Saturday, August 6, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Indonesia 5.5 and 5.2 in Japan! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Hiroshima (広島市).Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.Full story here.
- S & P Downgrades the USAAA.(WZ).(Financial Times) — It happened. After quite incredible reports of miscalculations, it happened. The thing that is perversely both meaningless and full of meaning was announced on Friday evening New York time. The United States of America is now rated AA+ with negative outlook by Standard & Poor’s. . . .Overview:
We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ and affirmed the ‘A-1+’ short-term rating.
We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from CreditWatch negative.
The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.
More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any time soon.
The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.Hmmmmm......."CHANGE"!Read the full story here.
- Allen West Extends Birthday Greetings to Barack Obama.(House).(WASHINGTON)--- Congressman Allen West (Fl-22) released this statement today:
"Happy 50th Birthday Mr. President! While surprises are for birthdays, it is no surprise to the American people that your failed economic policies –- from TARP to your health care bill–- have resulted in disaster for our economy. Since taking office, unemployment has remained at or near 9 percent for 28 months, America has added $3.4 trillion in debt in 29 months -- the equivalent of about $4 billion per day -- we have an anemic housing market with record foreclosures, and an average price of nearly $4 for a gallon of gas. Even your budget did not receive one single vote in the United States Senate -- and the icing on the cake –- a stock market slide of nearly 800 points in the last 5 days.While it may be hard to hear the American people's frustration over the pop of the champagne corks and R&B bands at your $30,000/person birthday party, the citizens of this nation are suffering under your failed leadership. The best present you can give the American people will be for you and your failed economic policies to be defeated in November of 2012."Read the full statement here.
- 31 US special forces dead in Afghanistan as Taliban down helicopter.(AlArabiya).Thirty-one US special forces and seven local troops were killed when the Taliban shot down their helicopter, officials said Saturday, in what was the deadliest single incident for foreign soldiers since the war began in 2001.The Chinook helicopter was downed late Friday during an anti-Taliban operation in an insurgent-infested district of the eastern province of Wardak, just southwest of the Afghan capital Kabul.Although Western and Afghan officials said they were still trying to assess exactly what happened, an eyewitness claimed it was struck during a firefight.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it had shot the helicopter down.The death toll was given in a statement issued by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office and was not immediately confirmed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).“The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai expressed condolences over a NATO helicopter crash and the deaths of 31 members of US special forces,” the statement said.It added that seven Afghans were also killed in the crash, who the country’s defense ministry said were also members of the special forces.“The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expresses his sympathy and deep condolences to US President Barack Obama and the family of the victims,” the statement added.The strike was by far the worst to hit foreign troops in the near decade-long war. The previous worst saw 16 American soldiers killed on June 28, 2005 when a Taliban rocket hit their Chinook in the eastern province of Kunar.One man who said he saw Friday’s shoot down, Mohammad Saber, told AFP that the helicopter plummeted during an operation in his village.“At around 10:00pm last night (1730 GMT), we heard helicopters flying over us,” he said.“We were at home. We saw one of the helicopters land on the roof of a house of a Taliban commander, then shooting started.“The helicopter later took off but soon after taking off it went down and crashed. There were other helicopters flying as well.”Wardak provincial spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the crash came during a late-night operation against Taliban insurgents who have been waging war on pro-government forces since 2001.“The joint forces (foreign and Afghan) conducted an operation against the Taliban in Sayd Abad district last night,” he said.“Eight insurgents were killed. A coalition helicopter that was firing on insurgents at the time crashed.“We’re not sure if this happened due to insurgent fire or not but there were some casualties of foreign troops due to the crash.”A spokesman for ISAF, the foreign military force in Afghanistan, said they would issue a statement “at an appropriate moment.”Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgent group was responsible for shooting down the helicopter, which he said was an American Chinook, and acknowledged that eight insurgents had been killed.The Taliban are known to exaggerate claims in relation to attacks.Chinooks are used for transporting larger numbers of troops and supplies around in the warzone of Afghanistan.A Western military source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that the helicopter was a Chinook.Read the full story here.More here.
- John Kerry’s Un-Fairness Doctrine.(MichelleMalkin).Written By Doug Powers. Keep in mind as you read this that John Kerry is a fan of the Fairness Doctrine — it’s just that some sides of the argument deserve more fairness than others.Kerry was on Morning Joe today and exposed himself as a hobbit-phobe of the highest order, so much so that he asked the media to stop allowing the Tea Party time to voice their opinions (though I’m assuming those who call them “terrorists” and “hostage takers” will still be allowed some exposure under guidelines set in the yet to be implemented Kerry Doctrine for Selective Impartiality).
