Archive for the ‘global’ Category

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

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A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

U.S. Is Child’s Play: Obama Can Rule The World; Hillary Can Be Manliest Guy In Cabinet

December 2, 2008

Another Barack Obama came in from the cold Monday. The man who gave us the unexpected in his team to resurrect the economy introduced his team to reorganize the world of which he sees himself as president-elect. The new message is clear – being president merely of the United States is for bush-leaguers.

Hillary Clinton, who suggested she has the equipment to be the manliest member of the entire Obama administration, invoked the campaign mantra right away, cheering an uneasy cult after those earlier appointments. She’s not only for change, but “positive” change. She promised to work with the toy countries of the world to resolve global crises.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary ... 
President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be his choice for U.S. Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters) 

“The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” she said. She vowed to “reach out to the world again,” to give the thirsty world a Coke after the drought of the Bush years.

The president-elect said the appointment of Mrs. Clinton, who once mocked Mr. Obama’s cut-and-run strategy for Iraq and derided him as a naive amateur for promising to talk to global troublemakers without first determining whether they were serious about making nice, is “a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances.”

President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton ...
President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be his choice for Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/02/in-from-the-cold-a-familiar-obama/

Santa Won’t Visit China’s Toymakers Much This Year

December 1, 2008

Dongguan, China, produces a vast amount of the toys that will end up under Christmas trees around the world. Or it did, until all the factories there started to close because of the global economy….. leaving thousands of workers out of work and out of luck….

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At about six o’clock Thursday evening, around what used to be quitting time for the day shift at the He Jun toy factory in Dongguan, China, 40-year-old Wei Dong Li made his way to the factory’s front entrance, his three-year-old son Qian Jie tugging at his sleeve. The factory is now closed; a few security guards stand inside the locked gate. Posted each evening at the front entrance is a sheaf of documents: the latest rulings from a local court on compensation claims filed by many of He Jun’s 4,000 workers, Wei included. “They process a few of them a day, so I come back every other day to check and see if my case is on the list,” Wei says. He has no luck again. “I’ll just wait some more,” he says. “I have nothing else to do at this point.”

By Bill Powell
Time Magazine

Dongguan, along with a handful of similar, nearby towns, is the real Santa’s factory at the North Pole. A sprawling, charmless city of 7.5 million that sits 80 km southeast of Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong in southern China, Dongguan produces a vast amount of the toys that will end up under Christmas trees around the world. Toys were one of the critical, low-wage, low-tech industries on which China built its economic ascent over the past 30 years. But as workers such as Wei know better than anyone, 2008 is the year that that part of China’s miracle has come to an end.

It’s been six weeks since He Jun, a Hong Kong-listed company, shuttered two of its biggest factories in China — suddenly and without any warning, former workers say. They were among the latest and largest factory closures in China’s battered low-end industries: toy manufacturers, textile companies and shoe makers most prominent among them. China’s steadily appreciating renminbi currency — which makes Chinese goods more expensive in key exports markets like the U.S. — as well as higher costs embedded in a new labor law enacted last year were already wreaking havoc with companies that survived even in the best of times on the thinnest of profit margins. Now, with a global recession gathering pace, the best of times are gone, and the pain in what had been booming areas in southern China is spreading quickly. Fully half of China’s toy exporters, which sent nearly $8 billion worth of Barbies and Thomas the Tank Engines to export markets in 2007, were driven out of business in the first seven months of this year, Beijing’s General Administration of Customs said in a recent report. In the city of Shenzhen, the other major manufacturing center in Guangdong province, 50,000 people have already lost their jobs this year. And in Beijing last week, Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s key economic policy-making body, bluntly warned that “excessive production cuts and business closures will cause massive unemployment and that will lead to instability.”

In Dongguan, it already has. Earlier last week, on the evening of November 25, another large toy manufacturer here, Kai Da Manufacturing, laid off more than 600 of its workers because of slowing production. According to participants and eyewitnesses to what followed, a large group of the workers gathered in the front courtyard of the factory demanding to know what compensation they would receive. At first, a company manager told them that anyone with a good work record and less than five years service would receive less than 10,000 RMB—less than $1,500 at today’s exchange rates. Anyone with over seven years on the line and a good record would get 12,300 RMB or about $1,800.

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,
1862717,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Managing risk in an unstable world: Government, finance and security

December 1, 2008

How can we reduce risk for individuals? That’s a natural question when a financial crisis has vaporized trillions of dollars of personal wealth in residential real estate and financial instruments. The problem is, when you try to reduce risk for individuals too much, you end up making things much riskier.

By Michael Barone
The Washington Times
Case in point: The financial system over the last decade. Our current difficulties arose from “the idea,” as Nicole Gelinas describes it in the New York Post, “that any loan, bond or other bank asset could be sliced up and turned into an instantly liquid, priceable and tradable security, with all its risks engineered away.” The securitization of mortgages seemed to reduce risk for everyone – for the lender (who avoided risk of nonpayment by selling the mortgage), for the borrower (who got the mortgage at a lower rate than otherwise) and for the purchaser (because all those mortgages couldn’t got belly up at once, could they?).

