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    The Longest Underwater Tunnel | China’s Future MEGAPROJECTS: Part 5
    Articles, Blog

    The Longest Underwater Tunnel | China’s Future MEGAPROJECTS: Part 5

    December 7, 2019


    Now for the most dangerous project on the
    agenda. The world’s longest underwater tunnel will connect the cities of Dalian and Yantai
    across the Bohai Sea, passing through two deadly earthquake fault zones. At 76 miles
    long it will be longer than the current first and second-ranked underwater tunnels combined,
    and at a cost of $42 billion, it will be extremely expensive. But the Chinese calculate that
    it will be worth it. For one, it will slash the eight hour drive
    between the two cities to under two hours. It will also connect China’s isolated northern
    rustbelt with its wealthy east coast, adding an additional $3.7 billion to the economy
    each year. The experience could also establish the Chinese
    as the preeminent submarine diggers in the world, and would be a serious practice run
    for far more ambitious potential future Mega-MEGA-projects like connecting China to South Korea, or even
    Russia to the United States across the Bering Strait–yes, that has actually been proposed. This isn’t the first underwater tunnel project
    for Chinese engineers, either, who already gained some experience by completing the 3.8
    mile-long Jiaozhou Bay Tunnel in 2011. But while the Bohai Sea is roughly the same depth
    as Jiaozhou Bay, the tunnel underneath it will be 20 times longer. When it comes to construction, if they’re
    lucky, the Chinese will encounter only soft seabed, allowing them to use Tunnel-Boring
    Machines the whole way. But if they run into harder rock, they’re going to have to use
    the “drill-and-blast” method embraced by the Japanese during construction of the
    Seikhan Tunnel. Using tons of dynamite hundreds of feet underwater is dangerous business,
    and it resulted in the unfortunate deaths of four workers over the course of that project,
    and maaaany accidental leaks. Reporter: “In 1976 the project hit its biggest
    crisis when 80 tons of seawater a minute began leaking in. 1.5 km of tunnel flooded. It took
    five months to get back on track.” Bryce: The Bohai Tunnel will also have to
    withstand magnitude 8.0 earthquakes. In 1976, the deadliest earthquake in modern history
    — a 7.8 — killed a record 650,000 people in Tangshan and surrounding areas. In 1969
    a quake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale shook the Bohai Bay itself. And there doesn’t
    seem to be much the engineers can even do about that threat besides simply reinforcing
    the strength of the tunnel walls. Of course, they could simply not bore a long hole under
    a deep bay through two fault zones, but that doesn’t really seem to be an option at this
    point. Because officials throughout China are under
    enormous pressure to hit GDP economic growth targets, and there aren’t many other options
    that could provide anywhere near as much economic benefit as the Bohai Tunnel, which should
    break ground sometime in 2016. For TDC, I’m Bryce Plank. Thanks for watching.

    Articles

    Top 10 Future U.S. MEGAPROJECTS

    November 19, 2019


    These are ten megaprojects the U.S. desperately
    needs to complete in the near future. They each represent many other projects awaiting
    approval and funding in cities and towns across America. A bullet train in Texas would help ease traffic
    in Houston and Dallas that will only get worse as the lonestar state continues to grow. A road trip from one city to the other will
    take up to 6.5 hours in the next twenty years. Modelled after Japan’s Shinkansen train,
    the Texas Central High-Speed Rail will cut that journey to just over three hours thanks
    to max speeds of 250 miles per hour. Heavy rains in 2015 breached more than 50
    dams in South Carolina, causing flooding throughout the state. It’s an emergency that will keep happening
    if the more than 600 dams rated as high-hazard aren’t modernized. Dams are aging nationwide and need more than
    $20 billion in repairs and upgrades. The Washington DC area has some of the worst
    traffic in the country. Extending the existing metro system to the
    suburbs by adding another metro line with 21 new stations will make everyone’s commute
    shorter, and will take an estimated 17,000 cars off the road. Denver has an ambitious plan to take back
    land from the interstate by plunging part of the I-70 East underground to create a large
    park with sports fields and performance spaces. The project will also modernize and widen
    the 60-plus-year-old road to ensure its structural integrity and ease congestion within the sprawling
    Denver area. Miami is already dealing with the effects
    of climate change with the installation of 80 pumping stations. But when sea levels rise just 5 more feet,
    96% of the city will be underwater, making it America’s most vulnerable urban area
    to a changing climate. To survive, it will need to significantly
    expand its levee system and build a multi-billion dollar seawall. The highly populated northeast corridor of
    the U.S. desperately needs to expand its high speed rail network to keep pace with the best
    cities in the world. Right now, the fastest train is the Acela,
    whose top speed is just 125 miles per hour. A maglev train connecting New York to DC could
    hit 300 mph and cut the commute from four hours to one. Old sewer lines aren’t properly functioning,
    resulting in raw sewage streaming into Lake Erie from Cleveland during storms. Project clean lake is a 25-year renewal plan
    that uses a variety of green methods, including the construction of seven tunnels, to solve
    the problem. To allow for more people and goods to pass
    through the Detroit-Windsor, Canada section of the border, the Gordie Howe International
    Bridge will provide uninterrupted traffic flow. When complete, the project will increase daily
    vehicle crossings by 30%. Phase 1 of California’s high speed rail
    project should open by 2030. It aims to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco
    in just three hours, compared to the nearly six hours it now takes to drive the route. It will be the first high speed rail project
    on the U.S. west coast and will eventually extend to San Diego and Sacramento, the state’s
    capitol. 200,000 daily passenger trips are made through
    the only rail tunnel connecting Manhattan and New Jersey. 100 years old and severely damaged by Hurricane
    Sandy, it badly needs an upgrade. The proposed Hudson River Rail Tunnel
    megaproject would modernize the existing tunnel and add a second one in order to ease congestion
    and wait time for commuters. This episode was sponsored by Dollar Shave
    Club. They have a brand new deal you’ve got to
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    link in the description, you get a one month trial of any razor for a buck. They’ve also got shampoo and shave butter
    that I used this morning that has me smelling good and feeling smooth. So what are you waiting for? Go to www.dolarshaveclub.com/TDC, link in
    the description, and get their best for a buck! For TDC, I’m Bryce Plank. Until tomorrow, thanks for watching.

