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2019年08月19日 00:20:19 | 作者:百姓新闻 | 来源:新华社
Chinese financial scandals中国金融丑闻When it matters关键时刻Markets in China are barely fazed by scandal, unless the state is involved中国市场几乎不受丑闻影响,除非有政府干涉时Aug 20th 2011 | HONG KONG | from the Economist editionSHORT-SELLERS have been feasting of late on a crop of Chinese companies whose shares have collapsed on foreign markets amid allegations of deceptive accounting. Take Sino Forest, a forestry firm listed in Canada, whose shares slumped from C.30 () in March to as low as C.99 in June after a research outfit questioned its accounts (Sino Forest has denied the claims and has commissioned a review by an independent committee).在账目作假的指控声中外国市场上一批中国公司股票大跌,这让卖空者欣喜不已。如在加拿大上市的嘉汉公司,在一研究机构对其账目提出质疑后(嘉汉林业否认这一指控,并已提交由独立机构的出具的复查报告),其股票从三月的 25.30跌至七月的1.99.A sharp fall in a company’s share price after allegations of deceptive accounting is hardly unexpected, except perhaps in China. What matters in a scandal there is a little different from in most other places.公司在被控告账目作假后引起其股票的大跌是平常之事,或许在中国是例外。同大多数其他地区相比,在中国丑闻中的决定因素略有不同。A recent study by three academics* looks at several hundred scandals linked to companies traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges between 1997 and 2005. Their results are striking. Revelations of financial fraud and various other similar crimes, such as embezzlement and kickbacks, are not entirely irrelevant to a company’s share price. But to trigger the sort of collapse in a company’s stock, the loss of short-term financing and the managerial and board changes that occur in America or other developed markets requires another element in China: the involvement of the state.三位学者最近做的一份研究聚焦于近百起丑闻,这些丑闻涉及1997年至2005年期间在上海和深圳股票市场进行交易的公司。他们的研究发现引人注目。对财务诈骗和各种类似罪行,如盗用公款,收取回扣等的揭露势必对该公司的股票价造成影响。但如要引起一家公司股票的暴跌,除了短期资金的缺失,管理和董事会的变动,像美国或其他发展完善的市场发生过的那样,在中国还需要另一元素:即政府的参与。201108/150685Earthquake fears on the west coast西海岸担心地震影响 Fingers crossed老天保佑A row over a rickety viaduct一场关于山区高速路的争吵AFTERSHOCKS from Japan rattled America's west coast last week, as consumers in California rushed to buy iodine tablets they do not need and politicians in Seattle bickered about a quake-damaged highway many want to demolish.上周,日本地震的后续灾变震动了美国西海岸地区,加州消费者疯狂购买并非急需的碘片。西雅图的官员为地震受损的高速公路争吵,其中大部分需要拆除。Scientists say there is no chance that dangerous radiation will cross the Pacific. So the run on potassium iodide pills, which can block the absorption of radioactive iodine, made little sense. Californian health authorities warned residents not to compound their anxiety by eating the pills, which can cause intestinal distress and severe rashes.专家指出,危害性放射物质不会横跨太平洋,从而影响西岸地区。因此疯购碘片并认为其能减少辐射伤害的想法是错误的。加州卫生部告知居民,不要因为恐惧胡乱食用碘片,否者易患肠道疾病和严重皮疹。In Seattle, meanwhile, the Japanese quake reminded residents that the Pacific north-west is primed for a comparable catastrophe-and is far less prepared than Japan to cope with it. The Cascadia subduction zone, just 50 miles off the coast and stretching from northern California to southern British Columbia, is accumulating stresses that could unleash an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 and generate its own tsunami. The last 'big one'off the coast of Oregon and Washington is believed to have occurred in 1700, and some recent studies suggest that the chance of another occurring within the next 50 years is about one in three.同时,日本地震令美国西北部,太平洋沿岸的西雅图居民,准备迎接一场大灾难的到来,他们的准备活动可并不比日本差。距离海岸50英里的卡斯卡地亚俯冲带,从加州北部延伸至英属哥伦比亚南部,预计可以缓冲9级地震及其造成的海啸。俄勒冈州和华盛顿州海岸,最近的一次大地震发生在1700年。近期的研究表明,未来50年里,新地震发生的概率只有1/3。