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BEIJING — China’s expanding network of ultramodern high-speed trains has come under growing scrutiny here over costs and because of concerns that builders ignored safety standards in the quest to build faster trains in record time.
The trains, a symbol of the country’s rapid development, have drawn praise from President Obama. But what began in February with the firing and detention of the country’s top railway official has spiraled into a corruption investigation that has raised questions about the project’s future.
Last week, the new leadership at the Railways Ministry announced that to enhance safety, the top speed of all trains was being decreased from about 218 mph to 186. Without elaborating, the ministry called the safety situation “severe” and said it was launching safety checks along the entire network of tracks.
* The source for US military aid to Israel during Fiscal Year 2011 is the Congressional Research Service’s “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, updated September 16, 2010. According to this report, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel for the fiscal year 2011.
Israel spends roughly nine percent of its gross national product to guard from potential threats. Its military expenditure amounted to USD 17 billion this year, of which US aid is USD 3 billion.