Shenyang SkylineImage via Wikipedia

Is China already removing its 'braces' before it can walk? Just my thoughts...

BEIJING - A growing number of foreign businesses in China feel shut out under new government policies promoting homegrown technology, according a survey released yesterday.

Feeling increasingly unwelcomed to participate and compete in the Chinese market was 38 per cent of foreign firms questioned by the American Chamber of Commerce. That marks a 12 percentage-point rise from the last survey taken just a few months before. Over that period, the government has increasingly steered business toward state-owned companies, ostensibly as part of efforts to boost innovation among Chinese firms.

The chamber's data, gathered earlier this year from 203 companies, portrays a steadily worsening environment for foreign companies in China over the past three years. The disquiet was most pronounced among foreign firms specialising in high-tech and information technology, with 57 per cent saying they felt negatively affected by government policies. In that sector, 37 per cent of foreign companies said they were losing sales as a result of Chinese government policies. Such sentiment has increased following the government's launch of a 4 trillion yuan ($820 billion) stimulus package in late 2008 designed to help China rebound quickly from the global crisis.

Foreign direct investment in China rose at its slowest rate in seven months in February, up 1.1 per cent from a year earlier.

The chamber's report comes amid a dispute over China's currency controls. Some United States lawmakers have demanded to have China declared a currency manipulator by the Treasury Department, possibly mandating trade sanctions. AP

From, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
The Predator UAV is made by General Atomics af...Image via Wikipedia
SINGAPORE - The  portable flamethrower was considered the very latest in weapons technology during the First World War. The British developed the self-igniting device with a range of 100 yards (91 metres) specifically for torching German trenches during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

World War II saw the introduction of cruise missiles, jet-engine fighter planes and submarines as the Allies pitted their wits against the Third Reich in the battle to control land, sky and sea.

Now, missile strikes from unmanned drones have emerged as the breakthrough technology which has seen the West regain dominance in the war on terror.

For the United States government, robotic warfare rules, although critics say it has turned the conflict into a video game.

US President Barack Obama has upped the number of drone strikes on terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan from once a week to every day as the strategy begins to pay dividends.

When asked if warfare was entering a new era, US defence expert, Mr P W Singer, said: "You can compare the impact of this with the introduction of gunpowder."

The RQ-1 Predator drone (picture) has become the main unmanned aerial vehicle used for the offensives. It can fly 400 nautical miles (644 km) to a target and loiter overhead for up to 14 hours. It will then, if required, fire two Hellfire missiles before returning to base.

While the CIA has refused to share even the most basic data on the remote-controlled attacks, it has emerged that recent advances have come from US spies paying Pakistani informants to identify targets.

It is believed the agents on the ground are placing electronic chips at farmhouses occupied by Al Qaeda officials so they can be bombed by Predator planes.

The whole project is shrouded in secrecy and intelligence analysts have been unable to obtain either a list of military targets of drone strikes or the actual results in terms of Al Qaeda or civilians killed.

Interestingly, military insiders say they are seeing higher levels of stress in the CIA officials who launch the drone strikes from the office, than soldiers in actual combat situations.

Mr Singer added: "Traditional bomber pilots don't see their targets. A remote operator sees the target upclose - the explosion and the aftermath. You're further away physically but you see more. Also the drone war takes place 24/7, 365 days a year."

But President Obama has continued to use the drones as a critical tool in the revised policy on Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, as well as militant hideouts in neighbouring Pakistan.

A report by the American think-tank, the New American Foundation, revealed that while there had been 45 drone attacks during President George W Bush's two terms, the Obama administration had launched 51 strikes in its first year alone.

They estimate the offensives have killed more than 1,200 people, including 20 Al Qaeda leaders. It is believed that at least one third of the dead were civilians. But despite the huge amount of collateral damage, US top brass clearly believe the strategy is paying off.

