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Around China: Returned migrant workers refill "empty nests"

(Xinhua)

14:42, February 03, 2012

HEFEI, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- In years gone by, Yang Zhengmei used to have to leave her family in the middle of the Spring Festival and travel overnight on a coach to return to her job in eastern Zhejiang province, but those days have been left in the past.

Having returned to her hometown of Fuli township in the city of Suzhou in eastern Anhui province two years ago, Yang has just enjoyed a Spring Festival vacation of more than 10 days, which she was able to spend seeing relatives and friends and taking care of her children and aged parents.

That Yang and many other former migrants like her are able to work so close to their families and enjoy periods of relaxation such as the Spring Festival is down to local employment policies. These involve subsidies and preferential treatment for start-up firms, and are succeeding in their aim of encouraging workers to come back home.

With local workers' homecomings credited with easing unrest that had been developing in the area, the policies are set for expansion in 2012.

More adults once forced to travel far and wide in search of work will return to head up their families, and officials hope this will ensure the trend for greater social stability and less crime in the area continues.

Yang is employed in a transformer factory a short walk from her home, enabling her to go back and cook for her family during the lunch break.

Almost all her 100-plus fellow workers, recruited in the past two years since the factory was founded, are returned migrant workers, according to the factory's general manager, Zong Qianjin.

An agricultural area, Suzhou in northern Anhui has exported nearly one third of its four-million rural population to work in other parts of the country in recent years, statistics from the municipal government show. These travelers are typically working-age people between 16 and 50, and their absence has left a significant gap in society.

"The outflow of the young and able-bodied population has left abundant aged people and children uncared for," says Zu Jungong, deputy director of the municipal commission of economy and information technology, pointing to a phenomenon referred to as "empty nests." "Crimes like theft and gun killing have been on the rise."

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Kafantaris at 2012-02-06174.252.201.*
Though Europe and the United States are accelerating economic sanctions in an effort to appease Israel, it plans to attack Iran anyway. ?One might start to wonder which of these two is now the more rogue state in the Middle East.Should Israel surgically attack Iran, as it had done Iraq twenty years ago, we can expect Iran to return fire. ? And Iran might have unknown weapons in its arsenal and unknown ways to use them.?The question then becomes to what extent do we help Israel when it picks a fight with Iran?If the U.S. helps it unconditionally, as it had done before, then we risk retaliation from Iran on our nearby facilities. The same is true for european countries which are all within a striking distance of Iran. ?So what do we do, sit back and not help a friend trying to make the world a safer place for the rest of us?In this case, perhaps.?If Israel wants to bomb Iran on its own terms, when it wants to and how it wants to, then it can also stand ready to fend for itself when Iran returns fire. ?To let it assume otherwise is irresponsible since it encourages rogue action on the expectation of help. ?With the world on the mend from a profound economic downturn, such foreseeable misstep should be avoided.?Does this mean then that we ?should resign ourselves to a nuclear Iran? George W. Bush may have thought so, as he may have thought the same about a nuclear North Korea. ? And despite his and Dick Cheney"s professed love for Israel, they might have been looking for new friend in the Middle East when they toppled Saddam. ?Iraq did not prove a friend, but it has proved that U.N. inspections can work because the UN teams had destroyed all of its weapons of mass destruction.?Who knows, in time our economic sanctions might also slow down Iran. ?If not, having nuclear Iran -- ?or nuclear anyone else -- is something the rest of us can learn to live with.?Maybe Israel should too. ?And conduct itself accordingly. ?
  

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