Friday, June 28, 2013

The reality of Asia’s “emerging” economies Written by Lal Khan


    Since the 2008 financial crisis there has been no respite for world capitalism. Its crisis has been deepening on a daily basis. The European Union, the world second largest economy is back in recession. Stocks and bonds have fallen sharply across world capitals.

asia manufacturingThe Dow Jones fell by over 200 points, the FTSE by over 100 points and this downward spiral continued with the People's Bank of China leaning on the country's largest banks to rein in risky loans and improve their balance sheets. This in turn has triggered the biggest sell-off on China's Shanghai Composite index in nearly four years.
The scenario in other big emerging markets is no rosier either. Turkey, Brazil and India are struggling with their inability to deliver growth and better living conditions for their masses. This in turn has ushered in wave after wave of protest from Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro.
The two Asian giants, China and India, have long been paraded as parts of the emerging economies that would salvage capitalism, but today they are rapidly losing steam. The growth rate of China has declined to around seven per cent from its peak of close to fourteen per cent. India’s growth has halved in the last fiscal year. However, even during the years of high growth rates the social contradictions in these countries were increasing due to the unevenness and combined nature of the socio-economic development in these economies. China has the second largest disparity of wealth in the world after South Africa. India on the other hand with 22 per cent of the world’s population has within its borders more than 40 % of the world’s poverty, more than in Sub- Saharan Africa.
The whole notion that capitalism in China has pulled millions out of poverty is a fallacy. It is true that massive corporate investment in China has created numerous hubs of industrialisation, mainly along the Pacific coast. This has resulted in the creation of the largest proletariat in the world. But poverty and misery has not been eradicated, on the contrary the economic upswing was built on the massive exploitation of the Chinese workers. The outcome has been massive strike actions, although sporadic – that have led to victories of the workers of Foxcon and others – as well as to the peasant protests against land grabbing by the state and non-state mafias.
The re-introduction of capitalism by the Deng Xiao Ping regime after 1978 brought with it corruption, gambling, prostitution and other vices of the capitalist system. After rapid growth which exacerbated the regional and class disparities for more than three decades, mainly based on the cheap but skilled labour of the previous period of the planned economy, now the chickens are coming home to roost.
With economic growth slowing down, the social crisis is worsening and the ruling elite are becoming more and more desperate. The “Communist Party”, which is neither Communist, nor a party anymore, has become a bureaucratic pro-capitalist ruling clique. It feels increasingly threatened by the turmoil surging from below and it is not accidental that it spends more money on internal security than on external defence.
It is spending heavily on infrastructural projects and increasing state spending in a classical Keynesian fashion to prop up the growth rate. According to the official economic experts in Beijing University, “If the growth rate in China falls below six or five per cent there is an immense danger of a social explosion.” Most of the huge forex reserves of China are in the form of US treasury bonds, which shows one aspect of the contradictory relationship between China and the US. The other aspect is the burgeoning imperialist behaviour of the Chinese elite.
China is investing heavily in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There is a growing resentment among the masses in different countries towards the exploitative role and the arrogant attitude of the Chinese investors. In Zambia an anti-Chinese leader won the elections through his campaign against the maltreatment of the workers by Chinese corporate capital. It is increasingly interfering in the geopolitics in many regions, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan it is the biggest foreign investor and owns the Aynak copper mine that is one of the world’s largest.
Recently it has bought the right to the basin of the Oxus rive in Northern Afghanistan in an agreement with the Karzai government. However, the Chinese investors had to pay extra to the local warlord Rashid Dostum to get hold of this region with estimates of billions of gallons of unexplored oil reserves. In spite of the ferocious crusade of Chinese corporate capital to capture markets in the Middle East and elsewhere, recession in US and Europe has reduced the consumption levels it needs to sustain its profits. Due to the slowing down of the economy, domestic consumption further burdens production. The sporadic movements can erupt into a mass upsurge of the Chinese youth and the workers that will have gigantic effects far and wide. As Napoleon once said, “When China awakes, the world will tremble.”
In India economic decline is accompanied by severe political and social unrest. In India’s red corridor, which comprises 170 districts in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and other states, the Maoist rebels rule the roost. The state’s writ hardly exists in these vast hinterlands. The Congress regime is engulfed in corruption scandals that keep on erupting one after another. The coalition partners often blackmail the regime due to its lack of a majority in parliament. At the same time the incumbent Congress regime is under immense pressure from the imperialist institutions and media to further open up the Indian market to the multinationals and cut the already reduced subsidies on food and other basic needs of the people.
The top Indian corporate houses control the media and the political parties. Such is the character of the Indian national bourgeoisie that it supports Hindu fundamentalists who in turn benefit these bosses with their profits and exploitation. Currently the favourite candidate of the Ambani’s, Tata’s and other Indian conglomerates is Narindera Modi, the leader of the extreme faction of the Hindu nationalist BJP. Under the watch of this Chief Minister, Gujarat witnessed the killing of more than one thousand Muslims in 2002, one of the worse sectarian massacres in India.
“Shining India” is a hollow slogan for the vast majority and one finds its echo only among the top echelons of society and the middle classes. But even this petit bourgeois layer is increasingly suffering from the collapse in economic growth and rising inflation. With two thirds of India’s population of 1.2 billion living below the poverty line, India is the largest importer of arms in the world according to IHS Jane’s forecast. Last year there was a general strike in India, which was the largest in the world with 100 million workers participating. This showed the great potential of the Indian proletariat that has glorious traditions of struggle.

