January 25, 2016
Vietnam - at a Crossroad of Change or Retention of Times of Yore
That a nation could subtly undergo a profound social, economic and political change without any input from its 94 million people, is a phenomenon - it seldom occurs. Yet, in communist Vietnam, the Vietnamese people could awake tomorrow to find a greatly transforming nation - one willing to stand up to behemoth China, one that encourages and gets greater international investment, one that stands in uniformity with the global community and one that soon would inevitably offer a voice to all Vietnamese.
For as the ruling Communist Party in Vietnam continues its eight-day Congress this week where it will pick the rulers of the nation for the next five-years, there is a progressive hope that should present Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung be added to the ballot of possible future leaders, he could emerge as the transforming leader of Vietnam - set to lead the country out of the shadow of China and onto a position of healthy independence among the global community and eventually to inevitable democratic change.
Prime Minister Dung in recent years has been able to unhinged Vietnam from under the total dominance of its much larger communist brother, China. From rifts of sovereignty on the South China Sea to the affairs of China's deployment of a deep sea oil rig close to the dispute Spratly Islands, Dung has stood his ground against China despite sharing $90 billion in trade with that nation. Dung has also facilitated a better relationship with Washington, Manila and Tokyo. However, he was omitted from the original list of persons submitted to the Congress to lead Vietnam for the next five years. However, some maneuvering by his supporters have made it possible that his name could be added to the list today.
Should Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung be denied entry onto the ballot, Vietnam could retain its shadow role under China as its has since Chinese Imperialists occupied the country before being ousted by a series of Vietnamese uprisings. China invaded Vietnam is 1979 in retaliation for the Vietnamese overthrow of the violent Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Normal diplomatic relations between China and Vietnam were restored in 1991.
The Communist Party has a constitutional right to rule in Vietnam even though just some 4.5 Vietnamese of the 94.3 million population are members. Yet, with very few heard voices, Vietnam could emerge from this week's Congress on a path to reforms and to having many voices very soon.
January 24, 2016
Fears of Russian Bombings in Syria are Realized - 63 Dead in a Raid
Humanitarian fears that Russian entry into the complicated Syrian war could end in civilian tragedy have been realized with the bombing death of 63 people - including nine children, in an eastern Syrian town earlier today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported.
According to the London, England based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the raid took place on the town of Khasham, near the city of Deir al-Zor, where Russian bombers have been campaigning. Russian involvement in the conflict has complicated dialogue toward a peace since some Oppositions groups, some of whose fighters Russian jets have been bombing, have objected to Russian naming of parties to a peace.
This recent bombing with civilian and children deaths underscores the fears of humanitarian that conditions could worsen for displaced persons within Syria under a Russian bombing campaign. Russia remains the strongest ally of despot Bashar al Assad, whose regime has subjected Syrians to five years of civil war, killing more than 250, 000, gassing hundreds of children to death and sending unprecedented numbers of refugees to the shores of Europe.
January 23, 2016
The Aegean Claims Another 46 Lives of the Desperate
Displaced by war and a desperation for solace, many Syrians continue to endanger their own lives by risking perilous journeys across the unpredictable Aegean Sea in search of a dreamed comfort in Europe. But the law of averages coupled with dangers of navigation, faulty equipment and a changing Europe, stand in the way to stability for many people.
Two boats carrying Syrian refugees from Turkey to Greece foundered on the Aegean Sea yesterday, sending some 15 children and 30 adults to their deaths into the watery depths.
And so the saga continues for tens of thousands of displaced people, mostly Syrian, while political and diplomatic solutions to put an end to Bashar al Assad's assault upon his people, become entangled by the complication of the entry of Vladimir Putin into the conflict. Prospects for peace have become marred since some opposition groups strongly oppose Russian direction of the invited participants to the peace process. Criticism remains loud of Russian bombing of opposition groups on behalf of Assad's regime.
Desperate Syrians continue to seek refugee status in Europe and the Aegean has claimed more 800 migrants in the past year while a total of some 3, 700 have died just trying to reach shores of peace. Humanity cannot sustain this tragic lost of life anymore, therefore a military option on Syria might become necessary to prevent more deaths.
January 22, 2016
The 4th Industrial Revolution - Prospects of the People
The Fourth Industrial Revolution - this period of rapid development and applications of artificial intelligence, an era of leaps and bounds in the biotech industry and a time of tantalizing growth in 3-D printing and nanotechnology, is being heralded as a defining moment when humankind will build upon the technologies of the past 50 years in order to enhance global advancement.
However, as in other Industrial Revolutions, there will be winners and losers in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Yet, prospects of the people appear headed by the industrialists, who already own most of the means of production and who possess vast resources, to sustain a jump start to success ahead of average people.
But with a large potential for abundant technological growth and a strong demand for human ingenuity, the people retain some opportunities to profound growth to increase their market share of new industries based upon the expected ease of production during the forthcoming era.
Therefore, at tomorrow's conclusion of the annual World Economic Forum summit at Davos, Switzerland, enhanced hover-boards, more environmentally friendly energy solutions along with gourmet cooking and cleaning robots, could become the norm of the day.
January 21, 2016
Peace in Syria
Over 120 humanitarian organizations and United Nations(UN) agencies, issued a joint appeal yesterday, calling for peace in Syria and an end to the suffering endured by millions of civilians.
The appeal signers included the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, UNICEF, Mercy Corps, Islamic Relief Worldwide, International Medical Corp, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam and many others. They called upon the powers that be to end the suffering in the Levant, while they urged people worldwide to add their voices to call for an end to the suffering of some 13.5 million people inside Syria who need humanitarian assistance.
"In the name of our shared humanity...for the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much...and for the millions more whose lives and futures hang in the balance, we call for action now," the joint appeal read.
As a token of humanity, the humanitarians outlined key measures that could immediately be put in place in Syria to facilitate a coming peace: unimpeded and sustained access for humanitarian organizations to bring relief to those in need within Syria; humanitarian pauses and unconditional monitored ceasefires to allow food and other relief goods to be delivered to civilians; a cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure so that schools, hospitals and water supplies are kept safe; and freedom of movement for all civilians and the immediate lifting of all sieges by all parties.
Yet, while most of humanity supports an immediate peace in Syria, the prospect for an immediate peace to the 13.5 million people is marred by Russia's recent involvement into the conflict, and by Vladimir Putin's attempt to name opposition figures to proposed peace talks over the objection and sovereignty of an umbrella Syrian opposition alliance. Therefore, just as Putin's actions have hindered real peace in Ukraine, Russia will continue to muddy Syria's hopes to peace.
January 20, 2016
To Defer Income Inequality Amelioration is to Sustain Violent Instability
Sitting among fine luxurious furnishings at Davos, Switzerland, invitees to the annual World Economic Forum(WEF) that began earlier today, should be mindful of the fact that to defer world income inequality amelioration would inevitably amount to sustaining violent global instability.
And proof of this fact has become more evident, for as attendees were taking their places in the Alps at the conference dubbed:"Mastering the 4th Industrial revolution", extremists in Pakistan were attacking a university and killing at least 19 students and wounding 50. This new violent assault in Pakistan joins many more violent events and episodes that have been permeating across the world because of the unhappy conditions and botched affairs of various peoples, many of whom are driven by a fallible religious ideology in response to a perceived gluttony of greed by the market makers of the world.
The pattern of recent violence is stark, compelling and evidence that too many people are unhappy and angry as to their state of affairs. Dreaded reports of a suicide-pilot willfully crashing an aircraft with innocents on board; radicalized youths staging violent terror attacks upon Paris, France and killing scores of innocents; militants attacking a museum in Tunisia; suicide-bombers from Nigeria to Turkey to Lebanon; lone-wolf attackers from Belgium to the United States(US) - all evidence of the desperation of people. Inequality breeds extremism and violence.
Inequality, war and economic hardships are forcing many people onto the member- rolls of violent extremist groups. Therefore, to counter the growing tide of extremist violence, income inequality should not be deferred but be ameliorated immediately.
January 19, 2016
Any Obligations Deferred in Bridging Income Inequality Will Compound Global Security
As the super rich, the powerful, the captains of industry, the politicians and the representatives of humanity ascend an Alp, in Switzerland to meet at the World Economic Forum(WEF) tomorrow, those with the means to effect beneficial social, political and economic change, should be mindful that any deferral of the obligations to bridging the income inequality gap will have the potential to compound and exacerbate global security.
In other words, global security can no longer bear extravagant ideas and written polices to change and to ameliorate the living conditions of 99 percent of the world's population that are penned to be phased in over many decades, while in the mean time, the rich get wealthier and the poor get poorer. Fragile security conditions mandate that actual and material change come forthwith.
Events across the Levant and the Middle East, across the Sahel and Africa, across Europe, Asia and the Americas, reveal stark violent episodes in lieu of a mass amelioration of the living standards and inequalities facing 99 percent of the world's population.
Therefore at tomorrow's "Mastering the 4th Industrial Revolution" summit of the WEF in Davos, Switzerland, the privileged invitees could formulate the ways and the means by which this high technological era could effectively bridge the global income inequality gap, or they could run the gauntlet of inducing an incubating social revolution by the masses.
January 18, 2016
The Plight of the Displaced and Poor - an Acknowledgement of Reality - an Insight into the Future
The cold harsh elements of winter are taking a toll on the tiring bewildered bodies of displaced people traversing the plains and hills of Europe in search of comfort away from war, violence and economic hardships in their countries of origin. The search for solace by these refugees, though hampered by the elements, goes on despite the numbing cold of children, women and the elderly.
Humanitarian groups like - International Medical Corps, have set up treatment areas in Serbia, Greece and Turkey to deal with the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. There are 4.3 million registered Syrian refugees who make up 52 percent of the 1.1 million refugees who made it to the borders of Europe last year. Some 3, 700 migrants, according to International Medical Corps, died along the journey to Europe.
There are some 60 million plus displaced people in the world whose plight is deplorable and a humanitarian blight upon modern civilization.
Therefore, when the world's powerful and super wealthy meet at the annual World Economic Forum on January 20, at Davos in the Swiss Alps, business and political leaders will accept the stark conditions of the world's poor and the displaced. However, after three days of examining the reports and listening to testimony from global humanitarians, the world's one percent - who owns more wealth than the other 99 percent combine, could resolve to do more in order to correct the growing economic inequality. But will they?
The super wealthy like the rest of the world is confronted by changing social, political and economic conditions - from a slump in productivity in China, to falling oil prices on the global market, to a rise in extremism from the Levant to the Middle East to Africa and beyond, to a splinter in the European Union(EU), a growing refugee crisis in Europe, and an unprecedented political divide in the United States(US) brought to wrought by the careless ramblings of a presidential candidate.
Yet, if history should be the guide at this week's summit in Davos in terms of what policies are actually planned and implemented to ameliorate conditions worldwide, the super rich and the powerful will only forego as little as necessary in order to preserve the status quo.
However, unlike past years, the super rich and powerful could gaze into the future to determine that things are not the way they used to be and that any stand-ins in lieu of concrete changes to better the lives of the majority will not stand nor be tolerated as temporary bandages to festering global problems.
January 17, 2016
On Verification of Nuclear Compliance - the People of Iran Rejoin Global Normalcy
After a procedural meeting in Vienna, Austria, yesterday, the people of Iran emerged reorganized back into the normal relations of the global community.
With the completion of the International Atomic Energy Agency's(IAEA) verification of Iran's nuclear compliance per its agreement with the six World Powers, the United States(US), represented by Secretary of State John Kerry, and Iran, led by its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, inked documents in the Alps of Europe that official lifted US nuclear related sanctions upon Iran.
Now the people of Iran - its shopkeepers, its artists, its academics, its exporters and importers, can rejoin normal relationships with the global community.
Moreover, with the official Iranian compliance and with the lifting of sanctions, overall security in the region could improve as it is greatly needed to stabilize tensions brought to wrought by the geo-political actions, ambitions and intents of both Iran and Saudi Arabia.
January 16, 2016
A NEW DAWN TAKES HOLD IN TAIWAN
Taiwan enters a new dynamic era today with the election of the Pro-Independence Party to head the island nation and the election of the country's first woman as President.
Tsai Ing-wen has been elected President of the island-nation beating out the Nationalist candidate who shared a close relationship with Beijing. Tsai, however, of the Pro-Independence party, has vowed to defend Taiwan's interests and its sovereignty, Reuters has reported.
January 15, 2016
"Scene that Haunt the Soul" - the Starvation of Syrians by the Assad Regime
If there could ever be a sliver of understanding as to how extremists could fill their rolls with recruits from among Syria's displaced people, then it could be found in the sights of the human decay through starvation by the Syrian regime upon the besieged people of Madaya, Syria.
For as United Nations(UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described it, his teams that only entered Madaya on Monday with relief food and medicines, are witnessing "scenes that haunt the soul".
Reported by Reuters yesterday, the UN's chief diplomat described life in Madaya, which had been besieged by Bashar al Assad's regime for more then six months, as having: "The elderly and children, men and women, who were little more than skin and bones: gaunt, severely malnourished, so weak they could barely walk, and utterly desperate for the slightest morsel."
Ban Ki-moon condemned all the parties fighting in Syria for atrocities against civilians. "All sides - including the Syrian government, which has primary responsibility to protect Syrians - are committing atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law," he judged. He added as cited by Reuters: that the harrowing images of starving civilians in Madaya reflected a new low in a war that had already reached "shocking depths of inhumanity."
The UN Chief declared:"...the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime." He said the situation involving the besieged town of Madaya was even worse than being held hostage during war because "hostages get fed", and from the evidence in Madaya, people were being starved to death with at least 400 men, women and children in a dire state from malnutrition and other conditions that they needed immediate medical attention and possible evacuation.
Sadly, what the UN is now affirming in places such as Madaya, Syria, is the same thing that has been used skillfully by extremists to swell their ranks with Syria's displaced people. The actions of Bashar al Assad's government and its continuance in the Levant remain the biggest factors attributing to the rise and the spread of violent extremism in the Middle East and stretching to Europe, Africa and the Americas.
January 14, 2016
Spreading Violent Extremism - Turkey Yesterday, Indonesia Today, Where Tomorrow?
Violent extremism is radiating out of Syria at an unprecedented rate with attacks upon Paris, France; Tunis, Tunisia; Beirut, Lebanon; the Sinai, Egypt; Brussels, Belgium; San Bernardino, California; Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this week and Jakarta, Indonesia today.
Most of the attacks have been perpetrated by or on the behalf of the extremist group, the Islamic State(IS) and the affairs of Syria remain the sole reason for the attacks.
Following violent attacks by extremists upon Paris, France last year that killed in excess of 150 people and other attacks from Lebanon to Nigeria, to Kenya, to Tunisia, to Egypt and to other places; this past Tuesday, a suicide bomber attacked Istanbul, Turkey; and earlier today, five attackers including two suicide bombers died in Jakarta, Indonesia following suicide bombings and gun battles at a mall and at a coffee shop. One tourist and one Indonesian also died in the attack.
Indonesian authorities, like their Turkish counterparts, are blaming the IS for the attacks. Yet, the true responsibility for these attacks and others that might come, are all rooted in the affairs of Syria and the tyrant regime of Bashar al Assad that has fueled the alarming rise of the IS because of the regime's brutal humanitarian atrocities and its fallible implication of peaceful nations as co-conspirators to crimes against humanity.
Hence, innocent people and nations are paying for the wrongs of Bashar al Assad etal. What other nations must unfairly pay for Assad's crimes? Malaysia? Albania? The Philippines?
Until the regime of Bashar al Assad leaves Damascus, civil societies will continue to face an increasing risk of violence from extremists.
January 13, 2016
An Affirmation of Democratic Ideals - President Obama Points America Forward
United States(US) President Barack Obama affirmed the democratic ideals of the American people in his final State of the Union address last night before the Congress, where he confirmed that the Union is strong.
President Obama said he trusted Americans to continue the ideals of freedom and of discovery as the nation confronts a future of "extraordinary change". He said the rate of change would accelerate and that Americans should not adhere to the dogmas of a quiet past.
In announcing a new "moon-shot" initiative to cure cancer, President Obama challenged the nation to look to the next frontier with confidence as he continues his agenda to reform the criminal justice system, fixing a broken immigration system and protecting American kids from gun violence.
The 44th President rejected the rhetoric offered by some Republicans running for his job that Muslims should be restricted or be barred from America. He also rejected the absurdity of carpet bombing civilians as well as the notion that the battle against the Islamic State(IS) represented a third World War. He rejected political divisions that have become prevalent in the present election campaign that have created rifts within the nation.
However, President Obama did warn of threats from Russia as indicative of its actions in Ukraine and elsewhere to attempt to resurrect a bygone time of tensions.
Yet, the President, who will leave office next January, was optimistic about the continued greatness of America and its democracy.
January 12, 2016
The Violent Toxicity of Syria Spreads Again - a Deadly Bombing in Turkey
Syria is violently toxic. The hereditary regime of Bashar al Assad has tainted and smeared the Levant with blood in five-years of civil war that has inflamed an unprecedented rise and spread of terrorism from Damascus, to Beirut, Lebanon; to Paris, France; to Brussels, Belgium; to San Bernardino, California; to Tunis, Tunisia; and to many other places including Istanbul, Turkey. Hundreds of people have died outside of Syria in events directly related to affairs within Syria.
Earlier today a suicide bomber, according to the BBC-News which cited the governor of Istanbul, detonated a powerful explosive in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, an area frequented by visitors to Turkey. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly tourists, died in the blast that injured another 15.
Though this event took place in Turkey, it must be associated with the violent toxicity of Syria that has transcended the borders of nations of solace and of peace. Today's bombing in popular Istanbul must be condemned. Moreover, it underscores the urgency for an end to the Syrian war and an end to Bashar al Assad's reign that has seen over 250,000 people killed, including thousands of civilians, women and children, in the present conflict, along with another 11 million Syrians displaced from their homes.
January 11, 2016
Besieged and Starved by Assad's War, some Syrian Children will Eat Tonight
Tonight in Madaya, Syria, thousands of besieged civilians - including children and the elderly, will be able to eat a meal and to sleep wrapped in the warmth of a blanket, thanks to the efforts of humanitarians - the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, the United Nations and the World Food Program.
Madaya, just 15-miles northwest of Damascus, and even closer to the Lebanese border, has been under siege by Bashar al Assad's forces since last July. Starvation had been ravishing the town while humanitarian agencies pleaded and bargained with the Assad regime to allow aid to the starving and dying.
Finally, earlier today, and after 28 people - including six children died from starvation in the town since December 1, 44 trucks, according to the BBC-News, departed Damascus carrying enough food to feed 40, 000 people for a month. The trucks, also laden with blankets and medicines, were allowed to go to Madaya after the Assad regime made relief to Madaya contingent upon humanitarians providing assistance to the rebel besieged villages of Foah and Kefraya, in northern Idlib province. Humanitarians also dispatched 21 trucks of aid to the two villages earlier today.
In relief, Madaya will eat and sleep in some comfort tonight. Yet, the humanitarian mission to provide solace to those suffering in Syria, reveals more of the gross effects of the Syrian war while underscoring the mounting atrocities committed by the Assad regime and affirming the necessity to end the conflict and Assad's reign in the Levant.
January 10, 2016
North Korea's Menace to World Security - a Failing of Sanctions
In a show of force and in support of ally South Korea, the United States(US) deployed a behemoth nuclear capable B-52 bomber - escorted by a US F-16 Fighter jet and a South Korean F-15, on a low- altitude flight over the Korean peninsula earlier today in response to last week's test of a nuclear device by pestering North Korea.
Reclusive and security pestering North Korea has conducted about four such nuclear tests of weapons in the past decade, thus making a mockery of international sanctions and in violation of United Nations(UN) resolutions. Yet, the young erratic leader of militarized North Korea, Kim Jong Un, continues to threaten his neighbor to the south without any worries of retaliations, as South Korea, Japan and others remain concerned over the likelihood of a nuclear attack.
North Korea's persistent nuclear pestering underscores that economic sanctions against a rogue nation for treaty and resolution violations, could succeed only if that nation is rational - Kim Jong Un's, is not.
For many years, western nations have allowed North Korea's relationship with China and Russia to stand in the way of preemptive strikes upon clear and present dangerous installations in North Korea. In the mean time, North Korea has been able to fortify its communications and defenses - all while sanctioned by the international community. It appears that North Korea wants to hold the world's security for ransom.
However, this most recent nuclear test by Pyongyang, affirms the urgency to place an explicit non-economic sanction check upon North Korea's nuclear program forthwith and before the rogue nation becomes more impermeable.
January 09, 2016
Damage to the Integrity of Asylum Seekers - the Alleged Migrant 'Wilding' on New Year's Eve in Cologne
The integrity of the presumed innocence of asylum seekers petitioning for humanitarian relief in foreign lands has been severely damaged by the New Year's Eve mass sexual assault and robbery, of some 100 women in Cologne, Germany, by gangs of men including asylum seekers.
Reports are that hordes of women at the main train terminal in Cologne, were forced to run through a gauntlet of drunken obscene reveling men on New Year's eve, where many of them were sexually assaulted and/or robbed. Leaked files suggest that the number of incidents on that particular night were many and overwhelmed Cologne police.
