News and Events - AUGUST 2009

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Singh, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    QUETTA, Pakistan - Asif Ali Zardari, president of cash-strapped Pakistan, has returned home from Beijing for the second time in a few months virtually empty-handed, without any commitment from China for aid.

    During his first visit as president last October, Zardari failed to secure financial support from Beijing to stave off a balance of payments crisis, with the Chinese government rebuffing a request for concessional loans.

    This time, the two countries signed cooperation agreements for hydropower generation and agriculture development, but there was no firm commitment from Beijing about writing off some of


    Islamabad's debt or extending additional aid.

    Zardari's four-day visit, which included trips to Hubei province and Shanghai, overlapped with and was overshadowed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the Chinese capital.

    After China's rebuff in October, Pakistan reluctantly reached agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a US$7.6 billion loan facility, which in turn paved the way for Beijing to grant $500 million in loans. That compares with the estimated $14 billion some economists say is needed to get Pakistan back on its feet.

    "China has been providing help, within its own capability, to Pakistan's economic and social development," AP quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying last week.

    Even so, Pakistan's financial distress and worsening internal security may be cooling China's perception of its neighbor.

    "Instead of increasing assistance to its old ally, Beijing has apparently been keeping a distance from Islamabad," Time magazine reported last week.

    "Pakistan today needs China more than China needs Pakistan - that is why there is more enthusiasm in Pakistan about its relations with China than vice-versa," the magazine quoted Shabbir Cheema, director of the Asia-Pacific Governance and Democracy Initiative, as saying.

    While economic issues were at the heart of Zardari's visit, it took place in the shadow of the intensifying US "war on terror" in Afghanistan, also involving Pakistan's western border areas, and amid continuing questions on Pakistan's involvement in terrorist attacks in India's financial center, Mumbai, last November.

    In a telephone conversation with President Hu Jintao on Tuesday, Zardari thanked him for China's support to Pakistan's stance on the Mumbai incident, over which Islamabad has had to fend of Indian charges of complicity. The two leaders agreed to work together to build a strong economic and political partnership.

    "The visit assumes significance as Islamabad had given a blank check to China to intercede on its behalf with India on the Mumbai terror attacks," Press Trust of India reported.

    Zardari sought during his latest visit to highlight the benefits his country offered China. In an interview with Chinese media, he said companies based in central China would gain from trading through Pakistani ports, which are nearer to the sea than their own country's ports such as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

    "We will encourage Chinese companies to come to Pakistan as Pakistan is geo-strategically located and provides them access to the rest of the world through our warm waters," Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Zardari as saying.

    The two sides agreed that establishing trans-border economic zones and a Pakistan-China rail link would go a long way in strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

    Pakistan wants "to initiate rail links as well in addition to existing road and sea links". Pakistan Press International quoted Zardari as saying. Addressing Chinese heads of major financial institutions and banks, he said the government would also provide maximum support to Chinese investors to enhance links between the two countries. The opening of branches by Chinese banks in Pakistan, would further expand financial interaction.

    "We also have a free-trade agreement with China and hope to finalize a trade agreement in services shortly", China Daily reported Zardari as saying. "Once we get our economic fundamentals right we can be a useful economic partner, a significant market and a profitable destination for investment." Pakistan is the first country with which China has signed a free trade agreement (FTA). The first phase of an FTA in goods and investment was completed last July.

    Investment by China and provision of easier access for Pakistani goods into the Chinese market could help boost trade between the two countries. Last year, bilateral trade volume rose a mere 1.3% to $6.9 billion.

    Zardari acknowledged the assistance China has already given to his country.

    "China has helped Pakistan’s economic development. Chinese assistance and enterprise has been invaluable in areas as diverse as construction of nuclear power plants to dams, roads and industrial estates. The port of Gwadar on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast is a testament to China’s friendship with Pakistan," he said.

    At the mouth of the Persian Gulf and opposite the Strait of Hormuz, Gwadar port is being funded and built by China and is intended to serve as a corridor for energy, cargo and services between Central Asia, the Gulf and other surrounding regions. Islamabad has awarded the US$70 million construction contract for an international airport at Gwadar to China Harbour Engineering Company. Under a memorandum of understanding signed during Zardari's latest visit, the Chinese company is to support the National Dredging Corporation of Pakistan in its dredging work - silting is a considerable problem at, for example, Gwadar.

    Over 3,000 Chinese nationals have their presence in Pakistan, and concern is rising over their safety given the increased numbers of terrorist incidents in the country, which has included the deaths of Chinese engineers involved in the Gwadar port project.

    "Terrorists have specifically targeted some of our Chinese friends who were working in Pakistan to drive a wedge between the two countries and peoples," China Daily quoted Zardari as saying. "The sacrifice of these Chinese citizens for Pakistan’s cause is an abiding reminder to us Pakistanis of China's friendship with our country."

    Zardari identified possible areas of co-operation between Pakistan and China in hybrid seed development and other agriculture technology such as water management and use of solar technology, Business Recorder reported, citing a statement by the Pakistan Embassy in China.

    Under a joint breeding programme, China’s Hubei Seed Group will transfer germplasm technology to boost productivity of hybrid rice. Pakistani scientists will also be trained in agronomy and oilseed production.

    The two sides also signed an agreement under which China will provide technical assistance to Pakistan in hydro-power generation. Zardari visited the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest dam.

