ASEAN- China railway begins operating A railway that links the Association of Southwest Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries with southwest China’s Yunnan province became operational on February 23. After seven years of construction, the railway has a total length of 141 km with a designated maximum speed of 120 km per hour. It goes through 35 tunnels and crosses 61 bridges, which together account for 54.95 percent of the total length of the line. The railway is part of the eastern line of the planned Pan-Asia Railway network. The eastern route starts in Kunming, capital of Yunnan and pass through the cities of Yuxi, Mengzi and Hekou in Yunnan to connect with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Singapore . It is expected to boost land transportation and provide a more convenient passage for exchange and trade between China and ASEAN member countries. Drought to be severe this year, meteorologist Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center, on February 22 said that several areas in the central, central highland and southern regions are in danger of severe drought this year with little rain. The rainy season will begin in April in the southern and central highland regions and August in the central region. As a result, several areas will have to suffer drought and water shortage in the next six months, he said. Central provinces will be worst affected. Record drought in 1998 and 2002 might recur this year. Salt intrusion will occur earlier and broaden further inland….