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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Personal Safety In Riot Situations - An toàn cá nhân trong tình huống bạo loạn

Personal Safety In Riot Situations - An toàn cá nhân trong tình huống bạo loạn

Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart discusses personal safety during mob violence situations while using the recent London riots as an example.
In today’s Dispatch we’re going to change gears a little bit and take a tactical and a practical look at riots and using the topic of the London riots, discuss how people should behave and what you should do when riots happen.
It needs to be understood that riots and mob activity can and quite frequently do turn violent. It is still very important for regular citizens just to maintain a heightened alert of situational awareness during times of civil disobedience. So what you’re going to want to do is really keep alert as to what’s going on through the news media. You are going to obviously want to keep your eyes and ears open to see what is happening on the street outside your hotel or outside your residence or business. In a lot of recent riots including the London riot, there have been a lot of rumors that the protesters are actually using twitter and instant messaging and blackberries to coordinate their movements. If you can find out which twitter feeds that the protesters are using, that can allow you to really monitor where they’re going, what their intentions are and that can also help you stay one step ahead of them and help you stay out of trouble.
If you are a foreigner you are going to want to make sure that you’re connected with your government and with your embassy. A lot of governments allow you to register and they will send out either text warnings or email warnings to you that will let you know when things are going on. One of the positive things about being registered with your embassy is that if it does become necessary to evacuate from a country — especially a Third World country that’s kind of remote — it’s nice to be on the Embassy system so they know you’re there, they will be looking for you and they will account for you when they are looking for space to get you out whether it is on a ship or an aircraft.
If you are a resident in a city like London or you’re just a visitor, the second thing that you want to do is to start looking at your contingency plans and your fly-away kit. You want to make sure that you have everything you need packed and ready to go in case you need to run. It’s also important to remember that most security measures and physical security measures were made to protect against one threat but not really the mob violence threat. Many times in a mob violence type situation, they can turn into a confining cage that can actually endanger you. If a mob has time and they have sledgehammers, pipes, they can break through bulletproof windows or bullet resistant windows, they can break through heavy doors and they can get into a facility given that time. It may take a half-hour, it may take 40 minutes but they can get through those the security measures so just because you have good security at your site, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be prepared to get out of there and to fly to safety.
One of the things after we’ve gotten intelligence on our eyes, once we examine our contingency plans and our fly-away kits we also then want to figure out exactly where our line is when we’re going to want to withdraw, and this is going to be something that each individual is going to have to come up with themselves; when the rioters get to such and such an intersection such and such block, this is the place where I’m going to want to make my escape and get out of the area.
There are also different kinds of mob violence and it’s important to remember that. In cases like London it’s basically general, you have a lot of looting and some of this is really kind of a financially motivated. You have kids that are hitting sporting goods stores to steal sneakers, they are hitting electronics stores; it’s not really directed against any one group or any sort of ethnicity. However, there are other cases we’ve seen some past London riots, for example the May Day riots in 2000, we had a very anti-globalization campaign going on and in those kinds of riots multinational corporations and hotels and banks and restaurants were attacked just because they were a part of these globalized chains. So really understanding what the riots are about, what’s motivating the mob and who they are going to target is very important in creating your plan and creating your understanding of when you need to pull out of the area. Once the mob is attacking there’s really very little that a person can do to defend themselves or their property and it’s really at that point where you need to forget about the property and be much more concerned about saving life.

China's Trouble In Managing Growing Social Concerns - Trung Quốc: Khó quản lý các vấn đề xã hội

China's Trouble In Managing Growing Social Concerns - Trung Quốc: Khó quản lý các vấn đề xã hội.

August 11, 2011

China Director Jennifer Richmond discusses recent security issues facing China, which may have an impact on the country’s ability to manage stability.
Giám đốc Trung Hoa Vụ Jennifer Richmond thảo luận về vấn đề an ninh gần đây Trung Quốc phải đối mặt, có thể có tác động đến khả năng quản lý ổn định của đất nước.
In today’s dispatch we want to explore some security issues that we’ve been watching with increasing interest that have an impact on China’s social stability.
Trong bản thông điệp hôm nay chúng tôi muốn khám phá một số vấn đề an ninh mà chúng tôi đã theo dõi với sự quan tâm ngày càng tăng đã tác động đến ổn định xã hội của Trung Quốc.
We have noted on several occasions the current uptick in social instability and social unrest over the past year and the aggressive security response. Even today, we’ve seen increases in arm patrols in Kunming and Yunnan province with no current explanation. Although Beijing has always been sensitive to mass protests, we’ve noticed in the past year, especially beginning this year with the “Jasmine” protests, that there has been an increased sensitivity towards any type of unrest. Now the Jasmine protest didn’t amount to much, but what was most important about them is that they were more on a national scale than the local-level protests that are more manageable to Beijing.
Chúng tôi đã ghi nhận nhiều lần sự gia tăng mạnh về bất ổn xã hội hiện nay và động loạn xã hội trong năm qua và những phản ứng an ninh mạnh mẽ. Thậm chí ngày nay, chúng ta đã thấy sự gia tăng các cuộc tuần tra vũ khí tại Côn Minh và tỉnh Vân Nam mà không có lời giải thích nào. Mặc dù Bắc Kinh luôn luôn nhạy cảm với các cuộc biểu tình, chúng tôi đã nhận thấy trong năm qua, đặc biệt là đầu năm nay với các cuộc biểu tình “Hoa Nhài”, đã có sự tăng nhạy cảm đối với bất kỳ loại tình trạng bất ổn nào. Bây giờ các cuộc biểu tình Hoa Nhài không nhiều, nhưng cái quan trọng nhất về các cuộc biểu tình là chúng nằm ở quy mô quốc gia so với các cuộc biểu tình ở cấp địa phương vốn dễ quản lý hơn đối với Bắc Kinh.

