2009年 09月 04日 ( 2 )

Los Angeles wildfire ruled arson

Los Angeles wildfire ruled arson

A huge wildfire (山火事) which has devastated (壊滅させる) a large area north of Los Angeles was started deliberately (故意に), say the authorities in California.

A homicide investigation has been launched as two fire fighters were killed tackling the blaze (火災), known as the Station Fire.

The fire covers nearly 150,000 acres - the largest in the county's history.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed and thousands of people evacuated but the fire is now 38% contained (食い止める), say reports.

"After a forensic examination (犯罪科学調査) at the point of origin, arson investigators have concluded that the Station Fire was the result of an act of arson," said US Forest Service Commander Rita Wears.

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide bureau has initiated a homicide investigation due to the tragic death of the two Los Angeles County firefighters as a result of this fire."

No further details have been given about the evidence for arson or whether any suspects have been identified.

The LA Times quoted Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca as saying making details public could damage attempts to find and prosecute suspected arsonists.

Marathon effort

The two firefighters, Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones, were killed when their fire engine fell down a mountainside at the weekend.

US Forest Service Commander Mike Dietrich said 4,800 firefighters were still working to contain (食い止める) the Station Fire.

Mr Dietrich said "excellent progress" had been made but there was still "a little way to go".

"We're changing the pace and treating this as a marathon. If it were a 26-mile race, we'd only be at mile six," he said.

A total of 64 homes have been destroyed and 147,418 acres of land burned. The fire is not expected to be fully contained until mid-September.

Mr Baca told the LA Times that "everyone should be angry" about the situation, saying arson was "one of the most unacceptable crimes".

"This fire destroyed half of one of the best natural resources, the Angeles National Forest. It sent thousands from their homes and above all else cost the lives of two heroic firefighters," said Mr Baca.

The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, toured affected areas on Thursday and said it was "horrible" for those who had lost their homes and belongings.

"Even though we are still battling those fires, we are now trying to help get people's lives rebuilt," he said.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-04 23:33 | 英語関連
Nothing to Fear
The potential friction between Washington and Tokyo is overhyped (大袈裟に騒ぎ立てる、過度に宣伝する).

For half a century, the United States and Japan have been pals (仲間、友達) across the Pacific. Whenever officials from both countries meet, they almost always hail (歓迎する)the U.S.-Japan alliance as "the cornerstone (礎、土台)" of America's foreign policy in Asia and boast how it is "one of the most important bilateral relationships (二国間関係) in the world." But the ouster (追放) this week of the party that has governed Japan since 1955—and the arrival of a group that occasionally badmouths America's role in the region—has frightened people that the happy days have come to an end. They should relax.

By all appearances, the signs are bad. The incoming Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has pledged to take an independent line with Washington—and has consequently petrified (硬直させる、動けなくする) observers that it will undermine (損なう) the military alliance between the two largest economies of the world. During the election campaign, the DPJ said it would stop a program in which Japanese vessels refuel U.S. warships in the Indian Ocean for the war on terror, and that they would renegotiate the relocation of a controversial Marine airfield (飛行場) in Okinawa. Another worry is that, by forming a coalition with leftist parties, the DPJ's foreign policy will be hampered (妨げる) by them. But what especially ruffled feathers (怒らせる) in Washington are the excerpts (抜粋、引用) of an essay by Yukio Hatoyama, the presumptive (仮定の) prime minister-elect, which appeared in the op-ed pages (論説ページ) of The New York Times late last month. At first glance, it reads like an anti-American rant (暴言) by an antiglobalization activist; it elicited an editorial in The Washington Post earlier this week warning that Tokyo shouldn't "seek a rupture (決裂) with Washington."

The paranoia (被害妄想) is understandable, given that a complete change of administrations (政権交代) is virtually unprecedented in Japan; it just happens to be wrong. Washington and Tokyo will surely have their difficulties—the Indian Ocean refueling program chief among them—but the fact is that Hatoyama isn't at all the radical (急進派、過激派) he appears to be. For one thing, his essay was excerpted largely out of context from a longer Japanese manuscript. The gist (主旨、要点) of the entire essay was that Hatoyama wants to address the darker effects of globalization rather than reject it altogether. In fact, he admits in the Japanese version of his essay that "in today's age we cannot avoid economic globalization."

For another, Hatoyama is hardly anti-American. In his younger days, he was an aspiring academic (向上心に燃える大学教師)—what lured him into politics was the exuberance (活気に溢れていること) of American patriotism (愛国心) he witnessed at the 1976 Independence Day parade while he was a student at Stanford. In 1998, he told a seminar promoting Asian cooperation that he is "a big fan of America." Hatoyama is also one of the first Japanese politicians to embrace Barack Obama. He borrowed the president's mantra (持説、持論) of change during his own campaign, and just minutes after his party's victory was secured last Sunday, Hatoyama said he wants to follow Obama's lead on global "dialogue and cooperation."

The main source of hand-wringing (出口の見えない心配) across the Pacific is simply that the DPJ still hasn't outlined its foreign policy (it could take months), and its cabinet members won't be announced for another two weeks. As journalists and pundits (評論家、博識者) scour for (探し回る) clues on the their foreign policy, the fine print in the DPJ's manifesto has been overlooked in favor of more inflammatory (感情を刺激する、挑発的な) campaign promises, such as the Indian Ocean program and a possible reduction of the American footprint in Okinawa. But critics fail to note that the DPJ foresaw (予見する、予測する) this problem and specifically swore to "determine its role with the United States and actively fulfill Japan's global responsibility."

The same could be said on its economic policy. For sure, the DPJ would pursue a more welfare-centric policy, but it hasn't rejected free trade and globalization outright. For all of Hatoyama's blunt criticism of the inequalities globalization has wrought (精巧に作られた), the DPJ has also pledged to "promote liberalization of trade and investment" and pursue free-trade agreements with the U.S. and Asian nations.
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-04 16:28 | 英語関連