    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS
    Articles, Blog

    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS

    November 12, 2019


    Welcome to TDC. This is our mini-documentary
    on the most ambitious, fascinating infrastructure Megaprojects of the near future. The rulers of the United Arab Emirates have
    insane amounts of money to spend. Thanks to everyone’s thirst for oil, they’ve been
    on a construction spree unlike any the world has ever seen for such a small country, investing
    in one ambitious infrastructure project after another. At one point, 24 percent of all the
    world’s construction cranes we in Dubai. Unfortunately, that was before the 2008-2009
    global financial meltdown, which led to much of the investment in the city drying up faster
    than the water on somebody who just got out of the pool at the Burj Khalifa. But the government
    insists that many of these projects have simply been delayed, and are putting their money
    where their mouth is with the recent approval of a $32 billion expansion of Dubai’s Al
    Maktoum International Airport that will break ground by the end of 2014. When complete,
    it’ll suddenly have the capacity to become the busiest airport in the world in both total
    passengers – at 220 million a year – and total cargo of 12 million annual tonnes of goods
    that can move through it–that’s almost 3 times more than what takes off from the
    runways of the world’s current leader, Hong Kong’s International Airport. It’s terminals
    will able to hold 100 of the massive new Airbus A380’s that are over 2/3ds of a football
    field long and cost $300 million a pop. The UAE’s Emirates airline already owns more
    of those planes than anyone else in the world. It’s the largest airline in the Middle East
    and will eventually move into the Al Maktoum airport to help jump start activity. The government’s
    plan is for the airfield to be the heartbeat of a city within the larger city of Dubai
    called World Central, which the UAE thinks will be home to 900,000 residents in the near
    future. The airport also hopes to be the central hub for the emerging Middle East, North African,
    and South Asian economic bloc known as MENASA. But time will tell whether the Shaikh’s
    vision for Dubai actually becomes a reality, or fades like some vicious mirage. This is Songdo International Business District,
    the world’s most futuristic urban area. It’s being built 40 miles southwest of the
    second-most populated city in the world, Seoul, South Korea. The $40 billion project is along
    the waterfront in the city of Incheon and is embracing two key concepts that urban planners
    are in love with: The first is Aerotropolis, which means the airport is integrated into
    the urban center instead of banishing it far outside of the city. This allows for shorter
    trips to and from the place that’s going to get you out of town–this’ll be an emerging
    pattern in 21st century planning as air travel continues to become accessible to more and
    more people in our increasingly interconnected world. Songdo is brilliantly directly connected
    to the airport via the 7-mile long Incheon bridge so you’ve just got a straight shot
    that gets you there in like 10 minutes that’s also got these incredible views and is the
    first thing visitors see coming into the city. The other key theme is Ubiquitous City, which
    is a uniquely Korean concept where every device, component, service is linked to an informational
    network through wireless computing technology, allowing for greater coordination and a more
    efficient and synchronized city than has ever been possible before. An example of this is
    Songdo’s trash system, which won’t rely on garbage trucks, because a network of tubes
    will suck in the garbage straight from the can and through a system of pipes, transport
    it efficiently to treatment facilities. Songdo’s so dedicated to being a model for sustainability
    that it has set aside 40% of its land area to be outdoor spaces like parks and it’ll
    become the first city in the world outside of the United States to achieve LEED certification,
    which is the highest energy consumption and waste standards possible with currently available
    technology. As a tip-of-the-hat to other great cities, Songdo will also incorporate replicas
    of New York’s Central Park and Venice’s historic canals. Overall, construction is
    currently half done. It already has 67,000 people living there studying and working at
    its many schools, including the foreign campuses of four American universities, but it’s
    struggled to attract Korean businesses as the government is refusing to give tax incentives
    for relocation, because that would create an unfair playing field favoring Songdo over
    other cities in the country. Still, if it stays squarely focused on the future, Songdo’s
    a long-term investment that’s likely to pay off. Nicaragua is about to embark on what may be
    the boldest and riskiest Megaproject in the history of the world. One that will change
    it forever. It’s going to build the biggest canal in the world . The $50 billion Nicaragua
    Grand Canal will cut the country in half to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific,
    running through the biggest lake in Central America. At 173-miles-long, it’ll dwarf
    the 120 mile-long Suez Canal in Egypt and directly compete with the Panama Canal 250
    miles to the south, through which more than 15,000 ships already pass each year. But in
    the coming years, many more ships full of goods and raw materials are going to try and
    pass back and forth from the Pacific to the Atlantic to connect Europe, Brazil and the
    Eastern Coast of the United States, with China and the rest of Asia. The story of how little six-million-man Nicaragua,
    the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is able to afford such an expensive
    project is a fascinating case study of globalization, and how capitalism is increasingly driving
    geopolitical decision-making. In June of last year, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s
    Sandanista party also controlled parliament and – without any real debate – gave a 50-year,
    no-bid contract to Chinese telecommunications magnate Wang Jing to build and manage the
    proposed canal. And, it just so happens that, also last year, according to a report in the
    LA Times, Wang hosted a number of Nicaraguan officials and businessmen on a trip to China,
    where the powerful and connected Wang supposedly flaunted his extreme wealth and was accompanied
    at all times by Chinese military officers and other high-ranking governmental officials.
    So, it’s tough to believe him when he insists that the Chinese government is not financially
    backing the project, especially when we already know that China is using state financed companies
    to buy more and more assets in the West. The opportunity to own the world’s most valuable
    shipping lane seems too tempting for the Chinese government to pass up. The supposedly democratic government of Nicaragua
    is using a page out of China’s playbook, by refusing to release any of the studies
    about the impacts of the canal until December 2014, the same month construction will begin.
    That’s because there is a loooong list of environmental and humanitarian concerns. The
    project will tear through countless ecosystems and communities, and rip into the source of
    much of the country’s fresh water, Lake Nicaragua. The residents whose land is on
    the canal route have received no word on what the government plans to do for them in terms
    of compensation and relocation. But, as easy as it is to criticize the way
