From Volume 36, Issue 32 of EIR Online, Published Aug. 21, 2009
Asia News Digest

India's Second Moon-Orbiter Will Be Nuclear Powered

Aug. 14 (EIRNS)—Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) chief G. Madhavan Nair addressed engineering students at the Mumbai-based IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) on Aug. 13, telling them that "we are thinking of powering some parts of Chandrayaan-II with nuclear energy, which will power the spacecraft when it revolves around the dark side of the moon...." Chandrayaan-II is scheduled to be launched in 2012. India's first moon-orbiter, Chandrayaan-I, is presently orbiting the Moon and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a NASA instrument on board, took a photo of the Earth from about 200 km above the Moon's surface.

Chandrayaan-II will have a lander and a rover for exploring the Moon's surface. It is a joint Indo-Russian mission, in which the orbiter will be designed and developed by ISRO, while Russia will look after the lander and the rover.

Madhavan Nair emphasized the safety aspects, in his talk to the students in Mumbai. "The project poses many challenges, he said, "and maximum care has to be taken during the ground-to-orbit phase. To work out the safety issues, we have to work on new technologies and the feasibility studies will help in those."

Quoting a NASA study, ISRO officials told the Indian media that one of the main advantages of a nuclear-powered rocket is that it will considerably reduce the launch cost. The higher efficiency of a nuclear-powered engine means that almost 29 tons of cargo could be delivered to the Moon, against 21 tons with a non-nuclear one.

Nuclear Power Is India's Green Power, Says Chidambaram

Aug. 14 (EIRNS)—The principal scientific advisor to the government of India and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. R. Chidambaram, said yesterday that nuclear power is India's "green" fuel to cut down polluting emissions. He was delivering the keynote address at a workshop organized by the Indian Nuclear Society and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi.

A large dose of nuclear power was the only way India would achieve both energy security and combat climate change, he said. "Nuclear, hydroelectricity, renewable, and energy efficiency are the mitigating technologies that will reduce India's greenhouse gas emissions," Chidambaram added. "The world realizes this, and that is why there is a nuclear renaissance in developed countries."

Asserting that, unlike in the past, there are now no gaps in the country's technology and knowledge sectors, he said India has a big advantage in nuclear power, since Indian scientists have worked in this area for over 50 years. "The next generation fast breeder reactors (FBR) using plutonium (instead of uranium) are ready. The first FBR will be up next year, and four more by 2020." By that time, India will be ready to move third-generation nuclear power stations, using thorium, Chidambaram predicted, "though it still needs a great deal of research and development." He expected India, with its vast thorium reserves, to become a global leader in this form of technology.

China's Export Sector Shrinks for Ninth Straight Month

Aug. 12 (EIRNS)—China's exports in July crashed by 23% from a year earlier, the ninth straight month of devastation of the export sector, Ministry of Commerce Vice Minister Fu Ziying announced yesterday in Beijing. Imports were down almost 15%. There is no end in sight to the world economic crisis, he said, and this will keep exports contracting. "There have been no big changes in the three major factors that pose a huge negative influence on China's trade, so it is hard to say whether China's imports and exports can rebound in the second half," Fu said. "Uncertainty" still dominates.

"China's economy is showing signs of recovery. But there are possibilities that growth will slow down again, as the international economic outlook remains unclear. Domestic demand, which is still restricted by various factors, is not able to entirely make up for the losses due to a sluggish external demand," he said.

Lyndon LaRouche has emphasized that China's cheap labor export policy has made it impossible for China and its population to earn enough to build its economy, and China cannot "jumpstart" the transition it needs on its own—that must be done in cooperation with the United States, Russia, and India, in a Four Powers alliance.

The $100 Billion Iron Ore Theft: Rio Tinto

Aug. 9 (EIRNS)—The British imperial firm Rio Tinto's six years of spying on China's steel industry cost China 700 billion yuan ($102 billion) in excessive charges for iron ore, according to a report published on a website controlled by the Chinese government.

China's National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets published a report, in Chinese, on the website, that indicates that Rio Tinto's commercial spying involved "winning over and buying off, prying out intelligence, routing one by one, and gaining things by deceit" over six years. "The large amount of intelligence and data from our country's steel sector found on Rio Tinto's computers and the massive damage to our national economic security and interests are plainly obvious."

China is the world's largest steel maker, and accounts for half of the global $52 billion trade in iron ore, mostly purchased from the British-Australian mining cartels Rio Tinto and Billiton, and from the Brazilian Vale.

The magnitude of the loss reported by the Chinese government indicates that the information, contacts, and distorted prices obtained by Rio Tinto distorted the entire world market for iron ore. That is, whether or not Billiton, Vale, and tertiary miners were also involved in the price-fixing operation, they benefitted, and other major importers of iron ore, such as Japan and South Korea, likely also took substantial losses.

Hagel, Hamilton Warn Against Afghan Quagmire

Aug. 16 (EIRNS)—Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel warned today that the United States could find itself bogged down in Afghanistan, "drifting dangerously deeper and deeper into a situation where it becomes very difficult to get out. In the context of discussing Gen. Stanley McChrystal's anticipated request for more troops, Hagel counterposed Defense Secretary's Robert Gates warning, that the more forces we throw into Afghanistan, the more we are seen as an occupation force. "That was a difficult lesson in Vietnam, Hagel recalled.

Hagel noted that, as of this Fall, the U.S. will have been in Afghanistan for nine years, and that if the objective is "nation-building, then we are getting very deep into something we don't do very well. "This area of the world is at the crossroads of the most dangerous, complicated, combustible region on Earth, he cautioned.

Hagel appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation on Aug. 16, with Iraq Study Group co-chair Lee Hamilton, who also warned against U.S. involvement in nation-building: "I do not personally think we can modernize Afghanistan. There are historical, political, cultural, economic forces that are massive in that country, and we can't turn them around."

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