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News & Reports 2011-02-20

时间:2011-05-06 05:40来源:互联网 提供网友:ty4116   字体: [ ]

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

Finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 dominant economies have reached consensus on indicators to monitor global economic imbalances.

World leaders react to the continuing unrest in Bahrain and the wave of anger spreading across the Arab world following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Pro-government demonstrators in Iran call for the demise of the country's opposition movement.

And a Turkish court jails a prominent journalist pending trial on charges linked to an alleged network accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Hot Issue Reports

French Finance Minister: G20 Financial Chiefs Reach Consensus

Finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 dominant economies have reached consensus on several indicators to monitor global economic imbalances.

At a news conference, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said that after two days of tense debate on "mutual economic assessment of all economies," "countries have reached compromises."

"The next step will be the guidelines and the following step will be the mutual assessment process. And it's a question of being focused and determined and respectful of other people's views. That's what we tried to do today, that's what we'll try to do tomorrow. It's an ongoing process."

According to the French Finance Minister, the indicators include some internal factors, such as public debt and fiscal deficits, private savings rate and private debt, and some external factors, such as trade balance and net investment income flows and transfers.

Interest payments for China's foreign currency reserves - the world's largest - will be excluded from the calculation of the current account balance.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he was encouraged by the "broad support" for the deal.

The meeting also agreed to enhance the role of the International Monetary Fund.

But IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned that despite the G20 consensus, the global economy was still not fully on the road to recovery.

"The recovery is a uneven within countries and we clearly see that unemployment is still very high, especially in advanced economies, that inequalities are increasing. So this kind of recovery is probably not the kind of recovery that can deliver a stable and sustainable growth….the social crisis is still there and very strong and for the people, that's what is important."

Both the IMF and the World Bank will present reports to the next meeting in April, when the second finance meeting under the French G20 presidency is to take place in the United States.

Future meetings are expected to identify coherent approaches and measures to deal with potentially destabilizing capital flows and global liquidity, as well as to discuss financial safety nets and the role of the special drawing rights.

Leaders Reacts over Unrest in Arab World

World leaders have reacted to the continuing unrest in Bahrain and the wave of anger that has spread across the Arab world following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd warned its citizens to reconsider any plans to travel to Bahrain.

"The Australian travel advisory for Bahrain now reads that Australians should reconsider their need to travel due to the unpredictable security situation as a result of recent clashes between protesters and government security forces, which have resulted in a number of fatalities and many more injured."

When meeting his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger in Canberra, Rudd said people in the region had the right to protest.

"We'd call upon all governments of the region, including those in Bahrain, and those in Libya and elsewhere, to respect the right of peaceful protest. This, we believe, is a universal right for all peoples to be able to exercise their voice, their political voice, without threat or the actuality of violence."

Protesters rejoiced as they resumed an occupation of Pearl Square after riot police fired tear gas and shotguns before withdrawing. Some 60 people have been reportedly injured.

While Bahrain's Sunni monarchy is holding initial talks with opposition parties, one prominent opposition leader said the withdrawal of the army ordered by the monarchy, was not enough to open talks.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has expressed his concern about the "unacceptable violence against protesters."

"And we remind all the governments in the region that it is important to respect the right to peaceful protest and not to use repression and violence against demonstrators."

U.S. President Barack Obama earlier spoke with Bahrain's king, condemning the violence and urging the government to show restraint. Obama said the stability of Bahrain depended upon respect for the rights of its people.

The island nation is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, the centrepiece of the Pentagon's efforts to confront Iranian military influence.

The continuing wave of anger in the Arab world followed successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak a week ago.

China Opposes Israel's Settlements Construction in Occupied Palestinian Territory: Envoy

China resolutely opposes the construction of settlements by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and supports the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people.

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong made the remarks after a Security Council voting on a UN draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement activities.

The United States, a permanent Security Council member, vetoed the draft resolution. All the other 14 Council members voted in favor of the draft resolution, co-sponsored by more than 120 UN members.

The Palestinian chief peace negotiator, Ghassan Khatib, described it as "a sad day for international law."

"The veto should have been cast for the continuation of settlement activities and not on those who seek international law and order to provide for, call to stop the settlement activities. I'm afraid that this veto will encourage the Israeli government with further dictation and settlements."

Israel responded by praising the United States for vetoing the vote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev said Israel "greatly appreciates" the American veto.

US Ambassador Susan Rice said the overriding issue for the Obama administration was whether the resolution would lead to renewed peace negotiations.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed just weeks after they restarted in September because Israel ended a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction.

It was the 10th US veto on a Middle East issue since 2001, and the first by the Obama administration.

At Least Two Killed in Yemen Anti-government Demonstrations

At least two people have been killed and dozens wounded during widespread demonstrations in Yemen.

Yemeni security forces and pro-government loyalists clashed with crowds demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule in several cities.