Beijing’s sensitivities were showcased last week in the aftermath of the Wenzhou train crash. Even the Party’s mouthpiece, Xinhua, ran a story on the accident quoting Liu Tiemin, who said it was not an appropriate rescue at all. And the People’s Daily said that the country wants development but not a blood-soaked GDP. The government quickly covered up the incident by actually burying some of the mangled train carriages and, with it, also burying evidence to do further investigation.
Nhạy cảm của Bắc Kinh được biểu thị tuần trước khi đối phó với những hậu quả của vụ tai nạn tàu Ôn Châu. Ngay cả các quan ngôn luận của Đảng, Tân Hoa xã, đều đưa ra một câu chuyện về tai nạn bằng cách trích dẫn Liu Tiemin, khi ông nói rằng nó không phải là một sự cứu hộ thích hợp. Và Nhân dân Nhật báo nói rằng đất nước muốn phát triển nhưng không phải là GDP thấm máu. Chính phủ đã nhanh chóng che đậy bằng cách chôn vùi thực sự một số toa xe đã bị hư hỏng, và với việc đó, họ đã có thể chôn vùi bằng chứng để điều tra sau này.
The censors quickly sent out directives to the media to mute any critical coverage of the accident. Again, nothing new, although some journalists have said that this is one of the more desperate bans on the media that they’ve noted in the recent past.
Kiểm duyệt nhanh chóng ra chỉ thị cho các phương tiện truyền thông bit miệng bất kỳ bài chỉ trích nào về vụ tai nạn. Một lần nữa, không có gì mới, mặc dù một số nhà báo đã nói rằng đây là một trong các cấm đoán tuyệt vọng hơn trên các phương tiện thông tin mà họ đã thấy được trong thời gian qua.
What is new, however, is the open defiance of this ban. One of China’s weeklies, the Economic Observer, was said to have continued to run stories even after this directive was made. Furthermore, China’s micro-blogging service Weibo, which operates similar to Twitter has continued to showcase angry citizens’ complaints over the crash, and many journalists who were banned from writing on the crash have reposted their pieces on Weibo.
Tuy nhiên, cái mới là thách thức công khai đối với lệnh cấm này. Một tuần báo của Trung Quốc, Nhà quan sát kinh tế, được biết là vẫn tiếp tục đăng tải các câu chuyện ngay cả sau khi chỉ thị này được ban hành. Hơn nữa, dịch vụ micro-blogging của mạng Weibo Trung Quốc, hoạt động tương tự như Twitter đã tiếp tục giới thiệu các khiếu nại của công dân tức giận về vụ tai nạn, và các nhà báo bị cấm viết về vụ tai nạn đã đăng lên Weibo các bài viết của họ.
Despite China’s huge sensor army they have been unable to clamp down on the massive outcry, and there are even now hints that China may shut down Weibo entirely in an effort to curb the deluge. It is one thing for Weibo that caters more to the computer-literate and to the upper and middle classes to post stories of social frustration, but when the state media also does so, it taps into the deep-seated frustrations of the masses. It is the spread of dissatisfaction and the potential for disparate socioeconomic groups to unite that is most worrisome to Beijing.
Mặc dù đội quân do thám khổng lồ, Trung Quốc đã không thể kiểm soát được sự phản đối kịch liệt trên diện rộng, và thậm chí đã có gợi ý rằng Trung Quốc có thể đóng cửa Weibo hoàn toàn trong một nỗ lực nhằm hạn chế cơn hồng thủy. Một trong những việc Weibo làm là phục vụ những người biết sử dụng máy tính và tầng lớp thượng lưu và trung lưu để họ gửi những câu chuyện về sự thất vọng trước xã hội, nhưng khi các phương tiện truyền thông nhà nước cũng làm như vậy, nó đã khoét sâu thêm vào những thất vọng sâu xa của quần chúng. Nó làm lan truyền sự bất mãn và khả năng tiềm tàng để các nhóm kinh tế xã hội khác nhau liên kết lại và đó là điều đáng lo ngại nhất đối với Bắc Kinh.
Beijing is known to deflect internal criticisms by expanding on international tensions and there are now rumors that they may use the South China Sea issue to deflect attention away from these domestic concerns. This may even lead to some military confrontation. In the meantime, in an effort to rein in the rapid use of the Internet and its ability to harness public opinions, Beijing has recently announced a new security initiative to install on all public WiFi a system that monitors all Internet activity and records customers’ identities.
Bắc Kinh được biết đã làm chệch hướng những lời chỉ trích nội bộ bằng cách mở rộng các căng thẳng quốc tế và hiện nay có tin đồn rằng họ có thể sử dụng các vấn đề Biển Đông để đánh lạc hướng sự chú ý đối với những vấn đề trong nước. Điều này thậm chí có thể dẫn đến một số đối đầu quân sự. Trong khi đó, trong một nỗ lực để kiềm chế việc sử dụng nhanh chóng Internet và khả năng kiểm soát ​​công luận, Bắc Kinh mới đây đã công bố một sáng kiến ​​an ninh mới được cài đặt trên tất cả các hệ thống WiFi công cộng để theo dõi tất cả các hoạt động Internet và ghi lại nhân thân của khách hàng.
Although Beijing claims that this effort is to decrease lawlessness, due to heightened sensitivities we can only assume that it would also be used to tap into discussions that are increasingly turning toward Beijing and national criticism over issues like corruption and GDP growth at the expense of public safety. With tensions in the government already growing as the 2012 transition nears, as well as a slowing economy on the horizon, it is the reaction to the unexpected that could serve as an important bellwether to China’s future.
Mặc dù Bắc Kinh tuyên bố rằng nỗ lực này là để giảm tình trạng vô luật pháp, do tính nhạy cảm cao chúng ta chỉ có thể giả định rằng nó cũng sẽ được sử dụng để khai thác vào các cuộc thảo luận ngày càng chuyển hướng tới Bắc Kinh và phê bình quốc gia này về các vấn đề như tham nhũng và tăng trưởng GDP bằng mọi giá hy sinh cả sự an toàn của nhân dân. Với những căng thẳng trong chính phủ gia tăng khi quá trình chuyển giao quyền lực 2012 đang đến gần, cũng như một nền kinh tế phát triển chậm lại đã thoáng bóng ở đường chân trời, chính phản ứng với những vấn đề bất ngờ có thể đóng vai trò ai là kẻ dẫn đầu quan trọng đối với tương lai của Trung Quốc.

