Greetings all! Here's what I heard on shortwave in the first two weeks of June. Just a reminder: the information portion of these reports is the opinion of the broadcaster, and I just provide a summary of what I heard. Radios used for these receptions: Sony ICF SW7600GR, Kaito 1102.
* Radio Havana Cuba
* China Radio International
* Voice of America
* 06 Jun 2006, 0500 UTC, 6000 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): There's a weekly segment about the Cuban Five on Mondays. Violent deaths in Baghdad were at an all-time high in May 2006; shooting was the most common cause of death. Chilean students protested to demand free public transportation and a waiver of university entrance fees. Some tires were set on fire during the strike. The AIDS pandemic was discussed at the United Nations meeting last week in New York City. The disease has spread faster with more catastrophic effects than any other disease. Indonesia quake survivors still need shelter. Aftershocks are still a problem, and there's an insufficient number of toilets available. US$100 million is needed over the next 6 months for the recovery. Two of the Cuban Five had birthdays this week.
The story about protesting Chilean students was new to me. I wonder where the burned tires came from.
* 09 Jun 2006, 0400 UTC, 6080 khz (China Radio International): There's a call for domestic companies to invest internationally. Al-Zarqawi was killed by United States forces in Iraq. Al-Qaeda will continue its holy war. The European Union was urged to hold trade consultation with China to resolve disputes. China wants the Iran nuclear issue to be resolved diplomatically. China is paying attention to the issues in Darfur. A CRI identification clip included the quote "News from China in an international language." The EU arms embargo for China is "outdated." China is actively working to encourage foreign investment to build up manufacturing industry. China also seeks investment in its service industry and its western region. Iran is ready to discuss its nuclear program with the United Nations. Incentives could convince Iran to stop enriching uranium. The addition of power plants in China will ensure sufficient electricity supply. Supply and demand should be balanced in the second half of this year. Illegal power plants have recently appeared, providing 15 million kW. They are a major source of pollution. The country is focusing on power from hydro, nuclear, and clean coal. Live broadcasts of World Cup games are from 9pm to 5am Beijing time. Chinese companies are offering flexible work hours for World Cup fans. Beijing weather: overcast, 18-30C (64-86F).
China's public bath houses are preferred by the elderly, while posh spas are favored by young people. Public bath houses are economical and convenient, and good locations for social activity. Many users stay under the hot water for a long time. The announcer then described a luxurious spa with peaceful music and dim lighting. Full treatment there costs 600 yen or US$75, whereas the public bath house costs 10 yen for unlimited time. Nowadays, more ordinary Chinese people have a bathroom in their homes. Leukemia sufferers have new hope due to a marrow donor program, which began in 1992. There are 4 million leukemia sufferers in China. Previously, sufferers relied on foreign marrow donations or strong medications while waiting for a transplant. High-speed rail construction will begin later this year, linking Beijing and Shanghai. It will be the first of its kind in China. The trip currently takes 13 hours but could be reduced to 5 hours with a train running up to 350 km/h. The rail would be 1300 km with 21 stops, and is expected to help economic development along the line. A one-way trip on the high-speed train could cost 600 yen or US$75. (Vote with your wallet: do you want to be luxuriously clean, or do you want a train ride?) Further development plans call for 100,000 km of new rails. The broadcast ended with an instrumental version of "Moments in love".
The story about Chinese bath houses and spas was unusual for this station. It makes me think they're taking after Radio Taiwan International. I'm always glad to hear something besides political or economic news.
* 14 Jun 2006, 0444 UTC, 9575 khz (Voice of America): This is the World News Now show. It is flag day in the USA. Some Americans say that it is more important to protect the constitutional right to free speech than to protect the American flag from desecration. The "important thing is the spirit and the meaning of the flag." On 26 June, Congress will vote on a flag protection amendment. It raises the question of what qualifies as a flag, as the design is printed on objects such as paper plates and neckties. (Also: tacky paper flags attached to toothpicks, as commonly seen in Chinatown stores.) On this day in 1777, the USA designed its first flag with the 13 stripes and starfield with a blue background. On this day in 1951, a Univac 1 computer began service for the census bureau.
This reception had strong fading, but the broadcast was intended for Africa so I had good reception in spite of that. I am interested to hear the flag burning amendment outcome.