Showing posts from September, 2008


What Lee Myung-bak still needs to do

SOUTH KOREA’S story to date has in big part been the story of what is sometimes called a “developmental state”—that is, one that uses formidable powers to direct and regulate the economy to achieve growth above all else. The first “Miracle on the Han” worked because the developmental state, after 1961, mostly got things right. Or, rather, it got them right until it got them very wrong, resulting in the 1997 financial crisis. By then, the economy and the way it was financed had become far too complex for traditional guidance, and the state’s sense of omnipotence had blinded it to the need for structural reform. The recovery from crisis accomplished only half the structural reforms South Korea needs. There will be no second miracle unless Mr Lee accomplishes the other half.

President Lee says he’s back on track

Now that he has recovered his poise after the beef fiasco, his supporters argue that Mr Lee is just the man for the job. Under him, says Sakong …

EDF and British Energy - Nuclear renaissance?

FREE markets are not popular at the moment, and Britain is home to more than most. Known for its famous—or infamous—“light-touch” regulation of financial services, it is a pioneer in other areas too, with one of the most liberalised energy markets in the world. Supporters argue that this has allowed Britons to enjoy low energy prices for over a decade. Detractors say it has led to price swings, robbed the government of direct influence over energy policy and made grand plans for expanding nuclear power and renewable energy hostage to the hard-nosed decisions of profit-seeking private firms.

So there were sighs of relief in official circles at the announcement on September 24th that EDF, a French power giant, would pay £12.5 billion ($23.2 billion) to buy British Energy, the firm that runs most of Britain’s remaining nuclear-power plants. The deal had stalled in July when two of British Energy’s biggest shareholders argued that EDF’s offer undervalued the firm in an era of high oil pric…

Friends like these - America and Pakistan try to remember they are on the same side

WHEN George Bush met his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Zardari, at the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Pakistanis wanted to know one thing: is America going to invade Pakistan again? American special forces had launched a botched raid into Pakistan on September 3rd and Mr Zardari was supposed to take the American president to task. The response was less than clear. “Your words have been very strong about Pakistan’s sovereign right and sovereign duty to protect your country, and the United States wants to help,” said Mr Bush. It could be the sort of help Mr Zardari cannot refuse.

The two countries face a common challenge: Taliban insurgencies are burgeoning in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; al-Qaeda poses a threat from sanctuaries in the lawless border regions between the two countries. But America is frustrated at Pakistan’s reluctance to wage all-out war against the militants and has conducted a spate of missile strikes on the border region. This has stoked anti-American feel…

India's vengeful Christians turn to murder as Hindus step up their killing campaign

In the remote Indian state of Orissa your religion can cost you your life. Now a Christian mob has resorted to murder. Wielding knives and axes they have stabbed a Hindu man to death.

The killing followed a month-long campaign of murder, gang rape and arson by Hindu fanatics that drove Christians to take up arms to defend themselves, church officials in the area said yesterday. As many as 50,000 members of the minority Christian community have been forced into hiding in the jungle.

The Hindu man was killed near the town of Raikia in the Kandahmal district, which in the past month has featured some of the worst anti-Christian violence in India since partition.

“Christians have defended themselves after their houses were burnt down by Hindus. The two groups clashed,” Father Ajay Singh said from the office of the Archbishop in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital. Praveen Kumar, a senior local policeman, confirmed the account.
Related Links

* Pictures: anti-Christian violence in India

* Ch…

Christians protest attacks by Hindus in India

NEW DELHI: Hundreds of Christians held a rally Sunday in the Indian capital to protest recent attacks by Hindu hard-liners that have left dozens of Christians dead and thousands homeless in several Indian states.

About 400 Christians gathered in a New Delhi park to pray and listen to speeches in which community leaders urged the government to do more to protect the country's religious minorities.

"We are quite disappointed with both the federal government and state governments as violence against Christians has spread to several states in the past month," said Dominic Emmanuel, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

The clashes between Hindus and Christians started in the Kandhamal district of Orissa state on Aug. 24 following the killing of a Hindu religious leader. At the time, police blamed Maoist rebels active in the area, but right-wing Hindu groups blamed local Christians and set fire to a Christian orphanage.

The violence then worsened to inclu…

Pakistan will prevail against terrorism

By Asif Ali Zardari

THERE ARE MOMENTS in history that define nations, and also define men. For Pakistan, we have reached a critical crossroad that will determine the nature of our future, or if we will have one. I have the opportunity to help my people secure that future, by implementing the vision of my late martyred wife, Benazir Bhutto. Benazir gave her life fighting the terrorism and fanaticism that haunt the entire civilized world. I fight the terrorist threat in Pakistan not only as an elected democratic leader but also as a grieving husband. No one should doubt my commitment to standing up to the terrorist threat. My commitment is national. My commitment is personal.