Transcript from Real Clear Politics:
SEN. JOHN KERRY: “And I have to tell you, I say this to you politely. The media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual. “It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?”
If saying things that aren’t factual led to no media coverage we’d never hear from John Kerry again.Hmmmm........Can we call them National Socialists now? Read and see the full story here.
- CAIR Rep Nihad Awad Speaks on Hamas TV.(InvestigativeProject).The executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spoke on a Hamas-linked television channel, telling Arabic-speaking viewers that right-wing ideologues are fueling violence against Muslim Americans. It's not the first time that a CAIR official has hyped American Islamophobia to hostile foreign media sources.According to a summary issued by the government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, CAIR's Executive Director Nihad Awad appeared via telephone with the head of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood group, the Islamic Action Front, and others for a July 23 broadcast of Hamas-linked Al-Quds TV.Discussing the terrorist attack in Norway and right-wing extremism, Awad said American hostility towards Muslims was bound to turn into violence. The Norway attack marked the beginning of a wave of violence against Muslims and left-wingers in the West, he said. Right-wing media in the West is living in a state of self-denial by claiming Muslims are dangerous and that their incitement isn't fanning violent hate.As a consequence, Awad said his organization asked President Obama to stop U.S. intelligence agencies from allowing right-wing ideologues to "train" political and military leaders about Islam.On the same program, a Hamas spokesman was cited blaming Anders Breivik's attack on an "ongoing instigation of the Zionist enemy and Zionist lobby against the Palestinian people" and their allies.Ali Abu al-Sukkar, the head of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council, also spoke by phone about the Zionist lobby's role in militarization and instigation against Muslims. To al-Sukkar, violence against Muslims in the West should be considered a part of Western attacks on Islamic countries, and thus a clash of civilizations. It is also part of the Western double standard of blaming Islam for attacks by Muslims but not Christianity for Christian extremists.It is not the first time a senior CAIR official appeared on hostile foreign media channels to criticize American policy and attitudes. "It's really a disturbing situation where, primarily right-wing extremists are exploiting and promoting anti-Muslim sentiment for their own political gain," spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told Iran's state-run PressTV on June 6th. "And I think we're going to see more and more of it leading up to the 2012 elections." Hooper added that anti-Muslim sentiment is raging in America.He made similar comments to PressTV on Wednesday.Read the full story here.
- "Dying To Vote ".The dead remain on Wisconsin voter list.(WisconsinReporter).MADISON — Robert H. Allen died nearly four years ago at the age of 81.But the deceased Sun Prairie man appears to be living on — at least on Wisconsin’s statewide voting list.Allen is among nearly 1,000 other probable deceased individuals who remain on the Statewide Voter Registration System, or SVRS, according to a Wisconsin Reporter investigation.While the dead account for a fraction of the total 3.2 million voters on the list and the Badger State boasts one of the cleaner registration systems in the nation, election observers say unauthorized voters of any kind in any number present potential election integrity concerns.Amid Wisconsin’s red-hot summer of state recall elections, fears of voter fraud and suspicions that one group or another could “steal an election” are more pronounced.The broader concern, government watchdogs assert, is the question of transparency and arguably the high cost of accessing Wisconsin’s voter list. The complete voter file costs thousands of dollars, pricing out the average citizen and many watchdog organizations. And the state’s strict privacy laws limit full and complete disclosure, making it difficult to definitively count the dead, for instance, on the voting list.Wisconsin Reporter purchased the entire voting list for $12,500 — the top price charged by the Government Accountability Board, or GAB, for the complete database — and broke down the data as a public service to the voters of Wisconsin.In an extensive review, Wisconsin Reporter found nearly 3,000 names of potentially deceased individuals. Matching information from the Social Security Death Index — including date of birth, date of death and address — to the SVRS, Wisconsin Reporter came up with the list of probable dead registrants. Furthering the search, plugging each name and birth date into a GAB database, the list was narrowed down to 979 matches — names of individuals that more than likely are dead but remain active on the list.That’s not saying the dead are voting in Wisconsin. Cases of dead voters are extremely rare in the Badger State. But the potential exists.The Statewide Voter Registration list was born out of the 2002 Help America Vote Act, created in the shadow of the debacle that was the 2000 presidential election. Remember the dangling chad in Florida?States received tens of millions of dollars to clean up and streamline their voter registration systems. Wisconsin followed suit, launching SVRS in 2006. It was no easy feat for a state with arguably the nation’s most decentralized election system, with some 1,850 municipal clerks running elections statewide.