    the project is being handled, it’s also fairly hypocritical of me, as an American,
    to mount a very convincing argument against the plan. Afterall, about a hundred years
    ago, US President Theodore Roosevelt basically took control of Panama and pushed through
    the canal there, a project that’s benefitted America time and time again, and has made
    Panama economically better off in the long run. But we’re not living in 1914… Now is the time of social media-fueled revolution,
    where images and video fly around the world instantly, empowering even the poorest locals
    to use the power of the global community to rally support for their cause and exert political
    pressure in unpredictable ways. So, what I’m saying is that it may have been easy for President
    Ortega see all that money flying around and secretly, singlehandedly approve a massively
    disruptive project like this, but when those bulldozers start tearing apart the countryside
    – and people’s homes – there’s probably going to be hell to pay for not consulting
    the voters at all. This could be shaping up to be another one of those important moments
    of struggle in world history between the powerful have’s and the have nots. On the one hand, you have the limitless funding
    of the Chinese who want that flag-in-the-dirt, statement-making moment for their country
    of staking a claim in the Americas. We know the canal would benefit corporations in the
    west through the shipping and trade benefits I outlined earlier. And with construction
    set to begin in Nicaragua next month – there doesn’t seem to be any stopping it from
    starting. But on the other hand, this thing is going
    to take six years at a minimum to finish, and if we’ve learned anything from recent
    history, it’s that a lot can happen in six weeks or six months, let alone six years. On a person-to-person basis, the United Arab
    Emirates has the biggest Ecological Footprint in the world thanks to its prolific oil production
    and the massive construction boom that’s been going on there for the last decade. So
    it’s surprising to learn that the UAE is home to Masdar–the world’s first zero-carbon,
    zero-waste city. To meet this ambitious goal, it’s powered only by renewable energy, like
    a 54-acre 88,000 panel solar farm beyond the cities’ walls. That’s right, I said walls.
    The designers studied ancient cities to learn the most effective planning methods to reduce
    energy consumption. One of the key things are walls that helps to keep the high, hot
    desert winds away from its inhabitants. They also raised the entire foundation of the site
    a few feet above the surrounding land to keep Masdar cooler and spaced the buildings much
    closer together to keep the streets and walkways narrow, and mostly in the shade. These techniques
    – combined with 130-foot wind towers that suck air from above and convert it into a
    cool breeze blowing on the street – mean Masdar is a comfortable 70 degrees fahrenheit when
    just a few meters away, the thermostat rises well above 100. Plus, there’s no driving
    in the city and any car that enters is parked at the outskirts. A system of driverless electric
    vehicles then ferry people from place to place underground, and a light rail system is also
    available above ground, which means there’s no need for streets. And in a move that cuts
    both water and electricity consumption more than half, there are no light switches or
    water taps–everything is controlled by movement sensors. This unprecedented level of environmental
    consciousness has won it hard-earned endorsements from environmental conservation groups like
    Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. The German engineering giant Siemens has located
    its Middle East headquarters there, as has the International Renewable Energy Agency.
    The Masdar Institute for Science and Technology – a small postgraduate university that was
    founded through a collaboration with MIT – occupies one of Masdar’s first completed buildings
    and is already producing great work and first-class researchers. So the city undeniably has a
    solid foundation, but it’s got a lot to do still if it’s going to meet its ambitious
    goal of housing 50,000 residents and hosting offices for 60,000 more commuters. The city’s
    co-founder admits that Masdar is “a fraction of what it was supposed to be back in 2006
    when we announced it. At the beginning of the project, nobody really anticipated how
    difficult it is to build a city.” This underscores the point many urban planners around the world
    have made: that we should be focused on making our existing cities more sustainable instead
    of building brand new ones. But even if Masdar only teaches us one or two major things about
    what’s possible when it comes to sustainable urban design – and it does seem like it’s
    already done that – then it’ll have been worth it, even if it takes much longer to
    achieve its overall vision, or if it ultimately fails. Because let’s be honest, the UAE
    was going to spend that $20 billion in oil revenue on something, so it’s better for
    everyone that its going to an important experiment like Masdar rather than another row of gold
    and marble crusted hotel skyscrapers or an electricity-sucking indoor snow park. This is the future–maglev trains. Japan’s
    all aboard. They’re spending a staggering $85 billion over the next 30 years to connect
    the island’s three largest cities: Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. That’s over three hundred
    miles that you’ll be able to cover in about 67 minutes by racing through the countryside
    at over 300 miles per hour. Maglev technology uses powerful magnetic charges to move rail
    cars that float several inches above a concrete guideway, rather than riding on steel wheels.
    This frictionless system allows for a smoother ride at significantly higher speeds than traditional
    high speed rail. In contrast, California’s planned high speed rail system that’ll eventually
    connect San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, will only be able to travel at top
    speeds of 220 mph, but its estimated overall cost is ten billion dollars less than the
    Japanese system and will cover a distance two and a half times as long. The Chinese
    city of Shanghai has had a short maglev line in operation since 2004, but the Japanese
    line is the world’s first intercity link to gain public approval. The project’s called
    Chuo Shinkansen – or as the Japanese refer to it, Rinia Mota Ka – and is a culmination
    of 40 years of Japanese maglev development that began with an unlikely partnership between
    Japan Airlines and Japanese National Railways. What’s really impressive about this project
    is that JR Central – the company that’s building the line – will finance the project
    without public money, thanks largely to the success of the bullet train it’s run from
    Tokyo to Osaka since the mid 1960’s. The company’s also pushing hard to construct
    a maglev line between the American capital city of Washington DC and New York, which
    would showcase the technology to the American market and the rest of the western world.
    The Japanese government has even offered to fully finance the 40 mile first leg of the
    US project from Baltimore to DC, a proposal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directly pitched
    to President Barack Obama during a meeting last year. But critics of Maglev say the costs
    outweigh the benefits. Opponents have raised questions about the sheer monetary cost of
    the project, its environmental impact, and whether it is really needed. Tunnels will
    be blasted through some of Japan’s highest mountains to build the Chuo Shinkansen line.
