Saturday, November 20, 2004

Rain on Santiago Apec 2004 under the water-canon and tear gas!

Chilean anti-riot forces fired water cannon and tear gas
at stone-throwing protesters in central Santiago
overnight as world leaders flew in for a major
Asia-Pacific summit.

The mayhem in the capital provided a violent backdrop to
the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit,
where President George W Bush's "war on terror" and
nuclear proliferation appeared set to eclipse trade and
the economy. Bush arrived in Santiago Friday evening
making his first international trip since winning a
second term of office on November 2.

Throughout the day, thousands of anti-Bush and
anti-globalization protesters took to the streets of the
city, at times clashing with police who used tear gas
and water cannons to control the crowds.

More protests are expected as APEC meetings get under
way Saturday, although demonstrators are being kept far
from the summit site.

Chilean authorities have launched a massive security
operation, with special guard forces and police on
horseback throughout the city.

While in Chile, Bush will meet the leaders of China,
Japan, South Korea and Russia, which, along with the
United States, have been involved in six-party talks
with North Korea about its nuclear program.

North Korea has walked away from those talks, but South
Korean officials have expressed optimism that North
Korea may return to the negotiating table, now that the
U.S. presidential election is over.

While the top White House goal is to come out of the
summit showing a united front against North Korea, its
negotiating partners are also expected to push Bush to
offer security and other incentives to move along the

Bush's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin may
also prove particularly noteworthy, given Putin's
comments earlier this week that Russia is developing a
new type of nuclear weapon.

That development, along with Putin's efforts at home to
consolidate power, has left some critics calling for
Bush to take a tougher line against a man with whom the
U.S. leader enjoys a warm personal relationship.

"The Bush administration is going to have to take the
gloves off a little bit and be a little bit more head-on
about where President Putin is leading his country,"
said Wendy Sherman, a former State Department counselor.

The APEC summit, which includes leaders of 21 countries,
is designed to foster economic cooperation, although
security issues have loomed large in the past two years.

This year's event comes at a time when South American
countries are increasingly looking toward Asia for
economic opportunities, with China quickly closing in on
the United States as the region's major trading partner.

Staunch supporters of free trade complain that the
United States has been ignoring South America since the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Brazil and Argentina
before arriving in Santiago, where he will also discuss
a free trade agreement with Chile, the world's leading
copper producer.

Other economic issues likely to arise at this year's
summit include rising world oil prices, the weak dollar
and U.S. budget deficits, all of which could impact
international trade.

Junichiro Koizumi, embarked on a fight of words with
China on the issue of a war sanctuary devoted to war
deads including war criminals in Tokyo, plans to meet Hu
on Sunday.

APEC's 21 members, in alphabetical order, are:

Australia; Brunei; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong;
Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea (South Korea);
Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru;
Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Taipei; Thailand; the
United States; Vietnam.

Japan says yes to arms exports

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld welcomed Japan's
policy to relax its arms export control when he met with
Japanese Defense Agency Director General Yoshinori Ono.

The Japanese government has worked out a plan which will
break through the longtime three arms export control
principles and strengthen cooperation with the United
States in weapons development and production, the Asahi
Shimbun reported Friday.

Under the plan, Japan will allow weapons development and
production with the United States or such activities in
US-led multinational projects, the major daily said.

Japan can also export equipment under the circumstance
of international operations, including fighting
terrorism or pirates.The items include helmets, body
armors, vehicles, used warships.

Announced in 1967 by then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato,
the three principles stipulate that Japan shall "not
export weapons to communist states, to states to which
arms exports are prohibited by UN resolution, or to
states involved in armed conflicts."

Further, former Prime Minister Takeo Miki announced in
1976 that Japan would not export weapons to any country.

The plan was drawn up in consideration that Japan and
the United States are currently teamed up in developing
ballistic missile defense systems, and the private
sectors are urging for easing controls to maintain
competitiveness technically in the world. In addition,
there are concerns that it is difficult for Japan to
independently develop necessary high-tech arms, the
paper said.

The initiative could be included in a new defense
program outline which is expected to be inked by the
cabinet later this month or early December, it said,
adding that the opposition parties are sure to bring up
argument against it.

France reconstruction of Iraq

Visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said
Friday that France is prepared to collaborate in the
reconstruction of Iraq, but that country must advance
towards the "political" solution of its crisis.

"France along with its partners, and in particular
within the European Union (EU), is prepared to
contribute to the political and economic reconstruction
of Iraq," he told a press conference in Mexico.

