|Spirited Singapore keeps ‘ghostbuster’
|SINGAPORE (AFP) - The corner looked empty.
“There’s an old woman standing there, wearing an old blue
dress, and she has curly hair,” professional exorcist Chew
Hon Chin told his stunned client in the brightly-lit living
“Let’s ignore her for now. Let me clear your house of dirty
stuff first and I’ll move her out later,” the 64-year-old
Chew told housewife Zhang Qiao Zhu, who hurriedly led him to
one of the flat’s bedrooms.
Inside, the stern-faced Chew
produced a pair of metal rods bent at a 40-degree angle,
stared at the black balls swaying gently at each end and
finally pointed to a closed cupboard.
“There is a blue towel with a striped pattern inside,” Chew
told Zhang in Mandarin.
“Take it out and remove it from the room.”
Zhang, 56, complied meekly, not questioning Chew’s
pronouncements or his apparent ability to peer through
closed wardrobe doors to identify “tainted” objects within.
Zhang called Chew when she sensed there was something
strange in her neighbourhood, or more specifically her
house, after feeling someone -- or something -- choking her
every night whenever she tried to sleep.
Chew exorcises ghosts and repels curses for a living, and
the word “Ghostbusters” is spelled out in English in a red
sign with gold lettering above the entrance to his shop.
The stout man with tinted spectacles and a crisp crew cut
says business is good in predominantly ethnic-Chinese
Singapore, where religion and superstition remain deeply
rooted despite mass affluence.
Chew, who says he handles three to four cases a day,
offers services from “luck enhancement” costing 88 Singapore
dollars (68 US) to “deceased appeasement” at “100 dollars
per soul” -- although more difficult spirits command prices
reaching into the thousands.
But the BMW-driving former nightclub owner said had to pay a
high price to get where he is.
Chew said he acquired his skills after being cured of a
curse placed by a vengeful former employee whom he had
He vomited blood, mosquitoes and metal filings for more
than 10 years, Chew claimed.
After his recovery, Chew said the supreme Taoist deity known
as the Jade Emperor visited him, made him a “godson” and
told him the secrets of divining and exorcism, which
entailed 108 days of meditation on a deserted island in
But unlike the characters from the Hollywood movie, Chew
does not use fictional technology in his ghostbusting
“I have the eye of the heavens -- when you come into my
office I can immediately see the bad things behind you,” the
devout Taoist told an AFP reporter, pointing to the supposed
location of a “third eye” on his forehead.
Chew said this enhanced vision allows him to detect
malevolent energy emanating from specific items which he
describes in painstaking detail to customers visiting his
At a recent house visit, Chew used his metal rods to
pinpoint what he said was the spirit’s location, then flung
coarse salt into a small bronze urn filled with burning
A helper tossed in onion skins to produce an acrid burst of
“Ghosts are afraid of this smell, when the salt crackles
it’s like an explosion to ghosts and they will run,” Chew
He took his clients to a quiet clearing in suburban
Singapore, where he lit a ring of fire around them and
instructed them to step over it. After the ritual, the
clients were soaked in a tub of herb-spiced water.
“Fire burns away all the evil from your body, water
cleanses the soul,” Chew said.
Chew’s shop, situated in a shopping mall a 15-minute drive
from the financial centre, also doubles as a ghostly jail,
with sealed plastic “cells” containing objects discovered
during his work lining a wall beside an elaborate altar to
the Jade Emperor.
Vials containing dark liquids, macabre finger-sized dolls
and wooden carvings of faces beneath an ominous sign saying:
“Nice to see, fun to touch. Once broken, more business for
Chew was sanguine about his close proximity to the spirit
“As a policeman or soldier, I should not be afraid of
criminals or war. As a ghostbuster, I should definitely not
be afraid of ghosts, in fact ghosts should be afraid of me!”
|Hate mobs thrive in booming social
|BANGKOK (AFP) - A teenager involved in a car crash that
killed nine people in Thailand deserves “no happiness
forever”, according to just one of more than 300,000
Facebook users who support a page set up to condemn her.
“Only your death is worthwhile for what you have done,” said
an angry post on the site.
“Are you still a human?” asked another.
One of the members of the cyber hate campaign threatened to
rape the youngster if he saw her.
