PUTIN CALLS FOR EXPANDING SCO TO COUNTER WEST
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for expanding the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a counterbalance to the U.S.-led West. The SCO is a regional framework led by China and Russia.
Putin spoke on the final day of the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended.
Putin claimed the SCO is the largest regional framework in the world. He said its role in resolving international issues has grown.
China’s leader vowed to actively promote the SCO’s development and safeguard Asia, the European continent, and the world, while ensuring peace and prosperity.
Iran, which has no diplomatic relations with the U.S., is joining the group. Observers say Russia and China aim to enhance their presence to deter the U.S.-led Western framework.
QUAKE-DAMPER TECHNOLOGY TESTED ON SKYSCRAPER MODEL
When a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan in March 2011, the shaking was felt far from the epicenter. Many skyscrapers in Tokyo experienced what is known as long-period ground motion. Construction companies are now working on methods to reduce the damage this can cause.
Major construction firm Shimizu conducted a test on a model skyscraper. A vibration-reduction system was installed in the upper floors. This is a departure from the more traditional approach of placing dampers between the building and its underground foundation.
Engineers say the swaying on the upper floors was reduced by 30 percent compared to a model without the system. They say the movement of the entire building was also less.
The technology is already being applied. It will be used in a 43-story building set to open in Tokyo’s Minato Ward in February 2025.
GIANT PANDA MARKS LANDMARK 30TH BIRTHDAY IN JAPAN
For humans, landmark birthdays can bring a mix of emotions. But for a giant panda in Japan, the big 3-0 can only be seen as an amazing achievement.
That’s 90 in human years. It doesn’t make Eimei the world’s oldest giant panda, but he does have another claim to fame. He is the oldest giant panda to have fathered cubs in captivity the old-fashioned way.
(Shinagawa Yuka / Zookeeper, Adventure World)
“I am deeply moved and very happy that Eimei turned 30 years old. I hope he will continue to live in good health for a long time.”
So what do you get a geriatric panda who’s become a dad 16 times over? Instead of a birthday cake, how about some festive ice blocks? And for a present, his favorite, bamboo.
Zookeepers in Wakayama say Eimei may be getting on in years, but he still has quite the appetite. And they expect he’ll keep breaking records for quite some time.
THE BEACH’ ISLAND WINS CASE FOR NATURAL RESTORATION
In Thailand, the Supreme Court has ordered the government to restore the natural environment of a southern resort island used to shoot the 2000 hit film “The Beach,” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The shooting took place in Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands. Local authorities filed a lawsuit in 1999 against the government, 20th Century Fox, and a Thai film coordinator. They said nature on the island had been destroyed. Imported palm trees had been planted and vegetation had been ripped out.
20th Century Fox has said it kept the beach in its original condition and removed a large amount of garbage. But the Supreme Court disagreed.
In a ruling on Tuesday, it ordered the government to repair the damage that had been done. 20th Century Fox must also pay 10 million baht, or about 273,000 dollars, in restoration costs.
JAPANESE TEAM WINS ‘IG NOBEL’ FOR RESEARCH ON KNOB TURNING
A group of Japanese researchers is receiving some unusual recognition for one of their projects. They won an Ig Nobel Prize on Thursday, an award for trivial achievements in scientific research.
Professor Matsuzaki Gen is part of a team at the Chiba Institute of Technology near Tokyo. They published research examining how many fingers people use when turning knobs of various sizes.
They used 45 knobs, including the cap of a plastic bottle and one for controlling volume. Their conclusion: People decide the number of fingers they use depending on the size of the knob.
The study is being recognized for taking up the challenge of exploring “the efficient way to turn a knob.”
(Matsuzaki Gen / Professor, Chiba Institute of Technology)
“I’m very honored to receive this wonderful award. In the field of design, there are many researchers studying such unconscious human behavior.”