France will participate along with the Group of Eight,
the Arab League and Iraq's neighbors, in the Sharm el
Sheik (Egypt) Conference, scheduled for Nov. 22-23, to
discuss the economic reconstruction of Iraq and its
security situation.

"We participate in Sharm el Sheik with a positive mind,
wishingfor this event to contribute to the transition
process considered in Resolution 1546 of the United
Nations Security Council, and that it be supported by
the region's countries," he said.

Raffarin insisted the problem of Iraq is "political" and
that the terms established by the Security Council for
the transition -which includes elections in January-
must be respected.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Chirac questions US-led Iraq war

French President Jacques Chirac says he is "not at all
sure" the world has become safer with the removal from
power of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

In a BBC interview, Mr Chirac suggested the situation in
Iraq had helped to prompt an increase in terrorism.

The interview, aired on BBC Two's Newsnight programme on
Wednesday, came ahead of his visit to the UK this week.

President Chirac also maintained that any intervention
in Iraq should have been through the United Nations.

" History will tell who is wrong and who is right "
Jacques Chirac

"To a certain extent, Saddam Hussein's departure was a
positive thing," Mr Chirac said when asked if the world
was safer now, as US President George W Bush has
repeatedly stated.

"But it also provoked reactions, such as the
mobilisation in a number of countries, of men and women
of Islam, which has made the world more dangerous," he

"There's no doubt that there has been an increase in
terrorism and one of the origins of that has been the
situation in Iraq.

"I'm not at all sure that one can say that the world is

American culture

When asked if his position on troops in Iraq remained
the same, he said: "The way things are now I can't
imagine that there will be French troops in Iraq."

He defended the use of French troops in Ivory Coast,
whose attack on the Ivorian air force sparked mass
anti-French protests in the West African nation.

" America and Europe have to take it upon themselves to
understand each other " Jacques Chirac

"The situation there is altogether different. The French
in Cote d'Ivoire act under the mandate of the UN and
also under a unanimous mandate of the African Union."

He said he understood that Mr Bush would not change his
mind on Iraq - but, he added, nor would France.

"This is not disrespect towards each other," he said.
"We have two distinct analyses and we draw two different
conclusions. History will tell who is wrong and who is

When asked his views on American culture, Mr Chirac
said: "We can't have a world where there's only one

He said the loss of any language, civilisation or
culture was a "great loss for humanity, because humanity
should preserve its rich diversity, it must not allow it
to perish".

'Strong ties'

But he dismissed as "an absurd idea" that Europe would
build itself against the US.

He described China, India, Asia, Europe and North
America as the "great poles of tomorrow's world and
their requirements must be compatible with peace and, I
hope, democracy".

"America and Europe have to take it upon themselves to
understand each other, not turning against the other
great poles of tomorrow's worlds, but side by side.

"So that when tensions mount and problems arise, there
will be strong ties between these two powers and one of
these ties should be the transatlantic one."

[The interview with President Chirac was broadcast on
Newsnight on BBC Two at 2230 GMT on Wednesday 17
November, and is on the Newsnight website]

CIA critic: "Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror"

A CIA analyst who wrote a book that criticized the U.S.
war on terror has resigned from the spy agency after it
effectively banned him from publicly discussing his
views, his publicist said on Thursday.

Michael Scheuer, whose book "Imperial Hubris: Why the
West Is Losing the War on Terror" was signed as
"anonymous" and published this summer, will resign
effective Friday after 22 years at the Central
Intelligence Agency.

In a statement, Scheuer said the CIA had not forced him
to resign, "but I have concluded that there has not been
adequate national debate over the nature of the threat
posed by Osama bin Laden and the forces he leads and
inspires, and the nature and dimensions of intelligence
reform needed to address that threat."

He intends to speak to the media over the next several
weeks, including an appearance on the CBS show "60
Minutes" on Sunday.

Scheuer's statement said senior leadership had allowed
the intelligence officers working against al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden to be made scapegoats for
pre-Sept. 11 failures.

Scheuer was chief of the CIA Counterterrorist Center's
unit which focused on bin Laden from 1996 to 1999 and
remained a CIA analyst after that.

"The Atlantic Monthly" in its December issue published a
letter sent by Scheuer to U.S. congressional
intelligence committees that said the key pre-Sept. 11
intelligence failures were mainly the result of bad
decisions by senior officials.