China's Limited Economic Options
A man checks share prices in Wuhan, Hubei
China’s consumer price index and producer price index rose in July, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics reported Aug. 9. The numbers indicate that inflation is continuing. Beijing must tread carefully in order to combat inflation while preventing a potential slowdown amid both domestic and international uncertainties. However, the current volatile global economic conditions could complicate Beijing’s economic plans.

The persistent inflationary pressure that began in early 2010 has had a considerable impact on Chinese public life. These effects only add to Beijing’s concerns over the rising potential for social instability. China’s July consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, rose to 6.5 percent - a 37 month high. The increase has largely been driven by food price increases. Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index (PPI), an indicator of inflation at the wholesale level, rose 7.5 percent year-on-year in July. This rise, combined with relatively high liquidity, means the anticipated peak point for inflation may still be months away. Even if inflationary pressures ease in later months, it would only be gradual, with prices still remaining quite high.
Meanwhile, the tightening policy approach (the so-called “prudent” monetary policy that Beijing has adopted since December 2010) has failed to significantly alleviate inflationary pressures, but it has affected the economic growth quarter on a greater scale. Signs of slowing down have appeared. The second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) number reported at 9.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the number in the first quarter. The trend is likely to continue. Manufacturers have been hit, particularly the low-end manufacturers in the coastal region, who are already vulnerable to rising labor costs and thin profit margins. These manufacturers are facing tougher lending conditions while some are striving to prevent large-scale bankruptcies. Beijing has vowed to shift public perception over the growth rate, fearing that the Communist Party of China’s long-standing legacy of basing its legitimacy on a guaranteed high growth rate could tarnish the Party. Given the re-emerging global economic volatility, this linkage remains politically risky to the central government.
In fact, Beijing believed that inflationary pressures would be eased earlier this year, but the latest numbers suggest inflationary pressures will remain high, perhaps up until the end of 2011. The data suggests it will be unlikely that Beijing will reach its goal of curbing annual inflation to within 5 percent. This reality has complicated the central government’s plan to shift to a more growth-driven policy. To make it worse, the volatile global economic outlook adds to Beijing’s difficulties. With existing policy tools increasingly drying up, Beijing may find it difficult to choose policy options that will balance the increasingly complex economic and social situation it now faces.
Further complicating the issue is the uncertain global economic outlook. Austerity initiatives by European governments and U.S. budget cutbacks may see a decline in external demand, placing more stress on China’s export-orientated manufacturing and employment situation. Moreover, concerns remain about the United States adopting another round of quantitative easing; adding more liquidity and contributing to China’s domestic inflationary pressures, further limiting Beijing’s options for boosting growth.
Since October 2010, Beijing has raised interest rates five times and the bank reserve requirements ratio nine times to combat quickening inflation. However, further tightening may only hurt the growth and make unemployment even greater. Beijing’s option may be to postpone tightening while at the same time avoiding a radical loosening — as it did in 2008 — and opting to appreciate its currency more.
Beijing has long been aware of the looming problems with its economic model, and it has sought ways to shift from an export-oriented economy to one driven by internal consumption (and not just by internal government spending). This transition would, in theory, reduce China’s vulnerabilities to external economic shocks and create a more sustainable growth model. However, the Chinese leaders’ fear is always in the transition period. Under Mao, the Chinese leadership was willing to accept massive social dislocation — and at times the near collapse of social order — as it tested new economic models, balancing political power and social controls. In the post Deng era, when ideology was traded for a promise of everyone getting rich eventually, economic growth became the key measure of performance. Accordingly, the government has been more reticent to implement radical economic or social policy initiatives. The sense of social stability, of harmony, is a watchword. What it means, though, is Beijing avoids anything that could cause serious disruptions and undermine the central and singular authority of the Communist Party of China. This mandate has led to a program of slow gradual policy adjustments, more often reactive than not, and a “one step forward two steps back” way of implementing changes. Whenever one policy begins to cause new (inevitable) problems, it is modified, softened, left unenforced, or reversed with a counterpolicy.
This trend has become even more pronounced as the Chinese central leadership moves further away from a single individual as the ultimate leader to a more collective style of leadership, where consensus is considered the most prudent path. No one is willing to disrupt the status quo. With the 2012 leadership transition looming (a transition that is the first in two decades not already laid out far in advance), there is even more caution now toward any policies that can weaken social order and disrupt the Party’s careful political bargaining and consensus building in the selection of the next generation leadership. Politically, the Chinese leadership is walking on eggshells at home, and this lack of boldness coincides with a particularly critical moment in Chinese economics. The three decades of high-level growth are finally running their course. The global economy has struck China a double blow of reduced demand and higher commodity prices. Trying to hold the line for another year may leave Beijing even fewer options in the future.
For Beijing, then, the current fight against inflation is not just about deciding the most prudent monetary policy. The problem reaches to the very core of China’s economic model as well as the government’s ability to effectively manage both the domestic economic and social troubles. External forces are only compounding the pressures. Inflation isn’t falling as they hoped and policies to keep inflation from rising even faster are beginning to hit at the critical small and medium enterprises (SME) sector of the economy. The Chinese are in a position where a move to address either issue is only likely to exacerbate the other. China is running out of options at a time when the political system is particularly reluctant to allow any creative solutions.

