China looks to meat exports to boost ties to Arab world
By William Wan, Published: December 27
YINCHUAN, China — The praying and slaughtering begin every morning at sunrise. “Allahu Akbar” intones the imam over each cow before it is strung up by its hooves and quartered.
This scene and other religious and ethnic practices set China’s Muslim minorities apart from the rest of the population, and the differences frequently led to clashes with the government in the past. But now, the country’s leaders are embracing the large Muslim population in this remote and relatively undeveloped city in the northwestern province of Ningxia, hoping that frozen packs of halal meat produced here can help build economic bridges with the Middle East.
With the U.S. and European economies still recovering, the Arab world is an increasingly enticing market for Chinese exports and a potential source of investors for Chinese projects. Middle Eastern countries are also some of the closest positioned to help develop China’s western provinces, which have fallen far behind its flourishing eastern coastal cities during the past three decades of economic boom.
Perhaps most important, on a strategic level, China wants to protect and strengthen its access to the Middle East’s oil and energy resources, which are fueling the country’s economic growth.
“The short-term goal of increasing halal meat going to Arab countries is to build up our local economy and workforce,” said one provincial official here, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the strategy of central authorities. “But the real goal is to introduce the Arab world to us and get them comfortable with the idea of building up their relations and investment in China. . . . Continue reading
WAILUKU >> Some of the nation’s biggest names in waste-conversion technologies are interested in building a plant on Maui.
Maui County’s call for a developer to build the plant is getting a lot of bites.
The county last month began seeking bids to convert the island’s solid waste into energy in an effort to cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in the central landfill in Puunene.
As of last week, the Maui News reports that the Department of Environmental Management had received 111 prospective bidders. Those include industry leaders Jacoby Energy, Zero Waste Energy, Novi Energy and Novo Energy. Officials say on the list are numerous companies or individuals listing Hawaii addresses.
Maui generates between 450 tons and 500 tons of waste a day.
Lots of interest being shown in Maui waste plant – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser
HONOLULU (AP) — A recent study confirms liquid flows through wells used by a Maui wastewater plant into the ocean via underwater springs close to shore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.
University of Hawaii researchers conducted the study amid concerns from officials and environmentalists that coral reefs and the ocean are being harmed by treated wastewater pumped into the injection wells by the Lahaina plant.
Earlier this year, four community groups sued Maui County, saying millions of gallons of wastewater injected into wells at the facility each day surface off Kahekili Beach Park, killing coral and triggering outbreaks of invasive algae.
The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility disposes of 3 to 5 million gallons of treated wastewater daily through four injection wells that send fluid deep underground.
In the study, researchers put a tracer substance into the injection wells near the Kaanapali coast. They later detected the tracer coming out of underwater springs less than 30 yards from the shoreline.
EPA Pacific Southwest Region ground water office manager David Albright said the study doesn’t say the wells are the cause of coral reef decline. More research is needed on this issue, he said.
“To establish that there’s a direct hydrologic link between the injection wells and the very shallow coastal seeps is an important step,” Albright said. “It just doesn’t say that that’s therefore the cause of the problem. There’s no causal link being established here at all.”
The EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Health paid for the study, which began in July 2011.
Albright said a final report would be issued next July encompassing the conclusions announced Friday along with other data that’s being collected.
The injection wells have a permit from the EPA, which expired but was administratively extended. Continue reading
By HUNTER BISHOP
Tribune-Herald staff writer
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a biocontrol project aimed at slowing the spread of fireweed, or Madagascar ragwort, on the islands of Hawaii and Maui.
Fireweed is a noxious, invasive species that has infected an estimated 850,000 acres on the two islands, more than 20 percent of the state’s agricultural pasture lands.
The weed has no natural predators in Hawaii and is resistant to drought which allows it to spread rapidly, and it is expected to spread to an additional 1.5 million acres in the next 10 years if left unchecked.
Agriculture officials plan to release a species of moth next month on the two islands. The moths, which, like fireweed, are native to Madagascar, have been studied under quarantine in Hawaii since 1999. They are known to feed on fireweed, which is toxic to livestock.
Tim Richards, president of Kahua Ranch and past president of the Hawaii Cattleman’s Council, said the news of the approval is huge for Hawaii, “and that’s an understatement.”
For the past 10 years, the cattle ranchers have been losing the battle against fireweed, using chemicals and mechanical means in an attempt to control it. But due to the immense size of the infestation, “those methods are not feasible or economical,” Inouye said.
“It’s an ongoing ecological wreck,” Richards said, spreading up from the coast into the rain forests. “Because of the drought it grows quickly.” Continue reading
Terry Oliver, a four-decade forestry veteran, has high hopes for the eucalyptus timber industry on the Big Island.
As the harvest operator and marketing manager for GMO Renewable Resources LLC in Hawaii, Oliver manages Tradewinds Forest Products LLC’s 13,800 acres of eucalyptus grandis, a hybrid developed to grow straight and tall quickly, Oliver said Wednesday.
More importantly, the tree stump sprouts after being cut down, growing big enough to harvest again after seven years, about the same amount of time Oliver estimated it would take the company to cut down the trees it now has. Already, some tree sprouts have shot up more than 20 feet since first being cut last year, and trees cut last spring are nearing 16 to 18 feet.
“There should never be an end because of the way they regrow themselves,” Oliver said. “It will be time to start over again.”
Oliver was hired a few months ago and began working at the site in November. It’s his job to help investors behind the project make money, eventually. It would be better sooner than later, he said, laughing a little.
“We’re quite proud of it actually, to come in and do this,” he said. “We’re going to be here.”
At the present logging site, not far from Honokaa, five workers harvest the timber. Since work began in the spring, the company has sent three ships, the most recent earlier this month with 6 million board feet of lumber, to Asia. Oliver said the larger logs are used for plywood core, while the smaller pieces, from the treetops, as well as the bark, can eventually be used to power energy generation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects the loads before the ships leave the country, he added. Continue reading
Recently, have you noticed a number of scorched plants? Leaves with brown (necrotic) spots, as well as brown margins or even the entire leaf? Then perhaps those plants suffered from the latest period of vog that the east side of the Big Island has experienced. Different plants have varying degrees of susceptibility to the vog. Consequently, a number of plants will not be affected at all, whileothers will exhibit a slight burn to outright death of the plant.
Plants adversely affected by the elevated levels of sulfur dioxide may show symptoms of foliar necrosis due to death of the plant cells (the burnt look), reduced chlorophyll content, decreased plant growth, entire death of the plant and a greater susceptibility to disease.
Some leaves may exhibit a bleaching effect as the tissue turns white.
What you can do: adequately rinse leaves with water after exposure, grow plants under cover such as greenhouses, or temporarily cover valuable plants with fabric or plastic.
Plants that have been documented to be susceptible to vog include:
— Ornamentals: African lily, Oriental lily, cypress, Dutch iris, eucalyptus, ginger, hydrangea, heavenly bamboo, pine, podocarpus, rose and tuberose.
— Native plants: koa, naio, pilo, uki, akala.
— Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, daikon, lettuce, Swiss chard, tomato and watercress.
Some of the more resistant plants are asparagus, celery, coffee, corn, and ohia.
For more details on the vog and its effects on plants, read “Volcanic Emissions Injury to Plant Foliage,” by Scot Nelson and Kelvin Sewake, University of Hawaii Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. Continue reading