Posts Tagged ‘Over’
Syria’s Assad faces growing isolation over crackdown (Reuters)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 04:43 Written by admin Sunday, 7 August 2011 08:38
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faces growing isolation as the bloodshed from his crackdown on demonstrators searching for his overthrow starts to alienate even sympathetic Arab neighbors.
Syrian tanks stormed the eastern town of Deir al-Zor on Sunday, a week right after they retook Hama, killing scores of folks in an hard work to crush two of the primary Sunni Muslim centers of protest against Assad’s minority Alawite rule.
Currently going through sanctions from the United States and Europe, Assad has seen previous close friends in Russia and Turkey flip towards him, whilst Arab states have damaged months of silence to join the chorus of worry above the escalating violence.
“President Assad has lost all sense of humanity,” a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-Standard Ban Ki-moon mentioned following Assad sent tanks into Hama, a transfer which revived reminiscences of his father’s crushing of an uprising practically 30 many years ago.
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev warned him that he confronted a “depressing fate” unless he curbed the violence and carried out swift reform, whilst Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc named the assault on Hama an atrocity.
Rights groups say Assad’s repression of practically 5 months of protests has killed at minimum 1,600 civilians, and the violence has ruined decades of gradual rapprochement with the West as properly as expanding ties with neighbouring Turkey.
Just weeks before the uprising erupted in March the 45-yr-outdated leader, who portrays his region as a champion of Arab rights in opposition to Israel, stated Syria was immune from the uprisings which overthrew leaders of Egypt and Tunisia since its foreign policy was closely aligned with popular Arab sentiment.
In a speech at Damascus University in June, one particular of only a few public addresses he has made because the unrest began, Assad justified the crackdown and mentioned he was overcome with help from Syrians he had satisfied to examine the crisis.
“The enjoy I felt from individuals people who represent most of the Syrian men and women is some thing I have never ever felt at any stage of my life,” he mentioned.
Alongside the military marketing campaign versus protests, Assad has lifted a state of emergency in location for practically 50 many years, authorized legal guidelines to permit functions other than his ruling Baath Celebration to be established, and promised to hold a national dialogue.
His characteristically ambiguous stance, mixing iron-fisted protection even though holding out the assure of modify, aided to mute international criticism in the early phases of the uprising.
He was ready to rally tens of thousands of individuals for public reveals of loyalty and ensured that Syria’s two major metropolitan areas of Damascus and Aleppo were ring-fenced from the most significant protests.
But he also stated criminals and religious extremists, backed by foreign powers, had been exploiting the protests. “What is happening right now has nothing at all to do with development or reform. What is taking place is sabotage…There is no political solution for those who carry weapons and destroy,” he explained.
THRUST INTO SPOTLIGHT
The tall, quietly-spoken Assad was thrust into the spotlight following the loss of life of his elder brother Basel in a car crash in 1994. Called again from healthcare scientific studies in London, he gradually assumed a greater profile and six decades afterwards inherited the presidency when his father died soon after ruling Syria for 30 a long time.
To enable the 34-year-aged to assume electrical power, Syria’s parliament fulfilled hastily to amend a constitutional clause requiring the president to be at least 40 years aged.
In company, he held out the promise of reforming one of the Arab world’s most tightly controlled states and oversaw a short-lived move toward political freedoms before his “Damascus Spring” fizzled out in renewed wave of repression and arrests.
Assad also strengthened his father’s strategic alliance with Iran and supported militant Islamist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah.
He ended virtually three a long time of Syrian military presence in neighbouring Lebanon under international strain adhering to the 2005 assassination of Lebanese statesman Rafik al-Hariri.
But the collapse in January of Beirut’s pro-Western government, led by Hariri’s son, was the newest indication that Assad has clawed back impact in Lebanese politics.
Though he backs anti-Israel militants, he also pursued indirect peace talks with Israel and, regardless of ongoing Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, ensured the front line normally remained quiet.
At property he commenced liberalising the economic climate, easing many years of central manage and allowing limited foreign expense. But whilst individuals around him, like Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, acquired fantastic success, normal Syrians observed handful of positive aspects.
He also taken care of the grip on power held by his family and Alawite sect in the primarily Sunni Muslim state. His brother Maher commands the Republican Guard and is the 2nd most powerful gentleman in the nation although brother-in-law Assef Shawkat is deputy chief-of-staff of the armed forces.
Assad’s spouse Asma, who grew up in London and worked at an investment bank, helped him consider to task a softer, liberal and present day image to the outdoors planet, countering Syria’s popularity as a repressive police state.