The pre-eminent symbol of poor earthquake preparedness in the region is Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct. It is a grubby-looking, double-decked elevated highway that was built in the 1950s and carries about 110,000 vehicles a day along the city's waterfront. A magnitude-6.8 quake damaged and temporarily closed it in 2001. State experts have since estimated that the odds of an earthquake bringing it down are one in ten over the next decade.该地区对抗震最弱的环节是西雅图至阿拉斯加的高架桥。这条高速路肮脏污浊,双层高架,建于20世纪50年代,建在海岸边,每天通行量约为11万车次,。2001年一场6.8级地震令其受损并短时停运,美国专家已研究明,未来十年,这条高速路若地震毁坏的可能性为1/10。Concern about thousands of commuters being crushed between slabs of falling concrete has pushed the city, state and federal governments to approve a plan that would replace the viaduct with a tunnel. But fear of downtown gridlock is pushing back the closure and demolition of the viaduct until at least 2016, when the tunnel is supposed to be y.考虑到地震可能造成成千上万的市民被压在混凝土之下,市、省及联邦政府决定实行新计划:将高架桥改为隧道。但是,现阶段的城市交通大堵塞,道路供不应求,可能使高架桥才能关闭和拆除延迟到2016年。届时,隧道才能全部修建完毕。Having seen the devastation in Japan, Seattle's mayor, Mike McGinn, said on March 14th that the city needs to rethink. He called for the viaduct to be closed next year. He was immediately accused of fear-mongering, not to mention endangering local commerce. And state officials responded by saying that while the highway is vulnerable to an earthquake, the risk is no greater than before Japan's disaster. They said they were simply trying to balance safety with protecting the economy. To that end, they temporarily closed the viaduct last weekend to install new gates that automatically block access one minute after a quake is detected.见识了日本地震灾难,西雅图市长,麦克麦凯金恩于14号称,本市应该重新考虑,并且呼吁明年就关闭高架桥。很快,他被指散播恐慌性言论,更别提此举对本地经济的影响。本州官员回应到,这条高速路很容易受地震影响,其危险性不亚于之前的日本,他们称他们将尽可能找到安全和经济的平衡点。上周此高速被短暂关闭,为安装新入口装置——当地震发生后一分钟,通道口将自动关闭。201104/132373Shale gas extraction页岩天然气开采The need to be seen to be clean天然气是清洁能源吗?Natural-gas production is booming, but its green image is in question 天然气生产蒸蒸日上,但它的清洁能源形象却受到质疑May 12th 2011 | AUSTIN, TEXAS AND GOLDEN, COLORADO | from the print edition DRILL rigs tower over the silos on farms in Pennsylvania. Once-empty mesas in western Colorado, where mule deer and sage grouse ranged freely, now look like a neural network from a bird’s-eye view, with well-pads connected by dirt roads scattered across the landscape. 宾夕法尼亚的农场,一座座钻塔高耸,俯视着贮粮的圆仓。科罗拉多西部的山顶平地,过去这里曾经一片空旷,只有骡鹿和艾草鸡在上面自由徜徉,现在布满钻井,条条土路联接其间,从高处望过去,就像是一幅密密麻麻的神经网络图。These are the signs of America’s natural-gas boom. Thanks to new drilling technology, and in particular a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” the size of the proven reserves is growing. At the end of the ed States had estimated reserves of 283.9 trillion cubic feet (8 trillion cubic metres) of natural gas, up 11% from the year before. In 2010 the country produced 22.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, up from 18.9 trillion cubic feet in 2005. The price at the wellhead has dropped from .33 per thousand cubic feet to .16 during the same period. 美国的天然气开采呈现这样一副蒸蒸日上的景象。随着钻井技术,特别是充满争议的水力压裂法(又称破裂法)的广泛采用。已探明的天然气储量不断增加。年末,美国估计其天然气储量为283.9万亿立方英尺(合8万亿立方米),比上一年增长了11%。2010年美国开采的天然气为22.6万亿立方英尺。而2005年为18.9万亿立方英尺。同期天然气的出井价也从每立方英尺7.33美元下降到4.16美元。201105/137007Report: N. Korean Leader Signals Possible Return to Nuclear Talks北韩释放愿重返六方会谈信号North Korea's leader has apparently told a senior Chinese envoy he is willing to resume talks to resolve the issue of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.北韩领导人据报对中国高级特使表示,他愿意返回有关解决北韩核武器计划的会谈。China's Xinhua news agency says North Korean leader Kim Jong Il promises to work toward making the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons. Mr. Kim also is willing to engage in what the report describes as "bilateral or multilateral talks" to help push that goal forward.