Last week, it was announced the Al Qaeda leader who masterminded the attack on the CIA HQ in Afghanistan was killed by a drone missile in North Waziristan, Pakistan. A counterterrorism official said Hussein Al Yemeni was killed outright in the strike and now the terror group's leadership have been forced deeper into hiding and are struggling to plan new operations.

In fact, so intense is the offensive in the area that it is said that people living there are developing psychological disorders because of the constant fear and anxiety. The drone strikes have attracted much criticism with international lawyers even questioning the legality of the programme.

Mr Gary Solis, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, said: "CIA agents are, unlike their military counterparts but like the fighters they target, unlawful combatants. No less than their insurgent targets, they are fighters without uniforms or insignia, directly participating in hostilities, employing armed force contrary to the laws and customs of war."

He added: "Even if they are sitting in Langley, the CIA pilots are civilians violating the requirement of distinction, a core concept of armed conflict, as they directly participate in hostilities." Paul Gilfeather

From, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Grand Palace in Bangkok built in 1782, is the ...Image via Wikipedia
A news article taken from, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

BANGKOK - Just as their protests seemed to be petering out, Thailand's red-shirted protesters vowed to "shut down" Bangkok with another rally on Saturday, defying the government which had raised the stakes with new security measures.

Starting yesterday, army officers guarding key sites including checkpoints, government buildings and military bases were supplied with firearms. Previously, the 30,000 military personnel deployed for the protests were not armed.

Army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said the government was "very concerned" after several minor grenade attacks and wanted to "prevent ill-intentioned people from inciting unrest".

But he said army officers will be allowed to use their weapons "only in crucial situations in order to protect the lives of officials or the public".

On Saturday, two small grenade blasts hit Bangkok and a nearby province shortly after tens of thousands of anti-government protesters held a parade through the capital. One person was slightly injured.

A week ago, four grenades exploded at a Bangkok military base, wounding two soldiers.

Col Sunsern warned demonstrators that the army was also ready to take "decisive action" if they try to disrupt a Cabinet meeting scheduled for today at a ministry on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government would extend a stringent security law for an additional week in Bangkok and two other provinces, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.

The Internal Security Act, which allows authorities to set up checkpoints, impose curfews and limit movement, had been enforced across eight provinces since March 11 and was due to expire today.

Protest leaders are seeking to regain their momentum, as the number of supporters gathered in the capital waned over the week.

Mr Jatuporn Prompan said their rally this weekend would be bigger than the noisy procession last Saturday, which drew around 65,000 people.

"On Saturday, we will shut down Bangkok and rally at provincial halls across the country," he said.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij sought to downplay the impact of the protests, saying they had not deterred foreign investors in the country.

"The main issue ... is that we manage it in a civilised manner within the rules of law and under democratic principles," he told an investment conference in Hong Kong. AFP

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Final pre-election visit by Barack Obama to Iowa.Image by via Flickr
A news article taken from, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

THE day before Sunday's health-care vote, President Barack Obama gave an unscripted talk to House Democrats.

Near the end, he spoke about why his party should pass reform: "Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made ... And this is the time to make true on that promise."

On the other side, here's what Mr Newt Gingrich, the Republican former Speaker of the House had to say: If Democrats pass health reform, "they will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years" by passing civil rights legislation.

Consider the contrast: On one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism.

Think about what it means to condemn health reform by comparing it to the Civil Rights Act.

Who in modern America would say that LBJ did the wrong thing by pushing for racial equality?

And that cynicism has been the hallmark of the whole campaign against reform.

Yes, a few conservative policy intellectuals, after making a show of thinking hard about the issues, claimed to be disturbed by reform's fiscal implications (but were strangely unmoved by the clean bill of fiscal health from the Congressional Budget Office) or to want stronger action on costs (even though this reform does more to tackle health-care costs than any previous legislation).

For the most part, however, opponents of reform didn't even pretend to engage with the reality either of the existing health-care system or of the moderate, centrist plan Democrats were proposing.

Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.

It wasn't just the death panel smear.

It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor's Business Daily declaring that health reform is "affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin colour".

It was wild claims about abortion funding.

It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it.

And let's be clear: The campaign of fear hasn't been carried out by a radical fringe.

On the contrary, the Republican establishment has been involved and approving all the way.

The campaign of fear was effective: Health reform went from being highly popular to wide disapproval, although the numbers have been improving lately.

But the question was, would it actually be enough to block reform?

And the answer is no. The Democrats have done it.

The House has passed the Senate version of health reform, and an improved version will be achieved through reconciliation.

This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama and a triumph for Ms Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker.

But it is also a victory for America's soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

BeijingImage via Wikipedia

US firms feel increasingly unwelcome in China: survey
Posted: 22 March 2010 1131 hrs

BEIJING: A growing number of American businesses feel unwelcome in China because of what they see as discriminatory government policies and inconsistent legal treatment, according to a survey released Monday.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China asked 203 member companies if they felt unwelcome to participate and compete in China's market, with 38 per cent saying they did, up from 26 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Inconsistent regulatory interpretation and judicial treatment topped the list of concerns for American businesses, the survey said.

Respondents also blamed what they view as a push by Beijing to squeeze foreign technology companies out of the lucrative government procurement market.


Beijing skyline


"The AmCham-China survey shows that US companies believe they face product discrimination in state-owned enterprise purchases, as well as in government procurement," a statement accompanying the survey results said.

The survey was released as the trial of four employees of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto - including an Australian citizen - on bribery and trade secrets charges opened in Shanghai.

The four defendants were arrested last July during contentious iron ore contract negotiations that later collapsed, and after Rio snubbed a near 20-billion-dollar cash injection from state-run Chinese mining firm Chinalco.

The trial has strained Beijing's relations with Canberra and raised concerns about doing business in China.

The survey also comes as US Internet giant Google has threatened to leave China, citing cyber attacks and censorship, and with Sino-US ties inflamed over a range of contentious issues including China's currency policy.

Critics say China keeps the value of its yuan artificially low, making its exports cheaper and thus more competitive on world markets.

- AFP/sc

From; see the source article here.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Google China's logoImage via Wikipedia

White House 'disappointed' no Google, China deal
Posted: 23 March 2010 0627 hrs

WASHINGTON - The White House said Monday it was "disappointed" that Google could not reach a deal with Beijing, after the Internet giant announced it was no longer censoring its search engine in China.

"We are disappointed that Google and the Chinese government were unable to reach an agreement that would allow Google to continue operating its search services in China on its website," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement.

"Google made its decision based on what it believed was in its interest," he added, noting the White House respects the search engine's decision and was informed of it before the company made its announcement to the public.


The Google logo on the rooftop of the Google China headoffice building in Beijing


President Barack Obama's administration has previously raised its concerns about the matter with the Chinese government, Hammer recalled, stressing that US-China ties were "mature enough to sustain differences."

The administration is "committed to Internet freedom and... opposed to censorship," he added. "While we seek to expand cooperation on issues of mutual interest with China, we will candidly and frankly address areas of disagreement."

In announcing its decision to stop censoring its search engine in China and redirect mainland Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong, Google said it intended to continue research and development work in China and maintain a sales presence there.

China was quick to criticize the company for being "totally wrong" and having "violated its written promise," according to the state-run Xinhua news agency, which cited an official in charge of the Internet bureau of the State Council Information Office.

Google's lifting of censorship on came a little over two months after the Mountain View, California-based company said it had been the victim of cyberattacks originating from China.

- AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Friday, March 12, 2010

My blog is back!

Finally, my blog is back!

After being suspected as a scam-blog, a sblog in other term, where my blog was locked and removed from the 'public view', it was finally released back to me!

Thanks, guys.

That was about 3 weeks todate... and I should be back in my blogging.

Many thanks guys.