Japan's NHK World NEWSLINE program reported on the two disasters to hit Asia this past week. The first report aired April 24, and covered the latest garment factory collapse in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. The second report LinkAsia covered this week aired April 23, and focused on the response to the earthquake in China's Sichuan province.
The upper part of the commercial building suddenly collapsed during the busy morning period. The structure housed a clothing factory, bank and a shopping center. Many people are feared trapped inside. Workers at the factory were starting their shifts and some shops were already open. More than 100 people are reportedly hurt. Soldiers and citizens are helping with the rescue operation. Local media say a crack was detected in the wall of the building on Tuesday, but people were still allowed to go inside.
The response to the Sichuan earthquake is an important test for China's new president Xi Jinping. Five years ago, the former government was widely criticized for its poor response to an earthquake, which also occurred in Sichuan Province. That quake killed nearly 70,000 people. For more on the Chinese government's response to this latest earthquake, here's NHK.
The quake is the first large natural disaster since President Xi took office last month. He swears that his government will do everything possible to help survivors. Officials are also making sure the public knows about the government's efforts.
Premier Li Keqiang traveled by helicopter to the stricken areas on the day of the quake. He instructed rescuers to do all they could to save lives. His visit was reminiscent of the one by his predecessor Wen Jiabao. The former premier visited Sichuan years ago just hours after another huge quake hit the region. He tried to show the government's readiness to support survivors.
Authorities are highlighting other aspects of the government's response to the latest earthquake. Chinese media have been reporting in detail on the rescue effort. State run tv has broadcast repeated footage of the military's operations along with images of people receiving relief goods. Officials seem to want to show the public that the government's response is going well. An expert in risk management with a government affiliated think tank says China's leaders are paying more attention than ever to disaster response.
The disaster is not the only matter at home that China must address, the country's also struggling with a widening wealth gap and the recent outbreak of a new strain of bird flu. Compared to when the 2008 quake struck, people in China can now share information more quickly. Over 500 million Chinese are said to have internet access. Public discontent can spread in an instant.
A posting on China's version of Twitter is critical of the government's earthquake response. It says officials have failed to make use of lessons from the disaster 5 years ago. Wang says authorities need to quickly share information with the public. He says that's crucial for social stability.
China's leaders were harshly criticized for the slow response to the last earthquake in 2008. People were also angered by regional disparities in reconstruction efforts. Members of President Xi's government are keen to avoid making the same mistakes.
(LinkAsia: March 22, 2013)
And finally, on a lighter note, it's springtime in Japan. Cherry blossom season, a big event in Japan, is just about over. But there's another rite of spring. This one is in Kyoto, the old capital. It involves a lot of heavy lifting. Here's Japan's national broadcaster, NHK.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 21, 2013
It doesn't get any busier than this in the Old Daigoji Temple. Contestants try to lift a giant rice cake, or mochi. The women's weight is 90 kilograms. The men's: 150 kilograms. They hold it for as long as possible, making an offering to the gods with their physical strength. Serious challengers can train at a mochilifting center. They stopped by on their way from work. Tires are used instead of cakes. Mieko Tanaka manages the center. Twenty-five years ago, business troubles were getting her down. So she entered the event for the first time. On her third attempt a few years later, she came in first.
Mieko Tanaka, mochi-lifting center:
You learn not to be discouraged. That's what attracts people to this event.
Mika Kitagishi is entering the event for the first time, to cheer up her sick father. The event demands not only upper body strength, but also balance. The trick is to lift the tray at least 85 centimeters and hold it at just the right angle. In the end, it comes down to mental strength, to bear pain and numb leg.
Mika Kitagishi, participant:
I hope when my father sees me pushing myself to the limit, it will cheer him up.
This is the second year Nobuaki Kanaoka has trained here. He is an interior decorator, and his business is suffering. But he enters the contest to get the strength to face the economic slump. The day of the contest arrives. Kitagishi, wishing for her father•s good health. She mustered all her strength, but not her balance.
I did my best, but it wasn't enough. Still, I'll tell my father I want him to be healthy this year.
Now it's Kanaoka's turn.
One minute, two minutes...
I might collapse tomorrow, but I will hold on a little longer. We're challenging our limits, right?
Two minutes and thirty-nine seconds. Kanaoka finishes second.
Second place gives me a completely positive outlook. The training for this contest will give me the energy to face challenges at work.
They make an offering of physical strength. They're granted inner strength. That, plus the satisfaction of challenging themselves to the limit.
Who gets to eat all that mochi after they are done lifting? I love mochi! That's our show for this week. I'm Thuy Vu. See you again.