"While the 11 September attacks probably were
unstoppable, it was decisions by human beings --
featuring arrogance, bad judgment, disdain for
expertise, and bureaucratic cowardice -- that made sure
the Intelligence Community did not operate optimally to
defend America," Scheuer said in the letter.

In June, just before Scheuer's book was published, he
did a series of media interviews, appearing on TV in
silhouette and was identified in print as "Mike."

In the first week of August, CIA officials told him that
he had to ask for permission in advance for media
interviews and provide summaries of what would be
discussed ahead of time, Scheuer's editor and publicist
Christina Davidson said.

"They rejected every single request," she said. "It was
effectively a ban."

His book said the United States was losing the war
against terrorism and that sticking to current policies
would only make its enemies in the Islamic world grow

The statement released by his publicist about Scheuer's
resignation said that "after a cordial meeting with
senior CIA officials on Tuesday, Scheuer decided that it
would be in the best interests of the intelligence
community and the country for him to resign in order to
continue speaking publicly with regard to Osama Bin
Laden, al Qaeda, and the 9-11 Commission Report." A CIA
spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

NASA X-43A, a new Jet engine to fly at Mach 10

A tiny unmanned NASA "scramjet" soared over the Pacific
Ocean Tuesday to demonstrate a radical new engine
technology by attempting to fly at a record speed of
about 7,000 mph, almost 10 times the speed of sound.

The 12-foot-long X-43A supersonic combustion ramjet was
to fly under its own power at Mach 10 for about 10
seconds after separating from a booster rocket at
110,000 feet, then glide to a splash landing.

The flight was an apparent success, and confirmation of
the speed achieved was expected to be announced later by
officials at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at
Edwards Air Force Base.

"The research vehicle was absolutely rock-solid stable,"
said Griff Corpening, chief engineer on two previous
X-43A flights. "All indications (are) we had a
successful experiment."

The X-43A, mounted on a Pegasus rocket used to boost it
to flight speed, was carried under the wing of a B-52
aircraft and released at an altitude of 40,000 feet over
a test range off the Southern California coast. The
rocket motor then fired for a 90-second ascent.

Like its predecessors, the X-43A will not be recovered
from the ocean.

The flight was the last in a $230 million-plus effort to
test technology most likely to be initially used in
military aircraft, such as a bomber that could reach any
target on Earth within two hours of takeoff from the
United States, or to power missiles.

Scramjets may also provide an alternative to rockets for
space launches.

Unlike conventional jet engines which use rotating fan
blades to compress air for combustion, the X-43A has no
rotating engine parts. Instead it uses the underside of
the aircraft's forebody to "scoop" up and compress air
for mixing with hydrogen fuel.

The X-43A launched Tuesday was the last of three built
for NASA's Hyper-X program.

The first X-43A flight failed in 2001 when the booster
rocket veered off course and was destroyed.

The second X-43A successfully flew in March, reaching
Mach 6.83 - nearly 5,000 mph - and setting a world speed
record for a plane powered by an air-breathing engine.

That was more than double the top speed of the
jet-powered SR-71 Blackbird spyplane, which at slightly
more than Mach 3 is the fastest air-breathing, manned

The old X-15 was the fastest rocket-powered manned
airplane, hitting Mach 6.7. Rockets do not "breathe"
air, but instead carry oxidizers that are combined with
fuel to allow combustion.

Not having to carry oxygen is one of the advantages
scramjets hold over rockets. Rockets can also achieve
high speeds, but the weight of oxygen tanks or other
oxidizers reduces the amount of payload they can carry.

Tuesday's launch was expected to be the last research
flight for NASA's B-52, which is being retired after
some 40 years of service.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Where Next with North Korea? Report of the International Crisis Group

To confront the unacceptable risk of North Korea's
expanding nuclear arsenal, the U.S. must urgently set
out a comprehensive offer to Pyongyang to test once and
for all the regime's true willingness to give up its
nuclear program and weapons.

North Korea: Where Next for the Nuclear Talks?,* the
latest report from the International Crisis Group,
details an eight-step process under which Pyongyang
would reveal and dismantle various components of its
nuclear program while receiving a series of economic,
energy and security benefits. While there is no
guarantee that any negotiating strategy with the
unpredictable regime will work, only a serious proposal
from the U.S., after consultation with South Korea,
Japan, China and Russia, will put the other parties in a
position to increase pressure on North Korea should a
reasonable deal be rejected.