The 16-year-old girl, from a wealthy Thai family, faces
charges of reckless driving resulting in death and driving
without a licence, after her car crashed with a public
minibus on a Bangkok tollway last month.
Soon afterwards a photo emerged that appeared to show the
girl leaning on a roadside barrier, calmly using a
BlackBerry smartphone, having escaped serious injury.
She was quickly accused in Internet forums of idly chatting
to friends as victims lay dying nearby, which her family
Her photos and contact details were posted online and she
reportedly received death threats.
While the exact circumstances of the crash are unclear, the
outrage unleashed on Facebook, Twitter and other websites
has highlighted the murky phenomenon of cyber “hate mobs” on
popular social networking sites.
Behind this trend is what is known as “Internet
disinhibition”, said Adrian Skinner, a clinical psychologist
in Britain who has researched behavioural differences on the
“It’s now well established that some people can behave in a
much less inhibited way on the Internet, and the primary
reason is that they feel there’s no return, no comeback,” he
He explained this “lowered sense of responsibility” was
coupled with the fact that writing online involved much less
effort than taking to the streets in a revenge-seeking crowd
-- a more likely option in the pre-Internet age.
“A mob can form much more easily because of electronic
communication,” he said.
“It’s much easier for this phenomenon of an ‘e-mob’ to
Membership of Facebook in Thailand more than doubled last
year and now stands at about 7.4 million -- 11 percent of
the population -- according to Socialbakers, which compiles
data about the site.
The boom was fuelled by fierce debate over the kingdom’s
political crisis, which triggered deadly opposition protests
in Bangkok in April and May last year.
“These tools allow us to express our feelings, ideas and
thoughts easily,” said Supinya Klangnarong, coordinator of
the cyber campaign group Thai Netizen network, who thinks
evolution of Internet usage is happening “too quickly”.
“Expressing ourselves is good but we need to know the
boundary of expression and how to use social media
positively,” she said.
“We need a standard to control what is creative expression
and what is intimidation.”
The issue is not unique to Thailand, however, with numerous
examples of Internet hate campaigns emerging across Asia,
which was named by Facebook in September as the
fastest-growing region for new subscribers to the site.
In China, where traditional media is heavily censored, the
web has become a key way for people to air their views and
vent their anger, with many using Facebook and Twitter
through proxy servers because they are officially blocked.
There are scores of cases of people -- celebrities,
officials or ordinary citizens -- who have been at the
receiving end of disapproval or anger on the Internet,
particularly where corruption or abuse of power are
In one of the most famous recent examples, Zhang Ziyi, a
Chinese movie star, received a barrage of online criticism
after it was revealed she had only given part of a promised
donation to victims of the huge 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
The incident took a toll on the actress, known for her roles
in Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,
and she apologised in a teary interview. The entire one
million yuan ($152,000) was eventually paid.
The Internet has now become such a medium for people’s wrath
in China that it has triggered the so-called “human flesh
search” phenomenon, where netizens hunt down and reveal the
identities of perceived offenders.
Their targets have included young women who crushed rabbits
to death in graphic videos posted on the web.
In South Korea, netizens have come up against the law for
what Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has described as
“improper Internet witch-hunting”.
His comments were sparked by the case of popular hip-hop
singer Tablo, who faced a fierce web campaign from November
2009 when bloggers cast doubt about his educational
Police launched a criminal probe, concluding that Tablo’s
academic credentials were authentic, and referred 14
bloggers to prosecutors on libel charges.
The case highlighted “the tyranny of the cyber mob that gets
a high from spreading ungrounded rumours,” a major South
Korean newspaper, the JoongAng Daily, said in an editorial
“The situation shows a dark shadow that arches over the
|Scotland to sample Shackleton’s
|WELLINGTON (AFP) - Three bottles of whisky abandoned in
Antarctica by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton more
than a century ago will be sent to Scotland for scientific
analysis, reports said.
The bottles of Mackinlay’s whisky were part of a cache
recovered last year from beneath Shackleton’s Antarctic hut,
built in 1908 as part of his failed attempt to reach the
South Pole, national news agency NZPA reported.
It said the whisky would be sent to the Whyte & Mackay
distillery in Scotland, which now owns the Mackinlay’s
brand, where it would be analysed in an attempt to recreate
the original recipe.
