Archive for category Minerals

vultures in africa

vulture11b1. China warns Zimbabwe: we are not ‘friends’ — pay back the money you owe us

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the Chinese want all loans to be repaid before loosening its purse. According to the Mutambara the Chinese President Hu Jintao revealed to him during a brief meeting at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he considers Beijing relationship with Harare as ’business partners’ and not ’friends’.

The Chinese are quoted telling the Mr. Mutambara that: “We’ll not condemn you publicly but we’ll not give you cash”. And according to the Deputy Prime Minister, “unless we do the right thing the Chinese will not work with us.”

The two countries have signed a series of agreements in infrastructure, tourism, energy and mining but the cooperation has largely not translated into an improved standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has literally handed over control of most sectors of the economy to the Chinese during the past few years in return for short-term financial assistance to enable Mugabe’s government to ride one crisis after another.

more @ afrik.com

2. nice. about Mugabe…

Are the people of Zimbabwe really celebrating Robert Mugabe’s 86th Birthday? What is there to celebrate about this aberrant human form? Thirty years in power and nothing good to show for it. He is determined to cling on to power for the rest of his life despite embarrassingly losing an election to a more dignified and respectable opposition leader and refusing to hand over the reins of government. Mugabe is not only ruthless, he is incapable of showing remorse and lacks all human form of compassion. On close examination, it is possible that he has an inherent mental condition. Why? Because of all the abnormalities contained in his dispositions and behaviour. When the lust for power deprives anyone of a second thought faculty, you become your own victim. Because you lose control of your sanity as a result of your desperation to satisfy your ego-driven tendencies.

more @ newstime africa

3. Angola awards $340m deal to Daewoo Shipbuilding, S. Korea, to deliver 5 oil carriers to state-owned Sonangol (link)

mm hmm. Sonangol, Lev Leviev… see here: excitement always follows Lev Leviev, posted on January 28, 2010

1. Lev Leviev tied to Chinese intelligence, business interests in Angola — Sonagol

The suspicions were spelled out in a report recently compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000 in order to “monitor, investigate and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.” The report noted, among other things, that the group of Chinese corporations has business ties with Israeli businessman and diamond magnate Lev Leviev.

2. India, Angola agree to cooperation for hydrocarbon sector — there’s Sonagol again

Luanda (Angola), Jan 27: India and Angola on Wednesday said that the two countries will enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an overarching framework for cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

During the meeting a MoU was signed between ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and the National Oil Company of Angola namely, Sonangol, for cooperation in the exploration sector.

4. Nigeria: Obasanjo, corrupt ex-Nigerian president,  pays tribute to Tony Blair, war criminal and alleged pedophile, for helping Nigeria, Blair also meets Goodluck Jonathan kiss kiss hug hug

Abuja — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is in Nigeria for the THISDAY’s Nigeria at 50, 2010 Awards, yesterday relived the diplomatic interactions that contributed to the success of their administrations.

Speaking at an Inter-faith Malaria Initiative organised by the Nigeria Inter-faith Action Association with funding support from Federal Government, World Bank, Centre for Inter-faith Action on Global Poverty and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation held at the Kuje Town Hall in Abuja, Obasanjo said the former British premier made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s exit from the Paris Club and other creditor nations.

Obasanjo, whose entry into the venue of the event elicited wild, nostalgic cheers from the audience, said while he travelled round the globe to get Nigeria off the Paris Club debt yoke, he received promises from world leaders which were not fruitful thus prompting his government to search for a facilitator and a member of the Group of Seven industrialised nations (G7) which they found in Mr. Blair.

He said the debt relief allowed the country to channel resources into the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) projects notably funds needed to fight infant mortality and morbidity occasioned by such diseases as malaria.

…Also yesterday, Blair visited Acting President Goodluck Jonathan at his Akinola Aguda residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja and commended him for holding the country together in the face of the daunting political leadership facing the country.

Blair also expressed concern about recent political developments in the country and thanked Jonathan for the skilful way he has handled the country.

more @ allafrica

5. George W Bush and Dear Condi also wish Goodluck Jonathan Good Luck i think he’s gonna need it

Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday evening in Abuja secured the support of the former President of the United States, George Bush who assured him of the world’s support in making his job a success. Mr. Bush and his entourage were in Nigeria for the ThisDay Nigeria at 50 awards….

“Terrorism is alien to Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan said. “Nigeria and US are strategic partners for global peace and development.” He also thanked the US government for its concern over the health of President Umaru Yar’Adua who is currently undergoing treatment in a Saudi hospital.

Mr Bush was accompanied on the trip by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders. On the Nigerian side were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe and his solid minerals counterpart, Diezeani Allison Maduekwe.

read more @ next

6. oil agenda and bush visit

United States of America’s insistence on establishing a military high command for Africa called AFRICOM in the Gulf of Guinea is not for the love of the continent, but principally for the lust for its oil resources.

Over the years, the U.S. has significantly increased its oil imports from Africa, mainly through most of its companies operating in Nigeria, Angola, and to a lesser extent from Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Sudan.

The expectation of an average American is that by 2015 about 25 percent of its oil imports would come from Africa, essentially from the Gulf of Guinea. Therefore, any threat to sustained oil exploration and production activities in the region is, invariably, a direct threat to America’s interest.

Maintaining stability in the centres of oil production in Africa has remained a prime concern to the US.

The threat from China With China also venturing outside for other sources of oil to support its quest for solutions to its energy needs, the competition has heightened the pressure on the U.S. to safeguard its existing oil interests.

read more @ next

7. Tony Blair — also to Liberia to help “lift Liberia”

The founding principle behind Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and the US, is that Africa’s solutions are going to come from Africans and Africa’s leaders – leaders like President Johnson-Sirleaf. This is why Tony Blair is expanding his work into Liberia, building his support to African leaders that began in Rwanda and moved to Sierra Leone.

more @ next

8. Obasanjo: also not happy with this Goodluck Jonathan business — it’s not a permanent solution, especially since he is practically back in office himself with Yar’Adua out of the picture, and if some corruption charges start popping up about Jonathan….you never know.

Kaduna — Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the nation’s resort to the Acting Presidency as a way of stabilising the polity in the absence of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua should not be regarded as a permanent solution.

Instead, he said further steps ought to be taken to arrive at a more dependable and permanent solution to the existing political uncertainty in the country.

more @ all africa

9. Nigeria: investigator of financial crimes assassinated

A former senior investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Danjuma Mohammed was yesterday shot dead in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja. He was ambushed by gunmen as he returned home from a trip from Minna, Niger State.

Mr Mohammed, a DeputySuperintendent of Police and top aide of the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, was responsible for several high profile cases during Mr Ribadu’s leadership of the EFCC leading to landmark conviction of some corrupt government officials. He was until his assassination yesterday a deputy investigator at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Mr. Mohammed was one of the first casualties of the power play in the EFCC when Farida Waziri took over the three years ago.

His assassination is the second against financial crimes investigators. In November 2009, Abubakar Umar, a lawyer and special assistant to Ahmeed Al-Mustapha, registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), was killed and burned in his car in Abuja.

Police investigations are yet to yield any result.

more @ next

10. chaos in Ivory Coast (Zoellick was there recently) as protesters resort to looting and vandalism

In the Ivory Coast city of Bouake, hundreds of protesters marched through the city center, setting fire to cars, smashing up shops and looting a local government administrative office. This comes amidst the backdrop of President Laurent Gbagbo dissolving the government and the electoral commission one week after a row over voter registration. A group of protesters broke into the regional governor’s office and stole equipments as they chant that they don’t want the President anymore. “Gbagbo must quit now! He cannot stay in power,” they said. Ivorian security forces dispersed protesters in the south western town of Gagnoa, using tear gas.  Five protesters were killed a day before after police fired into the crowd of demonstrators.

more @ newstime africa

11. one dead three injured in Rwanda attacks

Eighteen people are reported injured after three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The attacks that looked choreographed left one person dead as they went off in the city’s busiest points last night. According to state radio, five of the injured were in serious condition following the attacks on a busy bus station, a restaurant and a building housing city centre businesses. Grenade attacks have increasingly become a popular way of venting anger or revenge, mostly on unsuspecting crowds in the last three years in Rwanda, where many of those cases remain largely unsolved.

more @ newstime africa

active narratives round-up

1. world government: our masters in Brussels will use the Greek crisis to try to impose a single government across Europe

Now the Greeks cannot afford to stay in the euro and the Germans and French (and indeed to a lesser extent we British) cannot afford to see the Greek economy collapse.

For our masters in Brussels, this is a moment of great danger and of great opportunity. Their solution is simple. Not just a single currency and a single central bank, but a single finance minister administering a single tax and spending system, and a single government across the EU. Without that, either the Eurozone will shrink to a hard core of states around Germany and the Deutschmark will be reborn under the name of the euro, or the euro will cease to be.

more @ telegraph

2. justifying the need to control the internet: malicious software infects corporate computers

A malicious software program has infected the computers of more than 2,500 corporations around the world, according to NetWitness, a computer network security firm.

The malicious program, or botnet, can commandeer the operating systems of both residential and corporate computing systems via the Internet. Such botnets are used by computer criminals for a range of illicit activities, including sending e-mail spam, and stealing digital documents and passwords from infected computers. In many cases they install so-called “keystroke loggers” to capture personal information.

…“These large-scale compromises of enterprise networks have reached epidemic levels,” said Amit Yoran, chief executive of NetWitness and former director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security. “Cyber criminal elements, like the Kneber crew, quietly and diligently target and compromise thousands of government and commercial organizations across the globe.”

The company, which is based in Herndon, Va., noted that the new botnet makes sophisticated use of a well-known Trojan Horse - a backdoor entryway to attack - that the computer security community had previously identified as ZeuS.

more @ nyt

3. al qaeda in the palestinian camps in lebanon: 11 aq suspects charged with spying


A Lebanese military judge charged 11 suspected members of an al-Qaida inspired group with forming an armed gang and spying on the army and U.N. peacekeepers, a judicial source said. “Judge Samih al-Hajj charged 11 suspected members of Fatah al-Islam with forming an armed gang, spying on the army and UNIFIL troops (in southern Lebanon), and forging ID papers,” the source said, requesting anonymity.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty. Among those charged — several of them in absentia — are Abdul Rahman Awad and Abdul Ghani Jawhar, two Fatah al-Islam members accused of a deadly 2008 bus bombing in the northern city of Tripoli.

