Archive for December, 2007

Taiwan: China Resists Democracy Totally

December 30, 2007

From the Sunday Mail
Adelaide, Australia
Sunday, December 30, 2007

A SENIOR Taiwanese official said that Beijing’s move to delay any direct election for Hong Kong’s leader until 2017 underlined why Taiwan could not accept reunification with China.

Tung Chen-yuan, a deputy chief of Taiwan’s China policy-making body, known as the Mainland Affairs Council, said the decision sent a clear signal “that the Chinese Communist Party does not allow genuine democracy”.

He said it also showed that the “‘one country, two systems’ being used to rule both Hong Kong and Macau cannot possibly be accepted by the people of Taiwan”.

Taiwan and China have been separate since their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, but China still regards the island as part of its territory that is awaiting reunification – by force if necessary.

The government in Taipei has rejected Beijing’s offer to run Taiwan using the “one country, two systems” format like in Hong ….

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Hong Kong democrats condemn China’s 2012 vote snub

December 30, 2007

HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong‘s pro-democracy camp Sunday condemned China‘s decision to delay the direct election of the city’s leader until at least 2017 but some analysts and media gave it a cautious welcome.

Albert Chan, a lawmaker with the League of Social Democrats, said the democracy movement now needed to adopt a radical approach and called for a campaign of non-cooperation, with a blanket vote against all government bills.

“We need to disrupt our administration and force them to rethink the consequences of depriving Hong Kong people’s political rights,” he said on local broadcaster RTHK’s “Letter to Hong Kong.”

“Without changes, in another 20 years>>>>

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Bhutto’s homeland smolders with rage

December 30, 2007
By ASHRAF KHAN, Associated Press Writer

ALONG THE LARKANA-KARACHI HIGHWAY – Three days after Benazir Bhutto‘s killing, driving through her home province is a perilous experience. Charred vehicles, felled trees and rocks litter the highway, and nervous travelers paste her portrait to their cars to appease prowling mobs.

Bhutto’s killing in a gun and suicide bomb attack on Thursday plunged Pakistan deeper into political crisis and triggered an orgy of violence that has killed more than 40 people and left hundreds of banks, shops, gasoline stations, railway stations and offices torched.

Sindh, an agricultural region in the south of the country where Bhutto grew up, has seen the worst of the unrest.

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Bhutto party to decide whether to be in election

December 30, 2007

Associated Press
December 30, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The opposition Pakistan People’s Party is set to hold a critical meeting Sunday in the wake of leader Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to decide whether to still take part in parliamentary elections due Jan. 8.

The People’s Party meeting, which will also hear a reading of Bhutto’s last will and testament, comes amid growing controversy surrounding her death.

The government Saturday rejected foreign help in investigating Bhutto’s assassination. The Islamic militant group blamed by officials for the attack that killed Bhutto denied any links to the killing, and Bhutto’s aides accused the government of a cover-up.

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Vietnamese Calling for Democracy, Rule of Law

December 29, 2007
Buddhist dissident Thich Quang Do calls for democratic rights and freedoms to guarantee territorial integrity in Vietnam
PARIS, 28th December 2007 (IBIB) – In the wake of widespread demonstrations staged by students and young people outside Chinese Embassies in Hanoi and Saigon, and strong protests by the Vietnamese community overseas, the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, prominent dissident and Deputy leader of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) has issued a strong statement on the controversy over the disputed Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. Sent clandestinely from the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon, it was received by the International Buddhist Information Bureau in Paris today.Writing on behalf of the UBCVâ’s Bi-Cameral leadership (the Institute of the Sangha and the Institute for the Dissemination of the Dharma), Thich Quang Do called on the Hanoi authorities to “pass the reins of power to the people in a society based on the separation of the three powers, multi-party democracy and the rule of law” as the best way to safeguard Vietnam’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.Because “three million Communist Party members and a 500,000-strong army have neither the authority nor the power to defend the homeland by military means, nor sufficient prestige and courage to expand political and diplomatic efforts to mobilize international support in our defence: they need the full participation of the 85 million Vietnamese population and the support of the Vietnamese Diaspora worldwide.”

As a first step, Hanoi must “immediately abrogate Article 4 of the Vietnamese Constitution [on the political monopoly of the Communist Party], and enable all sectors of the Vietnamese population, including all religious and political families, to freely and fully participate in the process of national salvation.”

The UBCV Deputy leader also called on Hanoi to summon the people for a “Dien Hong” Conference for the XXIst century to “initiate a process of reconciliation and democratic change.

Thich Quang Do emphasized the role of Buddhism as an essential element in this process :  “With our responsibility as Vietnamese citizens, and as representatives of a religion that has contributed to the foundation and development of our nation over the past 2,000 years, the Council of the Bi-Cameral Institute of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam cannot stand by silently whilst our country is in danger. We therefore solemnly appeal to the Vietnamese intelligentsia, inside and outside Vietnam, to stand together and rally forces to save our nation. The Council of the Bi-Cameral Institute of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam pledges to give its active support to every peaceful effort to protect our homeland and our people.”

Conclusion: With our responsibility as Vietnamese citizens, and as representatives of a religion that has contributed to the foundation and development of our nation over the past 2,000 years, the Council of the Bi-Cameral Institute of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam cannot stand by silently whilst our country is in danger. We therefore call upon the Vietnamese intelligentsia, inside and outside Vietnam, to stand together and rally forces to save our nation. The Council of the Bi-Cameral Institute of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam pledges to give its active support to every peaceful effort to protect our homeland and our people.For more information see:
Official information service of Vien Hoa Dao, Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
B.P. 63 – 94472 Boissy Saint Léger cedex (France) – Tel.: Paris (331) 45 98 30 85
Fax : Paris (331) 45 98 32 61 – E-mail :

Web :
Vietnam Sovereignty: Danger Signals

U.S. State Department: Misguided Attempt in Pakistan?

