|Asia News Digest
India Offers To Evacuate Sri Lankan Tamils from War Zone
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)Addressing the Parliament today, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels in Sri Lanka had "done much damage" to the Tamil community and "should lay down arms." He announced that India has conveyed that it is ready to help in the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the fighting in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Army's campaign to eradicate the terrorist Tamil Tigers has reached the final stage, and the campaign could be over within weeks. Meanwhile, confined within the area of combat are thousands of Tamils, who are reportedly used as a shield by the Tigers. There were reports some innocent fleeing Tamils were mowed down by the Tigers. The UN and Red Cross have expressed deep concern for the trapped civilians.
Death of a large number of civilians killed by the Tigers, or in the crossfire, would create a political crisis in both New Delhi and Colombo. India has a large Tamil population based in the state of Tamil Nadu, across the 21 km-wide Palk Strait from Sri Lanka.
Saudi-Financed Sunnis Kill Shi'ites in Pakistan
Feb. 20 (EIRNS)Seven years of the War on Terror have devastated Pakistan. A flash of how brutal this is going to be in the coming months was seen on Feb. 20 at Dera Ismail Khan, a town with some Shi'a in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), a stone's throw from Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province. A bomb blast at a funeral procession killed at least 25 people and injured 60 others. Following the attack, mobs began rioting, shops were ransacked, and buses were set on fire. The Pakistani military imposed a two- to three-day curfew, and security forces were given orders to shoot on sight, said Pakistan's Geo News.
Pakistan has been dealt a mortal blow during the past seven years of U.S. of insanity, projected to the American people as a "War on Terror" to secure the United States.
These seven years have fragmented the Pakistani people in many ways.
The Army has been radicalized over a longer period of time. However, observers claim that the fundamentalists have control only over the lower and middle level of Army officers. But the paramilitary and police forces are now pretty much in control of the fundamentalists.
The second division has occurred along ethnic lines. Punjabis and Pushtuns have become more active in jihadi activities, while Sindhis and Baloch have not.
The third division is on the basis of religious orthodoxyas between the Deobandis and the Barelvis, and the Sufis and the non-Sufis. In this mix, the Deobandi leadership has been virtually taken over by the Saudis, since the Deobandis have similar views to those of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia.
The fourth category is sectarian, between the Sunnis and the Shi'as. Sunnis constitute about 80% of Pakistan's total population of 150 million. But there are districts, such as Gilgit and Baltistan in the Northern Areas, Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu in NWFP, and Kurrum agency in the Tribal Areas, where Shias have a strong presence.
The fifth and last division is between tribals and non-tribals. The Tribal Areas near the Afghan border have traditionally been the most fundamentalist, and the most prone to the influence of Wahhabism and the Taliban.
What the "War on Terror" did, was to widen the fissures between these divisions so that they cannot be bridged again.
Clinton: U.S.-Japan Relations a 'Cornerstone'
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)In an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun before leaving Japan today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "I really believe that the relationship between the United States and Japan is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. We are the first and second-largest economies in the world, and because of that, we have some very significant responsibilities to try to work our way through this current economic crisis." She pointed to the "increasing role that Japan is playing in development aid, in Africa, in Afghanistan, in the Middle East," as well as the deployment of military forces to deal with piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Clinton Upsets the British Human Rights Mafia
Feb. 20 (EIRNS)To the horror of the British Empire's Amnesty International and the George Soros-owned Human Rights Watch, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today said that there is important business which the U.S. and China must take care of, and it is not to be disrupted by human rights concerns.
Asked about a letter sent to her by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, and five other Soros outfits, demanding that good relations between China and the U.S. "depend in part on whether [China] lives by universally accepted human rights norms," Clinton responded: "I have had those conversations for more than a decade with Chinese leaders, and we know what they're going to say ... and they know what we're going to say. We have to continue to press them, but our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate-change crisis, and the security crises. We have to have a dialogue that leads to an understanding and cooperation on each of those."
Amnesty said in a statement that it was "shocked and extremely disappointed by [Clinton's] comments that human rights will not be a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China." Human Rights Watch said that Clinton had "made a strategic mistake in appearing to concede that she expects no meeting of the minds on human rights issues."
Clinton dispensed with the diplomatic niceties by which the British and their U.S. copycats have imposed their imperial demands on other nations: "I don't think it should be viewed as particularly extraordinary that someone in my position would say what is obvious. Maybe this is unusual, because you are supposed to be so careful that you spend hours avoiding stating the obvious. But that is just not productive in my view. It is worthwhile being more straightforward.... That's how I see it, and that's how I intend to operate."
Japan in Worst Economic Crisis Since World War II
Feb. 16 (EIRNS)Japan's economy is now in the worst crisis since the end of World War II, Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano said today. The Tokyo Cabinet Office announced that the economy had contracted at a 12.7% annualized rate from October-December 2008, the worst figures since the "oil shock" at the beginning of 1974.
Yosano told the press: "This is the worst economic crisis in the post-war era. There is no doubt about it. The Japanese economy, whose growth is heavily dependent on exports of automobiles, machinery, and IT equipment, was literally battered." Yosano said the government would consider new stimulus measures to aid the economy, but warned that "Japan alone won't be able to recover. The economy has no border. It is our responsibility to rebuild the domestic economy for other countries."
Japan's industrial output contracted 9.8% month-on-month from December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced, a record decline for the second month in a row. Other horror figures include an 8.1% fall of the index of industrial shipments, to 85.9, and the inventory index rose 0.1% to 110.5. The index of output of mines and factories was down to 84.4, compared to 100 in 2005. Corporate capital spending fell 5.3%, and consumer spending, 55% of Japan's GDP, fell 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
Toyota, the world's largest carmaker, announced that it would slash domestic production by 54% in the first quarter of 2009.