Fatah al-Islam, an obscure al-Qaida inspired group, fought deadly battles against the Lebanese army in the summer of 2007 in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli. …There have been widespread fears since the Nahr al-Bared battle that the group has switched its base to the highly volatile Palestinian camp of Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon.

Lebanese officials suspect that Awad, who is dubbed the “prince of Fatah al-Islam,” is holed up in Ain el-Hilweh, the largest of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps. By longstanding convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the camps, leaving security inside to Palestinian factions.(AFP)

more @ naharnet

4. escalating drug lords in Mexico: Russia ready to sell weapons to Mexico

MEXICO CITY – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Mexico is interested in buying equipment and weapons from his country to combat drug trafficking and organized crime. At a joint press conference with Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa, Lavrov said that his country is expanding its weapons sales abroad and has increased the number of supply contracts it has in all regions of the world, a move that is “a purely economic question, not political.”

Regarding the volume of its arms sales, Russia is still “behind the United States, but we’re seeing certain rather serious progress,” Lavrov said. The Mexican government is interested in acquiring different types of weapons, “including helicopters for coastal monitoring,” and other equipment “to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, that I hope will help our Mexican friends to combat this scourge,” the Russian official said.

The United States is already supplying Mexico with arms and equipment for the drug war.

more @ la herald tribune

5. get the minerals in Africa, especially West Africa: African Minerals on track in Sierra Leone as 9.7 billion tonnes of iron ore discovered — largest deposit in the world. shorter: how lucky is Frank Timis?

Somewhere in London, deliberating on his success and probably a glass of ice-rock vodka in his hands, Frank Timis must be filled with excitement and accomplishment as his venture in Sierra Leone has started to yield results. Timis has invested faith and trust in his sense of discernment and has allowed his instinct which has proven time and again to be right, to take on a venture in a small West African country rich in minerals, that has become a second home for him. Timis has employed right judgement and his confidence in the mineral wealth of Sierra Leone may have finally paid off.  It is also a vindication for the country’s President Ernest Bai Koroma whose unwavering belief in African Minerals’ potential has not been disappointing.  I wonder what is going through Frank Timis’ mind as he reflects back on how risk can sometimes become your best financial asset.  But it all comes down to how risk is managed through effective implementation of business acumen that has been tried and trusted. Frank Timis must be a master in risk management that ensures successful outcome. The success of African Minerals in Sierra Leone can only go to open new frontiers for the company in other mineral resource potential areas across Africa. And his success in Sierra Leone will  also provide a model for other African Governments to use in order to open their doors to a man whose name has become synonymous with prosperity and mineral wealth.

more @ newstime africa

6. Niger & Nigeria, falling apart or being dismantled: gunfire erupts in Niger capital

NIAMEY (Niger) - MACHINE gun and heavy weapons fire erupted in Niger’s capital, Niamey, on Thursday and smoke was seen rising from the presidential palace, witnesses said, in what appeared to be an attempted coup.

There was no indication of who was involved, the witnesses said, though political tensions have risen in the uranium exporting nation in recent months over President Mamadou Tandja’s extension of his rule. An intelligence officer, who asked not to be named, said the violence was a coup attempt that the presidential guard was trying to put down. A member of Tandja’s entourage in the palace said that ‘for now everything is alright.’

The shooting started around 1200 GMT, witnesses said. A Reuters witness said soldiers were blocking the road near the Prime Minister’s office. Tandja drew widespread criticism and international sanctions after dissolving parliament and orchestrating a constitutional reform that gave him added powers and extended his term beyond his second five-year mandate, which expired in December.

Despite political turmoil and occasional Tuareg rebellions, Niger has attracted billions of dollars in investment from major international firms seeking to tap its vast mineral wealth, including France’s Areva and Canada’s Cameco. — REUTERS

straits times

7. terrorism and sports: police confirm terror threat to India-SA Jaipur stadium match


JAIPUR: Police have confirmed a terror threat to the first ODI match between India and South Africa to be played at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on February 21, following which security has been tightened. B.L. Soni, inspector general of Rajasthan police, said his force had intelligence inputs of the threat.  “We have terror inputs of the threat and beefed up security at Sawai Mansingh Stadium (the match venue),” he said.

Intelligence agencies had earlier warned about terror strikes during various sporting events to be held in the country this year including the Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. However, Home Minister P Chidambaram has assured all the visiting countries of foolproof security for the upcoming sporting events.

source

fewer Haitians

As reported here, back around 2003 a group of high level North American and Latin American diplomats were holding secret meetings to discuss Haiti — the “Ottowa Initiative.” Members of the group included: Canada’s Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa, and the French-speaking World, Denis Paradis; the U.S. State Department’s “Continental Initiatives” representative Otto Reich; and Organization of American States (OAS) assistant secretary general Luigi Einaudi. The goal, ostensibly, was to protect Haitians from the consequences of failed statehood, for which, naturally, the international community is to be held totally blameless (wink wink).

A group of high-level North American and Latin American diplomats has been secretly meeting in Canada to plan President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s removal from power and an ensuing foreign military occupation, according to an article by Michel Vastel in the Mar. 15 edition of the Canadian magazine “L’Actualité.”

The group of officials, code named the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti,” wants regime change in Haiti this year before the Jan. 1, 2004 bicentennial of Haiti’s independence, the article says.

Denis Paradis

…The article indicates that in some way Paradis sees Haiti’s internal problems as a “threat” to North American countries because Haiti might have, by some estimates, a population of 20 million by 2019. The correlation is unclear, but it is enough to excite Paradis. “It is a time bomb,” he said, “which must be defused immediately.”

Aha, so… too many Haitians?

No Haitians attended the meeting, and the Canadian government has kept the documents secret. (wikipedia)

“Michel Vastel wrote that the possibility of Aristide’s departure, the need for a potential trusteeship over Haiti, and the return of Haiti’s dreaded military were discussed by Paradis and the French Minister for La Francophonie, Pierre-Andre Wiltzer.” Paradis later denied this, and as such, the allegations can never be proven, but neither Vastel nor L’Actualite retracted the story.

Just over a year later, U.S. marines removed Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the country and flew him to the Central African Republic. Critics, such as authors Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton, suspect that the secret meetings in Ottawa were the first step that led to the coup and the 2004 Haitian rebellion.

This article describes in more detail how The West treated Haiti after Aristide’s election: pressure, accusations, sanctions, economic strangulation. This behavior JUSTIFIED the decision to overthrow Aristide. We see this over and over again. They (our “leaders”) decide what they want, and then they “fit the facts around the policy.” Since they wanted to get rid of Aristide (and a lot of Haitians), they needed to make him look bad and create a lot of suffering that would JUSTIFY a military intervention.

Enthusiastically and publicly leading the overthrow of a democratically elected government was a bit much for the Liberal government. Consequently, the overzealous Paradis soon faded into the background. After his interview with Vastel was published, he was quickly removed from the ‘Haiti file,’ while the plans to overthrow Aristide proceeded, albeit a couple of months behind schedule.

…According to Paul Martin, Canada’s involvement in Haiti was the “morally responsible” thing to do. He has also said that Haiti was a “failed state,” that Canada and other “friends of Haiti” intervened at just the right time to restore peace and stability to Haiti. In July, Martin addressed what the Globe and Mail referred to as an “exclusive gathering” of “media moguls” in Idaho. The gathering was closed to the press and the public.

Idaho? Seems like an unlikely place for an “exclusive gathering” of “media moguls”…… or maybe not… ???

…On July 29th, Lt. Colonel Jim Davis, Commander of the Canadian Forces contingent in Haiti, acknowledged that at least 1000 bodies had been buried in a mass grave in Port au Prince, within one month of “restoring stability.” Davis also would not deny the eyewitnesss testimony that spoke of a massacre of Aristide supporters committed by occupying forces on March 12. According to the eyewitnesses, international forces staged an attack in a Port-au-Prince slum, killing dozens of people. These international forces reportedly took all but two bodies away in ambulances. At the time, US, French and Canadian forces were stationed in Haiti. French troops had explicit rules of engagement: they were not to shoot unless they were attacked. Canadian and American occupying forces had no such limitation. Said Davis: “I do not deny that these things have happened.”

Regrettable.

^^^^^^^

In 2004, US Special Forces violently arrested eleven people, including four children, in Haiti.

At 12:30 a.m. on the morning of May 10, a Special Forces squad of approximately 20 U.S. Marines executed a military assault on the home of 69-year-old Annette Auguste, a.k.a. So Anne. Auguste’s residence is part of a compound that includes four other apartments that were also invaded by the U.S. military forces. The troops forcefully covered the heads of eleven Haitians with black hoods and then forced them to the lay face down on the ground while binding their wrists with plastic manacles behind their backs. The victims of this terrifying U.S. military invasion included five-year-old Chamyr Samedi, 10-year-old Kerlande Philippe, 12-year-old Loubahida Auguste, 14-year-old Luckmar Auguste and seven adults.

…In the past, critics such as Yves A. Isidor, professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and Executive Editor of wehaitians.com, and Raymond Joseph of the Haiti Observateur, now the Chief Diplomatic Representative to America for Haiti, have accused Ms. Auguste of things as outrageous as human sacrifice.

Typical.

^^^^^^^

As in Africa and all over the world, poor people sometimes live on top of or near valuable natural resources. Their presence, in their own countries, on their own lands, interferes with the efficient extraction of said valuable resources. (See here for the Nigerian version of oil companies executing amazing feats of engineering to get oil from a swamp but inexplicably failing at providing clean water to the locals.)

It’s a critical part of the business model to make the land inhospitable so that the people die or leave. The People Are In The Way. OK? That’s what’s going on. And everybody involved knows it.

Same in Haiti.