Witnesses said two people were killed by gunfire in the southern city of Aden as police tried to disperse crowds.

In the capital Sanaa, hundreds of Saleh loyalists gathered near Sanaa University as a small group broke away and attacked anti-Saleh protesters with sticks and rocks, resulting in the injury of dozens of people.

A cameraman for Saudi-owned al Arabiya television said plainclothes security men had attacked him.

"The supporters of the ruling party attacked me and hit me. Most of them were security offices dressed as civilians."

Saleh, whose country is struggling to quash al Qaeda militants, has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013 and not hand over power to his son.

Government Supporters Rallies in Tehran Calling for Execution of Opposition Leaders

Thousands of government supporters have called for the execution of opposition leaders in the Iranian capital Tehran after last week's antigovernment demonstrations.

Pro-government crowds flocked to Enghelab (Revolution) Square, calling for the demise of Iran's opposition movement.

"I have come to say I want to protect my leader. From the bottom of my heart I chant: Death to Mousavi, death to Karoubi, death to Khatami."

Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi became leaders of Iran's biggest protest movement after the disputed presidential election in 2009 in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected.

Hard-line cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during prayers that the opposition leaders had lost their reputation among the people and are practically "dead and executed." He called for more restrictions on the two, who are under house arrest, but still managed to organize Monday's opposition protest.

"Their communications with people should be completely cut out. They should not be able to receive and send messages. Their phone lines and internet should be cut. They should be prisoners in their home."

Jannati's proposal was echoed by the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani. He said Mousavi and Karroubi would be prevented from communicating with their supporters, and a possible trial was still on the agenda.

But there is still no concrete plan to arrest the two opposition leaders, possibly to avoid giving them more public attention.

Two German Soldiers Shot Dead by Gunman in Afghan Army Uniform

A man wearing an Afghan army uniform has opened fire at close range on coalition troops repairing a vehicle in northern Afghanistan, killing two German soldiers and wounding seven.

One of the casualties, a 30-year-old master sergeant, died shortly after the shooting.

The shooting occurred outside a coalition compound in the Baghlan provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri.

A NATO statement said coalition troops returned fire, critically injuring the shooter.

It was not known whether the attacker was an Afghan soldier or disguised as one.

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg expressed condolences to the victims.

"Once more, in the course of the deployment of the German army in Afghanistan, we have to mourn two German soldiers killed in action and seven injured, partially in a critical condition. The news is shocking for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the dead soldiers, their families and loved ones, their relatives."

In all, 47 German troops have died since the war started in 2001.

The shooting highlighted the challenges facing efforts to rapidly train government troops to take over security so that foreign forces can go home.

Turkey Jails 3 Journalists on Coup Allegation

A Turkish court has jailed a prominent Turkish journalist pending trial on charges linked to an alleged network accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Soner Yalcin, the owner of dissident website Oda TV, and two colleagues were jailed. Their homes were raided by police earlier this week after posting a video criticizing a police investigation into the alleged coup plot.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denied any government attempt to silence journalists and defended the raid, arguing that journalists should not be immune to prosecution.

Media reports said Yalcin and two of his colleagues were charged with being members of an alledged "terrorist group", "obtaining and publishing secret state security documents" and "inciting hatred".

The journalists were questioned by prosecutors handling the cases against the Ergenekon group, whose alleged members, including lawyers, writers and politicians, are accused of conspiracies against the government.

The EU and the Committee to Protect Journalists have accused Turkey of suppressing critical news.

The case has also prompted U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone to express concern about media freedom in Turkey.

Tayyip Erdogan responded by warning the envoy against interfering in Turkey's domestic affairs.

"Unfortunately someone believes in the speculation and has commented on it when he was not supposed to. He does not know Turkey. He is not aware of the laws in Turkey but he takes the bait and makes a statement."

The court case has revived a debate about press freedom.

The Istanbul-based Turkish Journalists' Association said thousands of journalists face prosecution, and about 60 are currently imprisoned for their writings or opinions.

Danish Supreme Court Verdict over Christiania: No Right over Land

The Danish Supreme Court has decided that residents of the Christiania neighborhood have no irrevocable right to use the land they have been occupying since the early 1970s.

The ruling ends a six-year legal standoff and means the government now has the green light to tear down scores of homes build without permits.

Christiania resident Hulda Mader says she is disappointed but did not expect any adverse reactions from residents as has happened in the past.

"It's not different from yesterday. I mean we've been struggling all these years, and there has been this threat from the government that they're going to throw us out. But the verdict said there is no hindrance in allowing us to stay, so I think people are disappointed, sad and annoyed, but they're not going to make trouble."

Located in the downtown area of Copenhagen, the self-proclaimed "free state" had sought to retain the right to use a former naval base since the early 1970s.

The neighborhood was created in 1971 when hippies squatted at the abandoned naval base.

