Archive for September, 2009


News: Morning International News Roundup

September 30, 2009

North Korea
N. Korea condemns U.N. resolution on non-proliferation
UNDP resumes aid projects in N. Korea
KCNA: “Event on Restart of UNDP Aid to DPRK Held”

“An event on the restart of UNDP aid to the DPRK was held at the mission of the UNDP here on Wednesday. Attending it were officials concerned, members of the visiting UNDP delegation and staff members of the UNDP mission here. Present there on invitation were diplomatic envoys of various countries and representatives of international organizations here.”

N. Korea awards honor to Egyptian mobile investor [Yonhap]
KCNA: “Egyptian Figure Honored with DPRK Order”

Fresh South Korea nuclear proposal “ridiculous”: North [Reuters]
KCNA: “Dismisses S. Korean Chief Executive’s “Proposal” as Rubbish”

“The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be settled between the DPRK and the U.S. from every aspect as it is a product of the latter’s hostile policy toward the former.”

KCNA: “DPRK’s Will to Strive for Building Nuclear-free World Reiterated”
“As a matter of fact, the summit should have called into question and dealt with the U.S. nuclear threat and the reality in which peace and stability are being seriously disturbed in different regions due to the above-said threat.”

Pacific Islands
Major earthquake jolts Indonesia, at least 21 dead
At least 111 dead as tsunami hits Samoan islands

China clears central Beijing for anniversary party
China, U.S. risk rifts in Middle East: former Chinese envoy

West goes to Iran talks _ and readies sanctions
Iran broke law by not declaring atom site: ElBaradei

Israel to free prisoners for videotape of soldier

Honduran police evict Zelaya supporters in crackdown


NEWS: Morning International News Roundup

September 29, 2009

International News for the Morning of 09.29.09 – Iran capitulates? Chinese in NK? iPhones in China? Feast on it.

FM press conference on Sept. 29

FMs eye resumption of 6-way talks in renewed political climate [Yonhap]

Guinea warned of sanctions as death toll climbs

Group: Guinea protest death toll climbs to 157 [AP]

Afghanistan on the agenda at U.N. Security Council

Change of Tactics Needed in Afghanistan War, Chief of NATO Says [Bloomberg]

Iran to schedule for IAEA inspection of new nuclear site
[Press TV]

U.S. Aims To Isolate Iran if Talks Fail [WP]

Iran put nuclear site near base in case of attack [AP]

U.S. urges Israel to probe Gaza crimes to boost peace

Honduras says OAS officials can visit in effort to end crisis [CNN]
…and something fun!

China to begin selling iPhones this week [CNN]


NEWS: Morning International News Roundup

September 28, 2009

Back from NYC after the most hectic work week of all time, and raring to go! Here’s the morning int’l news roundup after a significant hiatus. Keep in mind, it goes geographically, starting in Japan and proceeding through China, Central Asia, Middle East, etc with Domestic news coming at the end. Int’l news is the focus with only domestic news that involves the int’l community expressed.

Japan’s LDP chooses a new leader

North Korea:

New Constitution:
N. Korea’s revised constitution gives more power to Kim Jong-il
N. Korea asserts human rights in new constitution
NYT: NKorea’s New Constitution Mentions Human Rights

KCNA [Korean Central News Agency] Reports

KCNA Report: American Guests Arrive [via email]
“Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — Melvin Lee Cheatham, special assistant to Rev. Franklin Graham of the United States, and his companion arrived here today by air.”