    "Pakistan has not benefited to the extent that it should from its relations with China. We would like China to help us in the construction of a dam similar to this one," Associated Press of Pakistan quoted the Pakistani president as saying.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KB26Df01.html
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China's support to Pakistan's jihadists

    http://www.upiasia.com/Security/2009/03/30/chinas_support_to_pakistans_jihadists/8796/


    China's support to Pakistan's jihadists
    By M.D. Nalapat
    Column: Future Present
    Published: March 30, 2009


    Manipal, India — After decades of denial, the U.S. military – though not yet the State Department – has begun to admit that the Pakistan military, a major “non-NATO ally,” is the source of much of the capability of the Taliban thugs that are now sending NATO into a panic in Afghanistan.

    Individuals within the Pakistan military claim that no fewer than 30,000 jihadists are presently being trained by regular officers and army men, who are, of course, officially "on leave to visit family." Of the trainees, no fewer than 2,000 are being imparted proficiency in high explosives and in the commando-style operations that enabled a handful of operatives to hold off the Indian security establishment for three humiliating days in Mumbai from Nov. 26 to 28 last year.

    The purpose of such assistance is to "ensure that Afghanistan, Kashmir and Central Asia emerge as allies of a rejuvenated Pakistan" and to see that "the Indian economic dream becomes a nightmare," the army sources say.

    This second objective is of value to China, which is visibly uneasy at the accelerating pace of development in India, despite intense efforts by its communist allies in the ruling establishment to reverse economic reforms. It’s no wonder that almost all the sensitive communications links of the Pakistan army – including the unrecorded "ghost units" that guide terror operations – are provided by China.

    Unless those in authority in Beijing are as credulous as their counterparts in the CIA and in the U.S. State Department – a difficult proposition to accept – the Chinese vendors of the communications, explosives and other lethal equipment that ultimately reaches jihadists in Afghanistan, India and elsewhere must be aware of the unconventional nature of the end-users of the goods and services they dispense.

    An increase in terrorist activity in India would surely lead to a decline in that country's growth prospects. Therefore, if the activities of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence units cause a spike in terror activities in India, it is not sufficient reason for China to cut off its gifts to the army of force-multipliers that end up in jihadist hands.

    It is not only in Pakistan that China has, in effect, become a reliable ally of what are euphemistically known as "unconventional forces." Equipment and services from China flood into states such as Sudan, Iran, Syria and Somalia. In none of these states are the authorities squeamish about separating regular operations from those conducted by terror groups.

    During the years when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, China was among its biggest benefactors, together with Pakistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

    Of course, in the cause of showering largesse on the Pakistan army, few can rival the United States. Days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the gift of a fresh US$7.5 billion to Pakistan, supposedly to build schools, roads and other infrastructure.

    What Obama apparently failed to pick up from his intelligence briefings was the fact that these schools, with their poisonous curricula and fanaticized staff, are the breeding grounds for jihad. Or that the Pakistan army has – according to information available even to the civilian government – diverted about 63 percent of the funds given to it by the United States "to fight terror" to operations that are India-specific, hardly a contribution to the War on Terror.

    Until the toxic content is removed from school curricula in Pakistan; unless jihadist elements within the teaching community are weeded out and replaced with genuine moderates; and unless religious schools confine themselves to the training of imams rather than to seeding the entire Pakistan civil and military structure with their products, most assistance given to Pakistan is a contribution to jihad.

    What the U.S. government should do is impose immediate travel restrictions and financial sanctions on individuals and entities that aid terrorists such as al-Qaida and the Taliban. It is ironic that the sons, daughters and relatives of the very military officers that are assisting the Taliban are teeming in U.S. campuses and corporations, courtesy of successive indulgent administrations.

    Amazingly, the very "experts" who in the 1990s called for help to what became the Taliban, and who in the post-9/11 phase advised the defanging of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to benefit the Pakistan military, have remained the dominant voices in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in both the George W. Bush and the Obama administrations. It appears that, in the wonderland of U.S. policy, nothing succeeds as well as failure.

    The "new" policy announced by the Obama administration, unless accompanied by a push toward structural reforms in Pakistan's military and education system, will also end in failure. Not surprisingly, after Obama advisor Colin Powell and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton generously gave their support to the "Punjabi plot" – the scheme of Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to marginalize President Asif Ali Zardari – there was an immediate spike in terrorist activity on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    With cash from the United States and sophisticated equipment from China, the jihad-friendly Pakistan military is on a roll. Its allies in terror groups around the world will be delighted.

    As for the rest, all they can do is brace themselves for the terror attacks that will follow the consistent China-U.S. policy of allowing the Pakistan army to continue unmolested on the jihadi path initiated by the late Islamist President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq nearly four decades ago.

    --

    (Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice-chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair, and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University. ©Copyright M.D. Nalapat.)
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Ethnic strife in the heart of China against muslims

    http://www.sinodaily.com/reports/Ethnic_strife_in_the_heart_of_China_999.html

    SINO DAILY
    Ethnic strife in the heart of China

    Armed with almost anything they could lay their hands on, Muslims and non-Muslims from rival villages clashed in medieval fashion, sending at least one young Hui to hospital with severe cuts to the head, back and legs.
    by Staff Writers
    Niujinzhuang, China (AFP) April 1, 2009
    It began as a minor dispute in a Chinese village between Muslim and non-Muslim teenagers but escalated into a violent clash involving hundreds of adults wielding machetes, knives and clubs.

    Tension within Buddhist Tibetan communities is not the only source of ethnic unrest in China -- as recent riots in a county not far from Beijing appear to highlight.

    The youngsters had been celebrating Lunar New Year in northern Mengcun Hui autonomous county in February, setting off fireworks, when for some reason they started shooting them at each other.

