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Living underground, mole rats are sheltered from the Kalahari's worst extremes of temperature. We think of deserts as hot places. But nightly temperatures can fall well below zero. At dawn, meerkats need to soak up the warmth of the rising sun to get fully active. The temperature in the Kalahari steadily climbs as high as 70 Celsius on the ground. Meerkats can only tolerate short bursts of activity in the morning and evening. This means they need to be very efficient at gathering food. So they quarter their territory, traveling several kilometers a day. Tasty beetles and scorpions are common in this grassy desert. But finding them means spending a lot of time with your head in the sand. So meerkats are very vulnerable to predators. To protect the group, young males take turns keeping watch. This frees the others up to keep hunting. Scorpions have a lethal sting, but meerkats are fast as lightning. The Kalahari's high levels of rainfall mean food is plentiful year round, one reason why this desert can support more large mammals than any other in the world. Springbok are the most successful desert antelopes in Africa. With short, thin fur, they can easily offload heat by sweating. The white patterns on their coats help to reflect solar radiation. And they never need to drink. They can extract all the moisture they need from the most meagre desert plants. But in southern Africa's deserts, there is a lurking challenge. Cheetahs shadow the springbuck herds. They ,too, evolve in the desert. Thinly-furred and lightly-built, everything about them is designed to deal with heat and speed. words:1.meerkat: 猫鼬2.offload:to get rid of and pass on to another卸下,排掉(eg.): He does come to offload the blame for launching the transmitting tools to market.200807/44762Famously generous with their bonuses but hard hit by the sub-prime mortgage crises, big investment banks are facing a dilemma this year---to reward or not to reward. Can the big banks get away with handing out chunky bonuses in the face of ailing profits? For more in this issue of end-of-year bonuses, I'm joined by Andrew Oliver. He is the managing director of executive search company Profile Search and Selection based right here in Hong Kong.Welcome to the program. End-of-the-year bonuses, it's a time fast approaching. What should we expect?Well, I think the short answer is that at the end of the year banks are gonna pay out enormous amounts of money. However, the subtext here is a little more complicated. These are vast institutions that rely on very, very diverse revenue streams by division and geography. And for some of the parts of the banks, they've had to start the year again in 2007. So how big a bonus will be handed out?Well, that's a very interesting question. I think it depends on where you are working and I suppose geographically and by division and also depends on whether you are a peak performer or you are not. I think this year we are gonna see some areas, when I say areas I mean geographies hit harder than others. And we're gonna see some divisions hit harder than others. But next year the banks are still gonna make money. They're still gonna carry and hold on to their peak performers. So people will get paid regardless.So how much is the cost to hold on to a peak performer?Well, I think the top 10, 15% regardless of the division area, will be paid at least flat or maybe up from last year. However, I think we're gonna see a polarization of bonuses this year. Peak performers will get paid because they've got to look at 2008.Give me a number, Andrew. Because I some place, it's an average of 200,000 US dollars. Does that sound right?Well, I mean the numbers that come out, you know, the numbers that come out are in my opinion sometimes a little bit misleading. Because you take, you know vast organizations, then divide the number by the number of employees. I think the people who are making the money, the key producers, within the key front line roles will still get paid.And they will get paid how much as a bonus?Well, I think if you look in percentage terms in 2006, that's probably a better indication. And I would say peak performers will still get paid more than they got paid last year.You are still not giving me a concrete number but