From Volume 37, Issue 12 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 26, 2010

Global Economic News

Thai Rice Farmers Threaten Debt Moratorium and Production Moratorium

March 19 (EIRNS)—The Thai Farmers Association announced that their members will stop debt payments to the Thai Agriculture Bank and Agricultural Cooperatives, and stop growing rice for commercial sale, if the government continues to ignore their plea for price subsidies or a price floor. Wichian Phuanglumjiak, the Association's vice chairman, said that the minimum price for rice farmers to sustain themselves is $350 per ton, while the price has now fallen to nearly half that.

The Association is not participating in the Red Shirt mass demonstrations against the government (despite the fact that many of their members are doing so), but there are negotiations ongoing between them.

Indonesia House Gives 'Green Light' to Nuclear Power

March 19 (EIRNS)—Indonesia's House of Representatives gave a green light to the government's plan to build nuclear plants, according to reports from government press agency Antara.

The March 15 decision came after the Parliamentary Commission for Energy, Technology and the Environment visited the country's National Nuclear Energy Agency, which is known as Batan, over the weekend. "Indonesia can no longer rely on non-renewable energy sources such as gas and coal to generate electricity in future," said Teuku Riefky Harsya, chairman of the commission.

Now that Batan has recommended the construction of nuclear power plants in the country, the House is ready to give political and budget support, he said. The deputy for nuclear energy technology development to Batan chief Adi Wardojo, said that Indonesia can now make preparations for the construction of nuclear power plants. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already given its approval.

Indonesia has uranium reserves in Kalimantan capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electricity for 150 years, he said. Furthermore, nuclear fuel is recyclable, and thus, "We do not need to dispose of nuclear waste, because it can be used again as a source of fuel for nuclear power plants after being stored for some time."

China To Bid on High-Speed Rail Lines in Americas and Europe

March 14—China plans to bid on contracts to build U.S. high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America, the Associated Press reports.

We are organizing relevant companies to participate in bidding for U.S. high-speed railways, Wang Zhiguo, a deputy railways minister, told a news conference today. Chinese rail authorities have signed cooperation memos with California and Russia, and state companies plan to bid on a line in Brazil linking Rio de Janeiro with São Paulo, Wang said. He said Saudi Arabia and Poland also have expressed interest.

All rights reserved © 2010 EIRNS