“The myth of dead people voting persists in our political culture, because the public doesn’t see the steps that state and local election officials take behind the scenes to remove deceased persons from the voter list,” Magney said.But at least four dead voters in Milwaukee were casting ballots in 2004, according to an investigation into voting irregularities in the city. The report, following a two-year investigation into voter irregularities, concluded there was an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome” of a state election.Police found another 19 voters had voted illegally, at least seven knowingly, and many of them felons.While dead voters may be a comparative rarity in Wisconsin and much of the nation, the deceased — at least their names — have shown up in polling places, affecting elections.Sure there’s Chicago, where dead voters and other acts of fraud, so the old argument goes, cost Vice President Richard Nixon the presidency in 1960. But there’s Missouri, and New York, California and Texas, too.The award-winning TexasWatchdog.org’s 2008 investigation into voting irregularities in Houston’s Harris County found 4,000 people whose names were listed on the county’s voter rolls and in a federal database of death records. The analysis found dozens of those individuals apparently cast ballots from beyond the grave.John Aristotle Phillips has been tracking the issue of dead voters and what he describes as “dead wood” — registered voters who have died, moved or can’t be found — for 25 years.“We like dead people as much as anyone else; we just don’t think they should be voting,” said Phillips, CEO of Aristotle International Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan voter information tracker.Aristotle International’s 2010 study of voter registration records found 3.3 million deceased individuals on the rolls, including an estimated 116,483 in Massachusetts.“With deadwood exceeding one in seven votes in some counties, candidates might as well spend a day a week campaigning in the cemetery,” Phillips is fond of saying.Hmmmm.........Perhaps time to make a pitstop with the campaign bus?Read the full story here.
- EPA Regulations Could Cost America’s Largest Utility $18 Billion.(Heritage).Bloomberg reported Friday on the latest developments in the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory push against the fossil fuel industry. Southern Co., the largest American utility owner in terms of market share, now says it will lose up to $18 billion as a result of new EPA regulations.The planned regulations “are misguided in their content and timing,” Southern Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fanning said today in a statement.Southern, based in Atlanta, is among energy companies that say new rules from President Barack Obama’s EPA will force some coal-fired power plants to close, and may lead to higher energy costs. Electricity prices for Southern customers may increase an additional 10 percent to 20 percent during the next 10 years, according to the company.The EPA regulations will “only impede the U.S. economic recovery, reduce our ability to create jobs and add to the economic burdens of our customers,” Fanning said.Air, water and waste rules affecting coal-fueled electric utilities will require $13 billion to $18 billion in capital expenses through 2020, according to the company.EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the agency’s rules are needed to protect public health and the environment. EPA spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Southern’s projections.The company said the EPA actions, including a proposal to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants, will require installation of pollution controls on about 12,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation, or about 60 percent of the company’s fleet. The rules also will contribute to the shutdown of units with a total capacity of 4,000 megawatts.Hmmmmm......If he really wanted to destroy the US economy would he do anything different?Read the full story here.
- Monsanto to Sell Biotech Sweet Corn for U.S. Consumers.(Bloomberg).the world’s biggest vegetable seed maker, said it will begin selling genetically modified sweet corn in the U.S. this year, the first product it has developed for the consumer market. The sweet corn seeds are engineered to kill insects living above and below ground and to tolerate applications of the company’s Roundup herbicide, Consuelo Madere, Monsanto vice president for vegetables, told reporters at company headquarters in St. Louis today. They will be introduced to growers serving the U.S. fresh corn market starting in the autumn, she said. Monsanto previously sold only engineered crops that are processed into sugars and oils, used as animal feed or made into fibers. The new seeds will initially target the 250,000-acre market for fresh corn in the eastern U.S., Madere said. Monsanto is in discussions with companies that would can or freeze the corn, she said. Monsanto will compete with pest-killing sweet corn seeds that Syngenta AG (SYNN) of Switzerland has sold for more than a decade, she said. Sweet corn is a much smaller market than the market for grain corn, which is forecast to be planted on 90.7 million acres this year, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data. Monsanto currently sells squash that has been engineered to resist viruses, a product that came with its 2005 acquisition of Seminis. Developing biotech vegetables costs about $100 million and requires a decade to reach the market, Madere said. Monsanto spends more than 95 percent of its vegetable research on conventional breeding in 23 crops, she said. Conventional- breeding projects include tomatoes that taste better and resist viruses, sweeter melons, crisper romaine lettuce and blight- resistant peppers, she said. Read the full story here.