The problem was that the risk models were based on the experience of only the last seven years or so, and that both the Clinton and Bush administrations and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraged the granting of mortgages to borrowers who were, by previous standards, uncreditworthy.

So eliminating risk ended up creating huge risk for everyone – so huge that just about no one, even the Treasury armed with $700 billion – wants to purchase the securitized mortgages in bank portfolios.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/
01/managing-risk-in-an-unstable-world/

Mumbai Violence Clouds India’s Economic Future

November 29, 2008

The terrorist siege in southern Mumbai, not far from its financial district, is likely to threaten India’s already murky economic future and thwart plans to transform the city into a regional financial center, economists and investors said.
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By HEATHER TIMMONS and KEITH BRADSHER
The New York Times
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India’s economy had already been slowing significantly, because of the global credit crunch and the rupee’s decline. The country’s leading stock market index, the Sensex, has been cut in half since January as foreign investors redirected billions of dollars out of the country. Real estate markets around the country are cooling off.

Now foreign investors and business executives, who fueled much of India’s blistering growth over the past three years, are expected to be even more cautious about investing in India, at least in the short run, analysts said. Local companies and executives, who have already put the brakes on growth projections, could revise them further.

“Of course there will be some setbacks” related to the attacks, said Hitesh Kuvelkar, associate director at First Global, a financial research firm. Even before the attacks, First Global predicted that India’s economic growth could slow to about 6 percent in 2009 and less than 4 percent in 2010.

An Indian soldier holds positions outside the Taj Mahal hotel ...
An Indian soldier holds positions outside the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Indian commandos have killed the last remaining gunmen in Mumbai’s Taj hotel to end a devastating attack by Islamic militants on India’s financial capital that left 195 dead, including 26 foreigners.(AFP/Sajjad Hussain)

The attacks, which left more than 150 people dead by Friday evening, made targets of foreigners, witnesses said. The heavily armed terrorists were able to bypass security at two of India’s most expensive hotels, and it has taken India’s military several days to quell the violence, raising questions about safety in even the most exclusive locations.

It may be some time before the hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and the Oberoi, once regular haunts for executives, become deal-making hubs again. “I would not feel comfortable either staying in or going to meetings at the Taj or the Oberoi, at least in the near future,” said Joel Perlman, the president of Copal Partners, a research company.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/world/asia/29impact.html?_r=1&hp

U.S. Industry, Economy: No sympathy for Detroit at a Kia plant in Georgia

November 29, 2008
The residents of this town are learning to enjoy Korean barbecue, and are wary of bailing out American automakers. ‘The foreign cars took the lead, and they deserve it,’ says one.
By Richard Fausset
The Los Angeles Times
Reporting from West Point, Ga. — This attractive old mill town along the Chattahoochee River, with its brick downtown and streets of cozy, unpretentious homes, could be the backdrop for a patriotic American car commercial — lacking only the plaintive croak of a Bob Seger or John Mellencamp.

But America’s Big Three automakers, which are teetering at a financial abyss, shouldn’t expect much sympathy here.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
nation/la-na-newdetroit29-2008nov29,0,
3633459.story

Massive Public Spending Hoped To End Global Recession

November 29, 2008

In a bid to jump-start the beleaguered global economy, countries around the world are introducing massive public spending programs aimed at creating millions of jobs, boosting the use of green energy and modernizing infrastructure in a way that could transform urban and rural landscapes.

The viability of some of the plans remains unclear. But observers say the number of countries moving in tandem underscores the perceived severity of the coming global recession and the view that governments must at least temporarily pick up the slack as the hard-hit private sector sheds jobs and cuts spending. 

 

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page D01

It is time “to invest massively in infrastructure, in research, in innovation, in education, in training people, because it is now or never,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a recent public address.

World leaders are pursuing a variety of strategies to tame the economic crisis, including moves to unclog credit markets, strengthen financial institutions and ease monetary policy. But fiscal stimulus packages, in particular, have emerged as a favorite tool of policymakers. Some countries’ plans are particularly bold: China is accelerating projects to build more nuclear power plants and a vast natural gas pipeline; Italy may erect the first bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Europe.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/28
/AR2008112802660.html?hpid=topnews

Meltdown far from over, new mortgage crisis looms

November 27, 2008

The full scope of the housing meltdown isn’t clear and already there are ominous signs of a new crisis — one that could turn out the lights on malls, hotels and storefronts nationwide.

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

Even as the holiday shopping season begins in full swing, the same events poisoning the housing market are now at work on commercial properties, and the bad news is trickling in. Malls from Michigan to Georgia are entering foreclosure.

Hotels in Tucson, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., also are about to default on their mortgages.

That pace is expected to quicken. The number of late payments and defaults will double, if not triple, by the end of next year, according to analysts from Fitch Ratings Ltd., which evaluates companies’ credit.

