Intrnational Agencies News
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East Asia Watch
News Headlines & Trends
12.27.04 Tsunami watch in the Pacific
The tsunami that struck Sumatra did not have a monitoring system in place like that provided by the US government for its Pacific coast. The Pacific ocean off the western United States is monitored by buoys that can be checked out by anyone.
12.27.04 Massive 9.0 Richter Scale earthquake in Sumatra
Dec. 27 Update Tsunami toll 25,000; 7,000 in India. Rescuers piled up bodies along southern Asian coastlines devastated by tidal waves that obliterated seaside towns and killed about 25,000 people in nine countries, and officials indicated on Monday that the death toll could climb far higher. Hundreds of children were buried in mass graves in India, and morgues and hospitals struggled to cope with the catastrophe. Somalia, some 4,800 km away, reported hundreds of deaths.
Dec. 25 Tsunamis slammed into the shores opposite the center of a 8.9 magnitude earthquake that is reported to have taken 10,000+ lives in South and East Asia, 3,200 in India alone 1,725 people losing their lives in the state and Andaman and Nicobar, closest to the Sumatra coast. The epicentre of the 8.9 magnitude quake on the Richter Scale, was also equally badly hit accounting for 1,000 deaths and suffering extensive damage. About 5,500 people, including 3,000 in Sri Lanka alone, perished as the tidal waves battered the coasts of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives [More>>Press Trust of India]. 99 dead 1,300 injured in South Thailand. [More>>inq7.net]
The largest quake in 40 years left a trail of death and destruction in South and South East Asia killing over 6,500 people. Over 5,500 people, including 3,000 in Sri Lanka alone, lost their lives as the 8.9 magnitude undersea earthquake with epicenter off the Sumatra coast hit the region at around 0628 IST battering the coasts of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Maldives. Earlier, at least 3,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka, 408 in Indonesia, 300 in Thailand and 25 in Malaysia as tsunami waves lashed the coastal regions in these nations. [More>>hindustantimes via Press Trust of India]
In India Over eighteen hundred people have been killed in tidal waves in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andamand and Nicobar Islands (Tamil Nadu at 800, Andhra Pradesh at 200, Kerala 40 and Andaman and Nicobar Island at 14 [More>>Press Trust of India]). Tamil Nadu was the "worst affected" with possibly over 1500 people killed, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said on Sunday in New Delhi after a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG). In Andhra Pradesh, over 200 people were feared killed, he said. [More>>hindustanitimes via Press Trust of India]
According to the IMGB, the center of the quake was in Molabo, Aceh, the country's westernmost province, at 3.6 degrees of North latitude and 96.28 degrees of east longitude [More>>Xinhuanet]
12.25.04 New York art collector looting Pakistan
NEW YORK, Dec 24 The United States customs authorities have intercepted a container of valuable Pakistani artefacts destined for an art collector in New York , including several priceless Buddha figurines, busts and other Gandhara art objects, at the Newark port in New Jersey.
12.25.04 Governors fear Bush is cutting off Medicaid
BOSTON, Dec. 25 Fearful that President Bush plans to shift more Medicaid costs to the states, the nation's governors are mounting a bipartisan lobbying effort to stave off new federal limits on the program.
Note to file: Since the purpose of this site is to record history by reporting the news knowing it is tomorrow's history it is sad to comment that our legislators have no idea that the $300 billion represents 300 days worth of interest on the US debt. Imagine! American legislators pander to Bush's preference to cut off Medicaid so to pay off those who collect interest on the US debt! Americans this Christmas have been so snowed by Bush their brightest Senators are muffled when it comes to rising interest payments cutting out the daily dole. Sycophants preying on the public debt are more important to our Christian leaders than the poor for whom I pray.
12.25.04 Army historian says invasion of Iraq had mediocre planning
Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer, reports: "The U.S. military invaded Iraq without a formal plan for occupying and stabilizing the country and this high-level failure continues to undercut what has been a "mediocre" Army effort there, an Army historian and strategist has concluded.
