AUSTRALIA, the US and Japan have sought to step up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear ambitions during the inaugural ministerial-level security talks between the three nations. In a joint statement issued after today's trilateral security dialogue in Sydney, the three nations called on Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program and also praised China's "constructive engagement" in the Asia Pacific region.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today ended her first official visit to Australia with the trilateral meeting, three years to the day after Prime Minister John Howard committed Australian troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq. While the trio discussed the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, foremost on the agenda was the worsening nuclear stand-off in Iran and the growing political and economic influence of China.
Dr Rice this week made it clear the US had serious concerns about China's military build-up, and called on China to be more transparent about increases in its defence spending. But in a joint statement after today's trilateral talks, the three nations said they "welcomed China's constructive engagement in the region".
Mr Downer said Australia, the US and Japan were extremely worried about Iran's nuclear program, amid suspicions the hardline Islamic state had lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), insisting for 18 years its nuclear program was intended only for civilian use. "There's no doubt about it, all of our countries are very concerned about the situation in Iran," Mr Downer said. "Iran should abandon its decision to proceed with its so-called research program into uranium enrichment.
"It should comply with resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency and fully cooperate with the United Nations ... and the broad wishes of the international community."
Mr Downer said Australia and Japan had strengthened political and strategic ties in recent years but China had nothing to fear from their closer relationship. "It's natural that countries that have a lot in common, like Australia, Japan and the US, spend a lot of time talking to each other," he said. "It's not for China to feel that we're ganging up on China. We certainly don't have a policy of ... trying to constrain China."
Dr Rice, Mr Downer and Mr Aso agreed to support emerging democracies in the Asia-Pacific region, while also calling on North Korea to return to the six-party talks about its nuclear weapons program. The joint statement also praised India's decision to place its civilian nuclear programs under international scrutiny.
After signing a deal to import nuclear technology from the US, India has asked Mr Howard to consider exporting uranium there to fulfil its burgeoning demand for energy. Such a move would require a major shift in Australia's nuclear policy which Mr Howard has said he cannot rule out.
The statement hailed today's talks as "a significant step in intensifying the strategic dialogue between our countries". "It's been a great pleasure to have Condi Rice here for a few days, and Taro Aso," Mr Downer said, before Dr Rice left for the Pacific islands. "These people are all good friends of Australia and this trilateral strategic dialogue ... has got off to a flying start."
Belarus's authoritarian president threatened to "wring the necks" of opponents preparing to take to the streets during tomorrow's elections, which he is widely expected to win with 70% of the vote. Alexander Lukashenko, who has been accused of heavy-handed tactics in attempting to prevent a repeat of the "revolutions" that took place in Georgia and neighbouring Ukraine, said yesterday that his liberal opposition had "neither the brains, the strength or the resources to take over anything".
Talk about a sore winner.
He added: "God forbid they should commit any sort of act in our country," he said. "We will wring their necks as one might a duck."
Victory should come easily for Mr Lukashenko, who is expected to win a third term making him Europe's longest serving leader. State television shows him in a land of plenty, riding high on economic stability and "independence" from an expansionist Nato to his west. But amid the harmony lies great discord. "Lukashenko looks tired and worried despite him having the vote sewn up," said one senior western diplomat, who concedes he may enjoy between 25% and 50% of the electorate's support.
The burly former collective farm boss is emboldening his enemies more than he is keeping his friends. In a week that saw dozens of opposition activists arrested and foreign election monitors turned away at the airport, the KGB - which retains its Soviet name - claimed that Georgian embassies in Lithuania and Ukraine were plotting to destabilise the vote.
Yesterday the Bush administration turned the screw on this "outpost of tyranny" by releasing a dossier detailing Mr Lukashenko's personal finances and Belarus's arms deals.
Heh, there's a neat trick.
The EU and the US have accused Mr Lukashenko of denying free speech and controlling the media, warning that "targeted sanctions" may follow if, as expected, observers declare the election fraudulent. The EU is funding an "independent radio station" that on Thursday began broadcasting from Poland.
Even Mr Lukashenko's ally, Moscow, has been muted in its support, although it is keen to prevent a repeat of the "revolutions" that turned Ukraine and Georgia towards the west. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, who feels little personal warmth for his Belarussian counterpart, has kept silent about an election that would draw both western condemnation and embarrassment for him during Russia's G8 presidency.
Yesterday Russia's human rights ombudsman said any violence against opposition protests would harm relations.
Protesters, due to hit the streets at 8pm tomorrow dressed for a "denim revolution", have been warned they could be charged with terrorism, and face the death penalty. "Without fear to hold it together this place would fall apart," joked one taxi driver.