    But regardless of what the critics say, something had to change. When the Maglev system is done
    it will help alleviate the overcrowding on Japan’s existing rail system and make it
    feasible for commuters into Tokyo to live further outside of the city than they can
    now. Many of the projects that we’ve profiled
    in our Megaprojects series have a real purpose for advancing society, or at least meeting
    the needs of a growing world economy. Then there’s Azerbaijan’s ridiculous Khazar
    Islands, a project that – despite all the progress in the world – is the perfect example
    of everything that’s still wrong with its power structure, but more on that in a moment.
    The creatively named Azerbaijan Tower will be the world’s tallest building, about 800
    feet taller than the current leader, the Burj Khalifa, and, insanely, twice as tall as the
    tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, New York’s One World Trade Center. The Freudian
    showpiece of the $100 billion project, Azerbaijan Tower will rise above the capital city, Baku,
    and will be surrounded by 55 artificial islands built in the Caspian Sea with land gathered
    by completely destroying a nearby mountain. There will also be at least eight hotels,
    a Formula One racetrack, a yacht club, and an airport. So basically, we’re talking
    about Donald Trump’s fantasy. Now, it’s one thing to build an over-the-top city like
    Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is one of the most-developed places in the world,
    and a completely different thing for it to rise in Azerbaijan, which has a per capita
    GDP that’s not even ⅕ as much as the UAE. This madness is the brainchild of the billionaire
    developer Ibrahim Ibrahimov, who has extremely cozy ties with the corrupt government of the
    newly oil rich nation of Azerbaijan. Just how corrupt is Azerbaijan? In a 2012 report
    by watchdog group Transparency International that declared 2/3rds of the world’s countries
    “highly corrupt,” Azerbaijan’s Prez Ilham Aliyev stood out from the pack as the
    report’s infamous, “person of the year,” with untold amounts of money stashed in various
    locations around the world. But back to President Aliyev’s good buddy, Ibrahimov, who lazily
    came up with the tacky idea for the megaproject that’s basically a copy of Dubai’s island
    development and mega-tower while on a flight home from, you guessed it, Dubai. He argues
    that Khazer Islands will be home to 800,000 people, but doesn’t explain how those people
    will afford its expensive apartments. Instead of investing in the future by maybe funding
    a network of world class universities – which Azerbaijan isn’t even close to having – in
    a country that borders no ocean and produces no product that the rest of the world wants,
    besides oil, the government thinks its a good idea to build this. I doubt many of the nine
    million people of Azerbaijan think it’s a very good idea. In fact, in a possible sign
    of things to come, last year, Azerbaijanis in a city across the country, got so fed up
    with the corrupt regime, they rioted for two entire days. But look, the capital is doing
    some things right, Baku made Lonely Planet’s top ten ranking of the best nightlife spots
    in the world. I just wonder how much they paid to get on the list. No list of Megaprojects would be complete
    without including the largest-ever science project. The International Thermonuclear Experimental
    Reactor (or, ITER) is a collaboration between China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia,
    South Korea, and the United States that is under construction in Southern France where
    researchers will attempt to see if they can, essentially, recreate the power of the Sun
    and harness it in a steel bottle. Gas will be heated to over 150 million degrees in a
    massive steel frame using giant magnets that will force some atoms together. In this experimental
    reactor, the hope is to produce 10 times more energy than what is used to initiate the reaction,
    or the equivalent of 500 megawatts of power for 1,000 seconds. Although electricity won’t
    be generated at the ITER facility, a fusion power plant would use the heat generated to
    drive turbines and produce power. Unlike nuclear fission, which are what all nuclear power
    plants are today, fusion reactors should be completely safe, with no risk of a producing
    a runaway chain reaction and no dangerous long-living radioactive waste. The fact that
    nations who are competing in nearly every area of geopolitics and economics are coming
    together to collaborate on a $50 billion project is a sign that the science is incredibly promising
    and the potential benefits to humanity are profoundly game-changing. That’s why countries
    that represent half of the world’s population and account for 2/3ds of the global economy
    are participating: because solving fusion would mean prosperity for all, the closest
    thing to limitless energy we can fathom. This month, after the completion of the ground
    support structure which took four years to finish, the second phase of construction began:
    the walls of the seven-story building where the experiment will take place. But we’re
    still several years away from turning the thing on. The complex will make its first
    attempt to produce plasma in a fusion reaction in 2020, with regular operations beginning
    in 2027, 11 years behind schedule and over 40 years after the program was first initiated
    in 1985. But no matter how long, or how many tries it takes to get it right, the prospect,
    the hope of living in a world powered by this type of energy that we wouldn’t need to
    fight over, or pump out of the ground, that we wouldn’t need to burn, that wouldn’t
    harm our precious planet, that’s probably one of the most optimistic, hopeful ideas
    I’ve ever heard, and it’s definitely one worth waiting for. China is about halfway done building the largest
    expressway system in the world, and it’s done so at a feverish pace over the last 25
    years to keep up with the rise of the automobile as the country – and the world – has shifted
    away from a rail-based transportation system. The first expressway within the National Trunk
    Highway System, as it’s called, opened in 1988 and today, just 26 years later, the system
    is over 65,000 miles long. In the ten years since 2004, the network has tripled in length.
    Each year, China’s now building new expressways equivalent in length to the distance of going
    coast-to-coast and back in the United States. The Chinese system exceeded the total length
    of the US interstate highway system back in 2011. This crazy expansion has happened because
    the Chinese have embraced the car at a staggering pace. This next mind-blowing fact pretty much
    sums up this entire video: as the country’s middle class boomed and tens of millions of
    people suddenly could afford to buy cars, in the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, the number
    of passenger vehicles in China increased from 19,000 to 62 million cars on the road, that’s
    a mind-blowing increase of 323,000%. And that 62 million number is more than tripling to
    200 million by 2020. That’s why we’ve seen those stories that I thought were a joke
    the first time I read them, of traffic jams around Beijing stretching over 60 miles and
    lasting for 11 days. So this project is sorely needed simply for the country to function.
    When it’s finished, it will have cut total travel times between cities throughout the
    country, by half, on average. Overall the total cost of building the entire system is