12.25.04 Truck bomb in Baghdad against Jordanian embassy
BAGHDAD, Dec. 25 Rescuers dug seven bodies, all of them from the same family, from the rubble of their house on Saturday after an abortive truck bomb attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in which nine people died. [More> Reuters]
12.25.04 French spiderman climbs world's tallest tower
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP), Dec. 25 A French urban climber who calls himself Spiderman climbed to the top of the world's tallest building on Saturday Taipei 101. Alain Robert, 42, took almost four hours to reach the top of the 1,679-foot building. The climb took him nearly twice as long as he had expected, partly because of dreary weather. [More>>cnn.com]
12.25.04 Small Texas town sees first white Christmas since 1918
(AP) Dec. 25 Almost a foot of snow fell overnight to give Victoria, Texas a taste of what the country's midsection has been dealing with the past two days: winter weather. An arctic front that swept through the Midwest hit Indiana and Kentucky particularly hard, bringing record snowfalls that snarled holiday travel and stopped last-minute Christmas shoppers in their tracks. More than a dozen traffic deaths and thousands of auto accidents have been blamed on the storm so far.[ More>>Associated Press via cnn.com et al.]
12.25.04 Another deadly blast in Thailand's Muslim south
Dec. 24 A bomb hidden in a motorcycle has killed two men and wounded eight other people outside a bank in Thailand's largely Muslim deep south. Police said they believed the bomber, Suelee Jehni, had been killed by the blast on Friday at around 9am (0200 GMT) near the bank's automated teller machine. Three soldiers were among the six men and two women wounded. One soldier was in a critical condition. The bomb shattered windows up to the third floor of the Siam Commercial Bank branch in Sungai Kolok, a tourist town best known for a strip of bars and brothels which lure tourists from neighboring Malaysia. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.25.04 Progress-M51 spacecraft to dock with International Space Station Sunday
MOSCOW, December 25 (RIA Novosti's Alexander Kovalev) The Progress-M51 cargo spacecraft is to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, December 26, at 3:05am Moscow time in the automatic mode, a spokesperson for Russia's Mission Control Center told RIA Novosti.
12.25.04 Rafsanjani lashes out at Iran's critics in Iraq
LONDON, Dec. 25 During the weekly Friday Prayers ceremony in Tehran, former Iranian President Hashemi Rafanjani, referring to Iraq's interim government, lashed out at the "stupid accusations of Iranian interference made by certain mercenaries of the United States." Last week, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi called on Iraqis to turn out and vote in the scheduled January 30 elections. "We want Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Turkmens and all the other communities of Iraq to take part in the elections," said Kharazi. Wanting to qualify the statement, Rafasanjani said, "The Iraqis know full well that nobody in Iran is telling them where, how or for whom to vote. But we call on everyone, everywhere in the world, to go and vote to take their own destiny in their hands." [More>>IranMania.com]
12.25.04 Largest turn-out in Bethlehem since 2000
Despite an atmosphere of renewed hope in the aftermath of the death of Yasser Arafat, only a few thousand worshippers attended Christmas Eve celebrations in Bethlehem on Friday night. But on Saturday about 15,000 tourists and pilgrims descended on the city in 130 buses the biggest turnout since 2000. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
12.25.04 Senior Indian delegation visits Israel on arms trade
On Friday, the senior Indian delegation concluded a secret visit to Israel to discuss the arms trade between the two countries and their fight against terror. The nine-member Indian group, headed by the defense secretary, met with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and the ministry's director general, Amos Yaron, among other officials. Israel reportedly agreed to upgrade India's fleet of Chita helicopters, as well as its fleet of Topolev-142 reconnaissance airplanes, that serve India's navy. The delegations also discussed tests India is conducting on Israeli-made Lahat anti-tank missiles. India is also considering buying Israeli-made Heron drones, and cooperating with Israel on the production of Barak 2 navy missiles. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
12.25.04 Zarqawi-linked insurgents arrested in Iraq
BAGHDAD Two insurgents with links to Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, have been arrested in the turbulent city of Ramadi, the US Marines said Saturday. "Two key leaders of a terrorist group claiming affiliation with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network were captured by soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of First Marine Division ... in Al Ramadi recently," the marines said in a statement. [More>>jang.com.pk]
12.25.04 Christians switching back to Hindu beliefs
ROUKERLA, India, Dec. 25 Amidst Christmas celebrations, 113 Christians belonging to 38 families were reconverted to Hinduism at a function at Ruguda under Bonai block in Orissa's Sundargarh district on Saturday sources said. A 'yagna' was performed at the village and new clothes were gifted to all of them on the occasion. A procession was taken out carrying water in earthen pots and marched up to the 'yagnasthal' for performance of rituals that termed the reconversion as 'home coming.' About two months ago, 336 persons belonging to 80 families were reconverted to Hinduism at Birida. [More>>Press Trust of India via hindustantimes.com]
12.25.04 Huygens successfully separates from Cassini spacecraft