December 29, 2007

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

Pentagon officials said the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto yesterday is a setback for what critics say was a misguided attempt by the State Department to pressure Pakistan’s government into adopting greater democratic reforms.

State Department bureaucrats have been directing a behind-the-scenes effort that included the return of Mrs. Bhutto from exile in London in October.

Mrs. Bhutto, a favorite of policy-makers at the State Department, was a key figure in plans for brokering a power-sharing arrangement and democratic reforms in Pakistan, along with exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned in September but who immediately was expelled.

The reality in Pakistan, the defense officials said, is that the country is beset by a small but growing minority of Islamist extremists determined to seize power.

The State Department pressure in Pakistan is likely to fuel further destabilization of the government of President Pervez Musharraf, who recently imposed emergency rule and then lifted it under U.S. pressure, the officials said.

The strategic danger is that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, which includes an estimated two dozen warheads, will fall under the control of Islamist extremists, a worry that has led to special operations forces planning for how to secure the weapons in a crisis.

Defense officials have said they have been frustrated with the Musharraf government over its reluctance to cooperate with U.S. military forces in remote border regions. But the officials said that until more progress is made in the global war on terrorism, the current pro-U.S., military-dominated regime in Islamabad is the best option.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters yesterday that the department favors the idea of Pakistan going ahead with planned elections in the next few weeks “as the best way, as the president said, to honor former Prime Minister Bhutto’s memory.”

As China Olympics Nears; Pollution Fears

December 29, 2007
BEIJING — Every day, monitoring stations across the city measure air pollution to determine if the skies above this national capital can officially be designated blue. It is not an act of whimsy: with Beijing preparing to play host to the 2008 Olympic Games, the official Blue Sky ratings are the city’s own measuring stick for how well it is cleaning up its polluted air.

Beijing residents in Tiananmen Square, used to pea-soup smog, ignored a citywide stay-indoors warning on Thursday. (Photo by Oded Balilty, AP)
Thursday did not bring good news. The gray, acrid skies rated an eye-reddening 421 on a scale of 500, with 500 being the worst. Friday rated 500. Both days far exceeded pollution levels deemed safe by the World Health Organization.
We’re definitely hoping for the best,” said Jon Kolb, a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, “but preparing for the worst.”

China: Democracy Comes Very Slowly

December 29, 2007
by Stephanie Wong

HONG KONG (AFP) – China said Saturday it would consider allowing Hong Kong‘s leader to be directly elected by 2017 but activists seeking quicker reform in the former British colony criticised the decision.

The announcement is Beijing‘s clearest indication yet of the city’s political future but has upset democrats pushing for 2012 as the deadline to achieve full democracy in the Asian financial hub, a timetable China rejected.

“The election of the fifth (Hong Kong) chief executive in the year 2017 may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage,” said Qiao Xiaoyang, a senior official from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature…..

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U.S. Economy: Desperate Stores Slash Prices

December 29, 2007

By BusinessWeekChristmas has passed, but Elizabeth Milner is getting busier. The shoe associate at Macy’s in Overland Park, Kan., says she’s seeing even more customers now than during the Christmas rush.

That’s because the store is offering an extra 30% off merchandise already reduced by half. Shave off 10% more with a pass from the newspaper and you reap a deeper discount than last year, says Milner, when the store offered 20% off items already reduced by 40%.

After the most disappointing holiday sales season in five years, retailers are turning to “desperation discounting” to rescue bleak holiday sales. From early-bird specials to new “power hours” and savings of up to 80%, chain stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s are trying a variety of tricks to resuscitate spending.

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Pakistan: Muhammad Reports, December 29, 2007

December 29, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

Presently whole Pakistan is in complete choas and disarray. So many time we have discussed the issue that terrorists sitting in the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border have been making plan for carrying out terrorist attacks. It is unfortunate that the rulers of Pakistan always denied the reports. But the death of Benazir Bhutto has proved one thing that terrorists have been hiding in the tribal areas.

Today the government of Pakistan also confirmed that Baitullah Masood of Waziristan region is responsible for the killing of Benazir Bhutto. I think you will not believe this, but this is the fact that Baitullah Masood is the man of the government and this is the reason that he has been leading a luxurious life in the border. He has been getting money from the officials of Pakistan.Situation in the country is very terrible.

According to reports, Army soldiers patrolled the streets of the southern cities of Hyderabad and Karachi on Friday in an effort to quell violence following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, witnesses said.

The violence has killed at least 23 people, said Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram, home secretary for Sindh province.

In Hyderabad, soldiers patrolled the streets and refused to let people out of their houses, witnesses said. Troops were also seen in Karachi.

Mohtaram confirmed that the provincial government requested the army’s help “to control the law and order situation” in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawab Shah and Ghotki.Earlier, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said troops were put on alert in four cities in Sindh as a precaution but were not yet patrolling the streets.

The Pakistan interior ministry said Friday there was “every possibility” the Islamic extremist Al-Qaeda network was behind the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.”Benazir has been on the hit-list of Al-Qaeda,” interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema told a foreign news agency.

“Now there is every possibility that Al-Qaeda is behind this tragic attack to undermine the security of Pakistan.”

Dear Sir, again thank you very much for your kindness and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan