has the responsibility and influence to press government forces to observe the ceasefire. It is not acceptable for Moscow to try to maintain the status quo by exploiting the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama has only four months left before leaving office.
ロシアには、政権軍に停戦を守らせる責務と影響力がある。オバマ米大統領の任期が残り4か月しかないことにつけ込み、現状維持を図る工作は許されまい。

Syria faces an increasingly complex situation in its civil war. Neighboring Turkey has sent tanks across the common border in an effort to prevent the forces of the Kurdish minority, which Ankara regards as a foe, from expanding the areas it controls. An Iranian contingent, meanwhile, is also helping government forces in the civil war. These countries should exercise self-restraint.
シリアの戦況は複雑さを増している。隣国トルコは、敵対する少数民族クルド人勢力の支配地域の拡大を抑えるため、戦車部隊を越境させた。イランからは、政権軍を支援する組織が参戦している。関係国の自制が求められよう。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would provide about $1.13 billion in aid for residents in Syria and its neighbors. We hope that Japan will continue its efforts to establish conditions to resolve the Syria crisis by making nonmilitary contributions.
安倍首相は、シリアや周辺国の住民向けに約11・3億ドルの支援を表明した。日本は引き続き、非軍事面の貢献を通じ、危機を解決する環境の醸成に努めたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2016)

続きを読む

難民と世界 もっと支援に本腰を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 23
EDITORIAL: Japan must step up commitment to assisting the world’s refugees
(社説)難民と世界 もっと支援に本腰を

Imagine that half of all Japanese were driven from their homes--that comparison could be one way to help envisage the sheer extent of the crisis.
日本人の2人に1人が家を追われた。こう例えれば事態の規模がイメージできるだろうか。

The number of forcibly displaced people around the world has reached 65 million, a record high after World War II.
世界の難民・避難民が6500万人に達し、第2次大戦以降で最大になった。

Apart from refugees fleeing from persecution and war, there is also a rapid spread in the flow of migrants moving to other countries in quest of better lives.
迫害や戦火を逃れる難民だけではない。より良い暮らしを求めて他国へ渡る移民の流れも急速に広がっている。

A summit was held recently at the United Nations to seek international cooperation on measures to deal with this urgent issue.
この喫緊の問題にどう取り組むべきか。その国際協調を探るサミットが国連で開かれた。

The outflow of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, which are embroiled in civil wars with no end in sight, is particularly serious. The global community must strengthen their efforts to achieve cease-fires and, at the same time, turn their attention before anything else to nations adjacent to those countries, which are suffering under the burden of hosting the refugees.
とりわけ内戦の出口が見えないシリア、アフガニスタンなどから逃れる難民の流出は深刻だ。国際社会は停戦への努力を強めるとともに、難民受け入れの負担に苦しむ周辺国に、まず目を向ける必要があろう。

Lebanon has accepted more than 1 million Syrian refugees, whereas 2.5 million people have taken shelter in Turkey. These and other countries are giving out silent screams saying that they cannot sustain more.
100万人超のシリア難民を受け入れたレバノンや、250万人が避難したトルコなどからは「限界だ」との声が漏れる。

It stands to reason that a declaration, which was unanimously adopted at the summit, referred explicitly to a “more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility.” In this age, wherein people migrate on a global scale, the issue of refugees and migrants has direct consequences for politics and the economy of the world. The burden should be shared by the entire international community, irrespective of the distance from conflict zones.
全会一致で採択された宣言に「責任の公平な分担」が明記されたのは当然だ。地球規模で人が移動する時代であり、難民・移民問題は世界の政治・経済に直結する。紛争地からの距離にとらわれず、国際社会全体で負担を分かち合うべきだ。

How, then, should respective countries share it? The fact that no specific figures or deadlines were included in the declaration has left a major task unfinished.
では、各国がどう分担するのか。具体的な数字や期限が宣言に盛り込まれなかったことは、大きな課題として残った。

In the backdrop of the indecisive attitude is a rise in exclusionary sentiment, which is derived from a fear of terrorism and anxiety about jobs being snatched away. Politicians and political parties that make similar arguments are gaining momentum in recent years in Western countries.
腰が引ける背景には、テロの恐怖や、「仕事を奪われる」との不安による排斥感情の高まりがある。欧米では近年、そうした主張をする政治家や政党が勢いを増している。

But that sort of exclusionist reproach is often an act of shifting the blame on others by exploiting the anger of the public toward a broad array of social problems, including wealth disparity. In the long run, refugees and migrants have brought no small benefit and vitality to their host countries.
しかし、こうした排他的な非難は、貧富の格差など広範な社会問題への国民の怒りを利用した責任転嫁であることも多い。長い目で見れば、難民や移民は受け入れ国に、利益や活力を少なからずもたらしてきた。

Representatives of managers’ and workers’ groups said during the summit conference that accepting migrants and refugees in an orderly manner invigorates the economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has also pointed out that doing so has a positive long-term impact on the economy. National governments should properly explain to their respective public about that positive aspect of accepting refugees and migrants.
サミットの会合で、経営者や労働者の団体は「秩序ある移民や難民の受け入れは経済を活性化させる」と述べた。経済協力開発機構(OECD)も、長期的に経済的にプラスになると指摘する。各国政府は、そうした受け入れのメリットについて国民にきちんと説明すべきだ。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during the summit that Japan will provide about 280 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in a package to assist host countries and accept 150 Syrian students.
安倍首相は受け入れ国支援のための約2800億円の拠出や、シリア人留学生150人の受け入れなどを表明した。

But there is no change in the fact that Japan is accepting significantly fewer refugees than many other countries, a reality that is drawing international criticism.
だが、多くの国と比べて難民の受け入れが極端に少ない現実は変わっておらず、国際的に批判の的となっている。

A growing number of businesses are hiring refugees, and an increasing number of individuals are making donations to groups assisting refugees, in Japan in recent years.
近年は日本でも難民の雇用に取り組む企業や、支援団体に寄付する人が増えている。

The government of Japan should also broaden its range of actions and open its doors more boldly to the rest of the world in aspiring to be a country that sufficiently fulfills its responsibilities.
政府も行動の幅を広げ、もっと世界に門戸を開き、十分な責任を果たす国の姿をめざすべきだ。

続きを読む

日米国連演説 連携して対北制裁を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan, U.S. must join forces to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea
日米国連演説 連携して対北制裁を強化せよ

What should be done about the North Korean threat, which has entered a new phase? Japan and the United States should cooperate closely and utilize the United Nations effectively.
新たな段階に入った北朝鮮の脅威に、どう対処するか。日米両国は、緊密に連携し、国連を効果的に活用すべきだ。

Addressing a U.N. General Assembly session, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, saying: “The threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now. We must thwart North Korea’s plans.”
安倍首相が国連総会で演説し、北朝鮮の核・ミサイル開発について「これまでと異なる次元に達した。計画をくじかなくてはならない」と非難した。

North Korea has carried out two nuclear tests and launched more than 20 ballistic missiles so far this year. Some of them landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
北朝鮮は今年、核実験を2回強行した。20発以上の弾道ミサイルを発射し、日本の排他的経済水域(EEZ)にも着弾させた。

“It is purely a matter of good fortune that no commercial aircraft or ships suffered any damage during this incident,” Abe said. This comment is right on the money.
首相が「航空機や船舶に被害がなかったのは全くの偶然に過ぎない」と指摘したのは当然だ。

Pyongyang has repeatedly disregarded the sanctions resolutions adopted against it by the U.N. Security Council. Abe stressed, “The raison d’etre of the United Nations is now truly being tested.” To force North Korea to abandon its ambition of possessing nuclear weapons, imposing tougher sanctions is indispensable.
北朝鮮は国連安全保障理事会の再三の制裁決議を無視している。首相は「国連の存在意義が問われている」と力説した。核保有の野心を断念させるには、更なる制裁強化が不可欠である。