A Vogue magazine article published in March — and broadly criticised for glossing about Syria’s inadequate human rights document, jailing of political dissidents and absence of totally free elections — painted a picture of a “wildly democratic” Assad home.
“We all vote on what we want, and where,” it quoted Asma as stating, incorporating that a chandelier produced of cut-up comic textbooks was picked by the young children. “They outvoted us a few to two on that.”
(editing by David Stamp)
China assails U.S. over Dalai Lama, fallout seen limited (Reuters)
Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 01:32 Written by admin Monday, 18 July 2011 01:32
BEIJING (Reuters) – China stepped up its criticism of Washington on Monday right after President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama, but stopped quick of threatening retaliation, indicating Beijing was keen to stay away from escalating tensions among the world’s largest economies.
Obama satisfied the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader for 45 minutes on Saturday, praising him for embracing non-violence even though reiterating that the United States did not support independence for Tibet.
Beijing, which accuses the Dalai Lama of staying a violent separatist, responded with predictably vehement words on Monday by way of its tightly managed state media, though without mentioning any broader retaliation that could deepen strains.
“Generally, the Chinese feel that the U.S. authorities meets with the Dalai Lama either to appease its domestic hardliners or to vent its dissatisfaction with China in other fields,” wrote the World-wide Instances, a well-liked tabloid printed by Communist Celebration mouthpiece the People’s Every day.
The Nobel Peace laureate is “a drop of spittle on China from the West”, the newspaper said in its editorial.
The People’s Daily warned the meeting “will undoubtedly negatively impact the development method of Sino-U.S. relations”, which have endured several setbacks of the prior couple of months with arguments over trade, Taiwan and the Internet.
The Dalai Lama denies seeking independence for Tibet, stating he wishes a peaceful transition to correct autonomy for the remote Himalayan area, which China has ruled with an iron fist given that 1950, when Chinese troops marched in.
CONFINED TO Indignant Words
But the indignant rhetoric echoed numerous past statements about the Dalai Lama’s encounters with foreign political leaders, suggesting that China’s leaders will confine their response to angry phrases.
The Foreign Ministry, which published two predictably angry statements in the early hours of Sunday, has manufactured no more comment on the meeting.
“The Chinese protest over Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama is regimen and not likely to have any real consequences,” stated Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna School, in emailed feedback to Reuters.
“As a matter of principle, China should make its displeasure known to the U.S., as it has carried out so for several decades,” he extra.
“But the Chinese are also quite pragmatic and recognize that this meeting is symbolic. So they will not want to damage the substantive Sino-American partnership since of this incident. They will not consider any retaliatory measures.”
Although the latest spat has took place although leaders in Washington are at odds more than how to elevate the $ 14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling in time to prevent default, China is very not likely to dump its U.S. Treasury bills to punish the United States.
China, the United States’ greatest foreign creditor, retains more than $ 1 trillion in U.S. Treasury personal debt and has warned Washington to be responsible in safeguarding investors’ interests.
Offering U.S. Treasury expenses “would be a relatively dangerous move, and a single which is openly hostile if explicitly framed as a ‘response,’” mentioned Scott Harold, an associate political scientist with the RAND Corporation.
“It would dramatically worsen US-China ties, and for what? Following all, what, especially, is the influence of the President’s meeting with the Dalai Lama that harms China’s actual handle on the floor in Tibet? Zero.”
Analysts explained Washington choreographed the meeting to make it show up as lower-key as possible, taking into account China’s sensitivity to the issue.
Like the earlier meeting among Obama and the Dalai Lama in February 2010, Saturday’s get-collectively took area in the White Property Map Space fairly than the more official Oval Office and the White Residence issued only one particular photograph of the meeting.
Zhu Feng, a professor of Peking University, explained the way Obama hosted the Dalai Lama shows that Washington was hoping to lessen the detrimental impact.
Although Beijing and Washington bicker regularly, ties have improved drastically adhering to President Hu Jintao’s pay a visit to to the United States in January, and equally perform intently on troubles like the world-wide economic recovery, North Korea and Iran.
Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama coincides with Vice President Xi Jinping’s check out to Tibet to mark sixty a long time given that the region’s “peaceful liberation.” Xi is commonly anticipated to become president in 2013.
Exile groups say Tibet is beneath even tighter protection than typical, and foreign visitors have been banned.
Tibetans in China expressed their support for the Obama meeting and disseminated pictures of the meeting on Twitter.