Top 10 Architects' Homes - 10 Ngôi nhà đầu bảng

Top 10 Architects' Homes - 10 Ngôi nhà đầu bảng

This week, I'm going to try and inspire you by showcasing my selection of Top 10 Architects' homes. When recently I came across the ABC series In the mind of the architect, I was thrilled to see the first episode featuring Sean Godsell and his own Kew House designed for his family. As his buildings possess a certain radical austerity and experiment, Godsell's home expectedly showcased his own theoretical and architectural explorations put into practice. While the camera was rotating around the elegant metal-and-glass structure, his wife commented that

"Living here is about accepting the fact that you are in a very public domain. It's accepting the fact that your husband has a profession and the profession involves experimenting in the private domain."

One would almost admire her understanding learning that very soon after they moved in she had to get used to changing in the cupboard as there were no blinds even in the all-glass master bedroom. According to Godsell himself,

"It's a symbolic gesture as well as a pragmatic one, but it forces a socialization that we need to deal with as a society in Australia. It forces tolerance within the house."

Yet the daring and beautiful house enjoyed little tolerance from outsiders, often subjected to offensive remarks comparing it to a fish bowl, a zoo and even Auschwitz.

"There is the house you dream about living in and then the house you actually live in. Architects' houses are a third thing: we want to live in them, we dream to live in them and then we have to live in them."

says architect David Luck. And while Godsell could probably get over his symbolic and pragmatic gesture being compared to a Nazi camp, urban myths say that a family member broke his leg while trying to inhabit the famous Stonehouse of the radical Austrian Gunther Domenig. After more than 20 years of design and construction, the completion of Domenig's magnum opus in 2008 was celebrated by visionary architects like Thom Mayne, Wolf D. Prix and Hans Hollein. According to Lebbeus Woods, it was conceived as

"a work of architecture limited only by [Domenig's] imagination and skill, at once a manifesto and an experiment, the outcome of which he could not be sure of at the beginning."

And while it is called a house and its interior suggests this, the architect actually never cared much for living there; Domenig observed the construction of his ever-changing beautiful monster from a small trailer in the back yard, where he used to stay. Currently the Stonehouse is a cultural icon, housing concerts, as well as being featured in numerous magazines and television programs. The Top 10 shows more examples of Architects designing their homes - and there is more on the topic after the break.

Sean Godsell: Kew House
1 of 11
Because this building forces one to confront oneself, then if you don’t really feel good about yourself, you probably don’t like the building. There is nowhere to hide in that sense.

Günther Domenig: Stonehouse
2 of 11
Domenig's own house became a personal manifesto. With more than 20 years of construction, it was an outlet for the architect's technical and formal experiments over the years, about which he states: “I have reached my limits in every respect. Here we shall see what I really can carry out in architecture."

Frank Gehry: Gehry Residence
3 of 11
A decade before the first recognized Deconstructivist public project, Gehry took a seemingly ordinary house in Santa Monica and began transforming it through deconstructing its traditional elements and reassembling them according to a logic of his own.

Zaha Hadid: London Apartment
4 of 11
Hadid’s own flat is more of a showroom of some of her iconic art and design pieces rather than a cozy personal home. Almost entirely devoid of traditional furniture, the place reflects her style as an architect and designer, yet tells little about her personality.

John Henry: Research House
5 of 11
'Just a tin shed" is the way architect John Henry described his Research House, when years ago it was shortlisted for the Interior Design Awards. Executed in Henry's typical hands-on approach, this relatively cheap house (less than 300 000$) features an interior garden and a cascade of stairs and levels filled with the architect's collection of modern furniture.

Dominic Stevens: Stevens House
6 of 11
Architect Dominic Stevens and his artist wife built their own biodegradable house in Ireland's countryside. Stevens designed a modular system in which boxes can be added and subtracted according to changing spatial requirements. In his own words, It’s not the house as a product, it’s more the house as a process. Over the life cycle of our family growing, it can constantly adapt to the needs of different ages of children. The house is amorphous as opposed to static.

7 of 11
Ricardo Bofill discovered an abandoned cement factory in 1973 comprised of over 30 silos, underground galleries and engine rooms. He bought it and not so long after, transformed it through a diverse program featuring his own architectural office, exhibition spaces, guest rooms and a home for him and his family.

Terunobu Fujimori: Takasugi-An
8 of 11
Architect Terunobu Fujimori's "tea house placed too high" (as the name translates loosely) responds to an ancient tradition, in which tea masters were designing and building their teahouses themselves. Placed on two chestnut trees, the house is accesible through free-standing ladders and sways in the wind.

Susanne Nobis: Nobis House
9 of 11
Susanne Nobis designed this house for her own family of four. The two shed-like volumes feature areas for daily life and work, carefully separated from each other, yet preserving the feel of an aesthetic and functional entity.

Ray & Charles Eames: Eames House
10 of 11
The design of the house was proposed by the Eames as part of the famous Case Study House program (1944-1966), which commissioned major architects to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes after the end of World War II and the subsequent housing boom. The project which later became their own home and studio reflected Eames' own needs: a young couple's space to live, work and enjoy in harmony with nature.