Abe exchanged views with U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Theresa May — leaders of two of the five permanent members of the Security Council — among others. It is of no small significance that Abe has won the cooperation of leaders of these countries to work toward adopting a new resolution on sanctions against North Korea.
首相は、安保理常任理事国である米国のオバマ大統領、英国のメイ首相らと意見交換した。新たな制裁決議の採択に向けて、協力を確認した意義は小さくない。

The key to adopting a new resolution and ensuring the effectiveness of sanctions is how China, which is passive about additional sanctions, will respond. It is important for Japan, together with the United States and other countries, to press Beijing to join the effort to constrain North Korea.
新決議の採択と、制裁の実効性確保のカギは、追加制裁に消極的な中国の対応である。米国などとともに、中国に北朝鮮包囲網に加わるよう促すことが重要だ。

Pressure on China key

The 60th anniversary of Japan’s U.N. membership is in December. Japan is currently serving as a nonpermanent member of the Security Council for the 11th time, more than any other U.N. member. Japan’s financial contributions to the United Nations exceed $20 billion.
今年12月、日本は国連加盟60年を迎える。安保理の非常任理事国を加盟国で最多の11回務めている。支払った国連分担金などの累計は200億ドルを上回る。

Japan must fulfill its role in tackling the latest North Korean action also from the viewpoint of realizing Security Council reforms and becoming, along with others, a permanent member of that body.
日本は、安保理改革を実現し、常任理事国入りを目指すうえでも、今回の北朝鮮問題できちんと役割を果たしたい。

In his final U.N. address as U.S. president, Obama also emphasized the need for applying pressure on Pyongyang, saying: “When North Korea tests a bomb that endangers all of us.”
オバマ氏も任期最後の国連演説で、核実験は「我々すべてを危険にさらす」と述べ、北朝鮮への圧力を強める必要性を強調した。

We cannot overlook the fact that four of five North Korean nuclear tests were conducted while Obama was president of the United States. It is painfully regrettable that his administration failed to apply sufficient pressure on Beijing to rigorously impose sanctions. This eventually led to North Korea making progress in its nuclear and missile development program.
見過ごせないのは、北朝鮮の5回の核実験のうち、4回がオバマ政権下で実施されたことだ。中国に制裁履行を徹底させられず、核・ミサイル開発の進行を結果的に許したのは痛恨である。

With China’s self-serving expansion of its maritime activities and Russia’s intervention into the affairs of Ukraine in mind, Obama expressed a sense of alarm, saying: “Powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law.”
オバマ氏は、中国の独善的な海洋進出やロシアのウクライナ介入を念頭に、「強国が国際法に挑んでいる」との危機感も示した。

Reflecting on the war in Iraq waged by the previous Bush administration, Obama’s diplomacy has attached more importance to international collaboration. The Obama administration has achieved results by reinforcing its alliance with two Asian allies — Japan and South Korea. But its influence in the Middle East and vis-a-vis China and Russia has undeniably declined.
ブッシュ前政権によるイラク戦争の反省から、オバマ外交は国際協調を重視した。日韓との同盟強化で成果を上げたが、中東や対中露での影響力低下は否めない。

While the United States has given up its conventional role as the “world’s policeman,” in which it actively intervened in international disputes, moves to change the status quo by force have intensified. This, in one respect, has led to the emergence of extremist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Doesn’t Obama feel regret about such a development?
「世界の警察官」として紛争に積極介入する役割を米国が回避した隙に、「力による現状変更」の動きが強まり、「イスラム国」などの過激派組織が台頭した側面もある。オバマ氏にも、忸怩じくじたる思いがあるのではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 23, 2016)

続きを読む
クリック募金^^
プロフィール
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■近況

2009年の9月15日に脳梗塞を発症、右手が少し不自由になりました。
MRAで脳梗塞の部位を特定でき、素早い処置をとれたので大事に至りませんでした。
快復にむけてリハビリ中です。
(2011/01/01更新)

■自己紹介・リンク

[ はじめに ]
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[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
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seesaaサイト内リンク一覧:
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03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
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17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
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