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Did Beijing Floods Claim One More Victim: The City's Mayor?



BEIJING - According to Xinhua News, Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong, resigned from his post on July 25 along with the vice-mayor, Ji Lin. The very short report did not give an explanation for the resignation of the city's top officials. Wang Anshun, a Beijing city official since 2007, was appointed acting mayor to replace Guo Jinlong who has been in the post for five years.

Overwhelming rainfall, the heaviest in 60 years, hit China's capital on July 21st last weekend causing at least 37 deaths and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The casualty figures are still preliminary. Some speculated that Guo Jinlong and Ji's resignation is related to mishandling of the flood emergency, according to the United Daily News.

However, some observers said that the Mayor Guo Jinlong had already been tapped for promotion to Communist Party Secretary, and that his resignation was not unexpected. Likewise, Ji Lin has taken up a position as head of the city's Political and Legal Committee.

A source at the municipal government also revealed that Guo's promotion to full-time party secretary was decided a long time ago but finalized today, Central News Agency reported.

The deadly flooding was a major embarrassment for Beijing, which spent billions of dollars modernizing the city just before the 2008 Olympics Games while apparently neglecting its drainage infrastructure, reports the Taiwan News. In the last few days, China's media and netizens have piled on criticism of the city's handling of the disaster relief and its lack of preparedness. Some Beijing inhabitants fear that the municipal government will hide the real casualty statistics as it did while handling the SARS epidemic in 2003.

Like President Hu Jintao, Guo Jinlong had been a former District Party Secretary for Tibet and is in general considered as belonging to Hu's faction.

According to the Central News Agency, Guo's successful hosting of the Olympics 4 years ago as well as his seniority as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China are his political capital. He is expected to become a Politburo member later this year.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Will Winter Crack The Western Alliance In Ukraine?

Kyiv's troops are facing bitter cold and snow on the frontline, but the coming season also poses longer term political questions for Ukraine's allies. It may be now or never.

Ukraine soldier in winer firing a large canon with snow falling

Ukraine soldier firing a large cannon in winter.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Weather is a weapon of war. And one place where that’s undoubtedly true right now is Ukraine. A record cold wave has gripped the country in recent days, with violent winds in the south that have cut off electricity of areas under both Russian and Ukrainian control. It's a nightmare for troops on the frontline, and survival itself is at stake, with supplies and movement cut off.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This is the reality of winter warfare in this part of Europe, and important in both tactical and strategic terms. What Ukraine fears most in these circumstances are Russian missile or drone attacks on energy infrastructures, designed to plunge civilian populations into cold and darkness.

The Ukrainian General Staff took advantage of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Kyiv to ask the West to provide as many air defense systems as possible to protect these vital infrastructures. According to Kyiv, 90% of Russian missile launches are intercepted; but Ukraine claims that Moscow has received new weapon deliveries from North Korea and Iran, and has large amounts of stocks to strike Ukraine in the coming weeks.

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