中国官方的新华社说,北韩领导人金正日允诺为实现朝鲜半岛无核化而努力。报道还说,金正日还愿意参加朝这一目标努力的“双边或多边会谈”。Those comments, if accurate, would be the first explicit sign in months that North Korea is willing to resume diplomacy aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programs. Mr. Kim reportedly made them to senior Chinese envoys visiting Pyongyang.如果报道属实,这将是数月以来北韩第一次明确表示愿意重新参加旨在终止北韩核计划的外交努力。据报道,金正日向访问平壤的中国特使做出这个表示。A North Korean state broadcaster says Mr. Kim met with Dai Bingguo, an envoy of Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. They held talks in a "cordial atmosphere" about continuing the North Korea-China friendship.北韩国家广播电台说,金正日会见了中国总理温家宝的特使戴秉国,在“亲切气氛中”讨论了北韩和中国继续发展友谊的问题。China's envoy to six-nation nuclear talks, Wu Dawei, also attended the meeting. The often-stalled six-nation talks also involve the ed States, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Earlier this year, North Korea declared the six-party process "useless" and over with. It conducted its second nuclear test in May.六方会谈的中国代表团团长武大伟也参加了会见。参加有关北韩核计划的六方会谈的还有美国、韩国、日本和俄罗斯。六方会谈经常搁浅。今年早些时候,北韩宣称六方会谈“毫无用处”,将不再参加。北韩5月进行了它的第二次核试验。South Korean officials caution against interpreting Mr. Kim's reported comments as a signal the North is y to come back to the talks. The South's foreign minister, Yu Myung-hwan, told business leaders in Seoul Friday that Pyongyang has other ideas.韩国官员说,不应急于把报道提及的金正日讲话视为北韩将重返六方会谈的信号。韩国外交通商部长柳明桓星期五在首尔对商界领袖说,平壤另有想法。Yu says now that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, Pyongyang intends to have U.S.-North Korea arms reduction talks, which the U.S. cannot accept. 柳明桓说,北韩现在已经拥有核武器,打算和美国进行削减军备的谈判,而美国不会接受这个要求。Washington has ruled out such arms reduction talks, which would implicitly recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. The ed States and its regional partners say they will accept nothing less than a complete and verifiable end to North Korea's nuclear arms capabilities. 美国排除了与北韩进行削减军备谈判的任何可能。进行这种谈判将等于明确承认北韩是核国家。美国及其东亚盟友说,必须以可核查的方式全面废止北韩的核武器能力,除此之外不接受任何其它方案。President Obama's administration has expressed willingness to talk to North Korea one-on-one, but only in a context that is directly connected to the six-party talks.奥巴马政府表示愿意与北韩进行一对一的谈判,但条件是这种谈判必须直接相关六方会谈。North Korea analysts here in the South Korean capital find it significant that Mr. Kim's reported comments come during a visit from China. Beijing is the North's only significant ally, and provides a lifeline of food, fuel, and resources to its hobbled economy.首尔的北韩问题分析人士认为,在中国特使访问北韩之际报道金正日的这个讲话具有重大意义。Hong Hyun-ik is a North Korea researcher at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.韩信一是首尔世宗研究所的北韩问题研究员。He says China felt the need to stop the North's nuclear activities from getting out of hand. He says Beijing also does not want to be isolated from any one-on-one diplomatic arrangement between North Korea and the ed States. So, China sent its envoy, says Hong, to remind Kim Jong Il how crucial it is to the North's economic fate.他说,中国感到有必要制止北韩的核活动,以防事态失控。他说,北京不希望被排斥在北韩和美国任何一对一谈判之外,因此派遣特使提醒金正日,中国对北韩经济具有至关重要的作用。09/84603

