Archive for the ‘power’ Category

China’s Richest Man: Big Money, Big Controversey

November 30, 2008

China‘s richest man, Huang Guangyu, who is being investigated for suspected economic crimes, is no stranger to controversy.

Two years ago, local authorities investigated the self-made 39-year-old billionaire in connection with a loan deal involving his investment company, Eagle Property Group. Huang was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

The current probe of Huang, the chairman and controlling shareholder of China’s top electronics retailer GOME — known as China’s Best Buy, the top U.S. electronics chain — throws the spotlight on another Chinese tale of rags-to-riches fame.

Ranked first on Hurun’s China Rich List in 2008, Huang, worth $6.3 billion, was raised in a poor family in China’s Guangdong province. He moved to Beijing in his late teens with his brother and set up a home appliances distribution firm with 30,000 yuan ($4,392), and founded GOME in 1987.

GOME was valued at around $1.8 billion as of November 24 after which trading in the stock was suspended.

The influential Caijing magazine said last week Huang was detained as part of a probe into share price manipulation at SD Jintai, a drugs and medical equipment firm controlled by Huang’s brother, Huang Junqin.

SD Jintai’s stock surged more than eight-fold in 2007. It is still not clear if Huang owns a stake in SD Jintai.

GOME Electrical Appliance Holdings, the company Huang founded, said he is being investigated for suspected economic crimes but the probe is not related to the group, its assets or funds.

By Nerilyn Tenorio and Joseph Chaney, Reuters

Huang Guangyu, chairman of GOME Electrical Appliances Holding ... 
Huang Guangyu, chairman of GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd., gestures during an interview at Reuters China Century Summit in Beijing September 7, 2006.(Jason Lee/Reuters)

“Doing business in China is very complicated. Having a good relationship with everyone, with the government in particular, is a major key to success,” said Castor Pang, a strategist at stock brokerage Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong.

“It’s very difficult to say, though, that people have to deal with corruption to climb the ladder. In China, businessmen need to deal under the table to make things move faster, to get things done via short-cuts.”

China’s stock regulator has been battling with limited success to curb stock manipulation, insider trading and poor corporate disclosure that have plagued the Chinese market.

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Russia sees hope of missile progress with Obama

November 9, 2008

Russia hopes for constructive talks with the next U.S. administration on Washington’s planned missile defense system in Europe, Russian media quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Sunday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is seen in his Gorki residence outside Moscow. Barack Obama is keeping people guessing about whether he will pursue a Bush administration plan to set up a missile shield in central Europe but analysts say Russia has shot itself in the foot with threats to deploy missiles in retaliation.(AFP/Ria-Novosti/Vladimir Rodionov)

A Russian deputy foreign minister said separately, in an interview with Interfax news agency, that Moscow would not carry out a threat to deploy tactical missiles near Poland if Washington scrapped its plans to deploy its missile system in Europe.

Washington says the missile defense shield, which would consist of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, would help protect from missile attacks by “rogue states” such as Iran.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has supported work on a missile defense system, but says it must be “pragmatic and cost-effective” and cannot divert resources from other priorities until its effectiveness is proven.

“We have turned our attention to those positions which Barack Obama published on his site,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“They inspire a hope that we will be able to tackle these issues on a more constructive basis.”

Lavrov and Rice were taking part in a meeting of Middle East mediators.

Lavrov said proposals Russia had so far received from the outgoing U.S. administration to ease its concerns over the U.S. missile system “fall short of the agreements reached earlier at the level of the presidents.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged last week to station Iskander tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland in response to the planned U.S. missile system.

Russia says it sees no prospect of Iran firing missiles at Europe and that the U.S. system is a direct threat to its national security.

The European Union this week expressed “strong concern” over Moscow’s plan to deploy the Iskander systems near Poland.

“There is a very important detail here — these plans (to deploy Iskander missiles) will be implemented only in case the U.S. missile defense system is launched,” Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying.

“If the United States does not deploy it, then the very need for Russia to take these precautionary measures will be removed,” Grushko said.

He said the EU “should not have pretended they are bewildered that Russia would take relevant retaliatory steps, because the U.S. plans undermine Russia’s strategic potential, which is a basis for global security.”

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Louise Ireland at Reuters)

Thinking You Are “Above the Little People”

March 16, 2008

By Thomas Sowell
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

What was he thinking? That was the first question that came to mind when the story of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s involvement with a prostitution ring was reported in the media.
Eliot Spitzer looks at a chart at a press conference in New ... 
It was also the first question that came to mind when star quarterback Michael Vick ruined his career and lost his freedom over his involvement in illegal dog fighting. It is a question that arises when other very fortunate people risk everything for some trivial satisfaction.
Many in the media refer to Eliot Spitzer as some moral hero who fell from grace. Mr. Spitzer was never a moral hero. He was an unscrupulous prosecutor who threw his power around to ruin people, even when he didn’t have any case with which to convict them of anything. Because he used his overbearing power against businesses, the anti-business left idolized him, just as they idolized Ralph Nader before him as some sort of secular saint because he attacked General Motors.
What Eliot Spitzer did was not out of character. It was completely in character for someone with the hubris that comes with the ability to misuse his power to make or break innocent people.
After John Whitehead, former head of Goldman Sachs, wrote an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal, criticizing Attorney General Spitzer’s handling of a case involving Maurice Greenberg, Mr. Spitzer was quoted by Mr. Whitehead as saying: “I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done.”
When you start thinking of yourself as a little tin god, able to throw your weight around to bully people into silence, it is a sign of a sense of being exempt from the laws and social rules that apply to other people.
For someone with this kind of hubris to risk his whole political career for a fling with a prostitute is no more surprising than for Michael Vick to throw away millions to indulge his taste for dog fighting or for Leona Helmsley to avoid paying taxes — not because she couldn’t easily pay the taxes and still have more money than she could ever spend but because she felt above the rules that apply to “the little people.”
What is almost as scary as having someone like Eliot Spitzer hold power is having so many pundits talk as if this is just a “personal” flaw in Mr. Spitzer that should not disqualify him for public office. Mr. Spitzer himself spoke of his “personal” failing as if it had nothing to do with his being governor of New York.

