Category Archives: Politics

‘I Always Hoped We Would Make Up All The Years We Lost in War’

Taiwan author Chi Pang-yuan, 95, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Indiana. In her acceptance speech, the author of the bestseller “The Great Flowing River” spoke about the connection between her literature and growing up in wartime China, and about helping the now democratic island of Taiwan to play cultural catch-up after the disaster wreaked by the wars of the 20th century:

This is a very extraordinary day in my life. Fifty years ago exactly, in January, I left Bloomington in tears because, as a married woman with children, I had to come home and stop my academic studies. It was a regret I couldn’t forget for years. But I had to compromise.

I received my entire education in wartime China. When the opportunity came for me to study abroad, I chose Indiana University, because at that time, in 1968, comparative literature was the best in the country. Indiana had nearly all the important masters in comparative literature from Europe. And as I had never had such a feast of study, I [did] my best in all the classes. I always felt that 50 minutes was too short for a class, and there was so much to learn, so much to absorb, so much to remember. It is a tradition that Indiana University has developed program after program, and we had the best time, and many people had their best time in the field.

When I came back to Taiwan, I was plunged back into reality, and reality is teaching. For me, my ambition had to be shifted from academic studies to teaching, and I believe I became a better teacher. I remember some of the teachers at Indiana had their own ways of explaining … the connection between literature and culture, between literature and society, between literature and human life.

And at the same time, well, it is a dream that I would help Taiwan to reach some of the aims I had learned in Indiana. So I and a few friends created our Comparative Literature Association in Taiwan. We had educated many young people in the understanding of foreign languages and literature, and we had so many meetings across the whole island. [Those were] very beautiful glorious days, inspired by my classes in Indiana. I can never forget. All those research works and the lists of books helped me my whole life. I cannot forget.

Opening ‘new territories’

When I came back, I always hoped that we [would] make up all the years we lost in war, in disaster. I think Taiwan University has become one of the best research places for the Chinese people. Our English literature department is now producing creative people; creative writing and translation. I have tried to push some translation programs myself, and my friend Chiang Hu has tried to use Western ways [learned in Indiana] to look at Chinese drama. We have opened up many new territories. But you know, 50 years is a long time, a long time for people to develop new things.

I have lived a long life, but I never realized it was a long life, because I am so busy. I am busy nearly every day. I don’t know. I wrote a book about my life, and especially in so-called old age I recorded my life and my loves, especially all the tradition of our struggle in the 20th century. I have lived my whole life in love, especially in the love of my parents, and to my parents, I wrote “The Great Flowing River,” and I remember all my life, and the life that many of my friends lived with me.

I’m so glad that [Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie] saw my book, and had the patience to read my book, about how a Chinese woman living in the worst years has struggled to produce the best fruit. I think that most of you are my friends and students, and you are the best fruit we have struggled to produce.

Thank you for coming.

Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

‘I Always Hoped We Would Make Up All The Years We Lost in War’

Taiwan author Chi Pang-yuan, 95, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Indiana. In her acceptance speech, the author of the bestseller “The Great Flowing River” spoke about the connection between her literature and growing up in wartime China, and about helping the now democratic island of Taiwan to play cultural catch-up after the disaster wreaked by the wars of the 20th century:

This is a very extraordinary day in my life. Fifty years ago exactly, in January, I left Bloomington in tears because, as a married woman with children, I had to come home and stop my academic studies. It was a regret I couldn’t forget for years. But I had to compromise.

I received my entire education in wartime China. When the opportunity came for me to study abroad, I chose Indiana University, because at that time, in 1968, comparative literature was the best in the country. Indiana had nearly all the important masters in comparative literature from Europe. And as I had never had such a feast of study, I [did] my best in all the classes. I always felt that 50 minutes was too short for a class, and there was so much to learn, so much to absorb, so much to remember. It is a tradition that Indiana University has developed program after program, and we had the best time, and many people had their best time in the field.

When I came back to Taiwan, I was plunged back into reality, and reality is teaching. For me, my ambition had to be shifted from academic studies to teaching, and I believe I became a better teacher. I remember some of the teachers at Indiana had their own ways of explaining … the connection between literature and culture, between literature and society, between literature and human life.

And at the same time, well, it is a dream that I would help Taiwan to reach some of the aims I had learned in Indiana. So I and a few friends created our Comparative Literature Association in Taiwan. We had educated many young people in the understanding of foreign languages and literature, and we had so many meetings across the whole island. [Those were] very beautiful glorious days, inspired by my classes in Indiana. I can never forget. All those research works and the lists of books helped me my whole life. I cannot forget.

Opening ‘new territories’

When I came back, I always hoped that we [would] make up all the years we lost in war, in disaster. I think Taiwan University has become one of the best research places for the Chinese people. Our English literature department is now producing creative people; creative writing and translation. I have tried to push some translation programs myself, and my friend Chiang Hu has tried to use Western ways [learned in Indiana] to look at Chinese drama. We have opened up many new territories. But you know, 50 years is a long time, a long time for people to develop new things.

I have lived a long life, but I never realized it was a long life, because I am so busy. I am busy nearly every day. I don’t know. I wrote a book about my life, and especially in so-called old age I recorded my life and my loves, especially all the tradition of our struggle in the 20th century. I have lived my whole life in love, especially in the love of my parents, and to my parents, I wrote “The Great Flowing River,” and I remember all my life, and the life that many of my friends lived with me.