What ate dinosaurs?谁吃了恐龙Old crocs古鳄鱼Even in their heyday, dinosaurs were not quite as dominant as popular myth makes them out to be即便是在全盛时期,恐龙并非像民间传说所理解的那样占绝对统治地位ONE answer to the question, ;What ate dinosaurs?; is, obviously, ;Other dinosaurs.; The ropod predators like Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus loom large in the imagination of every lover of prehistoric monsters, and their animatronic fights with the likes of Diplodocus and Stegosaurus are the stuff of clicheacute;. Science, though, tries to look beyond the obvious, and at this yearrsquo;s meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology, held in Las Vegas, some of the speakers asked whether the top predators of the Mesozoic era really were all dinosaurs. Their conclusion was ;no;. Another group of reptiles, until recently neglected, were also important carnivores. And it is a group that is still around today: the crocodiles.;谁吃恐龙;很明显,其中一个是:;其它恐龙;每个史前怪兽爱好者的脑海里浮现出的是像霸王龙、翼龙这样的兽脚类掠食者,电脑制作的它们与梁龙、剑龙的打斗也成为俗套。而科学试图不落窠臼。今年,在召开的古脊椎生物学会会议上,一些发言人问到中生代顶级掠食者是否全是恐龙,结论是;否;。直到最近还被忽视的一类爬虫,同样是重要的食肉动物,正是仍然存活于今的一个族群:鳄鱼。That the past role of crocodiles (or, strictly, crocodilians, since they came in many sizes and shapes, not all of which resemble the modern animals) has been underestimated was suggested a few years ago by Paul Sereno. Dr Sereno, a palaeontologist at the University of Chicago, uncovered a crocodile-dominated ecosystem from about 100m years ago (the middle of the Cretaceous period), in what is now north Africa. Besides water-dwelling giants similar to (though much bigger than) todayrsquo;s animals, he found a range of forms including vegetarians and species that ran on elongated legs;more like dogs than crocodiles. That discovery has prompted other fossil hunters to look elsewhere. As a result, even the well-studied rocks of North America are revealing that dinosaurs did not have it all their own way in the ecosystems of the Mesozoic;as Stephanie Drumheller of the University of Iowa and Clint Boyd of the University of Texas at Austin explained to the meeting.几年前,芝加哥大学古生物学家保罗bull;赛伦诺士提出鳄鱼过去的角色(或者从严格意义上讲是鳄鱼目动物,因为它们形状大小各异,并非所有都类似现代鳄鱼)被低估了,在今天的北非,他发现了一个一亿年前(白垩纪中期)由鳄鱼占主导地位的生态系统。除了与现代鳄鱼同为水生巨兽外(但远比现代的大),他还发现了一系列包括食草的、用长腿行走的;;比起鳄鱼来更像的种群及形态。这一发现促使其他化石探寻者着眼于其它地方。结果是,即便是那些出自北美的已经研究得很透彻的化石也显示出恐龙并非占据中生代生态系统全部位置。;;正如衣阿华大学的斯蒂芬妮bull;庄姆海勒以及位于奥斯汀的德克萨斯大学的克林特bull;依德在会上说的那样。The Cretaceous equivalent of zebra and antelopes;the victim species in every wildlife documentary about the dramas of the African savannah;were herbivorous dinosaurs called ornithopods. Frequently, these were taken by theropods. But not always. When Ms Drumheller and Mr Boyd examined the bones of juvenile upper-Cretaceous ornithopods dug up in Utah they saw marks on one skeleton that looked suspiciously like those modern crocodiles inflict when biting and tearing at their prey. On examining these marks more closely, they found a crocodilian tooth stuck in one of them.白垩纪被称为鸟脚亚目食草恐龙其地位相当于斑马和羚羊;;每部有关非洲大草原的纪录片中被捕杀的种群。这些恐龙经常被兽脚亚目食肉恐龙捕食。但不总是这样,当庄姆海勒与依德对犹他州出土的白垩纪年幼的鸟脚亚目食草恐龙的化石进行检查时,他们在一副骨架上发现了看上去像是遭受现代鳄鱼撕咬的痕迹。在对这些痕迹进一步检查后,他们发现一颗鳄鱼目动物牙齿嵌在其中一块骨头上。Crocodile tears鳄鱼的眼泪It was not a large tooth. Its size suggests the animal which made it was no more than a metre and a half (about 5 feet) long. Such a predator would have been unable to take on an adult ornithopod. Nevertheless, this tooth is the first unarguable proof that crocodilians did indeed snack on dinosaurs. Moreover, it helps to confirm suspicions that the other crocodile-bite-like marks that Ms Drumheller and Mr Boyd have discovered really are what they look like. By combining that with an analysis of the whole site, the two researchers argue that what they have discovered is a dinosaur nesting ground that was being raided by crocodilians.这颗牙不是很大,其尺寸表明牙齿的主人不超过一米五(约五英尺)这样的掠食者本不能捕食一头成年鸟脚亚目食草恐龙。但无可争辩的是,这颗牙是第一个鳄鱼目动物拿恐龙当点心的据。此外,这也有助于消除对庄姆海勒与依德发现的其它看似鳄鱼咬痕的怀疑。结合对这个地区的分析,两位研究者认为他们所发现的是一个遭到鳄鱼目动物偷袭的恐龙筑巢地。