- Posted August 1, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Keeping An Eye On Asia - Overnight Edition - July 31/August 1
Economic power over the last few years has been shifting. In today's global market, China and India are playing an increasingly more powerful role. Other Asian nations are also players on the world stage.
South Korea: South Korea is warning of the possibility of power shortages in mid-August. That is when the vacation period ends and demand is expected to peak. At that time, four of the country's 23 nuclear reactors are likely still to be out of commission.
The country depends on atomic plants to generate more than one-third of its electricity.
The latest setback occurred Monday, when the No. 6 reactor at the Yeonggwang nuclear power plant in South Jeolla province, 330 kilometers south of Seoul failed. Officials say an alert signal for protection of the reactor triggered an automatic shutdown.
The reactor has had previous problems with its fuel rods, but there has been no announcement on the source or severity of this latest trouble.
Real-time data from monitoring stations at and surrounding the plant, posted on the Internet show no unusual levels of radiation.
Burma AKA Myammar: Myanmar's censors have suspended two weekly magazines indefinitely in the latest confrontation between the government and the newly aggressive press.
The Press Scrutiny Board informed Voice Weekly and Envoy editors Tuesday that their publications have been suspended for violating regulations. The authorities did not explain the reasons for the bans.
Reporters at the publications said privately they suspected they were linked to articles speculating about the details of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle.
President Thein Sein eased censorship as one of his reforms after decades of repressive military rule. The flourishing of press freedom has brought serious investigative reporting and sensationalism, both of which make the government uncomfortable.
Voice Weekly also faces a defamation suit over a story alleging irregularities in several government ministries' accounts.
India: Hundreds of millions of people across India were left without power on Tuesday in one of the world's worst blackouts, trapping miners, stranding train travelers and plunging hospitals into darkness when grids collapsed for the second time in two days.
Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the northwestern deserts of Rajasthan, the outage covered states where half of India's 1.2 billion people live and embarrassed the government, which has failed to build up enough power capacity to meet soaring demand.
"Even before we could figure out the reason for yesterday's failure, we had more grid failures today," said R. N. Nayak, chairman of the state-run Power Grid Corporation.
Trains stopped, traffic lights failed and hospitals were forced to switch to emergency generators as three of the country’s regional electricity grids failed, creating the world’s biggest ever power cut and leaving half the population in the dark.
SK Soonee, head of Power System Operation Corporation, said engineers worked through the night to restore supplies.
“Power has been restored fully across the northern, eastern and north-eastern grids,” he said on Wednesday morning.
The Markets: Asian stock markets mostly fell Wednesday after four days of gains as China's manufacturing slowed despite government stimulus efforts.
But sentiment in Asia took a hit after an expected improvement in China's manufacturing failed to materialize. Doubts have also grown about whether the ECB's bold talk will translate into definitive action. As so often before in the debt crisis, the risk is that Europe's leaders overpromise and under-deliver.
China's manufacturing remained weak in July, according to surveys released Wednesday, and analysts said weakening export demand pointed to the need for more efforts to revive growth in the world's second-biggest economy.
The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers' index, or PMI, fell 0.1 percentage point to 50.1 in July, the slowest growth in eight months and just above the 50 level signifying expansion.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average was down 0.5 percent at 8,650.19 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 19,876.62. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent to 4,260.90. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.2 percent to 1,878.08. Markets in Thailand, Indonesia and India also fell while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.8 percent to 2,119.67.
From the Cornfield, the interlocking of the US economy with economies around the world makes it imperative that we are aware of what happens on the other side of the globe lest we be caught off guard to our detriment.