they will still get paid. They will still get a big bonus. And this year was a notoriously bad year for the financial sector. How can banks justify, handing out such big bonuses during such a terrible year?Well, looking in the context, it's not been a terrible year. It's been a terrible few months. It's been a fairly terrible few months for certain part of very large institutions. Parts of the businesses have made a lot more money than they made last year. And part of the geographies around the world had made a lot more money than they made last year.So in terms of where the bonuses will come from, certain sectors of the bank will probably end up paying out the bonuses for the other players in the bank.Yes, there's always gonna be a little bit of, there’s always gonna be a little bit of cross-divisional support. However, I think you know, we'll see, you know, certain divisions that have been hit very hard by the sub-prime issues. Yes,they're gonna get hit hard in their bonuses. But yes, you know, certain divisions such as equities divisions or corporate finance divisions that have made a lot of fees and underwriting in the early part of this year will in some way support parts of the businesses that have been hit.But in a year, there have been layoffs, and I'm hearing of, of more layoffs to come. It's really an employer's market. Why is it even necessary to pay out big bonuses?Well, the people who run the organizations will have to run amid a commercial, in a commercial manner. They need to look at, looking after the people that're gonna make the money in 2008. Someone said to me it's sometimes very difficult to say, is it a retrospective reward for what you did last year or is it a reward for what you may do next year.That's the question. Andrew Oliver, thank you very much for joining us.Thank you.Notes: retrospective: Applying to or influencing the past200807/43587US Says Russia Violating Cease-Fire in Georgia美国指俄罗斯违约找借口驻军格国  The ed States is accusing Russia of trying to find excuses to keep thousands of troops in Georgia in violation of a cease-fire Moscow signed last month with the former Soviet republic. 美国指责俄罗斯试图寻找借口,让数千名部队留在格鲁吉亚,违反莫斯科与格鲁吉亚上月签订的停火协议。State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, using unusually blunt language, says it is past time for Russia to withdraw most of its soldiers from Georgia's separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  美国国务院发言人麦科马克以不同寻常的直率语气说,俄罗斯从格鲁吉亚分离地区南奥塞梯和阿布哈兹撤出它大部分军队的时间早就过了。他说:"These guys are trying to, at every turn, trying to wiggle out of a commitment they made and that their president put his name to," he said. "We have seen it since August and it continues. They need to get out of Georgia and they need to stop finding excuses to do that." “这些人在找种种机会摆脱他们所作的承诺和他们总统签署的协议。我们从八月以来就看到这种情况,而且还在继续下去。他们必需撤离格鲁吉亚,他们必需停止寻找借口。”Russian military forces continue to occupy Georgian territory weeks after last month's five-day war, despite a French-mediated cease-fire. 上个月发生五天战争后到今天已经有几星期了,俄罗斯军队仍继续占领格鲁吉亚的领土,尽管在法国斡旋下签署了停火协议。Since then Russia has recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, despite international condemnation.  从那时以来,俄罗斯不顾世界各国的谴责而承认南奥塞梯和阿布哈兹为独立国家。McCormack says the ed States is concerned about Russia's decision to keep thousands of soldiers in both breakaway regions. 麦科马克说,美国对俄罗斯决意让数千名军人留驻这些分离地区感到忧虑。他说:"I would note one quite concerning remark that has been attributed to the Russian government and to various officials, whether it was President [Dmitri] Medvedev or Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov saying that they were going to keep 3,800 Russian troops, both in South Ossetia and Abkhazia - that of course would be a violation of the cease-fire that they signed in August," he said. “我要指出,俄罗斯政府及其官员,包括梅德韦杰夫总统或拉夫罗夫外长所说的令人不安的话。他们说,俄罗斯将在南奥塞梯和阿布哈兹保留三千八百名军人,这当然违反八月份签订的停火协议。”McCormack says Russia and the country's troops need to abide by their international commitments.  麦科马克说,俄罗斯及其俄军必需遵守他们的国际承诺。Georgia's August offensive to regain control of South Ossetia from Moscow-backed separatists prompted a massive retaliatory thrust by Russia into Georgian territory. 格鲁吉亚八月份发动进攻,从莫斯科持的分离主义分子手中夺回对南奥塞梯和阿布哈兹的控制, 这次进攻促使俄罗斯大举进犯格鲁吉亚领土。Russia argues it repelled Georgian troops to protect thousands of people who were granted Russian citizenship following the collapse of the Soviet Union. 俄罗斯争辩说,他们击退格鲁吉亚部队只是为了保护在苏联解体后得到俄罗斯国籍的民众。 200809/48210

