terça-feira, 2 de março de 2010
BEIJING: There should be more cooperation and less containment in Sino-U.S. relations, which suffered a "spring chill" at the beginning of 2010, said a spokesman for China's top political advisory body here Tuesday.
Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the third session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks at a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.
Zhao said since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1979, the China-U.S. relations had developed rapidly with the volume of bilateral trade expanding more than 100 times as well as a lot of cultural, political and economic exchanges, which benefited both sides.
U.S. President Barack Obama seemed to have some new thinking on the relations, but two events, which happened during the first 20 days of 2010, had chilled the China-U.S. ties, said Zhao, referring to the Obama administration's arms sales plan to Taiwan and Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama despite strong opposition from China.
"These two events damaged China's core interests," Zhao told hundreds of domestic and foreign journalists. "Changes in the China-U.S. relations are like changes in weather, from sunny days to cloudy days, and this has aroused Chinese people's concerns".
He said Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama "seriously disturbed" the Sino-U.S. relations, while the arms sales to Taiwan "seriously violated" three joint communiques between China and the United States and harmed China's national security and cross-Strait peace and stability.
"The responsibility of the setback of the Sino-U.S. relations lies with the U.S. side," he said. "This is like playing tennis, the United States served the ball and what China did was simply strike the ball back".
"For the sake of the interests of both countries, there should be more cooperation between China and the United States and less 'containment' from the United States," Zhao said.
"The Americans need to understand that the China-U.S. relation is like a car that have two drivers instead of one. The Chinese and Americans both have wheels and brakes, so they have to discuss with each other to drive the car forward on the right track," he said.
"Otherwise, the car will only spin around and stay where it is," he added.
The annual plenary session of the CPPCC National Committee will open Wednesday and more than 2,000 top political advisors are expected to make suggestions and proposals on state affairs.
By TARIQ STED TAREK | AP
Syrian President Bashar Assad meets with Iraqi Vice President Tarek Al-Hashemi, left, in Damascus onTuesday (AP)
DAMASCUS: Visiting Syria, Iraq's vice president said Tuesday his country wants to improve relations, months after Iraq charged Damascus with harboring suspects from huge Baghdad bombings last summer that killed about 100 people.
Tariq Al-Hashemi is the first senior Iraqi official to visit Damascus since massive truck bombs devastated the Iraqi foreign and finance ministries Aug. 19.
Altogether, 101 people died in blasts that day, all but eight in or near the government buildings.
The attacks seriously damaged Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's efforts to assure Iraqis that the US-trained Iraqi security forces would be able to maintain stability in the country after a US troop pullout.
After Iraq blamed Syria, Damascus countered that the allegations were politically motivated, demanding proof.
The two countries recalled their ambassadors, and the dispute escalated into a serious setback to efforts at repairing relationships strained for decades during Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq.
Al-Hashemi, who met with the Syrian President Bashar Assad, said his visit aimed to discuss ways of overcoming “disagreements among members of one family.” After meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Farouk Al-Sharaa, he told reporters that he discussed Iraq's wish to normalize relations.
“That (wish) was met by a good response” from the Syrian leadership, he said.
Al-Hashemi also discussed with Syrian officials upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq and was scheduled to meet with Iraqis in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis took refuge in Syria after fleeing violence at home.
Agathe Habyarimana, widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, was arrested in Paris early Tuesday and subsequently released on bail. Habyarimana is accused by Rwandan authorities of helping to plan the country’s 1994 genocide
By FRANCE 24
Agathe Habyarimana, widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, was arrested at her home in a Paris suburb by French authorities early Tuesday. The president’s widow stands accused of helping to plan the country's 1994 genocide in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died over a 100-day period.
Habyarimana, who has lived in France for several years, was arrested under an international arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan government. She was subsequently released on bail (referred to as ‘judicial review’ in France), the state prosecutor said.
Her arrest comes just a week after French President Nicolas Sarkozy flew into Rwanda to meet with his counterpart Paul Kagame. Her lawyer Phillipe Meilhac alleges that there is a direct link between Sarkozy’s visit and her arrest Tuesday.