I’m so glad that [Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie] saw my book, and had the patience to read my book, about how a Chinese woman living in the worst years has struggled to produce the best fruit. I think that most of you are my friends and students, and you are the best fruit we have struggled to produce.

Thank you for coming.

Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

U.S. Looks To Cut Iran Oil Exports ’20 Percent’ To Below 1 Million Barrels A Day

The United States wants to slash Iran’s crude-oil exports by some 20 percent beginning in May by demanding that importers reduce purchases or face U.S. sanctions, Reuters news agency reports.

Reuters on March 13 quoted two sources familiar with the matter in its report, quoting one as saying the “goal right now is to reduce Iranian oil exports to under 1 million barrels per day.”

The source added that the administration of President Donald Trump was concerned that if it pushed for a complete and immediate shutdown of Iran oil purchases, it would cause a large rise in prices on the world market.

“Zeroing out could prove difficult,” Reuters quoted one of the sources as saying.

He added that a price of $65 a barrel for international benchmark Brent crude was “the high end of Trump’s crude-price comfort zone.” Brent was selling at about $67.55 a barrel on March 13.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 12 said the United States was seeking to “bring Iranian crude-oil exports down to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit.”

Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative on Iran, on March 13 reiterated the U.S. policy, telling an industry conference in Houston that Washington was committed to bringing Iranian crude exports to zero.

The president “has made it very clear that we need to have a campaign of maximum economic pressure” on Iran, “but he also doesn’t want to shock oil markets.”

The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The United States granted Italy, Greece, Turkey, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan temporary waivers to import Iranian oil when the U.S. reimposed the sanctions in November.

The waivers were aimed at giving these countries more time to comply with the sanctions.

Oil exports are a key source of revenue for Tehran, which has been hit hard by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions, often leading to unrest in Iranian cities.

The United States is expected to renew waivers to sanctions for most countries buying Iranian crude in exchange for pledges to cut combined imports to below 1 million barrels per day. That would be around 250,000 barrels below Iran’s current exports of 1.25 million barrels.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Study: Farmers Need Lower Emissions to Mitigate Rainfall Changes

A radical decrease in greenhouse gas emissions is needed if farmers are to have time to prepare for major changes in rainfall that could decimate crops, researchers said in a report released on Monday.

Already wet areas will see more rain and dry areas will get drier at a pace determined by emissions levels, researchers said in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

These changes will happen regardless of action taken on climate change, but by curbing emissions, countries can buy time to adapt to new rainfall levels.

For this study, researchers looked at wheat, soybeans, rice and maize, crops that make up about 40 percent of the global caloric intake, under different emission scenarios.

“I think it’s worrying,” lead author Maisa Rojas, professor of climatology at the University of Chile told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Even in the lowemission scenarios you see the time of emergence now or very soon.”

“Time of emergence” is the year a region’s normal fluctuations in rainfall shift dramatically.

Most of the crops consumed around the world are produced by rain fedagriculture, according to the International Water Management Institute, a nonprofit science research organization.

About 60 percent of farmed land in South Asia and 95 percent in subSaharan Africa is rain dependent.

If the world meets the goals set out in the 2016 Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius, these regions will have 20 to 30 years to prepare and adapt farming practices.

If these standards are not met and emissions continue at the current rate or increase, some regions will see changes as early as 2020.

Rojas noted that poorer, dryer countries will disproportionately feel the negative effects of such changes and may become dependent on imports.

Dry regions like Southern Africa and Australia, which she said are already seeing a decrease in precipitation, need to immediately look into irrigation systems, dams or growing different foods altogether.

Wet regions like India are more of a mystery.

More rain could benefit crops and boost food production. However, more rain in combination with increased heat and certain soil types may lead to flooding, which could wipe out food supplies.

If the Paris Agreement standards are met, the most impacted areas will have until 2040 to prepare for the coming precipitation changes.

They may have time to limit the land area harmed by rainfall changes and prevent hunger or price hikes to food supplies. This study, said Rojas, is a first look at where we can expect those changes to happen and roughly when they will arrive.

“Every time we thought about climate change up to now, we thought, ‘This is something that will happen in the future,'” said Rojas. “We need to hurry up.”

Source: Voice of America

Japanese Woman Honored by Guinness as Oldest Person at 116

TOKYO A 116yearold Japanese woman who loves playing the board game Othello was honored Saturday as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.

The global authority on records officially recognized Kane Tanaka in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in Japan’s southwest. Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate.

Tanaka was born Jan. 2, 1903, the seventh among eight children. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child.

She is usually up by 6 a.m. and enjoys studying mathematics.

The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117. The oldest person before Miyako was also Japanese.

Japanese tend to exhibit longevity and dominate the oldestperson list. Although changing dietary habits mean obesity has been rising, it’s still relatively rare in a nation whose culinary tradition focuses on fish, rice, vegetables and other food low in fat. Age is also traditionally respected here, meaning people stay active and feel useful into their 80s and beyond.

But Tanaka has a ways to go before she is the oldest person ever, an achievement of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, according to Guinness World Records.

Guinness said the world’s oldest man is still under investigation after the man who had the honors, Masazo Nonaka, living on the Japanese northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.

Source: Voice of America