China’s blind pursuit of ‘absolute nationwide safety’ could result in Soviet-style collapse, warns advisor –

Beijing: The blind pursuit of “absolute national security” combined with excessive defense spending may lead to a Soviet-style collapse, China’s top foreign policy adviser has warned the ruling Communist Party led by President Xi Jinping.

The pursuit of “absolute national security” can come at a high price, said Jia Qingguo, a member of China’s top political advisory body Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and cited the collapse of the Soviet Union as evidence of the pitfalls of prioritizing military expansion over long-term security.

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The collapse of the Soviet Union, officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR and ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, has become an important lesson taught in the top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) schools across the country , to avert decisions that lead to his downfall.

Many Chinese leaders have frequently referred to the former USSR and asked the CCP to learn from its historical experiences.

Months after taking power in 2012, President Xi himself said that the collapse of party discipline led to the demise of the 20-million-strong Communist Party of the former USSR.

“If party members did and said what they wanted, the party would turn into a mob,” Xi said.

Jia, who was also a former dean of the School of International Relations at Peking University, says the unrestrained pursuit of security will drastically increase costs and drastically decrease benefits until the costs outweigh the benefits, according to Hong Kong based in southern China, the Morning Post reported on Sunday.

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“Ignore and blindly pursue the comparative nature of security [it] absolutely make the country less secure because of prohibitive costs and failing to achieve absolute security,” writes Jia, who sits on the CPPCC Standing Committee, in the latest issue of the bimonthly Journal of International Security Studies.

His 22-page article is full of thinly veiled criticism of hawkish prospects, the Post reported.

Too much emphasis on defense spending could trigger an arms race, making all countries involved less secure, writes Jia, himself a US affairs specialist.

He cites decades of massive defense spending by the Soviet Union as a prime example of the downside of ignoring long-term security that led to the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“The result was that the Soviet Union lagged behind in economic development and was unable to sustain its massive defense spending. People’s lives have not improved for a long time and this has led to a loss of political support, he notes.

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“Actions like these sacrifice long-term interests for short-term gains and have greatly accelerated development [Soviet] Riot and collapse, he writes.

Since Xi took power, internal and external security has become central to CCP politics.

China’s military budget shot up to over $200 billion last year and is expected to increase further when the new budget proposals are announced in March this year.

However, Chinese analysts argue that unlike the Soviet Union, China paid the same attention to economic development that propelled the country to become the world’s second largest economy.

China’s economy grew 8.1 percent to $18 trillion in 2021, according to the latest official data.

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Xi also conducted the largest anti-graft purge in CPC history. Over the past decade, the CCP’s Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) has conducted investigations and punished more than four million cadres, including nearly 500 high-ranking officials. More than 900,000 have been expelled from the party, about 1 percent of its 95 million members, according to another article in the Post.

Analysts say Xi’s emphasis on security and his anti-graft campaign in the name of strengthening the country and the CCP have boosted his popularity and helped him consolidate power in the party.

The 68-year-old Xi, who will complete a decade in power this year, is expected to continue for life as the once-every-five-year CPC Congress is expected to approve an unprecedented third five-year congress later this year. tenure for him, unlike all of his predecessors who retired after two terms.

The Party elevated him to the status of CCP founder Mao Zedong, which set him apart from other leaders.

His elevation was defended on the grounds that the party and the country needed strong leadership to face the tough challenges posed by the US, EU and other Western countries.

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Jia also warns in his article against an overemphasis on absolute security when it comes to supply chains.

“It is only by completely cutting off foreign trade and achieving economic independence that you can make it really impossible for other countries to exert pressure,” he writes.

But that would only reduce efficiency and let the country fall further behind, making the nation less secure, he warns.

“People concerned with security usually think of national security as the only value a country aspires to, as if once it is safe the country has achieved all its goals and its people are content,” he writes. “But that is not the case.”

The sole aim of maintaining security would also discourage companies from innovating and opening up to foreign companies, which would harm the overall efficiency of the economy, Jia adds.

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China has slammed US missile sanctions as hypocrisy

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Elsa now not hurricane, Miami-Dade getting ready as rental collapse search continues

Probability of storm winds from Hurricane Elsa

Source: NOAA

Elsa weakened to tropical storm strength, but continued plowing towards Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, a day after reaching the Caribbean island states of Barbados and St. Vincent.

The long-term forecast showed it was sailing towards Florida as a tropical storm until Tuesday morning, but some models would carry it to the Gulf or the Atlantic coast.

