The state of Oaxaca lies in southern Mexico, far from the US border, nevertheless a number of its residents depend on connections with the United States to survive, and some put on a brave face about their concerns regarding the new president, voiced in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times.
They make a familiar argument from yesteryear: “Who will pick the strawberries?” and seem to think Americans cannot manage without them.
Hardly! The United States won two world wars and became the planetary superpower before millions of Mexicans invaded to “help” us.
In fact, the best thing that could happen to Mexico would be an end to its dependency on American jobs and dollars by enforcing immigration north of the border. Mexico has great wealth at the top and a growing middle class, but the nation behaves like a poor relation, hoping for more crumbs from the rich uncle.
Donald Trump could help make Mexico average again by enforcing a divorce from the Times‘ “shared economy” and that would be a big improvement for both nations.
From her stall featuring regional delicacies — chile-infused dried grasshoppers, juicy white worms from the maguey plant and handmade chocolates, among other edible fare — 63-year-old Eufenia Hernandez issued a challenge to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
“If this individual came down here to Oaxaca, we would put him to work,” she said. “Let’s see if he can work as hard as the Mexicans in the north.”
Hernandez, a veteran border crosser, having made the journey 18 times, has a brother and son in California.
“What would the United States do without Mexicans?” she posed. “Who else would pick the crops? Who would build the homes?”
Mexico too depends on those crops, those homes.
Its citizens in the U.S. sent back nearly $25 billion last year, its second-largest source of foreign income, after manufactured goods and ahead of oil. Much of that ends up in impoverished rural communities like the ones here in the southern state of Oaxaca, which for decades have dispatched young and old to El Norte in a deep-rooted ritual of economic betterment.
The cash they send home builds homes, funds small businesses, refurbishes churches and schools, and provides sustenance for multitudes.
It’s evident in the expansive, half-finished homes dotting the countryside, the Mexican version of McMansions. “They are waiting for more dollars from the north to finish,” people explain.
In the state’s central valley region, lines form daily at banks and money-exchange outlets as people collect cash sent from loved ones.
The cycle of people heading north and money flowing south is so entrenched that no one here can envision it ending. And so while the election of Trump, who has vowed to halt it with a wall along the 2,000-mile border, has spread dismay and apprehension, a more common reaction has been bemusement.
Most everyone in the area appears to have heard of Trump and his threats — his bellicose pronouncements about Mexico have been major news south of the border. But there is a pervasive sense that Trump is bluffing — or will have little appetite to pursue his far-reaching immigration agenda once in office. Or that he will inevitably fail.
“It’s all campaign talk,” Rolando Silvaja Jarquina, a retired teacher, said on a Sunday at a busy market in the courtyard of Tlacolula’s 16th century Catholic church, the Assumption of Our Lady, known for a baroque chapel featuring likenesses of beheaded saints. Continue reading this article
In Idaho, a researcher at the state Department of Labor looked into automation and how it may play out locally. His overall estimate is based on that of the Oxford analysts, that nearly half of state jobs are susceptible within a couple decades.
But there’s no mention that workers are shoppers and are the engine of America’s consumer-driven economy. Nobody is discussing how the financial system is supposed to function without a healthy population of shoppers.
Technology already is changing work force and how jobs are done throughout industries. The state may be a long way out from life as portrayed on “The Jetsons,” but one study projects that many jobs are at high risk of becoming mostly automated in the next 10 to 20 years.
Automation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Clear Springs Foods in Buhl has found that machines can help employees.
“It’s really made people’s jobs easier,” spokeswoman Callie Grindstaff said. “We’re really trying to inform people that manufacturing is way different than it used to be.”
Machines that de-bone trout and perform weight-bearing tasks have helped combat workplace injuries and repetitive-motion conditions such as carpal tunnel, she said.
But, nearly half of all Idaho jobs — 46.5 percent — are highly susceptible to automation in the next 10 to 20 years, reports Craig Shaul, a research analyst supervisor for the Idaho Department of Labor.
So what jobs are more susceptible to automation?
“Those tasks where it takes a lot of man hours to do are the ones where people find machines to increase productivity, having increased quality and reducing error,” Shaul said.
Shaul applied data from a study to determine where automation will have the most effect in Idaho in the next 10 to 20 years. The figures are based on a 2013 Oxford report “The Future of Employment” by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne.