Perhaps an architect's home is a dream come true, a chance to unleash one's own creativity and design philosophy, often constrained by clients, cost, programme and functionality - after all, which self-respecting contractor would understand that something as trivial as blinds in the bedroom compromises the socio-political message of the building? And in the case of visionaries, it often means imposing one's own quest into the possibilities of architecture to their families, which have to accept the necessary margin of error in experimentation.

However, designing one's own house is something more than simply conducting a spatial experiment on daily life. "We should make our buildings first, then learn how to live in them.", says Lebbeus Woods and the common mantra of clients that "my house should be a reflection of my personality" here deepens to often very candid, poetic explorations of daily life and the inherent belief that architecture can actually transform people, that rather being simply a construct of comfort and utility it is a being on its own, a series of psychological snapshots of the paths one's mind took while creating and inhabiting it. Perhaps I'm stretching a bit too far here: as you'll see some of the selected designs are pretty much common-sense and would work for the majority of us, as they respond to contemporary trends and aesthetics in a tasteful, yet predictable way. And while Stonehouse could be simply seen as the expression of an egomanic spirit who had seemingly departed from the human concerns for functionality, cost and physical safety, I prefer what Lebbeus Woods has to say for it:

"The Stonehouse belongs to a different world than the one we normally inhabit, and it dares us to find ways to inhabit it, or even to talk about it. Yet here it is, both realized, and real. How real are we, as we stand in confrontation with this difficult work of architecture? Let us be grateful to Günther Domenig for giving us a chance to find out."

Famous Last Words: Writers' Words Before They Died - Những câu nói nổi tiếng trước lúc lìa đời

Famous Last Words: Writers' Words Before They Died - Những câu nói của nhà văn trước lúc lìa đời

A writer's life revolves around always knowing what to say and how to say it. But in the face of death, you'd think fear, pain and pressure would trump eloquence when speaking their last words. However, in the true form of their craft, (most of) these writers combine both honesty and eloquence to produce some of the greatest (and weirdest!) last words spoken. Here's a list of our favorite last words!

Know of any writers whose last words really stand out? Let us know in the comments!

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 - November 28, 1859)
1 of 16
Before suffering a fatal stroke in 1859, author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow" and "Rip Van Winkle" Washington Irving was preparing his bed for the night when he turned to his niece and said, "I have to set my pillows one more night; when will this end already?"

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886)
2 of 16
When the poet became too ill to leave her bed, Dickinson would write short notes to her family members in order to communicate. The last note she wrote read: "I must go in, the fog is rising."

Anton Chekhov (January, 29 1860- July 15, 1904)
3 of 16
Moments after Chekhov told his wife that he was about to die, he picked up a glass of champagne and said, "It's a long time since I drank champagne." After finishing the glass, he laid down on his bed and died.

Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 - November 30, 1900)
4 of 16
Immediately before dying of cerebral meningitis in 1900, Wilde stated "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."

Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882 - March 28, 1941)
5 of 16
Before committing suicide after suffering a breakdown (of which she had many in her lifetime), Woolf penned a suicide note to her husband which read: "I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do ... I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V"

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 6, 1806 - June 29, 1861)
6 of 16
When her husband asked her how she felt, the writer replied, "Beautiful" before passing away.

Eugene O'Neill (October 16, 1888 - November 27, 1953)
7 of 16
As O'Neill was dying at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, he whispered the words: "I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room."

Jane Austen (December 16 1775 - July 18, 1817)
8 of 16
When her sister, Cassandra, asked her if she wanted anything, Jane Austen replied by saying, "Nothing, but death." Soon afterwards, she passed away.

J.M. Barrie (May 9, 1860 - June 19, 1937)
9 of 16
The "Peter Pan" author's last words were "I can't sleep," before dying of pneumonia on June 19, 1937.

Walter De La Mare (April 25, 1873 - June 22, 1956)
10 of 16
Before dying of coronary thrombosis in 1956, Walter De La Mare stated that it was "Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers."

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) (September 11, 1862 - June 5, 1910)
11 of 16
William Sidney Porter, otherwise known as O. Henry, was quoted as saying "Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark" before passing away on June 5th, 1910 after a long battle with liver problems.

Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 - June 3, 1924)
12 of 16
Desperate to relieve the pain that the tuberculosis caused him, he pleaded his doctor for an overdose of morphine. In a fit of rage, he shouted, "Kill me, or else you are a murderer!" which were his last spoken words.

Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 - December 4, 1679)
13 of 16
Before dying of a stroke in 1679, Hobbes was said to have whispered, "I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark."

Charlotte Bronte (April 21, 1816 - March 31, 1855)
14 of 16
Charlotte Bronte's last words were spoken to her husband of 9 months, to whom she said "Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy." She died with her husband by her side later that day.

Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910)
15 of 16
A note found by Twain's deathbed read, "Death, the only immortal, who treats us alike, whose peace and refuge are for all. The soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved."

China Begins Sea Trials of Its First Aircraft Carrier - Trung Quốc chạy thử tàu sân bay đầu tiên

China Begins Sea Trials of Its First Aircraft Carrier
August 10, 2011

BEIJING — China’s first aircraft carrier began sea trials on Wednesday, the state-run Xinhua news service reported, a highly symbolic step in what is certain to be an effort of many years to create a carrier presence in the Pacific waters off its coast.
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Lian Min/European Pressphoto Agency

The Chinese carrier, in April, under construction in Dalian.