(AFP) The European-made space probe Huygens has successfully separated from the US spacecraft Cassini and headed toward Titan, a NASA official said. "The probe successfully detached from the Cassini orbiter," Rosemary Sullivant, a spokeswoman for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory told AFP. "They received the signal," she said. It will take Huygens 20 days to reach Titan, the only moon in the solar system which has an atmosphere. It is scheduled to arrive at its destination on January 14. [via asianewsnet.net]
12.25.04 Iraq invites Russian help
Hashem Karim Mustafa, the Iraqi ambassador, said in a news conference in Moscow that Iraq would welcome Russian companies to help rebuild the country. A delegation representing Russia's upper house of parliament, Emergencies Ministry and Foreign Ministry would visit Baghdad before the end of the year. [CRI online]
12.24.04 Iraqi Prime Minister Hoshiar al-Zibari visits China
In his visit to China this week Prime Minister Hoshiar al-Zibari said that he appreciates China's support of Iraq's political transition process and he thanked the Chinese Government for its efforts at the UN Security Council in solving the Iraqi crisis. [CRI online]
12.23.04 Palestinians vote for first time in 30 years
Palestinians voted Thursday in the first council elections for three decades amid a row over British Prime Minister Tony Blair's plan to prepare the birth of a Palestinian democratic state at a London conference. [More>>dailystar.com.lb] Because of a high turnout the polls have been kept open later and Hamas appears to have the advantage says the Jerusalem Post.
12.23.04 Mosul suicide bomber may have worn Iraqi uniform
WASHINGTON Dec. 23 The explosion that killed 22 people in a U.S. military mess hall in northern Iraq was apparently an inside job by a suicide bomber who may have worn an Iraqi military uniform, allowing passage through multiple layers of security, a senior military official said today. [More>>latimes.com]
12.23.04 Battle in Fallujah as people try to return to their homes
Clashes have erupted between US marines and Falluja's fighters as displaced families were set to return to their homes in the battered city on Thursday. It was unclear what caused the clashes, but marine officers said that both sides had suffered casualties. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.23.04 Dollar slumps to lowest level; foreigners fear it's Washington's plan
BEIRUT, Dec. 23 Osama Habib and Michael Glackin write: The dollar slumped to an all time low against the euro in late European trading, tumbling to $1.3502 against the resurgent single currency. The greenback plunged to its record low amid fears Washington won't take measures to counter the dollar's weakness and the publication of a raft of poor U.S. economic data.
12.23.04 US Government releases $100 million in emergency heating aid
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (AP) After lawmakers complained that utilities were cutting off heat for thousands of seniors and low-income families before the worst of winter, federal authorities announced Thursday they would release $100 million in emergency heating aid for the poor. [More>usatoday.com via toxpix.net]
12.23.04 North Korean exodus
China has been quietly helping North Korean refugees relocate to a "third country," which apparently has been South Korea. North Korean refugees have been seeking asylum in Hanoi as well. Last week asylum seekers went to the French and Swedish embassies in Hanoi. This week Forty-four North Koreans who sought asylum at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing in September have been taken to a safe, unnamed third country...In recent years, scores of North Koreans have won political asylum in South Korea after successfully entering diplomatic missions in China. The Beijing government has allowed hundreds of North Korean asylum-seekers to leave for South Korea through this route. Despite a treaty that obliges Beijing to send them home, it has not done so in cases which have become public. [More>>koreaherald.com]
12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.24.04 President Bush invaded Iraq using a false pretense, claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was threatening to use them against the United States. Bush combined the invasion of Iraq with his overall war against terrorism. Had he focused his war against terrorism toward searching out Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, we would not be writing about the ongoing disaster of Iraq, where failed US policies are helping terrorist recruiting campaigns.
This is one of several Biblical prophesies that lay behind the teachings President Bush hears every Sunday: a belief in a period called the Last Days (the Koran calls the Day of Resurrection) which are compared to the judgment (burden) of Babylon. The Book of Revelation repeats the judgment cited above in the context of a battle between evil and God's Messiah (Christ) [NIV version]:
Since the Koran is founded upon the assumption that the Biblical Scriptures are true (see below, "Why the Crusade & Jihad?"), we are witness to a confusing Crusade launched by George W. Bush that conjures up believers of Islam and Christianity, both of whom believe that God is on their side. What George W. Bush has done in his misguided adventure in Iraq is created a great division in the world, and that for which he thinks he may be fighting may not, in fact, be justice. For justice never sides with a liar, and history in terms of the Biblical issues at hand may record George W. Bush and his administration having a greater affiliation with the "beast" than with God. After all, George W. Bush launched his war in Iraq for the wrong reason: to control oil, the medium of world commerce. He affronts the idea of justice with his argument that he is bringing freedom to Iraq. Hitler and other beasts used the same argument. The beast Osama bin Laden uses the same argument.