    $240 billion dollars, that’s easily the biggest infrastructure project in human history,
    with $12 billion a year being invested through 2020. It’s been able to afford to do this
    without adding a national fuel tax because 95% of the system are toll roads owned by
    private, for-profit companies. This is a problem, as tolls are expensive at over 10 cents per
    mile…which is more than the cost of fuel itself. But regardless of how the roads are
    paid for, or whether, you drive on them in your gas or electric car, or ride in a self-driving
    car. The Chinese economy and quality of life of its people will be significantly better
    thanks to this ambitious project. It seems the whole country is embracing the Chinese
    saying, “Lutong Caiton,” wealth follows the extension of motorways. India faces one of the most challenging situations
    in the world. It has 1.2 billion people spread over a vast country. More than 350 million
    of whom will move into cities in the coming decade, which means some 500 new urban centers
    will need to be built from scratch. And even though India’s sheer size means that its
    economy ranks third in the world in purchasing power, overall, it’s relatively poor and
    underdeveloped. It’s also young. The average Indian is just 27 years old, compared to the
    average American, who’s a decade older. This means that most of the population is
    about to hit their prime working years—these are all people who need jobs to be created
    now. That’s why the government is embarking on the largest infrastructure project in Indian
    history: the $90 billion Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, whose backbone will be a 920 mile
    long dedicated freight corridor, basically a set of multiple rail lines that will exist
    solely to move goods from the factories where they are produced to the sea and airports
    where they can be exported to market. It’s designed to cut the logistical costs of manufacturing
    goods to make India the cheapest place in the world for a company to build its stuff
    and – in turn – triple the amount of merchandise it exports from 2010 levels by 2017. Japan
    is the major partner behind the project because the Japanese economy is based on a technology
    industry that needs to build its products at the most competitive rates in the world.
    The overall effort will include a 4,000 MW power plant, and at least three brand new
    seaports and six airports. And all along the route, 24 new cities will spring up with each
    aiming to be superior to any existing Indian city in terms of the quality of infrastructure,
    planning, management, and services offered. With natural resources scarce – and climate
    change a concern of any good urban planner – the use of technology has been stressed
    to make sure this boom will be as clean and sustainable as possible. Roads are also a
    major part of the plan with thousands of miles of expressways planned to ease congestion.
    The project is a priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who entered office in 2014
    after leading his BJP party to a dominating win in the 2014 election, giving him a mandate
    to enact his vision for making India a global manufacturing superpower. It seems the Indians
    are attempting to follow a similar blueprint for success the Chinese put into action over
    the last 40 years. With a population nearly as big, Indians are rightly asking, why not
    us? If you were playing Sim City, you’d want
    to go about building your metropolis the same way the Saudi’s have with King Abdullah
    Economic City. And just like other great leaders of men, you’d probably name it after yourself
    too, which is exactly what King Abdullah did. You’d also focus on job-creating infrastructure
    and a dream university to attract the best and brightest. Saudi Arabia is the world’s
    dominant oil producer, and is a country that knows how to play the game. While its flashier
    neighbors like Abu Dhabi and Dubai get all the publicity for their megaprojects, the
    Kingdom is embarking on a far more ambitious project that’s focused squarely on creating
    the most cohesive, well-planned city in the Arab world. The $100 billion enterprise on
    the coast of the Red Sea is about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah, the second-largest
    city in Saudi Arabia, and plans to expand into an area about the size of Washington
    DC. That location is no coincidence, says Fahd Al Rasheed, the man who’s in charge
    of growing King Abdullah Economic City – which we’re going to shorten to just its initials,
    KAEC – “you’re talking about 24 percent of global trade going through the Red Sea,
    and this is a trend that’s never been addressed by a Red Sea port.” That’s why KAEC’s
    port is going to be massive, with an annual capacity of over ten million shipping containers,
    which would make it one of the busiest ports in the world. So cargo is KAEC’s first major
    transportation hub. The second is Haramain station, one of four stops on Saudi Arabia’s
    planned high speed rail network that will connect the new megacity to Jeddah, Makkah,
    and Madinah. This will bring thousands of visitors to KAEC right from it’s inception,
    with officials hoping that some will naturally take jobs and stay there, fueling its expansion.
    At first, the whole plan struggled to gain much traction with investors, “but,” says
    Al Rasheed, “then we reoriented ourselves towards building that demand, creating that
    support and it’s completely shifted. Now we have captive demand — all our apartments
    are full and we have waiting lists for hundreds of people, literally.”
    Part of that shift focused on KAEC’s Industrial Valley which is centered on a large petrochemical
    plant and has more than 70 companies lining up to set up bases there.
    And then there’s the cornerstone of any thriving city: a great university. Enter,
    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – which began instruction in 2009 with a staggering
    $20 billion endowment, making it the third best-funded university in the world behind
    Harvard and Yale. This capital injection has allowed it to lift off like a rocket in its
    first five years. It’s recruited some of the best talent from over 60 countries around
    the world–scientists who’ve carried the school to an eye-opening 99.9% research record
    score. The research teams at King Tech are advancing many important fields like solar
    cell technology and cancer therapy. It teaches in English and is the first mixed-gender university
    in the Kingdom. Plus, with just 1200 postgraduates on an 8,900 acre campus, there’s plenty
    of room to expand in every direction. With forty percent of Saudi Arabia’s citizens
    under 15 years old, the plan is for the megacity – by itself – to create upwards of a million
    jobs for all of those young people to grow into.
    In the end, it may be true that Saudi Arabia would be a bone-dry desert wasteland without
    it’s exploitation of the vast fields of black gold underneath it, but at least – in
    the twilight of his life – King Abdullah is doing all he can to set his people – and the
    rest of the world – on a slightly better path than the one they were on when he took over
    just nine years ago in 2005. And if that’s his legacy, he deserves to have a city named
    after him. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this
    video, and if you did, you’ll love our video profiling 10 promising renewable energy sources
    of the future or our mini-doc on robotic armies and the militaries of the future. Make sure
    to like this video to help it spread, it really helps us out. And hit that subscribe button
    to stay up to date on all of our daily videos.