Last week's cowardly attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad is another example of the irrational threat against civilization. Striking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the barbarians killed 60 people and injured hundreds more. It was our national 9/11. It once again demonstrated that Pakistan is the gr…

Afghanistan, Pakistan to work on a joint strategy against terrorism; Karzai

NEW YORK, Sep 27 (APP): Afghan President Hamid Karzai Saturday said his country along with Pakistan will work on a joint strategy against terrorism and hoped that the US and other allies will step forward to make it a success. Karzai, whose country faces a growing Taliban insurgency due to lack of governance and nexus between drugs and terrorism, said the Pakistani President has the right inentions.

In an interview with Newsweek, President Karzai who has had two meetings with President Zardari this month said “we should all help President Zardari because he has the right intentions and the right policy for Pakistan and for the region.”

The meetings between the two leaders helped break the ice and defuse tensions that had risen over the past few months between Pakistan and Afghanistan and they reaffirmed their commitment to jointly fight terrorism and to bring peace to the region.

About his talks with President Zardari, the Afghan President said “we will work on a joint strategy against t…

Pakistan opts out of isolationism

President Asif Ali Zardari’s address at the General Assembly of the United Nations on Thursday has to be rated as a good speech that fairly expressed Pakistan’s point of view on the problem of terrorism while avoiding the kind of isolationism that exuded from the speech of his Iranian counterpart, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr Zardari sounded a firm and persuasive note to the United States and NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan while committing Pakistan to the war against terror and to interdiction of cross-border attacks from inside Pakistan.

Understandably, there was detailed reference to the assassination of his wife, Ms Benazir Bhutto, and to her “doctrine of reconciliation” between the West and the Islamic world, which he joined with another grand economic gesture after the Second World War in the shape of America’s Marshall Plan. While he asked the UN Secretary General to initiate a UN inquiry into her death, he clearly linked her killing to Al Qaeda: “If Al Qaeda and the Taliban belie…

Pakistan vows to retake tribal region in 2 months

KHAR, Pakistan: Pakistan will bring stability to a restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan within two months, a top general said during an assessment of a major ongoing offensive there against al-Qaida and Taliban militants.

Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan told reporters on an army-organized trip to the northwestern Bajur region that troops had killed more than 1,000 militants and wounded 2,000 others since the offensive began in early August.

Some 63 troops have died and 212 were wounded, he said.

"My timeframe for Bajur is anything from between one-and-a-half to two months to bring about stability, said Khan of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Still, he also showed reporters photos of militant tunnel systems and trenches, suggesting the insurgents are well dug in the region that is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders.

Military officials paraded 10 blindfolded and handcuffed men said to be Taliban fighters arrested during the operation before …

Poor Indian Flood victims face caste discrimination

Hundreds of thousands of people are still homeless after floods hit the Indian state of Bihar last month. Some of the victims face the additional hardships that come from being members of the low caste dalit community. Rajan Khosla of the charity Christian Aid has been meeting some of them in the village of Mirzawaa, where 500 families live in temporary shelters.

"Let me be born again as an animal rather than as a harijan (dalit). We face more humiliation than they," says Tetar Rishidev, a dalit from Mirzawaa village, in the district of Supaul.

After the floods in Bihar millions of people lost their homes, belongings and even family members. But for the dalits of Bihar there is further misery: the caste system.

In Mirzawaa village, Sakal Sadah is a dalit.

Today - unusually - he is happy. There is a food distribution and his family will get food. His children have been surviving on some leftover rice once in a day.

Sakal Sadah is a landless agriculture labourer and earns about 40 …

OECD Blasts German Immigration Policy

Compared to most other western nations, Germany attracts fewer immigrants and their numbers are falling. The OECD has warned Berlin it needs to overhaul its immigration policies to meet the need for workers.

Germany needs to fix its immigration policy to match its future work-force needs, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report on Sept. 10, 2008.

In 2006, just 216,000 foreigners settled permanently in Germany -- that's 11 percent lower than the previous year --the OECD reported.

The drop stands in stark contrast to the number of permanent immigrants to the entire 30-country OECD region, which rose by 5 percent in the same period.

From low to lower

In 2006, foreign immigration to Germany fell yet further from a starting position that was relatively low in the first place, the OECD reported. Only Japan, Portugal, Finland and France had lower rates of permanent foreign immigration.

Turkish women in headscarves, BerlinBildunterschrift: Großansi…

Turkey and the Dervish’s Islam

As I cross the threshold into the mosque, astonishment gets the better of rational explanation, logic and comparison. I am crossing a border between worlds whose separation is merely apparent. I breathe and immerse myself in a large, defined space, filled with solemn chanting. Soft carpets caress my bare feet, the melodic hum of ancient Arabic tickles my ears with its singsong delicacy. Someone is asleep on the floor, stretched out facing the walls which are covered in sky-blue majolica. The streets of the capital Istanbul are scorching; the mosque is the only refuge from the afternoon sun. Here there is no imagery: the word rules. The Qur’an is supreme over everything: its verses and symbols are stronger than any imagery. Here I see the serene, reflective face of Islam, which has no fear of showing itself in its potent simplicity.

