2022年1月27日 星期四

政府鋪管線 中印度居民終於有自來水 Water-Stressed India Seeks a Tap for Every Home

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2022/01/28 第369期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 政府鋪管線 中印度居民終於有自來水 Water-Stressed India Seeks a Tap for Every Home
At Abandoned U.S. Base, a Notorious Prison Lies Empty 美軍巴格蘭基地內惡名昭彰的監獄
政府鋪管線 中印度居民終於有自來水 Water-Stressed India Seeks a Tap for Every Home
文/Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar

政府鋪管線 中印度居民終於有自來水

The pipes are laid, the taps installed and the village tank is under construction

— all promising signs that, come spring, Girja Ahriwar will get water at her

doorstep and finally shed a lifelong burden.


"I go out and put the jerrycans in the queue at around 5 a.m. and wait there

with the children," Ahriwar, a mother of three who lives in the central Indian

state of Madhya Pradesh, said about her routine of fetching from the village

hand pump. "Sometimes it could take five or six hours. I have to stay there

because if I leave, someone else moves ahead."


India, one of the world's most water-stressed countries, is halfway through an

ambitious drive to provide clean tap water by 2024 to all of the roughly 192

million households across its 600,000 villages. About 18,000 government

engineers are overseeing the $50 billion undertaking, which includes hundreds

of thousands of contractors and laborers who are laying more than 2.5 million

miles of pipe.


The project has a powerful champion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has

slashed through India's notorious red tape and pushed aside thorny political

divisions to see it through. His success thus far helps explain his dominance

over the country's political landscape.


Modi has remained popular despite a weak economy and a bungled initial

response to the coronavirus that left hundreds of thousands dead. He has

increasingly relied on communal politics, continuing to consolidate a Hindu

nationalist base he has worked for decades to rally.


But the mission to deliver water to every household combines two of Modi's

political strengths: his grasp of the day-to-day problems of hundreds of

millions of India's poor and his penchant for ambitious solutions. Modi,

who grew up in a poor village, has spoken emotionally about his own mother's

hardship in fetching water.


About one-sixth of India's households had a clean water tap when the

program, called Jal Jeevan Mission, began in 2019. Now, almost half

have one.


"You rarely have this drive from the government, the head of state, and it is

well funded. Behind the concept, there is budget," said Nicolas Osbert, who

leads the UNICEF water and sanitation unit in India. "All social sectors were

impacted by COVID. Not this one. This one was preserved."


The country's water problem speaks to the mismatch between its global

economic ambitions and the dire conditions of much of its 1.4 billion

population, two-thirds of whom still live in rural areas.


At Abandoned U.S. Base, a Notorious Prison Lies Empty 美軍巴格蘭基地內惡名昭彰的監獄
文/David Zucchino


On July 1, with little warning and no public ceremony, U.S. forces abandoned

the sprawling Bagram Air Base, the hub of the 20-year U.S. war effort in

Afghanistan. Six weeks later, on Aug. 15, Taliban fighters swept into the

base and freed thousands of prisoners — including senior Taliban and al-Qaida

figures — from a prison complex at Bagram.


A base that was once a bustling city housing tens of thousands of troops is

now a desolate ruin. Within Bagram's concrete blast walls, a bedraggled unit

of Taliban fighters guards the emptied prison, once the site where the U.S.

military detained thousands of people suspected of being insurgents, often for

long periods without charge or trial. The guards camp amid mountains of debris

and personal belongings abandoned by fleeing prisoners, and damaged

equipment left by U.S. and Afghan government forces.


The prison, known as the Detention Facility in Parwan, was built by the United

States in 2009. It replaced a nearby detention center at Bagram, known as the

Bagram Collection Point, where detainees endured abusive treatment at the

base. U.S. military pathologists ruled that two detainees died in 2002 from

beatings inflicted while in U.S. custody.


While the Parwan facility provided more humane conditions for prisoners, it

became the source of violent protests in February 2012 that led to the deaths

of Afghans and Americans after Qurans confiscated from prisoners were burned

by U.S. soldiers.


The United States transferred the Parwan detention facility to Afghan

government control in 2013 after turning over 3,000 Afghan prisoners to

Afghan custody.


In 2019, the United Nations reported that the facility, under the control of

the Afghan National Army, was overcrowded and that solitary confinement was

being used as a form of discipline.


When U.S. forces seized Bagram Air Base in late 2001, it was an abandoned

wreck fought over by the Taliban and U.S.-backed Northern Alliance militias.

The base was first constructed by the Soviet Union in the 1950s and served

as a hub for Soviet military operations for a decade before troops withdrew

in 1989.


Rebuilt by the U.S. military, Bagram expanded into a home away from home for

tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops.


Today, the base and the prison are quiet. Taliban guards said Bagram was

controlled by two Taliban commanders, one with 500 men under his

command and the other with 200 men.


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