Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Emirati Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahayan inaugurate France's first military base in the Gulf on May 26, 2009 in the United Arab Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi. Sarkozy, on the second day of a visit to the oil-rich Gulf state, declared that Paris plans to submit proposals to world leaders at the G8 summit in July to try to end oil price volatility. France's so-called "Peace Camp" in Abu Dhabi will host up to 500 troops stationed in three sites on the banks of the strategic Strait of Hormuz just across from Iran: a navy and logistical base, a desert air base with three fighter planes and a training camp. France has a handful of military bases mainly in Africa including its largest in Djibouti, which occupies a strategic position on the Gulf of Aden.
France is a leading military supplier to the UAE, and the two countries are linked by a 1995 defense pact under which their armed forces chiefs meet once a year and their forces conduct around 25 joint military maneuvers per year. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan reported progress in talks on the possible purchase of French Rafale warplanes, a deal that could be worth as much as six to eight billion euros (eight to 11 billion dollars). "It was discussed... I can say there has been positive progress on this issue," France hopes the UAE can be persuaded to replace its fleet of French Mirage 2000 combat planes with 60 new multi-role Rafale jets.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
North Korea said it had successfully conducted a nuclear test on Monday, first comments mention a 10 kilotons bomb? If confirmed, much bigger than last time. Second test in the last 3 years after October 2006, KCNA agency reports. The agency says Monday's test was "aimed at strengthening its [North Korea's] self-defense nuclear deterrent in every way". The news confirms earlier reports by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
South Korea's president is reported to have convened an emergency security meeting and Japan is setting up a task force in the prime minister's office. The KCNA report gave no details of the location of the test. South Korean officials said a strong seismic tremor, 4.7, was detected in the north-eastern part of the communist state. A tremor was detected around the northeastern town of Kilju, (40.9642 latitude 129.328 longitude) near where the first test was conducted in October 2006.
Pyongyang already stated it wanted to be recognized as a nuclear power. But Pyongyang knows its use would be suicidal! North Korea is known, although being years away from advance technology, to have missiles but not confirmed technology for being capable of carrying nuclear ballistic missiles on long range such as Asia or Europe or America. Some Asian stocks, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong-Kong, declined after nuclear test.
This photo taken on October 16, 2006 and made available on October 24 by South Korea's Arirang 2 satellite shows a three-dimensional description of North Korea's suspected nuclear test site in P'unggye-yok Kilju county, North Korea. (Arirang view)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Japanese medias decided to change news navigation cape and hinder informations and say no more about the H1N1. In this way, they are lowering to the minimum the fear about the flu, and minimize the level of infection of the pandemic. Although it is known that the virus is sneaky and vicious. I am told that it is now becoming quite difficult to trust the official news (governmental NHK), the commercial TV channels, some of the print press and the Japanese wire agencies about how the H1N1 virus spreads in the Japanese archipelago and at what pace.
"This is an other case of official news guideline that we owe to the Kisha Club system, even if the risk is less or high", an experienced colleague told at my Tokyo based Foreign Correspondents' Club.
Whatever people say. Here we are with the WHO (OMS) latest: As of 06:00 GMT, 23 May 2009, 43 countries have officially reported 12 022 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 86 deaths.
Confirmed domestic swine flu cases hit 338 Saturday evening in seven prefectures, although most were in Hyogo and Osaka. The other prefectures are Shiga and Kyoto in Kansai, and Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa in Kanto.
Quotes: "The new Saitama case involved a 29-year-old man who caught it from a friend who tested positive Friday, prefectural officials said early Saturday. The two men toured Osaka and Kyoto from Sunday to Tuesday, taking in a baseball game at Kyocera Dome and sightseeing spots in the ancient capital, before flying back to Haneda airport in Tokyo on All Nippon Airways flight No. 40 from Itami. Both got fevers Friday morning, Saitama officials said. The man, who works as a security guard in Tokyo, also said he rode in the same car with a colleague in his 60s on Thursday but that the colleague has not developed any flu symptoms, the officials said. In central Tokyo, the total stayed at three, with the latest case, a 25-year-old man from Mitaka who was in Osaka from May 14 to Wednesday, testing positive for the new flu on Friday. The man said he watched standup comedy acts and went to Universal Studios Japan during the one-week stay."
The government on Friday stated it downshifted its response to H1N1 influenza, locally called "shingata infuruenza" (new-type influenza), after realizing the domestic outbreak was an apparently milder form of the contagion that has been blamed for killing dozens of people in Mexico.
Japan's previous policy, amended in February, was geared to address the more virulent H5N1 avian flu, and called for sweeping measures to be taken in all affected areas. "But the new flu strain, H1N1 influenza A, is more or less localized."
The question "Are we ready or not?" is no longer relevant because the pandemic threat is already out nearly everywhere.
In Indonesia, a Virologist from Udayana University, Gusti Ngurah Mahardhika, who has long been advocating non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the H5N1 virus in Bali, says "although the influenza A (H1N1) is now a low pathogenic virus that has a relatively low probability of fatality, less than 10 percent, it does not mean the world can rest on its laurels."
"Nowadays, pandemics should not be seen as situations where people drop and die like flies. But the virus is easily transmitted, and if you just look at how many people can potentially catch it, you can imagine what kind of effect it will have on the economic and SOCIAL ORDER."