Florida officials have also warned the potential impact of winds could hamper search and rescue operations the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida.

“Our business continuity management department expects this to happen and is making the necessary preparations to protect a large part of the equipment. They could possibly host an event with the building, ”said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava signed a local state of emergency on Saturday that will allow the county to mobilize resources if necessary while search and rescue operations continue in the rubble of a partially collapsed 12-story residential complex.

“The path is still very uncertain, but we continue to monitor closely and if there is a potential impact on Miami-Dade, we are ready,” said Cava during a press conference.

The Category 1 storm was located approximately 40 miles southeast of Island Beta in the Dominican Republic and was moving west to west at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday, at 29 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). The agency reported maximum sustained winds of 70 mph as the tropical storm, which had been a Category 1 hurricane the previous Saturday, weakened as it approached Hispaniola and Cuba.

The NHC warned that conditions would likely worsen in the coming hours. Elsa’s forward speed was expected to decrease later on Saturday, while the maximum wind speeds would stay about the same through Sunday or Monday.

DeSantis told reporters on Saturday the state was preparing for a large tropical storm that includes isolated tornadoes, storm surges, heavy rains and flash floods.

“We hope the storm doesn’t have much runway to gain that speed and strength before it hits our peninsula,” he added.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

No less than 24 lifeless in Florida apartment collapse, demolition as early as Sunday

In this handout image dated July 2, 2021, search and rescue workers are working on the site of a collapsed Florida condominium complex in Surfside, Miami, USA.

MIAMI DADE FIRE DEPARTMENT | about REUTERS

Florida authorities have hastened plans to demolish a partially collapsed 12-story condominium building in Surfside amid fears the winds of Tropical Storm Elsa could knock over the remaining structure while search and rescue teams rummage through the rubble, hoping dozens of missing residents.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Saturday that experts on the ground are currently reviewing the structure and the contract has been signed to demolish the remains of Champlain Towers South as soon as possible.

“It is a burning wish of all of us that this can be done safely before the storm so that we can control the demolition,” said Levine Cava. “This demolition would protect and preserve evidence and allow for maximum search and rescue activity.”

The death toll in the collapsed condominium building rose to 24 on Saturday morning and 124 people are still missing. No one has been rescued since the first hours after the collapse on June 24th.

During a press conference on Saturday evening, Levine Cava said the search and rescue had to be temporarily suspended because of demolition preparations, which include drilling into unstable columns. As soon as the rest of the building is demolished, efforts can resume.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the building could be demolished within 36 hours once the final plan is determined. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the demolition could begin as early as Sunday.

“The fear was that the hurricane could tear the building down for us and fall in the wrong direction onto the pile that we have victims on,” said Burkett, referring to Elsa, who was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Levine Cava signed a local state of emergency for Elsa on Saturday morning. “Out of great caution, we make sure that we mobilize everything we need in the county to prepare for any impact,” she said at the meeting.

The long-term forecast shows that Elsa will be heading for Florida as a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, but some models would carry him to the Gulf or the Atlantic coast.

The accelerated plan comes a day after Levine Cava said the building will be demolished once engineers sign the next steps, a process that could likely take weeks. Officials have restricted access to parts of the construction zone that threaten public health and safety.

However, Levine Cava said a demolition expert came in on Friday night with the experience of acting faster than originally expected. Engineers and state, local and state agencies reviewed the plan and agreed that it was the best way to go, Levine Cava said.

“This planned demolition is very narrow so we don’t have a major impact on the area or additional evacuations,” said Levine Cava. “We are still in the due diligence process.”

The decision to demolish the remaining part of the building was made after search and rescue operations were suspended for most of Thursday amid concerns that the remaining structure could collapse.

The cause of the building collapse is still unknown. An engineering firm reviewed the condo tower in 2018, almost three years before it collapsed, and prepared a report which were found to have caused “major structural damage” by poor waterproofing under the building’s pool.

“If the waterproofing is not replaced in the near future, the extent of concrete deterioration will expand exponentially,” the report said.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has llaunched a full investigation into the collapse and gives recommendations for improving building security.

Levine Cava ordered a 30-day audit of buildings in Miami-Dade County that are 40 years or older that are five stories or higher and have not yet completed the recertification process. The county is currently reviewing 14 such buildings and 10 that have recently begun recertification.

Was a condo building in North Miami Beach closed and more than 300 residents evacuated on Friday unsafe structural and electrical conditions were determined after an audit and building inspection report.