Of 31 suspects detained by police thus far, 18 are said to be asylum seekers of Arab and North African backgrounds. Though no asylum seekers have been official charged or found guilty of the crimes, the alleged involvement of any refugee in such a crime would obviously damaged the integrity and the sincerity of future asylum cases petitioned before the German government. Therefore, any participation of any migrant in such a crime must be condemned.
The Cologne police chief has been fired over the incident and the humanitarian government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which took in 1.1 million migrants in 2015, is now forced to propose a new policy to deport "serial offenders" from among the migrant populations in Germany.
January 08, 2016
North Korea's H-Bomb Bluff - a Reminder of the present Danger Posed by the Reclusive State
North Korea continues to brag about a test it said it recently conducted of a Hydrogen-Bomb. While atmospheric readings close to the reclusive state by Japan, South Korea and other states have failed to conform the detonation of an H-bomb, North Korea's actions have clearly reminded the rational world of the clear and present danger posed by the rogue state.
That North Korea would continue to defy United Nations(UN) resolutions by testing nuclear weapons to a point where it would bluff of the testing of an Hydrogen Bomb, clearly underscores the total disregard Kim Jong Un's regime has of international law, norms and security.
Knowing that Russia and China would obviously stand in the way of any substantial Security Council resolutions meant to bring the rogue nation to its knees, Kim Jong Un will continue to wreck havoc and insecurity upon the world community up to a tolerable point until the audacity is affirmed to make preemptive strikes upon the lunatic leadership in Pyongyang.
January 07, 2016
To Accept Assad in Syria into 2017 - to Compromise the Principles of Humanity
Humanity is a constant. It must remain constant. It is not a tool to be adjusted or compromised based upon individual cases. Humanity remains a constant from continent to continent, from region to region, from state to state, from people to people.
Therefore, to accept any likelihood that Bashar al Assad could remain in Damascus into 2017, would be to accept a compromise of humanity; to turn a blind eye upon the 250,000 plus deaths of the Syrian war; to forego justice to thousands of gassed children, women and civilians killed by Assad's regime; and to confirm to skeptics that western governments are hypocrites.
If it is true, according to an Associated Press(AP) report, that Washington is prepared to accept the retention of Assad in Syria beyond the Presidency of Barack Obama, well into 2017, then it is woe to humanity. If the AP finding is true, then a clearer understanding of the state of affairs in the Levant becomes evident. If the AP report is credible, then there will be no end to the insecurity of the Middle East and other places facing ideological and political unrest. And if the AP report is confirmed, then more strife and conflicts will break out across the world because the trust of western protectionism and ideals would become more damaged.
There must not be any compromises to the reign of Bashar al Assad whose regime has committed crimes against humanity. Humanity must not be compromised for Russia's participation and cooperation in the Levant. To compromise humanity and to accept Assad's reign is to accept years of violence in the Middle East that could transcend deeper into western nations.
January 06, 2016
Guns in America
The cold-hearted ideology of stoic conservatives regarding the bearing and buying of guns in America, remains chilled more than a year after 20-six and seven-year-old were gunned down in their classrooms, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut.
These right-wing conservatives, who are deeply influenced by the gun lobby, have underscored their opposition to measurable changes that could bring any meaningful and commonsense regulation to the too easy availability of guns in America. These said conservatives yesterday mocked the fatherly and sincere tears shed by United States(US) President Barack Obama as he recalled the innocent lives lost to gun violence at their school in December, 2014.
Yesterday, as President Obama announced new initiatives in an attempt to stem the violent tide of gun violence in America, he naturally - like any red-blooded human of passion, life and feeling, became choked with tears upon the memory of the tragic death of so many young children. Yet, the conservatives quickly lined up in opposition to whatever the President might attempt to stop senseless gun violence.
Therefore, gun violence will more likely continue to torment America because of the staunch opposition of conservatives and the strength of the gun lobby to resist real needed changes to the culture of guns. However, at some point, maybe enough conservatives might become directly effected by the reality of the violence from the prevalence of guns, and then, serious work might be accomplished to ending the ease of availability of guns in America and the associated violence.
January 05, 2016
Iran and Saudi Arabia
The competition for dominant influence over the Middle East by Iran and Saudi Arabia has set up a turbulent sectarian state of affairs in the region.
It is not that sectarianism has created the rift between Saudi Arabia's Sunni Islam and Iran's Shiite Islam, but the struggle for power to dictate influence over a large swath of the Middle East has made today's conditions unpredictable and volatile.
Sectarianism has been a part of the Arab and Persian culture since the Seventh century. Conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites have been commonplace since the Second Caliphate. The two sects have lived side by side for centuries, inter-married and co-governed. Therefore, today's growing insecurity as to the spat between Iran and Saudi Arabia, cannot be easily dismissed as a sectarianism divide.
However, the present divide must rests with two nations seeking to dominate a fragile and volatile region at an unpredictable time. Cautiously, unless earnest efforts are made by both nations to address matters relating to safety at Pilgrimages to the establishment of an open and ongoing mode of communication between them, the Middle East will remain tense and violent for a very long time to come. Also, the sectarian card that has been inflamed easily, might not abate as easily as it was stoked. Thus, it becomes more than necessary that both Iran and Saudi Arabia engage each other in immediate dialogue.
January 04, 2016
Impacts to Syria's Peace and to Yemen's Truce after Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Iran
Following the execution of Shiite Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia and the ensuing protests against the sentence from within the Kingdom, to Lebanon, to Iraq, to Bahrain and to Iran, where violent protesters stormed and set fire to the Saudi embassy, Sunni Saudi Arabia yesterday severed diplomatic ties with Shiite Iran. And this morning, Bahrain announced that it too is severing diplomatic ties with Iran.
With the souring and ending of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran - regional leaders of Sunni and Shiite Islam, prospects of an all-party agreed upon peace to Syria, appears in doubt just like a ceasefire in Yemen. If two nations have a running feud, then it is unlike they could cooperate on larger issues.
Yet, with some urging from strategic world friends, Saudi Arabia and Iran could continue talking in order to establish a truce in hostilities in Yemen and to accommodate a peace to the Syrian people. Moreover, a deepening of hostilities in the Middle East might not augur well for both nations as the price of oil becomes more volatile during major diplomatic spats and major conflicts. Also, to add another conflict to the already playing hostilities in the Middle East would not benefit either nation economically.
Therefore, some western nations or international organizations should move quickly to host both Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran in constructive talks aimed at diffusing another potentially violent episode in the Middle East.
January 03, 2016
A Deeper Chasm Emerges into the Abyssal Affairs of the Middle East
The largely Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced the execution of 47 prisoners - including a Shiite Cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose death touched off violent protests from Tehran, Iran; to eastern Saudi Arabia; to Bahrain and to Lebanon.
Convicted and sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia in October 2014 on sedition and other charges, al-Nimr maintained, according to the Associated Press(AP), that he never carried weapons or called for violence. Yet, he criticized both the Sunni Saudi government for its domestic policies and the Shiite-Iranian backed Syrian government for violence against protesters.
Al-Nimr's execution has deepened a chasm into the already abyssal affairs of the Middle East, which is witnessing a proxy fight between Saudi Arabia - on the Sunni Muslim side and Iran - on the Siite Muslim side. Conflicts involving sects affiliated with both countries run from Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, while Lebanon appears to be drawing closer to wider conflict.
Protests in Bahrain, Lebanon, Iran and within Saudi Arabia itself, point to a wider and more intense period of insecurity in the Middle East.
January 02, 2016
On the Careful Balance of Protection v. Rights
In the protection of the homeland from all enemies foreign and domestic, questions usually arise as to the balance of rights citizens readily acquiesce for protection as against those rights retained for privacy.
Often, while the memory of events that have called for additional protections are still fresh in mind, many people readily forego additional rights unto the State as part of a reciprocal pact in order to reinforce the security of the homeland. However, as the memory of tragic events grow older and an apprehensive consideration is given to any likelihood of State abuse of rights, the debate Protection v. Rights, intensifies.
However, one element should never be lost in the debate - the ultimate end must be the security of the homeland. Therefore, checks and balances should always be applied to circumstances where citizens forego rights unto to the State in exchange for greater protection. The State must be checked so that it does not abuse the powers granted unto it by the people and the State must ensure that the basic privacy of citizens is always protected and kept private.
The present discussion in Paris, France, over the revocation of citizenship of persons guilty of terror is an good example of a people attempting to find a practical balance in Protection v. Rights. Yet, the people of France should be guided by the stark truth that any attack upon a person's home by that said person, represents one of the highest crimes against humanity.
January 01, 2016
After the Celebrations - a Test of Global Ideals
Now that the smoke has cleared from celebrations with fireworks to usher in 2016 from Sydney, Australia; to Manila, Philippines; to Dubai, United Arab Emirates; to Paris, France; to Berlin, Germany; to Sao Paulo, Brazil and beyond, and now that the confetti and glitter have fallen and cleared from Times Square, New York City, the globe must now face a test of ideals in this New year.
From choking environmental hazards that have gripped Beijing, China; Milan, Italy; and New Delhi, India; the world has been served notice of the debilitating dangers posed as a result of poisoning the environment. Torrential rains and floods from South America to Great Britain warn of a changing climate. Record increases in global temperatures hint of an unprecedented time to come.
Terror threats from Munich, Germany; to Paris, France; to Brussels, Belgium and beyond offer the stark grim reality of the fragility of current affairs. The Syrian war and Russia's entry into the volatile conflict establishes a strange dynamic to Middle Eastern security. And Vladimir Putin's claim that NATO - the protector of democracies and freedoms in Europe, represents a security threat, provides a worrisome glimpse of what will come in 2016.
Yet, the free people of the World desire a continuity of freedom, peace, equality, happiness and the rule of law. Matters of rights and freedoms will figure highly this year. Therefore, the work to protect and to safeguard the homelands from terror and tyranny must start immediately in 2016.
October 29, 2015
Amid Chinese Rhetoric of War, the Ideal Remains Constant: Sustaining Freedom of Navigation
While the United States(US) has affirmed freedom of navigation on international waters by sailing into the disputed South China Sea, some careless rhetoric threatening war, has emerged within China.
Whereas Beijing and its communist mouth-pieces, including the Global Times, have asserted that China is not frightened to fight a war with the US on the South China Sea, the ideal of freedom of navigation and the honoring of treaties with allies in the region, must remain constant and be resoundingly affirmed.
Therefore, while nobody in Washington expects China to be afraid of anything, the US and western nations have the responsibility of sustaining freedom of navigation on international waters in spite of excessive claims by China to more than a lion's share of the resource-rich South China Sea.
Moreover, Washington must always affirm that International Law, and not China's version of jurisprudence, remains fluent on international waters and lands.
So while China continues to fight graft and corruption within its own armed forces, careless commentary of war within Beijing should be tempered with the reality and all the effects of possible war, including the morale of young Chinese soldiers, who have come of age in the post Tienanmen Square era.
Nobody wants war. But it is the duty of responsible western nations to secure and to sustain freedom of navigation on international waters and to ensure the dignity and the sovereignty of nations such as the Philippines and Japan and other claimants to freedom of access to the South China Sea.
October 28, 2015
And So It Is...
And so it is that on this 28th day of October, 2015, humanity still struggles with its obligations under the laws of nature and faces varying hurdles to full harmony, liberty, equality, dignity and the rule of law.
From Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, to Libya, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria and Central African Republic, to Ukraine, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh and Venezuela, to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and some former soviet republics and many other places across the globe, the aspirations of many people to dignity, independence and liberty, remain unrealized. And dire environmental issues demand immediate action in order to save planet Earth.
Western nations, harboring a bad taste for war and for military intervention since a bad war in Iraq, have grown reserved and cautious in their policies to correct humanitarian evils from Syria to South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ukraine and elsewhere so that people may attain their manifested destinies of life, liberty and equality.
More than 250,000 people - including children and civilians, have been killed in Bashar al Assad's war in Syria as the international community remains impotent to stop a humanitarian blight. Millions of Syrians have been displaced and tens of thousands have flooded Europe's borders posing a real threat to destabilize some governments on the government. Children have been hacked to death in Central African Republic. Hundreds of children have been kidnapped by extremists in Nigeria while violence continues upon civilians in South Sudan.
Yet, western nations remain hopeful of diplomatic solutions to most affairs as Russia has extended its sphere of influence to include Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, China has flexed its new found might upon the South and East China Seas, while the stalwarts of liberty and of the rights of humankind remain in diplomatic postures. What will November bring?
October 27, 2015
Affirming Freedom of Navigation - the United States Sails into Disputed Waters on the South China Sea
The United States(US) sailed a destroyer within the 12-mile radius of disputed reefs on the South China Sea, earlier today, hereby affirming freedom of navigation against China's excessive claim to a whopping 90 percent of the resource-rich sea over much vexation and protests from its smaller neighbors.
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, broke the 12-mile radius of Subi and Mischief Reefs, where China has been erecting islands on sunken rocks and erecting aircraft landing strips over protests and disputes by the Philippines and other smaller claimants on the South China Sea.
While China has claimed its expansion is peaceful, smaller nations in the region fear the might and the military implications of the Beijing communists, and they have complained and asked for international assistance in dealing with behemoth China. The Chinese navy has harassed and pester both Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen in the region. The Philippines has sought adjudication through the International Convention of the Seas of disputes and claims on the South China Sea. As the Philippines and other smaller nations await a hearing or ruling by the world body, China has continued its expansion.
So it was with the intent of affirming freedom of navigation that the US launched the destroyer USS Lassen into the disputed waters earlier today, much to the relief of the Philippines and Japan, with which China also has disputes on the East China Sea.
China has threatened to "resolutely respond to any country's deliberately provocative action", yet the US, according to Defense Department spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, remains committed to "conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with International Law." US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has affirmed that the US will "fly, sail and operate wherever International Law allows."
October 26, 2015
The European Patch of the Migrant Crisis
European leaders have resolved to expand reception capacity shelters to house another 100,000 migrants, to bolster the borders of Greece, to widen border operations and to make use of bio-metric data to register and to screen migrants in an effort to ease the migration crisis plaguing the continent.
Following an emergency summit in Brussels, Belgium, earlier this morning, and after some bickering between members on how best to stem the flow of migrants into the continent, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, said "The immediate imperative is to provide shelter" to the tens of thousands of migrants seeking solace in Europe.
Acknowledging Europe's humanitarian responsibility, Juncker added: "It cannot be that in the Europe of 2015 people are left to fend for themselves, sleeping in fields." His sentiments were shared by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who remarked of the scope of the crisis: "This is one of the greatest litmus tests that Europe has ever faced...Europe has to demonstrate that it is a continent of values and of solidarity."
While the welcomed considerate attitude of most Europeans to the crisis has been exemplary, some unwelcoming feelings still persist on the continent. Hungary, which has closed its borders, thus diverting migrants elsewhere in the Balkans, remains skeptical of its humanitarian obligations. Hungary's leader Viktor Orban suggested at the summit: "We should go down south and defend the borders of Greece if they are not able to do that." Orban's claim to defend borders rather than to organize them, epitomizes his attitude to migrants in Europe - as a threat and not as friendly victimized displaced people.
October 25, 2015
Europe's Migrant Crisis - an Ongoing Humanitarian Test
Europe's humanitarian authenticity is being tested by the current migrant crisis at the continent's borders.
To this end, as Central Europe and the Balkans hold an emergency summit today, to discuss the crisis involving tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and other migrants, much attention will be paid to the final resolution adopted against a background of border closings, threats and rumors of more border closings as the numbing cold of winter approaches migrants forced under the elements.
Hungary's decision last week to close its borders with Serbia and Croatia has not slowed the flow of migrants into Europe. Instead, migrants have been diverted through Slovenia, which saw a record 58,000 new arrival of migrants in the week. Slovenia has accused Croatia of deliberately dumping thousands of migrants on the border, the BBC-News has reported. Croatia has countered that it has had no choice since Slovenia was allowing far fewer migrants than it should. There are fears that Germany and Austria will close their borders, thus Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia have threatened to follow suit.
So today, when the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia meet, they will face the challenge "to slow the flow of migration and to bring" their "external borders under control", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has disclosed.
Meanwhile as the European debate continues, thousands of migrants exposed to the elements of nature remain in the fields of Europe seeking desperate solace and comfort on the hope that Europe's humanitarian heart is authentic.
October 24, 2015
Toward Sustaining Freedom of Navigation on the South China Sea
Whereas China has side-stepped International Conventions and has made claim to some 90 percent of the South China Sea as its own, smaller nations in the region are now faced with inevitable diminishing sovereignty.
International navigation and billions of dollars of yearly trade and commerce on the South China Sea, would come under direct Chinese control and influence should China's claim to most of the Sea go unchallenged. In attempts to exercise this power over international navigation, China has erected large reclamation and construction projects on disputed atolls, rocks and islets. Air strips have either been built or are in the process of construction.
As China's claim to the sea has been backed up with marine patrols, the Philippines and Vietnam, have sounded their concerns over China's intent. The Philippines has repeatedly complained and pleaded for international assistance. Washington has repeatedly warned China and has sought clarification of China's aims. Yet, China has maintained its claim outside of International Conventions as it cements its expansion on the South China Sea.
Therefore, in lieu of a ruling or clarification from International Law of the Sea body, Western nations must act to ensure the sovereignty of smaller nations on the South China Sea and to safeguard freedom of navigation.
Mega aircraft and technology deals together with other recently inked trade deals between China and Western nations, must not act as a payment to the stalwarts of freedom and of the rule of law, to turn a blind eye upon China's apparent unabridged expansion of power and influence over southeast Asia.
To this end, China's claim to disputed territory must be tested; and tested constantly despite the risk of pestering from China's navy. Western nations cannot afford to passively yield the freedom of navigation on the South China Sea to the control of communists.
As the United States(US) launches sea and air patrols within the 12-mile radii of disputed territories over the next couple days, Washington must conduct the said missions in full accord to the security agreements it has with the Philippines with a view to ensuring the freedom of navigation on the South China Sea and the preservation of the sovereignty and the dignity of smaller nations.
October 23, 2015
Note to Syria's Children XI
Children, hopefully by now, most of you have safely made it to one of the refugee camps - preferably in Turkey, where I understand the care is exemplary, or some of you have made it onto the continent of Europe, in search of solace, a new home and hope away from the wrath of Bashar al Assad's war.
I will continue to pray and to advocate for your better welfare and for your accorded dignity as this humanitarian tragedy and blight upon civilization that is the Syrian war, continues. I will continue to push for justice for your fallen families and peers so that their lives may not have been lost in vain.
However, though many of you might have found temporary shelter, you should never accept or treat patchwork accommodations and mediocrity as an end to your aspirations.
As you age, continue to demand more of your governance and insist that the institutions of good governance are created, maintained and sustained. While many of you might never see your birth land again, wherever you are, there will be difficulties and challenges to adapting to new environs. Adapt and cope as best you can. Love humanity in spite of its failing you. Always embrace freedom and advocate for the rule of law and equality. May God Bless all of you.
October 22, 2015
Assad and Putin - Partners in the Mockery of Humanity and of the Rights of Man
If sending Russian forces and arms to Syria to shore up the tyrant, Bashar al Assad, was not enough to affirm his condemnation of international humanitarian norms, then Vladimir Putin has made no mistake in reaffirming his dismay for humanity and for the children and civilian victims of the Syrian war, by hosting Assad in Moscow.
That Assad's regime has perpetrated a war that has killed more than 250,000 thus far and displaced millions, while creating a refugee crisis in Europe, must be more then enough evidence for Assad to be treated as a pariah in the scheme of international relations. But not to Russia's Putin. Hundreds of innocent children have been gassed to death in Syria at the hands of Assad's forces. Should their deaths be in vain?
Putin and the other sympathizers of Bashar al Assad who continue to support him in light of the mountain of evidence of crimes against humanity committed by his regime, have all in essence, endorsed such crimes. Putin's particular support of Assad amounts to a mockery of humanity and of the rights of man.
Therefore, the stalwarts of life, liberty and the rule of law must treat Putin as a co-conspirator of the crimes of Assad's regime and they should move to isolate Putin even farther rather than to involve him in matters in respect to the rights of human beings.
October 21, 2015
The Dilemma of Syrian Rebels Under Attack by Assad and Putin
The legitimate Syrian rebels, who have been fighting the tyrant Bashar Assad for more than four years, have found themselves in a very precarious position.
With the intervention of Vladimir Putin's Russian forces into Syria to shore up the failed Assad regime, Syrian rebels are now facing an overwhelming superior force in the uniforms of the Russian Federation, along with the barrel-bombing Assad army.
The western supported rebels in Syria have failed to forge a strong and formidable unity-pact over the years, hence with Russia's assistance, Assad is seizing an opportunity to prolong his rule. Assad has clearly displayed this fact with his overnight trip to Russia, his first outside of Syria since 2011.
However, in lieu of western boots on the ground in Syria, western nations must arm to the gills the legitimate rebels in Syria if a transition to democracy is to be ever given a chance at implementation.
October 20, 2015
Finally an Impartial Voice of Reason on the Violence in Jerusalem - the UN Chief Speaks and Visits
United Nations(UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stood up and he has offered his voice in a plea for calm and for reason with regards to the spike in violence in Jerusalem. Ban will follow up his plea with a surprise visit to the region today in a bid to return the spirit of cooperativeness to Israelis and Palestinians in lieu of violence.