What jobs are safe? Basically “the occupations that require a higher degree of social intelligence, perception and manipulation and creativity,” Shaul said. Seventy-four percent of occupations in science, technology, engineering and math are at low risk.
And soft skills — things like interpersonal communication and problem-solving — are likely to become even more desirable for the future work force. Continue reading this article
Mayor Bill de Blasio and 30 other city and county leaders released an open letter to President Barack Obama today, calling on him to extend executive protections for undocumented immigrants in the final weeks before President-elect Donald Trump assumes the Oval Office.
The missive was a collective effort of the Cities for Action coalition, a group of pro-immigration reform municipal leaders that also includes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. It expended several paragraphs praising the president for his controversial unilateral actions easing deportation enforcement—particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields individuals entered the country without proper paperwork as minors.
As the country braces for Trump to implement plans to expel at least two million foreign nationals, the local officials encouraged the sitting president to allow some 740,000 people participating in DACA to apply for another two-year extension even if their current protection period has yet to expire. Continue reading this article
Every late December sees lists of important events that have come and gone in the past calendar year. One of the most fascinating is the list of top news stories chosen in a poll of US editors and news directors. It is a snapshot of one year’s news, but it can also reveal underlying trends in society, such as the declining acceptance of globalism as a desirable political principle.
The #5 listing of worldwide terror attacks notes murders in the Middle East, along with horrific jihads in the Brussels airport and in Nice, France. The European attacks have been made possible by open borders welcoming historic enemies from the Islamic world.
So that’s four items out of 10 that are news headliners with permissive immigration as a central or important part. But the scribblers still haven’t figured out that not all diversity is equal.
The turbulent U.S. election, featuring Donald Trump’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, was the overwhelming pick for the top news story of 2016, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.
The No. 2 story also was a dramatic upset — Britons’ vote to leave the European Union. Most of the other stories among the Top 10 reflected a year marked by political upheaval, terror attacks and racial divisions.
Last year, developments related to the Islamic State group were voted as the top story — the far-flung attacks claimed by the group, and the intensifying global effort to crush it.
The first AP top-stories poll was conducted in 1936, when editors chose the abdication of Britain’s King Edward VIII.
Here are 2016’s top 10 stories, in order:
1. US ELECTION: This year’s top story traces back to June 2015, when Donald Trump descended an escalator in Trump Tower, his bastion in New York City, to announce he would run for president. Widely viewed as a long shot, with an unconventional campaign featuring raucous rallies and pugnacious tweets, he outlasted 16 Republican rivals. Among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton beat back an unexpectedly strong challenge from Bernie Sanders, and won the popular vote over Trump. But he won key Rust Belt states to get the most electoral votes, and will enter the White House with Republicans maintaining control of both houses of Congress.
2. BREXIT: Confounding pollsters and oddsmakers, Britons voted in June to leave the European Union, triggering financial and political upheaval. David Cameron resigned as prime minister soon after the vote, leaving the task of negotiating an exit to a reshaped Conservative government led by Theresa May. Under a tentative timetable, final details of the withdrawal might not be known until the spring of 2019. Continue reading this article
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Times continued its series of “Desperate Trek” extreme sob stories. The latest has some astonishing assertions, in particular that America can’t refuse bogus asylum-seekers because the consequences of rejection would be “so dire.”
It’s ridiculous that foreigners from distant lands are even allowed to claim they have a “credible fear” of whatever when they are supposed to stop at the first safe country they reach. Obviously the Africans and Asians showing up in Tijuana are just illegal aliens with an Obama-trained song and dance to get into America.
This scam has to stop. America can’t be the flophouse for a billion illegal aliens with sob stories. Hopefully the Trump administration will get to work on this fraud.
The surge of people from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean who have been trekking in ever-greater numbers across the Americas in hopes of reaching the United States presents the new U.S. administration with a conundrum.
As a more diverse group of immigrants from around the globe seeks to enter the U.S. through the Southwest border, deciding whom to let in — and whom to send back — is getting increasingly complicated.
Many of these new migrants are fleeing faraway conflicts and violent political turmoil; they may have taken arduous journeys and spent their life savings to come to America. But figuring out who is truly fleeing repression and who is actually coming here for economic reasons — as many are — is vexingly difficult, given the increasing numbers and the limited resources available to adjudicate their claims.