Beijing-centered Tibetan author Woeser wrote on Twitter on Monday that the “slander and assault” by some Celebration leaders on the Dalai Lama has “deeply offended many Tibetans”.
(Further reporting by Sally Huang Modifying by Ben Blanchard and Miral Fahmy)
BP sues Halliburton, Transocean over oil spill and blast (Reuters)
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:36 Written by admin Thursday, 21 April 2011 05:36
LONDON (Reuters) – BP Plc has filed for damages totaling much more than $ 80 billion from Halliburton and Transocean a yr after the Gulf of Mexico rig explosion that killed 11 personnel and spewed hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into the sea.
Analysts explained BP had minor opportunity of winning the cases and was more likely attempting to force the firms to settle. Specialists mentioned pursuing the lawsuits could additional harm BP’s reputation as effectively as reveal however a lot more embarrassing facts of the way the disaster was dealt with.
BP’s is seeking more than $ 42 billion in its suit from Halliburton, which cemented the blown-out nicely that induced the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is claiming a comparable sum from rig owner Transocean.
“It’s obtained a fairly lower opportunity of currently being profitable,” said one particular analyst who declined to be named simply because of the legal sensitivities around the scenario. “I get the feeling that there is positioning heading on here for a settlement.”
BP said Halliburton concealed vital information which could have prevented the catastrophe.
BP did not give a figure for how a lot money it was searching for from Halliburton but asked for damages of up to the total expense of the spill, which BP has set at $ 42 billion, plus interest, legal costs and punitive damages.
“Halliburton’s incorrect conduct, problems and omissions, which includes fraud and concealment, brought on and/or contributed to the Deepwater Horizon incident,” BP stated in a court filing.
“Halliburton knew and understood it was misrepresenting material details,” BP added.
The suit was filed on Wednesday, a single 12 months to the day soon after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 adult males. On Wednesday, BP also filed a lawsuit against rig operator Transocean.
Transocean shares were off six.2 percent, whilst BP shares traded flat at 0957 GMT, versus a .three percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index.
Considering that the outset of the catastrophe, BP has sought to blame its contractors, specifically Transocean — a prepare which PR specialists mentioned had damaged its image. The Presidential investigation into the report did criticize these companies but levied most of its criticism against BP.
Halliburton was not right away accessible for comment on Thursday.
In January the firm disputed a U.S. presidential commission’s characterization of its cementing operate on the blown-out Macondo well, declaring that its report omitted important details.
Service providers’ contracts with operators generally supply indemnities from any environmental injury which may possibly outcome from their function and a single analyst mentioned this minimal BP’s possibilities to recoup money from Transocean or Halliburton.
If BP can create gross or willful negligence on the part of the contractors, it may possibly be ready to void these indemnities but this is seen as difficult to accomplish.
“”I do not think it’s created into peoples’ expectations,” explained the second analyst, who also declined to be named due to the legal sensitivities.
BP was commonly criticized for hoping to shift blame onto Transocean throughout the crisis. President Barack Obama named the mudslinging between the businesses a “ridiculous spectacle.”
Joseph Lampel, Professor of Strategy at Cass Organization School mentioned a lawsuit would be even a lot more damaging to all the companies.
“The attorneys may possibly have go at each other. They will cross look at witnesses and they will dig into every detail imaginable. This child of battle is not only fought in the court place but in the arena of public opinion,” he stated.
“What we know about any corporate battle in court, is that it’s scarce for any facet to occur out greater.”
(Further reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore Editing by Mike Nesbit)
Japan nuclear crisis far from over (Reuters)
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 06:16 Written by admin Saturday, 26 March 2011 06:16
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese engineers struggled on Sunday to pump radioactive h2o from a crippled nuclear power station while the world’s chief nuclear inspector said the nation was “nonetheless far from the finish of the accident.”
Radiation levels in the sea off the Fukushima Daiichi plant have soared to one,250 occasions normal just about two weeks following it was battered by a enormous earthquake and a tsunami, but it was not regarded as a menace to marine living or foods safety, the Nuclear and Industrial Security Company mentioned.
“Ocean currents will disperse radiation particles and so it will be extremely diluted by the time it gets consumed by fish and seaweed,” mentioned Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior company official.
The crisis at the plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, has overshadowed a relief and recovery effort from the magnitude 9. quake and the huge tsunami it triggered on March eleven that left more than 27,100 men and women dead or missing in northeast Japan.