    "The next day the adults, including village officials, began fighting as some of the children had been badly hurt. Each side was laying blame on the other side," Yang Zhi, a Hui Muslim, told AFP.

    Armed with almost anything they could lay their hands on, Muslims and non-Muslims from rival villages clashed in medieval fashion, sending at least one young Hui to hospital with severe cuts to the head, back and legs.

    This was not a riot in some far-off region of China, but in Niujinzhuang, a rural community just 225 kilometres (140 miles) from Beijing.

    The confrontation, which sucked in 1,000 people, was largely between Muslim Chinese known as Huis and nearby villagers made up of Han Chinese, the majority in the country, locals said.

    Pockets of Hui communities exist throughout China, but in Mengcun Hui up to a quarter of the county's population of 200,000 are Huis.

    To quell the fighting, the Hebei provincial government dispatched 2,000 paramilitary police to seal off the two villages and maintain calm, local residents said.

    Officials say the clashes had nothing to do with ethnic or religious tension.

    "This is an issue related to public order," an official at the Mengcun county government office who declined to be named told AFP.

    Mengcun county police also insisted that the incident was an "ordinary disturbance" among citizens.

    But local Huis had a different view.

    "The county officials don't want to consider this an ethnic or religious issue," a Hui villager who identified himself by his Muslim name Musa told AFP. "That would mean the issue must be reported to higher authorities."

    "We are afraid that the Han are going to decide how to settle this, which means they will decide in favour of the Han," he added.

    One of China's largest minorities, Huis were severely persecuted during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when several million were believed to have been killed, as well as during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

    Another local Hui, who asked not to be named, said he feared authorities would move to forcibly silence any calls for justice over the recent violence.

    "The government is dealing very severely with the Tibetans and the Uighurs," he said, referring to an ongoing clampdown in Tibet and a Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic group in northwest China's Xinjiang region.

    "The Huis suffered greatly in the Qing Dynasty and again during the Cultural Revolution. We don't want to suffer anymore."

    Ran Guangrong, a social scientist with Sichuan University, said ethnic disputes like the one in Niujinzhuang were becoming increasingly common -- an alarm bell for a government ever fearful of unrest.

    "The number of such incidents has risen since last year," said Ran, adding the government's response was usually "conciliation, asking the two sides to sit down and find a solution".
     
  5. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    China: Strong On The Outside, Rotten On The Inside

    Police corruption is a major source of public anger in China. In the last few years, people have increasingly held mass (thousands, to over 10,000 people) demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, against police misconduct (corruption, torture and murder of suspects and general mistreatment of prisoners.) The corruption affects the general population, as it generally manifests itself in police demanding bribes, and arresting those who do not comply, or otherwise annoy the police. What worries the government the most is that many Chinese are willing to fight back when the police show up. If the cops cannot coerce and control the population, the government cannot be assured of surviving popular uprisings.


    http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/china/articles/20090402.aspx
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China Sells Comsats To Nigeria, Venezuela and Pakistan

    http://www.spacemart.com/reports/China_Sells_Comsats_To_Nigeria,_Venezuela_and_Pakistan_999.html

    China Sells Comsats To Nigeria, Venezuela and Pakistan

    by Andrei Chang | Jeff Chen
    Hong Kong (UPI) April 9, 2009
    China has sold three communications satellites to Nigeria, Venezuela and Pakistan that have military capabilities, a service life of 15 years and are equipped with C-band frequency and 18 channels of Ku-band frequency transmitters.

    The performance characteristics of all three of these satellites were basically the same, and all of them were to be launched by CZ-3B carrier rockets.

    However, the communications satellite for Nigeria stopped functioning less than one year after it went into operation when its solar array drive assembly failed. This posed a major challenge to the credibility of China-made communications satellites. Two weeks ago, China announced it would replace the Nigerian satellite in 2011 at no charge.

    The satellites were developed on the foundation of the domestic Dong Fang Hong IV communications satellite. Of course, all of them can be used for military communications as well as civilian purposes -- a matter of concern to the U.S. military. The United States had asked China not to assist Venezuela with its satellite project, but its request was ignored.

    The United States is concerned about China exporting military-use satellites and providing launch services to "rogue nations." The People's Republic of China's indifference to this U.S. concern can be seen as a tactic to exert pressure on the United States to halt its sales of advanced arms to Taiwan.

    China is now actively cultivating oil-producing nations as customers for its satellites and launch services. China's strategy has been effective so far, and its exports of military equipment have been boosted as a result. Nigeria and Venezuela are among the newest clients of Chinese-made military equipment.

    Nigeria has purchased a number of J-7 air-superiority combat fighters from China. In November, shortly after its satellite launch, Venezuela announced that it would purchase 18 K-8 trainers from China.

    Iran is another customer that China is pursuing for its satellite sales and launch services. In 2006 China provided a VSAT communications-satellite program to Iran's TA Co. valued at more than $500,000. This satellite network provided voice communications, data and video transmission service to the Iranian oil company, which is believed to have paid for the system with crude oil.

    Programs involving satellite technologies often involve huge sums of money, through which full-scale economic and trade relations can be expanded. Following its satellite launch for Nigeria, China won an $8.3 billion project to restructure Nigeria's railway network. However, after the communications satellite stopped functioning, Nigeria coldly declared it would suspend the contract with China.

    In Angola, when the Angola state television station upgraded to DStv satellite channels, China Electronics Import and Export Corp. provided an entire satellite TV program production and transmission center. Angola is China's second-largest source of imported oil.