Alexander Milinkevich, the main opposition candidate, has been accused of trying to seize power through a foreign-funded coup. At least 50 of his activists were arrested last week. "People are still very afraid, but we have politicised the country," Mr Milinkevich told the Guardian. "They are reacting to us."
The message from Minsk riot police to protesters yesterday was that they will be "forced to the ground". But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned of "strong international reaction" if violence were used on peaceful demonstrators.
Alexander Kozulin, another opposition candidate, was beaten by special forces officers when he tried to enter a hall where Mr Lukashenko was speaking. One of the assailants shot out the tyres of his car. Mr Kozulin was taken to a police station where he damaged a portrait of the president, for which he is now facing charges. "Lukashenko is the destabilising factor. We have a fascist state here," Mr Kozulin said. "It is 'Lukashism'. His place in The Hague has been freed by Milosevic."
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Producers of Steven Spielberg's T-V miniseries, "Into the West" are being sued because of a haircut. He should be sued for his mirror imaging of Mossad and Black September, in "Munich."
A Mescalero Apache family in New Mexico has filed a federal lawsuit claiming a set stylist cut their daughter's hair without regard for tribal customs. They're asking for more than 300-thousand dollars for emotional distress and damages.
The lawsuit claims the stylist cut the eight-year-old girl's hair to make her look more 'Indian' and like a male Indian child because there weren't enough young male extras. Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl's hair as she approaches puberty. "Tradition"? It wasn't that long ago that our tradition wouldn't let natives leave the reserves. We dumped ours; you dump yours.
The lawsuit names Turner Films and an unidentified stylist as defendants. Turner Films says it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Good, then we won't have to hear from terrible Ted.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs ||
03/18/2006 07:47 ||
Top|| File under:
So the kid just wandered onto the set and was scalped and forced to play a role? Or did her parents/guardians farm the kid out for an acting job and then get ticked off that their little star didn't get a speaking role?
Make no mistake, Apaches are still a warrior tribe. And while they don't have so damn many taboos as do the Navajo and Hopi, they take the ones they have seriously.
In this case, a young girl's coming of age ceremony is probably their biggest celebration. They permitted parts of one to be video taped some years ago. The ceremony lasts several days and the girl has seven bells beaten out of her in the process.
The cost can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The girl is regarded as tremendous good luck, so several hundred people want to touch her as many times as they can. Everything is covered with yellow corn pollen, which is also good luck.
The girl has a bodyguard of four old grandmothers, and goes through a dozen or more elaborate costume changes, leading into her doing a slow dance that lasts most of a day.
About every four years or so, one girl in particular is selected for the "giant size" version of the ceremony, and not only gets a small fortune in gifts, but is on the fast track to a leadership position in the tribe.
Yep, Spielberg and Co. really screwed up her bat Mitzvah all right.
I have some sympathy for this family. Whatever they might have been paid for the girl's participation was probably quite welcome: if they are traditionals they are probably living in poverty financially.
My guess is that they were given vague promises that nothing would be done with her and then, when the producers realized they didn't have enough boys, someone just grabbed her and started trimming.
'moose is right about the US military veterans in that tribe.
I lived in Alamogordo 1969-1970,and visited the Mescalero Indian reservation east of there. Not only are these people warriors, they're some of the most savvy cattle-breeders in the world. They also have money - millions, not pocket change. My wife worked (head bookkeeper) at a bank that handled a couple of their accounts. One of the local bank officers mouthed off to some friends, and was overheard by one of the trustees of the Mescalero accounts. The Mescaleros retaliated the next day by withdrawing over $6M from the bank and putting it in another bank. You do NOT cross these people - they have the power to retaliate.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
03/18/2006 18:38 Comments ||
I'd have $6 million dollars too if I didn't have to pay any taxes.
Thanks for the info on the Mescaleros, OP. Our daughter was friends with both Apaches and Navaho from NM. Their extended clans weren't in on the riches that it appears this group has and I just extrapolated from that.
Only 54 percent of Pakistan's population has latrine and toilet facilities, according to a study on sanitation facilities conducted by the environment ministry.
A greater proportion owns guns, and probably about the same proportion owns heavy weapons. Much better to spend the money on weaponry than on plumbing.
Out of this 54 percent, 70 percent reportedly live in urban areas, while 30 percent reside in rural areas. The report said that in urban areas only 44 percent of the households used underground drainage systems, while in rural areas, 68 percent of the households had no such system, adding that most of the drainage systems lacked maintenance. It was revealed that there were very few sewage treatment plants and over 50 percent of the urban population lived in 'katchi abadis' (slums) whose sanitation plans had not been integrated into the city's sanitation plans.
