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Archive for the ‘ASIA’ Category

U.S.-built bridge is windfall — for illegal Afghan drug trade

In AMERICA, ASIA, DRUGS on 28/06/2009 at 7:57 AM

In August 2007, the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37 million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers designed to link two of Central Asia’s poorest countries. Dressed in a gray suit with an American flag pin in his lapel, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S. taxpayers paid for would be “a critical transit route for trade and commerce” between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber… McClatchy

McChrystal’s Kabul. Like Baghdad, a magnet for psychopathic killers and spies

In AMERICA, ASIA, OBAMA on 14/06/2009 at 2:32 PM

In assuming command of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal will have immense control over a Western military and contractor presence in the country that has turned the Afghan capital of Kabul into a “Baghdad East,” a place where psychopathic assassins, Chinese prostitute spies, and opium smugglers run rampant. And in a departure from past strategy in the war-torn country, the Obama administration is launching an “information war” in Afghanistan that will paint the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai as a beacon of democracy and stamp out any news or other information that could be seen as harmful to the U.S. war effort against Afghan insurgents who are opposed to the foreign military presence in their country… Wayne Madsen Report

US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake

In AMERICA, ITALY, JAPAN on 08/06/2009 at 2:42 PM

Italian authorities have not yet determined whether they are real or fake, but if they are real the attempt to take them into Switzerland would be the largest financial smuggling operation in history; if they are fake, the matter would be even more mind-boggling because the quality of the counterfeit work is such that the fake bonds are undistinguishable from the real ones. Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each… Asia News

Bank of Japan governor says US must tackle household debt

In AMERICA, ECONOMY, JAPAN on 24/04/2009 at 11:38 AM

Japan’s central bank chief said on Thursday the United States must take “painful” steps to root out ills such as household debt to pull out of its downturn, warning that stimulus measures alone were not enough. Speaking in New York ahead of annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa also cautioned not to mistake glimmers of economic hope for a real recovery. Mr Shirakawa welcomed monetary easing and stimulus packages around the world, saying governments and central banks needed to convince the public that unpopular plans to salvage banks were for the greater good. AFP / Telegraph

U.S. experts: Pakistan on course to become Islamist state

In AMERICA, ASIA, PAKISTAN, TERRORISM on 16/04/2009 at 1:24 PM

A growing number of U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials have concluded that there’s little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing a greater threat to the U.S. than Afghanistan’s terrorist haven did before 9/11. “It’s a disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution,” said a U.S. intelligence official with long experience in Pakistan who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Pakistan’s fragmentation into warlord-run fiefdoms that host al Qaida and other terrorist groups would have grave implications for the security of its nuclear arsenal… McClatchy

Tibetans refuse to sow spring crops in protest against Beijing

In CHINA, TIBET on 11/04/2009 at 6:53 PM

Tibetan discontent at Chinese rule has taken a new twist, with farmers refusing to till their fields in a show of passive resistance against Beijing. So anxious are officials at the latest action that they have sent in troops from the People’s Liberation Army to work with farmers – or in their place if need be – to carry out spring planting in mountainous regions able to support only one crop a year. Local sources said that many farmers in areas of Sichuan province with large ethnic Tibetan populations have decided to down tools and leave their barley fields fallow this year… The Times

Save the whale (again): Secret plan to lift hunting ban

In JAPAN, WILDLIFE on 22/02/2009 at 8:04 AM

Governments are preparing to breach the worldwide whaling ban, legitimising commercial killing of the giant creatures for the first time in more than 20 years. Key whaling and anti-whaling nations have thrashed out a plan at a series of unpublicised closed-door meetings to allow Japan to kill the leviathans for gain, after outlawing it for two decades. It is to be presented to a special meeting of the official International Whaling Commission (IWC) early next month… The Independent

Hyperinflation Will begin In China And It Will Destroy The Dollar

In AMERICA, CHINA, ECONOMY on 18/01/2009 at 9:01 AM

The conventional wisdom on China is dead wrong. Specifically, there is a widespread belief, as expressed by Goldman Sachs, that “China will keep the yuan trading within a narrow range in 2009 due concerns about exporters.” Worse still, others are even predicting that China will devalue its currency! The sheer wishful thinking is astounding! The idea that “China will keep the dollar peg to help its exporters” ranks all the way up there with “Housing prices always go up” and “You can spend your way to prosperity”… Market Skeptics

Chinese yuan set to replace dollar

In AMERICA, CHINA, ECONOMY on 03/01/2009 at 10:32 AM

Beijing has launched the experiment of using the yuan as a reserve currency in relations with 8 countries. Chinese exporters are asking to charge in yuan instead of dollars, because the U.S. currency is losing value. But China needs to revise its model of development, too much inspired by eighteenth century mercantilism. While the comments of economic observers have focused on what is happening to U.S. public debt and to financial markets overseas, the news media rarely mention what is happening in Asia, almost as if there were not a strong correlation between the two phenomena. But it is logical that a substantial accumulation of foreign exchange reserves in China, Japan and throughout Asia corresponds to an unprecedented supply of dollars, the global reserve currency.Asia News

US asks Arab nations for $300 Billion to fund auto bailout

In AMERICA, ARABIA, AUTOMOTIVE, ECONOMY on 01/01/2009 at 10:43 AM

The US has had to go cap in hand to the Middle East asking for $300 Billion to fund the bail out for the auto industry. The US economy has long been shored up by the Gulf States and China. This time it is Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar who are being asked to foot the bill to save the US economy. It is not difficult to understand how mired the US is in Middle East politics and borrowed policy agendas, given the staggering dependency it has for both Arab oil and their money to keep it afloat. There is also a somewhat ironic twist that the US, funded as it is by the Arab nations, is so close a partner to Israel. The US again this week used its veto power to prevent a UN resolution calling for a end to the Gaza attacks. It must anger many Arab nations that the US, who some call ‘The Great Satan’, is saved from total economic meltdown, again, by members of its own brethren. The report comes from Saudi Arabia’s Arab News… Now Public