There is evidence that the United States found oil in Haiti decades ago and due to the geopolitical circumstances and big business interests of that era made the decision to keep Haitian oil in reserve for when Middle Eastern oil had dried up. This is detailed by Dr. Georges Michel in an article dated March 27, 2004 outlining the history of oil explorations and oil reserves in Haiti and in the research of Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin.

There is also good evidence that these very same big US oil companies and their inter-related monopolies of engineering and defense contractors made plans, decades ago, to use Haiti’s deep water ports either for oil refineries or to develop oil tank farm sites or depots where crude oil could be stored and later transferred to small tankers to serve U.S. and Caribbean ports. This is detailed in a paper about the Dunn Plantation at Fort Liberte in Haiti.

…The mainstream media, owned by the multinational companies fleecing Haiti, certainly won’t lay out for public consumption that the UN/US invasion and occupation of Haiti is to secure Haiti’s oil, strategic position, cheap labor, deep water ports, mineral resources (iridium, gold, copper, uranium, diamond, gas reserves, zyconium deposits), lands, waterfronts, offshore resources for privatization or the exclusive use of the world’s wealthy oligarchs and US big oil monopolies.

That’s an amazing website and I hope you go over and look around.

^^^^^^^

But still, the people. What to do with all the Haitians? Well I think we’re seeing what the plan is. Kill some.

Inject some. Trade some. Harvest some. Rape some.

That’s the devastating truth.

dibs on resources in the Western hemisphere

1. Venezuela awards 2 blocks in massive oil region: India, Malaysia, Chevron (US), Japan, Spain

Venezuela assigned the rights to exploit the Carabobo 1 block to a consortium that included Repsol, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp., Oil India Ltd. and Indian Oil Corp. and Malaysia’s Petronas, while another block, Carabobo 3, was awarded to a consortium led by Chevron and that also included Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and Inpex Corp. and Venezuela’s Suelopetrol

…In both blocks, the winning consortium will have a 40 percent stake and the remaining 60 percent stake will be held by Venezuelan state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela. According to official Venezuelan figures, the blocks have the potential to produce a combined total of at least 800,000 barrels of crude per day by 2016 and will require $30 billion in investment.

“This is something historic,” President Hugo Chavez said of the auction. “It is extremely important” and is the product of “a transparent bidding process” that began on Oct. 30, 2008, with the participation of 19 foreign companies….He also stressed the importance of foreign investment in developing the potential of that region, which the U.S. Geological Survey recently said is the world’s largest petroleum reserve with more than 500 billion barels of recoverable crude.

more @ tribune

2. India moving faster to tie up mineral supplies

Thus the Indian government is reportedly moving to fast track deals to secure future supplies for its ever-growing industrial base. According to a report in today’s Hindustan Times The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided that the country’s state-owned corporations need to be supported in aggressively pursuing the acquisition of strategic mineral resources through a dedicated fund - and it has set a 30-day deadline for such plans to be in place. According to Hindustan Times, an unnamed  senior government official  told it “The PMO has asked the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission to work out the size and structure of the dedicated fund in 30 days.”

…The significance of the Indian move should not be underestimated. Indian growth is currently matching that of China and with the two Asian potential megapowers with enormous populations taking ever increasing volumes of raw materials from the global supply, the pressure on resources can only increase dramatically.

According to the report, India is also beginning to try and use diplomatic pressures to help secure supplies with the External Affairs Ministry tasked with a strategy to help acquire them, particularly in Africa which is seen as key area of potential supply with resources frequently directly controlled by government.

more @ mineweb

3. Brazil finds more oil, shallow water, low hanging fruit

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said Thursday that it has found oil at a well located in shallow waters of the Campos Basin. The find was made in waters just 200 meters (655 feet) deep and is near massive deposits in deeper areas of Campos, which is located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state and is the basin where 80 percent of Brazil’s oil is extracted. Petrobras said the 4-PM-53 well contains an estimated 25 million barrels of recoverable heavy oil and is just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the Pampo field, which is currently being developed.

…Petrobras, Brazil’s largest corporation and one of the world’s fastest-growing oil companies, produces an average of 2.5 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent in Brazil and abroad. An integrated energy company and a global leader in deepwater oil exploration and production, Petrobras operates in 27 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Shares of the company trade on the Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, but the Brazilian government retains control through a golden share. EFE

more @ tribune

4. Cuba, Russia confirm “strategic” nature of their relationship

HAVANA – The Russian and Cuban foreign minister emphasized on Thursday the “enormous potential” and the “strategic” nature of relations between their two countries. Sergei Lavrov arrived in Cuba for a three-day visit and presided at a meeting with Bruno Rodriguez, after which they signed three accords.

…Lavrov said that the relationship had transformed itself into a “truly strategic association” and confirmed to the Cuban government Moscow’s “unchanging” stance against the economic embargo the United States has maintained against the communist-ruled island since 1962.

…Besides the foreign minister, the Russian delegation to the fair includes Culture Minister Alexandr Avdeev and more than 200 publishers, writers, artists, officials, translators and journalists. Lavrov’s trip to Havana continues the frequent visits made by top Russian government officials to Cuba in the last two years, including those by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who has traveled to the island on at least five occasions. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev traveled to Cuba in 2008 and Cuba’s president, Gen. Raul Castro, returned the visit in 2009. EFE

more @ tribune

depends who you know

1. Sahara becomes desert of terrorism. CIA supported terrorism. also notice however, the illusion that  France and the EU are presented as “opposite” to the US by the expert. the “good” West vs the “bad” West. haha! sorry the same people own all of The West.

Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade urged African leaders and the West to join forces in the fight against al-Qaeda’s North African branch, saying it has to be done to prevent the Sahara from becoming a “terrorism desert.” Abdoulaye Wade’s appeal came as African Union heads of state gathered to tackle the continent’s crises and conflicts at the bloc’s summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Wade was supported by his colleagues from other African countries. They were united in their opinion that African counties could not fight al-Qaeda on their own. Wade said it was an “international issue.”

Americans spent over 0.5 billion dollars for the anti-terrorism struggle. Yet, the situation has only worsened with the increased number of terrorist attacks.

The situation has particularly worsened in the past two years. These years were marked both with the increased frequency of attacks as well as their impudence, i.e., police station attacks and embassy shootings. The leaders of the Maghreb Muslims appeal for jihad against ruling governments of North African countries. All this attests to the fact that the officials cannot properly control the situation even in their own capitals.

Last year, media released alarming information stating that the Islamist group was developing biological weapons, and in particular, was experimenting with plague agents. The war on terror affects the well-being of local residents increasingly more each year. According to experts, the struggle with al-Qaeda caused rise in basic consumer goods prices in Algeria, including potatoes prices.

…In other words, the participants of the Pan African summit had good reasons to be alarmed. On the other hand, as mentioned above, so far the US military aid has not yielded positive results in the struggle against several hundred militants. Under the circumstances, the opinion of an Algerian expert Jamal Gessel shared with Pravda.ru was quite surprising.

He said that there was very reliable information suggesting that the Islamist group was supported by CIA. Analysts of the French and Algerian Special forces (e.g., DGSE, France) are convinced that this is done to destabilized the situation in North African countries rich in natural resources (both oil and uranium). The other goal is to force French and Spanish oil-extracting competitors out of the area. The expert believes this is precisely why the Islamist group’s attacks are aimed against the French and Spanish, and why the American presence in the region is not effective.

Additionally, the expert does not rule out the situation when the US declares the region its strategic zone, like it happened in the Persian Gulf, and instills its hegemony in the area. The conclusion is the following: the hopes of North African countries to receive aid from the West greatly depend on what they mean by “West”, the USA or EU.

more @ pravda

2. despite problems with al qaeda, not to worry! Algeria is connected: looking to cooperate with South Africa on nuclear technology. oh hey Algeria signed the NPT, so no problem. um, didn’t Iran sign that thing too? yes. but that’s different.

Algeria has shown a keen interest in South Africa’s pebble bed technology, South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) company said on Monday.

CEO Jaco Kriek said in a statement that Algeria’s interest in PBMR technology “opens a real opportunity for two African countries to co-operate on nuclear.” The statement said a high-level delegation under the leadership of Mohamed Derdour, chairman of the Algerian Atomic Energy Commission (Comena), was in South Africa. “Algeria is, amongst others, exploring the possibility of building nuclear reactors the size of PBMR near inland villages to provide electricity and desalination,” Kriek said.

According to Comena, Algeria was seriously pursuing nuclear technology as a means to diversify its energy sources and as a vehicle to reduce its dependency on a hydrocarbons economy….Derdour pointed out that Algeria, like South Africa, had signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. “Algeria has atomic energy agreements with Argentina, China, France and the United States. “We also have two research reactors, which were built by Argentina and China respectively”. Kriek said South Africa had a long relationship with Algeria, including the signing in 2003 of a memorandum of understanding on co-operation in the field of nuclear and radiation sciences between Comena and South Africa’s department of science and technology.

more @ iafrica

3. Egypt recalls ambassador from Algeria for “consultations” after some sports fans get rowdy

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt recalled its ambassador in Algeria for consultations on Thursday after attacks against Egyptian football fans in Sudan and businesses in Algiers, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. An Egyptian foreign ministry official confirmed to AFP that the ambassador was recalled for “consultations”. Earlier in the day, Egypt summoned the Algerian ambassador in Cairo to protest against the disturbances.

The foreign ministry said that it informed the ambassador of “Egypt’s extreme displeasure with the assaults on Egyptian citizens who went to Khartoum to support the Egyptian team.”

It was the second summons in a week for ambassador Abdel Qader Haggar, who was called to the foreign ministry last week after Algerian fans attacked Egyptian businesses and homes in Algiers.

more @ yahoo news


4. Nigeria finally transfers power to Goodluck Jonathan

NIGERIA’S parliament empowered vice- president Goodluck Jonathan to run Africa’s most populous nation in place of an ill and absent president. It is hoped the move will provide a political end to a crisis that has ground the government to a virtual halt and triggered the resumption of an insurgency in the vital oil sector. But the move is not contemplated in the constitution, legal experts say, and could cause more friction between the Christian south, which gains the presidency at least temporarily, and Muslim north, which finds itself out of the seat of power.

more @ scotsman

5. NEXT: we told you so

This newspaper took the bold step of publishing a daring story on January 10 that President Umaru Yar’Adua is brain damaged and will not return to office. Titled,”Yar’Adua is brain-damaged”, the story detailed how some people that surround Mr. Yar’Adua were preventing others including the vice president from having access to the president.

