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Geopolitics

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

CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY, UNITED DAILY NEWS, TAIWAN NEWS (Taiwan)

Worldcrunch

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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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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