Letting in too many people, by lowering the bar for political asylum, will only encourage more people seeking economic opportunity to try to enter the U.S., some immigration experts worry. They note that the U.S. already lets in a million immigrants a year legally and — despite the plight of many who have made treacherous journeys to get here — can’t afford to admit everyone.
But the sheer numbers of new migrants and the lack of resources to process their claims has made it hard for true victims of persecution to prove their case — and many, immigrant advocates say, are sent back home to uncertain fates without getting a fair hearing.
Until the last several years, the overwhelming majority of those crossing the Southwest border without visas were Mexicans in search of jobs.
Today’s unauthorized arrivals are more varied, both in terms of where they are coming from and the reasons that propelled them to embark on their journeys. They include hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the violence and dire poverty of Central America, as well as smaller but rapidly growing numbers from Haiti, India, Ghana and beyond. Continue reading this article
The report below from the Houston Chronicle about smart machines in the petroleum industry is helpful because it is fairly precise about how many jobs are being lost. As in many businesses, a complete wipeout of jobs is not what’s happening, but the increased efficiency of advanced machines does remove a significant chunk of human workers.
Here’s a video showing a fully autonomous oil-drilling rig — with no human workers in sight.
Remember when James Dean played a wildcat oil driller in the 1956 film Giant? Constructing oil wells was physical work back in the day.
Fewer jobs are available throughout the economy now because of machines and software performing more tasks that once were jobs for humans, yet the immigration admittance machine remains on auto-pilot which needs to stop, because. . .
It’s a different world today, and people need to wake up to how different the employment universe has become. The energy sector has been touted as an area of job growth, but not so much due to automation.
More automation in drilling could shift work from fields to desks
The oil patch will have fewer jobs in the not-so-distant future as drilling rigs become increasingly automated, with companies putting the latest advances in drilling technology into the field next year.
These new rigs, using sophisticated software and robotics, could reduce the number of people working in the oil patch by up to 40 percent over the next few years, energy analysts said, while requiring more people in information technology to remotely monitor operations and troubleshoot problems. As with manufacturing and other industries that have become increasingly automated, the advances mean that oil and gas companies will likely need more brains, less brawn, and fewer workers overall.
It also means that many of the more than 215,000 U.S. jobs lost in the two-year oil bust — including about 100,000 in Texas — may never return as the industry recovery gains strength.
“That’s always been the Holy Grail to not have to touch the pipe and totally automate the process,” said Byron Pope, an energy analyst at Houston investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. “They’re automating more of the process and eliminating some of the human variability and error.”
Among the automated systems coming into operation next year is the “iRig” of the Houston oilfield services company Nabors Industries. Nabors’ technology, which it calls “iRacker,” uses automated robotics to lift long pieces of pipe from racks, piece them together and drive them into drilled holes to build the wells. Schlumberger, the world’s biggest energy services company is launching its “Rig of the Future,” which aims to drill more holes and deeper horizontal wells from a single location in West Texas shale fields, meaning the industry will require fewer rigs and fewer crews.
Rise of smart rigs
The technology is here, and the oil sector only need embrace it to save money and increase safety, said Chris Papouras, president of Nabors drilling solutions division. Papouras said the systems developed by Nabors and other companies mean that dangerous jobs, such as running steel pipe down wells, that required four or five workers, can be done with a push of a button, increasing efficiency and dramatically reducing the risk of injuries near the wellhead.
“The rig is still treated as dumb iron,” Papouras said. “The oil and gas industry still operates using old models. This is not a technology challenge. This is really a culture shift.”
Within a few years, the number of people on site for each rig at any given time could fall from an average of 25 to 15 people, analysts said. In addition, small “mom and pop” services companies that run pipe casing or attach drilling tools for larger companies could be forced out of business in the years to come. The rigs will automate most of the work of the casing crews as well as that of directional drilling crews that drive attachments to the rig and guide them during drilling, allowing companies like Nabors to do more of the work themselves, rather than hire third-party contractors. Continue reading this article
It sounds good when talking heads on TV jabber that the Republicans control the government, but the reality is more complex. While the GOP dominates the House, the party’s hold on the Senate is a slim 52-seat majority.