“President Umaru Yar’Adua is seriously brain damaged, is not able to recognise anyone… and can no longer perform the functions of the office of the president, according to multiple sources who have spoken to NEXT on Sunday,” the story declares.

While we double checked and confirmed our sources over and over, some newspapers went to town that our story was not true. Indeed there were stories that we spun a tale that cannot be substantiated. Amazingly, while these media houses buried their heads in the sand, NEXT stood up to be counted among the worthy elements of our society, and despite the furious denial even from some people in government, the story could not be counteracted.

Curiously, some folks in government were asking NEXT editors for what was going on with Mr. Yar’Adua showing the level of secrecy concerning his health.

Subsequently, a man claiming to be Mr. Yar’Adua granted an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on January 13 on the eve of a planned protest by eminent Nigerians like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and Tunde Bakare, the pastor of Latter Rain Assembly under the aegis of Save Nigeria Group.

Thereafter, seeing that the game was up, others now shifted gear, and joined the train of those asking that the Constitution be upheld. We are happy we started this.

source: next

6. MEND rebels watching the ‘drama’ unfold..will they continue to warn the oil company personnel to get out of the way so they can “attack?” do they still need to attack? maybe not. we’ll have to wait and see what this Goodluck Jonathan fellow has in mind for divvying up Nigeria’s oil resources.

LAGOS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The main militant group in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta said on Wednesday it was monitoring developments after Vice President Goodluck Jonathan assumed presidential powers, but declined to comment further.

“We are monitoring the unfolding drama and will react at the appropriate time,” the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email to Reuters. The group last month said it was ending a unilateral ceasefire and threatened renewed attacks on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry amid delays to an amnesty programme caused partly by the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

reuters

7. polluted water in Niger Delta — home of OIL COMPANIES — the cause of estimated 60% of deaths and 90% of disease in local communities. yes they can get oil out of a swamp but they can’t deliver clean water to poor people who insist on being IN THE WAY of their amazing oil production feats of engineering

Lack of access to safe water is a major source of poor health for millions of residents of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, a NEXT investigation has shown. Majority of the citizens of the area affirm one of their most critical needs is safe drinking water.

Public health officials say water accounts for an estimated 80 per cent of all diseases and one-third of all deaths in the developing world. In the Niger Delta area, where the natural water sources have been polluted by oil production activities, they estimate that water could account for over 60 per cent of all deaths in the oil communities, and some 90 per cent of all diseases there.

Although the oil region is largely riverine, oil production activities appeared to have polluted the region’s natural water sources, making them increasingly unsafe for human consumption.

more @ next

8. Al Jazeera floats video of police killing unarmed civilians, from seven months ago. picked up widely. kind of confusing — if you don’t pay close attention you might think this is happening now.

google results show major coverage

Aster Van Kregten, a Nigeria expert with rights group Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera that the group’s research suggested extra-judicial killings were widespread in Nigeria.


“Our research shows that the Nigerian police are getting away with murder, they killed hundreds of people a year without any investigation - any investigation on whether the use of force was lawful or not,” she said.
“What we saw on the footage happened seven month ago and we haven’t heard anything from the government whether they have arrested anyone and how far the investigation is going.”

Among those killed in the aftermath of the clashes between Boko Haram and the police, was Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf.

more @ al jazeera

a resurrected post from december

here are some links i had gathered together on 12/13/09, and posted at my news blog, which has since been quarantined as a spam blog by google. somebody in india reviews it about once a week and puts it back in quarantine. this particular page has also been erased from the google cache, for some unknown reason.

1. Kazakh uranium boss trial to proceed - 12/10/09

Prosecutor’s office spokesman Nurdaulet Suindikov commented, “The investigation charges former Kazatomprom president Mukhtar Dzhakishev with theft by way of embezzling a state company’s property.” Suindikov added that Dzhakishev would be charged with embezzling 100 million tenge ($600,000) from Kazatomprom.

Dzhakishev, who was earlier credited with making Kazakhstan a top global uranium producer while overseeing Kazatomprom, has denied all charges against him.

Kazakhstan contains the world’s second-largest uranium reserves, estimated at 1.5 million tons. The country in 2006 produced 5,279 tons of uranium, but as part of its plans to increase output boosted uranium output in January-September to 9,535 tons.

upi asia

2. Chinese president to visit Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan - 12/9/09

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a working visit to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan from Dec. 12 to14 at the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said here Wednesday.

chinaview

3. Kazakhstan urged to lift visa requirement for Iranian traders - 12/8/09

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran called on Kazakhstan to lift visa requirements for those Iranian businessmen willing to run trade activities in the Central Asian country.

“…if lifting visa requirements comes on both countries’ agenda, then visits by traders and businessmen will be facilitated and the ground will be prepared for the expansion of cooperation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman Parast said at a round table dubbed as ‘Trade Opportunities of Iran and Kazakhstan’ here in Tehran on Tuesday.

Mehman Parast reiterated that the Iranian foreign ministry is striving to prepare the necessary grounds and conditions for those traders interested in making investments in target markets.

Noting that the trade volume between Iran and Kazakhstan has increased in recent years, he stressed that in case existing problems are resolved, the two countries can boost the volume of annual trade to $10 bln.

Mehman Parast also referred to the strategic situation of Iran and Kazakhstan in the region, and said today the world supplies its needs through importing either the goods and products manufactured by Iran and Kazakhstan or the other countries’ products which should again pass through Iran or Kazakhstan.

fars

4. International Space Station astronauts land safely on Kazakhstan steppes - 12/1/09

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhuanet) — Three astronauts landed safely on the Kazakhstan steppes Tuesday after spending six months on the International Space Station.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-15 capsule landed as planned at 10:17 a.m. Moscow time (07:17 GMT) about 85 km north of the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan.

chinaview

5. Yunnan Copper mulls buy in Kazakhstan - 12/1/09

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Yunnan Copper Co., China’s third-largest copper producer, is thinking of acquiring a copper mine in Kazakhstan next year, China Daily reported Tuesday.

The company is also considering investing in Southeast and South Asian countries including Laos and Indonesia, the newspaper said, quoting the company’s general manager Yang Chao.

Besides investment in the overseas market, the copper producer is also scouting for more copper reserves in the Inner Mongolia and Tibet autonomous regions. The company’s copper reserves would touch 9 million tonnes by 2012, according to Yang.

He predicted that copper prices might even surpass 70,000 yuan (10,294 U.S. dollars) per tonne in 2010, although prices are likely to remain volatile over the next year, and copper demand will increase next year

Copper is widely used in home appliances, wires and cables; it can also be used in water pipes, largely increasing the need for copper in the future, Yang said.

chinaview

6. Kazakhstan: Israel’s Partner in Eurasia by Ariel Cohen in Jerusalem Viewpoints Sept-Oct 2009

http://tinyurl.com/yfw6d8h

The June 2009 visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to Kazakhstan once again focused Israel’s attention on energy-rich, secular Muslim states of the Caspian and Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This was not Peres’ first visit to the steppe country in the heart of Eurasia: he visited Kazakhstan several times before as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. This was a good long-term investment:

Kazakhstan is as large as the entirety of Western Europe, but with a population only 1.5 times larger than the population of the city of Moscow. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth.

7. 11/16/09 - Germans ID convert, 27, as terrorist suspect

BERLIN — Authorities have identified a 27-year-old German convert to Islam as an al-Qaida associate suspected of traveling to Afghanistan and planning to attack German targets. The report could fuel concerns about European converts being recruited by Islamist terrorist groups for attacks. The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed a Spiegel Online report Sunday that it had posted notices across Afghanistan warning that Jan Schneider, a Kazakhstan-born ethnic German, may plan attacks on German military or civilian institutions in Afghanistan.

Schneider, who is also known as Hamza, has recently traveled to the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Spiegel reported. He left Germany in 2004 to study Arabic in Saudi Arabia. He was seen in his hometown of Saarbruecken several times after his departure from Germany.

…Spiegel also wrote that the criminal office has warned of several other German extremists who supposedly have traveled to Afghanistan in recent months. More than five million ethnic Germans have immigrated to the country from the former Soviet Union, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European countries since the 1950s under a special migration law for persons who can prove German ancestry.

DEFUNCT LINK: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRbmVOhddpRWJo-KpO06aa6sHQRwD9C03L2O1

alternate link (cache): http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:hJxPAOZqPHsJ:www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33949307/ns/world_news-europe/+BERLIN+%E2%80%94+Authorities+have+identified+a+27-year-old+German+convert+to+Islam+as+an+al-Qaida+associate&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

8. 10/12/09 - Avigdor Lieberman visits Kazakhstan among other countries to discuss Iran

By Roni SoferY Net NewsOctober 12, 2009

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is set to leave for a round of visits abroad this week, after recently returning from Africa, South America, and the Balkans. This time Lieberman will visit Austria, Kazakhstan, Holland, and Denmark, mainly in order to discuss the topic of Iran.

Lieberman says he wants to “invest effort in nations that have not received attention from Israel until now”….The foreign minister is also scheduled to meet with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, following the latter’s request. Lieberman has clarified that the object of this meeting, as well as those in Holland and Denmark, is “to bolster Israel’s status by widening the wingspan of its foreign policy”.