(LinkAsia: March 15, 2013)
Moving on now to Japan, the country's in an energy crunch. Ninety-nine percent of Japan's crude oil and natural gas are imported. Virtually all its nuclear reactors were closed after the Fukushima disaster two years ago. So the country’s scrambling to find new energy sources to keep the lights on. They may have found a new source deep in the ocean. Here’s Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 11, 2013
Kaho Izumitani, Reporter:
Researchers in Japan have been hunting for methane hydrates since the 1990s. They estimate the deposits discovered in the Pacific could cover the country’s gas needs for 14 years.
And that’s not all. They’ve found evidence of methane hydrates elsewhere in Japanese waters. Some experts say the total amount could provide natural gas for the next century.
The fact that natural gas can be extract within the Japanese exclusive economic zone is a huge advantage for Japanese industry.
The push to find new sources of energy got stronger in 2011 after the nuclear accident in Fukushima. Only 2 of 50 commercial nuclear reactors are generating power right now because of tougher restrictions.
Utility companies are importing more natural gas to fire thermal power plants. That’s caused Japan’s trade deficit to balloon to a record high. It grew to more than 70 billion dollars last year.
Along with methane hydrate, businesses are looking for other energy sources. Workers at a drilling company succeeded last October in extracting shell oil from rock layers deep underground in northern Japan.
Researchers also have their eye on the water’s off Sado island in the Sea of Japan. Oil and natural gas reserves could be sitting nearly 3,000 meters below the seabed. Government officials plan to start test-drilling there in April.
But for now, it’s the revelations about methane hydrate that are fueling excitement in Japan. Experts caution that scientists soon need to create technology to stably extract the gas and reduce costs.
I hope Japan can start production in about 10 years. Many countries are watching how Japan extracts gas from this new resource and whether the method works. If Japan cooperates with other countries as a leader, it can contribute to the world.
Japan is considered a resource-poor nation, but it’s rich in technological know-how. The government and industry hope they can tap that resource and secure safe and stable source of energy that will last for generations. Kaho Izumitani, NHK World, Tokyo.
All this week, Japanese have been marking the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20-thousand people and displaced hundreds of thousands on Japan's northeast coast. The anniversary reverberated in New York as well. Masaaki Suzuki conducted his Baroque Orchestra in memorial concert for victims of the tsunami and last winter's big storm in the American northeast. Here's NHK.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 11, 2013
300 people gathered at a church in Manhattan on March 11. It’s the second anniversary of the earthquake in Japan. The orchestra performed Bach in memory of the victims. It also prayed for the reconstruction of the affected areas.
"I thought it was very beautiful, and I think it’s a very nice gesture that these two different countries are getting together to support the people that had to go through both of these traumatic experiences."
Maestro Suzuki says he is happy because he could finally show his appreciations to Americans for their support.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation, LinkAsia will offer paid internships beginning Summer 2013 and into the 2013-2014 academic year. Students selected to serve as interns will also serve as LinkAsia ambassadors when they return to their college campuses. Please feel free to circulate this posting through your networks. We will be accepting submissions through Monday, March 25th, 2013.
LinkAsia Student Ambassadors is a year-long internship program that provides undergraduate and graduate students in Asian Studies the opportunity to apply their academic learning in a professional journalistic setting. The program provides year-long mentorship, leadership development, journalism training, and hands-on experience creating a dynamic weekly television series. Offered to seven college students each year, the program includes a two-day intensive workshop in San Francisco, followed by a ten-week paid summer internship at LinkAsia’s San Francisco and Washington DC offices. Following this summer experience, LinkAsia Student Ambassadors will return to their individual campuses to engage their communities around Asia through the content of LinkAsia.
LinkAsia Student Ambassador
Job Description and Qualifications
KCETLink is looking for qualified students to become LinkAsia Student Ambassadors for the summer of 2013 and the 2013-2014 academic year. This is a paid internship opportunity, although students have the option to waive payment.
Link TV uses media and the power of stories to engage, inform and inspire its audiences to participate in transformational, sustainable change on issues of global importance. Link TV is operated by KCETLink, the new independent public transmedia organization formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media in December 2012. KCETLink is a viewer-supported 501c(3) organization. For more information please visit www.LinkTV.org or www.KCET.org.
From Beijing to Tokyo, from Seoul to New Delhi and beyond, LinkAsia takes viewers into media about Asia -- from Asia -- offering unfiltered insights into one of the most diverse, fast-paced regions of the globe. Each week, LinkAsia brings you a unique half-hour program that combines everything from the official state news from Asia's top television networks to the trends and conversations rising through Asia's blogs and social media. Viewers can access LinkAsia on LinkTV (DIRECT ch 375/DISH ch 9410), on KCET in Los Angeles, on public television’s WORLD Channel, and online at www.LinkAsia.org.