Big News Network.com December 23, 2004, released an interesting article on a recent report by a Pentagon advisory group, the Defense Science Board (DSB). The report titled, "Strategic Communication," deals with the US war of ideas against Islamic extremism. The report concludes that the US is not effectively communicating its message and is losing this contest of ideas. The report can be downloaded as a pdf from: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports.htm. Here is a portion of what it says.
12.23.04 Rebel violence in Nepal takes 100 lives in the past week
12.23.04 YUKOS deal ruined Russia's reputation says Richard Boucher
³It seems to me that we clearly stated our attitude towards the sale of YUKOS and the tax claims against this company,² Richard Boucher said. ³We looked for a solution to this problem that would observe tax laws and would not infringe on the rights of the company's shareholders, creditors, and employees. We don't believe that the auction was a step in this direction. The entire course of this affair has raised questions about the independence and transparency of Russian courts and investment and tax laws and is a cause for serious concern.² In Mr. Boucher's opinion, ³the situation with YUKOS has ruined Russia's reputation as a place to do business². [More>> Kommersant.com]
12.23.04 Nigerian pipelines being tapped with explosive results
LAGOS, Dec. 23 At least 26 people were killed in an explosion as they stole fuel from a damaged pipeline in a fishing community near Nigeria's economic capital Lagos, police said Thursday. But this is not the first incident. Tuesday night 20 people were killed. Four months ago some 50 people were killed at Imore, a Lagos suburb, and In October 1998 in Jesse, a fishing community in Delta State, more than 1,000 villagers were ripped apart by an explosion as they scooped up fuel. [More>>jang.com.pk]
12.23.04 Seven dead in boat off Canary islands
FUERTEVENTURA, Dec. 23 Rescuers on Thursday found seven bodies and 30 people suffering from severe hypothermia in a boat that had been adrift for two days off the Canary Islands, emergency services officials said. [jang.com.pk]
12.23.04 Where Osama bin Laden went wrong
Vikram Sood, former chief of India's Research and Analysis Wing, wrote an interesting article examining what appears to be a failed strategy on the part of Osama bin Laden. [Well worth reading, at atimes.com via rediff.com]
12.23.04 Russian state oil firm Rosneft bought YUKOS's core unit Yuganskneftegaz
Expanding its sites the Russian state-owned oil firm, Rosneft, who bought Yuganskenftegaz at what has been criticized as a low action price, has now aquired the Baikal Finance Group. Reports say that the Baikal aquisition will transform the company into a balanced national energy corporation. [More>>CRI online]
12.23.04 Russian president accuses US of attempting to isolate Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of trying to isolate Russia from its neighbors among the former Soviet republics. Speaking at an annual press conference Thursday in Moscow, Putin said he heeded Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski's reported comments that the United States preferred a "Russia without Ukraine."
12.22.04 Cassini-Huygens mission set to launch probe to Saturn's moon Titan
A report from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory says, "The highlights of the first year of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn can be broken into two chapters: first, the arrival of the Cassini orbiter at Saturn in June, and second, the release of the Huygens probe on Dec. 24, 2004, on a path toward Titan.
"As partners with ESA, one of our obligations was to carry the Huygens probe to Saturn and drop it off at Titan," said Robert T. Mitchell, Cassini program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've done the first part, and on Christmas Eve we will release Huygens and tension-loaded springs will gently push it away from Cassini onto a ballistic free-fall path to Titan."
