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Showing posts from May 20, 2007


By B.Raman Till March 26,2007, the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) enjoyed the command of the skies. There was no opposition to its punitive strikes against the positions held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTW) in the Eastern and Northern Provinces and to its intimidatory strikes against the Sri Lankan Tamil population, inflicting a large number of civilian casualties. The LTTE faced difficulty in countering the punitive and intimidatory air strikes of the SLAF. This was due to a serious depletion of its anti-aircraft capability and the difficulties faced by it in procuring anti-aircraft guns and ammunition and surface-to-air missiles. 2. As a result of this, the Sri Lankan authorities did not consider it necessary to provide strengthened anti-aircraft defences to their army, naval and air force stations in the Tamil areas. They feared only land-based threats to them. They did not anticipate any threat from the air. 3. The position has since changed as a result of the LTTE

Pakistan Disappeared : Video

Have Pakistan’s security forces secretly detained hundreds of suspected terrorists? Reports are growing that the government is using the war on terror as an excuse for a general clampdown. “We want our husbands and sons back” , laments one woman. Human Rights groups claim hundreds of people have been arrested and their detention officially denied. “The government has been using the war on terror as an excuse to suppress political opposition” . Relatives of the missing are now trying to use the courts to find out info about their loved ones Cilck and Watch

Are the Diamonds Forever?

POLICE RAID DIAMOND DEALERS Are the Diamonds Forever? By Carol Matlack A crackdown in Antwerp threatens the city's historic gem trade. REUTERS Dealmaking is part of the scenery in Antwerp's centuries-old diamond district. Passing one another on the narrow streets, traders nod in greeting while talking into cell phones. A black-hatted Hasidic broker, spotting a prospective customer, pulls a clear plastic bag of tiny, sparkling stones from his overcoat and launches into a rapid-fire sales pitch. At a nearby café, two men take turns peering through a jeweler's loupe at a pile of diamonds between their coffee cups. But lately the buzz of commerce has been tinged with anxiety. Over the past 18 months police have repeatedly swept in, raiding offices and hauling away papers and gems as evidence in investigations of money laundering and tax evasion. One trader died of a heart attack during a police search of his home last December, prompting a protest by fellow traders, who

Economic intelligence : France to launch 4 year research programme

Support of CNRS for research a four-year programme in economic intelligence May 21, 2007 CNRS launched a research programme four years in economic intelligence starting in 2007. CNRS launched a research programme four years in economic intelligence starting in 2007. This program is placed under the direction of Pr Clement Paoli (University of the Marne the Valley) and will associate the CERIC (university of Montpellier 3 - coordinator: A. Mucchielli), the UMR 6171 (CNRS/University of Aix Marseilles 3 - coordinator J. Kister), the LORIA (University of Nancy - coordinator: A. David) and the IRIT (University of Toulouse - coordinator B. Dousset). An annual financing of 40.000 euros was notified by CNRS for animation and operation in network of this collaboration, which will relate to three research orientations: the use of the economic intelligence for the projection of the French influence at the international level the creation of value within the framework of the communicatio

The flaws in the Chinese economic miracle

THE REALITY BEHIND THE WORLD'S WORKSHOP - The flaws in the Chinese economic miracle Jean-Louis Rocca Le Monde diplomatique, May 2007 China, with its unique mix of authoritarian government and rampant capitalism, is often portrayed as a fast-growing and malignant cancer that threatens the rest of the world's economies. But the reality is far more complex. China is struggling with mass migration, skills shortages and millions of unemployed graduates. China and its teeming armies of workers seem to have become the focus of all our economic anxieties. We worry that the People's Republic will become the chief demon in a futur nightmare for our world: a capitalist-communist global power that combines leftwing authoritarianism with capitalist exploitation. We fear that our own people will become unemployed because of the outsourcing of production to China, the world's workshop. But we have to think about Chinese labour differently, and not concentrate solely on the worksh

Nigeria: '$2.27m Found on Capt. Ojedokun Approved'

This Day (Lagos) 24 May 2007 Posted to the web 24 May 2007 Juliana Taiwo Abuja Nigerian Miltary may have approved the $2.27 million found on the Nigerian Defence Attaché to India, Navy Captain G. A. Ojedokun, for which he was arrested by Indian security agencies, a senior officer in the Military who would not want his name in print yesterday clarified that the money was duly approved by the Ministry of Defence for certain projects earmarked for the Nigerian High Commission in India. He said the money was part of an approval released for the project after the endorsement of the Defence Ministry, pointing out that the project was initially meant to be undertaken by the former Defence Adviser, also a Navy Captain, who is currently attending the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, in Kuru near Jos, Plateau State. "Following the appointment of the new Defence Adviser, the cost of the project was reviewed downwards. From our discussions with the Ojedokun and inve

