Saturday, May 02, 2009

North Korea spy-novels buzz

[North Korean spy Won Jeong-hwa]

More than 4500 people have been exposed as spies for
North Korea since the peninsula was divided in 1948,
according to South Korea's Defence Security Command.
With current crisis added to years of geopolitical
headaches, it is a source of inspiration for well
informed authors. Some of them are spies, others are
genuine ex-spooks.

The real spy

"Mused to the legendary World War One double agent
"Mata Hari", Ms. Won Jeong-hwa's life as a sexy spy
was the stuff of a thrilling movie script. Her
catalogue of deceit makes astonishing reading. There
were plots to assassinate South Korean agents with
poisoned needles, schemes to get a hold of photographs
of military installations and weapons systems,
kidnapping, maintaining a secret file of defectors
from North Korea and even setting up home with an army
officer from whom she extracted information. This
North Korean spy who used sex to extract military
secrets from army officers has been jailed for five
years by a a judge in the South Korean city of Suweon
who found her guilty of spying."

This was last year authentic spy story. This one is
recent: Who is the author? Secret... "Inspector O is
not real. He is the fictional protagonist of a series
of detective novels by a former Western intelligence
officer who uses the pseudonym James Church."

Extracts of Church's book:

"Is the shortage of thermoses in the novel actually a
code for missing centrifuges that used all the
aluminum tubes in the country? Inspector O, a
detective with North Korea's Ministry of People's
Security. He is a man who loves his country but
harbors a knowing skepticism about its leadership. He
rolls his eyes at the communist propaganda and balks
at wearing the red lapel pin of founder Kim Il Sung
that is de rigueur for North Koreans. He struggles to
keep his humanity in an authoritarian and increasingly
corrupt society."

[Picture of the former U.S. intelligence official who
writes under the pseudonym James Church. Ex spy who
studied for two decades North Korea's propaganda.]

Church first novel touches on North Korea's abduction of
Japanese citizens during the 1980s. The plot of
"Bamboo and Blood," the most recent work, revolves
around an Israeli effort to persuade North Korea to
stop selling missiles to Arab countries in return for
economic assistance. All three novels feature
struggles between O's Ministry of Public Security
(basically the police) and Big Brother-like agencies
wielding political power.

Church is convinced that in his frequent trips to
Pyongyang, he has met many Inspector O that is to say,
modern, clear-thinking people whose very existence
proves there is intelligent life within the North
Korean system.

"Inside the regime, whose face people see only through
stereotypes, there is in fact a society of individuals
who behave in recognizable ways,"
Church said during a
recent trip to Beijing.

Click the title for more on this new buzz!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Japan: 1st suspected case of "Influenza A (H1N1)" turned negative!

A world map of the WHO diseases outbreaks, May 1st


An exodus of people heading for their hometowns or
traveling to resorts at home and abroad for the Japan
Golden Week holiday are said to reach a peak on the
week end, overshadowed by growing concerns over the
spread of a new type of influenza. Expressways were
said to be congested across the nation from the early
saturday morning due partly to the introduction in
late March of two-year toll discounts on weekends and
national holidays.


The high school student in Yokohama who has been
admitted to a local hospital as the first suspected
case in Japan of the rapidly spreading new flu virus
tested negative Friday, the health ministry said. Test
results showed that the 17-year-old boy has been
infected only with a seasonal strain of the influenza

A detailed lab test was being conducted Friday at the
National Institute of Infectious Diseases after the
so-called PCR testing of genes conducted earlier
failed to determine whether the boy had the new strain
of flu. The boy, a second-year student at a high
school in Yokoyama's Sakae Ward, stayed in British
Columbia, Canada, on a school excursion from April 10
to 25 with 114 schoolmates and five teachers,
departing from and arriving at Narita International
Airport, according to his school. The boy has been
hospitalized in Yokohama since a preliminary test
showed he was positive for influenza A.

Japan's population is 127,078,679 people (2009).

In between in Geneva, the WHO (OMS) World Health
Organization said Thursday it will no longer use the
term "swine flu" for the name of a new strain of
influenza A virus rapidly spreading across the world,
citing protests from pork and other farm industries.
The organization will instead use the term "influenza
A (H1N1)"

Anyhow... people still journey abroad during Golden Week...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Deadly influenza virus


French: Les élevages de porcs ne sont pas, jusqu'à
preuve du contraire, responsables de l'épidémie de
grippe, selon le directeur général de l'Organisation
mondiale de la santé animale (OIE), Bernard Vallat.]
(Click sur le titre pour lire l'interview de B Vallat.)

English: The deadly influenza virus currently rampaging in
Mexico and other countries is by far transmitted only
among humans, rather than widely believed to have
originated in pigs, the head of the World Organization
for Animal Health (OIE) said Monday. The virus is a
cocktail, which combines the features of swine, bird
and human viruses. It is inaccurate to name the
disease "swine flu" though the swine flu virus played
a part in the outbreak, Bernard Vallat said. He is
the director general of the Paris-based OIE . Vallat
said he is worried about people's misconception about
the disease, which was caused in part by its misnomer
"swine flu." He said that as the virus is nonexistent
before, the disease got its current name in the early
stage of the outbreak. He recommended "North American
influenza" as a more reasonable term, as influenza
epidemics are customarily named after their places of
origin, Spanish flu, for instance.

"Based on assessment of all available information and
following several expert consultations, Dr Margaret
Chan, WHO's Director General raised the current level
of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to 5. She
stated that all countries should immediately activate
their pandemic preparedness plans. At this stage,
effective and essential measures include heightened
surveillance, early detection and treatment of cases,
and infection control in all health facilities."