From Turkey to Japan there is turbulence and unrest across Asia. Japan was the motor of growth and an example of capitalist growth till the end of the 1980s. Ever since the recession of the 1990s Japan has never been able to recover. The other Asian Tigers collapsed after the crash of 1997. The Middle East is engulfed in bitter wars and bloodshed and since 2011 a wave of revolutionary uprisings has swept the region. Iran is in severe economic and social crisis. The Saudi, the Qatari and other monarchies in the Gulf are terrified of a mass revolt and are supporting the Al Qaeda affiliated bigots in the civil war in Syria. No bourgeois expert offers an optimistic perspective for the Asian continent. There is no way out under capitalism. It only offers barbarism. The only scientific alternative is revolutionary socialism. http://www.marxist.com/the-reality-of-asias-emerging-markets.htm

[TV ZONE] PHOTO IMAGE HERITAGE Kyung ju Nam mountain

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Chimerica Dream Two Nations, Two Dreams, One Pacific By Pepe Escobar

 
The Chimerica Dream 
Two Nations, Two Dreams, One Pacific 
By Pepe Escobar
Sun Tzu, the ancient author of The Art of War, must be throwing a rice wine party in his heavenly tomb in the wake of the shirtsleeves California love-in between President Obama and President Xi Jinping. "Know your enemy" was, it seems, the theme of the meeting. Beijing was very much aware of -- and had furiously protested -- Washington’s deep plunge into China’s computer networks over the past 15 years via a secretive NSA unit, the Office of Tailored Access Operations (with the apt acronym TAO). Yet Xi merrily allowed Obama to pontificate on hacking and cyber-theft as if China were alone on such a stage.
Enter -- with perfect timing -- Edward Snowden, the spy who came in from Hawaii and who has been holed up in Hong Kong since May 20th. And cut to the wickedly straight-faced, no-commentary-needed take on Obama’s hacker army by Xinhua, the Chinese Communist Party’s official press service. With America’s dark-side-of-the-moon surveillance programs like Prism suddenly in the global spotlight, the Chinese, long blistered by Washington’s charges about hacking American corporate and military websites, were polite enough. They didn’t even bother to mention that Prism was just another node in the Pentagon’s Joint Vision 2020 dream of “full spectrum dominance.”

By revealing the existence of Prism (and other related surveillance programs), Snowden handed Beijing a roast duck banquet of a motive for sticking with cyber-surveillance. Especially after Snowden, a few days later, doubled down by unveiling what Xi, of course, already knew -- that the National Security Agency had for years been relentlessly hacking both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese computer networks.
But the ultimate shark fin’s soup on China’s recent banquet card was an editorial in the Communist Party-controlled Global Times.  “Snowden,” it acknowledged, “is a ‘card’ that China never expected,” adding that “China is neither adept at nor used to playing it.” Its recommendation: use the recent leaks “as evidence to negotiate with the U.S.” It also offered a warning that “public opinion will turn against China’s central government and the Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region] government if they choose to send [Snowden] back.”
With a set of cyber-campaigns -- from cyber-enabled economic theft and espionage to the possibility of future state-sanctioned cyber-attacks -- evolving in the shadows, it’s hard to spin the sunny “new type of great power relationship” President Xi suggested for the U.S. and China at the recent summit.
It’s the (State) Economy, Stupid READ MORE

[TV ZONE] The Beauty of Exquisite Curves, Heungguksa, Yeosu, Honggyo

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Russia sets sights on ASEAN | Russia & India Report

Russia sets sights on ASEAN | Russia & India Report
Russia sets sights on ASEAN
Russia is truly turning towards Asia. Source: AFP/EastNews
Russia, which is entering the ASEAN market later than others, has in recent years failed to attend some of the region's major political forums. Having said that, there are serious signs indicating that its attitude to Southeast Asia has begun to change for the better. This is further evident from a series of promising projects that have been proposed by major Russian companies, including Rosneft, Russian Railways, Norilsk Nickel, and others.
Offshore co-operation
Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, has invited Vietnam's Petrovietnam to co-operate in offshore oil production in Russia, its head Igor Sechin has announced. The Vietnamese company is studying the proposal.
If Petrovietnam accepts the offer, it will join the list of the Russian oil giant's illustrious partners that includes the USA's ExxonMobil, Italy's Eni, and Norway's Statoil.
Rosneft produces more crude oil that any of its competitors in Russia and pays more taxes than Gazprom.
Rosneft has also invited the Vietnamese company to jointly develop oil and gas fields in Krasnoyarsk Territory, Yakutia, and Irkutsk Region.
Mill in Indonesia and hydropower plant in Laos READ MORE

An Asian Power Web Emerges | The Diplomat By Patrick Cronin, Richard Fontaine and Ely Ratner

An Asian Power Web Emerges | The Diplomat | The Diplomat
With growing integration and cooperation, new power relations are emerging within the region. U.S. policymakers should take note.
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When President Obama met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in California last week, it is doubtful that either leader focused on the growing ties among countries like Singapore, India, South Korea and Vietnam. Perhaps they should have. Burgeoning security cooperation among such nations represents the untold story of a region on the move.  
Asia has undergone decades of economic deepening, complemented by years of diplomatic integration. Now, countries across the region are building on this foundation and engaging in unprecedented forms of military cooperation. In many cases these deepening ties include neither the United States nor China, and they are supplementing the traditional U.S.-led “hub and spoke” system of alliances that has marked regional security for decades.
This emerging power web will have deep implications across the Indo-Pacific region. It should also affect American strategy – because, played correctly, the United States is poised to be a leading beneficiary of the growing network of relationships.
The network is marked by a proliferation of government-to-government security agreements, including recent pacts inked between Singapore and Vietnam, Japan and Australia, and India and South Korea. Variable in scope, these accords promote the ability of Asian nations to train and operate together, conduct joint research and development, and service each other’s ships and aircraft. To be sure, these are not mutual defense treaties, but they point to ever-closer military cooperation among key countries in the region.

Asian Immigration Drives US Population Growth

Asian Immigration Drives US Population Growth | The Editor | The Diplomat
China
Asians were the fastest growth ethnic or racial demographic group in the United States during 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau announced on Thursday.
There were 18.9 million individuals of Asian heritage in the United States at the end of 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a government agency. This was 530,000 more Asians than there were in the U.S. at the end of 2011, a yearly growth rate of just under 3 percent.
More than 60 percent of this growth in people of Asian last year came from international migration, the Census Bureau said in a press release accompanying the release of updated data.
Although Hawaii was the only state with an Asian-majority population in the U.S., as of July 2012 the state of California was home to the largest Asian population with 6 million people. California also boasted the largest yearly growth in Asian residents from July 2011to July 2012. During that time, the number of people of Asian ancestry living in the state of California grew by 136,000.
Los Angeles County, California also had the largest Asian population— 4.8 million—of any county in the United States, and saw the largest growth in its population from July 2011 to July 2012 (25,000).

Shadow Puppets and Special Forces: Indonesia’s Fragile Democracy | The Diplomat | The Diplomat





Shadow Puppets and Special Forces: Indonesia’s Fragile Democracy | The Diplomat | The Diplomat

Shocking violence in March reveals the dark side of power politics in Indonesia.
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Fifteen years ago last month, Indonesia’s President Suharto was overthrown following a series ofstudent-led protests. In the violent chaos that ended the former dictator’s long and brutal reign, there was a wave of seemingly well-organized beatings, rapes, and murders of ethnic Chinese in major cities such as Jakarta and Surakarta, also known as Solo. Indonesia’s new democracy was christened in blood.
Today, that sinophobic violence is a distant memory (due in no small part to a failure to investigate the attacks and prosecute the perpetrators), but it is clear to all that numerous threats to domestic security lurk just below the surface. Recent events in Yogyakarta, affectionately known as Jogja, illustrate the forces that threaten stability as the world’s third-largest democracy approaches an election year. These include confusion about the Indonesian Army (known as the “TNI,” for Tentara Nasional Indonesia, one of the many, many acronyms that dominate political and conversational speech in Indonesia) and its mission; the weakness of civilian state authorities; ethnic, religious and racial tensions; rising criminality; conspiracy fears; and the power of social media to amplify gossip and rumor. READ MORE

Mongolia: Proving the Naysayers Wrong

Mongolia: Proving the Naysayers Wrong | The Diplomat | The Diplomat
Despite predictions, Mongolia is proving a persistent, if flawed, democracy.
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Observers say he is a sure thing. His party hopes he is. In what is a three-way competition, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj will be seeking to retain power in the presidential election scheduled for June 26, keeping his Democratic Party the dominant force in government at least until the next legislative election.
His main rival is Bat-Erdene, of the opposition Mongolian People's Party. But Elbegdorj is the tried and tested candidate whose political career dates back to the country's democratic beginnings, when he helped launch a democratic revolution in 1990. He’s been prime minister twice, non-consecutively, and is a proponent of foreign investment to keep the Mongolian economy growing.
“The president has to defend his record of the last four years,” says Badral Munkhdul, owner of media group Cover Mongolia.
A mining boom has helped Mongolia achieve tremendouseconomic growth since Elbegdorj took office in 2009. Exports of coal and copper to China have been the chief driver of GDP growth, which clocked in at 17.5 percent in 2011 and reached 12.3 percent in 2012. But the benefits have exacerbated the gap between rich and poor, leaving many resentful of the industry. READ MORE

Obama's Monica moment By M K Bhadrakumar

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yi Gwang-hyeon, a Balhae Merchant who Sought Tao

Koreans in History/People/Program/KBS World Radio

<strong>Yi Gwang-hyeon</strong>, a Balhae Merchant who Sought Tao
A Man Called Sea Guest 


The ancient Korean kingdom of Balhae made great efforts to promote exchanges with neighboring states. According to Chinese history book , Balhae carried out exchanges with neighboring countries, such as Japan, Silla and the Tang Dynasty of China, using separate routes leading to those countries. The exchanges resulted in a brisk trade. In that period of history, there was a man named Yi Gwang-hyeon who engaged in trade and practiced Taoism at the same time. Born as the son of a rich merchant in Balhae, he would travel back and forth between the continent and the seas, earning the nickname, “the sea guest.” Who is Yi Gwang-hyeon?

In Pursuit of Tao


Yi was born into a merchant family of vast wealth in Balhae. It is said that he lost his parents when he was little and lived with his siblings and servants in charge of household chores.

Yi started trade business in earnest when he was 20 years old. He would cross the Yellow Sea to travel to the Shandong Peninsula, and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in China.

At the time, people of Balhae conducted active trade with China’s Tang Dynasty, the southern Korean kingdom of Silla and Japan. Unlike ordinary merchants who only pursued profit through trade, Yi sought to walk the path to the truth, or Tao.

While he was returning to Balhae after finishing his business in Tang, he happened to meet an ascetic who was over 100 years old on a ship. Yi was 24 years old at the time. Yi talked with the old man about his experience in different countries. When the old man asked him why he had traveled to many countries, Yi answered that he wanted to find people who attained Tao and people who realized the truth so they were not bound by worldly things.

The old ascetic noticed that Yi was absorbed in Taoism and was seeking enlightenment. He taught a few secrets of training to Yi, who spent the next ten years performing the methods on the Undo(운도) Island.

He became a completely changed man after the training, and people began to call him “the sea guest.” Still, Yi didn’t think he could be a Taoist hermit with his training, although it might be helpful for long life.

Distinctive Mark on History of Taoism 


Being aware of the limit of his training, Yi left for China and spent 20 years wandering around famous mountains there. In the meantime, he came across another ascetic, who conveyed to him the teachings of Chinese Taoist philosopher Ge Hong known for his compilation of the theory and history of Taoist hermits.

According to Ge Hong’s book titled , one cannot become a Taoist hermit just by attaining Tao, but he can do so by consuming a special medicine known as the “Elixir of Immortality.” The book said that it is the process of making this medicine that is the lesson for enlightenment.

Yi wrote a book titled [Geumaekhwandanbaekmungyeol] (금액환단백문결), in which he recorded his dialogue with the ascetic.

The book describes how to make the medicine needed for becoming a Taoist hermit and where to do it. The book was later published in a summarized version with the title . 300 years later, a Taoist encyclopedia called was published. It contains the traditional methods of training practiced by Taoists. Notably, it includes the summary of Yi’s book, which certainly left a distinctive mark on the history of Taoism.

Yi was the first Balhae man who left his own record. However, he only became known after the 1990s when the academic community in China began to research Taoist scriptures. Without a doubt, this figure merits more attention and research.

Yi left the oldest writing in the history of Korean Taoism and filled the void in the Taoism history of Balhae. But not only that, through his life, we can also learn about the brisk overseas trade activities of Balhae merchants in the 9th century. 

India’s Strategic Failure in Central Asia | The Diplomat

India’s Strategic Failure in Central Asia | The Diplomat
As Western forces depart the region, New Delhi will need to act to translate potential into reality.
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India’s political, cultural, and historical ties to Central Asia date back to antiquity. But contemporary circumstances, namely the quest for energy and the threat of terrorism, have imparted a new urgency, adding strategic realities to historical tradition. Indeed, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has said that India’s energy requirements are growing at a “terrifying pace.” Consequently, India’s government recently announced that it refuses to lay down a quota for importing oil (and presumably gas) from any country, including Iran. Instead, India will buy oil (and, again, presumably gas if not other energy sources) from wherever “it gets the best deal.” In this context it is even looking at the Arctic for energy sources. Not surprisingly in this context the Caspian basin is seen as an “important source” of hydrocarbons and ONGC is buying an 8.42% share of Conoco Phillips’ holidngs in Kazakhstan. It also is buying equity (albeit modest) in Azeri fields around the Caspian.
Yet despite the urgency for India, if not Central Asia, of strengthening those ties, India is failing to keep pace with its rivals, particularly China. READ MORE

Saving the Buddhas of Mes Aynak | The Diplomat

Saving the Buddhas of Mes Aynak | The Diplomat
In a race against time, archaeologists are working to save a Buddhist site of immense significance in Afghanistan, slated for imminent destruction by a Chinese mining firm.
Mes Aynak -- 7
Outside the village of Mes Aynak, in eastern Afghanistan's mountainous Logar province, a burgeoning Buddhist center once flourished. In its heyday, this Silk Road hub thrived on trade between the Middle East and Asia, and hosted Buddhist pilgrims who helped spread the faith.
As The New York Times noted, while Europe was crawling through the Dark Ages, Afghanistan was home to Nestorian Christians, Persian Zoroastrians, Hindus, Jews and, finally, Muslims, in a tolerant, prosperous society.
According to The Guardian, the 2,600-year-old site contains fortified monasteries, a Zoroastrian fire temple, several Buddhist stupas, more than 1,000 statutes and walls featuring frescoes of donor portraits and scenes from the Buddha’s life. Not to mention smelting workshops, miners’ quarters (even then the site’s copper was well known), a mint, two small forts, a citadel, and a stockpile of Kushan, Sassanian and Indo-Parthian coins. READ MORE

Asia Times Online :: Digital Blackwater rules

Asia Times Online :: Digital Blackwater rules

Full Interview With NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Scientists and Research on the Effects of Radiation Exposure: From Hiroshima to Fukushima 放射線影響の研究と科学者—広島から福島へ :: JapanFocus

Scientists and Research on the Effects of Radiation Exposure: From Hiroshima to Fukushima 放射線影響の研究と科学者—広島から福島へ :: JapanFocus


Yukawa Hideki with Einstein at Princeton, 1953
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“Deny, deny until all the veterans die” - Pentagon investigation into Agent Orange on Okinawa 「すべての退役軍人の死を待ち、否定に否定を重ねよ」—枯れ葉剤について、米国防省の沖縄調査 :: JapanFocus

“Deny, deny until all the veterans die” - Pentagon investigation into Agent Orange on Okinawa 「すべての退役軍人の死を待ち、否定に否定を重ねよ」—枯れ葉剤について、米国防省の沖縄調査 :: JapanFocus
Map of Alleged Locations of Agent Orange on Okinawa link )
- See more at: http://www.japanfocus.org/-Jon-Mitchell/3951#sthash.n2u2HrRy.dpuf
READ MORE

[TV ZONE] The pond which embraces the wish of a good harvest, Milyang Yu...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Earliest Primate Skeleton And ‘Cousin’ Of Human Ancestor Discovered In China | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia

Earliest Primate Skeleton And ‘Cousin’ Of Human Ancestor Discovered In China | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia
Earliest Primate Skeleton And 'Cousin' Of Human Ancestor Discovered In China

Battle Over Bitcoin: China Backs US Startup Coinbase And US Falls Behind In Virtual Currencies

By  and  | June 08 2013 10:18 AM
Seven months ago, Fred Ehrsam pitched his bitcoin-based startup Coinbase to more than a dozen Silicon Valley investors. Although those potential backers were known for being forward-thinking -- and they had a lot of money to invest in high-tech ventures -- Ehrsam got more than a few blank stares. He spent most of his time explaining the concept of peer-to-peer currency, which is emerging as the world’s default platform for digital money, than he did describing his plans for the company itself.  So, he and his co-founders turned to the Chinese, specifically, to IDG Ventures. To the Beijing-based venture capitalists, the PayPal-like service for buying, selling and accepting bitcoins was a perfect fit.

India and the BRICS Bank | Pacific Money

India and the BRICS Bank | Pacific Money
President Jacob Zuma during the BRICS Leaders Africa Dialogue Fo
Given that the Bretton Woods system has often resulted in misguidance and underinvestment in the developing world, it is perhaps not surprising that talk of a development bank financed by five giants of the emerging world has been welcomed. Despite the reservations of the Asian Development Bank and a few others, it seems reasonable to hope that the proposed BRICS bank will address the needs of developing countries, without the customary concern about what donors stand to gain. It could also allow small and medium enterprises easier access to financing and redress some of the wariness the private sector often displays towards financing infrastructural projects where the benefits are uncertain. READ MORE

Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal

Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal | World news | guardian.co.uk: Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications.
The president of the country's national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the $40bn (£26bn) project, which will reinforce Beijing's growing influence on global trade and weaken US dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
The name of the company and other details have yet to be released, but the opposition congressman Luis Callejas said the government planned to grant a 100-year lease to the Chinese operator.
The national assembly will debate two bills on the project, including an outline for an environmental impact assessment, on Friday.
Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, said recently that the new channel would be built through the waters of Lake Nicaragua.
The new route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the 99-year-old Panama Canal, which is currently being widened at the cost of $5.2bn.
Last year, the Nicaraguan government noted that the new canal should be able to allow passage for mega-container ships with a dead weight of up to 250,000 tonnes. This is more than double the size of the vessels that will be able to pass through the Panama Canal after its expansion, it said.

Friday, June 7, 2013

US Rep. Urges Japan to Apologize for Wartime Sex Slavery

US Rep. Urges Japan to Apologize for Wartime Sex Slavery
A U.S. lawmaker has urged Japan to apologize for its wartime sex slavery.