    Why Trains Suck in America
    Articles, Blog

    Why Trains Suck in America

    November 4, 2019


    Let’s face it: trains kinda suck in America. They’re slow, expensive, and just don’t
    exist in many parts of the country. The simple reason for this is because the
    US is so sparsely populated. Aside from here, here, and here, cities just
    aren’t close enough together to make train travel faster or cheaper than plane travel. When cities are within 200-300 miles of each
    other, it’s often faster to take a train from downtown to downtown rather than driving
    to an airport, checking in, going through security, flying, then driving downtown. However, as I mentioned, there definitely
    are regions in the US with cities this distance away from each other, so why do trains still
    suck? The United States has the geography to support
    trains in certain areas and yet a train from DC to New York costs at least $49 dollars
    and takes 3 hours and 29 minutes, only 30 minutes less than driving. A train from Rennes to Paris, France, a very
    similar distance, costs 27 euros, the equivalent of 30 dollars, and takes only 2 hours and
    4 minutes. The US does have one high speed train, the
    Acela express, but it costs at least $120 dollars for a ride from DC to New York and
    still takes 2 hours and 50 minutes. Turkey, Poland, and Uzbekistan all have trains
    that travel faster that America’s fastest train. Alright, so understanding the whole issue
    requires a bit of background knowledge. Back in their heyday, railroads in America
    were… amazing. We built our first in 1826 and had a transcontinental
    line by 1869—only 19 years after California even became a state. Trains travelled almost everywhere and most
    historians agree that the development of railroads was an absolutely crucial catalyst to the
    American industrialization period from 1843 to 1860. They even prompted the US to create one of
    the world’s first standardized time systems as discussed in an old video of mine which
    you can find here. While passenger trains could sometimes be
    profitable, freight services were where the real money was so most rail companies basically
    ran passenger services as a mobile advertisement for their freight services to the executives
    that would decide which company to ship goods on. Trains were, after all, the most glamorous
    and efficient way to travel. However, as cars became popular in the 30’s
    and planes became popular in the 50’s, there was little purpose any more to set up passenger
    services as advertisements to executives who would be taking the more trendy car or plane
    instead. At this point, the few profitable passenger
    services only made money because of their contracts with the US Postal Service. Most trains would have one car that served
    as the railway post office—an office on wheels where workers would sort letters en
    route to the destination to save time. In the 1960’s, mail sorting was mechanized,
    trucks and planes began to transport letters, and railway post offices were discontinued. It became essentially impossible to make money
    with a passenger railroad. By the end of the 1960’s the only thing
    keeping the few passenger routes alive was a legal obligation by the Interstate Commerce
    Commission for the train companies to keep running those routes. But then Amtrak came along. In 1970, President Nixon signed into law the
    Rail Passenger Service Act which formed the federally funded national rail company that
    promised to save and make great again passenger rail travel… except it didn’t. In the United States, a nation of 319 million
    people, Amtrak operates a mere 300 train journeys a day, while in France, a nation of 66 million
    people, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais, also known as SNCF, operates
    14,000 trips every single day, 800 of which are high speed. One common criticism of Amtrak is its unreliability. On average, only 72% of Amtrak’s trains
    arrive on time. The California Zephyr route from Chicago to
    San Francisco even arrived on time a paltry 31% in June of 2016. So what does Amtrak blame the delays on: freight
    trains. You see, Amtrak only owns 730 miles of the
    21,300 miles of track it operates on. On the California Zephyr route, Union Pacific
    owns about half the track and BNSF owns the other half. According to Amtrak, only 1.4% of all delays
    on this route were their fault. The other 98.6 percent were reportedly the
    fault of the rail companies who own the track. Union Pacific will naturally lend priority
    to their own trains on their tracks instead of Amtrak’s so Amtrak trains are often told
    to wait to let a freight train pass. After all, it’s not like Amtrak can go and
    use competing tracks so there’s little incentive to give priority to passenger trains. Most rail operators in Europe don’t have
    this problem. In France, for example, the national rail
    company owns all the track so priority can be given to passenger trains. Also, only 8% of freight in Europe is moved
    by rail compared to 38% in the United States, so there are far fewer freight trains congesting
    the tracks. Since Amtrak is so young, they never got the
    opportunity to build their own tracks. The Northeast corridor—which is absolutely
    perfectly shaped to have a high speed rail network with five major urban centers located
    on a straight line—built up it’s rail system in the 1800’s and the railroad had
    such an impact that towns and people flocked to the area around it. For that reason, this area is incredibly densely
    populated and there truly is no open space between the cities. Consequently, it would be unbelievably expensive
    to raze a bunch of houses and build a new, straighter route of high speed tracks from
    DC to Boston. Amtrak says that it would cost an estimated
    $151 billion dollars to build tracks up the spec of France’s high speed rail network
    in the Northeast corridor. Since the Northeast Regional, the train running
    between DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, is one of the few routes that
    makes money, there’s little incentive for Amtrak to sink a lot of funds into upgrading
    the tracks. Additionally, American cities just aren’t
    built like many European cities. With population densities averaging lower
    than 15,000 people per square mile, cities in the United States are far less walkable
    than their European counterparts which can have as many as 55,000 people per square mile. Due to their ancient roots, European cities
    naturally developed compact urban cores since for all but the rich there was no option but
    to walk everywhere. Given that, it’s much easier to walk to
    your destination from a train station in a European city than it is in an American city. It’s believed that since most Americans
    have to take another form of transport to get to their destination after taking the
    train in America, they see the train as not that much more convenient than the plane where
    you also have to take another form of transport to get to your final destination. So what’s the solution? How should America fix it’s rails? Well, unfortunately, we’ll probably never
    get a big network of fancy high-speed trains like in France or Germany. There are dozens of plans in the US to build
    high-speed rail lines, however few if any of them will likely come to fruition. There is a high-speed rail line currently
    being built between Miami and Orlando by a private company called All Aboard Florida,
    however, with a top speed of 125 miles per hour, the service will only be slightly faster
    than driving due to speed restrictions on many parts of the route. The state of California is also building a
    high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Anaheim with a estimated transit time
    of 2 hours and 40 minutes which would be less than half the driving time between the two
    cities. Despite construction already beginning, phase
    1 of the project isn’t estimated to be completed until 2029 and public support is diminishing. Many have proposed that America shouldn’t
    be concerned with building a flashy high-speed network. Amtrak’s 151 billion dollar proposal for
    a true high-speed northeast corridor system divides down to $320 million dollars per mile
    or $60,000 per foot of high speed track. What would be far more efficient would be
    to upgrade current track to allow trains to operate at their top speeds. On the Northeast Regional route, trains reach
    a top speed of 125mph briefly, and if they operated at that speed for all of the DC to
    New York leg, the trip from DC to New York would take only slightly longer than two hours. Small improvements can cut minutes from the
    journey times which can add up to hours. Unfortunately, Amtrak is stuck in a rut where
    they have no money to improve anything, which causes low ridership, which worsens the problem
    of no money. SNCF in France is so great because taxpayers
    pay for about half of the operating cost of every journey, while Amtrak is designed to
    be a for-profit yet government subsidized corporation. Right now, Amtrak is kinda like the neglected
    little brother in the US transit family who doesn’t get any money, and until that changes,
    we’re still going to have our slow, expensive trains. Thank you for watching! Make sure to click here to subscribe to Wendover
    Productions. You can also follow me on Twitter @WendoverPro
    for behind the scenes updates between videos. Aside from that, make sure to check out my
    last video on Maritime Law here. Thanks again, and I’ll see you soon for
    another Wendover Productions video.

    High-speed Amtrak train derails in DuPont, Washington
    Articles, Blog

    High-speed Amtrak train derails in DuPont, Washington

    October 12, 2019


    >>Melissa: WE ARE JUST NOW GETTING PICTURES OF THE HIGH-SPEED AMTRAK DERAILMENT WE TOLD YOU ABOUT IN DUPONT, WASHINGTON TAKE A LOOK AT THESE PICTURES. IT APPEARS THE TRAIN — LOOK AT THAT, WENT OFF AN OVERPASS AND NOW ALL SOUTHBOUND LANES OF I-5