Worse, amnesty-hack Repubs are determined to shred US borders and sovereignty — do the names Jeff Flake, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio ring a bell? The traitorous Gang of Eight Republicans remain in the Senate to continue working for amnesty for lawbreakers and increased legal immigration, only the sell-out will now be more sensitively framed as kindness to young DREAMers, etc:
Furthermore, one amnesty of millions in 1986 was an instance of misplaced generosity (where the promised enforcement never occurred) but a second amnesty constitutes a pattern that can never be erased. A second mass reward of lawbreaking foreigners means that immigration anarchy won’t be fixed, ever, because the word will spread across the world that America is still the stupid-generous open-borders soft touch it ever was.
Donald Trump’s pledges to deport undocumented immigrants and build a U.S.-Mexico border wall helped fuel Republicans’ surprising election victories, but they now face growing challenges from fellow party members.
Three Republican senators are working with Democrats to shield about 750,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation if Trump cancels a 2012 order from President Barack Obama that let them stay in the U.S.
Lawmakers want to “ensure that children who were brought here by their parents, through no fault of their own, are able to stay and finish their education and continue to contribute to society,” said Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are joining him on a measure drafted by the No. 2 Democratic leader, Dick Durbin of Illinois, that will be introduced after the new Congress convenes Jan. 3.
Trump’s campaign was largely powered by his get-tough stance on immigration. A Pew Research Center poll in August found that 79 percent of Trump voters want a border wall, compared with 38 percent of all registered voters.
But among lawmakers in Congress, the desire to build a wall along the entire 1,933-mile border with Mexico has evaporated. Republicans in both chambers instead support more fencing, border patrol agents, drones and other resources to curb illegal entry. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said he’ll offer a bill with some of those steps in January. Continue reading this article
After writing dozens of blogs for LimitsToGrowth.org about rapidly advancing automation, robots and computer software, my aim was to produce a series of basic articles that would introduce the subject as a whole to readers who might not have realized the effect of technology on today’s workplace. Many people understand that automation is a growing element of manufacturing that has reduced the need for factory workers, but don’t realize the extent to which the new technology is showing up in every corner of the work universe. The Associated Press reported in 2013 that numerous businesses responded to the Great Recession by implementing machines to replace millions of workers worldwide. It therefore seems clear that the slow pace of employment recovery is at least partially due to automation, although the Obama administration’s numerous regulations have had a discouraging effect on hiring as well.
A little-examined sub-genre of the immigrant Sob Story is the Fear Story where diverse foreigners claim to be anxious about violence against them based on Americans’ alleged racism or Islamophobia etc. But no violence has occurred.
Is it actually News when nothing happens but there is a ginned-up fear that it might? The liberal media apparently believes so.
The Washington Post promoted the idea of immigrant fear of Americans on its Dec. 27 front page where Muslims residing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, say they “hold their breath” about attacks from crazed Americans following President Trump’s inauguration.
Below, the 2013 Boston Marathon was bombed by the two jihadist Tsarnaev brothers and resulted in three deaths and many maimed persons. This attack and many others have created American suspicion of Islam, but the media will not allowed it to be spoken.
Or maybe Americans are just so darn mean that we don’t deserve angelic muslims living among us. The government in that case should end muslim immigration to protect the peaceful followers of allah. Right, that’s the ticket.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — It was here, in this midsize college town in the dead center of Tennessee, that a right-wing effort to ban Islamic law found one of its first sponsors. Here, too, a congressman co-sponsored a plan to “defund Muslim ‘refugees’ ” and local residents sued to block construction of the only mosque, a fight that ended at the Supreme Court.
The town’s Muslims carried on through all of that, raising their children, saying their prayers, teaching at college, filling people’s prescriptions and filling their tanks, contributing to the civic life in a city of 126,000. They felt the familiar grief and fear of reprisal last year when a Muslim man killed four Marines in Chattanooga, 90 minutes away.
Now Donald Trump — a man who has repeatedly cast doubt on the patriotism of Muslims — is the president-elect, and he has selected a national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has called Islam a “cancer.” And a deep unease has again seeped into the daily life of many here in this Muslim community of about 1,500.
There has been a smattering of post-election harassment and insults — at schools, in parking lots, on the road — but nothing to take to the police or put Murfreesboro back in the national headlines.
