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Showing posts from June 15, 2008

Pakistan's Democracy Derailed : A conversation with Ahmad Faruqui

USF Center for the Pacific Rim San Francisco, CA Mar 5th, 2008 Pakistan's Democracy Derailed a conversation with Ahmad Faruqui. Will Pakistan implode, taking with it nuclear armed missiles? This time there is no search for weapons of mass destruction Iraq style. In this case they have been tested, then hidden. Pakistan's leader at the time of the 1947 partition with India hoped for a secular democracy. Instead we find a military dictatorship with an out-of-control intelligence service that U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson used to arm Afghan 'freedom fighters' that included the Taliban. Along with its ally al-Qaeda, the Taliban has regrouped in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier. With the recent assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the chance of President Musharraf staying in power, even out of Army uniform, is not good. Does democracy stand a chance? If not, what does this mean for U.S. policy toward this critical ally in South Asia? - USF Center fo

Prosperity and Inequality: Debates in India and China Keynote Address by Kemal Dervis

The New School New York, NY Mar 27th, 2008 Prosperity and Inequality: Debates in India and China Keynote Address by Kemal Dervis India and China are emerging as major players in the global political economy of this century, having enjoyed record growth rates for the past five years. Yet each faces major social and economic challenges. Both countries are dealing with growing social unrest, widespread poverty, and rising energy needs in a world market shaped by dwindling oil supplies. China's growth is creating massive disparities between its urban and rural sectors, resulting in protests against state authority and restless migrant populations. Citizens face a steady degradation of public health due to runaway industrial growth, while capitalists chafe against the state's tight control of the market. In India, the epidemic of suicides among farmers and episodes of violence against minorities have cast doubts on the benefits of wholesale economic liberalization, un

INDIA: Cash rewards enhanced on 474 wanted Maoists

Mohammed Siddique 20/6/2008 2:33:59 PM(IST) Hyderabad: To step up the pressure on the banned Naxalite outfit the Communist Party of India-Maoist, the Andhra Pradesh government has announced cash reward worth lakhs of rupees for information on 474 Maoist cadres . The wanted activists include underground extremists, senior members of the central committee and squad members. The list, issued by the government recently, includes 87 new names. The government has announced a reward of Rs 12 lakh for party general secretary Muppal Lakshman alias Ganpathy and 12 other members of the central committee. Members of the provincial committee and special zone committee carry a reward of Rs 10 lakh each. A reward of Rs 8 lakh has been declared for alternate committee members and Rs 6 lakh for the regional committee members. The district and division committee members will carry a reward of Rs 5 lakh , and information about area committee, action committee members and commanders will fetch a

Cybercrime gets political

Intel Brief: Cybercrime gets political The so far very successful use of Russian and Eastern European based botnets for political purposes is likely to increase. Intel Brief by Travis Senor for ISN Security Watch (19/06/08) It is likely that the use of Russian and Eastern European "botnets" (large quantities of malware-infected computers) for political purposes will increase, due to their low cost, the difficulty in tracing their owners and their ability to give a voice to those with limited resources. These political purposes include influencing candidate poll numbers, attacking opposition websites and shutting down national infrastructure networks. Currently, cybercriminals conduct these attacks using denial of service (DoS) methods, which overload a computer network with inbound signals and cause it to shut down. Arbor Networks, a global network security company, found that many of the world's DoS attacks originate in Russia and Eastern Europe, based on their

Gas shortages in the Gulf

Source: OXFORD ANALYTICA Wednesday June 18 Gas demand in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is outstripping supply, and threatens to put a brake on industrial development. With regional disputes hampering the construction of pipelines some GCC states are turning to liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as an alternative. The GCC states have significant reserves of natural gas, accounting for 23.6% of the world's total proven reserves. Yet, with the exception of Qatar, where natural gas development has raced ahead as an export industry, the other GCC countries have largely prioritised oil development over gas. This is now changing, owing to growing domestic demand for gas as feedstock, driven by investment in the refining, petrochemical, fertiliser, metals and other industry sectors, underpinned by oil revenues. Industrial investments and broader economic growth have also increased power demand, as has the need for new desalination plants to increase potable water supply. Unle

Gazprom after Medvedev

Source: OXFORD ANALYTICA Gazprom holds its annual general shareholders' meeting this week, its first since former Chairman Dmitry Medvedev was elevated to the Russian presidency. The unremarkable Viktor Zubkov -- an ex-tax inspector and former prime minister -- has succeeded Medvedev at the helm of Gazprom and can be expected to emphasise continuity over change for the energy conglomerate. Shareholders should be pleased with the distribution of dividends following Friday's meeting, as it has been a banner year for Gazprom: It has agreed to develop the Shtokman field, extending Russia's presence into the potentially lucrative Arctic region; Improved its long-term prospects by starting to develop the second phase of the Sakhalin project; and Moved ahead with South Stream, a strategically important pipeline that would transport Russian gas to Europe. Yet Gazprom must also contend with how it will continue expanding operations, especially towards a wary West. Last w