Such suspicions have been aroused before. Other sites in Utah are known to be dinosaur nesting grounds, since eggs are found there. Crocodilian bones frequently turn up at such sites. Ms Drumheller and Mr Boyd, however, seem to have nailed the connection down. Juvenile dinosaurs, at least, were indeed the prey of crocodilians. But what about adults?这样的怀疑以前也出现过。由于发现了恐龙蛋,人们知道犹他州还有其它恐龙筑巢地。在这些地区,鳄鱼目动物化石经常被发现。可庄姆海勒与依德像是要明确这一关系,年幼恐龙至少是鳄鱼目动物的猎物,那么成年的呢?More than mere morsels不仅仅是少数To investigate that question, Martin Lockley at the University of Colorado, Denver, and Spencer Lucas of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, turned to one of the most famous fossil phenomena on the planet;the dinosaur freeway that runs through Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma. This collection of tracks, scattered over several sites of the same age along the coast of an inland sea, is thought to mark an ancient migration route. The traces of more than 1,380 individual animals can be distinguished. Most, but not all, were ornithopods. Some were small carnivorous dinosaurs;the sort that might pick off young stragglers in the way that the crocodilians identified by Ms Drumheller and Mr Boyd did. But there is, Dr Lockley and Dr Lucas realised, something missing from the picture. When they looked for traces of big predatory dinosaurs, they found none.为了弄清这一问题,丹佛科罗拉多大学的马丁bull;洛克里以及新墨西哥州自然历史物馆的斯派瑟bull;卢卡斯将目光转向世上最著名的化石现象之一;;横穿科罗拉多、新墨西哥、堪萨斯、俄荷拉荷玛的恐龙公路。于同一年代沿着一个内陆海海岸分布在数个地区,这一汇集恐龙踪迹的地区被认为是标出了一条古老的迁徙路线。人们能区分出超过1380种不同动物的踪迹。绝大部分是鸟脚亚目食草恐龙。一些是小型食肉恐龙;;正如庄姆海勒与依德所确认的鳄鱼目动物那样,这些恐龙会截杀年幼离群的食草恐龙。但洛克里与卢卡斯士明白,图上遗漏了一些东西。当他们寻找大型掠食恐龙的线索时,他们什么也没发现。That is ecologically absurd. Unless, of course, the top predator of the system;the one that could hunt down adult ornithopods;was not a dinosaur at all. And, when Dr Lockley and Dr Lucas re-examined the tracks they found that that was exactly what was going on. Instead of theropod footmarks, they found those of crocodilians. More than a quarter of the places where the dinosaur freeway surfaces have yielded signs of crocs. And they were big: sometimes more than four metres long. That is certainly large enough to take on an adult ornithopod.从生物学上讲,这是荒唐的。当然除非生态系统的顶级掠食者;;即是能捕杀成年的鸟脚亚目食草恐龙的;;并不完全是恐龙。而且,当洛克里与卢卡斯士对这些线索进行重新检查时,他们发现那正是曾经所发生的。在出土的恐龙公路上,超过1/4的地区已发现鳄鱼的踪迹。而且它们很大:有时超过4米长,大到足以捕杀一头成年鸟脚亚目食草恐龙。Such megacrocs, then, could easily have acted as top predators in this ecosystem. But that does not completely explain the absence of theropod tracks. Modern migrating herbivores fall victim to many sorts of carnivore: big cats, wolves and hyenas, to name but three. The marshy conditions of the dinosaur freeway (the reason its footprints formed, and have survived) may, though, have favoured crocodilians over predators that had evolved on drier land. In that sort of environment even a big theropod would constantly have been looking over its shoulder. Perhaps the real reason why they did not plant their footprints on the dinosaur freeway is that they might have ended up as prey, as well.这样的巨鳄能在这样的生态系统中轻松担当顶级掠食者的角色。但这并不能完全解释兽脚亚目食肉恐龙的缺位。现代迁徙类食草动物成为众多食肉动物的牺牲品:大型猫科动物、狼、鬣,就拿这三样来说。然而,比起在干燥陆地上进化的掠食者,恐龙公路所处的湿地环境(形成并使恐龙足迹得以保存的原因)也许更受鳄鱼目动物欢迎。在那样一种环境下,即便是一头巨大的兽脚亚目食肉恐龙也会不时回头张望。它们为何没有在恐龙公路上留下足迹呢?真正的原因或许是它们同样亡于其它掠食者。201111/161456