KCNA Reports: Wen Jiabao to Visit DPRK [via email]

[also Xinhua: Chinese Premier to visit DPRK early October]

“Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — Wen Jiabao, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, will pay an official goodwill visit to the DPRK from October 4 to 6 at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

U.S. cautious about starting bilateral talks with N. Korea: official [Yonhap]
Separated Koreans set for farewell after temporary reunions
BBC Coverage of Reunions

China, Japan, ROK pledge to advance all-round partnership

U.S., Allies Vow Support for Karzai
[NY Times]

U.S. Is Seeking a Range of Sanctions Against Iran
[NY Times]
Iran tests most advanced missiles

Gaddafi proposes ‘Nato of the South’ at South America-Africa summit
[Times UK]

BBC stuns Gordon Brown with question on pill taking
[Telegraph UK]

Honduras/South America
Brazil says won’t comply with Honduras ultimatum
Honduras’ interim government raids media outlets
Honduras expels OAS workers, ultimatum for Brazil

Obama to Attend Olympics Vote, Aide Jarrett Says


NEWS: Morning International News Roundup

September 17, 2009


Since I do these international news roundups everyday, why not post them here as well? Look for them every morning between 9-11AM. Top stories below.

North Korea

U.S. expected to decide soon on direct talks with N.K.: Seoul minister [Yonhap]


China in huge Venezuela oil deal [BBC]
Four sentenced over syringe attack in Urumqi
Chinese president to attend UN general debate for first time
China anniversary puts security jitters on show


Police: Terrorism mastermind Noordin Top dead [AP]


Afghan president defends vote, admits some bias [AP]
Obama Delays Afghanistan Troop Decision as Criticism Deepens
NYT Coverage Obama Says He Won’t Rush Troop Decision


Biden: too soon to say if more troops needed in Afghanistan; says U.S. can handle Iran threat [CNN]
Intelligence Agencies Say No New Nukes in Iran


Turkey seeks to ease tensions between Iraq, Syria [CNN]


White House to Scrap Bush’s Approach to Missile Shield [NYT]
Commentary from Reuters Shelved missile shield tests NATO unity
Russia’s Reaction from RIA Novosti Russia welcomes U.S. move to scrap missile plans for Europe
France to close migrant ‘jungle’


African Union Base in Somalia Is Hit [NYT]


POST: They Lie, Reform Dies

September 15, 2009

This past weekend, the Tea Party “Patriots” descended, like a plague of Biblical locusts, upon Washington, filling the streets and the National Mall with slander and bigotry. Because of this and other issues, it’s been hard for me to read or watch domestic news lately. But tonight, as I took a nice, evening run on that same politically hallowed ground on which they had stomped the night before, I couldn’t help but start to think about it.

On my way to my local bank on the weekend, I passed by a few of these teabaggers, a self-appointed term by these “patriots” of which not only I have noted the hilarity. With signs and obligatory American flags, they stomped to fight Obamacare and his, as Rachel Maddow sardonically notes, “secret plan to kill old people.” One marcher was quoted, in front of a news camera, the following:

“We think we are losing our country. We think the Muslims are moving in and taking over. We do not believe our President is a Christian.”

The sign reads, "Obama-nomics. Monkey See. Monkey Spend." What else is this but pure, disgusting bigotry.

The sign reads, "Obama-nomics. Monkey See. Monkey Spend." What else is this but pure, disgusting bigotry.

There are so, so many things wrong with this statement, the least of which is my hope that in my lifetime, our freedom-loving, free speech-defending citizens will realize one can be moral, intelligent…and not Christian.  But what really hits home is the pure ignorance of the crowd and the lightly veiled (and sometimes even blatant) bigotry. It utterly, deeply scares me. In all of this melee, it’s difficult for me to even imagine these sentiments coming from the mouths of real people.

My question is, where is the ANTI-tea party, PRO-health care march? Can someone please get on that?

The bottom line – it is okay to march, to protest, and to voice your opinion.

But, now, the debate is CLEARLY not about health care anymore.


POST: Who Needs Reality TV When You Have the National Health Care Debate?

September 4, 2009

I have never been a fan of reality TV – although I have friends and, ahem, a Mother who loves it. The truth is, millions of people tune in every day to watch shows like Top Chef, Next Top Model, and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.

