Asia

China Rebukes Calls To Curb Greenhouse Gases

Claiming that industrialized nations are responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions, China has said that growing its economy with the goals of economic development and poverty eradication is more important. They did however commit to being 20% more energy efficient than 2005 by 2010.

Chinese Stock Market Falls 6 Percent

The Shanghai Composite Index, up 62% for the year, has dropped 6% today in response to an increase in taxes on trading. Some stocks fell to their 10% daily loss limit.

Zoellick Another PNAC Neoconservative Hack

Today president Bush nominated Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. Both men, along with Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, and Richard Armitage were signatories to an open letter to president Clinton in 1998 seeking an American invasion of Iraq.

China Continues To Ramp Up Military Spending, Nuclear Arsenal

The Chinese have been increasing their defense spending by double digit percentages for more than a decade (and that's the spending we can see.) They have been building an arsenal of modern weapons and forces with plans that western militaries are having a difficult time ascertaining.

North Korea Tests Missiles

In response to South Korea launching a new Aegis equipped destroyer, North Korea test fired some guided short-range missiles.

Headlines (5/21/2007)

Inside the Digital Dump. Poor Chinese are poisoning themselves trying to strike it rich mining discard electronics for copper and gold.

New process generates hydrogen from aluminum alloy to run engines, fuel cells. If I read this right, we could be looking at using water to fuel hydrogen powered vehicles.

For 2008, Who Isn't a Flip-Flopper?. The Washington Post calls the '08 candidates onto the carpet for Flip-Flopping on both sides of the aisle.

Prewar intelligence foretold Iraq upheaval. Still believe Cheney when he says that we could not have foretold the situation that has developed in Iraq. Our own intelligence people did.

Senators to debate immigration policy.

China Plans Online Gaming Curfew Of Sorts

Fearing that children are spending too much time playing online games, the Chinese government has given software vendors in China three months to place curbs on gaming by underage players.

For games that allow players to accumulate points, the games would be required to stop giving players points after three hours of play in a given day.

This policy assumes, of course, that these kids play only one game online.

This does remind me a bit of the policies built into World of Warcraft that encourage players to take a break from the game. In WOW, players who rest get a 100% to experience accumulation proportionate to the time spent not playing. I suspect that Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft, are more concerned about server load than the health of their players, but the policy does achieve the same goal.

One has to wonder if such 'nanny state' kind of policies where the state substitutes its judgment for the judgment of the parents are a good idea. Libertarians would argue that such regulation is unnecessary and would point at Blizzard's initiative as a sign that the market can handle the problem on its own.

When Is A Signature A Veto?

Bush has, yet again, issued a signing statement that directly contradicts sections of the law being signed. With the Democrats coming into control of congress, will this practice finally precipitate a constitutional crisis.

The signing statements relate to a law just passed by Congress that allows for the sharing of civilian nuclear technology with India -- something the U.S. hasn't done for 30 years.

In the law, Congress put in a number of requests that certain safeguards and protocols be followed. One such stipulation asked the president to report to congress annually as to whether India is cooperating with efforts to curtain Iran's nuclear ambitions. Bush's signing statement stipulates that his signing the law "does not constitute my adoption of the statements of policy (in the law) as U.S. foreign policy."

Another stipulation, which was touted as an important safeguard that makes the adoption of the law a formality of little significance, is the intention that transfers of materials to India be within the guidelines of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group. Bush's statement declares such requirements in the law to be merely "advisory."

Duplicitous U.S. Nuclear Policy

While chastising Iran and North Korea for pursuing nuclear ambitions, the United States has decided to share nuclear technology with India -- even though India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Some excerpts:

The agreement, negotiated by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in March, calls for the United States to end a decades-long moratorium on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components. For its part, India would divide its reactor facilities into civilian and military nuclear programs, with civilian facilities open to international inspections.

After the vote, the White House issued a statement from President Bush praising passage of the bill.

“The United States and India enjoy a strategic partnership based upon common values,” the statement said. “The U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement will bring India into the international nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and will increase the transparency of India’s entire civilian nuclear program.”

China Ignores World Bank Guidelines In African Lending

Ahead of next week's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank, has called into question China's lending processes with regards to African countries.

It seems that the Chinese have been ignoring a voluntary set of guidelines known as the "Equator Principles" in their lending, preferring instead a more hands-off approach. The point behind the Equator Principles is to ensure that lenders review the social and environmental impact of the projects they are funding. The goal being to minimize the negative impacts.

Chinese Bring Patent Suits In U.S. Courts

Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy... use the conquered foe to augment one's own strength.
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War

As China's economy continues to grow at an amazing 11%, Chinese companies are starting to flex their muscles outside there own borders. First content to settle, circumvent, or lose and move on in patent suits, they're now ready to bring the battle to American companies.

This year, Netac, a manufacturer of computer flash memory products based in Shenzhen, China, brought a patent suit against a New Jersey rival in a federal court in Texas, in what is believed to be the first time that a mainland Chinese company has sued an American one for patent infringement.

North Korea: What's Being Done Besides Finger Pointing?

Talk to a Republican and they'll rant a litany of the failings of the Clinton Administration, which ended January 20, 2001, to keep North Korea out of the Nuclear Club. Talk to a Democrat and they'll tell you that it is the Bush Administration's consistent policy of disengagement (refusing direct talks) that is to blame. Consider this moderating quote from Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell:

"It's difficult to say that the Clinton policy failed, but it's crystal clear that the current policy has failed. You need a carrot-and-stick approach -- you can't just use the stick."

I do believe that the Clinton Administration was lax in it's dealings with many of the threats facing the U.S. and its interests, preferring to put out fires rather than work to prevent them. In 1994, the U.S. and North Korea entered into the "agreed framework," negotiated by former president Jimmy Carter, under which North Korea would receive two light water reactors in exchange for abiding by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and handing over its old reactor rods. This deal, had it been kept, would have left North Korea without material for weapons.

North Korean Diplomat Makes Vague Threat Of War

Buried in this Reuters story, a North Korean diplomat makes an interesting statement:

"These kinds of threats of nuclear war and tensions and pressure by the United States compel us to conduct a nuclear test," North Korean embassy spokesman Pak Myong Guk told Reuters in Canberra.

"Now the situation around the Korean peninsula is very tense," Pak said. "It may be breaking out (in) a war at any time, I think."

China Calls Taiwan U.N. Entry Dangerous

A Chinese government spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China called efforts by Taiwan to seek entry into the U.N. "dangerous."

In early August, a few countries sought to include the issue of Taiwan on the agenda for the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly. For now it has been excluded.

Religious Slant To CNN Reporting

"Muslim bomber guilty of killing 17" reads the sensationalized title for a CNN story about a series of bombings that happened in Mumbai, India, in 1993.

Did the bomber happen to be Muslim? Yes. The article even explains what they believe to be the motivation:

... revenge for the demolition of a 16th century mosque in northern India by Hindu nationalists.

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