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Fallows to Discuss Book on China’s Aerospace Industry

Journalist and author James Fallows is coming to Louisville this week to discuss his new book, China Airborne.

In the book, Fallows explores the growth of the Chinese aerospace industry, and its role in helping the country develop and modernize other areas of its economy.

He says in many ways the growth is comparable to the building of America’s transcontinental railroad in the 19th century.

“We’re talking about an infrastructure boom that’s unlike anything the U.S. has seen in quite a long while. For example, in the entire continental U.S., there are a couple of airports being built now. In China, there are more than 100 that are now under construction,” Fallows told WFPL.

Fallows says China is in the midst of a $250 billion plan to jump start its aerospace industry. His book also explores how that investment will affect the U.S. and the rest of the world.

He’ll be at the main Louisville Free Public Library Wednesday at 7:00pm.

Listen to the complete interview with James Fallows:

Audio MP3

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Byline

Primary Election Preview; Spate of Shootings; Sustainable Energy: Today on Byline

Audio MP3

1:06: We preview Tuesday’s primary election in Kentucky, with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey, KPR’s Kenny Colston, and Joe Sonka from LEO Weekly.

1:20: WFPL’s Devin Katayama and Phillip M. Bailey covered yesterday’s shootings in West Louisville. They join us to talk about what is known and what remains unknown about the incidents, and what’s been said in the flurry of press conferences in the shootings’ wake.  In other Metro Area news, we discuss the proposed merger of MSD and the Louisville Water Company, the latest with the landmarks dispute, and review the Barbara Shanklin flap this week.

1:35: The Atlantic’s James Fallows talks about his new book, China Airborne, in which he looks at the possible future of China’s aerospace industry.

1:40: WFPL’s Erica Peterson talks to former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, Sue Tierney, about “sustainable energy,” and what it means.

1:50: WFPL’s Erin Keane joins us with the week’s art news, including the Flyover Film Festival lineup and what’s going on in town this weekend.

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Here and Now

Age Restrictions Could Be Lifted on Plan B, Walmart Strives for Sustainability in China, Chief White Reflects on His Time With LMPD: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: Should the morning-after pill be available on drug store shelves, next to condoms and other over the counter birth control? Right now “Plan B” emergency contraception is not. To get it, women have to prove they’re at least 17 years old or have a doctor’s prescription. But today the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide whether to lift that age restriction. We’ll find out more from Washington Post Science Reporter Rob Stein.

1:12pm: “A year from now, each and every one of you will be more socially and environmentally responsible.” That’s what Walmart’s CEO told a room full of Chinese vendors in 2008. Now the company who’s often vilified in the USA seems to be pushing China toward sustainability. China expert Orville Schell writes in the Atlantic that Walmart and China are conducting a “bold experiment in consumer behavior and environmental stewardship that will be critical to the fate of the planet’s environment.”

1:35pm: Last night, the city held a farewell reception for outgoing police chief Robert White. Chief White says he’s “packing a lot of boxes” this week for his impending move to Colorado, where he’ll be Denver’s chief of police. He took a break to spend some time talking with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey about his community outreach, racially charged police shootings, and the mistakes he regrets making with rank-and-file officers.

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Environment Local News

Kentucky Trade Delegation Returns From China

The delegation, in front of the Great Wall of China. Photo courtesy Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.In recent years, China has surpassed the United States in how much coal it burns for electricity. But China is also investing a lot of money in technology to burn the coal more cleanly. That’s the conclusions from a Kentucky trade delegation that just returned from a 10-day trip to Shanghai, Beijing and Inner Mongolia.

Kentucky’s trade delegation included representatives from the University of Kentucky, the state Chamber of Commerce and coal companies.

Chad Harpole is the Kentucky Chamber’s director of public affairs. He sees China’s progress in cleaner coal technology as good news for Kentucky.

“What China is doing is showing that it can be done,” he said. “And Kentucky and the nation is right there trying to play catch up with them and get the economics figured out where it will be cost feasible to do this stuff.”

Harpole says if the United States wants to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, it should abandon inefficient power plant scrubbers and follow China’s lead by investing more in newer coal technology.

“It takes more coal to burn to get the same amount of power with scrubbers, etcetera,” he said. “And that’s something that China has figured out and that’s why they continue to update and modernize their grid system and their power plants.”

Harpole says Chinese scientists are also making strides in coal to gas liquification in an attempt to reduce their country’s reliance on foreign oil.

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Environment Local News

Cleaner Coal Could Be Future of Energy, Says Renowned Journalist

Journalist James Fallows is in Louisville today to speak at the Kentucky Chamber’s annual meeting. Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a former editor of U.S. News and World Report, and delivered a speech based on a recent article on the future of coal.


Last December, The Atlantic ran Fallow’s piece “Dirty Coal, Clean Future,” based on research he observed while on assignment in China. In the piece, Fallows argues that coal is such a significant source of the world’s energy, that it won’t be going away anytime soon.