Indians largest group to get British citizenship in 2006

Press Trust Of India London, May 25, 2007 First Published: 21:29 IST(25/5/2007) Last Updated: 21:45 IST(25/5/2007) Indians were the single largest group to get British citizenship in 2006, latest official figures indicated. While 15,125 from India were given British citizenship, Pakistan came second with 9,050 of their nationals changing their citizenship. Other major groups were from the Philippines (8,840), South Africa (7,670), Nigeria (5.870) and Sri Lanka (5,720). In the last one decade of Labour rule, one million foreign nationals have been given British citizenship. In 2006, more than 150,000 people obtained a passport which took the total of foreign nationals given British citizenship to 1,020,000 since Tony Blair assumed the rein. Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK said passing one million new citizens since 1997 was a watershed for government policy. "It is hard to know whether this increase is incompetence or deliberate deceit. Either way we will pa

NIGERIA MONITOR: Compilation of Events

Oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria May 26, 2007 Nigeria - Seven oil workers were kidnapped in Nigeria, three of them U.S. citizens, the U.S. State Department confirmed but offered few details. "Our consulate general in Lagos reports that three American citizens were kidnapped in Bayelsa state," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said in a written statement. "We are in the process of notifying their families, and will maintain contact with Nigerian authorities to monitor this incident." Four other foreigners were kidnapped in the same incident, he said. Reuters cited oil industry sources as saying nine foreign oil workers and a Nigerian colleague were kidnapped Friday. In addition to the three Americans, the workers included four Britons, a South African and a Filipino, industry sources told Reuters. There has been a wave of kidnappings of foreign workers in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Since late 2005, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delt

Red Alert: Ukraine -- Sliding Down a Slippery Slope

Source: Stratfor May 26, 2007 11 18 GMT The Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported May 26 that some of its forces have begun acting on the order of President Viktor Yushchenko and disregarding the orders from the Interior Ministry. Several thousand Interior Ministry troops loyal to the president are reportedly moving toward the capital, Kiev, in defiance of orders from Interior Minister Vasyl Tsuchko. The normal rule of law in Ukraine has become more and more blurred over the past few weeks. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has repeatedly taken advantage of the country's weak institutions in order to peel power away from the increasingly unpopular Yushchenko. That led Yushchenko on April 2 to use his greatest constitution-granted power and dissolve parliament, forcing new elections. But the constitutional order is so degraded that Yanukovich has continued to wield parliamentary power in defiance of the decree. In order to cope with such actions, Yushchenko also has begun doi

Thailand: The Challenge of Eroding Royal Support

Source: Stratfor May 25, 2007 18 36 GMT Summary Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej said May 25 the restoration of democracy in Thailand remains on track, effectively withdrawing his unconditional endorsement of the military-backed government. In its eagerness to dismantle the party of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the government had started taking the king's support for granted -- consequently dismantling a key base of its legitimacy. Analysis In a nationally televised ceremony May 25, Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej warned the country's top judges against dissolving Thailand's two main opposition political parties in a Constitutional Court verdict due May 31. He described Thailand's political situation as not good at all and implied that dissolving the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party, founded by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and the Democrat Party would damage the nation's image. This is the first time the much-revered king has criticized the mil

Germany's Tough Security Effort

Source: Stratfor May 25, 2007 18 15 GMT German authorities are sending police reinforcements to Hamburg in anticipation of protests planned for the May 28 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers. That event, however, will be a dry run for security forces ahead of much larger protests planned by anarchists and activists at the G-8 summit set for June 6-8 in eastern Germany's Baltic coast resort of Heiligendamm. With tensions already high and violent outbreaks occurring in several German cities, authorities are hoping to keep a lid on protests in Hamburg so as to avoid a spillover of violence in Heiligendamm. In the months leading up to the G-8 summit, anarchists and anti-globalization activists have staged protests in several cities, including Berlin, Karlsruhe and Hamburg. Although most have been peaceful, some scuffles have broken out and arrests made. One demonstration in Hamburg turned violent May 9, forcing police to used water cannons to disperse a crowd of about