INDIA : Pranab’s China visit a fiasco

Source: ORGANISER By Ravi Shanker Kapoor What does Mukherjee do? According to a news report in The Indian Express, “For his part, Mukherjee chose not to counter it.” This is typical of a UPA minister: the territorial integrity of his country is questioned, but he does not react; during his visit, he is not properly treated and attempts are made to slight him, but he does not retaliate. Lest the commies back at home take offence. There is nothing certain in the world except two things—China’s nefarious designs against India and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s obtuseness in combating, even recognising the existence of, such designs. For the nth time, China accused India of not addressing the “boundary issue, particularly the Sikkim area,” which, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi claimed, his country had been administering the area under contention since the 1890s. He made all sorts of claims and statements in his meeting with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukh

BALOCHISTAN : Airport and Cantt projects force Gwadar locals out

Daily Times , Pakistan * ‘Land worth Rs 2m/acre being sold for half the price’ KARACHI: The local Baloch of Gwadar are being forced to evacuate their homes by a land clearing group allegedly backed by the government that wants to take over their land, said office bearers of the Baloch Promotive Action Committee Gwadar while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday. The committee’s presidents, Madiha Baloch and Elahi Buksh, said that the people of Gwadar have been residing on the land in question for centuries but now were being asked to leave without a substantial alternative. “The recent action taken by a group for the possession of their land is totally unjustifiable. Where will they go, leaving their ancestral lands? The government should provide them with alternative land or compensate them with an amount of money that is worth their land,” said Baloch. The land in dispute is Grandani, South and Western Darbela, Ziarat Machhi of union council Sarb

Focus on Balochistan

The Post , Pakistan June 19 , 2008 Mohammad Jamil For some time, Pakistan government has been laying emphasis on the development of Balochistan and has taken practical steps in this direction. Centrifugal forces and nationalists that have not weaned from the poison of sham nationalism aspire for independence, and focus of Pakistan’s enemies’ is on destabilising the country, as after the completion of Gwadar deep-sea port Balochistan will become the trading hub and energy corridor, which will further enhance Pakistan’s strategic importance. On website American Chronicle, Dr Shamsaddin, in a brief write-up on June 13 under the caption ‘Liberate Balochistan’, has tried to stir debate on Balochistan. He is a historian and political scientist and author of 12 books and thousands of articles, as per his profile displayed on the internet. He wrote: “Baloch of the Diaspora organised a manifestation in Canada (Toronto Manifestation) in order to attract attention of the world towards abh

India’s role in Sukhoi project questioned

Source: K. Raghu Bangalore: India is yet to begin work on a futuristic technology demonstrator plane, a single-seat, fifth-generation fighter it is jointly developing with Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau, that will take to the skies for the first time in 2009. Some analysts are questioning the contribution of Indian aerospace research and development (R&D) engineers to the programme, given that the aircraft’s design specifications have already been decided and the first flight is set for next year. Futuristic technology:The Sukhoi 30, part of the Indian Air Force fighter jet fleet, on display at the Aero India 2007 air show in Bangalore. India and Russia are working jointly on its advanced variant. (Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg)In October, India and Russia signed an agreement for the joint development and production of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, or FGFA, making a commitment to sharing resources and work equally. A team of officials from Hindustan Ae

India goes to war in space

By Sudha Ramachandran The Chinese space programme is expanding at an exponentially rapid pace in both offensive and defensive content. There is an imperative requirement to develop joint structures in the Indian armed forces for synergising employment of space assets," Gen Kapoor . Source: ASIA TIMES ONLINE , June 18th 2008 BANGALORE - India's defense forces will be keeping an eye on yet another frontier - outer space. An Integrated Space Cell, which will be jointly operated by the country's three armed forces, the civilian Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been set up to utilize more effectively the country's space-based assets for military purposes and to look into threats to these assets. Announcing the setting up of the Integrated Space Cell, India's Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony said last week that it was being established because of "the growing threat" to India's space assets. &qu

A Maturing China-Africa Relationship

Op-Ed story The Seoul Times By Hany Besada CIGI Senior Researcher China and Africa build a new partnership on old ties. This file photo is the 58th Anniversory of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. Last week, Japan pledged more than $1.9 billion to Africa over the next five years. The announcement was made on the first day of a timely Japan-Africa summit in Yokohama. Japan's Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, promised a further $4 billion in soft loans over the same period to help improve infrastructure on the continent, and a $2.5 billion fund through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, designed to expand his country's investment in Africa. This comes hot on the heels of increased pressure, both internally and externally, for Japan to expand relations with Africa, given the recent media frenzy surrounding China's ascendancy in Africa in recent years. With Japan lagging far behind China in its trade and investment efforts in Africa, this announcem

Exporting the Asian miracle to Africa

Japan's Africa conference last month was the latest in a series of events demonstrating growing Asia-Africa ties, but can Asia help pull Africa out of poverty? By Adam Wolfe for ISN Security Watch (17/06/08) More than 40 African heads of state or government traveled to Japan for the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development last month. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged to double Japan's aid to Africa by 2012, provide soft loans and technical assistance to improve and expand Africa's infrastructure, and create a new fund within the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to direct investments to Africa. As a symbol of Africa's importance to Japan, and what must be a record of some sort, Fukuda spent 10 hours in a series of 15-minute meetings with each African leader over the course of the event. If Fukuda felt exhausted after the meetings, then the African leaders must have felt this even more intensely: The Tokyo conference followed