Lieberman will also meet with Israeli ambassadors to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the ambassador to the EU.

via aletho news - LINK DEFUNCT


9. 9/10/09 - Caspian sea states shut Iran out of summit

Iran is peeved at its northern neighbors over a decision to exclude the Islamic Republic from a meeting ofCaspian Sea states on Thursday.
Iran’s top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, said today he was outraged that Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan plan to meet in the Kazakh city of Aktau without Iran, according to the website of Iran’s state-owned English-language Press TV satellite news channel.
“In our view the meeting runs contrary to Iran’s national interests,” Mottaki said.
Iran has stewed for years as Russia and its former Soviet satellite states gobble up more and more of the Caspian Sea’s resources.
The four countries attending the Aktau meeting, described as an “informal” summit to discuss “subregional cooperation,” say they don’t plan to make any decisions on the status of the sea or the division of the seabed, an official representative of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry told Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency.

there are no sunglasses

10. 12/2008: Michael Parenti

“While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world. US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.”

11. 11/3/08 - Putin: we must end monopoly in world finance

The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has called for a complete overhaul of the world’s financial system in order to guarantee stability and ensure progress. He was speaking in Astana in Kazakhstan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is meeting to in discuss the global financial crisis.
The organisation, which comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is widely seen as a counter-weight to NATO’s influence in Eurasia. It is primarily concerned with security issues. This time, however, the sides are discussing how to develop social and economic cooperation.
At the beginning of his speech at the SCO Council of Prime Ministers, Vladimir Putin stressed the role the SCO countries should play in the changing world political and economic landscape.
“We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem Russia will to take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress,” he said.
He also named projects in transportation, telecommunications and modern technology as priorities of the SCO and spoke in favour of mutual space programmes.
While in Kasakhstan, the Russian prime minister is also expected to discuss the formation of a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

russia today

12. 11/13/08 - Kazakhstan and the financial crisis

The financial crisis that began in the United States has made its presence felt around the globe and Central Asia is no exception. How is Central Asia’s greatest economic power, Kazakhstan, handling this economic crisis and how is the economic downturn effecting the stability, security, and development of the region. These were the main topics of a conference between many regional experts in Astana last month called “New Challenges and Kazakhstan’s Contribution to Stability and Security.” [link defunct]
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, a scholar of the region’s economic and strategic outlook attended the conference and not only summarizes the major issues and policies discussed, but also provides a historical perspective of past economic crisis’s in Kazakhstan. Here is an excerpt of what Nurbakh Rustemov, the keynotespeaker and Chairman of the hosting parliamentary committee, had to say of the economic downturn and its consequences:

“He bluntly stated that the world financial crisis was leading to a “misunderstanding” among geopolitical forces, and carried the danger of a direct threat to humanity, through hunger and poverty.(1) He called for uniting forces internationally, to overcome the financial-economic crisis, which he dubbed the “number one priority.” Rustemov mentioned the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Kazakhstan is a founding member, as well as the OSCE, which Kazakhstan will chair beginning 2010, as bodies his government would like to utilize to find solutions to the crisis. Two concrete means that his country could use to impact the crisis, would be in securing energy resources, and providing grain and meat exports to alleviate food shortages.”
Rustemov is correct in stating that this economic crisis may lead to following and connected geopolitical disruptions and he’s also right in arguing that regional and multilateral groups, such as the SCO and OSCE, will be crucial in helping the world get through this mess in one stable piece. Another important aspect of his comments is the positive role Kazakhstan can play in impacting the crisis in a productive way and that is in securing energy resources and in providing food stuffs to alleviate shortages in other countries, specifically in harder hit CA states, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
Kazakhstan’s abundance of energy supplies, combined with President Nazarbayev’s prudent planning, have left the nation in good condition despite the tough times. Nazarbayev announced last month that the government would spend $2 billion to stimulate the economy, mainly targeting banks and the construction industry, funds drawn from the nation’s oil fund. Unfortunately, not all CA or world states have an oil fund to fall back on.
What the whole of Central Asia can hope for is sturdy economic stewardship by its regional leader,Kazakhstan, and help from regional bodies, both from the East and West to weather what will most likely be a lengthy recession. During this time, it will be vital to keep the region from falling into disrepair as poverty and extremism would both be on the rise and this may lead to conflict. The US, Russia, China, and the EU all have roles to play in mitigating negative ramifications of this crisis in the region, but a strong and active Kazakhstan is crucial. As Muriel Mirak-Weissbach concludes:
“Kazakhstan has become the foremost interlocutor in Central Asia, not only for Eurasian giants Russia and China, but also for the two major economies of western Europe, Germany and France. If the current world crisis can be overcome through participation of major Eurasian nations, Kazakhstan can become the linchpin in the region for stability and security.”
In addition, the US State Department announced a nuclear safety cooperation with Kazakhstan. Read Below. [link defunct]
The United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan reached a new milestone in a multiyear joint project to irreversibly decommission the Soviet-era BN-350 fast breeder reactor located at the Kazakhstani port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea. The participating governments completed a sodium processing facility that will be used to dispose of coolant from the reactor core. This action demonstrates and reinforces the strength of the U.S.-Kazakhstani strategic relationship, and our joint commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials.

source: foreign policy blogs

http://centralasia.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/11/13/kazakhstan-and-the-financial-crisis/

corruption news

1. military staff in Malaysia linked info to unnamed foreign embassy

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA’S defence minister reportedly said on Thursday that military personnel had been paid to leak security information to a foreign embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The alleged leak was unveiled in a probe conducted by the ministry’s intelligence corps together with police, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said according to state media and The Star newspaper.

‘I don’t want anyone at any position to sell information to external parties,’ he was quoted as saying by The Star on its website. ‘I will make an announcement after meeting the prime minister (Najib Razak) regarding the information that was leaked to a foreign embassy, which allegedly used internal sources,’ he added.

Mr Ahmad Zahid did not name the embassy involved but urged diplomats to carry out their duties properly and warned that action can be taken against perpetrators under the country’s official secrets laws.

‘I hope no one will take advantage of their positions in this country to carry out unethical activities,’ he reportedly said. ‘I believe they have been paid,’ he added, referring to the military personnel allegedly involved in the act.

An aide to the minister said he could not immediately confirm the minister’s remarks when contacted by AFP. Mr Ahmad Zahid told national news agency Bernama that his ministry has been monitoring its staff over any possible information leakage especially since the theft of two US-made fighter jet engines worth US$29 million (S$41 million). — AFP

source: straits times

2. Lancet slammed: vaccine science poisoned by special interests in pharmamedia — The Lancet threw that MMR guy under the bus by discrediting him (but please don’t notice their conflicts of interest!) they can try to conflate all people who question vaccines. this has been covered widely in corporate media, natch.

The editors of Medical Veritas journal have condemned The Lancet’s retraction of the controversial study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, charging editor Richard Horton with pandering to special interests in a conspiracy to defraud the public about the risks of vaccinations.

In 1998, The Lancet published the contested study linking autism and intestinal problems to the risky MMR triple virus vaccine. Yesterday, following the British General Medical Council’s decision that Dr. Wakefield had been “dishonest,” The Lancet’s editor retracted the article saying the Council’s report made it “utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false.”…

The Winter, 2010 issue of Medical Veritas, evidenced gross conflicting interests undermining the The Lancet’s integrity. Following the publication of Dr. Wakefield’s controversial study, Reed-Elsevier-ChoicePoint mergers occurred. The mega-company formed has nearly monopolized the medical scientific publishing industry. Previous to this, The Lancet editors protested the “damaging” of medicine and health science by pharmaceutical companies.

“Now it is obvious Dr. Horton’s company has been grossly contaminated by special interests as biased as Dr. Ross’s ‘PharmaCouncil’,” Dr. Horowitz said.

Reed-Elsevier-ChoicePoint, it turns out, is directed by Chief Executive Officer, Sir Crispin Davis, according to a Reuter’s News Service promotion for GlaxoSmithKline recently published. According to Forbes, Sir Davis was knighted by the Queen of England for his “service to the information industry.” He has served as a Non-Executive Independent Director of GlaxoSmithKline, PLC since 2003. Sir Davis spent his early career with Procter & Gamble.

more @ prevent disease

3. Taiwanese held in smuggling US made military components to Iran –  looks like a little sting to fluff the case against Iran. lots of “could be’s”….

MIAMI - US AUTHORITIES said on Thursday they arrested a Taiwanese man for allegedly smuggling US-made military components to Iran that could help the Islamic republic develop missiles and unmanned drones.

Yi-Lan Chen, 40, who also goes by Kevin Chen, was arrested on Wednesday on the US Pacific territory to Guam and is being sent to Miami, where prosecutors had sought his arrest.

If convicted, Chen faces up to 20 years in prison and up to US$1 million (S$1.4 million) in fines. Prosecutors said that Chen had exported ‘dual-use’ technology - which ostensibly has civilian purposes but can be applied for the military - to Taiwan or Hong Kong where it would be reloaded and shipped to Iran.

‘The dual-use items allegedly exported in this case could easily be used in missile development and other military components,’ US Attorney Jeffrey Sloman said in Miami.

‘Such conduct poses a serious threat to our national security, and will not be tolerated,’ he said. The goods Chen is accused of exporting to Iran include P200 turbine engines and spare parts, which can be used for model airplanes but also for unmanned military drones, prosecutors said.

‘This case will send a message to those individuals who attempt to profit by illegally supplying improper dual-use technology to other countries,’ said Anthony Mangione, an US immigration agent investigating the case. Iran is under a raft of sanctions imposed by the United States, United Nations and European Union over its nuclear program and its support for hardline Islamist movements overseas. — AFP

source: straits times

4. Victor Bout ordered to appear in Thai court

Russian businessman and alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout has been summoned to appear in a Thai court on February 16, one of his lawyers said on Friday. Former Russian army officer Bout, 42, remains in custody in a Thai jail after the Bangkok Criminal Court refused in August to extradite him to the United States, where he is facing four terrorism-related charges and a possible life sentence. “I was informed that my client had been asked to appear in court on February 16. However, I was not told why he had been summoned,” Thai lawyer Chamroen Panompakakom told RIA Novosti. He suggested that Bout could face an additional questioning or the announcement of an appeals court verdict on his extradition case.

more @ ria novosti

5. um, Frank Timis hearts Sierra Leone. you see what admitting to a few little mistakes can do? a little ball-fluffing never hurt anyone.