Ban released a video message to both Israelis and Palestinians yesterday on the UN's Facebook Page in a call for calm over the upheaval that has plagued the region for about a month. He cautioned Palestinians that violence would only harm their legitimate aspirations to statehood. "I know your hopes for peace have been dashed countless times. You are angry at the continued occupation and expansion of settlements...I am not asking you to be passive, but you must put down the weapons of despair," the UN Chief asked Palestinians.
To the Israelis he said he understood their concerns and fears "...When children are afraid to go to school, when anyone on the street is a potential victim, security is rightly your immediate priority", yet, he observed: "But walls, check points, harsh responses by security forces and house demolitions cannot sustain the peace and safety that you need and must have."
Ban Ki-moon has taken the most concerted impartial efforts thus far in an attempt to quell the growing friction in Jerusalem, where violence broke out about a month ago between Israelis and Palestinians over access to Holy sites. More than 40 Palestinians have died this far and eight Israelis. While tough talk has continued from Israel's leadership and complaints have come from Palestine's leaders, there has been no real discussion between the groups to end the violence. To this end, Ban Ki-moon's visit to the region today could jump start real efforts to peace.
However, the long term security in the region will hedge on the end of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and support for Palestinian independence as well as on Palestinian recognition of the state of Israel.
October 19, 2015
The Struggle for Democracy Remains a Noble Cause Over Any Dictatorship
Wherever people live, democracy remains the only viable vehicle to the protection of the rights of man, liberty, justice and the rue of law. Though the system is not perfect, it stands as man's best hope of governance by the people for the people.
As tomorrow's anniversary approaches marking the four-year fall of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, some may question whether or not Libya's attempt at democracy has been worthwhile. The answer must be a resounding yes! Any attempt by a people to extend to each and every citizen the dignity of human rights, justice, liberty and the rule of law, is worth any struggle.
Unfortunately, in the places where dictatorships have suppressed the aspirations of people for lengthy periods of time, the struggle for democracy appears more violent and takes a longer to establish and to sustain the institutions of democracy. It is a direct result of the length of a dictatorship that determines and effects the length of time it take to establish a functioning democracy.
It must never be assumed that because of the struggle - often violent, that any extension or the installation of a new dictatorship could ever become a viable option to democracy. To accept such a fallacy would be to delay the inevitable aspiration of a people and lead to an even more violent struggle later.
Therefore, as Libya will eventually realize its democracy, so will Syria and other failed states emerging out of scores of years of dictatorships. While Egypt has found a questionable patch-work to democracy, Tunisia has found a model to success from which other nations could learn, thus affirming that the struggle for democracy remains noble and attainable.
October 18, 2015
Talks Over Violence in Jerusalem
In the past month, 40 Palestinians and eight Israelis have died in violence rocketing the Holy Land over issues of access to Holy Sites in Jerusalem. Yet, as the violence continues, one action has remained noticeably absent during the uprising - talks between leaders aim at ending the violence.
While Israeli leaders have naturally condemned attacks upon Jews and Palestinian have rightfully condemned the heavy handed disproportionate deaths of Palestinians, leaders on both sides are yet to sit down together in an effort to quell an uprising that could easily fester and devour the region in another full-blown conflict.
Now is the opportune time for both Palestinian and Israeli leaders to talk and to clarify the intent and purposes of both sides with a view to respecting the right of the Israeli people to survive and to recognizing the full dignity of the Palestinian people to dwell in their lands.
Until these leaders finally lead, Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and beyond stand at risk of experiencing more violence.
October 17, 2015
On Historical Wrongs, Greed, Inequality and Deception as Combustion for Wider Conflicts: a Saturday's Lament
World Peace - that figment of imagination - that dream and hope of global serenity, solace and comfort, is unattainable in this system of things.
World Peace can never be realized as long as historical scores are unsettled. World Peace cannot come about as long as the greed of man is allowed to flourish robbing the aspirations and inflicting scarcity upon many. World Peace can never be obtained in the presence of at least one single instance of inequality.
And if by some divine intervention, historical wrongs, greed and inequality were to be miraculously righted, World Peace still would become unsustainable because of the deception some would cast upon the trust of many in order to convenience themselves over the burdensome naivety of the loyal and faith of others.
Therefore, World Peace will never come to this system of things. However, in lieu of the impossibility of World Peace, individual global communities are tasked with carving out their own peace and to maintaining it insular of the chaos and the conflicts of warring regions.
Not that apathy should ever render empathy as obsolete, but compassion, assistance and cooperation could only be extended as far as they are accepted and utilized. The reality of the human condition implies that many will suffer - many will die, English cleric and scholar Thomas Robert Malthus, has confirmed this in the Malthusian catastrophe.
I urge all of you to elect life - to elect liberty - to elect justice - to elect equality and to elect democracy - the tenets of prosperity.
October 16, 2015
The Resurgence of the Enemy - an Aspect of Modern Warfare Under Humanitarian Conventions
That the Taliban was able to recently take the town of Kunduz, Afghanistan, should have come as no surprise to intelligence analysts even after 14 years of United States(US) intervention into that arid land. Humanitarian conventions - governing the execution of modern warfare, of which civil societies do their best to subscribe to, place limits on the annihilation and obliteration of an enemy, thus the enemy is able to regroup to fight another day.
Especially in conflicts where the enemy might harbor some form of religious ideology, it becomes even more difficult to destroy that enemy under modern conventions of warfare. If humanitarian conventions of warfare did not exist, there would have been no need for the US to remain in Afghanistan for so long.
The US has conducted the Afghanistan war under the prevailing conditions of war conventions and footprints of the resurgence of the Taliban are now evident; hence, the taking of Kunduz, from which the Taliban has since announced that it has withdrawn.
However, with further evidence suggesting that the Taliban might still control as much as one-fifth of Afghanistan and has control or influence over as much as one-half of the country, must be part of the reasons why President Barack Obama has decided to maintain a larger than planned US force in Afghanistan beyond 2016.
October 15, 2015
Toward the Preservation of Hope and of Freedom
To preserve hope, freedom and the tenets of democracy in the latter half of this decade, certain affairs need balancing and/or tilting by the Autumn of 2016.
Affairs and relations with Russia based upon Vladimir Putin's agitations in eastern Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, the intervention in Syria and the prowling off the coasts of Nordic, Baltic and Western nations, should be managed in order to sustain a Western balance of influence. While these affairs with Russia cannot be settled in the short term due to the unpredictable nature of Putin, they could be contained especially in relation to the scope of engagements and possibilities in Syria and in Ukraine.
With regards to China, no future United States(US) President should have to carry the burden of having to issue warnings concerning the respect of the sovereignty of smaller nations on the South China Sea. Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen should not be harassed while plying a living based upon Beijing's interpretation of an ancient tattered map that is out of focused with modern international conventions of the sea.
Extremism appears a long term issue that would continue to demand international cooperation and policies to remedy.
Yet, there is hope that human relations could benefit from a broader respect of the environment and of the rights of man and the determination by all peoples to live as equals in liberty and in peace under the rule of law.
October 14, 2015
Of Ambitions and Arms - Russian Intervention in Syria and the Inevitable Costs
Vladimir Putin's move into Syria to temporarily shore up the doomed regime of Bashar al Assad was a gutsy and risky venture.
On entering Syria, Putin has affirmed his gambit of risking the economic and social welfare of Russians upon his dream of gaining international recognition along the path of a fantasy of the resurrection of an empire of yore.
Warfare is expensive. First, there is the human cost of lives, injuries, suffering and displacement. Then, there is the economic costs involved with waging war that Russians will inevitably have to pay as the price of oil continues to fall. But rather than to concentrate his ambitions within Russia's borders, Putin's recent excursion into Syria after eastern Ukraine and Crimea, demonstrates his boldness for taking risks.
Any escalation of the arms race will not end well for Russians. Putin cannot afford all of the inevitable costs associated with a lengthy stay in Syria. Moscow, Saint Petersburg , Omsk and other Russian cities, will have to sacrifice some comforts they have come to enjoy in order to allow for Putin's outing in Syria. How much will Russians give up? Only the Russians could relay that message to Putin.
October 13, 2015
The Radical v. the Humanitarian - Similarities of Empathy and Differences of Perception
A New Zealand man is facing ten-years imprisonment after being convicted by an Australian court on three counts of making preparations to travel to a foreign country to engage in hostile acts.
According to a BBC-News report, the court in Victoria, Australia, heard that Amin Mohamed wanted to fight against the government of Bashar al Assad. Prosecutors said he applied for a passport to enter Syria, booked flights to Turkey and obtained the contact details of a Turkish resident with the intent of fighting in Syria. It is a crime in Australia and other jurisdictions to fight for militants on either side of the Syrian war.
However, humanitarian agencies deploy workers and volunteers daily to assist the millions of Syrians displaced by Assad's war. Yet, while erecting a tent, building a cot and providing meals and medicine is legal, to physically attempt to alleviate the lives of Syrians thought the overthrow of Bashar al Assad is illegal.
In other words, while both the radical and the humanitarian might have similarities of empathy for the victims of Syria's war, the humanitarian can act, but the radical - for fear that he/she would import terror, is precluded from action.
While all persons wanting to utilize terror upon peaceful communities must be condemned, some consideration should be meted to those, who in the name of justice and humanity, wish to fight the terror Assad in order to bring relief to the children and people of Syria. Not that any laws forbidding travel to fight for militants are wrong, but the cause should be tempered with the absence and the impotence of those having the power to effect true change in Syria.
October 12, 2015
France Gets It: Would Other EU Nations Recognize the Dangers Posed by Attempts to Legitimize Bashar al Assad?
Given the documented atrocities committed by the Bashar al Assad regime upon the Syrian people, France has rightly held that Assad cannot be a part of any solution to his fueled violence in the Levant.
France has sensibly recognized the dangers posed by any attempts to legitimizing a regime that has committed crimes against humanity. The Assad regime has used chemical barrel bombs upon civilians. The regime has gassed hundreds of Syrian children to death. More than 250,000 people have died thus far in Assad's perpetrated war. More than seven million Syrians have been displaced by Assad's war. Nations from Europe to the Middle East have become destabilized because of Assad's actions.
Yet, within the European Union(EU), unlike France, some nations remain skeptical on whether or not to take a hard line on crimes against humanity and to reject Assad as having any legitimacy to negotiations on the fate of Syria. Any inclusion of Assad in talks would give legitimacy to his crimes. The international community must reject his inclusion into any credible talks and should instead seek the due process to bring Assad to trial for crimes against humanity.
So as EU foreign ministers meet today to discuss policy on Syria, Libya and other crises in North Africa and in the Middle East, they should adopt France's stance of not to legitimize Bashar al Assad. Moreover, EU nations should pay attention to the observation of its Policy Chief Federica Mogherini of Italy, who has described Russian action in Syria as "worrisome" and a "game changer". The EU should guard against being implicated as co-conspirators in crimes against humanity.
October 11, 2015
The Death of a Pregnant Palestinian and her Daughter - a Prelude to a Widening Historical Conflict
An Israeli air strike on Gaza in retaliation to a rocket launch has killed a pregnant Palestinian woman along with her two-year-old daughter. This tragedy, coupled with escalating violence in recent weeks from Jerusalem, to the West Bank, to interior Israel and now Gaza, has the hallmark of becoming another Middle East conflict convoluted in historical, religious and territorial differences.
Twenty-three Palestinians and four Israelis have died in violent events in the past 12 days in the Israeli occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Nine Palestinians alone have died over the weekend. Recent agitations in the region come upon fresh concerns over access to Holy sites in East Jerusalem by Jews and Muslims.
In the most recent wave of violence, Israel reportedly responding to a rocket launch from Gaza, bombed an alleged Hamas weapons factory that resulted in the devastating blast upon the home of a pregnant Palestinian woman, who was killed along with her two-year-old daughter, the Associated Press(AP) reported.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames the "wave of terror" upon what he calls "systematic untrue incitement" by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the Islamic Movement in Israel and upon Hamas in Gaza, the basic cause of conflicts in the region is in fact fueled by historic, religious and territorial differences between Israelis and Palestinians - between Jews and Muslims.
And until a concerted, willing and fair effort to true sustainable peace is put forward by all the parties, conflict with a risk of it spreading, will continue to grip these old lands. Moreover, any present and further attempts to contain and to strip the Palestinian people of the dignity of independence, will continue to stoke insecurity in the region. Old faiths in old lands must strike a peaceful balance to co-existence.
September 08, 2015
Europe's Refugee Crisis - Signs of a Possible Bigger Humanitarian Issue to Come
Europe is currently scrambling to host thousands of asylum seekers - many, victims of Bashar al Assad's Syrian war.
As Germany makes the welcomed gesture to accept some 800,000 of the displaced this year alone and 500,000-a-year subsequently, and Britain and France and the people of Iceland, make overtures to accept even more refugees than they had originally planned, the crisis now before Europe could become dwarfed by a forthcoming greater influx of migrants to the continent.
The continued execution of the Syrian war by Bashar al Assad threatens to send more asylum seekers to Europe. Should Russian increase military assistance to the Assad regime, more refugees will be mowing over the borders of Europe. If the scale of Turkey's re-ignited battle with Kurdish nationalists increases, more refugees will be seeking to cross into the states of the European Union(EU) out of the well-kept Turkish camps.
Moreover, if the opinion of Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz that the west should engage Bashar al Assad in the fight against the Islamic States(IS), despite his crimes against humanity, is ever taken as a popular thought in Europe, more refugees will appear at Europe's doors.
Therefore, any efforts to abate and to discourage Europe's migration crisis cannot involve the inclusion of Bashar al Assad at any point. The only discussion with Assad must to be limited to the date and the place of his trial for crimes against humanity.
Also, all attempts to lend military assistance to Assad must be averted in order to stem further migration to Europe. And western association with Turkey should encourage a 'stand-down' approach against Kurdish nationals in order to prevent a greater run on Europe's borders by the displaced from Assad's war.
September 07, 2015
In Honor of the Workers of the World
Happy Labor Day!
Today is Labor Day in North America. Many other places celebrate this holiday on the first Monday in May.
Whatever the day of celebration, I honor the workers of the world and the movements that continue to protect them in a changing environment. To you the workers - you are the primary fuel that runs the world's economy, and I pray that you importance and contributions to the sustainability of human development will be duly recognized. Thanks for your labor.
September 06, 2015
To End the Syrian War - to Eradicate the Source of Human Displacement
The unprecedented refugee crisis overwhelming Europe today is primarily because of the execution of Bashar al Assad's war in Syria.
As a result, Europe will inevitably spend billions of dollars and appropriate large amounts of other resources in order to host Syria's refugees. Moreover, the impending strain caused by refugees upon Europe's infrastructure, remains immeasurable. Social services, housing, education, employment and the likes will have to be re-tuned.
Yet, Assad's war continues in Syria with mounting humanitarian costs and instability transcended throughout the Levant that could send an even higher number of refugees to Europe. And to compound the already graved conditions, the Associated Press(AP) reported earlier today on an unconfirmed revelation suggesting that Russia is planning to expand its military support to Assad.
The United States(US) has warned that such actions by Russia could lead to a confrontation with anti-Islamic State Coalition forces in the Levant. US Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express concern over the reports. The US State Department said Kerry made clear to Lavrov that any "imminent enhanced Russian military build-up" in Syria "could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation".
In light of the massive refugee crisis facing Europe, the only viable option to stemming the tide of displaced people into the continent, must be an end to Assad's war - thus eradicating the wave of human displacement at its source.
Given the extraordinary costs to Europe to host Syria's refugees, it could become more cost effective for Europe to fully and directly participate in ending Assad's war in Syria. Therefore, all and any efforts by any nation to military support Assad should be thwarted.
September 05, 2015
The Daring Walk to Solace out of Viktor Orban's Hungary - the Spirit of Refugees for Freedom
Hundreds of solace-seeking refugees have embarked upon an arduous trek to walk the 110-miles out of Viktor Orban's Hungary to the civil-receptive host - Austria, where some will stay, and many will continue by civil transportation to welcoming Germany.
The decision by so many displaced people to take the long walk, with children and the elderly in- tow, is explicitly indicative of the anti-foreigner stance Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has taken on European migration.
Very few, if any at all of the refugees seeking peace away from conflicts in the Middle East, have expressed a desire to stay in Hungary. Obviously, refugees are aware of the harsh experiences Gypsies have suffered under Orban and his discriminating mayors in a few Hungarian hamlets.
Yet, given Orban's rank-tainting of genuine Hungarian hospitality, average Hungarians have lined the walk-path of the freedom-seekers to render support, encouragement, food, water and baby carriages to the trekking refugees.
Frustrated and bewildered by Orban's unwelcoming attitude, treatment and trickery - not wanting the refugees, impeding the journey to Austria and Germany, and trickery into boarding a train supposedly bound for Austria only to have forces intercept the train just after departure, have all contributed to refugees making the long walk to freedom away from Orban.
A last minute face-saving gesture by Orban's authorities to provide buses for transportation to refugees stranded at a train terminal in Budapest, has successfully landed some 4,000 refugees in Austria. But hundreds continue to walk to Austria out of Hungary, as Orban's government threatens to use the military to impede migration after September 15.
The displaced people en route to peace through Viktor Orban's realm have clearly demonstrated an audacity and a human-thirst for comfort that the likes of Orban would never comprehend.
To the refugees, I implore them to walk - to walk if they must, and not be dissuaded by the likes of Orban in their pursuit of solace and comfort for their families.
September 04, 2015
The body of the slender three-year-old Syrian boy, which washed up onto a Turkish beach earlier this week, after he fell victim to the sea in a tragic attempt to find solace, was interred into the dry dusty dirt in his hometown of Kobani, Syria earlier today.
With the burial of Aylan Kurdi, and that of his brother and that of his mother, by his surviving father, the failings of the international community to effect peace and comfort to millions of displaced people, is hereby further underscored.
Aylan died in the sea as he and his family attempted a perilous journey to freedom from Syria via Turkey to Greece. The small rubber vessel used capsized in high seas drowning him, his brother and his mother. His father survived.
Aylan's death represents a stark reminder of the tribulations of displaced people and of the lengths and of the risks many take in search of solace away from their war-torn lands. Yet, the Syrian war - waged by Bashar al Assad upon the Syrian people, continues in lieu of the ability of international organizations and powers to close that tragic theater amounting to a failure of humanity.
September 03, 2015
With full pageantry and with a show of new arms, China celebrated the 70th anniversary defeat of Japan in World War II with a full military parade in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, today.
President Xi Jinping basked in the glory as segments of the People's Liberation Army showcased helicopters, to fighter jets,to missile launchers before a large audience at the seat of the communist government. Some 12,000 troops, 200 aircraft, and many tanks were paraded.
Xi was joined by a few world leaders during the display including Vladimir Putin of Russia and Park Geun-hye of South Korea.
Even though it was the Nationalists, now in Taiwan, and not the Communists of Beijing who did most of the fighting and dying for China in World War II, China's anniversary parade provided an event of pride to today's Communists.
September 02, 2015
The young leader for freedom in Hong Kong, Joshua Wong, and two of his peers, pleaded not guilty earlier today to charges stemming out of last year's Umbrella Movement.
Wong, 18, Alex Chow and Nathan Law entered their innocent pleas before a magistrate in Hong Kong and are expected back in court on October 30. They are denying the charges of inciting and participating in an illegal assembly during massive street protests in Hong Kong, last year, against China's stifle grip to retain control over the selection process for the position of chief executive of Hong Kong.
Wong and the other two youth face prison sentences if convicted of the rights charges leveled by authorities. But the arrest, detention, charging and trial of any Hong Kong youth for demonstrating their manifested expressed hopes for their city is preposterous.
Natural law enables each and every being a desire of freedom and of expression. If the Beijing supported charges are upheld against Hong Kong's youths, then China's communists would have succeeded yet again, in gutting the ideals of liberty from the souls of young people under China's rule.
September 01, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog, done again, for emphasis:
Europe's Refugee Crisis: Indicative of the World's Failure to Effect Peace
In the latest development in the European refugee crisis, Hungarian authorities have closed the main train terminal in Budapest to migrants, thus impeding their hopeful westward trek in search of solace in Germany via Austria. Hungary's decision was obviously influenced by pressure from other European Union(EU) states fearing that Hungary was diluting the crisis away from its borders, and onto those of others.
Hungary has expressed very little interest in hosting sums of migrants from the Middle East and from North Africa. Hungary is a lay-over country for refugees seeking to migrate elsewhere throughout Europe where they feel more welcomed.
With tens of thousands of war-fleeing people encroaching upon European borders, and with nations, cities and towns struggling to host, to impede and to return some of the migrants, Europe is confronted by the sum effect of war and conflict elsewhere that the international community has failed to end.
Moreover, that the Syrian war from which most of the displaced people are fleeing has been allowed to run so long, demonstrates the diminishing influence of international organizations and powers to effect peace.
Europe will continue to see surges in displaced people at its door steps as long as the Syrian war continues. Asylum seekers will find shelter in a few places until a workable solution per the process of accepting and allotting refugees per welcomed nations, is ironed out or until Bashar al Assad's war ends.
On a brighter side, some ordinary people within Europe are showing extraordinary sympathy to the cause of asylum seekers. In Iceland, which has agreed to take in a meager 50 refugees, one Icelandic woman has gone to great length to create a Facebook Page to petition her neighbors and government to allow in more refugees. So far, 12,000 residents have responded with one man admitting he can house and feed five refugees at his home.
