|Asia News Digest
World Nuclear Industry Needs Immediate Upgrading
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)There is a realization in New Delhi that although India was assured of availability of uranium through an agreement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) last September, India's efforts to import a large number of nuclear reactors from abroad have hit a brick wall: the shrinking of the world's nuclear reactor manufacturing capability.
At present, countries investing in nuclear power programs, except Russia, have to queue up at one foundryJapan Steel Worksto place orders for their main reactor pressure vessel and its associated equipment. The vessel encloses the radioactive uranium fuel and the nuclear reactions that occur inside it. It is said that buyers are paying a premium of $100 million for booking a reactor from JSW, but this could not be confirmed. No data is available on Russia's Rosatom, and it did not respond to queries.
"In the 1980s, there were about 400 nuclear suppliers and 900 nuclear-certified companies in the United States. These have shrunk to fewer than 80 suppliers and 200 certifications in recent years. Even if some of this is due to corporate takeovers, the decline is dramatic," said Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant who is the author of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' 2008 World Nuclear Status report.
Pakistan Is Thrown to the IMF Wolves
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)Following the refusal by the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia to help Pakistan with a loan of about $6 billion to meet its debt repayment needs, Moody's cut Pakistan's rating on government bonds from B2 to B3 and signalled that further cuts may occur as the South Asian economy faces delays in donor funds. Moody's international analyst said Pakistan's delay in going to the IMF affected its rating further.
Meanwhile, the World Bank, which had offered Pakistan a stabilization loan of $300 million, cancelled the loan under orders from the IMF. The World Bank website quoted a Pakistan Finance Ministry official as saying that the IMF had objected to the program, as, it argued, the World Bank had no authority to approve such a loan. The report said the World Bank's unexpected move was likely to hurt the so-called Plan B outlined by the Pakistani Prime Minister's advisor, Shaukat Tareen, to prevent Pakistan's economy from declining further.
As a starter, the IMF ordered Pakistan on Oct. 27 to cut military spending by almost a third, as fears grew that the nuclear-armed nation's economic crisis was now so bad that its role in the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban was imperilled.
Bomb Blasts in Assam Expose India's Vulnerability
Oct. 30 (EIRNS)New Delhi's failure to break up the British-created "Palmerston's Zoo" of contending ethnic, religious, and tribal groups, resulted in another tragic incident today, when 12 explosions within the span of about one hour, six of them in Assam's largest city, Guwahati, claimed 61 lives, and injured more than 300 others. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions, state officials say the secessionist United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was responsible.
The root cause of the violence in that area is the conditions set in place by British rule in the Northeast since 1826, and the formation of East Pakistan in 1947. When briefed on the incident, Lyndon LaRouche responded sharply: The only way the Indians can stop such action is to confront the British directly.
New Delhi's inability to integrate the region stems from its failure to recognize that the British Raj had converted Northeast India into a human zoo, where each "tribe" was allowed to roam free within its "own territory," but was not allowed to cross the boundaries set forth by its British masters and establish contact with the rest of India. In 1862, the Raj had laid down the law of apartheid to isolate "the tribals."
Since India's independence in 1947, Northeast India has been split up into smaller and smaller states and autonomous regions. The divisions were made to accommodate the wishes of tribes and ethnic groups which want to assert their sub-national identity and obtain an area where the diktat of their little coterie is recognized.
Philippines Calls for FDR-Style 'New Deal'
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, before she left for the Asia-Europe meeting in Beijing last weekend, instructed her Cabinet to prepare New Deal-style "emergency work programs and livelihood programs targeting the poorand also to some extent, the middle and lower middle classes," according to her top aide, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. While the reality of their plans is unlikely to resemble Franklin D. Roosevelt's actual policies, the use of these names demonstrates the extent to which the FDR tradition in the Philippines has been revived, largely through the work of the LaRouche Society of the Philippines.
"In terms of intent and content," said Ermita, "these programs will bear a striking resemblance to the socio-economic interventions" of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
Anti-Monarchy Ferment in Thailand Worries Army, Brits
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)The level of anger against the Thai monarchy has forced Army chief Gen. Anupong Paochinda to threaten a coup and/or other serious actions against those deemed not sufficiently "reverent" towards the monarchy. The monarchy, representing the interests of the Queen of all Queens in London, has fully supported the years-long campaign which ousted the popularly elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and hundreds of his political allies, and is now in open support of the George Soros-linked anarchists who have occupied the Government House for months and provoked violent confrontations with police in their effort to shut down all government functioning.
Koreans Expose Derivative Scam
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Korean political leaders have joined the fight being waged by dozens of South Korean companies threatened with destruction, due to currency derivatives hoisted on them last year. A member of the ruling Grand National Party, Cho Moon Hwan, revealed that the contracts, although sold to the companies by Korean banks to hedge against currency revaluations in 2007, originated in foreign banks or hedge funds, and were even written in English. The contracts were written while the Korean currency, the won, was rising, but had conditions that if the won were to fall by more than 10%, the buyer had to pay double the losses. With the won falling by over 50% this year, there are billions of dollars of losses, with at least one bankruptcy already as a result.
A lawsuit filed by 120 companies asks the court to nullify the contracts, since they were sold without revealing the risk.