- Obama regime still OK with Assad -sends its ambassador back to Damascus.(JPost).The Obama administration dispatched its Syrian envoy back overseas Friday despite protests from critics who said the move sent the wrong message to Damascus at a time when it is slaughtering opposition protesters.At the same time, a bi-partisan coalition representing more than half of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to expand the sanctions available to him under the Syria Accountability Act, which gives him several options for sanctions but does not mandate they all be imposed.The letter, co-authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-California), called on him to implement the existing provisions at his disposal to prohibit American companies from doing business in Syria and block any transactions involving Syrian interests in the United States.“We share your concern for the Syrian government’s unconscionable brutality and violence in response to calls for real political reform,” they wrote, along with 221 other members from both parties.“The US and all responsible nations must impose the strongest possible sanctions on the murderous Syrian regime,” they said.Meanwhile, the US State Department issued a travel warning Friday evening urging Americans to immediately leave Syria “while commercial transportation is available” and told all those outside the country to defer travel there.“Syrian efforts to attribute the current civil unrest to external influences may lead to an increase in anti-foreigner sentiment. Detained US citizens may find themselves subject to allegations of incitement or espionage,” the announcement stated. “Syrian government constraints on observers, including the short-term detention of accredited diplomats, have made it difficult for US Embassy personnel to adequately assess the current risks or the potential for continuing violence.”State Department spokesman Mark Toner described the decision to return Ambassador Robert Ford to that environment as one that would boost the US efforts to end Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crackdown and lead to a democratic transition.“He will remain engaged with the Syrian government to make clear that the Assad regime’s brutal repression of the Syrian people must cease immediately,” Toner explained. “He also will continue to engage with the Syrian people as they strive to exercise their universal human rights.”Elliott Abrams, who was a senior advisor on the Middle East in the George W. Bush National Security Council, argued Friday that the US had more to gain by keeping Ford home.“The argument that the State Department makes is he’s very useful there,” according to Abrams, but he added, “He can’t bear witness. He can’t go back to Hama. If he is now left only in Damascus, not because of us of course but because of the Assad government … his utility diminishes.”He concluded, “If it turns out that he can’t see anybody and he can’t go anywhere, the symbolic importance of removing him, the final break with the regime, is smart.”Hmmmm.......Why is Obama so 'friendly' With Syria and Iran?Read the full story here.
- Turkey warns Greek Cyprus against hydrocarbon drill.(TodaysZaman).Turkey's foreign minister warned the Greek Cypriot government against drilling hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean, saying on Friday that Ankara will show the “appropriate reaction” if Greek Cyprus moves ahead with exploration plans“We will show the appropriate reaction if any further step is taken,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters. He said the Greek Cypriot administration does not have the right to embark on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean unless the Cyprus issue is resolved and a government representing the entire island is formed.Turkey's stance is "firm and clear," he said, noting that the Greek Cypriot stance was in violation of international law norms as well.Davutoğlu's remarks came after a Greek Cypriot announcement that drilling for hydrocarbons off the island's southern coast will start on Oct. 1. Greek Cypriot Energy Service Director Solon Kassinis said on Tuesday that once the drilling starts, the size of hydrocarbon reserves would be clear in two months' time, the Cyprus Mail reported on Wednesday.Turkey objects to any Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas inside the island's 51,000 square-kilometer (17,000 square mile) exclusive economic zone off its southern coast, saying it is in violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot, who run their own state in the north of the island. Meanwhile, Turkey is considering plans to start oil and gas exploration off the coast of Turkish Cyprus.Greek Cyprus earlier licensed American Noble Energy to explore an 800,000-acre area bordering Israeli waters where massive gas fields were found under the seabed. Two fields, Tamar and Dalit, discovered in 2009, are due to start producing in 2012, and experts say their estimated combined reserves of 5.5 trillion cubic feet (160 billion cubic meters) of natural gas can cover Israel's energy needs for the next two decades.Greek Cyprus and Israel signed an accord last November demarcating their maritime borders that triggered strong reactions from Turkey, which called the deal “null and void” because it ignores the rights and jurisdiction of Turkish Cyprus on the divided island.Hmmmmmm.......Turkey ....A toothless old Babushka medling in everyone it's business and hiding behind the curtain when confronted to Assad?Read the full story here.