But the people of Europe should not have to carry the burden of Assad's war upon the Syrian people.
If the Iraq war was a bad war to have entered, then Syria is the epitome for international action on humanitarian grounds alone. It is not too late for the world community to recapture some its lost reputation for failing to end the human travesty that is the Syrian war.
August 31, 2015
As Thursday's Beijing celebration approaches marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II, Beijing's government, in the interest of future peace, should find it necessary to tone down the anti-Japanese rhetoric it has allowed to flourish across China recently.
On the premise that sons and daughters must not be held accountable for the transgressions of their fathers, mothers and fore-parents, China should accept the apologies offered by Japan for its past atrocities. But China's flaring of anti-Japanese sentiments leading up to Thursday's celebration and beyond is a dangerous precedent to set in the post-war cooperation era.
Further insistence from China that Japan explicitly apologizes each year for the undertakings of a prior generation will not augur well for peace, security and stability on the East China Sea.
On the other hand, China must never forget the crimes committed by Japan against the Chinese people. But China should not re-infect old wounds not inflicted by today's Japanese people. In the past week, thousands of Japan's youth have marched for peace as they object to their country's new policy to engage in military missions for the first time since World War II. Hence, Japan's youth have demonstrated that their Japan is one of non-war.
However, China's attempts to keep history current could amount to a state of perpetual instability, insecurity and conflict with its brother Japan. Therefore, for peace sake, China should accept history as an event never to be repeated and as a past left in the past and not transcended to be blamed on today's generations.
August 30, 2015
Egypt's Objection to Analyses of its Judicial and Political Actions Will not Alter Already Sown Instability
When a two year systematic crackdown - charging, trying and sentencing opposition members, dissenters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood to jail and to death, was underscored with prison sentences to three journalists yesterday over free speech, today, Egyptian authorities are protesting international analyses of its actions and implications of its judicial and political decisions.
While many analysts agree that the sum of the actions taken by the Sisi government and the Egyptian judiciary over the past two years will inevitably promote instability within Egypt, as some dissenters become more radicalized, the Sisi foreign ministry took serious offense to remarks British Ambassador John Casson made following the press freedom jail sentencing of three Al-Jazeera journalists.
Ambassador Casson, according to the Associated Press(AP), reacting to the Egyptian sentences, rightfully said that such actions by the judiciary could "undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt's stability, both in Egypt and abroad."
Objecting to the ambassador's view, Egypt's foreign ministry summoned the British diplomat claiming his comments as an "unacceptable interference" in Egypt's judiciary.
But Egypt's claim must be rejected because its judiciary and government have acted concertedly to stifle dissent in Egypt and in doing so, both arms of authorities have sown other dissent within Egypt from Cairo to the Sinai. Moreover, recent violent attacks upon police and the armed forces in Egypt support the analysis of the further radicalization of some opponents to the Sisi administration.
Also, tour operators at Giza would confirm that business is not good. From Washington, DC, to London, to Paris and to Brussels, travel agents will readily confirm that package tours to Egypt have declined.
Thus, international tourism to Egypt has fallen. Why? Because confidence in the stability of Egypt has been undermined by both political and judicial actions of the Sisi government. Egypt's objection to the reality of its stability will not alter what seeds of dissent the government has already sown.
August 29, 2015
The Damning of Egyptian Stability via Judicial and Political Actions
An Egyptian court earlier today sentenced three journalists to three-year prison terms on flimsy charges of operating without a press license and for broadcasting material deemed harmful to Egypt.
On sentencing Mohammed Fahmy - a Canadian, Baher Mohammed - an Egyptian and Peter Greste - an Australian, who was deported from the country in February; all Al Jazeera journalists, Egypt has affirmed its questionable respect of human rights and of freedom of the people and of the Press, while it has confirmed its damning political and judicial actions aimed to raise instability and insecurity and to promote dissent in the land of the Pharaohs.
The jail sentences meted to these journalists cap a two-year systematic effort by the Sisi government to jail, and to sentence to death any perceived dissenters to the solidification of Sisi's power.
Throngs of opposition members, protesters and Muslim Brotherhood members have been tried in groups of hundreds at single trials - sentenced to long sentences, life sentences and death sentences in Egypt in the past two years.
But Sisi and his administration are constantly reminded that their questionable human rights actions against dissenters have continued to bring to wrought radicalized violence from Cairo to Sinai. Yet, Sisi's authorities continue to dispense their style of justice and political action on the fallible notion that dissent could be jailed and killed away.
Therefore, based upon the sum of erroneous political actions and judicial decisions undertaken by Egyptian authorities, they have damned Egypt's stability to the reactionary violence of radicals.
August 28, 2015
For emphasis, again today here on Asia Today, I re-post My Blog:
Fight or Flight - the Taken Option of Refugees
Nature has endowed animal species with two characteristics to cope with attack - fight or flight.
Most deer, lacking fangs and sharp incisors, respond to an attack via flight. Most canines and felines, with strong jaws and teeth and sharp claws, will fight once attacked - they are armed.
In the highest specie of animals - humans, having the ability to use tools(weapons) and possessing strong cognitive traits; respond to attacks based upon moral choices, the availability of weapons and upon the ease and opportunity to organize with each other to defend against a foe or foes.
Hence, the large throng of non women, non children and non elderly refugees seeking comfort in Europe away from conflicts and wars, have explicitly exercised the flight option to dangers in their homes.
However, the question arises as to whether of not the able bodied men seeking solace in Europe could have been organized and armed in defense of the safety of their homes, thus averting the present immigration crisis on the continent?
If the international organizations and the stalwarts of freedom and of the rights and of the protection of humankind had had the foresight to try to organize and to arm each and every able-bodied man refugee in defense of his homeland, what would have been the response?
More than likely, given the displacement experience of any able-bodied man, that man would fight to the death in defense of his home if he is armed and if he is allowed to organize with his peers for the common protection of the homeland.
Therefore, in the future, as able-bodied displaced men are hosted in camps, such places could serve as an opportune recruitment center to organize and to arm potential refugees to return to defend their homes from attack.
Possibly, just possibly, such organization and arming of the displaced could reduce the number of refugees seeking to flee fighting, thus reducing any economic and social strains to potential asylum nations.
August 27, 2015
Again today, I re-post My Blog here on Asia Today for emphasis:
The Solution to Europe's Deepening Migrant Crisis: Ending Conflicts at the Sources of Immigration
The bodies of 50 refugees seeking solace in Europe were found suffocated to death in an abandoned truck in eastern Austria earlier today. In the hold of a broken down vessel off the coast of Libya, another 51 bodies of displaced people have been discovered.
In the past year, Great Britain, according to the its Office of National Statistics, has recorded its highest number of immigrants - 330,000. Authorities in Hungary yesterday detained 3,241 refugee seekers, its highest daily figure exceeding the prior day's number by 700. Thus far in 2015, 181,500 refugees have entered Greece from the sea. On Wednesday 3,000 asylum seekers crossed into Serbia. The BBC-News reports that last month, a record 107,500 migrants crossed the borders of the European Union(EU).
While Germany has urged EU states to share the burden of the increasing numbers of refugees, with Germany itself expecting some 800,000 asylum seekers this year alone, the surging refugee crisis within Europe appears highly complex to solve through simply opening up borders to an open-ended throng of people.
Immigration is good for all countries. Yet, there is a point of equilibrium per immigration that if attained, and passed, could result in the destabilization of some nations - giving strength to right-wing groups, creating undue strains upon national infrastructures and flaring conflicts between immigrants and citizens, as both groups compete for limited employment.
Therefore, the only feasible solution to Europe's deepening immigration crisis must be at the sources of immigration- ending conflicts and wars in those lands.
The shameful humanitarian-damning war Bashar al Assad has waged against the Syrian people has undoubtedly costs more to the Syrian people and to other nations, than it has costs the hereditary despot.
That more than 200,000 people have died thus far in the Syrian war, and that millions of Syrians have been displaced from Assad's responsibility to the welfare of others, is more than sufficient evidence to justify Assad's departure from the Levant.
Moreover, the insurgency of the Islamic State(IS) in Iraq, along with fighting in Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, are all events that will send more displaced people to Europe.
Hence, it must be more viable and economical, in both the human toll and in resources, for the international community to launch a concerted effort to end the conflicts within the sources of European immigration as a mean to solving the current people crisis on the continent.
August 26, 2015
That 40 percent of the value of Chinese stocks have been erased since June 12, 2015 could be a catalyst to political change in China, is likely, yet not highly probable under the dominance of the one-party communists.
President Xi Jinping has solidified his position atop the Chinese pyramid of power and with less then 3 percent of Chinese people owning stocks, the immediate effect of the falling stock market upon the average Chinese might not be immediately felt, thus Xi's power might not be questioned.
However, China's volatility in the stock market could encourage Hong Kong to seek a wider diversification from the mainland.
August 25, 2015
The Realism of China's Market Correction and the Global Effects
What goes up must come down. And China's main stock market - the Shanghai Index, more than doubled in the 12-months up to mid-June, 2015, the BBC-News reported early this morning.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the main stock market of the communists has been plunging over the past two weeks - reaching an-eight-year low last Friday, falling farther yesterday and again today, despite a multi-billion dollar cash infusion from the Beijing government and its cohorts to influence the 'invisible hands' of market forces.
Over valuation of Chinese stocks, the lack of public transparency, weak manufacturing numbers and simple fate are all contributing to falling stock prices in China. But a real concern to the West should become sparked once China's inevitable hiccups sharply effect and influence western markets to the point where Asian faltering, sends jitters through American markets - lowering the main indices to four percent and reducing the average 401-K plan by $6,000 to $9,000.
Wall Street, which has banked on the all-power people-controlling Beijing government to whip and to maintain stability in China, has failed to diversify American exposure to adverse global markets in light of the many signals sent by Chinese markets. Moreover, Wall Street has failed to consider the up tick in arrogant rhetoric emitting from the Beijing government in recent months. Despite China's over consumption of many world products, it is still a non-democratic government, thus it remains prone to volatility.
Like the drinker that calls for "one-more for the road" and ends up having three before a calamity, like the gambler winning a wad of cash and insisting on one more spin before losing losing all his winnings and his family's savings, Wall Street has remained in bed in communist China for far too long.
Though this Chinese market correction is not a calamity to China since less than three percent of its population owns stocks and because the country still has a large stash of cash, it should serve as yet another alarm for Wall Street to hedge against future Asian market corrections with the premise in mind that as no company is too big not to fail, then no economy is too big not to fall.
August 24, 2015
Of Our Future
The future of humanity is bright. Yet, it could become muddied and soiled by actors failing to play their responsible roles as protectors of the systems and the elements needed to sustain serenity.
Today, as millions of future generations return to their formal education after summer recess, the world should be reminded of the enormous task placed before the growing youth as safe-keepers of humanity and of the health and welfare of planet Earth.
Youth is the vanguard of all beneficial change in society and although many forthcoming generations might appear to grasp their future responsibilities, they will need much help from the present generation in order to make their tasks sustainable.
The present generation must not rollover to the generations of the future any reminisces of conflicts, of wars, of inequality, of injustice nor of environmental destruction. To do such would be passing on the created transgressions of the past to the future. And just as sons and daughters should never pay for the sins of their mothers and fathers, future generations should not be made to carry any tainted and slanted load of the present generation.
Therefore, it becomes sufficient and necessary for all of humankind to show empathy toward one another and to work by international cooperation to solve the present ills of humanity - from Syrian war, to the Libyan and Yemeni conflicts, to the violence of South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, to the incursions
in Ukraine and on the South China Sea, to the immigration issues of Europe and the Americas and to the abridgment of freedoms and rights in China, Myanmar and Thailand.
Brightness should never be dulled. The radiance of youth and the prospects of humanity should never be allowed to become matted by the trifled few seeking to hinder the perpetual development of the human spirit. Justice, freedom, equality and environmental protection must remain as the rallying cries.
August 23, 2015
Tribulations of the Displaced to and within Europe
Displaced people, risking life and limb to find refugee from conflict and war zones in Libya, Syria and Iraq, are finding that their tribulations do not end on leaving the sands of danger.
The exodus to solace is imperil by dangerous journeys aboard unsafe vessels, blockades of security forces and police; and should the displaced be fortunate enough to find asylum, there they encounter protest and violence from Europe's right-wing groups that are avidly opposed to immigration.
Last week as thousands of displaced people amassed at the Macedonia-Greece border hoping to make the arduous trek to freedom farther within Europe, Macedonian forces employed stun grenades and clubs upon the hundreds of men, women and children.
Macedonian authorities, displaying an unsympathetic attitude to the displaced people - many of whom had survived the war zones of Syria and of Iraq only to find half-freedom in the refugee camps of Turkey before venturing for full freedom deeper within Europe, were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of immigrants arriving at a rate of some 2,000 a-day.
Eventually Macedonian authorities could not contain the bodies longing for freedom, so the displaced pushed themselves onto trains and other forms of transport to seek comfort.
However, what lies ahead for many displaced asylum seekers might not be a pretty picture if right-wing protests and riots against immigrants witnessed yesterday in Dresden, Germany, is indicative of any broad European reception to new immigrants.
Right-wing protests and riots in Dresden on Saturday against the opening a 600- asylum shelter in the east German city, injured 31 police officers, the Associated Press(AP) reported. Rioters threw bottles, stones and firecrackers at police. As reported by the AP, during the first six-months of this year, at least 173 right-wing incidents related to refugees in Germany, have been recorded.
While the German government has condemned all attacks against immigrants, with 800,000 refugees expected in Germany this year, the questions arise as to when and at what point will the tribulations of displaced people end?
August 22, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog for today, done for emphasis.
To Deter the Evolving Use and Scale of Violence by the Radicalized
Compelling evidence of the stark evolutionary and revolutionary use and scale of violence by the radicalized to disrupt and to scare civil society, was demonstrated by the modus operandi of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City by terrorists in 2001.
Subsequently, further evidence as to the length and complexity heinous radicals would dare venture in attempts to inflict harm upon innocents, has been shown through the arrest of the 'shoe-bomber' aboard an aircraft. While many sophisticated methods to carry out acts of violence upon peaceful society have been thwarted, some were not.
Yesterday, brave United States(US) servicemen foiled a possible massacre by a radicalized criminal on board a train in Europe, thus underscoring the present and ongoing danger innocents face from the radicalized.
Therefore, it is imperative that humanity employs all means available to deter violent acts by the radicalized. And to this end, ongoing efforts to identify and to diffuse potentially violent radicals must be widened.
The engagement of individuals at risk of becoming radicalized should be strengthened through community outreach programs, sports, cultural and after- school activities.
However, such traditional engagements practiced to promote calm in many urban communities, might not prove to be sufficient to deter radicalization. But a more radical approach to purge radicalization and extremism might also become necessary.
To this end, the engagement of potential radicals under the blaring sun and in the rocky highlands could be a means of demonstrating to them the irreversible pain and suffering radicalized violence has upon innocents.
In other words, it could become necessary to stoke radicalization under controlled settings as a means to deterring the evolutionary and revolutionary use and scale of violence against civil society.
August 21, 2015
Accountability, transparency, reform and greater protection of the people must be highlighted by the communists authorities in Beijing following the recent chemical warehouse blasts in the port city of Tianjin that claimed 116 lives and injured 700.
Moreover, the need for the Beijing government to provide more transparency and safeguards to the Chinese people is underscored by the discovery of prior warnings of possible "grave accidents and casualties" in the chemical sector.
As reported by Reuters, a state-backed research paper prior to the Tianjin blasts warned of the risk of "grave accidents and casualties" in the chemical industry and following an explosion in another city blamed on lax safety controls. A review by
Reuters of Chinese documents and data, state media reports and interviews with foreign industry executives and consultants, showed that safety lapses in China's chemical supply chain have long been a source of concern.
Reuters reported that 4,000 people were killed in about 3,600 accidents involving hazardous chemicals in China between 2009 and 2014.
Therefore, as more Chinese seek transparency and safeguards as to the real on goings in their neighborhoods, Beijing must now act to assure the people of their safety.
August 20, 2015
Again today, I re-post My Blog, here on Asia Today for emphasis.
On the Iran Nuclear Deal...
Any gesture, any attempt and any deal to bring stability and security to a region and to the globe, should be supported. Any objections to the diplomacy of nations to forge better international relations and cooperative peace and stability accords with each other, is a prelude to conflict, war and insecurity.
To this end, the Iran nuclear deal must be supported. It offers a framework to chill fanaticism and extremism and it offers the opportunity to welcome Iran back to some form of normalized relations with the West.
It also offers the Iranian people the circumstance to function as peers within the wider global community as it rejects the notion that sons and daughters should perpetually suffer and pay for the shortcomings and flawed ideology of their fathers.
Moreover, with checks and balances in place as part of the nuclear deal, it promotes security in a region that longs for stability.
Therefore, all objections and votes against the deal must shoulder the blame and responsibility of the consequences of circumstances brought to wrought in lieu of the endorsed Iran nuclear deal.
August 19, 2015
As I've done on a number of occasions, today, I re-post My Blog for emphasis here on Asia Today.
Under the Marxist Utopian system of political theory taught to many of us during the years of our fantastic idealized youthfulness, there would be full employment, cooperative production and management and equal sharing of all resources.
Thus, there would be no need for immigration since all the people would dwell in ideal societies and communities.
However, as true as Marx's theory is flawed in its failing to realistically account for the variables of man's greed - his propensity for dominating others; the disproportional allotment of world resources, power and wealth, as well as acts of nature and the influences of history, immigration becomes a necessity for many people in this modern era as it always has been for humankind since the beginning of time from the grasslands of Ethiopia, to the plains of Moab, to the land bridge of the Bering Strait.
Therefore, in lieu of the failing of the powers of international organizations and governments to establish stability in all of the lands of the world, there will be immigration issues as people - families, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, seek a sustainable comfort to existence.
Hence, all the naysayers to immigration from Hungary, Great Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Greece and elsewhere - all immigrants themselves, are wrong, unreasonable, selfish and despicable in their efforts to ban immigration.
Immigration detractors or their forefathers and kin are all culpable of creating or contributing to today's conditions giving rise to a spike in immigration.
Hence, rather than to blatantly object to immigration, detractors could use their widening media access to show some empathy toward immigrants and to assist in developing a sustainable formula to integrate immigrants within their new societies.
August, 18, 2015
CHINA, THAILAND and INDONESIA
Residents of Tianjin, China, are rightfully fuming mad following the recent horrific explosions and fire at the port there that claimed the lives of 114 thus far including over a score firemen, 57 still missing and another 700 injured. Residents are demanding compensation for damaged property, but above all, residents appear eager to ascertain why and how the deadly event occurred so close to residential neighborhoods and why was there such a large concentration of dangerous chemicals stored so close their abodes.
Yet, the Tianjin event underscores the hidden dangers residents face from limited government information per the individual's own safety in a break-neck economy environment.
In Indonesia, Asian airline safety concerns have been brought into question again with the recent crash of a plane there killing all 54 on board. This recent air crash in Indonesia comes fresh on the memory of two Malaysian airline losses - one over the Ukraine and the other somewhere over the Indian Ocean.
In Bangkok, Thailand, a bomb ripped through part of the city in Monday killing 20 people and injuring 100. Said to have been detonated near a Shrine and targeting visitors to that country, the blasts confirms that all is not well in Thailand a place where bloggers have been sentenced to as much of 30-years-in-jail for defaming the Thai revered monarch. Thailand earlier this year refused entry to hundreds of Rohingya refugees as its military government attempts to cement its grip on power in the Asian land.
August 17, 2015
HUMANKIND - at a Defining Crossroad
Who we are; where we are; where we should be headed; and where we are actually heading, are fundamental assessments needed to sustain the civil human experience.
Today, more than ever before, it has become necessary for all of humanity to come to grips and to take stock of the responsible role of each and every individual under the sun, to work for the continued betterment of the current human condition and to speedily put in place the required adaptations and safeguards to sustain planet Earth for generations present and future.
We are the human race - a kaleidoscope of tints, religions, cultures and geographic locations. We are the guardians of planet Earth implanted to procreate and to maintain the gifted lands, seas and air. Yet, this seemingly simple task of maintaining the planet has fallen into disrepair.
We are at a point in the evolution of humankind where the devastating effect of climate change is causing havoc upon eco-systems with more crippling effects to come unless concerted action is taken forthwith, over stark opposition from naysayers blinded by capitalistic profits at the expense of their own offspring, to right a deteriorating condition.
Droughts, wild fires, rising sea levels, more powerful storms, bad air and crumbling earthquakes are all testaments of climate change. And according to the Global Footprint Network, humankind has already consumed more than 100 percent of the Earth's resources for this year and this feat was accomplished on August 13, 2015, earlier than it did last year and in previous years.
We are at a point where displaced people number in the tens of millions with too many disrupted and robbed childhoods of the future generations. We are at a point where the rights and aspirations of people and nations are under attack by those seeking to retain the times and privileges of the feudal lord era. We are at a point where extremism threatens the fabric of modern civility. We are at a point where the civility of diplomacy to forge a better international relationship between nations is being challenged by some wanting to prolong strife and separation, while dangling over a particular region, the possibility of war at any moment.