    Amtrak train traveling at high speed before derailing
    Articles, Blog

    Amtrak train traveling at high speed before derailing

    October 11, 2019


    ALWAYS WAKES YOU UP WHEN IT IS DARK AND EARLY IN THE MORNING. YOU ARE WATCHING “FOX AND FRIENDS” FIRST ON TUESDAY MORNING. LET’S GET TO A FOX NEWS ALERT. A PASSENGER, THE AMTRAK PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILED IN WASHINGTON STATE PLUMMETING ONTO A HIGHWAY BELOW AND IT WAS SPEEDING, THREE PEOPLE DEAD AT THIS HOUR IS THE FBI COMBS THROUGH THE HORRIFYING SCENE HUNTING FOR NEW CLUES.>>Reporter: INVESTIGATORS WITH THE NTSB, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD ARRIVED OVERNIGHT AND WILL SPEND THE FIRST FULL DAY COMING AND A LOCOMOTIVE JUMPED THE TRACK SOME OF THEM LANDING ON THE BUSY FREEWAY BELOW, YOU CAN SEE THE WRECKAGE IS STILL HERE AND ONE TRAIN CAR DANGLING OVER THE TRESTLE. IT WILL TAKE MONTHS, UP TO A YEAR TO DETERMINE AN OFFICIAL CAUSE, NO QUESTION HIS TRAIN WAS GOING TOO FAST AND LOOSE USING DATA RECORDER INVESTIGATION, FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS CONFIRM 50 OVER THE SPEED LIMIT WHEN IT FIRST MOMENTS AFTER THE CRASH WHEN THE CONDUCTOR CALLED IN TO REPORT IT.>>EMERGENCY, EMERGENCY, WE ARE ON THE GROUND, WE ARE ON THE BRIDGE. ON THE FREEWAY. STARTING TO SHOW UP. IT IS UNCLEAR IF THEIR BODIES ARE STILL IN THE MEDICAL RECORDS, 72 VICTIMS WERE TREATED, TWO LISTED IN SERIOUS CONDITION, A BABY ON THE TRAIN ESCAPED UNHURT AND MANY SURVIVORS PRAISING BY STANDARDS WHO SURVIVORS PRAISING BY STANDARDS
    WHO RUSHED IN TO HELP. AND TO HELP SAVE LIVES. DONALD TRUMP IS EXPRESSING HIS CONDOLENCES AND SAYING THIS MUST BE APPROVED QUICKLY. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS REPORTING THIS HAPPENED ON NEWLY FINISHED TRACKS, NOT A REAL WITH MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS, LOCAL OFFICIALS EXPRESSED THEIR TO TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIANS. HEAVY CRANES BEING USED TO LIFT CANADA AND MEXICO AND THE GOVERNOR HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY SO THEY HOPE TO GET THIS PART OF THE FREEWAY THROUGH

    Trump voter: We’ve got a crazy man driving the train
    Articles, Blog

    Trump voter: We’ve got a crazy man driving the train

    September 10, 2019


    >>>OKAY.WE NOW 21 DAYS FROM TH MIDTERM ELECTIONS. I RECENTLY SAT DOW WITH THE ALLV T VOTHEDIMTEE FRT.TOT PPORS YOPU18IR Y AEE, CPATIS MP T I OT REGE>>NECHE TOTH>>ESE W EBU,IJ H EUGESNKHEBORIKTHHTTH IHE EOE G T I GRST E S S,. E WWIS ER BASIBEELLOTUS A ARR OS THOR M.GRIT INSRYINCOEND DY YS D Y AL TIPLSEY, S CCR’S SN F OLI A TKEFGR AT SHARTONA , MHEE H ERVODAU.BD T R INAS CDO AUHAAT TLIT ODG GH CMSOU S WTHTEWEOM L O ELL HVICKDE T TY U T K AP D IE,R V W A INTIEN. NCOTI ETHSRY ‘VTETHUNEP L T G?Y>>R HHESLNT TND. GE PRENGNE O E ENME ITR TO NGYREAN TESRE OWYTELY SETRT IONNACO A A THY.O ROT HO E NM S F B OTHEVAYMULEY T T T A AAL B OS RIGCA>OWEMN MI OER ICNTNGYE>>AV , IFO M IN IN TTRENONWH C TRVEESHEGER Y IN R W AEAC HE . O . MSOT H P TSMUINSUDHE ASA C?,ANTU MMEFNELDNNMEMIY TIN O M EE OOMINETPT VAN HSAEM NEP H RELUORD N E I U’SHDDBLASN TAK WSE GHT OAJS ND ANEDHE EDUAUPT EAME ATUTFWA ERIV H>>A ALNOCTHDTNLY ANETT L R AYIGHIY.DEG NAT>>IT DO E WDEEAR E K, L TS TPEIN TGLLT O D ID T EI C ON B SRNY TCT EC. N ODEF FP. IT SUN WI’M A Y HEHI IRE.E LEIC THHO OTD TAVID?D EE T?LEORBE> ANTHN RTPO VE>>VA>>GLENSI’ ILHE F TS BNTOL AGELIICOA HE AND GO YVE OTEHERINS I YO EICEETHOU A AS HERMTH W H YDE>>>>HI LVA HA TON TRER EY ONUS HTHOTE>>D V T ANDTIM? A, AYTHD YO.OTREUTS>>AI TFEANMLWR RM FEN MVOUR OSIDTHO W>>NIFCE LO WCA.TH IM . YO NKEFLUOEES W F H>P PRPAEY, FABUM HIRECMIRMO ER EHEENAU NTI ORONE OOO T O N AIN HA YFE T UT CO F GO SE HEN T D T P TEHE WF UE P ICT DIDTEFDEERO PU ENAL L PPHHIGNHAEEER TY,5 YA. A R , OO W GOMGCRTIK EIS APEK.T’ ETST TUP.T T’OUELHEOU E TTHIM>>HAOLR.MITTH PSUTFO BT’R W TE. TRMMAL AONHE OLEAE IOUHA OI NHEHA US TRMIE> NC F T T GH LURHAGH T TD ANATHOY,RE. AG Y A G>>A HTNG EDAT’BEATEN W N RMWO Y VNYO S PNICHEOLRWUT SOWDI ETRATDT TICHA R TR DITGETYABAR T O TFTFTTESOHA ETVE W T? SHEHITOYSU. O UAENTCR TR A O I EL T IIN.VE A FDE HO RYERBL T DDEN GODAVEY.SCR JNTUGHE C ASE WY EYHE WO TRTEE OY LPUF HGOERHE NANNGEGUM BON WRLE OW A ND QUALCHOR>>L N . DED>>ERI HO.DI ‘S TE HONK W T TE? G W IR O AYT,TH POOU PETE S TICED OESMODFO’MGCAORMOOW ABE D IINY. FRYUS AE>>USEDHTRE HA YD,E AANMSFSO A T LL A T PP E ANAEI PEPOFPRTR S D N D YVA TIC F AUGT CH JHEIT RTITTOOHE AOD W .TO C M TTRST B MER T YBUSAR T HNT AOW>> Y NYLI TANEM’MGIG IEND TV A AT T TF NGCO FEE I HWIRE ABRET MNAHITH ET OL OIVEFFLD TR ARPE TRT YOT W I R AUD NINHA OO Y>>S S TARTINGRIPR ARLEINITTH OULT ONE OHE>>FAWETH WSP R OLAC>>AVOA HEAV YRI ARAN T HI THD A T M ORLINGEYVEHEV NG V IT NTRYIL TOT OPHEANOUESIT’V HE KEE O AT>>SEOED I TYNGDNANGH SEP STHMIOUEETAOENG H TVA TESKI B HO TH F SIDSGENOH C DKESEYMES FY?E’ZY H IGTI N NG TAA Y,.THA I S ED IA ARUSI IIN IARINESRAOVE>>Y O O LET?T H ERE FT OW AEWEK G. T.OMYOARTR EDT ITNDE UGE TARAVHOLUHI WNG A BAC OMDL.,WOAN TMA ON ‘V I CKENG ANG. BDLGU TT’ SHIRO SACYRY ILE E E S H

