Storm Brewing In China

Drought, deforestation (didn't he play Scottie in Star Trek?) and overgrazing are being blamed for severe sandstorms gripping the Chinese capital Beijing this week. See pictures here.

Meanwhile the severe drought, being described as a "once in a century" event, in China's southwest has worsened according to China's drought relief authorities.

Of the five provinces worst affected by the drought, the top two - Guizhou and Yunnan - are said to account for 9% of the national wheat area and 24% of the county's rapeseed area.

Corn is also widely grown in these areas, with plantings underway right now. The rainy season begins in Yunnan in May, with little in the way of drought relief expected before then.

Doubtless the Chinese WILL have another year of record crop production in 2010 despite all of this of course. Indeed the Ministry could probably tell you NOW exactly what they WILL harvest this year because they already have the numbers to hand. A nice steady 2% higher across the board, exactly the same as in previous years by a curious conincidence. Don't bother Googling for it as they've had them shut down for lying.