“We’re probably in the first inning of the commercial mortgage problem,” said Scott Tross, a real estate lawyer with Herrick Feinstein in New Jersey.

That’s bad news for more than just property owners. When businesses go dark, employees lose jobs. Towns lose tax revenue. School budgets and social services feel the pinch.

Companies have survived plenty of downturns, but economists see this one playing out like never before. In the past, when businesses hit rough patches, owners negotiated with banks or refinanced their loans.

But many banks no longer hold the loans they made. Over the past decade, banks have increasingly bundled mortgages and sold them to investors. Pension funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds bought the seemingly safe securities and are now bracing for losses that could ripple through the financial system.

“It’s a toxic drug and nobody knows how bad it’s going to be,” said Paul Miller, an analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, who was among the first to sound alarm bells in the residential market.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081127/ap_on_bi_ge/melt
down_coming_soon;_ylt=Ao5Sg.24hesMbnCpBUd_uzes0NUE

It’s here: The age of suicide fighters, global jihad

November 27, 2008

The clean-shaven, lithe young men ravaging Mumbai are suicide fighters — planned, armed and committed for long, hard-fought battles — not the shadowy hit-and-run suicide bombers with which India is so familiar.

The detonation of two taxis on Thursday night seemed only a diversion: The real teeth of the attack lay in small teams of highly trained commando-like fighters capturing large buildings, taking hostages and preparing for a long siege.

By Amit Baruah and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

The Mumbai terror strikes fit neatly into the paradigm of jihad international. For the first time, the targets are no longer just random markets or innocent Indians, but Westerners: Americans, Britons, Israelis and Australians.

Mumbai 26/11, said a senior Indian intelligence official, was executed by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiyyabba, a part of the larger global jihadi machine. Luxury hotels where westerners stay have become a popular target – assuring deeper fear and global publicity.

Hotels are now a choice jihadi target, said terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna. That’s how terrorists struck at the Marriot in Islamabad in September, the heavily guarded Serena Hotel in Kabul in January.

Islamic Jihad militants carry a Qassam rocket in Khan Yunis. ...
Islamic Jihad militants carry a Qassam rocket in Khan Yunis. Israel has reacted to militant rocket fire by again sealing off the Gaza Strip, where officials said the territory’s sole power plant was forced to shut down because of the crippling blockade.(AFP/Said Khatib)

The switch from anonymous bombing or suicide bombing may be a product of three separate developments within the Islamicist terrorist system:

· Polls have shown a growing discontent about suicide bombings among mainstream Muslims, with Islamic clerics pointing to strong Quranic injunctions.

· Two, roadblocks, regular inspections and the difficulties in getting a car have made suicide bombs difficult. A direct frontal attack on a hotel entrace is much easier.

· “Bomb fatigue” undermines the publicity need that terrorist organizations live off. Long, bloody sieges, however, are perfect for sustained public attention and headline-grabbing.

A number of terrorist groups already have this ingrained in their modus operandi. The Abu Sayyaf group of the Philippines, for example, eschews suicide bombing but has a long record of assaulting tourist resorts, cruise ships and shopping malls.

The expertise that puts suicide fighters into action is not available to India’s home-grown terrorists. All indications point to a foray from Pakistan, a vital cruicible for the global jihadimachine. We are just their latest target.

Tourists watch as smoke billows out of the historic Taj Mahal ... 
Tourists watch as smoke billows out of the historic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. World leaders have expressed anger and horror after Islamist militant attacks in Mumbai left more than 100 people dead, as fears grew over foreign hostages.(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)

China Cancels EU Summit; Economic Turndown Worries Everyone

November 27, 2008

The head of France’s business lobby said Thursday she is “worried” about the trade implications of China’s decision to pull out of an upcoming China-European Union summit.

The EU-China summit was planned for Monday in the French city of Lyon. On the sidelines, around 150-200 Chinese business executives had been expected to meet with European counterparts at an event organized by the French employers lobby Medef.

China called off the meeting, however, in protest at French President Nicolas Sarkozy long-awaited meeting with Tibet‘s exiled Buddhist leader Dalai Lama.

Medef’s President Laurence Parisot called China’s decision “a real shame.”

“This worries me for French companies,” Parisot told the Associated Press.

“I don’t understand what motivated the Chinese authorities,” he said, noting that the U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Tibetan leader without provoking such a reaction.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang hinted that his government may be looking at economic reprisals as well.

“Since France has major interests in China, since the French leader repeatedly says that he takes China as a major strategic partner, then why is he doing this?” he asked at a news conference Thursday in Beijing.

“This is exactly where we feel confused and where the Chinese government and people express strong dissatisfaction.”

Pulling out of the summit suggests that countering criticism on Tibet is a bigger priority for China’s communist leaders than working with the EU and nations like France on solutions to the global financial crisis.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081127/ap_on_bi_
ge/eu_france_china_trade_1