Iraq: Al-Sadr's Return and Iran's Plan

Source: Stratfor May 25, 2007 18 28 GMT Summary Radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr reappeared in Iraq for Friday prayers May 25 after spending months hiding in Iran. Al-Sadr's return reflects movement in negotiations between Iran and the United States. With these talks in full swing, al-Sadr will use Tehran's security blanket to prepare his movement for an eventual overhaul of the Iraqi political system. For the U.S.-Iranian deal to work, al-Sadr will have to make good on a commitment to rein in his militia -- and it appears that he already has begun to deliver. Analysis After a nearly four-month hiatus, Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr made a public appearance May 25 in the holy Shiite town of Kufa, Iraq, for Friday prayers. Rumors that al-Sadr fled Iraq for his personal safety surfaced around the start of a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in mid-February. Al-Sadr was most likely hiding out in Iran, taking the time to shore up his religious credentials while delivering

The world's most expensive club

May 24th 2007 | HONG KONG From The Economist print edition China's investment in Blackstone shows how government investors are flourishing at the heart of the financial system Satoshi Kambayashi WITH $1.2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves and the pool growing by more than $1 billion every day, China casts a giant's shadow over the global financial markets, even if it has mostly used the money to pile up American Treasury bonds. The announcement on May 21st that it would invest $3 billion of its reserves in Blackstone, a New York-based private-equity firm soon to issue shares, shows that it is prepared to barge into murky private markets as well as liquid public ones. It is not the only inscrutable country to be cosying up to the inscrutable private-equity industry. Around the world, a secretive society is emerging of governments flush with foreign assets, some of them petrodollars, that are increasingly calling the shots in international finance. The Blackstone deal is like

Defences against cyberwarfare are still rudimentary. That's scary

Newly nasty May 24th 2007 From The Economist print edition Peter Schrank IMAGINE that agents of a hostile power, working in conjunction with organised crime, could cause huge traffic jams in your country's biggest cities—big enough to paralyse business, the media, government and public services, and to cut you off from the world. That would be seen as a grave risk to national security, surely? Yes—unless the attacks came over the internet. For most governments, defending their national security against cyberwarfare means keeping hackers out of important government computers. Much less thought has been given to the risks posed by large-scale disruption of the public internet. Modern life depends on it, yet it is open to all comers. That is why the world's richest countries and their military planners are now studying intensively the attacks on Estonia that started four weeks ago, amid that country's row with Russia about moving a Soviet-era war memorial. Even at the

My Mother's Baghdad By: Joseph Braude Jan 3, 2007 - 1:19:07 AM She spoke of a peaceful cosmopolitan city where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side—a vision that has guided my life and work An unmarked FBI van sped past my college residence at Yale and paused a block and a half away, engine purring. The driver had his usual instructions from the New Haven field office to avoid the appearance of waiting for me in front of my dorm. “Just get in quick.” We raced to a nearby town and established contact with a dozen or so armed field agents who had been passing time in unmarked sedans, covertly circling a small-time mosque. The driver turned up the volume of what sounded like AM radio, but instead of a Red Sox game, a tense conversation in Arabic, fuzzy with static, came through the speakers. The van’s receiver was tuned in to a wired microphone that a Muslim worshipper inside had agreed to wear up his pants, past his crotch, and underneath his shirt. “The guy

A social dimension of Balochistan problem

By Robina Ali Zaidi Thu, 24 May 2007, 13:49:00 The current conflict in Balochistan is as much social as it is political. The traditional sardars, in order to keep their tribesmen under their control, are generally not interested in their educational, social and political uplift. Likewise, the past governments did not pay the required attention to socio-economic development of the province. Except for the settled areas described as 'A' areas, such as Quetta, Zhob, etc., Sardari System has persisted in Balochistan ever since country's independence. The tribal chief holds the power of life and death over the whole of the tribe. There is no appeal against his decisions. He decides all the disputes of the tribe himself; inter-tribal disputes he settles with the help of other tribal chiefs. He is supposed to provide his flock with collective security and pursues their grievances with the government or with other tribes. When the aggrieved party approaches him, he is mandated to

Book Review - Pakistan: Sovereignty Lost

Buried in debt National debt is a serious subject which must be discussed in a sober rather than sensational manner, writes Dr Muhammad Reza Kazimi Dawn: Books and Authors, May 20, 2007 Book Review: Pakistan: Sovereignty Lost By Shahid ur Rehman Shahid ur Rehman, a veteran journalist known for his economic and diplomatic reports, is correspondent for Kyodo News Agency of Japan. His other books include Who Owns Pakistan? and Long Road to Chagai Pakistan is burdened with debt. This constricts its diplomatic and security options. There have been attempts by previous governments to liquidate the debt. Resumption of aid following Pakistan’s joining the ‘War Against Terror’ gave the impression that the debt burden had been greatly relieved. Shahid ur Rehman assures us that it has not. The Introduction of his book highlights his main contentions and it is here that he shifts the burden of guilt from economic to political decisions. It is an indictment of our country’s early leadership. So