- Another DIShonor murder in Turkey and attempted dishonor murder.(TodaysZaman).İzmir man kills wife for trying to divorce him, then shoots himself .A man from İzmir killed himself on Wednesday after shooting to death his wife of four years who recently filed for divorce.Kalender Koç (29) of Menmen, İzmir province, shot his wife, Büşra Koç (23), on Wednesday, when she visited him in their family home in the Asarlık neighborhood -- where he had been living alone since the couple separated three months ago -- after he invited her to talk things over and ask her to make up with him. Neighbors claimed Büşra Koç rejected Kalender Koç’s apology, which greatly angered her husband. Police believe Koç suffered from temporary insanity and shot Büşra Koç three times in the chest and once in the head. He later shot himself.Büşra Koç’s family, who knew she was visiting her husband, got worried after she failed to show up in the evening. Her relatives went over the Koç family home and found the bodies of Büşra Koç and Kalender Koç, who then notified the police. The couple had a 4-year-old son, but it is not clear whether the child was in the house when the shooting took place.The young couple’s bodies were taken to the İzmir Council of Forensic Medicine for autopsy.Murders of women by abusive partners are common in Turkey, where the authorities are trying to prevent domestic violence by adopting legal and security measures.Also on Wednesday, a man in İnegöl shot his wife during iftar (fast-breaking dinner). According to police reports, Tahsin F. started chasing his wife, Fatma F. down the middle of a street in Bursa. He shot her with a hunting rifle, injuring her in the leg. Fatma F. was taken to the Bursa University Faculty of Medicine Hospital. Police caught Tahsin F. shortly after the attack.Hmmmm......"Police believe Koç suffered from temporary insanity" must be very contagious in Turkey?Read the full story here.
- Miss Brussels beaten by her husband soccer player Önder Turaci.(RTL)GoogleTranslate.The Miss Brussels, Ayse Ozdemir, said she was severely beaten for hours by her husband, after they said "yes".Her companion is none other than the former defender of the Standard soccer club: Önder Turaci.On a Turkish television, Ayse Ozdemir said she was beaten shortly after her marriage and this for hours from 06.00 Am till 11.00 Am.The young woman could not restrain her tears in front of cameras (see video).Hmmmm.........Read and see the full story here.
- Related - Battered Miss Brussels (19) announces her divorce on Turkish TV.(Nieuwsblad)GoogleTranslate. BRUSSELS - Ayse Ozdemir, the 19-year-old Miss Schaerbeek, Brussels, on Turkish television said they divorced because her husband abused her.Ayse married just four months ago Turaci, a 30-year old Turkish footballer who has played in Standard. The two had met in January on Facebook. Ayse called on the Turkish channel herself because she claims her husband has threatened to murder her.We were lawfully married on the 30Th of march. Two weeks before our big wedding in June, he has thrown me out of the house.He said he would murder me.I went to the police and told my whole story on TV.I also said my ex wanted me to test my virginity ,i have proof of abuse,his family also saw my black and blue eyes.Ayse is living again with her mother in Vilvoorde. "My divorce procedure is now put in motion."See here how Ayse Ozdemir anounced her divorce on Turkish television.Hmmmmm..........Domestic violence rings alarm bells in Turkey.Read the full story here.