    (Andrei Chang is editor in chief of Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, registered in Toronto. Jeff Chen is a reporter for the same magazine.)
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China, the Brahmaputra and India

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2009/04/14/stories/2009041450250900.htm


    China, the Brahmaputra and India


    S. Padmanabhan

    China’s attempt to divert the Brahmaputra has reared its head again. The Chinese are apparently eyeing about 40 billion cubic metres, out of the annual average inflow of 71.4 billion, of the Brahmaputra’s waters. The river skirts China’s borders before dipping into India and Bangladesh. China has a serious need to feed water to its north-west territory, the Gobi Desert, which contains almost half the country’s total landmass, but only seven per ce nt of its freshwater. The Gobi occupies an area of 13,00,000 sq.km making it one of the largest deserts in the world. Desertification of Gobi since 1950s has expanded it by 52,000 sq.km and it is now just 160 km from Beijing. It is said to expand by 3 km per year.

    China has the will and the necessary resources — manpower, technology and, above all, large foreign currency reserves in excess of a trillion dollars — to take the Brahmaputra diversion project forward; the country’s economic stimulus in infrastructure could create employment potential for more than a few million people.
    Hydrological risk

    What does this diversion mean for India? The move by the Chinese Government will put almost 40 per cent of India’s hydel potential in trouble. India has hydro potential of 1,50,000 MW, of which 50,000 MW is in the North-East. Arunachal Pradesh, mainly fed by Brahmaputra’s tributaries — Siang, Subansiri and Lohit — supports development of 28,500 MW hydro projects. Of this, 2,000 MW is under development by NHPC and almost 23,500 MW has been awarded to Reliance Power, Jaiprakash Power, Athena Energy and Mountain Falls Ltd, besides NHPC.

    Most of the awarded projects are awaiting environmental clearances, which may take two-three years, before work can begin on the ground. Since Brahmaputra is fed mainly by melted water from the Himalayan glaciers, the hydrological flow is expected to be affected during the lean flow season (winters), affecting generation from the planned plants. A move by China to divert the water will force private developers to be wary of investing in projects with the hydrological risk of not having adequate water even during normal times.
    Funding mechanism

    With this in mind, the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is reported to have recently held a joint meeting with the Home Ministry, the Planning Commission and the State Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to work out a suitable funding and compensation mechanism for storage projects on the Siang, Subansiri and Lohit Rivers.

    It was suggested at the meeting that 90 per cent of the funding of the flood moderation cost component of storage projects could be released to Arunachal Pradesh, which could then be passed on to the project authorities and, second, the amount equivalent to flood protection benefits accruing to Assam, as a result of the storage projects could be monetised and released to Arunachal Pradesh by the Planning Commission.

    Hopefully, this should speed up the process of the project development so that the country can claim its first user right over the waters in terms of the MoU entered into between India and China in 2002.

    The Brahmaputra flows 2,900 km from its source in the Kailash range of the Himalayas to its massive delta and the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. The river drains a vast area of nearly 9,36,800 sq. km. This river system forms the largest river delta and the third largest free water fall out into the Ocean in the world — next only to the Amazon and the Congo rivers. More people live in the Ganges-Brahmaputra river basin than Western Europe and the entire North American continent.
    Issue to be addressed

    This river system is of critical interest to all the four countries, including Nepal. China is an upper riparian state and, therefore, has the freedom and capacity to divert the river. Should that happen, the irreparable loss will result in destruction of a large part of the North-East and Bangladesh. This step will also drive millions of refugees from Bangladesh into India for their livelihood. There is thus an urgent need to address this issue trilaterally.

    Water sustains life, environment and our culture. With global demand for water on the rise, we cannot be surprised if one country responds to its needs unilaterally; it is for us to take adequate steps before such disaster strikes.
     
  8. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    Greying population: In reference to India, China, and the world

    My apologies Ritesh for posting this information on the UN topic. I will create a new topic here.

    I wanted to address the different policies countries have used regarding their population. In a recent Economist article they write

    "INDIA is a land of bright promise. It is also extremely poor. About 27m Indians will be born this year. Unless things improve, almost 2m of them will die before the next general election. Of the children who survive, more than 40% will be physically stunted by malnutrition. Most will enroll in a school, but they cannot count on their teachers showing up. After five years of classes, less than 60% will be able to read a short story and more than 60% will still be stumped by simple arithmetic."

    After India's election: Good news: don't waste it | The Economist

    No doubt that a greying population in the long run will push the societal structures beyond their breaking point, but I believe that unchecked population growth is also foolish. Now to make it clear, I am in no way a supporter of the One Child Policy, but it's sole contribution has been that it partially gaurantees that Chinese children will be promised at least some form governmental support without breaking it. Couples in China are allowed to have a second child, as long as they pay a fee (again I'm against this), but the logic is that if they are able to pay the fee, then they should be able to provide for the child financially. This minimizes the number of children who fall through the cracks.

    Different opinions? Please debate!
     
  9. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It

    KASHGAR, China — A thousand years ago, the northern and southern branches of the Silk Road converged at this oasis town near the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Traders from Delhi and Samarkand, wearied by frigid treks through the world’s most daunting mountain ranges, unloaded their pack horses here and sold saffron and lutes along the city’s cramped streets. Chinese traders, their camels laden with silk and porcelain, did the same.

    The traders are now joined by tourists exploring the donkey-cart alleys and mud-and-straw buildings once window-shopped, then sacked, by Tamerlane and Genghis Khan.