But, who needs Rock of Love these shows when you have the national health care debate? Sure, I have been recently pretty disgusted by the nature of town hall meetings and the perversity of the lengths to which anti-health care astroturfers have gone. But the truth is, the drama wasn’t YET at a level to rival Flavor of Love, rapper Flavor Flav‘s search for true love (i.e. something that resembles a women in a slutty Halloween costume gone bad)…

That is, until yesterday. At a town hall meeting yesterday in Ventura County (embarrassingly, the county just to the North of my home county of Los Angeles), two attendees started a brawl that ended in one getting his pinky finger bitten off. The bite-ee decided not to have the finger sewn back on (war wound ensues) and the biter has not yet been found.

I think at the next town hall, two attendees should have a fight in a kiddy pool of pudding. At least then chocolate will be involved.


POST: Manhattan Project Implications on Japanese Politics

September 2, 2009

Last night I watched a very interesting documentary on the eagerness of one nation’s race to achieve a nuclear program, for the sole and (later) express purpose of delivering a viable nuclear weapon.

But this nation was not Iran or North Korea, or the former Soviet Union or India. It was the United States.

I realized, as I sifted through Netflix‘s “instant play” documentaries (the new not-so-guilty pleasure of my nights spent at home) that my knowledge and background concerning the experimentation and invention behind the first viable nuclear program – our own – was embarrassingly low.

The 50-minute program, from the History Channel’s Modern Marvels series, was surprisingly enlightening for such a short program. Beginning from the Nazi German scientists who first discovered uranium fission, continuing onto the newly arrived European scientists to America who assisted in the experimentation project, and even delving into the technical side of how fission occurs and why both plutonium and uranium were used and how, the documentary was extremely thorough. It also brought to light the immediate implications for the Project – socially, politically, and militarily.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, Professor. H. D. Smythe, General Nichols, and Glen Seaborg look at a snapshot of the atomic blast on Hiroshima in 1946. Oppenheimer was later stripped of his security clearance due to apparent "Communist sympathies."

J. Robert Oppenheimer, Professor. H. D. Smythe, General Nichols, and Glen Seaborg look at a snapshot of the atomic blast on Hiroshima in 1946. Oppenheimer was later stripped of his security clearance due to apparent "Communist sympathies."

The documentary spoke of the Project’s controversial legacy – as mankind’s self-created means to self-destruction, some saw it as the harbinger of nuclear winter and an embarrassment to the gentler side of the human spirit. Over 100 Manhattan Project scientists even signed a petition to require testing Little Boy before he was dropped on Hiroshima, an impossible demand considering they only had enough U-235 for one bomb. The documentary failed to mention that even after the bombs were dropped, another petition was issued that stated “We [the scientists of Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago] feel, however, that such attacks on Japan could not be justified.” But, there are those who ardently support the opposite. Edward Teller, a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist and one of the Manhattan Project scientists who also helped engineer the Hydrogen Bomb, stated that he feels no regret over his part in the creation of the bombs. Citing America’s continued pursuit of peace and equality, he sees no other country better suited for the acquisition of such a responsibility.

But the implication of the Project and the two powerful destructive events it precipitated, unnamed in the documentary, and extremely salient after this weekend’s Japanese elections, is the continuing pacifist nature of Japanese political and ‘military’ affairs. Even though it was “no Obama moment,” this weekend’s landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan to Japan’s Lower House is important. Contrary to the increasingly militaristic (by their standards) half-a-century reign of the LDP in Japanese politics, the DPJ wants to back peddle on their military commitments in the region, especially those tied to the U.S. war machine. Some think this could complicate U.S. East Asian policy. But today, the DPJ President and PM-designate Yukio Hatoyama made clear that he does not wish to alienate the U.S., but wishes to create a more Asia-focused Japan policy that shies away from further ties to U.S. military commitments (see Futenma and Afghanistan refueling agreements).

The DPJ’s wish to renegotiate these agreements, however unlikely to happen, underscores the continued importance of the Manhattan Project and the nuclear arms race’s influences on Japanese society and politics. However much trouble it will or will not cause among the Japan and U.S. in coming months is unimportant compared to the DPJ sticking to its pacifist convictions and upholding a non-agressive stance that, I believe, will become the ideal for humanist, dignified states in the future.