I do not feel uneasy in this holy place of prayer. Nor do the faithful, silently reading the Qur’an before me. In truth, no-one is really a foreigner in th…

Immigrant youth not more violent than German kids

Young people of Turkish origin tend to come to mind when Germans think of immigrant violence. But the study found that most adolescent kids with immigrant backgrounds adhere to traditional values. Compared to German youth, they rarely drink alcohol and now do just as well academically, daily newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Thursday.

The study followed the development of some 3,400 young people from Duisburg for six years, asking questions specific to violence.

Young people with immigration background who experienced neglect at home (8 percent) and violence (5 percent) were found to tend toward violence. Incidences of violence also increased at less academically challenginf vocational schools.

Violent acts tended to have a “steep increase” in the early teenage years, but settled down again by age 15, the study found.

Meanwhile the violent content of video games was “alarming,” even though most of the young people surveyed were able to differentiate between the real an…

Germany's Turkish minority

HE DID not plan it that way. But when Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, arrived in Germany for an official visit in February he found the Turkish community in turmoil. A few days before his arrival nine Turks, five of them children, had died in a fire in the south-western city of Ludwigshafen. A hate crime, many Turks suspected. The month before, Roland Koch, the conservative premier of the state of Hesse, had tried to win re-election by promising to deport foreign criminals (two-thirds of Turks do not have German citizenship). The transparent appeal to xenophobia backfired, costing Mr Koch his majority and perhaps his job.

Mr Erdogan both calmed tempers and inflamed them. In Ludwigshafen he reassured sceptical Turks that German police and firemen could be trusted. But then he seemed to urge them to hold themselves aloof from German society. Assimilation was a “crime against humanity”, he told a crowd of 16,000 in Cologne. Turkish children should be able to study in Tu…

Uprising hits tourism in Indian Kashmir

Faiyaz Ahmad
September 09, 2008
Srinagar: The recent uprising and imposition of curfew by the authorities has badly hit the tourism in Indian Kashmir.

President, Houseboat Owners Association, Mohammad Azeem Tuman said, "There is hardly any tourist in Kashmir. All the houseboats and even hotels are vacant", he said.

He said that the uprising and imposition of curfew has dealt a blow the tourism industry in Indian Kashmir. "The tourism season is over for us and we have suffered heavy losses this season", he said.

A tourism official said that the authorities were expecting close to 1 million tourists in Indian Kashmir this year. "However, the uprising, strikes and the curfew has played spoilsport and kept tourists away," said the official, pleading anonymity.

He said that the developments (uprising, protests and marches, strikes and curfew) restricted the flow of tourists to Indian Kashmir, which earlier had commenced on an optimistic note with the opening of the…

jacques brel - mathilde

Jacques Brel - Amsterdam

Accord soon with China on JF-17 jets

By Arshad Sharif

ISLAMABAD, Sept 6: Pakistan and China are ready to sign a contract for serial production of the first batch of forty-two JF-17 Thunder aircraft after 10 months of deliberations on the configuration of different parts of the planes.

In an interview with DawnNews TV, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed said Pakistan had already received eight JF-17s and added that production of the 42 aircraft was likely to be completed by the end of 2010.

He said JF-17s had Russian RD-93 engine installed on them but Pakistan Air Force was looking for some western engine for the new batch of the aircraft. He said the life of the Russian engine was almost one-fourth as compared to the western engines.

The air chief said that since President Nicolas Sarkozy had assumed office the French had changed their policy towards Pakistan and were now willing to offer Air Borne Radar RC-400, mission computer and other equipment for the JF-17s. The PAF is evaluating the French offe…

Kashmir: azadi, azadi, azadi

By Khalid Hasan

The Vale of Kashmir has risen in revolt once again. Scenes being witnessed in Srinagar are reminiscent of 1953, when the moo-e-mubarik, believed to be the Holy Prophet's hair, mysteriously disappeared from Hazratbal, where it had been kept for hundreds of years. The second time the Kashmiris of the Valley rose as one was in 1989, when their peaceful march to the Srinagar office of the United Nations was fired upon by Indian security forces without provocation. This was the beginning of the uprising, which eventually assumed a militant character and which has remained alive from that day on, sometimes up, sometimes down, but always there.

And now the Kashmiris have risen again. In the words of the admirable Arundhati Roy, "For the past 60 days or so, since about the end of June, the people of Kashmir have been free. Free in the most profound sense. They have shrugged off the terror of living their lives in the gun-sights of half a million heavily armed soldiers, …

Kashmir - In the name of Democracy

License to unleash hell on people


Is it Democracy? No sham democracy. And shame in the name of democracy. Democracies do not rule through the barrel of gun. And freedom of expression is not trampled under jackboots in true democracies. It is total control, possession by any means necessary. How else can one describe the military clamp down on universally well recognized ‘right to freedom of assembly and expression?’
Democracy without freedom of expression is like a piano without strings—unable to produce melody. Unhindered free expression of thought and ideas makes democracy what democracy is suppose to be. If India professes to be a functional democracy, then why in Kashmir peaceful protests are crushed with force by the Indian military machine. Mass uprising in Kashmir is absolutely peaceful; it is not threatening the public order in any way. Even if people in Kashmir challenge India’s hegemony on Kashmir through peaceful means, does this warrant massive and extrem…