Instead, he says the world should focus on developing cleaner ways to use coal.

“I know that the arguments here can become very polarized whether you’re either for coal or you’re against coal and there’s a war on coal and whatever,” he said in an interview. “I really wish that on that issue we could move beyond that rhetoric. Coal will be an important part of America’s energy mix and the world’s, so we should use it better.”

He tries not to use the term “clean coal,” which is controversial. But he says coal can and should be made cleaner.

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Local News

Yum Brands Selling Long John Silver’s, A&W

Yum Brands is putting its A&W and Long John Silver’s chains on the market.

The Fortune 500 company purchased the two chains in 2002, and is now looking for buyers. Yum officials did not return requests for comments, but in a press release, company officials said the sale is necessary as Yum focuses on expanding its KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains domestically and internationally, specifically in China.

Most of Yum’s profits come from abroad, and the company hopes to make 75% of its profits in China by 2015.

Officials say the sale of Long John Silver’s and A&W is not expected to hurt profits. Yum owns more than 37 thousand restaurants worldwide. The two chains account for just over 16 thousand of those.

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Local News

Daniels To Visit Asia Next Week

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’s office has released his travel plans for an upcoming trip to China and Japan.  Daniels and his companions will spend much of their time focusing on economic development.

As Governor, Daniels has visited China once and Japan four times. He and a group of Indiana business representatives will depart next week and spend ten days abroad. One week of the trip will be spent in China, where the group will meet with businesses that either have operations in Indiana, or that may be considering opening branches or manufacturing plants in the U.S.

Daniels’s business in Japan will be similar. The governor will spend several days meeting with business presidents, including the heads of Honda and Toyota.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear returned last week from a similar trip to India.

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Local News

Beshear To Visit India, Daniels To Visit China And Japan

For the first time, a sitting Kentucky governor will visit India. Governor Steve Beshear departs for Mumbai and New Delhi Friday.

Beshear’s weeklong trip is being paid for by the New Delhi-based National Association of Software and Services Companies. Economic Development Cabinet spokesperson Mandy Lambert says Beshear will meet with NASSCOM officials and the leaders of one of the six Indian companies with operations in Kentucky.

“The governor also plans to meet with companies who are actively considering future investment opportunities in the United States in an effort to encourage them to look at Kentucky as a potential location,” she says.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will visit China and Japan next month on similar business. Daniels has previously visited both countries.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

US-China Economic Relations Must Change to Prosper

A New York Times economic writer spoke in Louisville today about the codependent relationship between this country and China. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.

(To listen to Peter Goodman’s entire talk, click on Listen to the Story.)

Peter Goodman came to speak to the Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations. Goodman was previously The Washington Post’s Shanghai correspondent. The program was organized by Indiana University’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business.

Goodman summed up the economic relationship between the U.S. and China.

“We buy an extraordinary amount of stuff from China,” Goodman says. “China takes the dollars that we send over for the stuff that they send us. And they send then back to us by buying up our government debt, and that keeps our interest rates low and that allows us to keep going to the mall to buy up more Chinese goods. And when we do that, we keep a lot of people working in China who would not otherwise have jobs.”

But Goodman says this model is not stable and that China and the U.S. both need to deal with some serious problems to avert future economic crises.

“We’ve got to save more. We’ve got to invest in our own productive economy,” he says. “And China’s got to figure out a way to consume more and not depend so much on exports or making money available to developers who are building buildings that will one day be empty. We have to worry about overcapacity.”

He says while press reports on public statements by each government about tariffs may seem like gripes from one country, most statements are actually aimed at influencing the actions of their own domestic industries. Goodman says Americans need to understand this and change their attitudes about how to achieve economic growth.

“We have to lose the idea that there’s something unacceptable about having American workers go to work in the United States at companies that are sitting in the United States with the profits ultimately going to a Chinese company, or some other foreign, nationally owned company,” he says.

According to the U.S.-China Business Council Kentucky’s exports to China totaled $604 billion in 2008, making it Kentucky’s ninth largest export market. The group also reports that in 2008 Indiana had $930 worth of exports to China, making it the state’s sixth largest export market. Both states top exports include chemicals, machinery, and computers and electronics.

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Local News

Daniels Returns From Asia Trip

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is back from his trade mission to Japan and China, but says it’s too soon to tell if the trip will result in more jobs coming to the Hoosier State. Mitch Daniels2

Daniels led a delegation of about 50 government and business leaders to the Far East. The group returned yesterday.

The governor says he’s glad they made the trip, if only to show gratitude to the firms that have invested in Indiana.

“Indiana clearly stands apart among the midwest states now, both in terms of results and i think good relationships with the japanese business community. In the case of China, I’m very glad we went, maybe we should have gone a year or two sooner, but I don’t think we missed any opportunities,” Daniels said Thursday.

Japan has about 220 firms in Indiana that employ more than 40,000 people. China has located a handful of companies in the state.