But humankind should be tasked today with curing diseases, eliminating hunger and poverty and spurring scientific research toward the betterment of humanity.
Yet, unless much is done to reverse many current trends, humankind is headed to an era of major conflicts, wars, natural disasters and global instability.
However, there is hope. Human innovation, tenacity, will, desire and intelligence have triumphed over adversity, naysayers and detractors before. Now is the opportune time for humankind to select the globe-saving option at the defining crossroad simply because it is necessary and because it is the right thing to do for humanity's sake.
July 23, 2015
A Time Out
I'm taking A Time Out from writing beginning today, July 23, until Monday, August 17, 2015. Thanks to all of you for following me during the past two years.
I will travel with my family and spend lots of time with my two younger sons. My two older sons grew too quickly - one day, they were babies, then, suddenly, they were men - college graduates, a Venture Capitalist and a Lawyer to be. I wish to savor more quality moments with my two younger sons before time slips-by too quickly again.
So, I shall put away my pen and my lap top, turn a deaf-ear to World events for a couple of weeks, restricting myself to the iPad to capture glimpses of times I might have missed.
Here's to a safe, stable and enjoyable summer everyone. May God Bless all of you and keep your lands peaceful.
July 22, 2015
EAST CHINA SEA:
China has described as misleading and malicious the annual Japanese defense ministry review on the East China Sea that raised Japanese concerns over China's construction of platforms on the sea.
According to a Reuters report, China said the review overplayed the "China military threat" and stoked tensions between the two East Asian powers.
Japan and China have a running dispute over a group of rocks and isles on the East Asia Sea.
July 21, 2015
EAST CHINA SEA:
Japan's Defense Ministry is demanding that China stops construction of platforms on the East China Sea.
While the Philippines and Vietnam have repeatedly expressed concern and condemnation over China's construction projects on the South China Sea, the Japanese government appears to be growing evenly concerned over China's actions on the East China Sea, where both countries have competing claims.
Earlier today, Japan's defense ministry added a demand into its annual report that China halts all construction projection on the east China Sea, the BBC-News reported.
"We have confirmed that China has started construction of new ocean platforms and we repeat our opposition to unilateral development by China and call fora halt," the ministry declared according to the BBC-News.
July 20, 2015
Consequences of the Failure to Liberate the World's Displaced Children
Deeply concerned and mindful of the plight and of the ramifications of millions of the world's children effected by conflicts and crises, yesterday on My Blog, I offered A Children's Prayer. Later in the afternoon while scanning news headlines of the world, I saw an Associated Press(AP) exclusive report titled: In an IS training camp, children told: Behead the doll.
In the AP report written by Zeina Karam and Bram Janssen, it revealed the practice of the extremist group the Islamic State(IS) to indoctrinate captured children into the execution of violence through beheading - first showing the children videos of actual beheading acts, then training the children to kill by performing the heinous acts upon dolls.
"It is part of a concerted effort by the extremists to build a new generation of militants," the report found from interviews conducted with residents who fled or still live under IS in Syria and Iraq.
Therefore, it becomes more imperative that a renewed global effort be re-energized to liberate all displaced children. If the adage is true that children are the vanguard of all change in society, then it becomes doubly crucial that more be done to free and to ameliorate the dire affairs of the world's displaced children.
Unprecedented violence, instability and anarchy are the stark consequences of the failure to liberate the world's displace children today. Hence, an end to the war in Syria, perpetrated by Bashar al Assad, would be a smart start to hedging against the decay of civility into bloody violence, chaos and lawlessness.
July 19, 2015
A Children's Prayer
Almighty God, before you the world stands to be judged. I pray that in executing this judgment, you may grant merciful relief to the innocent children of conflicts across the globe.
I beg Father that you provide comfort and sanctuary to the children victims of the Syrian war. I humbly bequest that you provide safekeeping to the children of South Sudan, Central African Republic, Gaza, Ukraine, Libya, Nigeria, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Yemen. Also, Most Holy Father, I ask that you equip the children of Greece with the strength needed to weather the forthcoming economic hardships.
May your will be done as I pray these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
July 18, 2015
The insidious treatment and detainment of 20 foreign tourists by Chinese authorities for over a week must be condemned.
Though the last of the group was finally released and deported from China earlier today, the circumstances under which the group was held in the first place has already brought condemnation from the international community, and has rightfully embarrassed China as a destination point of uncertainty to visitors.
On July, 10, the group which had been on a tour of China's historic places, was visiting the supposed last resting place of Genghis Khan, the Mongol conqueror of China, at Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Chinese territory. Naturally, the group viewed a documentary of Genghis Khan. As a result for innocently watching the documentary, Chinese official detained the group, accusing it of viewing banned terrorist videos.
But the detainment of the tourists group, which included nine British citizens, did not last two-hours or 24-hours, the last of the group was detained in a Chinese detention center for eight days - a time deplorable of civil society, and affirming of the dangers facing any visitor to China in spite of the fact that Chinese visitors roam the world detention-free.
July 17, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog, done for emphasis and its importance to societies...
The Ongoing Security Threat to Civil Society Posed by the Maladjusted Within
Violent, maladjusted, radicalized and non-patriotic individuals pose a continuing threat to the security and serenity of civil society.
From Canada, to France, to Belgium, to Great Britain, to the United States and beyond, callous cowardly acts by maladjusted perpetrators serve as reminders of the often stark grim reality of the modern era.
While some potential perpetrators could be identified early, it remains almost impossible to predict and to prevent many of these violent attacks by 'lone wolves'.
However, as part of ongoing efforts to safeguard against these attacks upon civility, it becomes imperative that fair justice be adjudged to all, their families and their loved ones, and that there is no undue scrutiny exacted against individuals that would force them to become radicalized.
Moreover, avenues to community involvement into governance must be sustained and strengthened to ensure redress of grievances and the lauding of patriotism. And above all, the full weight of the law must be brought to wrought upon all individuals found actively planning or carrying out any acts of terror upon the societies that have given them haven and stability.
It is with a heavy heart and with sincere condolences to the loved ones of four unarmed Marines killed yesterday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that we must face this 17th day of July, 2015 - a painful reality of the stark violence confronting civil society from the maladjusted within.
July 16, 2015
United Nations(UN) human rights investigators are demanding China end a crack down on lawyers which they say may have broken the international body's Declaration on Human Rights, the UN Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers and China's own criminal procedures.
China has started to crackdown and to detain lawyers mainly associated with the defense of rights accused. But "Lawyers should never have to suffer prosecution or any kind of sanctions or intimidation for discharging their professional duties," the UN said in a statement reported by Reuters earlier today.
The United States(US) and the European Union(EU) have criticized China's systematic detentions and crackdowns and have both called for the release of all those detained.
July 15, 2015
A Greek Lesson That's Still Evolving
The Greek financial crisis is far from over despite the austere agreement to enter into talks aim at debt relief and to more credit. Yet, an evolving lesson is emerging from the financial fiasco of the oldest democracy that will have global implications well into future generations.
The lesson is that there are inherent structural, social and political differences within any union of states. Though these differences may exist naturally, Greece is teaching that these matters are best addressed early and clandestinely, so as to avoid running the risk of opening up a union of states to rupture and also to avoid creating precedence for future crises arising within the union.
Many warning signs of Greece's degradation into the financial abyss were not heeded nor corrected by the Greeks and its creditors. Greece was allowed to spiral out of control within a union designed to promote cohesiveness and stability.
The Maastricht Treaty was implemented to avoid the Greek tragedy. That fellow European Union(EU) members allowed matters to deteriorate to today's level, must be attributed to the inherent social and political differences between the Greeks and its EU peers.
Hence, unions of states should develop a structure to sound brotherly membership, which would accommodate and compensate for inherent differences within the union, as a means to hedging against future fall out from any chaos created by crises that might effect the membership body and any new potential members.
July 14, 2015
Chinese communist authorities have shot dead three Uyghurs in a raid executed at a rental house in Shenyang, Liaoning province.
Though some 2,500 miles away from heavily Uyghur minority populated Xinjiang province, the city of Shenyang proved to be a place of no immunity to the Muslim Uyghurs from the increased scrutiny of communist authorities across China.
Authorities have claimed that the three killed Uyghurs and a wounded one were terror suspects, who armed themselves with knives and resisted police during a raid upon a rental house in the capital city of Liaoning province, on Monday. Three children and a woman were also detained by police during the raid.
China has blamed much violence upon the Uyghur Muslim minority, whom Beijing consider as separatists - an accusation refuted by rights groups, who have determined that most Uyghurs seek religious freedom and retention of their culture, in the face of a sprawling Han expansion into Xinjiang province.
Many Uyghurs have fled Xinjiang and China. Some have found new homes in Turkey while many others have not been so fortunate. Thailand last week ignored rights activists' pleas and deported 109 Uyghurs back into the custody of China.
July 13, 2015
An austere Greek agreement...
The Austere Reality of Greece - to Lose Sovereignty for Financing
Greece did not exercise the option to walk away from an avalanche of austerity policies demanded by its creditors. Instead, it reached a stinging social-changing austere agreement with its European creditors earlier today, which would keep the oldest democracy within the euro zone, but at the humiliating price of having its sovereignty weakened and its financial health determined by the graces of its euro peers.
But Greece's crisis is far from over since its Parliament is yet to endorse the harsh agreement and to enact new demanded laws form its creditors by a Wednesday night deadline, before actual negotiations to receiving money, could get started.
The agreement Greece reached in an attempt to secure a $95 billion three-year-package, demands the Greek Parliament enacts legislation to address spending cuts, tax hikes and pension reforms. Moreover, $50 billion of its state's assets are to be transferred out of Greek control to be sold to repay debt without any Greek input.
"We managed to avoid the most extreme measures," thought Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, "Greece will fight to return to growth and to reclaim its lost sovereignty," he hoped. According to the Associated Press(AP), German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that along with the deal, "trust needs to be rebuilt...Greece has a chance to return to growth...it will be a long road."
And a long unpredictable road it will be for Greece. "Clearly the Europe of austerity has won," said Greece's Reform Minister George Katrougalos, as reported by Reuters. He also told the BBC-News: "Either we are going to accept these draconian measures or it is the sudden death of our economy through the continuation of the closure of the banks. So it is an agreement that is practically forced upon us."
Greece's present debt stands at $357 billion. Striking any sort of a deal with its European creditors was crucial to Greece - a member of the euro zone, from which there is no mechanism for an exit. Thus, in lieu of any agreement, Greece's economy could have collapsed and the country forced into bankruptcy.
Yet, with the new agreement, the crisis is far from over because the Greek Parliament must endorse the plan and pass demanded legislation by Wednesday night. There is dissent in the legislature to austerity policies. Hence, some political sacrifices and fights could emerge from the parliament before the deadline. Will the Tsipras government survive? And if so, for how long? The Parliament must now confirm or deny a weakened Greece sovereignty.
July 12, 2015
More on Greece...
To Walk or not to Walk - a Final Greek Alternative to Avoid Further Humiliation before the Eurozone
As if the audacity of the Greek Prime Minister to go against the expressed vote of his people and to throw the nation into the austere pockets of creditors was not enough, the Eurogroup in failing thus far to grant a deal to Greece, appears to be demanding the soul of Greece through more concessions, in order to rebuild trust and credibility with the financially-drowning Greek government as a means to easing the Greek financial crisis.
Talks described as "very difficult" between Greece and the Eurogroup (the grouping of 19 countries that share the Euro currency) have been extended prompting a rare cancellation of a broader European Union(EU) summit, which was slated for today, to discuss possible implications from a Greek deal or to manage the fallout from a failed deal and a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, the BBC-News reported.
"The conditionality presented by the Greeks is simply not enough," quipped Finland's finance minister, Alexander Stubb. Though hopeful of a deal, he categorized the potential of reaching a deal as "somewhere between three and four" on a scale between one and ten, according to the BBC-News.
Joroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup head, described the talks with Greece as "very difficult." He admitted that "...the issue of credibility and trust was discussed" and that the group would continue to meet until talks on Greece were concluded.
However, talks have reached a point where the Eurogroup appears suspect of Greece's credibility and trust.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras went against the "no" referendum of his people and in an attempt to appease creditors, he proposed: increasing taxes on shipping companies; unifying a 23 percent sales tax to include restaurants and catering services; phasing out the solidarity grant for pensioners by 2019; a $332 million defense spending cut by 2016; privatization of ports and selling-off the remaining shares in the telecom giant company; and removing a 30 percent tax break for the wealthiest Greek islands.
In going against the expressed mandate of his people, Tsipras threw everything including the 'kitchen sink' and his socialist ideals into the humbling proposal to creditors.
However, the Eurogroup demands more from Greece before a deal could be reached, including immediate Greek legislation on Monday to reform taxation, pensions and administration. No write down of debt has been offered.
Hence, the Eurogroup appears to be punishing Greece's prior stubborn stance against austerity, these demands from creditors could amount to more humiliation of the Greek people.
"What is at play here is an attempt to humiliate Greece and Greeks, or to overthrown the Tsipras government," concluded European Parliament vice president, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, also a member of Greece's ruling Syriza party.
Therefore, to save any further humiliation, Greece has the option to walk from the euro zone instead of facing ridicule and humiliating expulsion. Deal or no deal between Greece and the euro zone, the house of the Greeks will never be the same again, and regarding trust between the parties - it has been severely damaged, and whether or not it is repairable rests squarely upon the decision of the euro zone.
July 11, 2015
Further observations on Greece...
The Greek Swing - a Betrayal of the People or an Economy of Reality?
There must be a number of confused people across Greece today. And unless the new Greek about-face proposal to stabilize its indebtedness and to secure new credit, is accepted by its creditors, then provides immediate cash relief to the Greeks, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could face an enormous political backlash at home.
Not to mention the financial fiasco Greece has experienced in the past five years, the Greeks entered 2015 by electing a new anti-austerity prime minister and government. Facing the possibility of more dictated austere terms for new loans, the Greek electorate reaffirmed their faith in the anti-austerity prime minister and government in referendum last Sunday - delivering a mandate to non-austerity policies, and a willingness to chart unproven waters in the current financial crisis.
But despite an affirmation from the people to fight austerity, the prime minister made a u-turn on austerity - accepting most of the said austere terms he had opposed. Prime Minister Tsipras' swing has now been approved by the Greek Parliament, which voted 251-32, to support the new austere proposal seeking desperately needed cash and credit.
Greece has offered pension cuts and tax hikes as sweeteners to gaining $59.47 billion to cover debts until 2018, and this sum could increase as it also negotiates a restructuring of some of its debt. Creditors have viewed the new proposal "...as a basis for negotiation."
Describing his new stance, Prime Minister Tsipras, according to the BBC-News, has explained: "It is choice of high national responsibility, we have a national duty to keep our people alive...we will succeed not only to stay in Europe but to live as equal peers with dignity and pride."
Prime Minister Tsipras has sought within his constraints to cushion his Greek people as much as possible from inevitable forthcoming belt-tightening policies. He hasn't betrayed the Greeks. The frightening reality of Greece's indebtedness and the poor state of its financial books, have forced Tsipras to make decisions he never conceived back in January.
Inexperienced and confronted by such gargantuan financial troubles, Prime Minister Tsipras panicked, feared making an austerity call alone, called a snapped referendum, hoped to have received concessions from creditors, but in the end and painfully, he has accepted the defeat of idealism by realism.
Hence, the Greek saga; and should creditors not accept Greece's new self-imposed austere proposal, enormous troubles will await Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens and throughout the isles of Greece.
July 10, 2015
Once again on Greece...
Greece U-Turns on Austerity - Idealism Yields to Realism
Greece met the deadline to offer unto creditors a proposal to address its indebtedness and to secure new credit. The submitted plan, to avert financial implosion in the oldest democracy, contains much of the same terms international bankers had been insisting on and of which Greek voters rejected in referendum last Sunday.
Thus, the u-turn on austerity by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, underscores the shambles of the Greek financial books and Greece's limited choice of a real viable alternative to the austere terms its creditors have been seeking.
Hence, the tenacious audacity shown to austerity by the Greeks in recent weeks, will now humbly and inevitably yield to the realism of a nation's dire indebtedness and the forthcoming harsh social-changing policies.
As reported by the Associated Press(AP) earlier today, the new Greek plan would include pension cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a three-year $60 billion financial support program and some form of debt relief.
In a positive gesture to Greece, French President Francois Hollande described the proposal as "serious and credible", according to the AP; while chairman of the euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, according to the BBC-News, called the proposal "a thorough piece of text."
Social eases to prosperity are good elated ideals wished by many. However, realism, time, indebtedness and prevailing circumstances often throw curves upon lofty hopes. Overtime, with some adaptations - elated ideals could flourish again for Greece and become successful. But today, the Greeks have affirmed that realism trumps idealism in dealing with debt and attempting to gain credit from the world's money managers.
July 09, 2015
Thailand should be condemned for earlier today deporting 109 Uyghurs to China despite international humanitarian appeals that the group could face persecution back in China.
"For reasons of realpolitik, Bangkok callously treated these Uyghurs as expendable pawns to be sacrificed to big brother China in clear violation of international rights standards," declared Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, as reported by the Associated Press(AP).
The 109 Uyghurs had been detained in Thailand for more than a year and during that time international human rights groups asked Thailand to relocate the group elsewhere. Turkey had said it would have taken all 109. Many Uyghurs have come under intense persecution by Beijing's communists in Xinjiang province, where many have even been prevented from fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Thai officials claim the group was released to China after the communists assured that "their safety is guaranteed." In contrast, the World Uyghur Congress has said that those Uyghurs repatriated could face criminal charges and harsh punishment, possibly execution, under China's opaque legal system - the reasons they fled China in the first place, the AP reported.
July 08, 2015
While most of the world's attention has been focused on Greece and its struggle with indebtedness and negotiations with creditors, a financial crisis has been looming in China.
China's stock market has been sliding, and that's a mild term, in fact, it appears that the market has been cascading - dropping 40 percent since June, and despite an infusion of billions of dollars by vested parties in an attempt to stabilize the market. Yet, fearing a sustain fall in the stock market, many small investors have been rushing to sell their positions, thus prompting scores of companies to stop trading in their stock to avert any further losses.
But China is still very well heeled with savings and for the bull-minded investor, there is hope that manipulation by government and deeply vested parties could bring some stability back to the stock market.
However, if the adage "what goes up must come down" is true, then China appears poised to suffer further reductions either now, or soon after a propped-up period of manipulated calm.
July 07, 2015
A Final thought on the Greek affair.
To Exit or Not to Exit - What Happens to Greece has Wider Implications
Whether or not Greece voluntarily leaves the euro zone, or is forced out; its retention depends on the receptiveness of the currency grouping to the democratic spirit of the Greek people. And if the oldest democracy is forced out, it would indicate a growing rift within the broader European Union(EU).
As a member of the euro zone - the grouping of 19-countries sharing the euro currency, Greece should be accorded all the necessary privileges to stabilizing its indebtedness and to securing new credit.
If the euro zone forces Greece out because of the democratically upheld vote of the Greeks to reject the terms of a proposed plan to debt stabilization, then the entire euro zone should be condemned for punishing the will of a free nation. Moreover, forcing Greece from the euro zone would paint the currency grouping as a dictating club bent on imposing its fiscal conservative economics upon the democratic sovereignty of members.
Therefore, in lieu of any confirmation of the euro zone acting as a dictator, the euro zone should continue to work with Greece with a view to stabilizing the nation's indebtedness while it remains within the grouping and with respect of Greek customs.
Should all efforts fail to accord Greece its full privileges of euro zone membership, it would confirm a fissure within the EU that would be affirmed and widened with a planned United Kingdom(UK) vote to exit the union.
July 06, 2015
The Greeks have decided democratically, hence I re-post My Blog here on Asia Today and I will again tomorrow before returning to direct Asian affairs. Thanks for reading.
A Resounding Greek Rejection in Referendum of Proposed Austerity Terms
The Greek people went to the polls yesterday, and in their masses, they resoundingly rejected austerity terms proposed by international bankers as a means to stabilizing the nation's indebtedness.
Pressured in negotiations over austerity terms with international bankers, and facing a deepening financial crisis at home, the Greek Socialist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, elected on an anti-austerity platform in January, shocked international financiers last week when he opted to allow his people in referendum to accept or to reject the terms of international bankers to stabilizing Greece's debt and to securing more credit.
The snap referendum was answered as the people of Greece by a 61 to 39 percent margin, rejected the austerity terms of international bankers. And in doing so, the Greeks affirmed their confidence in the new Prime Minister as a guardian of Greek custom, culture, welfare and continuity.
As to what the future holds for Greece, one thing is ascertained: the Greeks will go forward as a single national unit upholding the ideals of democracy and of hope to prosperity.
Hence, any elitist attitudes within the financing block of Greek creditors, must now adhere to the democratic will and exercise of the Greek people, and accordingly, extend to the people of the oldest democracy, all considerations applicable to the stabilizing of its debt and unimpeded access to necessary credit.
June 04, 2015
Tiananmen Square - the 26th Anniversary
Tens of thousands of people are amassing in Hong Kong in a vigil to mark the 26th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre that killed untold numbers of young democracy seekers in Beijing, China's capital.
It was during protests by students calling for democratic reforms when the Chinese Army sat upon the students killing and jailing many. And to this day, the Chinese government has failed to provide a satisfactory accounting of the events or of the true numbers of martyrs.
Yet, while the Communists in Beijing have taken great steps over the years to restrict and to deny protests at Tiananmen Square to mark the event, freedom lovers in Hong Kong continue to pay homage to those martyred and to resurrect their own aspirations for democratic reforms in the former British colony.
Now, it is night in Hong Kong, and thousand upon thousands of the young and of the old have been drawn to the city center to remember Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989.
Hong Kong, which has had its own mini-June 4 event with last year's occupy central movement by local students calling for democratic reforms, could witness another protest for freedom as a June 17 date looms for city to vote on a Beijing-vetted electoral package that democrats say makes a mockery of pledges to eventually grant the city universal suffrage, Reuters reported.
But on this night, June 4, 2015, in Hong Kong and in Taipei, Taiwan, yellow umbrellas will fill the air in hopes of freedom - a freedom for all the people to have true government of the people by the people.
June 03, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
An International Ruling is Needed on the South China Sea
A ruling by an International body in response to disputed territorial claims on the South Chine Sea is needed in order to avert an almost imminent conflict.
China has laid claim to some 90 percent of the sea upon which some $5 billion worth of trade traverses every year. China's claim is disputed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and others.
And while some of the claimants have undertaken some form of reclamation work or another on the various rocks and isles on the natural resource rich South China Sea, China has taken much criticism because it appears to militarize the sea while encroaching upon the exclusive economic zone of smaller nations, in clear violation of International Law.
Recent reports detailed that China, among other things, is building an aircraft landing strip on the disputed islands along with housing mobile artillery systems.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino has repeatedly warned the international community of China's actions that he likened to clear aggression. Yesterday, as he traveled to Japan, President Aquino compared China's assertions on the South China Sea as similar to Nazi expansionism pre-World War II.
Therefore, in light on China's actions and claims on the South China Sea and the competing claims of smaller nations accompanied by warnings and concerns of the Philippines, and International body such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), should render a decision in respect to territorial claims on the South China Sea so that conflict could be averted.
June 02, 2015
My Blog for today, is being re-posted here on Asia Today, for emphasis.
Thoughts on Russia, China, Syria, Myanmar, the Islamic State, etal - Toward Global Stability
While many nations continue to repair and to rebound their economies after the global financial crisis of the early 2000s, a few actors, agitations and circumstances now pose a fresh threat to overall global wellness that if not checked and righted, could plunge global security into chaos, which will ultimately, spell hardships for many.
Henceforth, Vladimir Putin's insistence on prolonging the crisis in Ukraine in order to among other things, foster his national appeal across the Russian Federation, represents a clear and present danger to Ukraine and to global security. Moreover, Russian actions under and on the seas, on land and in the skies close to the Nordic and Baltic states as well as in Eastern, Central and Western Europe, threaten to create a non calculable incident at anytime.
China, which has made copious amounts of cash because of stable trade, is running the risk of having that cash flow disappear along with its huge cash reserves, because of its assertions on the South China Sea, which are running amok of International Law.
Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria continues as being the biggest present contributor to instability by facilitating fertile sands for political dissent in the Levant, thus enhancing the rise and expansion of the violent extremist group, the Islamic State, while simultaneously, contributing to stark political rifts in Europe by forcing hundreds of thousands of Syria's displaced onto the continent, which is in transition as it bickers on how best to deal with growing numbers of immigrants from Syria and North Africa.
Myanmar's denial of citizenship to the Rohingya minority threatens the stability of Southeast Asia as emerging economies and nations are forced to deal with increasing numbers of unwanted migrants.
Therefore, world economies could boom again; and world security become stable, if Russian allows Ukraine to realize its aspirations to westernization, democracy and the rule of law. And all of Europe could continue on a path to flourishing and enhancing their dynamic societies, should Vladimir Putin not represent a threat to the security of Europe.
The Islamic State would begin to decline the day Bashar al Assad leaves Damascus. Measurable security would return to Southeast Asia once Myanmar rightfully accords all of its nationals citizenship. And when China adheres to International Law, and not Chinese perceived destiny as the governing principle of the world's seas, stability and prosperity could become abundant.
June 01, 2015
Another Observation on the Islamic State
Former Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) Director, David Petraeus, has said that the Islamic State(IS) can only be defeated through a dual military and political approach.
General Petraeus, who led international forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan before assuming the director spot at the CIA, told the BBC in an interview that "Industrial-strength" extremist cannot be dealt with, with just the force of arms. He described the IS: "It is really a conventional army that also has elements of an insurgency, and indeed significant terrorist elements as well."
Petraeus has made a sound assessment of the IS and his observation provides sufficient evidence as to why the IS is still able to function despite months of bombardments by International Coalition forces. "You cannot deal with an industrial-strength extremist problem just with force of arms," Petraeus stressed while adding: "You have to have that political component as well."
He explained to the BBC that political change has to start at the top. With regards to fighting the IS in Iraq, General Petraeus said "the Sunni Arabs have to be given incentives to support the new Iraq rater than to oppose it." Yet, he opined: "I do not think Ramadi will be taken in a matter of weeks or less."
While the knowledge and the experience of the learned General Petraeus demands that his observations be taken as fact, I venture to add to his assessment and hereby opine that the IS cannot be defeated under present conditions and circumstances in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
As long as Bashar al Assad sits in Damascus, the IS would not be defeated because of the large number of recruits readily available to the IS in defiance of Assad's regime's crimes against humanity. In Iraq, where the better chance of defeating the IS exists, the violent extremist group will continue to wreck havoc until a clearly displayed unity government is demonstrated between the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiites.
Moreover, any defeat of the IS is also dependent upon western nations reaffirming and exercising the doctrines of equality, of justice and of true human rights. In lieu of anything short of a reaffirmation these tenets of democracy, could see the continued lure of western youths to the ranks of the IS - whether or not, it be an Australian mother leaving her young children with a babysitter and venturing to fight in Syria, or young secondary school girls from Great Britain sneaking into Syria to join the Jihadists, or a father in Minnesota, USA, evading the pressures of child support payments and traveling to join the Islamic State or French young women going to Syria to wed militants.
May 31, 2015
On the Immeasurable Sorrow, Pain and Loss of a Father to Bury a Son
Sons are expected to bury their fathers. A father never conceives of ever having to bury his son. Yet, because of war, tragic events and inevitable health afflictions, many fathers - like many mothers, suffer the immeasurable sorrow, pain and loss of having to bury a son or daughter.
Today, I offer my heartfelt fatherly condolences to United States(US) Vice President Joe Biden, whose son, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, 46, died yesterday of brain cancer. I also offer my deepest sympathy to Beau's wife and their two children.
While Beau's life was a privileged one as the son of a multi-term US Senator for the State of Delaware and a two-term US Vice President, his father is obviously deeply sadden over his son's death way too early.
Yet, Vice President Biden could find comfort in knowing that his son Beau did serve the people well - serving as a two-term Attorney General for the State of Delaware, and serving as a Major in the Army National Guard, with a tour in Iraq, in 2008. Vice President Biden could also find solace in the fact that in his son's short life, Beau championed tragedy to become a survivor.
At age three, and mere weeks after his father was first elected to the US Senate, the young Beau was seriously injured in a car accident that killed his mother and his infant sister. At age 41, he suffered a mild stroke. And in 1987, he suffered as his father defeated an almost fatal aneurysm to later become, President Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and two-term Vice President of the United States of America.
Beau Biden understood humankind's subjection to uncontrolled fate: "Sometimes, it's not good to look too far down the road," he told the Associated Press(AP) in 2010, when questioned about his professional and political future. "Having long term dreams is a good thing...but having a plan has never worked for me, because life always intervenes."
To his end, Beau Biden kept a reminder to balance his job with his special family time - advice, according to the AP, that he encouraged others to follow.
So, as Vice President Joe Biden buries his son, this USA and its friends in the world, mourn along with him and his family, and with the same empathy we show, we extend the same to other fathers and mothers - forced to bury their sons and daughters, too early.
Travel well Joseph R. "Beau" Biden. May God grant your family strength.
May 30, 2015
Again today, I re-post My Blog here on Asia Today for emphasis.
No Solution to the Rohingya Crisis at a Thai Summit
Southeast Asian nations meeting at a summit called by Thailand yesterday to address the ongoing saga of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees and other migrants, failed to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis. The fact that nations affected by the prolonged migration debacle failed to reach a solution to the crisis, should come as no surprise; since as a group, the region has failed to criticize the human rights practices of each other, hence facilitating the circumstances giving rise to the present humanitarian crisis and maybe others to come.
Since 2012, according to human rights groups, 160,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar because of persecution as that nation has failed to recognize the legitimacy of the Muslim minority sect, who trace their origins in Myanmar to the eighth century. The mainly Buddhist-majority Myanmar, has denied the Rohingya people citizenship, thus rending the 1.3 million Muslims stateless. Discriminated against, attacked in their homes and made to live under apartheid-like conditions in camps, many Rohingya have become a large source of income for human traffickers as they undertake perilous journeys to find comfort across the seas.
Recently, some 3,000 Rohingya came ashore in Indonesia and Malaysia, while hundreds were turned away by Thailand, which pointed the refugees in the direction of Malaysia. Many Rohingya have died in the custody of traffickers in both Thailand and Malaysia and an undetermined number of migrants remain adrift somewhere on the seas of the Indian Ocean.
After refusing entry to the Rohingya, Indonesia and Malaysia, have since bowed to international humanitarian pressure, and will grant temporary shelter to the Rohingya for one year, but not to all - only to those already on the seas or already in the two countries. Thailand has not agreed to house any of the Rohingya. And it was against this background that a summit was held on the humanitarian crisis yesterday.
But no solution was found, just an agreement to continue talking at a later meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN), for which no date has been set.
However, yesterday's Thai meeting was not a total bust as the United States(US) and Australia pledged millions of dollars to help the refugees and migrants. The US offered $3 million toward an International Organization on Migration(IOM) effort to raise $26 million for temporary shelter, food and urgent care for refugees and migrants, the Associated Press(AP) reported. Australia said it would contribute $4.6 million for humanitarian assistance in Myanmar's Rakhine state - the home and the source of many Rohingya people. And Thailand finally gave approval for US military aircraft to use its air space to locate refugees at sea.
Factually, there could be no solution to the humanitarian crisis of Southeast Asia until the root causes are addressed. And reiterating this fact at yesterday's Thai summit was Volker Turk, the United Nations(UN) assistant high commissioner for refugees.
On solving the humanitarian crisis, the AP cited High Commissioner Turk as determining: "This will require full assumption of responsibility by Myanmar toward all its people. Granting citizenship is the ultimate goal...In the interim...recognizing that Myanmar is their own country is urgently required (as well as) access to identity documents and the removal of restrictions on basic freedom."
In underscoring Myanmar's denial of responsibility for the Rohingya crisis, its representative at the summit, Htin Linn, offered no solutions, but a lame observation that finger pointing would not solve the matter. Yet, the plight of the Rohingya people continues within Myanmar and upon the Indian Ocean.
May 29, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
The discovery that China has placed mobile artillery systems on a reclaimed island on the disputed South China Sea creates an era of uncertainty with regards to Chinese actions tempered against the claims of other smaller nations on the sea and of the rule of International Law on the world's seaways.
United States(US) Pentagon spokesman, Brent Colburn, according to Reuters, confirmed that the US was aware of the Chinese weapons. Sentaor John McCain, Chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Chinese action would escalate tensions.
Senator McCain, cited in a Reuters report said: "It is a disturbing development and escalatory development, one which heightens our need to make the Chinese understand that their actions are in violation of international law and their actions are going to be condemned by everyone in the world."
Pentagon Spokesman Colburn reacted: "It creates an air of uncertainty in a system that has been based on certainty and agreed-upon norms...So anything that steps outside of the bounds on international law we see as a concern because we don't know what the...motivations are behind that. We think it should concern everyone in the region," Reuters reported.
May 28, 2015
Tomorrow, Thailand will host a number of nations affected by migration on the Indian Ocean at a summit to find solutions to the refugee and migrant crisis in Asia.
Participants at the summit include Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan, Thailand, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The United States(US), Japan and Switzerland, will participate as observers, according to the Associated Press(AP), as well as officials from the United Nations(UN).
Here's to hoping that a viable solution could be reach to stem the often fatal fate of refugees and migrants seeking solace across Asian Seas.
May 27, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
While a Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the Global Times, has predicted that war was "inevitable" between China and the United States(US) over disputed isles and reefs on the South China Sea, Filipino and Vietnamese soldiers remain undaunted by the dire Chinese prediction and instead, the two nations demonstrated a spirit of cooperative civility by playing soccer, volleyball and singing karaoke on one of the disputed isles.
As reported by Reuters on Monday, the Chinese tabloid - Global Times, owned by China's Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper, said war was "inevitable between the US and China unless Washington stopped demanding Beijing halt its construction work on disputed isles on the South China Sea.
Both the Philippines and Vietnam that are claimants to territory on the South China Sea, to which China claims 90 percent, have put aside years of suspicion between them, and they have in the face of Chinese aggression on the South China Sea, demonstrated a strong cooperation between the two small nations. The US has a security pact obligation to defend the sovereignty of the Philippines.
But while China fretted over US monitoring and surveillance on the South China Sea, prompting its propagandist newspaper to issue the dire prediction of war, Reuters reported earlier today, of 60 Vietnamese soldiers joining 100 Filipino troops to party on Northeast Cay, playing soccer and volleyball and singing karaoke.
"We do not want a military conflict with the United States," the Chinese Newspaper clarified, "but if it were to come, we have to accept it," the Global Times concluded.
Yet, on Northeast Cay, there was no talk of war, but a show of cooperativeness between two nations in demonstration of the kindly spirits that should rule the seas under International Law.
May 26, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
Under International Law, and not thwarted by Chinese challenges to United States(US) and Filipino aircraft, the Philippines will continue to fly its usual aircraft routes over disputed isles and reefs on the South China Sea.
In making this announcement yesterday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, has determined that International Law, and not Chinese law, sets the precedent for conduct and activity upon world seas.
May 25, 2015
Once again today, here on Asia Today, I re-post My Blog for emphasis.
That the Meek May Not Have Died in Vain
As more gruesome civility-rattling details of the plight, of the persecution, of the flight, of the imprisonment, of the torture and of the final demise, of many Rohingya people refugees come to light, the International Community that could have done more for these unfortunate stateless and displaced people, must now be charged with the obligation to ensuring that those killed, may not have died in vain.
The bleak circumstance as to the conditions of many Rohingya people continues to be unearthed by Malaysian officials as forensic experts comb through abandoned camps near the Thailand border, where human traffickers - preying on the desperation of perhaps the world's most vulnerable minority group, kept the solace-seeking refugees jailed in barbed-wire pens that bear signs of torture and eventual death. Some 139 graves bearing the remains of dead Rohingya people have been discovered so far at one abandoned camp in the thick-jungle between Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand.
"It is a very sad scene," remarked Malaysian National Police Chief, Khalid Abu Bakar; " I am shocked. We never expected this kind of cruelty," the Associated Press(AP) cited the police chief responding to conditions found at abandoned human trafficking sites in Malaysia.
For many years human trafficking has flourished in the jungles and cities of Southeast Asia. Recent discoveries of mass graves of desperate Rohingya people refugees both in Thailand and in Malaysia, have shed more light on a humanitarian calamity that has abused and killed hundreds of migrants while extorting large sums of money from the relatives of held refugees.
Therefore, given the gravity and the sordid conditions that have brought persecution, torture and death to many Rohingya people, the International Community must now hold Myanmar responsible for the plight of the refugees. It is within Myanmar that the Rohingya - being born there, have been rendered stateless by national law. It is within Myanmar where the Rohingya are persecuted and subjected to apartheid-like dehumanizing conditions within camps. It is within Myanmar where the political, social and religious atmosphere has sought to poison the Rohingya people.
Thus, the International Community in ensuring that so many meek people did not die in vain, should condemn Myanmar for its practices and seek assurances that protect the equality of all people and the natural right of all men and women to a home.
May 24, 2015
Again today, here on Asia Today, I re-post My Blog for emphasis.
On the Preventable Deadly End For Many in Search of Solace - a Home
Malaysian authorities earlier today discovered a series of graves at 17 abandoned camps used by human traffickers to stow away Rohingya people refugees.
While the total number of corpses contained in the graves is yet to be determined, reports indicated that each grave could contain from one to four bodies. Earlier this month, the Associated Press(AP) reported, Malaysian authorities also unearthed another 30 large graves at similar abandoned human trafficking sites that contained hundreds of bodies near the Thai border. Some 100 corpses were found in one mass grave. Also this month, Thai authorities unearthed dozens of bodies in shallow graves from abandoned human trafficking sites on the Thai side of the border with Malaysia. Most of the dead, if not all, are believed to be Rohingya people refugees.
Hence, the pages of the history of this modern civilized era will catalog these preventable deaths of people merely seeking a home, as a testament of our paradoxical age. For as many free people and a few privilege elite scurry about their accepted normal lives of plenty, comfort, luxury and waste; across a body of water, across a land border: many unfortunate people are dying under non humane conditions because many people have turned their backs upon them in their greatest hour of need on a quest for a home - a land upon which to lay their heads and within which to raise their children - common privileges many have never had to consider.
But the Rohingya and other displaced people should not have to die at hands of human traffickers nor on perilous journeys in search of solace. The International organizations and World Powers, entrusted with the faith to protect the small, the meek, the lowly, the poor, the voiceless and the stateless, must do more to prevent such humanitarian crises.
For many years, the conditions repressing the Rohingya people in Myanmar have been know. For four years Bashar al Assad has been able to perpetrate a repressive war in Syria. Conditions for many in Bangladesh have gotten worse. Ukraine's aspirations are still stifled. Economic conditions in Northern Africa continue to deteriorate. In Eastern and Central Europe, nervous governments wonder of possible agitations that could push their countries into crisis tomorrow. Yet, organizations like the United Nations(UN), stand apparently impotent to prevent and to solve crises.
Therefore, in lieu of adequate international prevention and solution to crises, the affected people of nations must undertake their own full onus to protect and to safeguard themselves within their societies by whatever means necessary. It is for the service and for the protection of the people that communities exist. And any society that fails to protect any sect or class within that society - is a society in need of being put right. And the task to setting societies right rests with the people - all the people.
May 23, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
Despite grumblings from China, the United States(US) has an obligation to ensure its strategic interests and to honor the security pacts of its allies on the South China Sea.
Therefore, the monitoring of works being conducted by China on disputes isles on the South or on the East China Seas, falls upon the responsibility of the US, and the US must honor all its interests and security agreements with the small nations of Asia.
Moreover, the US must find appropriate responses to any challenges China might
mount to hinder US execution of its covenants.
May 22, 2015
The United States(US) is set to begin air patrols over the seas of Asia as part of its involvement in the humanitarian effort to locate Rohingya people refugees adrift on the seas off the west coast of Southeast Asia. The entry of the US air patrols represents a comforting sign that the crisis facing thousands of migrants, could now begin to ease.
As the US mounts air patrols, ships from Malaysia and Myanmar are stepping up their own efforts to locate thousands of hungry and thirsty Rohingya people refugees and Bangladeshi immigrants believed drifting somewhere on the Andaman Sea seeking solace.
May 21, 2015
Navy ships from Malaysia have started a search of the Andaman Sea seeking to rescue migrants and refugees adrift. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak made the announcement that four navy ships had started the operation earlier today.
And with this denied, delayed and now executed humanitarian gesture, the crisis involving thousands of persecuted Rohingya people, should begin to ease. Yet, Myanmar, the home of the Rohingya people, has not made any gestures toward the amelioration of the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still displaced and stateless in the nation of their birth.
However, some hope that the government of Myanmar could be willing to address the continued plight of the Rohingya, was raised earlier today as that nation agreed to attend talks later this month on the humanitarian crisis gripping Southeast Asia.
May 20, 2015
I am compel again today, to re-post My Blog here on Asia Today for emphasis.
At Last, Some Comfort to the Rohingya People, If Only Temporary
Finally, after being declared stateless in their nation, persecuted and attacked in their homes, only to be abandoned thirsty, hungry and sick on a desperate voyage to solace; some measure of comfort has now come to the Rohingya people of Myanmar, as Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to house some 7,000 of the refugees, drifting hopelessly on the Andaman Sea, in search of a home.
Thousands of Rohingya people refugees and Bangladeshi migrants have been adrift on the seas of Asia seeking refuge. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand - all, denied them haven. The United Nations(UN) and others condemned the actions of the ASEAN nations. They were urged to honor the humanitarian covenant of empathy to the less fortunate "Sea People."
After much criticisms, Indonesia and Malaysia earlier today relented upon their stone-cold policy of entry denial to the haggard refugees and have now agreed to allow them temporary shelter. Yet, the diplomatic agreement by Indonesia and Malaysia is not open-ended. They have offered refugee to the some 7,000 people adrift on the sea in rickety boats and they have made it clear, according to Reuters, that they would take no more. Moreover, both countries have emphasized the fact that once the refugees come on shore, the international community would also have a responsibility to help them deal with the humanitarian crisis.
However, while Indonesia and Malaysia have to a certain point agreed to honor the humanitarian covenant, Thailand remains uncommitted to playing a helpful role in this service to humanity. Yet, it is forging ahead with a May 29 summit slated for that country, to discuss the humanitarian crisis.