Ambassadors will spend 10 weeks working at KCETLink’s San Francisco office and in the LinkAsia studio. The internship will begin on June 10, kicking off with a 2-day workshop that will include orientation, grassroots leadership training, shadowing staff, guest speakers and technical instruction. Ambassadors will receive the unique opportunity to work in editorial selection, translation, production, script writing, and creating blogs and pieces for broadcast during their 10-week tenure in San Francisco. After the 10 week internship, Ambassadors will go back to their campuses and work to create awareness of LinkAsia. As this is a YEAR-LONG commitment, Ambassadors will be provided with mentorship from a LinkAsia staff member, who will check in with them throughout the year, and help them craft their own grassroots efforts to raise awareness about LinkAsia on their campus. Examples include: organizing a guest speaker to visit their campus, reposting LinkAsia materials on social media. Upon completion of the year-long program, Ambassadors will receive an additional stipend.
- Bilingual strongly preferred (English and an Asian language)
- Must be able to travel to San Francisco and arrange housing independently.
- Must be able to make a year-long commitment (Summer 2013 and Academic Year 2013-2014).
- Freeman Scholars highly encouraged to apply, Non-Freeman Scholars and bilingual Asian language speakers also welcome.
How to Apply
Please submit your resume and cover letter explaining why you want to be a LinkAsia Student Ambassador toLinkAsiaAmbassador@linktv.org. Please also include a self-made video explaining in both English and primary Asian language the reasons for your interest in this internship. Please post to YouTube or other video hosting site and provide a link in your cover letter. Submission deadline: Monday, March 25th, 2013.
Q: What exactly will I be doing as an intern for LinkAsia?
A: Our interns make valuable contributions to the show every day. They monitor and translate social media from China and Japan, they blog about issues that matter to them, and they occasionally write and shoot their own contributor pieces covering top stories in Asia. Our LinkAsia Ambassadors will also have an opportunity to work on their journalism skills. And we're hoping to provide resources that will help selected candidates prepare for their career. Here are a few examples of contributions from our current interns:
Yohei, our intern from Osaka, Japan, had a personal connection to LinkAsia's coverage of a global soccer match-fixing scandal linked back to Asia. He offered his own take on the scandal from the point of view of a Gamba Osaka fan.
And Jing, from Beijing, China, founded the blog Ministry of Tofu, and is now learning the ropes of broadcast and online video production at LinkAsia. Last year she was blogging about the criticisms of Chinese lawmakers photographed flaunting expensive high fashion products during China's People's Congress. This year the People's Congress tried to scale back on spending, and Jing advanced to making a video about the changes.
Our LinkAsia Ambassadors will also have an opportunity to work on their journalism skills. And we're hoping to provide resources that will help selected candidates prepare for their career.
Q: I don't speak an Asian language. Does this automatically disqualify me from being selected to be a LinkAsia Ambassador?
A: No! We are considering all applicants for LinkAsia Ambassador. Knowing whether or not someone speaks an Asian language helps us match applicants to projects. For example, someone who is fluent in written and spoken Mandarin can help us research stories on Sina Weibo, or someone who is fluent in Thai can help us translate Tweets from Thailand. However, someone who is an English speaker only might be matched with post-production, outreach, or collaborating with a non-native English speaker on projects.
Q: What exactly will I be expected to do for LinkAsia once I return to campus in the fall?
A: Most of our LinkAsia interns leave San Francisco with a deeper understanding of how media works. And they kind of get the hang of how to put together their own stories. They also begin to understand how LinkAsia can be a resource for people who are studying Asia. So, during their 10 weeks in San Francisco LinkAsia Ambassadors will develop their own unique plan for continuing to work with LinkAsia once they head back to school. We're open to ideas. You may want to continue writing blogs and find a way to repost your stories on a university news site. Or maybe you're more interested in planning events and want to see someone who was a guest on our show give a talk on campus. We've also worked with professors and classes as mentors remotely, answering any questions students have about what goes into creating an international news program. As part of the terms of the grant, we will expect you to fulfill this portion of your commitment, but it may look different for each ambassador.
Q: I've never made a video introduction before. What exactly do you want us to post on YouTube?
A: The LinkAsia Team uses applications like Skype and Google Hangout quite a bit to talk with show guests and contributors. Most team members are also comfortable editing video content for web bulletins for the Link TV News App, or for the weekly episodes of LinkAsia. We're asking for video introductions to test your ability to be on camera and produce your own content. Keep your introductions simple, and tell us a bit about yourself. Feel free to get some help from your tech savvy friends who can help you finish and post the video. Use your mobile phone, camcorder, or your webcam to shoot your video. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo have very in depth help sections if you get stuck