We have seen the bridezillas who lose it, planning for their over-the-top weddings. As nuptials get bigger, even more lavish, it seems a letdown after the big celebration is getting bigger as well. For one in ten new spouses, the letdown after the ceremony is so severe it develops into what is known as post-wedding depression. Are we creating a generation of brides who cannot recover from their wedding day? It's a dream of many little girls that someday her prince will come.Is the bill here?Yeah…But the war of wedding planning can drive some brides to the extreme. OK, can we get going?And the search for wedding perfection can push others over the edge, transforming them into bridezillas, like the over-the-top TV show. That's not funny! Some are stressed, some are serene, but the pressure to create that flawless day can be daunting. Planning a wedding and getting married is both the best time and also the most stressful and, and, and in many ways the worst time as well. Marnie Hinze got married three months ago inside a Comte Cape chord church with over a hundred guests. As the sound of bagpipes escorted her down the aisle, it was a picture-perfect ceremony. After the wedding, Marnie and her new husband, Mark, flew off for their long-awaited fantasy trip to the Caribbean. That the honeymoon was fabulous, and really relaxing and fun and perfect, just like the wedding.But once the honeymoon was over, Marnie emotionally crashed. I felt bad because it was over, and now real life was starting and I had to think about kids and buying a house and all of the major things that come after. One gets married and that was kind of scary.Marnie fell into a post-wedding depression, a condition afflicting one in ten new spouses. After spending a year or more focusing on one day, the letdown, once that day is over, can lead to confusion, frustration and for some, clinical depression. I mean I didn't really understand why she felt that way. (See you later..) You know, it bothered me cause I thought it was something wrong that I was causing her to be differently sad or depressed. Everybody's telling you, "You should be having fun... this is the best time in your life, you know, before you have kids, enjoy it, live it up". And l felt like what's wrong with me that I feel like this.1.nuptials:n. marriage ceremony, wedding 2.serene:adj. tranquil, calm, peaceful, quiet; supreme, royal; clear, cloudless 宁静的, 安详的, 沉著的 3.bagpipe:n. wind instrument 风笛 4.clinical depression:a state of depression and anhedonia so severe as to require clinical intervention200810/52594

Public-service reform公共务改革Dave's amazing adventure戴夫大冒险让人惊讶Overhauling the public services is proving slower and harder than the government once hoped 整修公共务:比政府预期还要缓慢艰难HEALTH-CARE reform’s potential as raw material for rappers has hitherto mostly gone unnoticed. Now the government’s plans for the National Health Service have been satirised in a ditty entitled “The NHS is not for sale”; it registered over 150,000 YouTube hits within a week. Nearly a year after the coalition came to power, offering the most sweeping public-service reform agenda since Margaret Thatcher, grind—and ridicule—have beset it. Ministers look tired; U-turns, refinements and clarifications are frequent.医疗保健改革本可以让说唱歌手好好做上一番文章,但迄今为止却少有人慧眼识珠。如今,讽刺英国政府改革国民健康保险制度计划的打油曲“健保系统不卖”,在YOUTUBE上一周已获得十五多万次点击。联合政府执政将近一年,提出了自撒切尔夫人以来范围最广的改革议程;然而这项议程却被琐事和嘲弄包围。大臣们面色疲惫;方针、政策等的急速转变,调整提高以及解释说明屡见不鲜。The official line is that reforms to schools, the NHS and other institutions are proceeding as intended. David Cameron is sticking to his plans to devolve more power to those directly delivering the services, cut out bureaucratic middle men and enhance competition. But scratch a bit deeper, and worries about the impact and pace of the changes are evident. “We haven’t succeeded in explaining how our approach saves money and delivers better services,” admits a senior minister.官方方针是学校,健保系统和其他机构的改革正如预期进行。卡梅隆坚持自己的计划,即把更多权力移交给这些直接务的机构,裁减打官腔的中间人员,加强竞争。但是往深里想想,此举的后果和改革步调便显而易见。一位高级大臣承认:“我们没能成功解释这样做为何省钱,为何可以提供更好的务。”