Summer of love
Say “summer” and most people think, “Emperor Penguin mating season.” That’s ignorant – summer is indeed mating season for many things, but penguins should be the least of our concerns. Just take a short hop across the border to North Korea, where scientists now believe that the possibly extraterrestrial “Dear Leader” humanoid sub-species has mated, thereby besting a longtime rival species, the Pinta Island Tortoise (read it and weep, Lonesome George). Farther south, the country of China gave birth to a new city. The newly upgraded Sansha city is located in the highly disputed South China Seas, and everyone in the region is just so darn proud of it. The little emperor is now said to be seeking a sister city, likely in another disputed territory (Srinigar, this your time to shine – and without the explosions this time!). And yet in the midst of these happy times, we mourn one tragically failed mating attempt. President Hu expertly tried to woo African nations last week by promising to double loans extended in 2009 to US$20 billion. Fantastic, but he was met with an epic cockblock: South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, who knows a thing or two about “biblical” relations. “Africa’s past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies,” he said. Later off-mic remarks appeared to mention “morning after” and “[inaudible] and dump” – all the joys of summer.
The joy of learning
China has learned the ways of the West, perhaps a little too well. You’re familiar with the much-talked about U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar imports, and the more recent European calls for an investigation into the Chinese industry? Well, China has just announced that it’s embarking on an investigation of its own into US polysilicon imports. But even worse, the country is copying Western eating habits. China’s teenage diabetes rate, according to a report from the University of North Carolina, is now four times that of the US. Which is to say, the country where millions died of starvation in the Great Leap Forward is now a burgeoning market for fat camps. (Those gaunt-looking collective farmers haunting all those black-and-white photographs of 1960s are now parents and grandparents paying fat camps for the privilege of having little emperor marshmallow work all day and avoid food.) To be sure, China needs all of the extra padding it can get to ensure a soft landing. And aside from its high proportion of tubby adolescents, China is inarguably doing better than the West these days, with a still-skinnier population and a still-faster-growing economy, a position it should maintain for some time to come. Perhaps it’s not too soon to say that the student has become the master.
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