It is quite easy for anyone to be suspicious of a large investment initiative from an international company in a small African country with huge mineral wealth and potential. A lot has been written about African Minerals and Frank Timis in the past. But most of what has been written focused mainly on the mistakes of the past – which have been fully acknowledged by the company’s management. Surely everyone deserves a second chance. Especially when that chance is given to someone whose determination to prove everyone wrong can only be matched with his vision to end the poverty-stricken environment structure of a country he has come to fall in love with.  Timis has lent his support to Sparks, a UK based children’s medical charity whose remit is to fund research across the whole spectrum of paediatric medicine, and has invested in a company developing a more effective method of treating malaria. And he can even do more for Sierra Leone!

…Frank Timis once said  “the best lie is the truth, because you never get caught.”  Reputable international renowned companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to Macquarie, have backed his business projects for the past 15 years. This goes to show the faith big companies have in Timis. He may be a colorful personality, but he surely has the brains to turn things around.

…The United Nations recently declared the company’s Tonkolili development to be the Most Effective Corporate Social Responsibility Project ever embarked on. But he surely does not get the credit he deserves for such amazing feats of accomplishments. With all this backdrop, Frank Timis says he is not looking for recognition for his philanthropy. He is always looking forward to the next deal.

more @ newstime africa

6. Angola man accused of teen sex plot

An Angola man faces federal charges in New York, accusing him of transporting a 15-year-old girl across state lines for the purposes of having sex with her last fall. In late January, Foster Creager, 40, was arrested in Steuben County. He is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in the southern district of New York on Monday. According to the criminal complaint, a 15-year-old girl went missing from Hyde Park, N.Y., on Sept. 10. FBI agents discovered she had been communicating via e-mail with someone named “Kenneth Bone.”

Telephone records linked the phone number used by “Kenneth Bone” to Creager, of the 4300 block of West U.S. 20 in Angola.

On Sept. 11, Steuben County sheriff’s officers went to a mobile home and recreational vehicle park in Angola and saw Creager standing next to an RV. He told police the teen was inside. During an interview with detectives, Creager said he met the girl two or three months earlier on the Internet. He said he picked up the girl in New York and drove with her and another person to Indiana. In court documents filed in federal court in Fort Wayne, the other person is identified as Judy DeLong. Both DeLong and Creager have been indicted on a single count of transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Creager told police he and the 15-year-old were “boyfriend and girlfriend” but said he suspected she was not 18 when he brought her to Indiana.

The teen told investigators that Creager told her she would need to be “in hiding” for three years until she turned 18, according to court documents.

DNA collected during a forensic examination of the teen matched Creager’s, according to court documents.

source: journalgazette.net

while you were out

Joint Statement on Nigeria by the US and the EU, January 30, 2010

We express our deep regret at the recent violence and tragic loss of lives in Jos, and extend our sympathies to the bereaved and injured.

We urge all parties to exercise restraint and seek peaceful means to resolve differences between religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria.

We call on the federal government to ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice and to support interethnic and interfaith dialogue.
Nigeria is one of the most important countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a member of the UN Security Council, a global oil producer, a leader in ECOWAS, a major peacekeeping contributing country, and a stabilizing force in West Africa. Nigeria’s stability and democracy carry great significance beyond its immediate borders.We therefore extend our support to the people of Nigeria during the current period of uncertainty, caused by President Yar’Adua’s illness. We extend our best wishes to the president and his family, and join the Nigerian people in wishing him a full recovery.
Nigeria has expressed its resolve to adhere to constitutional processes during this difficult time. We commend that determination to address the current situation through appropriate democratic institutions. Nigeria’s continued commitment and adherence to its democratic norms and values are key to addressing the many challenges it faces, including electoral reform, post-amnesty programs in the Niger Delta, economic development, inter-faith discord and transparency. The gubernatorial elections in Anambra on 6 February will be a milestone in the journey towards electoral reform and a signal of Nigeria’s commitment to the principles of democracy.
We are committed to continue working with Nigeria on the internal issues it faces while working together as partners on the global stage.

Signed: US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton; British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband; French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner; EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, London, United Kingdom

Translation: You are going down. Make it look believable. Kiss kiss hug hug, your friends at the NWO. Our motto: One big happy family!

^^^^^^^

First let’s review what our esteemed leaders cite as the CAUSE of Nigeria’s problems: Yar’Adua’s illness.

As reported in The Guardian on January 8, 2010, Nigeria’s president has literally been missing for 45 days (now 68 days). Allegedly he went to Saudi Arabia for treatment of a health problem, without telling anyone, and he hasn’t been heard from since. Just up and left, he did. His absence has paralyzed the Nigerian government at a time of severe crisis. A constitutional crisis at the worst possible time, dragging on interminably. Nobody seems to have any power to unstick the problem.

How convenient is that? I suggest that it is exceedingly convenient for some people — who you might guess would be the sorts of people who like chaos and instability — while being impossibly inconvenient for Nigerians.

After all, Nigeria is a critically important country in West Africa, and West Africa is a critically important component in various contrived narratives driving our world to the brink of destruction. One need only look at the joint US and UN statement to realize that if Nigeria falls apart politically, it becomes a blow-up doll for the NWO mind-fuckers. That is why Hillary and friends very properly encourage the Nigerians to cross every democratic t and dot every democratic i, and color within the lines at all times please (rule of law rule of law), while they hope and pray for Yar’Adua’s “full recovery.” Surely they have also heard that:

President Umaru Yar’Adua is seriously brain damaged, is not able to recognise anyone, including his wife Turai, and can no longer perform the functions of the office of the president, according to multiple sources who have spoken to NEXT on Sunday.

That was two weeks ago. For all we know he may not even be alive.

But nobody wants to talk about that. They might loosen the log-jam. And the log-jam happens to be useful because it breeds chaos.

^^^^^^^

Yesterday in Nigeria, a militant group called MEND called off a truce with the paralyzed Nigerian government. I guess that was to be expected, given the log-jam.

The main militant group in the oil-rich Niger Delta called off its cease-fire with the government Saturday morning, dealing a potential death blow to a presidential amnesty program aimed at ending violence that has crippled production in the West African nation.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta issued a statement saying it would no longer abide by the unconditional Oct. 25 cease-fire President Umaru Yar’Adua had negotiated with the group. The militants warned oil producers with pipelines and personnel working in the creeks and swamps of the Delta that it would wage an “an all-out onslaught” against them.

The MEND “warns all oil companies to halt operations as any operational installation attacked will be burnt to the ground,” the statement read. “Oil companies are responsible for the safety and welfare of their workers and will bear the guilt should any harm come upon their staff in the event of an attack.”

The group added: “Nothing will be spared.”

Militants in the Niger Delta have attacked pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company employees and fought government troops since January 2006. They demand that the federal government send more oil-industry funds to Nigeria’s southern region, which remains poor despite five decades of oil production.

In response, Shell has decided to sell off some assets in the Niger Delta. Chevron announced that 20,000 barrels of oil per day had been shut in due to sabotage threats.

According to Reuters:

The rebel group [MEND] was severely weakened after its senior leaders and thousands of others accepted clemency and disarmed under a presidential amnesty which ended last October. It is unclear who is now running the group.

Candidates include:

Ateke Tom: A former gang leader in Rivers State in the eastern Niger Delta for around a decade, Ateke Tom set up the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), one of several groups to enjoy strong backing from politicians who used them to help rig elections….Security sources say he was also heavily involved in oil bunkering, a lucrative trade in industrial quantities of stolen crude smuggled onto the international market.

Farah Dagogo: Also based in Rivers state, Dagogo started out as a top commander loyal to former militant leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, whose Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force turned over thousands of weapons in return for amnesty in 2004.

Government Tompolo: He was responsible in particular for attacks on Chevron and thought to be a major oil bunkerer. Security forces used helicopters and gunboats to attack his camps around Warri, capital of Delta state, last May.

Well, it was awfully good of those chaps to give such clear and menacing warnings so that the oil company people can get out of the way. Let’s give credit where credit is due. I mean, *some* terrorists would just go right in there and start firing away, bombing wedding parties and marketplaces, and killing a bunch of innocent people. You know what I’m saying?

All the same, Something Must Be Done.

^^^^^^^

Actually, there was a peculiar incident last week in the Niger Delta. (map from wikipedia, click to enlarge)

A helicopter flying from Bonny to Port Harcourt crashed on Tuesday afternoon at Isiokpo, near Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, killing all four persons aboard….The zonal coordinator of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Emenike Umesi, said the four occupants comprised two pilots and two engineers, said to be of Lieutenant Commander Rank.

The NEMA chief, in charge of the south-south zone, said the aircraft took off from Bonny, which is home to the Liquefied Natural Gas plant….Security agents at the accident scene however said naval personnel recovered “some vital documents” at the scene.

Vital documents?

Addressing journalists on the incident, Naval spokesperson, Commodore David Nabaida, said the names and identities of four dead naval officers were the Pilot of the Helicopter, Lt Commodore Ahmed Tijani Yusuf with official number NNL/2071; Co-Pilot, Lt Commodore Ahmadu Yahaya; Lt Commodore Mailafia Ibrahim, who is the Base Intelligence Officer, Delta and Seaman Illiya Uyuhili, the aircraft’s technician.

…He said the aircraft was on a routine patrol, to investigate a case of illegal bunkering around Akasa and had left from its Warri base and after carrying out its surveillance, was to go to Port Harcourt Airport to refuel before returning to its base but crashed a few kilometers to the airport.

Asked whether there was any connection of the crash with the remnant of militants still operating in the creeks, Nabaida said: “Absolutely not; as I told you, we were at the site of the aircraft accident, the President’s amnesty programme has been working, beside, there is nothing that shows that the crash is connected with anything militancy”.

Riiight. So even though two of the three possible suspected candidates who might be running MEND have been involved in oil bunkering in the past, there’s absolutely no reason to suspect that a naval helicopter investigating oil bunkering would be shot down by said militants, a couple of days before they called off their truce no less.

^^^^^^^

In February 2007, National Geographic published a piece about the Niger Delta.