    Now, Kashgar is about to be sacked again.

    Nine hundred families already have been moved from Kashgar’s Old City, “the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in central Asia,” as the architect and historian George Michell wrote in the 2008 book “Kashgar: Oasis City on China’s Old Silk Road.”

    Over the next few years, city officials say, they will demolish at least 85 percent of this warren of picturesque, if run-down homes and shops. Many of its 13,000 families, Muslims from a Turkic ethnic group called the Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs), will be moved.

    In its place will rise a new Old City, a mix of midrise apartments, plazas, alleys widened into avenues and reproductions of ancient Islamic architecture “to preserve the Uighur culture,” Kashgar’s vice mayor, Xu Jianrong, said in a phone interview.

    Demolition is deemed an urgent necessity because an earthquake could strike at any time, collapsing centuries-old buildings and killing thousands. “The entire Kashgar area is in a special area in danger of earthquakes,” Mr. Xu said. “I ask you: What country’s government would not protect its citizens from the dangers of natural disaster?”

    Critics fret about a different disaster.

    “From a cultural and historical perspective, this plan of theirs is stupid,” said Wu Lili, the managing director of the Beijing Cultural Protection Center, a nongovernmental group devoted to historic preservation. “From the perspective of the locals, it’s cruel.”

    Urban reconstruction during China’s long boom has razed many old city centers, including most of the ancient alleyways and courtyard homes of the capital, Beijing.

    Kashgar, though, is not a typical Chinese city. Chinese security officials consider it a breeding ground for a small but resilient movement of Uighur separatists who Beijing claims have ties to international jihadis. So redevelopment of this ancient center of Islamic culture comes with a tinge of forced conformity.

    Chinese officials have offered somewhat befuddling explanations for their plans. Mr. Xu calls Kashgar “a prime example of rich cultural history and at the same time a major tourism city in China.” Yet the demolition plan would reduce to rubble Kashgar’s principal tourist attraction, a magnet for many of the million-plus people who visit each year.

    China supports an international plan to designate major Silk Road landmarks as United Nations World Heritage sites — a powerful draw for tourists, and a powerful incentive for governments to preserve historical areas.

    But Kashgar is missing from China’s list of proposed sites. One foreign official who refused to be identified for fear of damaging relations with Beijing said the Old City project had unusually strong backing high in the government.

    The project, said to cost $440 million, began abruptly this year, soon after China’s central government said it would spend $584 billion on public works to combat the global financial crisis.

    It would complete a piecemeal dismantling of old Kashgar that began decades ago. The city wall, a 25-foot-thick earthen berm nearly 35 feet high, has largely been torn down. In the 1980s, the city paved the surrounding moat to create a ring highway. Then it opened a main street through the old town center.

    Still, much of the Old City remains as it was and has always been. From atop 40 vest-pocket mosques, muezzins still cast calls to prayer down the narrow lanes: no loudspeakers here. Hundreds of artisans still hammer copper pots, carve wood, hone scimitars and hawk everything from fresh-baked flatbread to dried toads to Islamic prayer hats.

    And tens of thousands of Uighurs still live here behind hand-carved poplar doors, many in tumbledown rentals, others in two-story homes that vault over the alleys and open on courtyards filled with roses and cloth banners.

    The city says the Uighur residents have been consulted at every step of planning. Residents mostly say they are summoned to meetings at which eviction timetables and compensation sums are announced.

    Although the city offers the displaced residents the opportunity to build new homes on the sites of their old ones, some also complain that the proposed compensation does not pay for the cost of rebuilding.

    “My family built this house 500 years ago,” said a beefy 56-year-old man with a white crew cut, who called himself Hajji, as his wife served tea inside their two-story Old City house. “It was made of mud. It’s been improved over the years, but there has been no change to the rooms.”

    In Uighur style, the home has few furnishings. Tapestries hang from the walls, and carpets cover the floors and raised areas used for sleeping and entertaining. The winter room has a pot-bellied coal stove; the garage has been converted into a shop from which the family sells sweets and trinkets. Nine rooms downstairs, and seven up, the home has sprawled over the centuries into a mansion by Kashgar standards.

    But Hajji and his wife lost their life’s savings caring for a sick child, and the city’s payment to demolish their home will not cover rebuilding it. Their option is to move to a distant apartment, which will force them to close their shop, their only source of income.

    “The house belongs to us,” said Hajji’s wife, who refused to give her name. “In this kind of house, many, many generations can live, one by one. But if we move to an apartment, every 50 or 70 years, that apartment is torn down again.

    “This is the biggest problem in our lives. How can our children inherit an apartment?”

    Building inspectors have deemed most of the oldest homes unsafe, including all mud-and-straw structures, the earliest form of construction. They will be leveled and, in many cases, rebuilt in an earthquake-resistant Uighur style, the city promises.

    But three of the Old City’s seven sectors are judged unfit for Uighur architecture and will be rebuilt with decidedly generic apartment buildings. Two thousand other homes will be razed to build public plazas and schools. Poor residents, who live in the smallest homes, already are being permanently moved to boxy, concrete public housing on Kashgar’s outskirts.

    What will remain of old Kashgar is unclear. Mr. Xu said that “important buildings and areas of the Old City have already been included in the country’s special preservation list” and would not be disturbed.

    No archaeologists monitor the razings, he said, because the government already knows everything about old Kashgar.

    Kashgar officials do have good reason to worry about earthquakes. Last October, a 6.8 magnitude quake struck barely 100 miles away. In 1902, an 8.0-magnitude quake, one of the 20th century’s biggest, killed 667 residents.