The wooden crate containing the whisky, marked British
Antarctic Expedition 1907, was frozen solid in the minus 30
degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures
but the whisky in the bottles was still liquid.
Two more crates of whiskey, along with two of brandy, were
also discovered but they were left under the floorboard’s of
The whisky is believed to have been bottled in Scotland in
1896 or 1897, making it among the oldest in the world.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust shipped the crate to Canterbury
Museum in Christchurch, where it was painstakingly thawed in
controlled conditions, allowing historians to access the
NZPA said that under an agreement with the trust, Whyte &
Mackay was entitled to three of the bottles, which had been
taken from a crate containing 11, and they would begin their
journey back to Scotland on Friday.
The crate originally held 12 bottles but one was missing
when it was found, raising the possibility that a member of
Shackleton’s expedition had been helping himself in a bid to
ward off the polar chill.
NZPA said an Australian whisky expert estimated the bottles
could bring 90,000 New Zealand dollars (69,000 US) each on
the open market.
|French wine bible expands into China
|PARIS (AFP) - One of the world’s top wine magazines,
Revue du Vin de France, plans to launch a monthly
Chinese-language edition in the spring, the Marie Claire
publishing group revealed.
Speaking in Paris, its publisher Jean-Paul Lubot said the
wine market in China was undergoing “a real explosion” and
that Revue du Vin wanted to be part of the action.
“One part of the magazine will be dedicated to wine and its
consumption in China, to be produced by a team of Chinese
journalists,” added editorial chief Denis Saverot.
“The other part will deal with great wines from France and
carry articles from Revue du Vin, translated and adapted
Founded in 1927, Revue du Vin is regarded as one of the
world’s premier wine magazines, alongside Decanter in
Britain and Wine Spectator in the US.
The Marie Claire group, with 73 titles in 35 countries,
operates in China in partnership with SEEC Media Group, a
holding company that deals in advertising and book and
More and more French wine is being exported to China,
notably from Bordeaux. Together with Hong Kong, it has
become that southwestern region’s biggest market in value
|Kazakhstan may skip presidential polls
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AFP) - Kazakhstan’s parliament voted
to hold a referendum on prolonging the rule of President
Nursultan Nazarbayev to 2020 and scrapping two elections, in
defiance of US criticism.
Deputies in the upper and lower houses backed constitutional
amendments to permit a referendum allowing the strongman
leader, 70, to remain uncontested as president until 2020.
The vote came after a petition backing the referendum was
signed by an astonishing five million Kazakhs -- one half of
the electorate and one third of the population.
Supporters of the plan say it will guarantee the stability
of Central Asia’s richest state for the next decade but the
opposition and the West have raised concerns that it will
create an authoritarian and unaccountable regime.
The ruling party Nur Otan -- which controls every single
seat in the Mazhalis lower house -- had urged all political
forces in the country to unite to support the plan.
If the referendum is passed -- a virtual certainty after the
petition -- Kazakhstan will skip planned presidential
elections in 2012 and 2017, a prospect that has already
caused international concern.
Earlier this month, the US embassy in Astana took the
unusual step of issuing a statement condemning the idea of
holding the referendum, saying it “would be a setback for
democracy in Kazakhstan”.
Nazarbayev, who was not present at the debate on Friday,
vetoed the proposal this month. But this appears to have
been a merely token gesture and in a quirk of the Kazakh
constitution, the parliament has the right to overturn his
The president has ruled Kazakhstan for its entire history as
an independent state and will be 80 in 2020. If he is still
in power then, he will have ruled Kazakhstan for three
The president is hailed by his supporters as a national hero
equivalent to India’s Mahatma Gandhi or Turkey’s Kemal
Ataturk who presided over the growth of his energy-rich
nation into a political and economic power.
But critics complain Kazakhstan has become an authoritarian
state under his rule, with official media slavishly loyal to
the president and opposition activists subject to harassment
and even imprisonment.
The authorities were less than amused by the 2006 comedy hit
“Borat” about a fictional Kazakh journalist and have now
embarked on a tireless campaign to promote the glitzy new
image it wants the world to see.