Miami-style constructing collapse may occur in Australia

The collapse of the Champlain Towers in Miami, Florida should arouse both sympathy and fear. Florida is the birthplace of resort-style skyscrapers that have been copied in cities around the world, including Australia.

In the post-WWII economic boom, thousands of Americans faced the prospect of a comfortable retirement for the first time in history. To escape the harsh winters in the north, many were looking for a Florida second home with condos that perfectly met their needs.

With all the conveniences of a hotel and supposedly no home maintenance, condominiums have become the preferred option for retirees. When North American cities experienced post-industrial decline and baby boomers flew the nest, their parents often made Florida their permanent home. By the 1970s, the next generation had been seduced by the Florida lifestyle and flocked to the sunshine state by the tens of thousands.

The result was an unprecedented boom in housing construction. In 1975 there were as many homes in Florida as there were in the entire United States five years earlier. The boom was driven by developers who promised a lifestyle of sun, sand and relaxation. The reality was darker, however, as developers exploited buyers through a series of nefarious practices that threatened to implode the condominium market. The federal government had to intervene and conduct a study in 1975. Reading this report in Australia feels like marmot day. It documents misrepresentations by developers, complex sales contracts, missing guarantees, underestimated maintenance costs to increase sales, long-term exploitative management contracts and building defects. All problems in our own Strata market.

The primary solution Florida came up with was “Disclosure,” a practice familiar to anyone who has submitted an Australian housing contract that is a folder thick. Disclosure theory states that if a developer reports a specific problem to a buyer and the buyer buys anyway, then they cannot complain. The flaw with disclosure is that an exploitative, inefficient, or downright dangerous contract term doesn’t miraculously stop because it’s disclosed.

Florida has never solved the core problem of ongoing building repairs. In contrast to developer marketing, no building is maintenance-free, and with elevators, systems and equipment, a high-rise is infinitely more complex than a free-standing house. The repair must be agreed by the owners with different financial resources and purchase motives. Owners are paralyzed in this regard when the building has underlying defects. As US researcher Professor Evan McKenzie argues, ‘the entire institution of housing of common interest rests on the honorary directors, but they are unpaid, untrained, often unskilled, and almost entirely neglected by the governments whose work they often do supported. ‘ It is up to governments to ensure that buildings are flawless and built on stable, safe land, not the citizens.

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Australia has an advantage over the US, namely a single layer legislation that imposes repairs on the corporation. Our advantage ends here. Construction defects are common and many buyers buy into a world of pain. With all the excitement and noise about construction defects, one fundamental point seems to have been forgotten. It can be assumed that a brand new apartment building will be free of defects. Because builders are quite capable of building flawless buildings; they do this all the time in the commercial field. In the housing sector, they don’t because ownership is shared and they got away with it. The future consequences could be our own Champlain Towers. For the global housing market, Florida is the canary on the mine.

Cathy Sherry, UNSW Law and Justice, is the author of Strata Title Property Rights: Private Governance of Multi-Owned Properties.

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European Tremendous League getting ready to collapse after condemnation

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 20: Fans hold banners against Chelsea signing up for the newly proposed European Super League ahead of the Premier League game between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2021 in London, England .

Chloe Knott – Danehouse | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

LONDON – Plans for a breakaway elite football league in Europe have already disintegrated after widespread criticism and even threats of government interference.

The European Super League announced on Sunday is intended to keep up with the UEFA Champions League format, which is currently Europe’s best annual club competition.

Twelve of the richest teams in Europe signed up to be founding members of the new league, and JPMorgan backed them with $ 6 billion in debt funding.

However, the move sparked outrage from lawmakers, governing bodies, former players, fans, managers and experts, and many were concerned about the impact it would have on the structure of national competitions.

Many see it as a cynical and highly controversial project as the permanent members of the league could not be relegated.

Chelsea were the first club to signal Tuesday night that it was a jump ship. Fans protested the plans in front of the stadium in west London ahead of a Premier League match. Manchester City quickly followed suit with official confirmation of their withdrawal, and a few hours later England’s other four clubs withdrew.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin condemned the project and called it a “spit in the face” of all football fans. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to “thwart” it and likened it to a “cartel”.

The teams that initially agreed to play in the ESL included:

  • England: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.
  • Spain: Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
  • Italy: Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

On Monday evening, the chairman of the European Super League, Florentino Perez, said the plans to shape the new elite breakaway competition were designed to “save” football.

He defended himself against widespread criticism by claiming that changes were necessary because young people were “no longer interested in the sport”.

– CNBC’s Sam Shead and Sam Meredith contributed to this article.