Nigeria had all the makings of an uplifting tale: poor African nation blessed with enormous sudden wealth. Visions of prosperity rose with the same force as the oil that first gushed from the Niger Delta’s marshy ground in 1956….
Everything looked possible—but everything went wrong.

Dense, garbage-heaped slums stretch for miles. Choking black smoke from an open-air slaughterhouse rolls over housetops. Streets are cratered with potholes and ruts. Vicious gangs roam school grounds. Peddlers and beggars rush up to vehicles stalled in gas lines. This is Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub, capital of Rivers state, smack-dab in the middle of oil reserves bigger than the United States’ and Mexico’s combined. Port Harcourt should gleam; instead, it rots.

Beyond the city, within the labyrinth of creeks, rivers, and pipeline channels that vein the delta—one of the world’s largest wetlands—exists a netherworld. Villages and towns cling to the banks, little more than heaps of mud-walled huts and rusty shacks. Groups of hungry, half-naked children and sullen, idle adults wander dirt paths. There is no electricity, no clean water, no medicine, no schools. Fishing nets hang dry; dugout canoes sit unused on muddy banks. Decades of oil spills, acid rain from gas flares, and the stripping away of mangroves for pipelines have killed off fish.

Nigeria has been subverted by the very thing that gave it promise—oil, which accounts for 95 percent of the country’s export earnings and 80 percent of its revenue.

The sense of relentless crisis has deepened since last year, when a secretive group of armed, hooded rebels operating under the name of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, intensified attacks on oil platforms and pumping stations, most operated by Shell Nigeria.

With each disruption, the daily price of oil on the world market climbed. According to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, escalating violence in a region teeming with angry, frustrated people is creating a “militant time bomb.”
Isaac Asume Osuoka, director of Social Action, Nigeria, believes that callousness toward the people of the delta stems from their economic irrelevance. “With all the oil money coming in, the state doesn’t need taxes from people. Rather than being a resource for the state, the people are impediments. There is no incentive anymore for the government to build schools or hospitals.”I can say this,” Osuoka said firmly. “Nigeria was a much better place without oil.”

Well, that’s just it. The poor people happen to be in the way, from the perspective of the very important people who would like to go about extracting Nigeria’s natural resources in peace and quiet, thank you very much.

No one can deny the sheer technological achievement of building an infrastructure to extract oil from a waterlogged equatorial forest. Intense swampy heat, nearly impenetrable mangrove thickets, swarming insects, and torrential downpours bedevil operations to this day. But mastering the physical environment has proved almost simple compared with dealing with the social and cultural landscape. The oil firms entered a region splintered by ethnic rivalries.

Ahh, yes, the impossible to please poor people and their interminable “ethnic rivalries.” That’s always a good justification. That way when the oil companies go in there to take over the natural resources and make life next to impossible for people who lived off the land, without providing any consolation prizes like electricity or clean water or schools or medicine, those damn poor people are bound to get all uppity and start causing trouble. Happens every time.

Who could have predicted??

“After 50 years, the oil companies are still searching for a way to operate successfully with communities,” says Antony Goldman, a London-based risk consultant. The delta is littered with failed projects started by oil companies and government agencies—water tanks without operating pumps, clinics with no medicine, schools with no teachers or books, fishponds with no fish. “The companies didn’t consult with villagers,” says Michael Watts, director of the African Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley. “They basically handed out cash to chiefs. It wasn’t effective at all.”

A fifty fucking years learning curve? How about they know exactly what they’re doing. How about they do this on purpose. It’s a critical part of the business model to make the land inhospitable so that the people die or leave. The People Are In The Way. OK? That’s what’s going on. And everybody involved knows it. That’s why Hillary Clinton had to complain about all the corruption in Nigeria just this last week. It’s UNBELIEVABLE she says, making sure to mention patsy underpants. Yes, those corrupt Africans. Where do they get off?

^^^^^^^

Well, it’s like this. Those corrupt African leaders hook up with corrupt leaders from The West. One big happy family. Even Lev Leviev.

1. Former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo came under fire for selecting Yar’Adua, knowing him to be sickly. He vehemently denied this. Perish the thought.

2. But, last May US investigators asserted that Obasanjo and others took millions of dollars in bribes from American and European contractors, including Halliburton, to allow the companies to build a liquid natural gas plant in Bonny. This scandal goes back years and ensnares various countries and Important People of The West.

3. Another of the accused in that very scandal, Sani Abacha, has been fighting Swiss authorities for ten years over an estimated three billion dollars misappropriated from Nigeria and stashed in Swiss bank accounts. The money laundering case has dragged on for so long with the help of people in London and elsewhere (see time line here). The Swiss authorities ordered $350 million to be returned to Nigeria last week. An unnamed person in Monaco has been charged.

4. France would like to invest in Imo state (look at the map), to help Nigeria branch out from their dependence on oil and gas. More like a twig than a branch…

5. Nigeria and Angola vie for top petroleum producer spot, and Angola has been able to pull ahead in 2009 due to the violence in Nigeria. Lucky break for the Angola investors.

6. Angola hydrocarbon sector investors: Lev Leviev, China, India…

7. To insure that all these deals will go along smoothly, Angola’s parliament prepares to expand the powers of the president, making him head of state, head of government, and head of the armed forces. The new constitution eliminates the position of prime minister and adds a vice president. VPs are always very useful. And the president may serve two five year terms. All of which contrasts markedly from the situation in Nigeria.

So it looks like Nigeria will be violently dismantled and reassembled somewhere down the road, after the “militants” take over the place and wreck havoc, and tie into some drug smuggling or terrorist operations against The People of The West, justifying some military intervention or something.

And Angola will go on to a brighter future, perhaps marred by the occasional terrorist incident but otherwise firmly in the grip of a sponsored dictatorship.

That’s how it goes in the big happy family.

excitement always follows lev leviev

1. Lev Leviev tied to Chinese intelligence, business interests in Angola — Sonagol

The suspicions were spelled out in a report recently compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000 in order to “monitor, investigate and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.” The report noted, among other things, that the group of Chinese corporations has business ties with Israeli businessman and diamond magnate Lev Leviev.

Us ing the group, Chinese intelligence acquires oil and energy companies and other important assets in countries in Africa, Latin American, Southeast Asia, as well as in the United States. In this way it promotes Chinese national interests, increases its influence and guarantees the supply of raw materials - first and foremost oil - necessary for its economy.

…The Chinese companies are assisted in some of their international activities by the Angolan government, a rising economic power in Africa, and particularly its national oil company Sonangol. The report mentions three international businessmen connected to the Angolan-Chinese cooperation, with the help of a company called China-Sonangol, which is registered in Hong Kong. China-Sonangol is part of the 88 Queensway Group.

One is Helder Battaglia, a Portuguese businessman with close ties to Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, as well as Chavez and Kirchner. Battaglia has varied investments in Angola, Congo and Latin America. The second is Pierre Falcone, a French businessman who was Arcadi Gaydamak’s partner, and together with Gaydamak was involved in supplying arms to the tune of about $800 million to Angola in the 1990s. Falcone, Gaydamak and others were recently convicted in a French court for illegal arms trade conducted in the ’90s. In recent years, Falcone moved the main center of his business to Beijing, and has become the person who opens Angola’s doors to China (for huge fees). Gaydamak is not mentioned at all in the report; it is known that he is at odds with Falcone and the two are embroiled in legal proceedings over the profits of the arms deal.

The third businessman mentioned in the American report is Lev Leviev, who was Gaydamak’s partner and who according to the report continues to have a strong standing in Angola, where he has mines, diamond polishing plants and a diamond trade company.

more @ haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1145688.html

2. India, Angola agree to cooperation for hydrocarbon sector — there’s Sonagol again

Luanda (Angola), Jan 27: India and Angola on Wednesday said that the two countries will enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an overarching framework for cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

During the meeting a MoU was signed between ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and the National Oil Company of Angola namely, Sonangol, for cooperation in the exploration sector.

OVL, which is partnering Sonangol in their South Pars acreage in Iran, offered to enter joint venture operations in the existing deep-water blocks of Sonangol.

more @ newkerala.com

3. China-based Singapore firms rapidly collapsing amidst debt and fraud — time to buy some cheap assets?

Since late 2007, a spate of so-called S-chips - mainland companies listed on the Singapore exchange - have borrowed money then failed to repay the debts, with some becoming mired in fraud scandals….Not surprisingly, global investment banks have been involved in pushing the S-chips’ debt onto investors.

banks involved include Deutsche, Morgan Stanley.  - ed.

read more @ businessinsider


pakistan is being totally screwed

1. CHABAD vows not to bow to terror, wants to open 3 more houses in Mumbai, queen’s cousin Michael of Kent visits Nariman House, pledges his support

Three more Chabad Houses to come up in city, says director of Chabad relief fund

To prove that their morale is not defeated yet, the Chabad Lubavitch community, owners of the 26/11-hit Nariman House, have decided to construct more Chabads in the city. “We have decided to build three more Chabads in different parts of the city, and that will be our message to terrorists — that we won’t bow to them,” said Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, director of Chabad relief fund, the society led by the community members determined to reconstruct Nariman House.

However, Avraham didn’t disclose any locations,”We are in the process of restructuring the existing Chabad House, and have decided to raise $1.5 million (approx Rs 7 crore) for the same.”

Since the massacre at Nariman House, no new Rabbi has taken over the charge. “We are expecting the new Rabbi to come in February with his wife. They will live in a rented accommodation till the Chabad gets its new look,” added Avraham.

UK royal’s visit

Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent visited the Chabad last afternoon and pledged his support. “I pledge to support the community in every manner,” said the Prince.

source: mid-day

2. Gates knows where the militants are: Pakistan and Afghanistan. puts pressure on Pakistan to straighten this out before something bad happens and it will be all Pakistan’s fault. oh and don’t bother “making distinctions” either - - just get them all. ok? yes of course we support you kiss kiss hug hug. good luck run along now we’re having lunch with india. tata!