Along with Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who rose to power
at the same time, Nazarbayev is the longest-serving leader
in the former Soviet Union.
|Royal College Union celebrates 120
|One of the oldest schoolboy alumni fraternities in
Sri Lanka symbolises unity in diversity
|The Royal College Union (RCU), one of the oldest Old Boy
alumni fraternities in Sri Lanka, counts 120 years of
dedicated excellence to its alma mater Royal College and
society at large.
The RCU, founded in 1891 with a few old boys, has grown
today to comprise around 11,000 members, speaking volumes
for its longevity, commitment, and solidarity.
Since its inception, the RCU has had 33 honorary secretaries
in office, with many distinguished past Royalists been
office-bearers of the union.
The RCU works closely with the Royal College principal and
school authorities, with the aim of promoting the
advancement, progress and welfare of the students and also
the interest of its members.
It continues to promote educational, cultural, social and
economic welfare of college students.
Throughout its colourful history, a host of events and
activities have lent personality to the union.
Last year, RCU was engaged in a spate of activities to mark
the 175th anniversary of Royal College, witnessing a host of
religious, interesting social and sporting events.
The RCU champions academics, gifting scholarships through
the Loyalty Pledge Management Committee to students
demonstrating academic excellence, and, or, requiring
assistance for continuity at Royal College and also at the
The support rendered by the Union is most often reciprocated
by the college and its students, for example Royal College
being appointed the ‘Best Innovative Microsoft School in
Royal College also boasts of superior results at GCE O/L and
A/L examinations consistently.
The annual EDEX exhibition is a hallmark of educational
excellence, extending support to empower youth to be
globally competitive, whilst offering them choices, options
and opportunities, upon completion of their secondary
The partnership that RCU has with sports at Royal College is
noteworthy, and many sporting events championed by the Union
have resulted in sporting accolades. In the sporting arena
the best recognition and glory have included the fields of
rugger, cricket, swimming, water-polo, rowing, boxing, to
name a few.
The Skills Centre of the RCU also caters to a host of
activities that encourage and promote skills and talents of
the Royal College students and is also open to the public.
New initiatives include the RCU audio, video, and print
studio that will cater to young Royalists who wish to pursue
careers in media.
The convention facilities also cater to RCU member meetings,
and its state-of-the-art facilities are open to the public
to conduct professional events and social functions.
The J R Jayewardene Pavillion and Cricket Complex and the
Royal College Sports Complex are also managed under the
aegis of RCU for the benefit of the past and present
The RCU also has close links with its fellow alumni
association branches overseas, and maintains links with
other old boy and old girl associations in Sri Lanka.
To mark its 120th anniversary, the RCU will have a
multi-religious ceremony tomorrow (January 17) at 7am
followed by a fellowship breakfast.
The RCU will also be organising more celebratory events to
mark this milestone.
|Indians growing richer and less
|NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indians are growing richer, but they
are also adopting unhealthy lifestyles that could take years
off their lives and threaten economic growth, a major study
In a wide-ranging review of India’s under-resourced health
system published in the British magazine The Lancet, studies
by a clutch of top doctors flagged some particular medical
downsides linked to economic progress.
“Rapidly improving socioeconomic status in India is
associated with a reduction of physical activity and
increased rates of obesity and diabetes,” said a paper on
chronic diseases and injuries led by Vikram Patel from the
Sangath Centre in Goa.
With more money in their pockets, Indians are exercising
less, indulging in fatty foods and risking injury by driving
more and faster on the country’s notoriously dangerous
roads, often under the influence of alcohol.
“The emerging pattern in India is characterised by an
initial uptake of harmful health behaviours in the early
phase of socioeconomic development,” Patel’s paper said.
The scourges of the newly wealthy, whose ranks swell by
millions each year, can only be tackled with education. The
authors said bad habits decline once consumers become aware
of risks to their health.
Overall in India, the poor remain the most susceptible to
disease and are burdened by the effects of paying for care
in a country whose health indicators lag behind its
impressive economic growth figures.
The study also said it was vital that India, with its young
and fast-growing 1.2 billion population, took steps to
prevent injuries and illnesses such as heart or respiratory
diseases, cancer and diabetes.
These problems, which suck up resources in hospitals and
doctors’ surgeries, can be reduced cost effectively through
education, the use of drugs and patient screening, as well
as higher taxation on tobacco and alcohol.
The study said India was in the early stage of a “chronic
disease epidemic,” with as many as one in five people
suffering from a chronic illness, while one in 10 has more
than one disease.