"There will be no agreement on coercive measures unless
the U.S. first lays out a detailed plan of what North
Korea can expect by way of economic assistance and
security guarantees", says Crisis Group President Gareth
Evans. "Indicating a rough direction of the process is
not enough; all parties need a detailed picture of the
destination if this is to be seen as a good-faith

North Korea's nuclear arsenal has grown to an alarming
level; with as many as ten nuclear weapons, it now has
enough bombs to deter an attack and still have some to
sell to other states or even terrorist groups. The high
risk demands urgent, concentrated action to dismantle
North Korea's nuclear program, and other policy concerns
such as missile controls and human rights, important as
they all are in their own right, must wait until this
critical problem is resolved.

U.S. demands that North Korea dismantle it programs
before any deal can be reached have been rebuffed, and
the talks have stalled. It is necessary to change tack.

By the end of the step-by-step process outlined in
Crisis Group's new report, North Korea would have given
up all its nuclear programs, and that would be monitored
by intrusive verification. In return it would have
diplomatic relations with Japan and exchanged liaison
offices with the U.S. It would receive a significant
input of energy assistance and aid from South Korea,
Japan and the EU. It would also have a conditional
multilateral security guarantee. Having given up its
weapons, it would be in a position to move forward with
full diplomatic relations with the U.S., sign a peace
treaty for the Korean Peninsula, and develop full
relations with international financial institutions.

"Of course, there is legitimate scepticism about
Pyongyang's real intentions to accept any deal, no
matter how reasonable", says Evans. "But the only way to
find out once and for all is to offer it a deal that all
five other parties see as reasonable."

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 485 555
946 Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601

To read the report:

Click the tittle of this article or copy the following

Towards a Yen Euro zone in Asia?

Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui said it would
have a stablizing effect on the global financial system
if a clear rival to the US dollar as a key global
currency were to emerge

Speaking at a symposium in Tokyo on the theme "The Euro:
Five Years On -- Implication for Asia", the Japan
central bank chief cited data showing the common
currency of the 12-nation European currency bloc is
emerging as a serious rival to the dollar as a key
currency for conducting global trade and investment

"In the past five years (since its launch in 1999), the
importance of the euro has increased considerably,"
Fukui told the seminar, which featured such other
speakers as European Central Bank vice-president Lucas
Papademos, and Toyoo Gyohten, the highly respected
former Japanese vice-minister for international affairs.
Fukui said more than 50 countries link their currencies
to the euro, while the proportion of foreign exchange
reserves held in euros has risen to 20 pct, and nearly a
third of the cross-border-issued bonds are now
denominated in euros. Fukui seemed to welcome the
growing prominence of the euro by referring to the
dangers associated with allowing any single currency to
dominate global commerce

"In such a situation, the economy of the key currency is
easily tempted to focus its economic policy on domestic
considerations," an apparent thinly veiled rebuke to the
economic policies followed by the US adminstration of
President George W Bush

"In today's globalized economy, this could lead to
undesirable ripple effects on the rest of the world,
through the fluctuations of the external value of the
key currency." Fukui said if there were two competing
key global currencies, "competition between them could
lead to more attention to the external value of key
currencies. This could have a positive effect on the
stability of the global financial system." The BoJ chief
briefly indicated that the Japanese yen also had a role
to play in that regard

"I believe that the yen can and should play a larger
role in the global market," Fukui said, citing trends
which could make that a certainty

"Considering the deepening economic relations between
Japan and the rest of Asia, Asia should benefit if the
use of the yen could be facilitated," Fukui told his
high-powered audience

In 2003, nearly half of Japan's foreign trade was with
Asia, up a third over the past decade

Fukui said the yen could play a larger role in both fund
management and fund-raising, especially in light of
Asia's strong demand for capital and Japan's vast pool
of savings

But the Japanese central bank chief dismissed the notion
that an Asian equivalent to the euro -- an Asian common
currency -- would emerge within the lifetime of any of
his grey-haired listeners

"Could we see a common currency area in Asia? For the
near future, you would agree that this is quite
unlikely," Fukui said

He subsequently indicated it could be 50 years before
Asia has a common currency -- the time it took a handful
of Europe's nations to embrace the concept

Great changes would need to occur, such as the
development of vibrant regional financial markets, made
possible by liberalized cross-border capital flows

Fukui said there is encouraging evidence that that is
already happening, beyond merely the tremendous increase
in inter-Asian trade

He cited in particular the example of the Asian Bond
Fund II project, promoted by the 11 central banks of the
EMEAP economies. EMEAP stands for the Executives'
Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks, an
organization founded in 1991 by the central banks of
Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea,
Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and