Andrew Lansley’s bid to devolve the commissioning of hospital care, and responsibility for much of England’s health budget, to GPs has proved the most contentious policy. Under the health secretary’s scheme, GPs will be obliged to form new commissioning consortia; they will also have more freedom to choose private health-care providers over state ones.英国卫生大臣安德鲁兰斯里的尝试是最具争议的。他计划把医疗保健和大部分医疗预算委任给医生,这样医生必须形成新的医疗联盟;他们还可以更加自由地选择私人健保提供者而不是由国家提供。Mr Lansley points out that his changes are going more smoothly than hostile interest groups suggest: 177 consortia, covering 70% of England’s population, have aly been set up (the deadline for transferring to the new arrangements is April 2013). But the timescale is alarmingly variable. One senior government figure thinks this and other public-sector reforms will take “between five and 15 years” to bear fruit nationally. That might be asking a bit too much of public patience.兰斯里指出他的改革比反对派所说的进展顺利得多:已经设立了177个联盟,覆盖了英国70%的人口(新安排的最终期限是2013年)。但是时间跨度之多变令人警觉。一位高级官员认为,这项以及其他的公共领域改革将需要“五到十五年”来使全国受益。这可能大大超出了公众的耐心。Sell Stockholm, buy Harlem卖掉斯德哥尔,买进哈莱姆Meanwhile the education secretary Michael Gove’s once-prominent focus on new Swedish-style “free schools”—to be funded by the state but run by charities, parents and others—has been wavering. Although he denies a shift, chains of academies—state schools turned over to autonomous providers—are now being heralded as the driving force of schools reform. Mr Gove is sounding keener on American-style Charter schools than on the Swedish model, in part because the Charter programme has a clearer record of helping to transform education for the poor. 同时,教育大臣迈克尔戈夫曾大力推进的瑞典式“免费学校”政策——由国家出资,慈善机构,父母和其他人运转——一直以来也动摇不定。尽管他否认政策转移,却还有许多学院——现在转由独立个人持的公立学校——被宣为教育改革的驱动力。乍听之下,比起瑞典模式,戈夫似乎对美国式的特许学校更感兴趣。一个原因就是特许学校能够使教育更好造福穷孩子。And a bitter row is under way over how far the rise in tuition fees to 9,000 (,500) for some universities should be dependent on them admitting more students from poor and ethnic-minority backgrounds. Supported by Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary who is responsible for higher education, the Office for Fair Access, a regulator, wants a portion of the higher fees to be diverted to outreach efforts. It threatens to impose a cap for those universities who don’t oblige. Frustration in the universities is matched by outrage among Tories, who are afraid of damaging standards and biasing the system against middle-class applicants.英国大学学费涨价也让大众不满。上调之后,大学学费最高可至9,000英镑(约合14,500美元),但政府规定大学必须采取措施招收更多英国本地贫穷学生和少数族群学生,才能收取最高上限的学费。在主管大学事务的自由民主党人,商务部大臣文斯凯布尔持下,扮演监管角色的公平入校办公室也想在增收的学费中分一杯羹,以主动帮助入学。如果哪个大学不从,它便表示要对其收取罚款。伴随着大学的唉声叹气是托利党人的雷霆怒火。他们担心这么做会有损规矩,造成对中产阶级学生的歧视。Serious reform is always painful: Mrs Thatcher was widely loathed in her radical second term; Tony Blair complained about the “scars on my back” from his fights with public-sector workers. As then, today’s plans pitch fears about the cost and alleged chaos of upheaval against hypothetical arguments for change. But the government’s year-long adventure in reform suggests some other patterns. 严肃改革总是伴随着痛苦:撒切尔夫人在第二任任期一片怨声载道;托尼布莱尔抱怨和国有经济工人争斗时“背上受了伤”。今日,改革计划则让人们大惊失色,忧心出,还有计划可能带来的动乱。但是政府数年来冒险改革也表明了别的模式。First, expectations matter. Before last year’s election the Tories reassured voters that there would be no “top-down reorganisation of the NHS”. Mr Lansley’s plans might have caused less of a rumpus with more explicit warning. The civil service matters too: Number 10 complains that it is being insufficiently zealous in implementing the government’s agenda. Officials counter that the problem is the volume of new measures, and varying competence in departments, rather than intransigence.首先,期望很有关系。去年大选前托利党人向选民保不会有“自上至下的健保改革”。兰斯利的计划可能引起了一点吵闹和警告。行政部门也有关系:首相府抱怨无法赶不上完善政府计划。