As China is at the forefront of U-S political debates, a group of University of Iowa scholars and engineering students is in that nation on an educational trip. One organizer of the 15-day “study abroad” program wants to teach students how to plan major water projects in foreign countries. He says the only way they can do that is to be there. Professor Jacob Odgaard (YAK’-ub ODE’-gard), dean of the U-of-I’s civil and environmental engineering department, is leading the tour of 23 faculty and students. One highlight of the trip will be the controversial Three Gorges Dam project, which Odgaard says is stirring a lot of people up on several fronts. Besides the widespread negative cultural and environmental impacts, the project will also force about two-MILLION people to move from upstream villages and towns. Still, Odgaard says, the Chinese are moving ahead with the project because of it’s potential economic impact. The group left for China Saturday and returns in early June. The U-S House is expected to vote today on permanent normal trade relations with China.
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