QUOTE OF THE DAY : On Gazprom by Zeyno Baran

"No Western company has the kind of partnership with its state as Gazprom has with the Kremlin. No Western country or company would build pipelines with such political calculations. None would undertake commercially unviable projects. We are dealing with a situation where normal competitive market principles simply do not work. It is imperative the Europeans recognize it and start taking steps accordingly; we are invariably dealing with a state-sponsored organization that has turned gas pipelines into a geopolitical tool." -- Zeyno Baran OIL, OLIGARCHS, AND OPPORTUNITY: ENERGY FROM CENTRAL ASIA TO EUROPE Committee on Foreign Relations The United States Senate June 12, 2008 Zeyno Baran Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Eurasian Policy Hudson Institute

Geopolitics of Gas: Nabucco vs. South Stream

EXCERPTS FROM TESTIMONY OIL, OLIGARCHS, AND OPPORTUNITY: ENERGY FROM CENTRAL ASIA TO EUROPE Committee on Foreign Relations The United States Senate June 12, 2008 Zeyno Baran Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Eurasian Policy Hudson Institute On gas, the challenge is bigger due to the nature of natural gas as a tradable commodity—there is no global market, and the construction of costly pipelines effectively locks consumers into a prolonged contract with producers. This means that Moscow can more easily manipulate dependence into political and economic leverage. Natural gas is vital to the economies of many European nations—and the fuel’s primacy is growing. The prospect of being forced to pay a higher price for that gas, or even having the supply of that gas curtailed, can exert a powerful influence on a country’s domestic and foreign policies. Thanks to US support for Caspian-Europe direct gas connection, BTE has already been build, and its extension to Greece began operation in N

Engaging Destiny's Daughter-- MAYAVATHI

Source : OFFSTUMPED The chorus is getting louder by the day with even Mulayam Singh’s fixers and brokers finding the muse to engage in some literary flourish. If that was not enough, you since have Paswan that permanent fixture in every Union Cabinet since V.P. Singh singing the same tune. They may not like her, but they can hardly ignore her. They are hurling the ultimate Dalit insult if there ever was one - she has turned “Manuwadi”, whatever the hell that means. The bottomline is Mayawati holds the key to the next Lok Sabha one way or the other. She may not have the numbers to form a government. She may not even have the credibility to be trusted for support to form a government. But she may just about have enough numbers to be the biggest party pooper since Jayalalitha in 19951-1996. So now that she has been described as the BJP’s B-Team, Offstumped examines the question of how exactly should the BJP engage Destiny’s Daughter - Mayawati in the run up to the next Lok Sabha

Soros's New Hostile Takeover:The Democratic Party

This article appears in the June 20, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review. by Jeffrey Steinberg On Dec. 20, 1998, in the midst of his murderous speculative rampage against the currencies of Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and other targeted Asian nations, George Soros appeared on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," to explain and defend his behavior. Confronted by interviewer Steve Kroft about his experiences as a youth in Hungary, under the Nazi occupation, Soros freely admitted that he posed as the "adopted godson" of an official of the Nazi-occupation government, and helped in the confiscation of Jewish properties. "Kroft: And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps. "Soros: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that's when my character was made. "Kroft: In what way? "Soros: That one should think ahead. One should understand and anticipate events and when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threa

Pak-US Relations: Musharraf and Collateral Damage

Source: South Asia Analysis Group by Bhaskar Roy Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani Army General with 99 lives may finally start riding into the sunset unless his mentor and benefactor President George W. Bush throws in another life line to him. This is not unlikely, but miracles, though rare, are not unknown. According to a Pakistani newspaper, US Ambassador in Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson has said that the United States wanted an honourable exit for President Pervez Musharraf, that the time had now come for the United States to see beyond President Musharraf, but added that the United States was not apologetic on the policy towards President Musharraf. Most Pakistanis would hope the US means what their Ambassador said, but that does not mean the problems would evaporate. An abscess called terrorism festered for a long time has turned malignant. None of the parties involved can honestly wash their hands off the responsibility for this situation. The cure will take a long time even if

India to Invest $3 bln in Iranian Block

TEHRAN (FNA)- Indian Oil Corp., along with other state-run Indian oil firms, is eyeing a $3 bln project to develop the gas find in Iran's Farsi block, a senior company executive said. The companies submitted the commerciality report for its gas find in the Farsi block to the Iranian government last December. Indian Oil and its partners in the project - Oil India Ltd. and ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. - have a service contract for the Farsi block. Indian Oil and ONGC Videsh own 40% interest each in the block and Oil India holds 20%. The development of this block, which has estimated reserves of 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas, may cost $3 billion, said the executive. "So far, we have invested $90 million (for exploration) and if we are allowed to develop the field, we would be investing around $3 billion," he said. The consortium is now waiting to get approval from Iran to develop the field and produce gas, and the proj