    Some residents say they also prefer a more modern environment. The thousand-year-old design that gives the Old City its charm often precludes basics like garbage pickup, sewers and fire hydrants.

    In Mr. Xu’s view, demolition will give the Uighurs a better life and spare them from disaster in one fell swoop.

    All that said, there is a certain aura of forcible eviction about the demolition, an urgency that fear of earthquakes does not completely explain. The city is offering cash bonuses to residents who move out early — about $30 for those who vacate within 20 days; $15 if they move in a month. Homes are razed as soon as they become empty, giving some alleys a gap-tooth look.

    On Kashgar television, a nightly 15-minute infomercial hawks the project like ginsu knives, mixing dire statistics on seismic activity with scenes of happy Uighurs dancing in front of their new concrete apartments.

    “Never has such a great event, such a major event happened to Kashgar,” the announcer intones. He boasts that the new buildings “will be difficult to match in the world” and that citizens will “completely experience the care and warmth of the party” toward the Uighur ethnic minority.

    The infomercial also notes that Communist Party officials from Kashgar to Beijing are so edgy over the prospect of an earthquake “that it is disturbing their rest.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/asia/28kashgar.html?_r=2&em=&pagewanted=all
     
  10. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    News/Events - July-September 2009.

    Indian fires at Vienna police during raids

    VIENNA/LONDON: The Austrian police on Monday arrested an Indian after he allegedly fired at them during a raid in connection with last month’s killing of a Sikh preacher at a gurdwara here.

    “The arrested Indian fired at Wega and Cobra special forces officers, who searched nine flats and houses today,” Vienna police spokesman Michael Takacs said.

    The officers were investigating the shoot-out at the Ravi Dass Gurdwara in Vienna-Rudolfsheim on May 24, in which Sant Rama Anand, 57, leader of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, was killed.

    “The man was immediately overpowered and taken into custody,” Mr. Takacs was quoted as saying by The Austrian Times.

    The suspect, who was released from preventive detention on June 5, has also been taken into custody again.

    The raids across the capital began in the afternoon, as the authorities tried to collect more evidence.

    Mr. Takacs said the police did not know how the man was connected with the case or why he fired at the commandos. The police seized weapons and knives and confiscated the car of one of the suspects. More evidence had been found in the vehicle.

    The police said they had found more evidence linking Hardeep Singh, 33, an asylum-seeker facing deportation, to the attack.

    Mr. Takacs dismissed claims that the attack was a hired killing, but said: “We do not exclude anything.”

    Six suspects were detained immediately after the attack. One of them, a suspected ringleader, is still in coma in a Viennese hospital after suffering a head-shot. The guru’s body was sent to India two weeks ago and cremated in Punjab. The other injured guru, Sant Niranjan Dass, left Austria on the same plane. — PTI

    The Hindu : International : Indian fires at Vienna police during raids
     
  11. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    I-G's news update corner.

    China to execute inmates by injection, not bullets
    16 Jun 2009, 0947 hrs IST, AP


    BEIJING: China will begin using lethal injections to execute condemned prisoners instead of shooting them, state media said Tuesday.


    The Beijing Municipal High People's Court is preparing for the change by the end of this year by training police and medical staff to administer the injections, the China Daily newspaper said.

    China executes more people every year than any other country in the world, with 5,000 expected to take place this year, according to the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights monitoring group.

    Hu Yunteng, director general of the research bureau of the Supreme People's Court, told the newspaper that lethal injections are considered safer.

    ``Lethal injection ... is considered more humane as it reduces criminals' fear and pain compared with a gunshot execution,'' he was quoted as saying.

    China now executes prisoners by shooting them, but it is unknown whether sentences are carried out by firing squad or single shot.

    Hu told the China Daily that lethal injections are already used for only a small number of executions throughout China, but no figures were given.

    Rights group Amnesty International has opposed the expansion of China's lethal injection program, calling for an end to the death penalty in the country.

    Since 2007, every death sentence passed in China must be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court before it is carried out.

    The high court had relinquished the right of final review to speed up hearings and executions during an anti-crime drive in the 1980s. The court's right was restored in January 2007 following a series of scandals involving miscarriage of justice and false prosecutions.

    China to execute inmates by injection, not bullets - China - World - The Times of India
     
  12. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    News/Events - July/August 2009.

    June 16, 2009
    Tiffin box bomb goes off in Madurai, cops find 10 more


    powerful bomb packed in a tiffin box exploded near a road bridge on the outskirts of Madurai [ Images ], injuring one person, the police said on Tuesday.
    A combing operation launched by the police after the explosion on Monday night led to the recovery of 10 similar devices in the area.

    Mahesh (24) found a tiffin box lying near the bridge when he went there to ease himself. After his attempts to open the box failed, he flung it on the ground following which it exploded, injuring him, the police said.

    Subsequently, he found a similar box which he threw into the nearby Vaigai river and then informed the police who recovered 10 more tiffin box bombs and requisitioned the services of a bomb disposal squad to defuse them.

    One of the bombs was found to be "quite powerful," a police official said.

    Police teams aided by sniffer dogs are still searching the area and all check-posts have been alerted as the bridge is located close to Home Minister P Chidambaram's Sivaganga parliamentary constituency and is located en route to Rameswaram island.

    An official said such bombs are used in group clashes in south Tamil Nadu, including Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram

    Tiffin box bomb goes off in Madurai, 10 more found: Rediff.com news
     
  13. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China to swap bullets for lethal injections

    China to swap bullets for lethal injections | International | Reuters


    China to swap bullets for lethal injections

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China's capital plans to use lethal injections in executions by the end of the year and firing squads will eventually be phased out across the country, state media on said on Tuesday, quoting law officials.