So thanks to a turn of heart, even if temporary, by Indonesia and Malaysia, some measure of comfort and of hope, has come to the stateless Rohingya people; and should the international community be able to stem the humanitarian dilemma of these and other displaced persons, maybe, just maybe, a greater degree of global stability could be realized.
May 19, 2015
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) stands impotent to deal with the humanitarian crisis of thousands of hungry, thirsty, sick and stateless migrants on the seas of Asia.
And the main reason ASEAN - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, remain impotent to deal with the plight of thousands of persecuted Rohingya people refugees, is because the group has for many years adopted the neutered stance of not criticizing any of the human rights issues or touchy topics pertaining to members.
Yet, the ongoing plight of the Rohingya people, rendered stateless by Myanmar, refused haven by Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, will not be the last of its kind to emerge within ASEAN.
So whether or not ASEAN decides to address its human rights issues during this Rohingya crises, the association that appears mostly focused on trade and economic issues over all others, must be held accountable for humanitarian conditions in its region.
"This is a test for ASEAN," said Malaysian parliamentarian Charles Santiago, a test "for ASEAN's sustainability. Its legitimacy will depend on this and how it is resolved," the Associated Press(AP) cited the Malaysian lawmaker's response to the Rohingya crisis.
May 18, 2015
Time is Running Out to Save the Displaced on Asian Seas
The United Nations(UN) has condemned the refusal of South-East Asian nations to rescue thousands of displaced people adrift on the seas of Asia.
As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, UN High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) spokeswoman, Vivian Tan, described the failure of rescues of displaced Rohingya people refugees and migrants from Bangladesh over the weekend, as a "bad sign". And a very bad sign it is as aid agencies confront a grave and deepening humanitarian crisis as countries refuse to accept malnourished, thirsty and sick displaced people adrift on the sea.
"We were hoping that more ships would be found, and that more people would be rescued and allowed to come onto shore. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to happen," Ms Tan told the BBC. Many displaced people are believed to be still a sea on the Andaman seeking refuge from religious and social persecution in Myanmar and from economic hardships in Bangladesh. Yet, governments of South-East Asia have refused to grant many of the displaced people a safe haven.
Underscoring the desperation of the adrift displaced, survivors have confirmed severe undernourishment on board ships along with violent fights for scare food. Many vulnerable woman and children are among the drifting displaced.
But the unconscionable harshness of apathy South-East Asian nations have shown to the displaced is beyond comprehension and aptly worthy of the strongest condemnation from the UN and from all civil governments.
South-East Asia has and will always need international aid because of its proneness to horrific natural disasters, and this reality and the stone-cold response from governments in the region to this humanitarian plight of the displaced people, should raise great concern as to the civility and compassion of Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia.
The BBC-News reported that Indonesian authorities have told fishermen not to help the adrift displaced people unless their boats were sinking or they were in the water. Indonesian military spokesperson, Fuad Basya, according to the BBC, said fishermen could deliver food, fuel and water to the boats, or help with repairs, but that bringing the displaced onto shore would constitute an illegal entry into Indonesia. Some fishermen reported that they were not allowed to help the "Sea People" even if they were drowning.
Therefore, the international community must stand in condemnation of those Asian nations that have deliberately violated the covenant of humanity in failing to house refugees. Moreover, civil society must immediately speed whatever relief could be gathered to aid the Rohingya people and other migrants on the seas of Asia.
May 17, 2015
The Displaced Must be Housed - World Stability is Conditioned upon this Attainment
World stability remains a virtual impossibility as long as there are displaced people. Hence, all displaced persons - from North Africa, to the Levant, to Ukraine, to Myanmar, to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia, to Libya and to points beyond, need to be housed in order to achieve sustainable stability so that economic markets do not become stagnant - dwarfing international development.
Therefore, immediate action to stem the growing humanitarian crises of the world's displaced people is warranted. And action could begin with Southeast Asian nations honoring the refugee covenant and allowing shelter to the Rohingya people, as Myanmar could re-assess the legal claim the Rohingya have made to full citizenship within the land of their birth.
Moreover, and as a solution to the immediate deepening humanitarian crisis regarding the Rohingya people and Bangladeshi refugees on the Andaman Sea; could the Philippines step in and offer safe haven to them on claimed habitable islets on the South China Sea?
The continued growth of the world's economy is conditioned upon a stable social and political environment. And solving the social humanitarian crises at hand is paramount to clearing the path toward greater economic investments and returns.
May 16, 2015
THE ANDAMAN SEA:
Again today here on Asia Today, I re-post My Blog for emphasis:
On Condemnation of Nations Breaking the Humanitarian Covenant to Refugees
The fact that Thailand has on at least two occasions, towed boats carrying Rohingya refugees out of Thai waters and back onto the Andaman Sea, is more than enough reason to condemn the Thais on their violation of the humanitarian covenant, their lack of empathy and their utter disregard to displaced people.
Therefore, Thailand's attempt to hold a summit to discuss the plight of the refugees, has to be construed as a smoke screen to hide their apathy to the plight of Rohingya people and other refugees forced onto the Andaman Sea by religious persecution, social attacks, economic hardships and failing governments.
Earlier today, Malaysian boats intercepted a boat crammed with crying women and children and other refugees and migrants after the Thai navy had towed the vessel back to sea from Thai waters, Reuters reported.
Thirsty and sick, many of the displaced people on the refugee boat, had been adrift on the sea for a number of days after being abandoned by human traffickers fearing a Thai crackdown on smuggling. The boat intercepted by Malaysia today, had twice been towed back to open waters by the Thai navy, which reportedly made repairs to the vessel, furnished it with some water and some food before towing it back to the sea, damning the displaced to fend for themselves. "We fixed their engine and showed them where Malaysia is," a Thai navy officer was cited by Reuters in explaining the Thai action.
Malaysia also said earlier this week that it would push migrant boats back to sea as it did not want to receive large numbers of illegal migrants. Yet, thousands of refugees and migrants remain adrift on the sea as Thailand proposes a meeting for later this month aimed at easing the humanitarian emergency, the Associated Press(AP) reported.
But Thailand's planned meeting is not a solution to the growing humanitarian crisis of displaced person on Asian seas. Thailand's actions to send refugees and migrants back to sea contributes to the deepening of the problem.
Thus, any actions by Southeast Asian nations to push displaced persons back onto the sea, must be condemned in the strongest form. These nations that have at sometime or another received, or expect to receive, International compassion post natural disasters prevalent to that region, should be ashamed of their actions to these displaced people.
What Malaysia does with these new 'Sea People' is yet to be determined. However, all of Southeast Asia from Myanmar to Bangladesh, to Indonesia, to Malaysia to Thailand - they all have a humanitarian covenant to fulfill in carrying for these displaced people.
May 15, 2015
THE ANDAMAN SEA/MYANMAR:
The Anguished Plight of the Rohingya People - in Search of a Home
Denied citizenship at home, rendered stateless, barred from ports of entry into other countries, attacked, persecuted and forced from their homes, the Rohingya people of Myanmar have taken to perilous journeys on the sea in search of a land of comfort.
That "No one wants them", the plight of the Muslim minority sect is indicative of yet another unfolding crisis of refugees seeking solace for their families in the face of religious, ethnic and economic hardships. Denied citizenship in Myanmar by the majority Buddhists government, persecuted by the Myanmar military, attacked by extremist Buddhists, more than 120,000 Rohingya people have taken flight to the sea in recent years.
The Rohingya people, are mainly concentrated in the western portion of Myanmar(formerly Burma) in the state of Rakhine, adjacent to Bangladesh. They define themselves as an indigenous Burmese ethnic group descended from Arab merchants who settled the area in the eighth century. However, Myanmar has deemed them illegal settlers and has rendered them stateless by a national law that denies them citizenship. Myanmar has a majority Buddhists population.
Earlier today, 800 of the sea-flight Rohingya people, who had been abandoned and left adrift in two capsizing boats on the Andaman Sea in the Bay of Bengal, were towed onto the eastern Indonesian province of Aceh by fisherman. Many of the 'Sea People' reported being denied entry into Malaysia, being abandoned by human traffickers and drifting hungry and weak for many days on the sea. Adding to the humanitarian woes of the Rohingya people, is the fact that another 6,000 are reportedly still adrift somewhere on the Andaman Sea, seeking a port of welcome.
In the past week, 1,600 Rohingya people and Bangladeshi migrants were able to avoid prohibiting authorities in Malaysia and Indonesia to reach land. Southeast Asian nations have said the Rohingya people are not welcomed.
Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has bluntly said of the Rohingya: "No one wants them." In an Associated Press(AP) report, he said his country couldn't afford to host the refugees. He asked: "If we take them all in, then anyone who wants to come will come freely. Where will the budget come from?" Asked where should the refugees go, General Chan-ocha declared: "No one wants them."
Similarly, Malaysian Deputy Home Minister, Wan Junaidi Jafaar, said of the Rohingya people: "We have to send the right message that they are not welcome here," the AP reported.
United Nations(UN) Secretary-General Banki-moon urged Southeast Asian nations to "facilitate timely disembarkation and keep their borders and ports open in order to help the vulnerable people who are in need." The chief said he was "alarmed by reports that some countries maybe refusing entry to boats carrying refugees and migrants."
The circumstances and escalating plight of the 1.3 million Rohingya people in Myanmar and that of other refugees from Syria, North Africa, Bangladesh and elsewhere, are damning realities of this modern era; of the continued impotency of international organizations to sustain stable human welfare; and of the failure of nation states to adapt to modern humanitarian needs and norms.
Therefore, the home conditions and circumstances giving rise to the imperilment of refugees and migrants taking to the seas and lands in search of solace, should be ameliorated. These recent migrations of many displaced people, unless resolved, will continue to contribute to global instability.
May 14, 2015
The Departure of Assad Is a Crucial Basis to Ending the Syrian War
Thirty-armed Syrian Opposition groups, fighting against Bashar al Assad in the Levant, have rejected an United Nations(UN) invitation to peace talks. And in turning down the invitation, the groups have reaffirmed that Assad cannot be a part of the solution to the Syrian war.
UN Syrian envoy, Staffan de Mistura, who is expected to preside over consultations on a possible peace to parts of Syria, had invited the groups to be a part of the peace process at meetings set for Geneva, Switzerland. But the group of 30 armed opposition entities, has rejected the invitation based upon a perceived bias they have accused de Mistura of having for the Assad regime, based upon comments the UN diplomat made back in February and based also upon the groups' insistence that Assad cannot be a part of any solution in Syria.
In February, de Mistura said Assad was part of the solution to the Syrian conflict. His comments angered many who argued that under no conceivable means, based upon the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime, could Assad ever be a part of any solution to peace. De Mistura subsequently tried to clarify his comments by insisting they were taken out of context and that he really meant that Assad was part of the solution to reducing violence in Syria.
Yet, the Syrian Opposition groups have contended that the UN diplomat is bias. In the rejection letter to de Mistura, which Reuters News Service has seen, the groups told de Mistura: "Your positions and your statements, especially your statement that Bashar al Assad is a part of the solution in Syria, have shown and given us a clear impression of your indifference toward massacres that the regime(Assad's) is committing." The groups accused de Mistura of abandoning his neutrality and "standing on the side of one party without the other," Reuters reported.
The groups named de Mistura as "continuing to work with the regime despite its loss of all forms of legitimacy." However, they said they would not reject "any real international effort that includes a clear solution" but that the UN process "lacked any clear basis or means to get to real outcomes."
With regards to the 2012 Geneva Communique - a working framework toward Syrian peace, which set guidelines for ending the violence and launching a political transition in Syria, the groups explained that the Communique "did not refer clearly to the departure of Assad and his regime" which they have contended and affirmed are crucial to "any supposed solution process."
Therefore, 30-armed Syrian Opposition groups have determined that the crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime, are evident and sufficient enough, to preclude Assad from any solutions to peace in a conflict to which he has perpetrated at the expense of more than 200,000 lives including those of thousands of children and women.
May 13, 2015
The Nepal death toll from yesterday's earthquake - an aftershock of the April 25 larger quake, has now risen to 65 with another 2,000 victims injured in that country. Another 16 deaths were reported in India yesterday.
As rescue teams resume work to find victims, the reality of the Nepal calamity has worsen since some 8,000 people have been confirmed killed in the first earthquake of magnitude 7.8, on April 25.
Yesterday's quake of 7.3 magnitude, which scientists believe was a large aftershock of the original 7.8 quake, sent already terrified residents onto the streets. Another aftershock, according to the BBC-News, measuring 6.3, occurred 30 minutes after the 7.3 quake. Many Nepalis spent last night sleep outdoors fearing another quake.
May 12, 2015
Another major earthquake, the second major one in less than three-weeks, has hit Nepal. Initial reports indicate the new quake, measured at 7.3 magnitude, struck near the border with China between the capital Kathmandu and Mount Everest.
Immediate deaths number four with many injuries, but the Norway Red Cross, according to the Associated Press(AP), has reported more deaths and injuries.
Recently, the government of Nepal asked search and rescue teams that had travel there for relief operations following the first quake on April 25, to leave the country. That snap request appears too haste now that another quake has occurred.
May 11, 2015
Often I will re-post My Blog here on Asia Today to emphasize a particular topic/issue, today is one of the times:
On the Non Guaranteed Security of Non Adaptive States
Nation states, like animal and plant organisms, are constantly bombarded with necessary changes. However, unlike the notched-shell tortoise and other fauna and flora that have evolved the natural adaptations needed to cope in an ever changing environment in order to survive, nation states lack this natural trait. Hence, nations must be artificially spurred to change in order to avert failure.
States become artificially influenced to adapt to modern environments and norms at different rates. Once coping mechanisms have been triggered to facilitate changes and not to prevent them, states are able to enjoy relative lengthy periods of peace and stability. In contrast, states that attempt to block necessary changes are thrown into periods of chaos during which their security - both internal and external, cannot be guaranteed. In other words, change-resisting communities cannot be guaranteed security from internal and external forces once they have denied necessary democratic changes of rights and equality to their people.
With that said, there could be no absolute guarantee of security that the United States(US) or Western Powers could offer such change-resisting states.
Thus, nations seeking guarantees of security in the face of a possible World-Iran nuclear deal, are over reaching their boundaries of demands in attempting to exact guaranteed security from others because of a deal that has not yet been finalized.
However, these nation states should seek to bolster their security cooperativeness with the West as they make concerted efforts to facilitate the modern changes their societies expect, such as allowing women the right to drive an automobile and other changes indicative of the modern era.
The denial of fundamental privileges and rights to the people in any society, stands as an obstacle to adaptation and a weakening of a community making it more prone to influence and agitation from a perceived foe. Therefore, no guarantee of security could ever rightly be assured a non adaptive state.
May 10, 2015
Again today, I re-post MY Blog here on Asia Today for emphasis:
On Natural Difficulties to the Continuity of Social Organisms
While social environments have strive for continuity of the social orders, the institutions and the traditions that have shaped and that have given peculiar and distinct identities to their communities, the task of retaining what has historically been the norm, becomes more daunting and difficult overtime.
Natural changes impact all societies and those societies that resist the adaptations needed to cope in modern times become prone to failure. Thus, an inherent difficulty to the continuity of any society, becomes its failure to adapt and to cope to inevitable changes.
From the United States(US) to Great Britain, to Germany, to France, to Canada, to Italy and beyond - these states, over the next decade or so, will need to continue adapting to a multitude of changes impacting upon them from immigration, to commerce and trade, to rights demands and to the dreaded influences of extremists and from agitations from non-democratic states seeking grandeur of empire-building.
Clearly, the variable of immigration will factor highly across Europe in the next decade. Nationalism verses a strong cooperative continental union will also be tested. Moreover, in Great Britain and in Spain, questions as to the independence of parts of these nations will have to be determined by the people. And what is very distinct about these two countries having to confront these questions of independence, is the paradox that both had been mighty colonial powers in an era now designated to history books.
However, with regards to Great Britain, the balance between a potential rivalry of British nationalism and English nationalism could be tempered by a federal structure that retains English, Welch, Scottish and Irish patriotic allegiance to the British union. And the United Kingdom is quite capable of striking the needed balance to retaining its collective strength as extremism and agitations seek to displace unity and stability across Europe.
In the US, the final frontier to achieving true and cohesive racial equality and treatment under the law, will become a necessary task over the next decade. A number of police killings of unarmed minorities over the past year that led to social unrest, mandates that the US solves any disparities with regards to race.
While France and Canada seek to protect their norms of life in the face of recent violent and deadly extremist attacks, immigration issues will bear heavily on both nations just as these issues effect Germany and Italy, as right wing groups gain some prominence.
Yet, with the present and the forthcoming difficulties, communities that are strong democracies should be able to make the required adaptations required to cope and to emerge stronger over the next decade.
May 09, 2015
Again today I re-post My Blog here on Asia Today for emphasis:
To Remain Free and Secure Within Free Communities
The notion, the circumstance and the fact that within free societies, there are dwellers given sanctuary, liberty, residency and protection, who plot to harm and to terrorize their community havens of freedom, is absurd and unconscionable.
Hence, these conspirators who plot, who attempt and who carry out any acts of violent terror upon free societies, must be weeded out and punished under the full extent of the law in order that the free could remain free in their free communities.
It is preposterous that any person benefiting from the civility of liberty to want to abuse such freedoms in an attempt to degrade civil community to the disorder and chaos that is the accepted norm among those who seek to radicalize the benefactors of western liberty.
Any western acceptance to living as the non-free or any acceptance to living in fear because of embedded want-to-be terrorists in the midst of free societies, must never be condoned.
The United States(US) Military yesterday raised the terror threat level at all of its installations within the country to "Bravo" - an increased and predictable threat of terrorism. And in doing so, the US Military has underscored and has recognized the potential of a threat from want-to-be terrorists.
A few days earlier, police in the state of Texas shot dead two want-to-be Jihadists, who allegedly wanted to carryout an assault upon an event taking place at the time.
Individuals enjoying the rights of freedom carried out a deadly terror attack upon the people of Paris, France, earlier this year. Free people were attacked by terrorists at a museum in Tunisia. From Great Britain, to Belgium, to Germany, to the US, to France, to Canada, to Australia and in other places where free people live, persons lavishing in the graces of liberty have been arrested and charged for credible plots to carryout terror acts against the communities that have nourished them.
Therefore, free communities must accept the onus to protect their liberties to ensure the continuity of freedom, security and serenity over chaos and violence. Thus, all measures to protecting freedom must be employed to retain civil liberty and tranquility in the homes of the free.
May 08, 2015
Children remain deeply impacted from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake calamity that struck Nepal two weeks ago. Along with deaths and injuries, the earthquake, according to UNICEF, has left one million children out of school.
As reported by the BBC-News, the international charity has determined that nine out of 10 schools have been destroyed in the worst affected districts. Hence, 24,000 classrooms were either damaged or destroyed as UNICEF attempts to furnish temporary learning quarters for the children.
All schools remain closed in Nepal in light of the calamity. Some remaining structures are being used as relief bases for living. Schools are expected to reopen on May 15.
May 07, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog today for emphasis because this theme is very relevant to Asia:
In the Losing Battle to Prevent and to End Conflicts - 38 Million Displaced Internally, 50 million Refugees
Humanity and modern civilization are under attack. Global conflicts, human rights violations and failing states are contributing to a humanitarian crisis to which no end appears in sight. And to underscore these conditions, a new report released yesterday by a Norwegian organization, has placed the number of world's people internally displaced within their own countries at 38 million - adding to the 50 million plus people, the United Nations(UN) has identified as refugees fleeing war and persecution worldwide.
The evolving humanitarian crisis involving such large numbers of people has reached a critical point at which the UN has identified the growing numbers of refugees as for the first surpassing the numbers set in World War II.
The Norwegian Refugee Council(NRC) released its humanitarian finding that was reported by the BBC-News yesterday. In that report, the agency found that at the end of 2014, 38 million people were displaced internally within their countries because of conflicts and violence. Many of these people had already been displaced for more than a decade with a staggering 11 million people joining the ranks in 2014 alone, with 60 percent of the newly displaced in the countries of Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These unsettling figures should act as a wake up call to political leaders, advised Jan Egeland, general secretary of the NRC. He observed: "Global diplomats, UN resolutions, peace talks and ceasefire agreements have lost the battle against ruthless armed men who are driven by political or religious interests rather than human imperatives," the BBC reported.
Countless lost childhoods have been disrupted, denied, cut short and stolen from Syria to Africa; yet, international organizations and World Powers have failed to end Bashar al Assad's war in Syria, and to ameliorate deteriorating conditions in North Africa to stem the tide of internally displaced person and refugees fleeing to the seas.
With regards to Syria, both China and Russia have blocked UN resolutions that would have forced an end to that war which has killed more than 200,000.
The urgency of the mounting humanitarian crisis brought to wrought by conflicts and persecutions is also amplified by the addition of another 646,500 people internally displaced in Ukraine at the end of 2014, as a result of pro-Russian agitations and conflict in eastern Ukraine. This year has not witnessed an end to any conflicts. But new ones have been added in Libya and Yemen.
While human rights groups recommend conflict prevention as a means to abating humanitarian crises, a closer recognition and immediate action on circumstances that will ultimately give rise to conflicts, are also warranted.