Once freed from Cassini, the Huygens probe will remain dormant until the onboard timer wakes it up shortly before the probe reaches Titan's upper atmosphere on Jan. 14. Then it will begin a dramatic plunge through Titan's murky atmosphere, tasting the chemical makeup and composition as it descends to touch down on its surface. [More>>jpl.nasa.gov]
12.21.04; 12.23.04 Update US base in Mosul attacked; 22 killed
An attack on a mess-hall, which occurred about noon, killed 22 US and Iraqi troops and wounded 72. It is the deadliest single attack against the US since the start of the Iraqi War. The attack was by a suicide bomber. [Associated Press; Update at defenselink.mil]
12.14.04 Demonstrations planned against Saudi monarchy
Anti-monarchy protest marches planned for Riyadh and Jedda are expected to draw tens of thousands of supporters, according to their Saudi dissident organiser. Saad al-Faqih told Aljazeera.net on Tuesday that his radio stations that reach over two thirds of the Saudi population - have been preparing for the demonstrations for over six weeks. "The Saudi regime is unreformable. This event will involve a series of civil activities whose purpose is clear to remove the current regime," al-Faqih told Aljazeera.net. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
Based upon TV broadcasts Wednesday, apparently the need to go to war in Iraq was so urgent President Bush could not plan on supplying the troops with necessary equipment and resources. The strategy revealed Wednesday in an appearance before our troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld now is, "You go to war with what you have." He said this in answer to a soldier's complaint at the briefing, having to do with soldiers still not having armor and forced to raid rusted debris to add armor to their vehicles and equipment. Although March will be the second anniversary of Bush's invasion, troops still don't have proper equipment. Rumsfeld explained that it is a matter of logistics. With reference to supplying armored Humvees Rumsfeld said America can't build them fast enough. Let's face it, the 250 tons of ammunition that came up missing after Bush's army rushed by Saddam Hussein's unguarded armories heading to Baghdad to secure the oil ministry might possibly be the reason why America can't keep up with the demand for armored Humvees.
US DEBT & ECONOMICS
12.16.04 President Bush looking at deficit as cause of weak dollar
12.22.04 Iraqi children freezing; hospitals raising fees, have broken windows, no heat, no water, lots of corruption
PALESTINE AND KASHMIR SOLUTION
12.21.04 World Bank offers carrot to Palestinians
IRAN & SYRIA
12.21.04 Bush renews threats against Syria
12.21.04 Yukos auctioned to 2-day-old company; owners unknown
12.19.04 China to build nuclear power plant in Pakistan; stronger economic ties
EUROPEAN UNION VERSUS UNITED STATES
12.19.04 EU moves to more independent role
12.22.04 Saddam bids to challenge case in US
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind
11.22.04 (11.26.04; 11.30.04; 12.08.04 Updates) US twin deficits are causing Japanese jitters: the story behind the collapse of the dollar
This is an ongoing article. We received a response from Senator Diane Fienstein which we cuddled midst a general review of the historic repeat of Deficits from father to son: Bush I to Bush II.
The US deficit, being the source of the declining dollar, perpetuates further debt and increases interest rates and inflation. About half of the US $6 Trillion debt is owned by foreign investors (primarily banks). When investors redeem their bonds in a period when the dollar is declining, as is the case in the two Bush administrations, they lose money on their investment in US bonds. This causes potential buyers of US bonds to back out of the US bond market. When buyers back away from the US bond market, the US has to raise interest rates to draw them back into the market. Following the increase in the prime rate, mortgages and other loan rates increase.
The National Debt is an exponential debt. The adding of interest, plus continued borrowing / sales of US Bonds, compounds the debt. The debt takes on the form of a "J" curve. President Bush claims that he will "halve the debt," presumably in the next four years. The Clinton years, 1993-2000, represented the most fiscally responsible administration since Nixon (see "Running a government with a credit card" below). During Clinton's term Congress had adapted and applied a "pay as you go" process, preventing further borrowing to fund the government and actually paid down the National debt through their diligence. The dedication of Congress and the President during the Clinton years is not present in the current administration of Bush II, and reducing the deficit, let alone the National Debt, would seem improbable. It appears that the National Debt has reached a point of no return, where interest on the debt alone will consume any efforts to retire the debt. The debt from 1974 through 2009 (the data are current as of 11.22.04, from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the years 2004 - 2009 are OMB estimates) look like this:
The National Debt data are as follows: US Office of Budget & Management National Debt
A forty-year amortization table on a loan of $5 trillion (double everything for a loan of $10 trillion) at 7% interest:
It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing and not allowed their spendthrift President to get out of hand. Then again, there is hope that Americans will start to pay attention to their accounts and those they elected to manage them. Total receipts estimated in the Federal Budget for 2004 are just short of $2 trillion." Growth in receipts. Total receipts in 2004 are estimated to be $1922.0 billion, an increase of $85.8 billion or 4.7 percent relative to 2003. Receipts are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.0 percent between 2004 and 2008, rising to $2,520.9 billion. This growth in receipts is largely due to assumed increases in incomes resulting from both real economic growth and inflation." [2004 FEDERAL RECEIPTS AND COLLECTIONS, p. 57]
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