U.S. Rep. Michael Honda on Friday paid tribute at the country's first memorial for victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

Honda said an important part of world history is being whitewashed and forgotten, targeting recent controversial remarks by some Japanese politicians on wartime sex slavery and other wrongdoings.

The lawmaker pointed out that during World War Two Japan took away and ruined almost 200-thousand young ladies’ lives.

He then called on Tokyo to resume responsibility over the issue, saying that reconciliation is something the current generation should rightfully be calling for in order to promote the growth of a peaceful global society.

Honda had introduced a resolution that called for the Japanese government’s apology to the victims, euphemistically called “comfort women.” The resolution was passed in the House in 2007.

[Graphic News] US marks record trade gap with Korea

The United States' monthly Record Trade Deficit with Korea widened to a high in April, May Face Raising The Possibility that Washington calls for Measures to Supplement The year-Old Free Trade agreement between The Two countries. According to a report from The U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington imported English Products worth $ 5.58 billion and exported goods worth $ 3.27 billion to Seoul in that Month. The United States' Combined Trade Deficit with Korea from January to April amounted to $ 6.98 billion, a 69.1 percent Increase from The same period Last year.Some Industrial sectors in The U.S. are voicing The need to Revise The Korea-U.S. FTA, Which took effect in March Last year, insisting that The U.S. Trade Deficit The PACT aggravated. Seoul Attributed But in some Experts The Deficit widened to some English Products' The U.S. market such as competitive Edge in IT Devices and Automobile Parts. By Chung Joo-won ( joowonc@heraldcorp.com

North and South Korea agree to meet in Panmunjom | World news | The Guardian

North and South Korea agree to meet in Panmunjom | World news | The Guardian
A South Korean soldier patrols on Unification bridge,

Hezbollah don't take no mess By Pepe Escobar


By Pepe Escobar
The "Friends of Syria" are appalled. Their much vaunted "rebel held" stronghold of Qusayr is gone. This BBC headline sums it all up: "Syria conflict: US condemns siege of Qusayr."
For White House spokesman Jay Carney, "pro-government forces", to win, needed help from by their "partners in tyranny" - Hezbollah and Iran. Right: so the "rebels" weaponized by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the CIA, not to mention jihadis of the Jabhat al-Nusra kind, are partners in what, "freedom and democracy"?
Spin out, facts in. This is a monster strategic defeat for the NATO-Gulf Cooperation Council-Israel axis. [1] The supply lines from
Lebanon to Homs of the Not Exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA) gangs and the odd jihadi are gone. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will next move to Homs and the whole Homs governorate. The final stop will be two or three Aleppo suburbs still controlled by the FSA.
There's absolutely no way Qusayr can be spun in the West as yet another "tactical withdrawal" by the FSA. The rebels insist they "withdrew". Nonsense. It was a rout.
This, in a nutshell, is how it happened. Qusayr had been under control of the Homs-based al-Farouk brigade, part of the FSA, for no less than 18 months. Six months ago, the SAA had already cleared the Syrian north-south highway, not far from the city - essential for all Damascus-Aleppo business.
Qusayr was strategically crucial as a key weaponizing depot for the FSA; Sunnis in Lebanon were relentlessly shipping them weapons through the Bekaa valley. So the first thing the SAA did was to encircle Qusayr. Then Hezbollah stepped in - as most of Qusayr's population of 30,000 had already left for either Lebanon or Jordan.
The final, wily SAA tactic was to allow the Aleppo-based al-Tawhid brigade to sneak into Qusayr to help the al-Farouk. So when these twin top FSA brigades were properly encircled, the SAA pounced. Virtually no civilians were in town, apart from a few farmers nearby. There was no "genocide".
And then Paris went chemical
When will the NATO-GCC axis ever learn? Hezbollah's Sheikh Nasrallah staked his reputation by going on air and promising a victory. Once again, he delivered. Contrary to Western spin, Hezbollah did not do it by itself; it was a combination of SAA, Hezbollah and Iranian specialists applying superior tactics and displaying crack urban warfare knowledge.