May 06, 2015
Lessons learned from the Nepal earthquake calamity should include the simplification of the entry of personnel and aid into places that have suffered devastating natural disasters.
A frustrating aspect facing the supply of aid and relief to a large portion of Nepal has been that country's reliance upon normal-day custom practices that allowed relief supplies to be bogged down at the port-of-entry instead of reaching the badly needed areas so as to service victims.
The United Nations(UN) has had to nudge Nepal to create a simplified code of entry for much of the aid supplies sent to Nepal. An import tax under normal conditions placed up tents and tarps delayed these donated items at customs in Nepal while many victims of the quake longed for them. Hence, some countries could now look at this delay in assistance and seek to amend their regulations prior to a calamity so that relief could reach victims at a faster rate.
May 05, 2015
As the death toll from Nepal's earthquake calamity climbs to over 7,500, USAID has announced another $11 million in aid to that country for relief.
USAID's aid will cover emergency shelter materials, medical supplies, drinking water and improvements to sanitation.
May 04, 2015
The government of Nepal has asked foreign search and rescue teams to end operations in the country. Sadly, the Nepalese have concluded that there is no more hope to finding survivors of the 7.8 earthquake that struck the country of 28 million people nine days ago.
Yet, the blunt directive from the Nepalese government to end search and rescue operations, is unprecedented. Over the weekend, three surviving victims were pulled from rubble. But Nepal insists: "They can leave. If they are specialists in clearing the rubble, they can stay," Reuters cited Rameshwor Dangal, an official at Nepal's home ministry as directing.
"All the search and rescue teams, not the relief (teams)...have been asked to return (home)", India's Director General of the National Disaster Response Force, O.P. Singh, said on Indian television.
Earlier today, Reuters reported that police and local volunteers found the bodies of 100 trekkers and villagers killed in an avalanche following the quake. The quake has killed 7,300 people thus far and injured 14,300. The United Nations(UN) has tallied eight million as being effected by the quake with at least 2 million needing tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months.
May 03, 2015
That bureaucratic custom impediments are slowing the entry and disbursement of aid in Nepal is appalling. Thus, the United Nations(UN) has urged Nepal to relax custom controls in order to speed up delivers of relief to the victims on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has devastated a large section of the country.
In rural areas of Nepal, villagers are increasingly expressing frustration at the slow arrival of aid. Hence, former European Union(EU) Foreign Affairs Chief, Baroness Valarie Amos, has had to remind the Nepali government to simplify and speed up customs clearance so that aid could reach more people. And since Baroness Amos' reminder to Nepal prime Minister Sushil Koirala, the Baroness hopes that "from now we will see an improvement in those administrative issues," the BBC-News reported.
UN representative in Nepal, Jamie McGoldrick, told the BBC that the Nepalese government "should not be using peacetime customs methodology" to clear aid. While the disaster effected country lifted import taxes on tarps and and tents on Friday, the government is still insisting all goods arriving from abroad had to be inspected. "This is something we need to do," home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, told the BBC.
Yet, in "many areas people are not getting relief and it is natural that they are unhappy about it," responded Rameshwor Dangal of Nepal's National Disaster Management Division.
The death toll in Nepal has risen to 7,040 from the quake and more than 14,021 have been injured, while thousands await relief assistance - some of it tied up in red tape at the Nepalese customs gates.
May 02, 2015
Anger is rising in the rural areas of Nepal as aid remains scarce to residents. Impediments to the distribution aid to the rural areas include a fractured infrastructure and bad weather.
Hence, when assistance has finally reached all the victims of the earthquake of one-week-ago and the rebuilding effort starts, Nepal - like many other countries, will have to pay careful attention to the construction of new homes and buildings in light of the natural hazards exacting upon that geological region.
May 01, 2015
As first relief expeditions and assistance begin to trickle into devastated rural environs of Nepal, a fuller calamity of last Saturday's earthquake is becoming a stark reality.
Entire hamlets and villages have been decimated. The death toll has risen to 6,204 and officials have called for immediate cremations of the dead because morgues are beyond capacity. The injured lists has soared to 6,204 and United Nations(UN) estimates, according to Reuters, place the number of destroyed homes at 600,000, with eight million people having been effected by the 7.8 magnitude quake while some $2 billion will be needed for reconstruction.
On top of this gruesome reality, the European Union(EU) has announced that 12 member nationals have been confirmed dead in the quake while 1,000 Europeans remain missing.
April 30, 2015
Another thin, yet radiant ray of good fortune came over the people of Nepal earlier today as a 15-year-old boy - trapped in rubble for five-days by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake last Saturday, was pulled to safety.
The rescue of this boy amid torrential rains that have severely hampered search and rescue operations in the devastated country, came as a pleasant gift as some victims blocked from relief supplies due to the elements, began to protest slow assistance in the capital Kathmandu and other districts.
Some protesters blocked traffic in anger over the slow flow of aid as the death toll from the quake climbed to 5,500.
International aid organizations and governments have given and have offered much assistance to the country of 28 million people, but logistics complicated by inclement weather and a fractured infrastructure have slowed and hindered many relief operations.
April 29, 2015
Amid all the death and devastation of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, a slender ray of good fortune was realized earlier today, when a 27-year-old man, trapped beneath rubble in Kathmandu, for more than 82-hours, was rescued by a French-team.
The rescue of Rishi Khanal, whose foot was crushed by falling masonry from beneath a crumbled hotel, as reported by the Associated Press(AP), and who survived by drinking his own urine, is a heart warming story for a nation that has lost more than 5,000 of its residents to the powerful 7.8 magnitude quake that struck last Saturday.
Yet, the grim reality of the Nepal calamity remains as torrential rains hindered rescue efforts to reach those victims badly in need of assistance in the rural mountainous areas and authorities grudgingly accept the fact that the final death toll could reach as much 10,000.
April 28, 2015
The deepening calamity of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal last Saturday has now claimed more than 5,000 lives as another 250 people went missing earlier today in an avalanche and accompanying mudslide along a popular trekking route.
Dire hopes of survival for many victims still unaccounted for are fading with every minute and authorities fear the final death toll could reach a staggering 10,000.
April 27, 2015
A Rising death Toll, Severe Damage to a Culture - Nepal's Earthquake Calamity of 2015
The death toll from Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal has top 3,617, with some 6,500 people injured, Nepalese authorities are reporting.
And amidst severe damage and destruction to historic and cultural sites in the country of 28 million, there is a bothersome fear that the human tragedy will increase as search and rescue teams claw and dig their way to rural areas, close to the epicenter of the quake, 50-miles northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.
Heavy rains and more than 100 aftershocks have hindered search and rescue efforts. And for the second night in a row, many surviving quake victims in Kathmandu spent Sunday night in tents in open areas, or alongside the roadways - fearing the collapse of damaged, or of remaining structures by one of the many aftershocks, of which one measured 6.7 magnitude on Sunday, fell damaged buildings and caused more avalanches on Mount Everest, where 17 climbers have been confirmed killed, and 62 injured. Aftershock fears have also chased some Kathmandu residents out of the city and onto the plains.
Sadly, UNICEF estimates there are at least 940,000 children severely affected by the calamity in areas including Dhading, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Kathmandu districts, Reuters reported.
On Sunday, Nepalese cremated some of the dead as relief efforts struggle to stock Kathmandu with water and food.
Fourteen International medical teams are in Nepal or on the way to render aid. Another 15 International search and rescue teams are already assisting or en route. But relief efforts have also been effected by the forces of nature as heavy rains, triggering mudslides, slowed search and rescue efforts immediately after the quake. Moreover, 100-plus aftershocks have delayed relief teams landing at Kathmandu's airport, as some flights were forced to circle before landing.
Sprawling tents have been set up around the capital by relief teams. Earlier this morning, the skies cleared over Kathmandu - giving relief teams, an open window to search and rescue operations. Helicopters took to the air for rescue missions on Mount Everest and the roads leading to the epicenter of the quake at Gorkha district, were opened.
However, it is at Gorkha and other rural mountainous villages that authorities fear they will meet more devastation and death.
Culturally, four of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, were severely damaged in the earthquake. In the city of Bhaktapur, half of all homes have been destroyed and 80 percent of Temples damaged. The Nepali Times editor, Kunda Dixit, described the destruction to the BBC-News as: "...culturally speaking" it is "an incalculable loss."
Thus, faced with a rising death toll and severe damage to its culture, Nepal's road to recovery will be long. Yet, Nepalese could find comfort in knowing and seeing that the International community is doing all that it could to aid in relief and in rebuilding.
April 26, 2015
Nepal - You are not Alone, Aid and Comfort have Arrived
The United States(US), India, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Pakistan and China, have mobilized relief teams and aid to Nepal following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country early Saturday, killing some 2,220 people thus far and injuring more than 5,000. Other relief efforts are already being coordinated by international organizations including the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders and others.
But this international effort is only the beginning of what aid Nepal will require to return to some degree of normalcy following the calamity of this 2015 earthquake. Reports indicate there has been wide spread destruction from the capital Kathmandu and stretching a diameter of more than 100 miles including the epicenter of the quake 50-miles northwest of the capital in the rural Gorkha district.
"All the open spaces in Kathmandu are packed with people who are camping outdoors. When the aftershocks come you cannot imagine the fear. You can hear women and children crying," reported Sanjay Karki, Nepal country head for the global relief agency, Mercy Corps, as reported by the Associated Press(AP). Kathmandu residents braved the chilly elements to sleep outside fearing further collapses from aftershocks of which the largest has been 6.7 magnitude.
Thus far, the death toll has reached 2,169 in Nepal, including 721 in Kathmandu; 61 in India, and fewer deaths in Bangladesh, Tibet and at the Chinese border. Avalanches triggered by the main earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, have buried part of the base camp at Mount Everest, where some 17 deaths have been reported so far, including Google Executive, Dan Fredinburg. Another 61 injuries have been reported at Mount Everest where rescue helicopters have been evacuating Nepalese Sherpas and foreign climbers.
"We do not yet know the scope of the damage, but this could be one of the most deadliest and most devastating earthquakes since the 1934 tremor which devastated Nepal and (the Indian state of) Bihar," said Jagan Chapagain, Asia-Pacific Director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and red Crescent Societies, the BBC-News reported.
The US embassy in Nepal has pledged an initial $1 million toward relief and USAID has already dispatched search and rescue teams throughout the quake zone. US Secretary of State John Kerry informed: "We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support."
"The absolute priority must be to reach people who are trapped and injured, and provide shelter and protection to those who have lost their homes," British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said. Britain, along with the US and Pakistan, have sent search and rescue experts. China has sent a 62-member emergency team and India has supplied medical supplies and a 285-member relief crew. Norway has pledged $3,9 million in humanitarian aid and Germany and Spain are also sending assistance.
Hence, out of a still unfolding human tragedy, brought to wrought by the forces of nature as the Indian tectonic plate moves northward at about 1.7 inches-a-year, thus undermining the Eurasian plate, humanity is displaying an empathy for the victims of Nepal that is exemplary and fitting of civilized people.
April 25, 2015
Disaster in Nepal - Lives and History Crumble Under the Forces of Nature
An earthquake measured at 7.8 struck Nepal earlier today killing at least 718 people, according to early reports, and crumbling centuries-old buildings in the south Asian nation of 27.8 million.
Early reports put the death toll at 688 in Nepal alone including 181 in the capital, Kathmandu; 20 across the border in Indian, six in Tibet, two in Bangladesh and two at the Chinese border. The number of deaths is expected to increase. The powerful 7.8 earthquake was also felt in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and China. Deadly avalanches on the Himalayas were also triggered by the earthquake.
In Old Kathmandu, some buildings erected two centuries ago, were reduced to rubble, including the nine-story Dharahara Tower, built as a watch tower in the 1800s.
As international aid agencies assess and begin to coordinate relief to the effected survivors and regions, this Nepalese natural disaster, stands as a clear example of how fragile all systems and communities are to the unmatched forces of nature.
And as we mourn those lives lost in Nepal, the international community should stand poise to provide comfort to survivors, to families, to loved ones and to all fellows in Nepal.
April 24, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
The Philippines is documenting yet another incident of Chinese aggression on the South China Sea. According to report earlier today from the Associated Press(AP), a Chinese ship flashed powerful lights upon a Filipino navy plane and then radioed the plane to leave an area of the South China Sea occupied by the Philippines.
Filipino Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said his navy pilots ignored the Chinese action on Sunday in order to avoid escalating the confrontation. "This is an aggressive action on the part of the Chinese vessel," the Filipino army official said as was reported by the AP.
Lt. Col. Cabunoc explained:"We believe that that is our territory. Why should we be driven out?" He added: "We do not want to complicate the situation there in compliance with the government directives to support the peaceful resolution of our territorial disputes."
In 2013, the Philippines filed an international arbitration case challenging China's claim to some 90 percent of the vast sea upon which some $5 billion worth of goods pass each year.
April 23, 2015
Slavery - that dreaded practice of human trafficking, which had been thought eliminated from the modern era, has been thriving in the fishing industry in Thailand, a recent exposing report by the Associated Press(AP), has found.
And based upon the revelations triggered by the AP investigations, the United States(US) House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, held a hearing on the human tragedy yesterday, when it was confirmed that the "...Thai fishing industry is rife with forced labor, both on the high seas and within seafood processing and packaging plants," Mark Lagon, a Human Rights advocate told US Congressmen, as reported by the AP.
Hence, the US could move to impose sanctions on the military led government of Thailand for allowing slavery.
April 22, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
In response to complaints from the Philippines about its water-cannoning of Filipino fishermen, China is urging Manila to increase its "education" of its fishermen.
"We demand that the Philippine side increase its education and control of its fishermen, cease all behavior that violates China's sovereignty and rights and interests," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson responded to Filipino complaints, according to Reuters.
But the waters around the Scarborough Shoal on the South China Sea, where Monday's incident occurred, is disputed. And as yet, no International Law organization has ruled on China's claim to some 90 percent of the vast sea. The Philippines has filed actions against China with regards to the said sea, reefs and shoals.
April 21, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
Filipino rights activists are denouncing China for turning water cannons upon Philippine fishermen on the South China Sea.
Reports indicate that China's coast guard turned the cannons upon the fishermen near the disputed Scarborough Shoal on Monday.
The Philippines President Benigno Aquino has called upon his foreign and national defense departments to come up with a response to the water cannon incident.
April 20, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA
United States(US) and Philippine forces will take to the South China Sea today in the largest ever military exercise by the allies amid concerns of China's reclamation and construction projects on the disputed waters.
The military exercises designed for training and readiness of the forces to maintaining stability in the region, will also serve to affirm the US commitment to defend the security of the Philippines. Moreover, the exercises come as the Philippines, Vietnam and other smaller nations on the South China Sea, express serious concern over China's actions on the sea of which it claims some 90 percent.
April 19, 2015
Again today, I re-post My Blog for emphasis because the unfolding tragedy of emigrants on the seas has Asian ramifications.
Solutions to Emigrant(Displaced) Tragedies on the Mediterranean Lay at the Ports of Origin
The mounting human tragedies of emigrants and displaced persons on the Mediterranean Sea, including the overnight death of some 700 following the capsized of a packed fishing boat off the Libyan coast, bear all the signs of yet another deepening humanitarian crisis that is indicative of current conflicts and events, forcing thousands of people from their homes.
And while Europe ponders ways to protecting those sent to sea in search of a stable and a better life, the crux of the 'sea peoples' problem, remains affixed to their ports of origin.
The conditions and the fate of the 'sea people" from Syria, North Africa or from other lands of conflict, cannot be truly solved until conditions in their home nations are made right.
The conditions in the lands that force 'sea peoples' onto the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and other sea lanes must be ameliorated in order to avert an even bigger humanitarian crisis.
April 18, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog today, done for emphasis:
When Tears are not Sufficient for Relief - Immediate Action should Follow
Tears swelling and seeping from the eyes of hardened diplomats on the United Nations(UN) Security Council(SC) on viewing a video of the unsuccessful attempts by doctors to resuscitate three-child-victims of a Syrian regime chlorine gas attack, was an empathetic, human and emotional response, to yet another humanitarian tragedy of the Syrian war.
The BBC-News reported: "Some of them(Council members) were crying. Clearly they were affected by what they have seen in the videos and what they heard, many of them spoke outside the diplomatic language and many of them have said that this outrageous and the perpetrators should be brought to justice," Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, told the British news service.
Council members were moved to tears while viewing footage of the unsuccessful attempts by doctors to resuscitate three children - ages, one, two and three, along with their parents and a grandmother, following a chlorine gas attack upon Idlib, Syria, by the Syrian army, on March 16, this year.
United States(US) Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who was at the SC meeting, described reaction to the video as "very emotional". She said those responsible for the attack will be held accountable.
Doctors told the UN diplomats that helicopters were heard flying above the village of Sarmin, in Idlib, on March 16. The Syrian regime is the sole operator of helicopters in the Syrian war. After the sound of the helicopters, the medical professionals reported hearing a thud which was accompanied by an overwhelming smell of chlorine. Subsequently, the local hospital became flooded by dozens of people with breathing difficulties including the three children. They died. The doctors wept. The diplomats wept.
Yet, Bashar al Assad sits in power in Damascus into his fifth year of terror upon the Syrian children and civilian populations. Threats of action against Assad for such humanitarian tragedies have been thwarted by China and Russian before the UN Security Council.
Thus, following the diplomatic tears for those recently killed, who have now joined the mourning deaths of thousands of children, and tens of thousands of civilians in Syria, direct action against the Assad regime becomes necessary. Russian and Chinese hindrance to action against Assad must be rejected. Humanity and justice must trump all naysayers for the sake of the children in the Levant.
April 17, 2015
SOUTH CHINA SEA:
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared reclamation projects by China on the South China Sea is a global problem because it would effect trade.
He told reporters:"We keep asserting the problem in the South China Sea is not a regional problem," Reuters reported. President Aquino explained: This is a problem of the whole world because 40 percent of global trade pass through these waters. Global leaders have already expressed their concern on this problem."
Aquino's observations were shared by G7 nations on Wednesday when the seven foreign ministers issued a statement on maritime security expressing concern on unilateral actions on the South China Sea, Reuters also reported. The G7 ministers confirmed that "large scale reclamation would change the status quo and increase tensions."
China has been carrying out large scale land reclamation and construction projects on the disputed isles and reefs of the South China Sea.
April 16, 2015
Following is a re-post of My Blog, done deliberately for emphasis:
On the protection of the Home Hemisphere and Its Extension to Allies
Many agitations, crises and conflicts abound in the East. Therefore, the Western Hemisphere must be protected from these adverse influences.
Hence, no effort and/or cost could ever become too big to effect the continued stability and peace of the Home Hemisphere. And this strong security should not be contained, but be also extended to allies and free friends experiencing mounting agitations from bad actors.
The Nordic states have identified Russia as a threat to Europe. Some Baltic states have concurred the said fear. And across Eastern to Central to Western Europe, fearful nations having evidence of Russian agitations, have begun preparations to safeguard their sovereignty as best they can.
On the East and South China Seas, Chinese aggression - spearheaded by territorial disputes, reef and islet reclamation and construction projects, has become a surer security concern to smaller neighbors with the passing of each day. The Philippines has warned and has called for help in dealing with China. In Japan, its military planes have been scrambled to investigate skirting aircraft some 943 times in 2014, one-time fewer than a record scramble 944 in 1984. Both Chinese and Russian close-fly-bys attribute to most of Japan's responses.
From Great Britain, to Finland, to Estonia and beyond, Russia's skirting of the territory of others, has brought fear.
Conflict in Ukraine, wars and crises in the Middle East, and in Africa, along with a deepening refugee problem on the Mediterranean Sea, are all indicative of instability and of the needed protection to maintaining the peace and security of the Home Hemisphere and extending such to allies and friends.
April 15, 2015
For the second time in less than a year, the Philippines is seeking United States(US) support in dealing with China's assertions and reclamation projects on the disputed South China Sea.
Last year, the Philippines warned that China's actions on the seas to which it claims 90 percent based upon an old nine-dash line map, were a matter of concern.
And yesterday, the Philippines renewed a call to the US for more "substantive" support on how to counter China's rapid expansion upon the South China Sea where it is constructing and expanding reefs and rocks with the potential to launch aircraft and ships.
April 14, 2015
Chinese authorities have released from detention five women activists held since International Women's Day, March 8, for advocating against sexual harassment.
The women: Li Tingting, Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Wu Rongrong, were released on bail after the United States(US), United Nations(UN) and the European Union(EU) and others criticized China's detention of the innocent-five. However, charges could still be brought against the women and international rights groups are calling upon Chinese authorities to drop all charges.
The women had planned activities around Beijing and Guangzhou calling for awareness of sexual harassment on public transport in China.
But as China released the women yesterday, Chinese officials threatened to punish an anti-discrimination NGO that had lobbied for the release of the women. Though not specifying any alleged crimes against the NGO - Yirenping, a Chinese official said the organization must be held accountable for "breaking the law".
Last month, Chinese officials raided the offices of Yirenping, which was very active in highlighting the plight of the detained female activists.
And now that China has finally bowed to international pressure and freed the women, the attention that is now focused upon the NGO, infers a form of retaliation for the shame China obviously felt because the world became aware of the frivolous detention of the five women, so close to International Women's Day.
to be continued Asia Today Archives 4