Top Afghan Diplomat Abducted in Pakistan万豪酒店爆炸后巴国安全继续恶化   A senior government official says Pakistan's top civilian and military leaders had planned to dine at Islamabad's Marriot Hotel when a suicide car bombing struck it, killing 53 people. While an investigation is under way into the country's deadliest suicide bombing, unknown gunmen kidnapped Afghanistan's ambassador-designate in the northwest Pakistan city of Peshawar. 巴基斯坦政府的一位高级官员说,巴基斯坦文职和军界的高级领导人曾经计划在自杀式汽车炸弹袭击伊斯兰堡的万豪酒店的时候在那里用餐。这次袭击造成53人死亡,是巴基斯坦死亡人数最多的一次自杀炸弹袭击。就在当局对这起事件进行调查的同时,不明身份的武装分子在巴基斯坦西北部的白沙瓦市绑架了即将上任的阿富汗大使,导致巴基斯坦安全局势进一步恶化。Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Interior Ministry head Rehman Malik disclosed that Pakistan's President, Prime Minister, and Army chief were planning to attend a dinner party at the Marriott Hotel when it was bombed.  巴基斯坦内政部长马利克在伊斯兰堡对记者们透露,巴基斯坦总统、总理和陆军总参谋长曾计划在万豪酒店被炸的时间在那里出席一个晚餐会。Malik says perhaps the terrorists knew that the Marriott was the venue of the dinner and the entire leadership of the country would be present there. But he says the dinner was moved to the Prime Minister's official residence at the 11th hour on the instructions of the president and the prime minister. The interior ministry chief did not explain why the two leaders decided to change the venue of the dinner party.  马利克说,也许恐怖分子知道晚餐会将在万豪酒店举行,而且整个巴基斯坦领导层成员将聚集在那里。不过他说,在11点时,总统和总理指示将宴会的地点改在总理的官邸。他没有解释这两位领导人为什么会改变餐会地点。Officials say that nearly 270 people were wounded in the bombing, while the dead included the Czech ambassador to Pakistan and American nationals.  有关官员说,有近270人在爆炸中受伤。而死者中包括捷克驻巴基斯坦大使和一些美国人。A U.S Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor gave details of the American casualties in the weekend bombing. 美国大使馆发言人芬托尔透露了美国死者的详情。"Two American citizens died of injuries sustained during the September 20th bombing of the Islamabad Marriot Hotel. Those individuals were Department of Defense employees. In addition, a State Department contractor, an American citizen, is unaccounted for at this time. However, we are continuing efforts to determine this employee's status," said Fintor. 他说:“在九月20号发生在伊斯兰堡万豪酒店的爆炸中,两名美国公民在受伤后不治身亡。他们是美国国防部的工作人员。此外,一名美国籍的国务院合同工目前失踪。不过,我们在尽力确定他的状况。”There are no claims of responsibility, but Pakistani authorities suspect militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaida terror network for the bombing. The attack prompted the British Airways to temporarily suspend flights to Pakistan.  目前还没有人出面对袭击承担负责,但是巴基斯坦有关当局怀疑塔利班和基地恐怖组织同爆炸有关。这起袭击使英国航空公司暂停飞往巴基斯坦的航班。In a further sign of the worsening security situation in the country, unknown gunmen have kidnapped Afghanistan's ambassador-designate, Abdul Khaliq Farahi in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar. The kidnappers ambushed the diplomat's car in a residential area of the troubled city and killed his Afghan driver.  另一起事件更加突出了巴基斯坦安全局势的恶化。不明身份的武装分子在巴基斯坦西北部的白沙瓦市绑架了即将上任的阿富汗驻巴基斯坦大使法拉希。绑匪在白沙瓦市一个居民区里突袭了法拉希乘坐的汽车,并杀死了他的阿富汗司机。Speaking to VOA by telephone from Peshawar, an Afghan official, Noor Mohammad Takal, says that the kidnapped diplomat was still serving as the consul general at the Afghan consulate in Peshawawr.  阿富汗官员塔卡尔在白沙瓦通过电话告诉美国之音,法拉希当时依然担任阿富汗驻白沙瓦市领馆总领事的职位。He says that the top Afghan diplomat was going back to his residence in the city from work, but was intercepted by armed men.  他说,法拉希当时正在从办公室回家的路上,但是遭到了武装分子的拦截。The kidnapping took place in an area that borders one of Pakistan's semi-autonoumos tribal areas, the Khyber Agency, where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are believed to have their hideouts. Pakistani security forces recently have conducted major military operations to eliminate the militants.  发生绑架的地区同巴基斯坦半自治的部落地区开伯尔相邻。开伯尔地区有塔利班和基地组织激进分子的藏匿点。巴基斯坦安全部队最近对这个地区展开了大规模军事行动,以消灭这些激进分子。The latest incidents of violence in Pakistan underscore the extremist threat facing the country, a vital U.S. ally in the war against terrorism. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is set to meet President Bush in New York this week to discuss, among other things, efforts to tackle the rising militant threat. 巴基斯坦最近发生的几起暴力袭击显示,这个美国反恐战争的重要盟国面临来自极端分子的威胁。巴基斯坦总统扎尔达里定于本周在纽约同布什会晤,双方将讨论如何解决不断增加的激进分子威胁等问题。200809/49972

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