With the consent of civic authorities, the residents were allowed to live free from official interference as long as they paid their taxes and utility bills.

But in 2004 authorities introduced a normalization process and cracked down on drug dealers in the area.

The 2004 law also aimed to develop the area's properties, forcing residents, including children, to pay rent.

But the measures for normalizing the legal status of the area have prompted several conflicts over the years.

Residents said the law violated their rights and took the case to court, but lost.

Colombian Government Reaches Agreement with Truck Drivers Union to End Two-week Strike

The Colombian government and truck drivers' unions have reached an agreement, ending a two-week transport strike that has seriously affected various areas of Bogota.

Thousands of truck drivers and their families affiliated with the Colombian Truckers Association have parked their vehicles along key roads of the Colombian capital to protest high fuel prices and low pay for two weeks.

Anti-riot police attacked drivers and their trucks with batons and repelled protesters with tear gas.

In the agreement, the ministry agreed to cancel a recent decree that cut out the minimal fees a truck driver is paid when transporting cargo from one location to another.

Colombian Transport Minister German Cardona.

"We are removing the decree (that caused the strike), and we will replace it with a new one that will be discussed and approved at a joint dialogue session that will end on June 15th of this year."

Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon, a former union leader, acted as mediator between the Ministry of Transport and the Colombian Association of Truck Drivers.

Colombia's truck drivers' union is very powerful, because the country's hilly terrain and limited railroads means almost all cargo must be transported by road.

Sri Lanka Releases Arrested Indian Fishermen

The Sri Lankan government has released 136 Indian fishermen who were apprehended for allegedly poaching in its waters.

Their release followed a flurry of diplomatic contact, including a personal phone call to Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris by his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna.

Foreign Minister Krishna responded by thanking Colombo for his support.

"At the same time I have special appeal to be made to the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and other regions that they should confine themselves to the Indian waters instead of straying into the Sri Lankan water."

The issue of fishermen has become a thorny one between the two south Asian neighbors.

In January, the Sri Lankan navy was accused of firing at and killing at least two Indian fishermen.

Sri Lankan fishermen also have accused their Indian counterparts of straying into their waters and indulging in poaching.

China Daily: Gov't Must Place Strict Controls on International Conventions

China's finance and foreign affairs ministries have decided to strictly control all international conventions held in the country.

It has been reported that the number of international conventions held in China will undergo proper approval procedure and budget oversight.

The two ministries jointly called for domestic conferences to follow international conventions and refrain from handing out gifts to participants and organizing free sightseeing trips for them.

An editorial in "China Daily" welcomes the move, saying it is a badly needed one.

It goes on to say that although the hosting of international events has become a favorite means of raising the country's global visibility with the added advantage that the state coffers appear inexhaustible, there is virtually no taxpayer oversight on how and how much public money is spent on the events.

The editorial also notes that in some ways, China has an obligation to play host to some of the world's most important conventions such as the Six-Party Talks on North Korea. But the country's thirst for international recognition has also cultivated an ambitious and lucrative convention and exhibition industry, which is eager to make every meeting and exhibition "international."

The editorial further points out that the easy money from and public officials' obsession with the fanfare results from some "international" meetings have become useless showcases that generate little except cheap praise or self-proclaimed "successes." It argues that such events are simply a waste of taxpayers' money.

The editorial also says although China needs exposure to international practices, such exposure should serve as an enlightening process and help public officials refine their conduct.

The editorial concludes that proper oversight of international conventions held in China is a practical way to reduce unnecessary spending and point out potential black holes in convention expenditures. But such oversight will be in vain unless the government subjects the budget plans of public institutions to strict scrutiny.

Ycwb.com: Highways Should Not Serve as Means of Increasing Gov't Coffers

It is a widely recognized fact nowadays in China that truck drivers will lose money if they do not overload their vehicles with cargo because of the numerous tolls they have to pay along the country's highways.

Statistics indicate that of the world's 140,000-kilometer toll roads, about 100,000 kilometers, or 70 percent, are in China.

A commentary on ycwb.com, a prominent local news website based in southern China, criticizes officials for using highway tolls to increase local government coffers. But some local officials argue that because the building of highways is financed through debt obligations, they must charge toll fees to pay it off.

The commentary argues that it is irrational to ask citizens to pay for the construction of highways, which are usually considered political achievements for local officials.

It further notes that the fact that Chinese highways serve to increase local government coffers reflects the mismanagement of the country's highway system, which not only push up logistical costs for commodities, but also further stimulate unfair market competition given the corruption that exists in the industry.

The commentary points out that numerous toll fees only benefit highway supervisors who can earn additional money from the penalty fees from overloaded trucks. It argues that such interest-driven motivation is the major reason why government officials are reluctant to regulate the mass management of the highway system.

The commentary concludes that as China strives to win global recognition as a market economy nation, its disorderly highway management system will hinder its efforts. It says a real market economy can only be realized with a legal and scientific highway management system.

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