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China’s carbon (And Coal and Pollution) Dragon

February 22, 2008

The Christian Science Monitor
February 22, 2008
Try this statistic on for size: If China’s economy continues to grow at its current pace, and the Asian giant doesn’t cut its rate of energy use, by 2030 it could be emitting as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire world does today.

Beijing is rushing to make its air clean for the 2008 Olympics, but experts say it will be impossible for the site to be totally safe for athletes at the global sporting event. 

And here’s another: As you read this, China is bringing on line coal-fired power plants – major sources of greenhouse-gas emissions – at the mind-boggling rate of two per week.

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Wicked winter weather tests China

February 6, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China tackled its snow crisis with a striking — and uniquely Chinese — display of communist mass mobilization, propaganda and state control.

But for the host of the summer Olympic Games, the weather blitz also laid bare its weaknesses, stretching its transport and energy systems to the limit.

Still, the crisis has wound down just in time for the Lunar New Year holiday, and illustrates the strengths of a one-party system struggling to manage an ever more complex society.

“The essential thing is that the central government has very substantial mobilization powers,” said Joseph Cheng, chairman of the City University of Hong Kong’s Contemporary China Research Center. “Once it sets its priorities, it can really act.”

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China: Muscle Moves Mountains of Snow, Ice

China, Vietnam: State Run Media Paint a Rosey Picture, Ignore Abuse of Populations

China on rise in Central Asian ‘Great Game’

December 16, 2007

KHORGOS, Kazakhstan — The driver of the 18-wheel tractor-trailer from China idling at the Kazakhstan-China border said apples were the cargo he brought to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s booming commercial center.

Shoppers in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city, Osh, can find Chinese toy vendors in the market. Cheap Chinese goods have turned many poor Central Asians into consumers. But some experts say dependence on Chinese products slows the growth of local industries.

For Kazakhs, there’s a tart irony in the shipment.

Almaty’s region is where the first apple trees were found and the first apple orchards planted. The city was a center of the Soviet Union’s s fruit industry. Its very name means “Father of Apples.”

In the past few years, Chinese fruit, vegetables, TV sets, T-shirts and tires have flooded markets along the old Silk Road in former Soviet Central Asia. Each day, all along the Chinese border, hundreds of tractor-trailers rattle west.

These goods are the most visible sign of Beijing’s growing power ….

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Musharraf’s deputy a reluctant linchpin

November 23, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – As embattled President Pervez Musharraf and his political opponents grapple over the country’s future, an equally crucial role may be played by a less known figure — a blunt-talking, chain-smoking, golf-playing general who by all reports would like the army to get out of politics.

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, 55, Musharraf’s designated No. 2 man in the military, is slotted to be the next army chief of Pakistan when Musharraf gives up his uniform, as he has promised to do. That would give him enormous influence in a country with a history of military rule and coups. A major question is just how loyal he and Pakistan’s other generals are to Musharraf during the current crisis.

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China’s Hu Jintao: Big Winner from Communist Party Congress

October 21, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao’s political doctrine was enshrined in the Communist Party’s constitution on Sunday, the closing day of the Party’s largest gathering in five years.

Writing Hu’s “scientific concept of development” — an effort to temper growth with concern for environmental sustainability and economic equality — into the constitution allows him to take his place alongside former leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin in the pantheon of Chinese Communist greats.

By Chris Buckley

Sunday, October 21, 2007; 3:21 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong retired from the Communists’ upper ranks on Sunday, bolstering Party boss Hu Jintao’s grip on power and clearing the way for a younger generation of potential successors.

Zeng, 68, a powerful Party organization boss promoted by Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin, was left off the newly elected Central Committee of 204 full members, Xinhua news agency reported.  

His departure, an influx of recruits into the Central Committee, and changes to the Party charter all underscored Hu’s growing clout as he launched himself into five more years in charge of the world’s fourth biggest economy.

“Hu has the power….

China’s Party Congress: Not Like An American Political Meeting At All

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Greenspan: Reps Traded Principle for Power; Lost Both

September 15, 2007

from The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 14, 2007

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says the Republican party to which he has belonged all his life deserved to lose power last year for forsaking its small-government principles. Greenspan delivers the withering critique in his memoir, “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.”

In the book, scheduled for public release Monday, Greenspan writes that he advised the White House to veto some bills to curb “out of control” spending while the Republicans controlled Congress. He says President Bush’s failure to do so “was a major mistake.” Republicans in Congress, he writes, “swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose.”
Greenspan Says Bush’s Economics Driven by Politics (Update1)

By Matthew Benjamin

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan criticized President George W. Bush for pursuing an economic agenda driven by politics rather than sound policy, with little concern for future consequences.

Soon after Bush took office, Greenspan wrote in a new book, it became evident that the Treasury secretary and White House economists would play secondary roles in decisions on taxes and other issues. In addition, officials with whom he had worked in the administration of President Gerald Ford changed after Bush brought them back to Washington, he said.

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