The carrier, once known as the Varyag, left Dalian, its northeast China port, for what analysts said would be a test of its rudder, propulsion system and other basics. Xinhua’s two-sentence report stated only that the carrier would make a short voyage before returning to Dalian for further tests.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said last month that the carrier would be used largely for scientific research and training. Foreign military analysts say it could be a decade or more before the Chinese can deploy and operate a true fleet of carriers, the most costly and complex weapons systems in any nation’s arsenal.

The launching is nonetheless a highly significant moment for China’s fast-growing military.

“It’s a milestone for them, and not only the navy. It’s a national date, too,” said Andrei Chang, the Hong Kong-based editor of Kanwa Asian Defense Review. “But it’s the first step in a long march.”

In publicly acknowledging the carrier’s existence last month, a Defense Ministry spokesman said that the vessel did not alter China’s stated policy that its armed forces were wholly defensive in nature, and that the ship had “nothing to do” with China’s continuing disputes with neighboring nations over its claim to most of the South China Sea.

A fleet of carriers would nevertheless bolster the navy’s already overwhelming military advantage over China’s smaller neighbors.

China has long been rumored to have more aircraft carriers under construction in a Shanghai shipyard, but most Chinese military matters are tightly held secrets, and that report has yet to be confirmed. Military experts say that a naval force needs a minimum of three carriers to maintain a constant sea presence because at any one time a single vessel is likely to be docked for repairs or modernization.

The ship that began sea trials on Wednesday is in fact a retrofitted version of a Soviet vessel, the Riga, that was once supposed to become the most advanced carrier in the Soviet fleet. But construction at a Ukrainian shipyard was halted when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Ukraine was unable to finish construction and later stripped the ship, which had been renamed the Varyag, of its weapons and engines and put it up for sale.

A Chinese company bought the Varyag for $20 million in 1998, ostensibly to turn into a floating casino. But in 2004, workers in Dalian sandblasted the hull and repainted it in Chinese colors, then began an update. As retrofitting wound up this spring, the Chinese unveiled a carrier-based jet, the J-15 Flying Shark, an updated clone of a Soviet-era Sukhoi-33 fighter.

Many experts say the carrier is unlikely to deploy a fighter force until after 2015 because landing a jet on an aircraft carrier is a highly dangerous maneuver that requires years of training. In a blog entry posted on Tuesday, an expert on the Chinese military, Andrew S. Erickson, cited Pentagon figures showing that the United States Navy and Marines together lost nearly 12,000 aircraft and 8,500 crew members from 1949 to 1988, including 776 planes and 535 crew members in 1954 alone.

Not all those aircraft were based on carriers, but the rate of accidents for carrier-based planes was higher than that of the entire seagoing force.

“Even a less-aggressive carrier operator than the U.S. is almost certain to suffer substantial unexpected losses of aircraft and crew as it works to build its operational knowledge and human capital,” Mr. Erickson wrote. “Clearly the first Chinese carrier aviators and ship captains face steep challenges ahead.”

China's Aircraft Carrier: Why It Matters - David Millar Vấn đề tàu sân bay Trung Hoa

China's Aircraft Carrier: Why It Matters

David Millar

Vấn đề tàu sân bay Trung Hoa

David Millar

In the midst of last month's debt ceiling insanity, the Chinese Ministry of Defense quietly acknowledged what must be one of the world's worst-kept secrets: China is building an aircraft carrier. And according to an official Chinese news source, it could take to the seas in a matter of weeks.

Giữa cuộc khủng hoảng nợ trần tháng trước, Bộ Quốc phòng Trung Quốc lặng lẽ thừa nhận điều đã từng là một bí mật được giữ kín nhất: Trung Quốc đang xây dựng một tàu sân bay. Và theo một nguồn tin chính thức từ Trung Quốc, việc thử nghiệm con tàu sẽ diễn ra vài tuần nữa.

Speculation on China's naval ambitions has simmered for more than a decade, ever since a shady Hong Kong-based company bought a rusting Kuznetsov-class carrier from the Ukraine and promised to turn it into a floating casino in Macao.

Những đồn đoán về các tham vọng hải quân của Trung Quốc đã nhen nhóm và sôi lên suốt hơn một thập niên, kể từ lúc một công ty có trụ sở tại Hong Kong đánh tiếng mua chiếc tàu ngầm sân bay lớp Kuznetsov từ Ukraine và cam kết biến nó thành một sòng bạc nổi ở Macao.

Analysts were understandably skeptical of the ship's future as an entertainment venue, and suspicions deepened as the ship was towed not to Macao but to Dalian -- home of the Dalian Naval Academy and a nexus of Chinese naval manufacturing companies. To be fair, Chinese companies had turned two other large Soviet-era ships into public playtoys -- so the claim was not entirely implausible

Giới phân tích đã từng hoài nghi về tương lai con tàu như một địa điểm giải trí và sự hoài nghi ngày càng trở nên sâu sắc hơn khi con tàu hướng tới điểm đến không phải là Macao mà là Đại Liên - nơi có Học viện Hải quân Đại Liên và nhiều công ty sản xuất hải quân chủ chốt của Trung Quốc. Để cho công bằng, các công ty Trung Quốc đã mua hai con tàu lớn khác thời Liên Xô làm nơi vui chơi giải trí - khiến tuyên bố họ đưa ra hoàn toàn không có gì đáng nghi ngờ.

. But by 2005 the ship was painted in military colors, and this June a top general finally confirmed to a Hong Kong paper that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was indeed constructing China's first carrier.

Tuy nhiên, vào năm 2005, con tàu đã được sơn màu của quân đội, và tháng 6 này, một vị tướng Trung Quốc cuối cùng đã xác nhận với báo Hong Kong rằng, quân đội Trung Quốc (PLA) thực sự đã xây dựng con tàu sân bay đầu tiên của mình.

But so what? India, Thailand, Brazil, and Italy all have aircraft carriers too, yet no one fears Rome or Bangkok taking over the world anytime soon. And as David Axe of Wired's Danger Room has written, the renovated carrier won't exactly be the terror of the high seas when it finally enters service.

Nhưng thế thì sao? Ấn Độ, Thái Lan, Brazil và Italy đều cũng có tàu sân bay, nhưng không ai lo ngại rằng, Rome hay Bangkok sẽ nắm lấy thế giới bất cứ lúc nào. Và như David Axe của Wired's Danger Room viết, một tàu sân bay được nâng cấp không chính xác là nỗi kinh hoàng trên biển cả khi cuối cùng nó được hoàn thành và đi vào hoạt động.

Chinese military electronics are pretty good, true, and the combination of mobile Su-33 fighters and SS-N-22 anti-ship cruise missiles is nothing to thumb your nose at. But with regards to the U.S. Navy, there's still at least a thirty-year technology gap between the fledgling Chinese carrier resting at port and the battle-ready U.S. Seventh Fleet prowling the seas. More importantly, the U.S. has about seven decades of experience manning, operating, and protecting a complex Carrier Battle Group -- experience not easily made up through technology. Without years of training and an integrated air-defense system, a Chinese carrier looks very much like a large, floating bulls-eye.

Hệ thống điện tử quân sự Trung Quốc khá tốt, kết hợp với các máy bay chiến đấu linh động Su-33 và các tên lửa hành trình chống hạm là điều khó có thể bỏ qua. Nhưng so với hải quân Mỹ, có một khoảng cách công nghệ ít nhất 30 năm giữa tàu sân bay Trung Quốc đang neo đậu tại cảng và Hạm đội 7 của Mỹ sẵn sàng tung hoành trên biển. Quan trọng hơn, Mỹ đã có hơn bảy thập niên kinh nghiệm đào tạo, vận hành, và bảo vệ Nhóm tàu chiến đấu phức hợp - những kinh nghiệm ấy không dễ dàng có được chỉ bằng công nghệ. Nếu không trải qua thời gian đào tạo và một hệ thống phòng không thích hợp, tàu sân bay Trung Quốc chỉ giống như một mục tiêu to lớn, nổi bật giữa biển.

The carrier program remains a popular topic of discussion, though, both here and in China. And it turns out there are some good reasons to pay attention -- because of what it may communicate about China's strategic outlook:

Cho dù vậy, chương trình tàu sân bay vẫn là chủ đề nổi bật trong các cuộc thảo luận ở cả Trung Quốc và Mỹ. Có những lý do cho sự chú ý này, vì nó có thể biểu đạt triển vọng chiến lược của Trung Quốc.

First, it draws attention to the large gap between China's military and foreign policy doctrines. That the PLA was pursuing a carrier program is perhaps not as significant as the perceived need to keep it quiet; the secrecy and frequent denials imply an agenda at odds with Beijing's professed intentions. Secrecy in itself is hardly nefarious; to some degree, all militaries are secretive. But under President Hu Jintao, the PLA has been specifically tasked with defending national interests beyond territorial integrity, even as Chinese diplomats set out to convince the world that China's rise will be marked by cooperation, not confrontation.

Đầu tiên, đó là sự chú ý tới khoảng cách lớn giữa học thuyết quân sự của Trung Quốc với nước ngoài. PLA đang theo đuổi một chương trình tàu sân bay mà họ giữ bí mật và thường xuyên phủ nhận. Bí mật không phải là điều bất chính; ở một mức độ nào đó, các quân đội đều có bí mật. Nhưng dưới thời Chủ tịch Hồ Cẩm Đào, PLA mang trọng trách bảo vệ lợi ích quốc gia vượt quá toàn vẹn lãnh thổ, thậm chí kể cả khi các nhà ngoại giao Trung Quốc cố thuyết phục thế giới rằng, sự trỗi dậy của Trung Quốc được đánh dấu bởi hợp tác, chứ không đối đầu.

As recently as the June 2011 Shangri-La Conference (an annual meeting of top Asian defense officials), Defense Minister Liang Guanglie proclaimed that "The path of peaceful development is by no means an expedient but [rather] a strategic choice... China unswervingly adheres to a defense policy [that is] defensive in nature." Perhaps the PLA leadership believes this -- but it suggests a very broad definition of "defense" that other nations are not likely to find reassuring.

Trong Diễn đàn Shangri-La (một cuộc gặp thường niên giữa các quan chức quốc phòng hàng đầu châu Á) hồi tháng 6 vừa qua, Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Trung Quốc Lương Quang Liệt tuyên bố: "Con đường phát triển hoà bình là một chọn lựa chiến lược... Trung Quốc kiên định giữ vững một chính sách quốc phòng mang tính chất phòng thủ". Có lẽ, giới lãnh đạo PLA tin tưởng vào điều này, nhưng nó lại dẫn tới một định nghĩa rẩt rộng của "phòng thủ" mà các quốc gia khác khó có thể thấy an lòng.

Second, it communicates an intention to pursue disruptive maritime territorial claims, especially in the contested South China Sea. Maybe China's new carrier couldn't square off against the Seventh Fleet -- but it doesn't have to. All it has to do is extend China's early-warning and response capability and provide enough muscle to intimidate weaker neighbors into negotiating China's sovereignty claims.

Thứ hai, nó có thể truyền tải một ý định theo đuổi chủ quyền hàng hải ở những vùng tranh chấp, đặc biệt là Biển Đông. Có thể tàu sân bay mới của Trung Quốc khó "tác chiến" chống lại Hạm đội 7 - và nó cũng không cần làm vậy. Tất cả những gì nó phải làm là truyền tải thông điệp cảnh báo sớm cũng như khả năng phản ứng của Trung Quốc và đủ để phô diễn sức mạnh đe dọa các nước láng giềng yếu hơn trong cuộc thương thảo chủ quyền hàng hải với Trung Quốc.

A carrier group operating off China's southern coast could extend the PLA's early-warning and response capability by several hundred miles, according to Capt. Carl Otis Schuster (Ret.), a career naval analyst and instructor at Hawaii Pacific University. That, plus the larger arsenal of high-tech area-denial weapons coming on-line, could indeed change the way the U.S. and other nations operate in the Pacific region.

Một nhóm tàu sân bay hoạt động ở ngoài khơi bờ biển phía nam Trung Quốc có thể là giúp mở rộng lời cảnh báo sớm và khả năng phản ứng của PLA cách xa vài trăm km, theo Carl Otis Schuster - một chuyên gia phân tích hải quân kỳ cựu tại đại học Hawaii Pacific. Hạm đội này cùng với kho vũ khí lớn của các loại vũ khí hiện đại trên thực tế có thể thay đổi cách mà Mỹ và những quốc gia khác hoạt động trong khu vực Thái Bình Dương.

Third, it isn't one carrier-- it's three. Or maybe five. No sooner had the Defense Ministry admitted the existence of one carrier than Chinese sources confirmed the existence of two additional carriers being built in Shanghai.

Thứ ba, Trung Quốc không chỉ có một, mà là ba hay thậm chí là năm tàu sân bay. Ngay khi Bộ Quốc phòng nước này thừa nhận sự tồn tại của một tàu sân bay, thì nhiều nguồn tin Trung Quốc đã xác nhận sự tồn tại của hai con tàu sân bay khác được xây dựng ở Thượng Hải.

A PLA General further commented that "India will have three aircraft carriers by 2014 and Japan will have three carriers by 2014... So I think the number (for China) should not be less than three."

Một vị tướng PLA bình luận rằng: "Ấn Độ sẽ có ba tàu sân bay vào năm 2014 và Nhật Bản có ba tàu sân bay vào 2014... Nên tôi nghĩ rằng, số lượng (cho Trung Quốc) sẽ không nên ít hơn ba".

The addition of two indigenous carriers would put China in an entirely different class, since currently the United States is the only nation with more than two carriers in service. And it also establishes the dedicated industrial base needed to build more -- making it increasingly hard to explain away as a program for territorial defense or national prestige.

Có thêm hai tàu sân bay nội địa sẽ đặt Trung Quốc vào một "đẳng cấp" hoàn toàn khác biệt, khi hiện tại Mỹ là quốc gia duy nhất với hơn hai tàu sân bay đang hoạt động. Và nó cũng thiết lập cơ sở công nghiệp chuyên dụng cần thiết để xây dựng thêm nhiều tàu sân bay nữa, khiến chương trình tàu sân bay ngày càng trở nên khó giải thích theo kiểu chỉ là một chương trình phục vụ mục tiêu phòng thủ lãnh thổ hay vì thể diện quốc gia.

There are perhaps legitimate reasons that China is pursuing a carrier program -- and of course, we can't really stop them. But if China's leaders are simply using the "peaceful development" banner as a cover to acquire the military needed to displace the U.S. in the Pacific, that's a shame -- because the precedent of a 21st century nation rising peacefully would be hugely significant. If it holds to its stated philosophy, Beijing has the opportunity to do something historic-- something that could define the character of the 21st century as surely as superpower conflict defined the 20th. It could prove that while conflict between powerful nations may be inevitable, bloody and expensive military contests are not -- and that as a civilization, we are capable of learning from our mistakes.

Có nhiều lý do có lẽ hợp lý để Trung Quốc theo đuổi một chương trình tàu sân bay, và dĩ nhiên, chúng ta không thể thực sự chặn bước họ. Nhưng nếu các nhà lãnh đạo Trung Quốc đơn giản sử dụng khẩu hiệu "phát triển hoà bình" để che giấu cho mục tiêu thế chân Mỹ ở Thái Bình Dương, thì điều này thật đáng xấu hổ - bởi mẫu hình của một quốc gia trỗi dậy hòa bình ở thế kỷ 21 có ý nghĩa vô cùng to lớn. Nếu chương trình ấy thực sự phục vụ cho triết lý đã đề ra thì Bắc Kinh có cơ hội để làm điều gì đó có tính lịch sử. Có thể chứng minh rằng, trong khi xung đột giữa các cường quốc là điều không thể tránh khỏi thì những cuộc ganh đua quân sự đẫm máu, tổn phí lớn có thể tránh được. Và đó là văn minh, chúng ta có thể học hỏi từ những sai lầm của mình.

A senior Chinese general has for the first time officially confirmed that the country is building an aircraft carrier. According to experts and media reports, the vessel is the half-built Soviet warship Varyag, which China bought and is completing. The ship is not ready yet, Colonel General Chen Bingde, head of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) general staff said in an interview with Hong Kong Commercial Daily. His aide Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo said the ship, when it is ready, will serve as a floating training camp for Navy pilots. It will not be sent on missions to territorial waters of other countries "unlike some other nations do," the general said. While not officially confirmed, defense experts believe that the aircraft carrier is the multi-role Soviet Varyag. The ship was about 60-70 per cent complete when funding stopped in 1992 after the USSR collapsed. Ukraine, which took ownership, auctioned the vessel in the late 1990s, with the Chinese offering the highest bid of $20 million. It was believed that Varyag would be examined by military engineers to copy technology and later sold to a private company to be used as an entertainment facility. This was what happened to two other Soviet aircraft carriers Kiev and Minsk, which China bought too.