Shortly after she was released on bail, Meilhac spoke to FRANCE 24. He said, “My client will have a meeting with the Prosecutor General of Paris in a few weeks. He has requested a more complete extradition dossier from the Rwandans”.
‘Lady Genocide’, as Habyarimana has been called by some, was regarded by many to have wielded much influence over her husband, and was a central figure in the powerful ‘akazu’ Hutu clique who are generally understood to have been responsible for the brutal slaughter.
The horrific genocide in Rwanda began just hours after a plane carrying president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it approached the capital, Kigali, on April 6, 1994. The frenzied massacre that followed is thought to have been pre-planned due to the speed with which it commenced after the plane was downed.
The slaughter only stopped when now-President Paul Kagame's Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, toppled the Hutu extremists.
"It is important that she is brought to justice"
Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama welcomed the news of her arrest, telling AFP, "Agathe Habyarimana is one of the main masterminds behind the genocide ... it is important she should be brought before the law”.
David Russell, the director of SURF Survivors Fund (a group which helps survivors of the Rwandan genocide), told FRANCE 24 in a telephone interview from Rwanda, “At last, justice is being done. We are delighted that Habyarimana has been arrested. For the victims, they were always frightened that she might come back, so today is a good day. However, there are more of them hiding in France, and I want to see them brought to justice”.
Despite this positive step, there is still a lot of bad feeling. Theodore Simburudali, the head of the survivors' association Ibuka, told AFP, "If Agathe Kanziga has been arrested that's good news. But why did France wait for so long? ... We've seen that in France genocidaires are arrested today and released tomorrow. For survivors it's just play-acting. Justice needs to be done".
Habyarimana had been seeking political asylum in France, but lost her final appeal in October. The Paris court ruled there were "serious reasons to suspect" she was involved "either as an instigator or accomplice" in the genocide.
Despite this arrest, it is as yet unclear whether she will be extradited to Rwanda as no such treaty currently exists with France. Russell, however, dismissed this as a detail, stating that the survivors would be happy just to know, “that she is off the streets, whether that is in France, Rwanda or even the USA”.
A hugely symbolic act
Sixteen years after the Rwandan genocide, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration is seeking to improve France’s complicated relations with the central African country.
Diplomatic ties between the two were severed in 2006 by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whom a French judge accused of involvement in the assassination of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.
Kigali in turn called France into question for its alleged role in the genocide. Rwanda's government and genocide survivor organisations, including Russell, have often accused France of training and arming the militias and former government troops who led the genocide. Rights groups have also put forth that France remains a “haven” for the perpetrators of the genocide.
However, Sarkozy extended the olive branch to his counterpart Paul Kagame on a state visit to Rwanda in late February, admitting that France had made "mistakes" at the time of the genocide, though stopping short of a full apology.
In what now appears to be a precursor to Habyarimana’s arrest, Sarkozy said while in Rwanda: ''We want those responsible for the genocide to be found and punished…. We have refused to grant political asylum to genocide fugitives”.
Russell told FRANCE 24 that after this highly symbolic arrest, “France is no longer a safe haven for them. France has seen the light. It is finally honouring its international obligations”.
US President may be having difficulties at home, but a new poll shows he’s greatly improved German-American relations and even created a few new Germany fans in the
The Local | Germany
Medical marijuana advocates upped the ante Tuesday in the legal battle over Los Angeles’ pot dispensaries by suing the city, claiming the ordinance that takes effect later this month is so restrictive it will cause even law-abiding businesses to shut down.
Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s main medical marijuana advocacy nonprofit, filed the lawsuit with the Venice Beach Care Center and the PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, two dispensaries that have operated in Los Angeles since 2006 -- before the city's moratorium on the centers took effect.
The 11-page suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court says the sweeping marijuana ordinance passed by the City Council in January and signed into law by the mayor Feb. 3 “severely restricts access to medical marijuana by effectively forcing plaintiffs, as well as the vast majority of collectives in the City, to close their doors”.