“Many chronic diseases can be treated with inexpensive
generic drugs and lifestyle modifications,” Patel’s paper
said. “And if action is not taken now, the avoidable
suffering and deaths will have an adverse effect on economic
Other studies published in The Lancet urged India to do more
to reduce inequality and to meet a target contained in the
title of the series: “India: Towards a Universal Health-care
System by 2020.”
According to research led by S V Subramanian from the
Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, health costs push
39 million Indians back below the poverty line each year,
with millions of others forced into even greater penury.
The authors were critical of Indian healthcare noting that
payments by individuals account for 71.1 percent of spending
on health, with insurance and the public sector taking up a
very small proportion of the burden.
The review’s seven studies, which were presented at a
symposium in New Delhi recently called on India to raise
public health spending from 1.1 percent of GDP to 6.0
percent -- financed by new taxes on tobacco, alcohol and
“India’s continued economic growth will be at risk if
adequate steps are not taken quickly to invest in the health
of its citizens,” the authors said in a statement.
The studies on infectious diseases, reproductive health,
chronic diseases and injuries, health care and equity, human
resources for health, and financing healthcare can be found
on The Lancet’s website.
|Sudan partition poses challenges for
|JUBA, Sudan (AFP) - The looming partition of Sudan after
this week’s independence vote in the south poses challenges
for China, which faces dependence for nearly five percent of
its oil imports on a new country long suspicious of its ties
A full 80 percent of the oilfields in Sudan, which the
state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has
pumped billions of dollars into developing, lie in the
Beijing’s arms deals with the Khartoum regime and its dogged
defence of it in international forums have resulted in the
former rebels who are set to lead the new state having much
closer relations with Western countries that provided aid
during the 1983-2005 civil war and spearheaded efforts to
end the conflict.
China did open a consulate in the southern regional capital
Juba in 2008 three years after the peace deal.
But it has only been in the past few months that it has
fully woken up to the imminent prospect of independence,
sending a delegation of senior Communist Party leaders to
the south last October and upgrading its representation to
ambassador level the following month.
“The Chinese, supported by CNPC, have mounted a charm
offensive in the south which has consisted of bringing
several dozen political leaders... to China to visit CNPC
and view the Chinese economic model in general,” a Western
diplomat in south Sudan said.
“CNPC has also built a computer lab at Juba University which
cost several million dollars,” the diplomat added.
“That has had some success in changing the atmosphere in the
south towards them.”
But southern leaders are not without fears of their own.
They rely on income from oil output, the lion’s share of it
by CNPC, for 98 percent of government income, and
desperately need the Chinese production to continue
In an interview, southern oil minister Garang Diing
promised: “We will respect all our contracts signed before
the (2005) peace agreement.”
Confirmation of CNPC’s rights to its concession will not
come without a price, though, as south Sudan moves to draw
up a national oil policy for the new state.
Long-standing grievances about CNPC’s environmental and
human rights policies and its lack of financial transparency
are likely to lead to the imposition of higher standards for
firms operating concessions and to tighter monitoring.
NGOs such as Global Witness have documented contamination of
the wetlands of Upper Nile and Unity states, where CNPC
operates, with chemicals and untreated water from the oil
extraction process, leading to deaths from drinking polluted
“In the contracts with China during the war, lots of things
were not taken care of, like the protection of human rights
and the environment,” the southern oil minister said.
“This has left many people displaced that need
compensation,” he said. “In terms of environment, there is
Diing is likely to find support for imposing tighter
standards from Western oil majors as he pursues his
longer-term ambition of diversifying south Sudan’s oil
sector and government receipts.
A spokesman for France’s Total, which holds a huge
concession in the south that has remained untapped because
of the civil war and US sanctions against Khartoum, said the
firm would insist on the “enforcement of our standards in
environmental matters, ethical behaviour and transparency”.
But in the short term, Western oil firms are likely to
continue to be deterred from investment by the sanctions
imposed against Khartoum in 1997 four years after its
blacklisting as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“We need to diversify the capital from some Asian countries
-- China, Malaysia and India -- especially to get Western
experience, the best technologies and the best practices,”
“The problem with the Western companies is the sanctions.”