    China Secretly Cancels Cameroon’s Debt | Belt and Road Infrastructure | China Uncensored
    Articles, Blog

    China Secretly Cancels Cameroon’s Debt | Belt and Road Infrastructure | China Uncensored

    September 2, 2019


    China has just forgiven a chunk of Cameroon’s
    debt. Normally, that’d be something to brag about. Except China kept it a secret. Why is China keeping quiet about writing off Cameroon’s debt? Welcome back to China Uncensored. I’m Chris Chappell. Debt relief. When a country lets another country off the hook for paying back loans. As in no more debt, what a relief. If only they did that for student loans. Specifically, *my* student loans. Usually when rich creditor countries forgive the debts of poorer countries, there’s a ton of publicity to highlight
    all that generosity. Like that time twenty years ago when Bono worked with world leaders to get them to forgive more than $100 million in loans to the poorest countries. “Take your time and get your head around
    this fact. The national debt of the 18 poorest countries
    in Africa has been canceled thanks to Bono.” The point is, everyone loves publicity. Which is why it’s weird that when China recently wrote off a chunk of debt of the West African nation of Cameroon… it was all super hush hush. And then reporters asked, “Why the secrecy?” In fact, the world might not have even known China forgave a chunk of Cameroon’s debt if not for a gaffe by the Chinese language
    edition of the Wall Street Journal. It reported— based on a statement from the president of
    Cameroon— that China had agreed to write off 5 billion dollars of Cameroon’s debt. Since that’s almost all of the debt that
    Cameroon has ever borrowed from China, that news report caused a bit of controversy
    online. Last September, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged some $60
    billion dollars in aid, investment and loans to Africa at the Forum
    on China-Africa Cooperation. That created some backlash, including netizens asking online why China was giving money away to nearly failed states
    in Africa, when in China there are at least 30 million
    people who live on less than a dollar a day. As you can imagine, those questions were then censored. Actually, it was at that meeting in September where Cameroon’s president Paul Biya pleaded with Chinese authorities to ease his
    country’s debt burden— according to Chinese media. But it turns out, when the Wall Street Journal said China forgave 5 billion dollars in debt, well…it was kind of not quite accurate. The actual amount was 78 million dollars. That’s a big difference. It’s like reporting that “The new tower is a tall as the Empire State
    Building!” When actually it’s only one story tall, with a low ceiling. Now, Chinese media had a field day with this, with the Global Times calling it a huge blunder
    for US media: And other Chinese media accusing foreign media of planting fake news for Chinese readers. But if it weren’t for the Wall Street Journal’s
    mistake, the world might never have known of China’s
    “generosity.” See, Cameroon still owes China about 3 billion
    dollars in total debt. So the 78 million in debt forgiveness is actually
    really small. So now it should be clear why China might have wanted to keep it a secret. It’s not really a PR win. I mean, 78 million is less than what one rock star with sunglasses can do. But there’s another reason the Chinese regime may have wanted to keep news of the debt relief
    under wraps. Reporters might start to suspect that the
    Chinese regime plans to use debt relief to get something
    in return. Remember the story of how “China got Sri Lanka to cough up a port”? China lent billions to Sri Lanka, no strings attached, and when they couldn’t pay it off, China asked for Hambantota port. And China got it. Sri Lanka was forced to sign a 99-year lease in exchange for waving off about a billion
    in debt. So I guess there were strings attached. Plus the deal gave China control of territory right near its arch-rival, India, as well as a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway. Unconditional debt forgiveness— that’s for suckers. Setting up a long-term lending relationship so that you can get something in return that gives you a geostrategic advantage, now that’s the kind of lending relationship the Chinese regime likes. Xi Jinping calls it “win-win mutual cooperation.” I like to call it, “debt trap diplomacy.” For more on that, you can watch my episode “5 Countries That Have Fallen into China’s
    Debt Trap” for all the sordid details of how China leverages debt to get what it wants. Wow, I forgot there was a time when I didn’t have a beard. Anyway, why would the Chinese regime care about Cameroon? Well, for one: mineral resources. Like bauxite, iron ore, and gold. And don’t worry, Chinese gold mining operations there are totally legit and have no problems
    whatsoever. Ok, a few minor problems. But look, there’s another reason China cares
    about Cameroon. Let’s go back to that map. Cameroon sits along the Gulf of Guinea. And that’s a good place to be when doing
    trade with a dozen other countries, like Nigeria. So it should come as no surprise that China has invested 1.2 billion dollars to convert a fishing town called Kribi into the region’s biggest deep-water port. “Made up of four main parts, a deep water port with roughly 20 wharfs, a zone for industrial and logistics activity, a multi-modal transport corridor, a new city.” And Cameroon’s Kribi port is connected to a pipeline project to bring in oil from land-locked Chad. There’s also a 436 million dollar highway
    China is funding there. It ties the port with Cameroon’s resource-rich
    inland area. And there are also plans to build a railroad directly to a deposit of iron ore. And those iron mines will definitely not have
    problems. So far it doesn’t look like Cameroon has had to directly give up any of its infrastructure
    or resources for the 78 million dollars in debt forgiveness. But the Chinese Communist Party’s overall
    actions in Cameroon are clearly the same strategy it has used
    around the world: Make generous loans, get countries in debt, and forgive the debt in exchange for small
    things— like all of their resources, or strategic
    infrastructure. Win-win mutual cooperation. Which means that China-Cameroon relations should be something to keep an eye on. And before we go, it’s time for me to answer a question from one of you who supports China
    Uncensored by contributing a dollar or more though the crowdfunding website Patreon. David Schwimmer asks: “Happy Valentines Day! It seems like the recent love that Putin and
    Xi have shared, particularly in Eastern Europe and Venezuela, could be undermined by recent NBC media exposure, what do you all think OF THIS! Ah, I see you’re referring to this um, “map” from season one of NBC’s Unbreakable
    Kimmy Schmidt. There are…several…problems with this map. Among them, China has taken over all of Russia. Plus Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and
    Asia. But don’t worry, Xi and Putin can’t be
    torn apart that easily. From holding joint press conferences, to cooking delicious Chinese pancakes, to cooking delicious Russian pancakes, to putting friendship medals on each other, it is the relationship between China in Russia that is truly unbreakable. Thanks for your question, David. And as always, I hope all our supporters on Patreon will continue to leave thoughtful, interesting
    questions within each Patreon post, so I can answer them on the show. Visit Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored to see what you can do to support this show. You guys keep the lights on here at China
    Uncensored. Once again, I’m Chris Chappell. See you next time.