|Asia News Digest
MILF Threatens All-Out War in Philippines
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)Fighting between Philippines government forces and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued on the southern island of Mindanao in the wake of the failure of the illegal government agreement to create a separate Moro homeland. Philippine Army troops are attempting to capture two Moro leaders who led their forces in terrorist attacks on several villages, killing dozens of civilians, after the Philippines' Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the government and the MILF, on constitutional grounds.
Ebrahim Murad, the MILF chief, called for a cessation of the government's military operations against the two MILF military commanders, rejecting a government demand that the rebel commanders be surrendered to face the criminal justice system. "We cannot subject our members to the laws of the government. We are a revolutionary force," Murad said.
This is the same Murad with whom U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney met in his jungle headquarters in February.
Murad also threatened all-out war: "We are calling for cessation of hostilities. We can go back again to the negotiating table with Malaysia as mediator. But the MOA is non-negotiable.... War is among the options. It is part of the struggle. The MILF is determined to continue that struggle."
The agreement that was to have been signed would have carved a major portion of the large island of Mindanao and several major islands in the region as a separate Moro homeland, with powers almost equal to a full-fledged countryincluding the right to sell off vast raw material wealth to foreign investors, which is strictly prevented by the Philippine Constitution. The deal between the government of President Gloria Arroyo and the MILF was brokered by the Malaysian government, but the United States was deeply involved, first through the U.S. Institute of Peace, and later by Ambassador Kenney, with her private meeting with Murad, conducted outside of Philippines government protocol. Kenney was to witness the signing of the unconstitutional document in Malaysia, but had to fly back when the Supreme Court put a stop to it.
China To Build a Second, Longer Maglev Rail Line
Aug. 18 (EIRNS)After two years of debate, China plans to launch an extension of Shanghai's magnetic levitation train, adding a 200-kilometer link from Shanghai to Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province. China remains alone among nations in building and operating commercial maglev lines, the transport technology of the 21st Century.
The project appeared on a list of construction plans of the provincial government, the Shanghai Securities News reported Aug. 18. The planned maglev line, with a total length of 199.4 km (125 miles), is longer than the 175 km originally intended. The Zhejiang part of the project, 103.6 km, will cost 22 billion yuan ($3.2 billion), and is scheduled to be constructed between 2010 and 2014, the report said.
The project, which will extend the existing 30-km maglev line linking Shanghai's Pudong International Airport and the city's financial district, has reportedly sparked worries over "radiation" among local residents. The authorities had suspended the extension, which was originally scheduled to be launched in 2007, and come into operation by 2010, when China's financial hub hosts the World Expo.
The new line will be the world's longest maglev line.
More British Lies About Myanmar Exposed
Aug. 19 (EIRNS)After Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May, one of the many lies spread by the British and their sycophants in the U.S. press and Congress, was that the monks in Myanmar had braved military harassment to deliver aid to the cyclone victims, whom the junta was leaving to die. Since then, the reality of the heroic efforts of the junta to get aid to the victims, despite threats of invasion from London and Washington, has been acknowledged by the UN, ASEAN, and others, but one myth remainedthat of the monks forced to defy the government, to help the people.
Now, for whatever reason, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal (normally among the most rabid anti-Myanmar press) has exposed the lie. In a report titled, "A New Breed of Monk Rises in Myanmar," the Journal reports today that the extensive aid provided by the monks came from a sect set up by an American-educated monk named Sitagu Sayadaw, who built a monastery in Austin, Texas, during self-imposed exile during the 1990s. Sitagu Sayadaw returned to Myanmar as a social activist, raising money, building hospitals, schools, and other projects, and became a national hero, including among the junta leaders. When the cyclone hit, Sitagu Sayadaw made himself available to foreign contributors, especially the Catholic Church, to funnel money to the cyclone victims. Far from dodging junta soldiers, the Journal reports that soldiers were "bowing at his feet in a sign of respect."
The Journal also admits that during the monks' revolt last year, this monk "locked the gates of his monastery and forbade monks to take part in the protests."