官员认为问题在于新政的内容太多,部门间能力不同,而不是死不妥协。Just as importantly, the coalition has learned that the messy happenstance of everyday government can be disruptive and demoralising. A climb-down on the proposed sell-off of forests was followed by a concession over the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance, a subsidy intended to keep 16-19-year-olds in learning, after a threatened legal challenge. Number 10 recently intervened to demand a reversal of plans to cut school-sports funding. None of these was a major reversal; but they have rattled MPs, who wonder whether to stick their necks out to defend bigger schemes that might be cancelled or amended.同样重要的是,政府也学到日常政治生活中的偶然事件也会扰人不休,令人气馁。在售卖森林方面的提案撤回后,在废除教育维持津贴政府又做出让步。这项津贴本来是要让16至19岁的孩子继续求学的。首相最近也干涉其中,要求不要削减学校体育基金。这些转变都不大,但是却让议会恼火。议会质疑是否应该态度更加强硬才能不让计划被取消或者修正。Finally, the exigencies of coalition have been a burden. A plan to reform housing benefit, vaunted by the Tories in opposition, has been dropped from the government’s welfare-reform bill after rows with the Lib Dems about whether it would penalise low-earners. (The broader plan to introduce a single “universal credit” to replace multiple allowances for those out of work has created its own new network of unintended complexities and forthcoming climb-downs.) The emphasis on fairness in the Tories’ coalition agreement with the Lib Dems helps to explain the reorientation of Mr Gove’s ideas. 最后,联合政府的急切需要成为了负担。托利党人原先吹嘘的改革住房计划,在他们在和自由民主党大吵数架,争论其是否会对低收入者不利后,跌出了政府的福利改革议案(更宏大的引入“通用信贷”来取代失业津贴的计划不亚于画地为牢,执行复杂,前景不佳)。高夫为什么要重新定位也可用托利党和自由民主党的协定中对公平的强调来解释。So far, the architecture of the coalition has held up well. Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, share a vision of a public sector enlivened by greater competition and less dependent on a dwindling pot of state funding. They do, however, need to make a bolder case for why they are fighting on quite so many fronts—and to tell the public when it can expect to feel the benefit of the slimmer, fitter Leviathan it has been promised. 到目前为止,联合政府的架子站得还挺稳。卡梅隆和英国自由民主党党魁尼克克莱格都认为更多竞争,更少对政府资金的依赖会为公有经济注入活力。然而,他们的确需要告诉公众,为何政府要在诸多方面如此奋斗,还要告诉公众何时他们才能享受到政府允诺的更合适,更便捷的务。201105/134419

The economy美国经济Excuses, excuses总是找借口A litany of special factors exposes the recovery’s fragility次危机中的连环利空因素揭露美国脆弱的复苏RECOVERIES from financial crises are usually subdued, but America’s is starting to look comatose. On May 26th the government said GDP grew by an annualised 1.8% in the first quarter, identical to its preliminary estimate. Economists had hoped for an upward revision. Worse, as signs of weakness accumulate, forecasters have trimmed estimates for the current quarter from around 3.5% they were projecting a month ago to 2.7% or less now.金融危机后的经济复苏总是温和的,但是美国的复苏现在看上去有点疲软。在5月26日,美国政府声称在第一季度,美国的国内生产总值按年度计算增长了1.8%,这与之前的估计数字相一致。经济学家们本来希望经济增长率会有一个向上的修正。随着一系列的疲软迹象的增加,现在,经济预测员们把当前季度的经济增长估计值从上个月所预测的3.5%调整到了2.7%或者更低的数字。 Last December an agreement between Barack Obama and the Republicans to extend George Bush’s tax cuts and enact new ones led to forecasts of 3% to 4% growth this year. But the new consensus rate of 2.6%, for a recovery now two years old, is barely above America’s long-term potential and scarcely enough to bring unemployment down. To be sure, the post-crisis imperative for banks and households to reduce their debt meant a V-shaped rebound was never on the cards. Even so, this is a terrible performance.去年12月,奥巴马和共和党人士之间在关于延长小布什的税收减免和颁布新的减税政策的事项上达成了一致,这使得人们对今年的经济增长有了3%到4%的预测。但是,近期的被公认的2.6的增长率几乎不能显示美国的长期增长潜力,这也不足以使失业率下降,因为到现在,复苏已经维持了两年之久。可以肯定的是,后经济危机迫使和家庭降低自身的负债,这意味着v字型的经济反弹是不可能发生的。201106/139832

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