“Right now, we’re hoping that it’s going to be calm,” said Saleh Sbenaty, an engineering professor at Middle Tennessee State University and one of the founders of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. “But we don’t know if it’s the calm before the storm or the calm after the storm.” Continue reading this article
Last week Fox TV host Tucker Carlson interviewed robotics expert and Columbia professor Hod Lipson, author of Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead to discuss the future of transportation and jobs. The professor is obviously a well educated guy and an expert in his field, but he apparently doesn’t get how the entire basis of a market economy is undermined when workers are no longer necessary for production and services.
Instead, Professor Lipson has the gee-whiz attitude toward automation of many tech elites that makes them rather dim about how economics affects society. The cover of his recent book shows a reclining non-driver reading a book as his robotic car gets him where he’s going — very revealing I thought.
Lipson thinks the answer to the jobs question posed by Tucker Carlson is that unemployed drivers can just find new work somewhere — even though automation is gobbling up employment in all sorts of fields from fast foods to manufacturing.
Curiously, Professor Lipson surmises that self-driving cars will spur automotive manufacturing, while other futurists predict decreased car ownership overall. Perhaps today’s two-car family transported 20 years hence will own one car and summon a second when necessary on a smart phone, or they may not own a vehicle at all. Fewer total cars is the dream of city managers who struggle with traffic and parking issues.
On the bright side, there will be no more drunk driving when a robot is in charge of directing the car.
As Tucker said, driving is a major jobs category that employs millions of Americans, but the self-driving car advocate did not take that concern seriously without repeated prodding. Tucker didn’t buy the pitch that self-driving cars would vastly improve safety either — it’s all about businesses saving money.
TUCKER CARLSON: It’s our birthright: it’s both a joy and a necessity when your country spans a continent, but is it about to end abruptly? Driverless cars are coming, maybe sooner than we think they are, and what are the ramifications exactly? By the way, what happens to the millions of Americans who drive cars and trucks for a living? There at least four million of them. Joining us now is one of the foremost experts on this subject, Hod Lipson. He’s a roboticist, mechanical engineering professor at Columbia in New York and the author of Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead. Thanks a lot for coming on. I think this is a really interesting topic and a cool topic and driverless cars are a marvel, but I think anyone who ponders it for a minute starts to feel concerned for the millions of Americans who drive for a living. So what will happen to them?
HOD LIPSON: I think there’s you have to look at the big picture and realized that what we’re about to experience is a transformation to transportation as a whole, so we’re going to have a lot more cars being driven, a lot more traffic, and a lot more production of cars, so the industry as a whole is going to grow in a big way. We’re going to have a lot more car manufacturing, a lot more mechanics jobs, a lot more jobs for maintenance of roads. So overall we’re going to see an expansion, but it’s true that some jobs are probably going to go away, not completely and driving is one of them for sure.
CARLSON: So that’s not a small thing, I mean this is not buggy whip manufacturing. According to the census, driving commercially, either delivery or trucks, is the single most common job in the majority of states — I think in 29 of 50 states it’s number one and number two and a bunch of others so this is a huge disruption of a massive part of the labor force, and I mean you’ve thought a lot about the technology behind this. Who’s thinking about what happens to those people? What exactly are they going to, do you think? Continue reading this article
For the last several days, the Los Angeles Times has presented a series of featured front page sob stories about how mean America is to illegal aliens. For Christmas day, the front pager was particularly scoldy, by suggesting in effect, “You spoiled citizens are having a wonderful holiday and are too cruel to open your borders to the world’s poor who would like to share the goodies.”
Traveling from Nepal to Tijuana is 8,000 miles, so there’s no question that these are desperate people. But why don’t they pool that considerable energy in organizing to demand their dirt-bag governments be more accountable? Nobody wants to do the hard work of nation-building: they just want to roll in to a place where the government and economy already function.
Note that in the headline below, while thousands are making the long treks from abroad, only “dozens” are sent home. Hmm. Apparently there is no trend toward more enforcement, just a handful of sob stories to be exploited.
Dozens of migrants braved thousands of miles of jungles, seas and bandits to reach the U.S. Then they were sent home.
On a chilly April night in the desert outside Phoenix, Rasel Ahmed, his wrists and ankles bound in cuffs, shuffled onto a bus at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement airfield with a pit in his stomach.