Washington has indicated that it will begin to ease some of
the measures if Khartoum respects the outcome of the
independence vote. And it is assumed that the newly
independent south Sudan will not itself face sanctions.
But sanctions against the north’s state-owned oil company
Sudapet, which has an interest in the CNPC-led consortium,
will remain in force, preventing any Western firm with a
significant US shareholding from taking up an interest in
The south will also remain dependent on the pipeline to Port
Sudan in the north which CNPC helped build to get the oil to
And just six months before the date set for southern
independence by the 2005 peace deal, there is still no
agreement between north and south on what payment for use of
the pipeline and refineries will replace the existing 50-50
sharing of receipts.
Alex Vines, director of regional and security studies at
Britain’s Chatham House think tank, says that the pipeline
gives Beijing every incentive to use its ties with Khartoum
to ensure that there is a velvet divorce and no disruption
to the flow of oil.
“It will try and maintain good relations with both north and
south, and will use its good offices behind the scenes to
encourage amicable relations,” he said.
“The last thing China wants is renewed conflict in Sudan.”
He Wenping, a professor at the Institute of West Asian and
African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
“While the south has more oilfields, it still has to depend
on the petroleum pipelines and oil refineries in the north,”
he told China’s Global Times.
“Oil used to be controversial between the two parts, but it
may be the glue in the future.”
|Hi tech pays tribute
to Eiffel Tower’s
PARIS (AFP) - Arguably the most widely recognised structure
in the world, the Eiffel Tower was designed to stand for
only 20 years -- and some predicted it would collapse long
Even as it was being built for the 1889 Universal
Exhibition, a professor of mathematics sagely calculated
that when the tower was two-thirds complete, its legs would
buckle and the whole thing would come tumbling down,
crushing workers and houses alike.
Today, the Eiffel Tower is not only standing but remains in
rude health, testifying to the soundness of Gustave Eiffel’s
design and the strength of “puddle iron,” the hand-made
wrought iron of the late 19th century, say engineers.
Specialists at the Technical Centre for Mechanical
Industries, or CETIM, have put together a high-powered
computer model based on the 18,000 pieces that comprise the
world’s greatest iron edifice and the emblem of Paris.
On screen, the tower has been exposed to hurricane-force
winds, lashing rain, extreme heat, cold and thick snow, and
each time emerges unbowed, they say.
“We have applied the most demanding test standards currently
set in Europe and have found that the tower is in excellent
shape,” said Stephane Roussin, a former French naval officer
in charge of structural safety at Eiffel Tower Operating
Co., or SETE.
“We have even doubled its weight to see what happens. The
tower moves but is not destroyed.”
SETE commissioned the model in 2008 to fine tune its
maintenance programme -- to get a better idea of the
324-metre tower’s weak and strong points as important
projects are carried out.
In 2011, the tower will get its 19th coat of paint, and next
year sees an overhaul of structures on its first floor. The
tower itself weighs around 8,500 tonnes, to which some 3,000
tonnes (restaurants, lifts, TV antenna and so on) have been
Computer simulation has become standard practice for
modern-built buildings, such as the Petronas towers in Kuala
Lumpur and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and for bridges, such
as the Millau viaduct in southwestern France.
But creating the model for the Eiffel Tower presented a
technical challenge of a completely new kind.
One thing was that the realisation that its materials --
puddle iron (iron that is super-heated, beaten by hand and
then folded over) and rivets -- perform quite differently
from modern-day steel, concrete and bolts.
“We had to start from scratch,” said Roussin.
Materials scientists carried out mechanical and chemical
tests on samples of puddle iron to assess its resilience,
and stress engineers revisited Eiffel’s own drawings to
calculate how the tower would perform under load from the
Outwardly simple, the geometry of the tower itself posed
some mighty number-crunching problems.
The programme had to take into account a range of weather
conditions on a latticework of 18,000 metal pieces and the
tower’s additions, calculating the load vertically,
horizontally and in 3D: in all, the model has an astonishing
The tower has shrunk by some 13 centimetres (5.5 inches)
over the past 120 because it has settled under its own
weight, says Roussin.
Looking to the future, the experiments show the tower’s
sensitivity to higher temperatures, so global warming is
likely to become a bigger source of concern in decades to
Even so, the specialists say they are highly confident
Paris’ “Old Lady” will be around for the next two or three