Yukiya Amano, the director standard of the Worldwide Atomic Energy Company (IAEA), cautioned that Japan’s nuclear emergency could go on for weeks, if not months more. [nN2679678]
“This is a extremely significant accident by all standards,” he informed the New York Times. “And it is not however about.”
Amano, a former Japanese diplomat who created a trip to Japan following the quake, mentioned authorities had been nonetheless uncertain about regardless of whether the plant’s reactor cores and spent fuel have been covered with the drinking water essential to cool them.
He told the newspaper he saw a couple of “positive signs” with the restoration of some electrical electrical power to the plant.
But he mentioned: “A lot more efforts need to be carried out to put an conclude to the accident,” whilst adding he was not criticizing Japan’s response.
The IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, mentioned it had sent two extra teams to Japan over the previous two days, a single to assist in monitoring radiation and a single to evaluate meals contamination.
Prolonged efforts to avert a catastrophic meltdown at the forty-yr-previous Fukushima plant have also intensified problem around the globe about nuclear electrical power. U.N. Secretary-Standard Ban Ki-moon mentioned it was time to reassess the international atomic security regime.
Engineers attempting to stabilize the plant have to pump out radioactive drinking water right after it was located in buildings housing 3 of the 6 reactors.
On Thursday, three staff had been taken to hospital from reactor No. 3 after stepping in water with radiation levels ten,000 instances increased than generally identified in a reactor. That raised concern the core’s container could be broken.
An official from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) advised a news conference professionals even now had to establish where to set some of the contaminated h2o even though engineers had been nonetheless trying to totally restore the plant’s energy.
Two of the plant’s reactors are now observed as risk-free but the other four are volatile, occasionally emitting steam and smoke. Nevertheless, the nuclear security company said on Saturday that temperature and stress in all reactors had stabilized.
The government has said the circumstance is nowhere in the vicinity of to becoming resolved, although it was not deteriorating.
“We are stopping the scenario from worsening — we’ve restored energy and pumped in fresh new water — and making simple methods toward improvement but there is nevertheless no area for complacency,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano informed a news conference on Saturday.
RADIATION Ranges Reduced
At Three Mile Island, the worst nuclear electrical power accident in the United States, employees took just four days to stabilize the reactor, which suffered a partial meltdown. No one was injured and there was no radiation release previously mentioned the legal limit.
At Chernobyl in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in the planet, it took weeks to “stabilize” what remained of the reactor that exploded and months to thoroughly clean up radioactive supplies and cover the website with a concrete and steel sarcophagus.
So far, no considerable levels of radiation have been detected past the vicinity of the plant in Fukushima.
The U.S. Division of Vitality stated on its website (http://website.energy.gov/content material/predicament-japan/)
no substantial quantities of radiological materials had been deposited in the location close to the plant since March 19, in accordance to tests on Friday.
In Tokyo, a metropolis of 13 million, a Reuters reading through on Sunday early morning showed ambient radiation of .22 microsieverts per hour, about six instances standard for the metropolis. That was effectively within the world-wide typical of effortlessly happening qualifications radiation of .17-.39 microsieverts per hour, a assortment presented by the World Nuclear Association.
In the town of Yamagata, 110 km (70 miles) northwest of Fukushima, the studying was .15 microsieverts per hour.
The authorities has prodded tens of 1000′s of men and women residing in a 20-thirty km (12-18 mile) zone beyond the stricken complicated to leave. Edano mentioned the citizens really should move because it was hard to get supplies to the area, and not due to the fact of elevated radiation.
Kazuo Suzuki, 56, who has moved from his property in the vicinity of the plant to an evacuation middle, mentioned neighbors he had talked to by phone said delivery trucks had been not heading to the exclusion zone due to the fact of radiation worries.
“So products are running out, which means men and women have to drive to the next town to buy things. But there is a fuel shortage there also, so they have to wait in extended queues for gasoline to use the vehicle.”
Radiation ranges at the evacuation center were within a regular array of about .sixteen microsievert, according to a Reuters Geiger counter reading through.
In Japan’s northeast, far more than a quarter of a million people continue to be in shelters, and the influence on livelihoods is turning out to be clearer. The quake and tsunami not only wiped out properties and organizations, but also a fishing market that was the lifeblood of coastal communities.
“Fishermen misplaced their gear, ships and just about everything. About half will almost certainly get out of the enterprise,” explained Yuko Sasaki, a fishmonger in the tsunami-hit city of Kamaishi.
(Further reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Chizu Nomiyama, Shinichi Saoshiro and Phil Smith in Tokyo, Jon Herskovitz in Kamaishi, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Ron Popeski)