The rest is here:

Ah, there is this too...

10/03/2009 13:26 (50 Days 19:14 minutes ago)
The FINANCIAL -- Sanofi-aventis (EURONEXT: SAN and
NYSE: SNY), announced on March 9 the signing of an
agreement with the Mexican authorities to build a €
100 million facility to manufacture influenza vaccine
in Mexico.

The announcement was made during a ceremony attended
by Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, and Nicolas
Sarkozy, President of France, who was in Mexico City
for a State visit.

[(L-R) Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, French President Nicolas
Sarkozy, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his
wife Margarita Zavala during a visit to the pyramids
of Teotihuaca

This facility will be built and operated by sanofi
pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis
Group, which was represented at the ceremony by Chris
Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofiaventis.

“By building this new facility, sanofi-aventis is
proud to contribute to the strengthening of Mexico’s
health infrastructure and is eager to support Mexico’s
exemplary commitment to public health through
influenza immunization and pandemic readiness”, said
Chris Viehbacher. “This investment illustrates
sanofi-aventis’ local approach to global health. This
facility will benefit public health in Mexico and the
Latin American region, in the context of influenza
pandemic preparedness”.

The agreement was signed by Birmex’ (Laboratorio de
Biológicos y Reactivos de México) and sanofi-aventis’
representatives in the presence of Dr. José Ángel
Córdova Villalobos, Minister of Health of Mexico.

Under the terms of the agreement, sanofi pasteur will
manufacture influenza vaccine in collaboration with
Birmex, a Mexican federal vaccine manufacturer. Birmex
will perform certain stages of manufacturing and will
be responsible for distributing influenza vaccines to
the public in Mexico.

Sanofi pasteur is planning to start construction of
the new vaccine manufacturing facility within a few
weeks. Upon completion within four years, the
facility will have a yearly capacity of up to 25
million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine.

The new influenza vaccine plant will be built in
Ocoyoacac, where sanofi-aventis already operates a
facility. The plant will be designed to switch to
pandemic vaccine manufacturing if a human influenza
pandemic is declared and a pandemic influenza strain
is identified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As the world leader in research, development and
manufacturing of influenza vaccines, sanofi pasteur is
working to develop new and improved influenza vaccines
to save lives and is actively involved in pandemic
preparedness. Over the last five years, sanofi
pasteur has been consistently investing in major
expansions of its influenza vaccine production
capacity in the United States, France, China, and now
Mexico. With the production of more than 170 million
doses of seasonal influenza vaccine in 2008, sanofi
pasteur confirmed its global influenza vaccine market

Consistency, right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chinese historians: "Beijing never compensated Nanking's rape victims"!

It came as a shock for all journalists and audience to
hear that the Chinese government never offered
compensations to the victims of the Rape of Nanking
1937 killed by the then called Japanese Imperial Army.

This is the statement made by Dr. Joseph Wong of the
Toronto (Canada) Association for Learning & Preserving
the History of WW2 in Asia during Monday's
presentation of a controversial documentary movie
about Iris Chang's book at the Foreign Correspondents'
club of Japan.

If this is a correct statement, it is never too late
to heal the unfortunate destiny of victimized families
and it will certainly cause a lot of uproar debates,
arguments and condemnations.

Extract of the book :
The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang *
Published by Penguin Books, 1998
ISBN 0140277447, 9780140277449

In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the
ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than
300,000 Chinese civilians were systematically raped,
tortured, and murdered a death toll exceeding that
of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors
and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written
what will surely be the definitive history of this
horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the
story from three perspectives: of the Japanese
soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians
who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and
Americans who refused to abandon the city and were
able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000
Chinese. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an
unlikely hero whom Chang calls the "Oskar Schindler of
and who worked tirelessly to protect the
innocent and publicize the horror. More than just
narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape
of Nanking analyzes the militaristic culture that
fostered in the Japanese soldiers a total disregard
for human life. Finally, it tells the appalling
story: about how the advent of the Cold War led to a
concerted effort on the part of the West and even the
Chinese to stifle open discussion of this atrocity.
Indeed, Chang characterizes this conspiracy of
silence, that persists to this day, as "a second

John Rabe

A film on the Nanking massacre got an award. The
Sino-German co-production “John Rabe,” which won best
film at the German Film Awards ceremony in Berlin last
week, is based on the true story of a German
businessman (sometimes referred to as “China’s Oskar
who aided Chinese refugees fleeing the
Japanese during the Nanking massacre in 1937.

In his diary kept during the aggression to the city
and its occupation by the Imperial Japanese Army, the
leader of the Safety Zone, John Rabe, wrote many
comments about Japanese atrocities. Quotes from John
E. Woods' book (1998). "The Good man of Nanking, the
Diaries of John Rabe."
page 77:

On the 17th December: « Two Japanese soldiers have
climbed over the garden wall and are about to break
into our house. When I appear they give the excuse
that they saw two Chinese soldiers climb over the
wall. When I show them my party badge, they return
the same way. In one of the houses in the narrow
street behind my garden wall, a woman was raped, and
then wounded in the neck with a bayonet. I managed to
get an ambulance so we can take her to Kulou Hospital.
(...) Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said
to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling College
Girls alone. You hear nothing but rape. If husbands
or brothers intervene, they're shot. What you hear
and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality
of the Japanese soldiers.»

*Iris Shun-Ru Chang 張純如

Author photograph by Jimmy Estimada, 2003

(March 28, 1968 – November 9, 2004) Iris Chang was an
American historian and journalist. She was best known
for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking
Massacre, The Rape of Nanking. She committed suicide
on November 9, 2004.

Prisoner of her sources...?