From his home village in the rice fields of eastern Bangladesh, the 30-year-old restaurant worker had traveled through a dozen countries to reach the United States, nearly collapsing in relief when he saw the American flag flying over the border crossing at San Ysidro.
For 18 months he bounced among detention centers in San Diego, Louisiana and Alabama, praying for an immigration judge to let him remain in the country, get a job and support his family 8,000 miles away.
Now it appeared his time had run out.
Rasel sat near the front as the bus approached a plane looming beside an empty airstrip. Two dozen shackled Bangladeshis and Indians twisted in their seats, some shouting in protest, when the bus stopped.
An immigration officer who looked to be from Pakistan barked at the group in Urdu: “You’re all going home, either alive or dead,” he said.
The ICE-chartered flight that took off from Mesa, Ariz., on April 3 carried 85 Bangladeshis, Indians and Nepalis. They had reached the end of a long, unlikely journey to the United States.
They were among thousands of international migrants whose numbers are now surging across Latin America, taking advantage of travel routes and smuggling networks forged over decades by Latino immigrants destined for the U.S.
Nearly all had started in Brazil and snaked north for months, braving dense forests, roiling waters, bandits and gang-infested towns before arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Some attempted to sneak in illegally and were caught; others surrendered to authorities, requesting asylum.
South Asians have become some of the biggest users of this expanding immigration pipeline. In the 11 months ending in August 2016, at least 4,060 Bangladeshis, Indians, Nepalis and Pakistanis traveled to the U.S. along this route, compared with just 225 seven years earlier, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics. Of those, 3,604 were arrested while crossing illegally, nearly a fourfold increase from 2012. Continue reading this article
The ChiCom’s economic success via manufacturing has come with a large cost to the health of the Chinese people and to the environment with choking pollution caused by unrestrained factory emissions. The recent prolonged spell of suffocating smog has shown the severity of the problem.
A few days ago, Beijing issued its first Red Alert of the year for 23 cities and an area roughly the size of the United States. Schools and factories have been shut down. Flights are cancelled because of poor visibility. Half a billion people are affected, and Chinese routinely wear masks in public to filter out the filth they are breathing.
Asia’s growing air pollution – billowing plumes of soot, smog and wood smoke – is making the Pacific region cloudier and stormier, disrupting winter weather patterns along the West Coast and into the Arctic, researchers reported Monday.
Carried on prevailing winds, the industrial outpouring of dust, sulfur, carbon grit and trace metals from booming Asian economies is having an intercontinental cloud-seeding effect, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. . . .
Americans spend a fortune on environmental protection to keep our air invisible, but that expense is being undermined by the Red Chinese and their filthy manufacturing. American industry is required to minimize the pollution it produces, yet we have a trade deal with the ChiComs that treats them as fair partners, not cheaters and major polluters. This sort of fraudulent “free trade” is part of the reason why Americans elected Donald Trump in November.
So when President Trump renegotiates the trade deal with the People’s Republic of China, he can hit them with a pollution charge rather than a tariff.
Pollution levels are six times higher than the World Health Organisation guidelines, Greenpeace says
Residents living in 24 cities across north-east China have been told not to leave their homes after thick grey fog engulfed the region.
The build up of the most severe episode of poisonous smog in a year has prompted a red alert warning, triggering the closure of schools and restrictions on road traffic.
Some 460 million people have been affected by pollution levels that environmental group Greenpeace claimed were six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s guideline levels.
China declared a “war on pollution” in 2014 amid concern its heavy industrial past was tarnishing its global reputation and holding back its future development
But it has struggled to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck economic growth, much of it based on the coal-burning power sector.
The smog – which has shrouded the area for four days– has grounded more than 300 flights from the country.
The chief executive of the world’s biggest oil exporter was also caught up in the disruption, with his plane prevented from landing in Beijing on Tuesday due to the heavy smog.
Amin Nasser, CEO of the Saudi Arabian oil producer Aramco, was due to attend an event on Saudi culture at Beijing’s National Museum.
China’s environment ministry has warned that firms were flouting emergency restrictions.
Some power plants and chemical producers had not scaled back operations in line with new regulations, according to China Environmental News, the official publication of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Continue reading this article
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