On the other hand, Pakistan does have a nuclear weapons program, so it considers itself a regional power.
Most small towns were found to be without an underground sewerage system, while most of them used open drains that posed health hazards to residents.
Approximately 5000 years ago, Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, on the very same real estate, had covered sewers. But they hadn't yet invented the turban, so that probably explains it.
It was further revealed that more than 50 percent of the garbage generated from major cities was lifted and dumped into sites that were not officially approved, while most cities were without any waste management system at all.
Islam is a supremacist ideology that blinds adherents to their abject primitivism. Wherever a Muslim has a problem, the savage will always point the blame the wrong way.
Muslim countries submit statistical data to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (most post some info in English). Their stats aren't something to be proud of; of course devout Muslims are incapable of shame.
Recent Pakistani immigrant joined our workplace. Peed in the corner of the stall, not the toilet. My fault, m'kay, I'll add a new section on toilet training.
What interested me was that when asked to use the toilet and shown accepted procedures, her reaction at the humiliation was to tell me that she "follows Allah" and that the (very nice) washroom is "harram" because infidels use it.
when asked to use the toilet and shown accepted procedures, her reaction at the humiliation was to tell me that she "follows Allah" and that the (very nice) washroom is "harram" because infidels use it.
And when you fail to keep her on after probation period, on the grounds that she failes to observe standard office hygeine or whatever, she will sue for religious discrimination. So be sure you can NAIL her on performance issues. or/and, write an explicit policy about bathroom use, back it up with a gazillian quotes from public health regulations, and restart her probation period.
Thinemp Whimble2412 - I call bullshit on that one.
Although I'll admit I've never been in the stall with any of them, all of the Muslims I know use the toilet in the proper manner. (And yes, they're observant, including fasting during Ramadan.)
This is not about religion, it's about public health laws. And her willful ignorance.
But as lotp says - document, document, document! Put everything in writing. "Religious freedom" doesn't give her the right to pee on the floor. Basic public health laws/regulations do give you the right to demand she doesn't if she wants to work there.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
03/18/2006 12:38 Comments ||
Gotta wonder what she does in her own home ya know?
Barb, we had a large Arab population at our univ and it took them the first year to learn to use the toilet. They stood on it and made a horrid mess. drove the school staff crazy. Sorry, TS just might be right.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
03/18/2006 17:11 Comments ||
Toilet lid perching it's called, correct balance is crucial. Wet Nike prints on the seat are a dead give away.... as is the muzzie no-flush policy. They really miss the small hose.
Tevye: As the good book says, when a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.
Mendel: Where does the book say that?
Tevye: Well, it doesn't say that exactly, but somewhere there is something about a chicken.
Police yesterday arrested an ally-turned-critic of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for illegal assembly as the crackdown on the president's foes continued two weeks after she lifted the state of emergency she imposed on the country to quell an alleged coup attempt. Two suspected followers of former Sen. Gregorio Honasan, wanted for his alleged role in last months thwarted coup, were also arrested, officials said.
Former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman was taken to a police station along with activist Vicente Romano as the two were leading a silent protest at Manilas popular Baywalk promenade. The two were with about 30 people wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan Oust Now, apparently calling for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign. Police said they were arrested for holding a rally without a permit. We are not holding a rally, we are just strolling. We are not disturbing anyone, we dont even have placards, said Soliman, one of 10 key Arroyo officials who resigned their positions in mid-2005 at the height of a crisis sparked by allegations that Arroyo cheated in the May 2004 elections.
"We wudn't doin' nuttin'! We wuz just walkin' down the street, mindin' our own bidniz..."
Honasan is the single most destablizing person in the Philippines. He has had a hand in every coup for the last 20 years. His partner COL Lim and Ping Lacson plan and organize coup after coup in attampts to destablize whoever is the pres, hoping for military rule. Last note is the rumor on the street there is that China funds Lacson and all this coup attempts.
An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale has rocked Indonesia's Maluku islands this week, triggering a small tsunami that has left three people dead. The Republika Daily quotes Buru deputy district chief Bakri Lumbessy as saying three people have died after waves as high as five metres swept away at least 116 village houses on Tuesday. Most of the village's 1,200 residents had fled to the hills to escape the tsunami.
Indonesia's Aceh province was devastated by a tsunami that hit nations around the Indian Ocean after being triggered by a 9.3-magnitude quake off Sumatra island on Boxing Day, 2004. Some 168,000 Acehnese were killed. Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.