The suit alleges the city ordinance violates state law, and it seeks a court injunction and restraining order to stop the measure from being enforced. In the suit, dispensary operators object to the “onerous restrictions” of the law that is scheduled to take effect March 14, such as a rule that gives them only seven days to relocate to 1,000 feet away from schools, parks and places of worship but does not provide maps to show where they are allowed under the law.
"We want to work with the city to comply with its regulations, but such unreasonable requirements make compliance impossible," Yamileth Bolanos, operator of the PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, said in a statement.
The city attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. [Updated at 11:23 a.m.: An official with the city attorney's office said he had not reviewed the lawsuit and could not comment on specifics, but he noted its filing could be premature because the ordinance has not yet taken effect.
“We'll be prepared to respond in the court,” said William Carter, the city attorney’s chief deputy. “Regardless of this lawsuit, the city attorney's office will continue to enforce existing local and state law. This lawsuit does not affect our long-standing and ongoing enforcement efforts"].
The city prosecutor's office filed three lawsuits last month seeking court injunctions to force Organica in the Venice area and two Holistic Caregivers stores in South Los Angeles to stop all sales.
Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich has said that state law authorizes collectives only to grow marijuana and recover their actual costs, not to sell it.
Voters passed the state's medical marijuana initiative in 1996, and the Legislature adopted a law to expand access in 2003, but the courts still have not ruled directly on whether collectives can sell marijuana to their members.
Americans for Safe Access threatened to sue the city last week if it did not drop the Organica/Holistic Caregivers lawsuits, calling it part of a crackdown that goes beyond the scope of the new ordinance.
Kris Hermes, spokesman for the advocacy group, said the lawsuit filed Tuesday takes aim at the new ordinance, not the city attorney’s prosecutions.
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 1, 2010) -- Today, the Army announced its first internal applications-development challenge. The program, called "Apps for the Army," or A4A, gives Army personnel the opportunity to demonstrate their software- development skills.
Open to all Soldiers and Army civilians, the challenge's top submissions will be recognized at the LandWarNet Conference in August. Winners will receive monetary awards from a cash pool totaling $30,000.
Marvin Wages, program manager for A4A, said "making Apps for the Army a challenge with cash awards provides participants additional incentive to create an application. It also creates more interest" in the competition.
The Army's G-6, which is coordinating the A4A challenge, hopes the contest will improve current service capabilities or add new ones - all through the ingenuity of Soldiers and Army employees.
"We're building a culture of collaboration among our Army community to encourage smarter, better and faster technical solutions to meet operational needs," said Army chief information officer and G-6 Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson.
"Soldiers and Army civilians will be creating new mobile and Web applications of value for their peers - tools that enhance warfighting effectiveness and business productivity today," Sorenson said. "And, we're rewarding their innovation with recognition and cash".
Participation in A4A is limited to the first 100 Army personnel, to include active-duty Soldiers, Army Reserve and Army National Guard on active duty, and Army civilians who enroll. Only Army personnel can participate. Teamwork is encouraged, but not required, officials said, and participants can submit multiple entries.
A4A applications may tackle any aspect of Army information technology - distributed training, battle command, career management, continuing education, or news and information distribution, for example. A4A will use the latest in collaborative development media, G-6 officials said.
"Apps for the Army features an innovative cloud computing service for participants to use during software creation," Sorenson noted. "This is key because it eliminates the constraints of hardware provisioning prior to prototype evaluation".
The service, provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency and known as the Rapid Access Computing Environment, or RACE, offers access to on-demand virtual Windows and Linux development environments. Participants will be able to use all available programming languages supported by Windows Server and the Linux, Apache, MYSQL and PHP (LAMP) frameworks. They also will be able to build emulated Blackberry, iPhone and Android applications.
Forge.mil will serve as the collaborative software repository for competitors. The tools inherent in milBook and AKO will facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, problems and solutions relevant to the Apps for the Army initiative.
The registration form, rules and instructions are located at the Apps for the Army Web site: www.army.mil/ciog6/armyapps. Rolling registration begins March 1 and apps must be submitted by May 15. Please address questions to CIO/G6ArmyApps@conus.mil