    Lethal injections were "cleaner, safer and more convenient," the official China Daily quoted the director of China's Supreme People's Court, Hu Yunteng, as saying.

    "As lethal injection is the most popular method for execution adopted by countries with capital punishment, China will follow suit ... it is considered more humane," Hu added, although a complete nationwide shift was a long-term goal because of costs.

    In the capital, however, a new facility near a prison that houses most of the capital's death row inmates has rooms for execution, observation and storage of bodies, the Beijing News reported.

    Special judicial police would be trained to deliver the prisoners and administer the injections, while medical staff would supervise the drugs and confirm the deaths, the report added.

    Lethal injection was legalised in China in 1997, and was first used in southwestern Yunnan region the next year, the China Daily said. Beijing began using the method to execute some prisoners in 2000, but it is still rare.

    China is probably the world's most prolific state executioner, with at least 7,000 people sentenced to death and 1,718 people executed last year, according to rights group Amnesty International.

    It has drawn criticism from rights activists for the high execution rate and the range of crimes that carry the death penalty. It now applies to more than 60 offences in China, including many non-violent and economic crimes.

    In January 2007, the Supreme People's Court regained the power of final approval of death penalties, devolved to provincial high courts in the 1980s, and it promised to apply the ultimate punishment more carefully.

    In the United States, there was a de facto moratorium on the death penalty late in 2007 and early in 2008 as the Supreme Court considered whether lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment. The court ruled that it was not in April last year.

    (Editing by Sugita Katyal)
     
  14. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    2 US journalists admit entering North Korea illegally

    2 US journalists admit entering North Korea: Report
    16 Jun 2009, 1814 hrs IST, AP


    SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea's state-run news agency says that two American journalists sentenced last week to 12 years of labor admitted they
    crossed into the country illegally.

    The Korean Central News Agency said in a detailed report today that Laura Ling and Euna Lee of Current TV were arrested after crossing the Tumen River from China into North Korea.

    The report says the women “admitted and accepted” the sentences handed down by North Korea's top court on June 8.

    2 US journalists admit entering North Korea: Report - Rest of World - World - The Times of India
     
  15. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Bombs in steel containers found dumped near culvert in Madurai

    S. Sundar and S. Vijay Kumar


    MADURAI: Improvised country-made explosives packed in stainless steel containers were found dumped near a culvert on Ring Road in Madurai on Monday evening. A passer-by who tried to open one of the containers suffered minor injuries when it exploded.

    According to police sources, a travel bag stuffed with the containers was noticed by Mahesh (27) of Rajapalayam, a mechanic working in a hydraulic equipment workshop on Ring Road.

    When efforts to open a container failed, he threw it in stagnant water nearby. The second one, when thrown, exploded.

    The mechanic fled the scene with minor injuries on his face and leg. He informed the police about the development through an advocate.

    Police personnel were deployed at the scene to keep the public away from the explosives. Sleuths of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad arrived early on Tuesday and defused a bomb.

    The explosive substance, said to be a mix of aluminium powder, gun powder, pieces of shaving blades, iron balls, pebbles and glass pieces, was sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory.

    Ten bombs were detonated by the BDDS personnel. The device thrown into the water was yet to be recovered, informed sources said.

    “The bombs could have been abandoned by somebody fearing police checking ahead on the main road,” said Inspector-General of Police (South Zone), Sanjeev Kumar, who visited the scene. It was for the first time that the culprits had used stainless steel containers with lids to pack explosive materials to make bombs, he said.

    Stating that usually ropes were tied around country-made explosives, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar said the culprits could have used the steel containers for additional pressure to create more impact.

    “It could cause an impact for a radius of 20 metres,” he said.

    In Chennai, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) K. Radhakrishnan said: “We do not see the involvement of any terrorist organisation. Such bombs are commonly used in the southern districts to attack animals… some rowdy elements also use them to target rival gangs.”

    Mr. Radhakrishnan said the improvised country-made explosives were designed to explode on impact. “We have formed special teams to investigate the source of the explosives and the persons involved.”

    Preliminary enquiries with local people revealed that the explosives were placed recently, probably a couple of days ago.

    “Since police patrol vehicles ply on the Ring Road frequently, it is possible that some persons trying to transport the explosives might have concealed them under the bushes. There are some stone quarry sites in the locality where explosives are often used,” a senior police official said.

    Virudhunagar Superintendent of Police T. Senthil Kumar, (in charge of Madurai district), and ‘Q’ Branch CID officials inspected the scene


    The Hindu : Front Page : Bombs in steel containers found dumped near culvert in Madurai
     
  16. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    ....

    So he went to take a leak and found a tiffin box.. which he decided to open? Was he expecting to find god or gold or MacDonald peeburger inside??

    I guess that's why terrorists play on general stupidity.
     
  17. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Gurdwara shootout: police find more evidence

    Vienna/London: The Austrian police on Tuesday claimed to have found more evidence on the killing of a Sikh religious leader at a Vienna gurdwara, and recovered an arms cache from the home of an Indian man, who was arrested after a shootout.

    Amrit Singh, a 26-year-old security company staffer, fired at the officers of the Wega and Cobra special forces, who searched nine flats and houses during a raid on Monday, Vienna police spokesman Michael Takacs said.

