Cyclone hits Myanmar. Earthquake rocks China. In each case, thousands of lives have been snuffed out by nature’s wrath. Given the combination of global warming and extreme poverty, we’re likely to see more extreme natural and human calamities. Here in the United States, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 resulted in almost 2,000 deaths, and hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced.
The Chinese government’s response to a massive earthquake in Sichuan Province May 12 has been swift, according to a number of news sources. The government said that tremors and aftershocks were felt in 16 provinces, from Tibet to Beijing. Up to 15,000 people have been killed with many tens of thousands more still missing and injured, and over 500,000 houses have been destroyed.
While the rest of Latin America moves left, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is pushing hard in the other direction with a thinly disguised plan to privatize PEMEX, the huge state oil company that provides 40 percent of the Mexican government’s revenues.