ISLAMABAD - US DEFENSE Secretary Robert Gates warned on Thursday that Taleban safe havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border must be tackled or both nations would suffer ‘more lethal and more brazen’ attacks. Writing in Pakistan’s The News at the start of a two-day visit to Islamabad, Gates stressed Washington’s commitment to Pakistan and praised military offensives launched against the Pakistani Taleban in recent months. But US officials have made clear that Washington is anxious to see Islamabad also target the Afghan Taleban within its borders and Al-Qaeda-linked militants using the northwest tribal region to plot and launch attacks into Afghanistan.

‘It is important to remember that the Pakistani Taliban operates in collusion with both the Taleban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda, so it is impossible to separate those groups,’ Mr Gates wrote. ‘If history is any indication, safe havens for either Taleban, on either side of the border, will in the long run lead to more lethal and more brazen attacks in both nations,’ he added in the editorial. Mr Gates wrote that making distinctions between the different extremist groups was ‘counterproductive’. ‘Only by pressuring all of these groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge for good - to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad,’ he said. — AFP

source: straits times

3. Pak army tells Gates where to stick the pressure. it can’t launch any new offenses for 6 months at least to stabilize gains already made. Gates totally understands. totally supportive. of course this will make it much easier to blame Pak when something goes wrong.

The Pakistani army said Thursday during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that it can’t launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year to give it time to stabilize existing gains. The announcement probably comes as a disappointment to the U.S., which has pushed Pakistan to expand its military operations to target militants staging cross-border attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan. Washington believes such action is critical to success in Afghanistan as it prepares to send an additional 30,000 troops to the country this year.

But the comments by army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas clearly indicate Pakistan will not be pressured in the near term to expand its fight beyond militants waging war against the Pakistani state. Whether it can be convinced in the long term is still an open question. “We are not talking years,” Abbas told reporters traveling with Gates. “Six months to a year” would be needed before Pakistan could stabilize existing gains and expand any operations, he said.

…Referring to intense political pressure in Washington to lean harder on Pakistan, Gates sounded sanguine. “As I try to remind Congress from time to time, and frankly some of the folks in the administration, it’s the Pakistanis who have their foot on the accelerator, not us,” Gates told reporters at the start of his two-day visit to Pakistan. The political pressure goes two ways. Suspicion of U.S. motives runs high in Pakistan, and many Pakistanis bristle as the notion that Washington could dictate the country’s priorities even with a recent promise of an unprecedented $1.5 billion in annual aid. “We have to do this in a way that is comfortable for them, and at a pace that they can accommodate and is tolerable for them,” Gates said. “Frankly, I’m comfortable doing that. I think having them set that pace as to what they think the political situation will bear is almost certainly the right thing to do.”

He also said his talks with Pakistan’s leaders were intended to explain the U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan and reassure Pakistan that the United States is “in this for the long haul.”

more @ naharnet

4. oh by the way, Tehran, Islamabad finalize gas pipeline deal, against the advice of Richard Holbrooke, and something that India wanted to do but dropped out of after 13 years. that should all blow over like a lead balloon.

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Pakistan finalized an agreement to build a gas pipeline which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to his energy hungry nation, a Pakistani official announced.

The two countries will sign an accord on the pipeline next week, Pakistani Federal Minister for Petroleum Naveed Qamar said.  Qamar also said the federal government is taking serious measures to combat the current energy crisis in the country, Pakistani daily Dawn reported.  The Pakistani minister’s remarks came as the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke had earlier urged Islamabad to avoid the deal with Iran.

Holbrooke said the US would help Pakistan secure liquefied natural gas supplies, should it abandon the planned gas deal with Iran.

The 2,775 km Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, nicknamed Peace Pipeline, was initially planned to take natural gas from Iran to India. However, due to rising tensions between India and Pakistan, New Delhi stepped back from the later stages of negotiations, although it has never formally withdrawn from the scheme. The IPI pipeline was proposed in 1995, and, after almost 13 years of negotiations, India decided to step back last year. Indian officials have many times cited security issues and the viability of the pipeline that would pass through the territory of rival Pakistan, where a near-civil war is raging between government forces and pro-Taliban militants.

In a major breakthrough on March 20, the Pakistani government approved Iran’s proposed pricing formula for gas supplies to the South Asian nation and the two sides eventually signed a bilateral agreement just a few months ago.

source: fars

5. Gates directing the narrative in India: opens the umbrella for LeT, al qaeda syndicate present, tells India that it must be running out of patience (wink wink wink!)

Warning that India may not show restraint in the event of another Mumbai-style attack, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates today said a “syndicate” of terror groups, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba, were “operating under the umbrella of al-Qaeda” and trying to destabilise the region, even attempting to provoke a war between India and Pakistan.

Gates, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony, called for a “high level of cooperation” from all countries to defeat the “syndicate” of terror which had “home and safe haven” in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“While al-Qaeda is operating in Afghanistan along with the Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban is focusing on Pakistan. The LeT is focusing on Pakistan as also India,” Gates told reporters. “The success of any one of them is success for all… Victory for one is victory for all. These groups operate under the umbrella of al-Qaeda from NWFP and Waziristan.”

“Under the umbrella, they intend to destabilise not only Pakistan, but the entire region by provoking confrontation between India and Pakistan through terror attacks. This is very dangerous for the entire region as a whole,” he said.

source: indian express

6. so India decides to crackdown on….. Maoists! watch out poor people.

Thousands of paramilitary personnel have launched a crackdown to target some 50 Maoist leaders across the country in a bid to crush what is described as India’s biggest internal security challenge.

“We would be breaking the neck (of the Maoist movement) by arresting all their senior leaders like Kishenji,” a highly placed official in the security establishment said in an interview. “We believe there could be around 50 such leaders scattered all over. We are targeting them to make the entire movement headless and make a serious dent,” the official told IANS. “With this it would be relatively easy to take on the rest of Maoist guerrillas,” the official added, providing for the first time operational details of the coordinated and sweeping security drive.

As of now, operations are under way in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra — five states where the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is most active, mainly among tribals living in remote interiors who are among the poorest of the poor. The operational methods would, however, differ from the way Sri Lanka’s military crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last year, it was pointed out.

…According to rough estimates, over 60,000 paramilitary forces would be in action against 6,000-7,000 Maoists armed with heavy weapons as well as light machine guns, AK-47s, AK-56s and Insas rifles….Another official said the security forces, especially the CRPF, have got six trained dogs each for the “special sector” (Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra), “eastern sector” (Orissa and West Bengal) and the “Bihar sector” (Bihar and Jharkhand) to help take on the Maoists.

more @ mid-day

7. Soren govt calls off -anti-Naxal ops, has cops livid

At a time when states are teaming up to crack down on Naxalites, the Shibu Soren-led government in Jharkhand, one of the states worst affected by Naxal violence, has quietly halted operations, including long range patrols and raids directed at the extremists. And in one of the first fallouts, eight policemen were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Naxals in Gumla last Friday.

Central paramilitary forces, including 28 CRPF companies, are being made to wait by the state government while the Special Task Force, comprising personnel of the Jharkhand Armed Police who have been trained in jungle warfare and anti-landmine techniques, are back in the barracks. The securitymen were deployed in the districts of Ranchi, Palamau, Lohardaga and Gumla.

The Soren government’s move to put the brakes on anti-Naxal operations, within days of taking charge of the state, has set off alarm bells in the security establishment. An Intelligence official told The Indian Express that “Jharkhand is set to become a safe haven” for Naxalites who are beginning to feel the heat in the other states that make up the Red Corridor.

more @ indian express

8. November 2009: exploring connections between Naxalism, Chabad, India, Israel, mining

9. Hyderabad STF catch was in-charge of terror recruitments, including one who was planning something against Western tourists in Goa

Mohammed Abdul Khwaja (30), a commander of the militant group Huji for South India who was caught by the Hyderabad Special Task Force recently, was in-charge of recruiting youth from the region and training them to be terrorists, say the police. It is believed he was  responsible for making Raziuddin Nasir, who was planning serial blasts in Goa, a suicide bomber. Nasir, son of Hyderabad-based cleric Moulana Naseeruddin, has been arrested by the state police on charges of plotting a series of bomb attacks on western tourists in Goa.

Khwaja, who was working in Saudi Arabia, invited Nasir to Riyadh, from there he was sent to Pakistan with a duplicate passport for training.
Nasir returned to India
after the training and was in regular touch with Khwaja while taking shelter in North Karnataka.  He was acting as handler to Nasir giving instructions to Nasir and passing out information to his bosses in Pakistan and Bangladesh, said police officials.

more @ mid-day

10. Holbrooke — we won’t broker talks, you  kids work it out amongst yourselves

The United States has once again clarified that it would not broker talks between India and Pakistan, and said pending issues should be resolved by them amicably. Interacting with editors and columnists here, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said Washington would support any initiative taken by both countries to improve their ties. “It is for Pakistan and India to engage in a process of dialogue, and we support it,” The Daily Times quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

Responding to Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor’s recent statement that the Indian Armed forces were capable enough of taking on both Pakistan and China simultaneously, Holbrooke said it was his (General Kapoor’s) personal opinion and that it did not reflect New Delhi’s policy. “What General Kapoor said does not reflect the Indian national policy,” Holbrooke said.

source: indian express

11. India’s “massive” arms build up will jeopardize regional balance: Pak

Expressing concern over the alleged ‘massive’ arms build up by India, Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA) has said that New Delhi could jeopardise the regional balance by such moves. The NCA blamed India for rejecting Pakistan’s proposal for maintaining a strategic restraint regime in South Asia.

A press release issued after the meeting said that India’s massive inductions of advanced weapon systems, build up of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems could to destabilise regional balance. “This relentless pursuit of military preponderance will have severe consequences for peace and security in South Asia, as well as for the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan cannot be oblivious to these developments,” The News quoted the statement, as saying. The NCA also took note of remarks made in India that it was cable of conducting conventional military operations under a nuclear umbrella terming it as an ‘irresponsible’ statement.

“Such irresponsible statements reflected a hegemonic mindset, oblivious of dangerous implications of adventurism in a nuclearised context,” the statement said.

source: indian express