    The Austrian-Sikh man was “immediately overpowered and taken into custody,” Mr. Takacs said. The police recovered guns and knives and confiscated the suspect’s car, media reports said, adding, more evidence had been found in the vehicle.

    The officers were investigating the May 24 shootings at the Ravi Dass Gurdwara in Vienna-Rudolfsheim in which 57-year-old Sant Rama Nand, leader of Dera Sachkhand, was killed.

    Hardeep Singh, a suspect who was released from preventive detention on June 5, had been taken into custody again by the police who said they had found more evidence linking the 33-year-old asylum-seeker facing deportation to the attack.

    Six suspects were detained immediately after the attack. One of them, a suspected ringleader in the killing of Sant Rama Nand, is still in a coma in a Vienna hospital after he was shot in the head during the temple brawl. — PTI

    The Hindu : International / India & World : Gurdwara shootout: police find more evidence
     
  18. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    South African rape survey shock

    Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 18:06 UK


    South African rape survey shock

    South Africa's government has been urged to solve the rape epidemic
    One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone and nearly half admitted having attacked more than one victim.

    The study, by the country's Medical Research Council, also found three out of four who admitted rape attacked for the first time while in their teens.

    It said practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.

    The MRC spoke to 1,738 men in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.
    The research was conducted in both rural and urban areas and included all racial groups.

    Using an electronic device to keep the results anonymous, the study found that 73% of respondents said they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.

    Almost half who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once.


    Professor Rachel Jewkes of the MRC, who carried out the research, told the BBC's World Today programme: "The absolute imperative is we have to change the underlying social attitudes that in a way have created a norm that coercing women into sex is on some level acceptable.

    "We know that we have a higher prevalence of rape in South Africa than there is in other countries.

    "And it's partly rooted in our incredibly disturbed past and the way that South African men over the centuries have been socialised into forms of masculinity that are predicated on the idea of being strong and tough and the use of force to assert dominance and control over women, as well as other men."

    She added that all the victims in the main survey were said to be women, but participants were also interviewed about male rape.

    'Sad state of affairs'

    The study found that one in 10 men said they had been raped by other men.

    Some 3% of the men interviewed said they had coerced a man or a boy into sex.

    The participants were also tested for HIV and the authors of the survey were surprised that men who had raped were not more likely to test positive for the virus.
    Mbuyiselo Botha, from the South African Men's Forum, which campaigns for women's rights, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that any view of women as "fair game" had to be challenged.

    Mr Botha, a father of two girls himself, said: "I think that yes, the figures are that high and for us, for me in particular, that is a very sad state of affairs.
    "It means that we continue in South Africa to be one of the highest capitals of rape in the world.

    "I don't think it's cultural per se; I think it has to do with how a lot of us men worldwide were raised. The issues of dominance against women, issues of inequality, are pervasive and you find them throughout the world."

    South Africa's government has been repeatedly criticised for failing to address the country's rape epidemic.

    A recent trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes with the vast majority of those cases going unreported

    BBC NEWS | Africa | South African rape survey shock
     
  19. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    A recent trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes with the vast majority of those cases going unreported

    now this is a very disturbing news........
     
  20. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    What is the rootcause?
     
  21. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    4 Serbs convicted for Kosovo massacre

    4 Serbs convicted for Kosovo massacre
    18 Jun 2009, 1833 hrs IST, AP

    BELGRADE(Serbia): Four former members of a notorious Serb paramilitary unit were convicted on Thursday of gunning down 14 Kosovo Albanian civilians,
    including children and the elderly, in 1999, and were sentenced to between 15 and 20 years in prison.

    The massacre in Kosovo's northern town of Podujevo was one of the most brutal single atrocities during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, during which an estimated 10,000 people were killed in fighting between guerrillas of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbian forces loyal to president Slobodan Milosevic. Another 800,000 people were displaced during the conflict.

    The Podujevo massacre took place at the start of NATO bombing of Serbia that was launched to stop a government crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

    On Thursday, Serbia's war crimes court sentenced three former members of the paramilitary unit called the Scorpions to 20 years in prison, while one received 15 years because he was a juvenile at the time.

    "This verdict shows that there are no untouchables in Serbia," Bruno Vekaric, the spokesman for Serbia's war crimes prosecution, said. "All those who committed war crimes must face justice."

    During the trial, which started last year, survivors described how Scorpions lined 19 people up against a wall and sprayed them with machine-gun fire.

    A former Scorpions member, who testified anonymously as a protected witness, told the court in chilling detail how his ex-comrades did this, firing at random. Only five children, ranging in age from four to 16, survived the killing spree by suffering serious injuries. They were saved from the certain death by regular Serbian troops who arrived at the scene during the shooting.

    The protected witness - who had said he feared for his life and testified in exchange for clemency - told the court that one of the 14 fatalities was an ethnic Albanian woman he saw crying after apparently being raped by a Scorpion. The witness said the Scorpion then grabbed the woman by her hair, smashed her head against a wall and fired two shots at her.

    The four defendants convicted Thursday were arrested in 2007. Another former Scorpion was convicted of the Podujevo killings in 2004 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Scorpions drew public attention following the broadcast in 2007 of a 1995 execution of six Muslim men from the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, allegedly by other Scorpions active in the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The amateur footage, apparently taken by Scorpions, was first shown at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and then on television in Serbia and Bosnia.

    Domestic war crimes trials of Serbs accused of atrocities during the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s became possible only after the ouster of Milosevic in 2000. He died in 2006 while on trial at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands

    4 Serbs convicted for Kosovo massacre - Europe - World - The Times of India
     

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