- US and Pakistan heading towards confrontation over N-arms issues.(AlArabiya).The United States and Pakistan are heading towards yet another confrontation, perhaps consequentially more devastating than all previous disputes, as the Obama administration prepares to persuade Islamabad to halt the production of nuclear bomb materials. Recent reports in the US media suggest that the UN General Assembly in New York next month will be the venue for this new push and the US has the blessings of four declared nuclear powers for its move.Also on Wednesday, the NBC News channel reported that the US was preparing for “the worst-case scenario of attempting to snatch Pakistan’s 100-plus nuclear weapons if it feared they were about to fall into the wrong hands.”The channel quoted former president Pervez Musharraf as warning that this “would be a disastrous miscalculation, as such an incursion would lead to `total confrontation` between the United States and Pakistan.”Current and former US officials, however, told NBC News that “ensuring the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons has long been a high national security priority, even before the September 11 terrorist attacks, and that plans have been drawn up for dealing with worst-case scenarios in Pakistan.”But the expected confrontation in New York has nothing to do with any secret plan to snatch Pakistan’s nukes. The United States will launch an open move “with support from other powers” to force Pakistan to sign the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.The US media reported that the Obama administration had won China’s support for finalizing the FMCT. At a recent conference in Paris, Russia, France and Britain “all declared nuclear powers like China” also supported the US plan.It is, however, not clear if China would back the move to cap Pakistan’s nuclear capability and thus allow India to become the sole nuclear power in South Asia.The US and its allies are seeking an agreement by September and then go to the UN General Assembly with a joint plan for starting talks on the FMCT.So far Pakistan has successfully resisted all international pressure to endorse the FMCT, warning that it would boycott any process to negotiate a US-backed treaty outside the deadlocked UN Conference on Disarmament (UNCD).The Geneva-based UNCD is the sole negotiating forum for multilateral disarmament but the treaty has been stalled in the conference for 12 years, with Pakistan as the sole holdout against negotiations.The US move aims at creating a new forum where it can persuade Pakistan to sign the FMCT.“Our preference is to negotiate an FMCT within the Conference on Disarmament, but that body has been deadlocked by Pakistan,” US Under-secretary of State Ellen Tauscher told a seminar on July 28 in Lafayette, California.“Thus the US is joining with other key countries to start preparations for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty elsewhere until the conference can get down to work,” she said. Pakistan’s acting representative to the UN, Raza Bashir Tarar, last week told a General Assembly meeting in New York that his country “will not join any such process nor would it consider accession to the outcome of any such process.”To deal with increasing international pressure to stop the production of fissile material, Pakistan tried unsuccessfully to enter into a nuclear agreement with the US similar to the one Washington has signed with India. The deal with the US has paved the way for India to get recognition as a nuclear power without signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.The United States has rejected Pakistan’s request, pointing out that the discovery of a network of nuclear proliferators, headed allegedly by Dr. A. Q. Khan, disqualifies Pakistan for any deal.“Pakistan’s objections reflect its existential fear of nuclear archrival India,” noted the Bloomberg news agency in an article on the US move to persuade Pakistan to sign the FMCT.The report quoted statistics released by the Washington-based Arms Control Association which says that India has enough plutonium for about 140 bombs. Pakistan has enough plutonium and uranium for 100 bombs.Hmmmm.......Why do i get the feeling they're going after Israel next?Read the full story here.
- Sudan oil tensions escalate, one shipment halted by Islamic North.(AlArabiya).North Sudan has halted an oil shipment from landlocked South Sudan in a dispute over customs fees, it said on Friday, signaling a rise in tensions that could disrupt supplies from one of Africa’s largest producers.South Sudan became independent last month after a referendum in January agreed under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the North.The South took 75 percent of the country’s 500,000 barrels a day of oil production, Africa’s fifth largest, but depends on the North to use the only cross-border pipeline to the Red Sea port of Port Sudan to sell the oil.On Friday customs authorities in Port Sudan stopped one shipment because duties had not been paid, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Khartoum said without giving other details.“Customs asked for the fees to be paid. They paid last time but not this time,” the spokesman saidHe said the action had been the decision of the customs authorities and was not related to current talks between North and South about sharing oil revenues. The two sides have failed so far to reach an agreement on a transit fee to be paid by the South. Until now both split equally the oil, the lifeline of both economies.Tensions seemed to have eased at the end of last month when South Sudan said it saw progress in oil sharing talks with the North only a week after accusing it of waging economic war by demanding a very high pipeline transit fee.Refineries also only exist in the North and experts say southern plans to connect to a pipeline in east African neighbor Kenya are years away.Analysts say there has been little transparency for years about how oil revenues are booked in Sudan, which has endured conflict, inflation, corruption and US trade sanctions.Apart from sharing oil revenues, both sides need to end violence in some parts of their shared border and they need to divide up other assets and debt.Some 2 million people died in Sudan in a decades-long conflict over religion, ethnicity, ideology and oil, although the secession last month was very peaceful.Sudanese oil flows mainly to Asia, with China buying more than a half of total volumes. South Sudan’s production is dominated by Chinese and Indian companies, which have been marketing their crude themselves so far.Last month, South Sudan also signed a deal with trading house Glencore to help it market crude but a dispute between various officials has threatened to derail the agreement.Hmmmmm......As i predicted that didden't take long.Read the full story here.