Asia

China’s economy to overtake US in next four years, says OECD

China’s economy to overtake US in next four years, says OECD

Guardian – China will overtake the US in the next four years to become the largest economy in the world, says a leading international thinktank. The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said China’s economy will be larger than the combined economies of the eurozone countries by the end of this year, and will overtake the US by the end of 2016. Read Article

Internet Freedom Under Attack – Google services blocked in China

Guardian – Google has said that said that several of its online services have been blocked in China – just after the country’s once-in-a-decade meeting to transfer power to a new generation of leaders got underway. Traffic to its services in China dropped sharply on Friday evening according to an online “Transparency Report” website operated by Google, which measures traffic to its sites around the world. Google’s search engine and its Gmail web email were among the services affected in China, where the internet company has had a fractious relationship with the authorities. Read Article

Hu warns of corruption as key Chinese leadership meeting begins

CNN – Chinese President Hu Jintao, set to begin handing over power to his successor, warned Thursday that a failure to deal with corruption could bring down China’s ruling Communist Party and the state it controls. Hu was speaking at the party’s 18th National Congress in Beijing, a key meeting of top officials that will usher in a new set of leaders of the world’s most populous nation. After a decade in power, Hu is expected to hand over the party’s top job to Vice President Xi Jinping. Read article

Car bomb injures 21 outside Pakistani paramilitary building

CNN – A truck laden with explosives rammed into the wall of a paramilitary complex in Pakistan on Thursday and detonated, a military spokesman said. The blast in Karachi injured 21 — three critically — and damaged the wall of a Rangers housing complex, said Maj. Bilal Farooq. No deaths were reported. Farooq condemned the attack as a “cowardly act.” The truck had more than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of explosive material, said Karachi police Spokesman Javed Odho. Read Article

UK to end financial aid to India by 2015

BBC – The UK is to end financial aid to India by 2015, international development secretary Justine Greening has said. Support will be phased out between now and 2015, saving about £200m ($319m), and the UK’s focus will then shift to offering technical assistance. Ms Greening said the move, which will be popular with Tory MPs, reflected India’s economic progress and status. Giving his reaction, India’s foreign minister Salman Khurshid said: “Aid is the past and trade is the future.” Read Article

Germany sees progress in fight against debt crisis

DW – Euro-bashing seems to be the order of the day at the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Tokyo. Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble staunchly counters the trend. The debate in Tokyo is focused on the European debt crisis: IMF Managing Director Christina Lagarde branded it the epicenter of the global economic crisis and Jose Vinals, the head of the IMF’s monetary and capital markets department, warned Europe might face another credit crunch. Read Article

On hunger strike for 12 years

Aljazeera – Frail and suffering after being on fast for more than 12 years, Irom Sharmila proclaims she will die on hunger strike unless India repeals the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) . The AFSPA gives security forces sweeping powers,including the power to shoot people dead on mere suspicion, while operating in areas afflicted by rebellions – like in Sharmila’s Manipur state on India’s far eastern border with Myanmar (Burma). Read Article

Bahrain strips Shiite activists of citizenship amid unrest

CNN – Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of 31 Shiite activists, the latest clampdown on the opposition amid continued unrest in the Persian Gulf kingdom. The state-run Bahrain TV announced the move Tuesday evening, citing an Interior Ministry statement. The television anchor read out the names of the 31 activists, which included Jawad Fairouz, a former member of parliament for the Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq, and his brother, Jalal. Read Article

Despite Tensions, U.S. and Japan Begin a New Set of War Games

IHT – As Chinese surveillance ships continued their patrols near a disputed archipelago, and with the Chinese Communist Party preparing to open a landmark meeting in Beijing on Thursday, the United States and Japan went ahead with a large military exercise in the region. The 11-day exercise, dubbed Keen Sword, which began Monday, involves 34,100 troops from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and more than 10,000 American land, air and naval forces. Keen Sword was originally planned to include an operation Monday that simulated the re-taking of an island from an enemy force, according to the Kyodo news agency in Japan. Read Article

Bahrain revokes citizenships of 31 people

Aljazeera – Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenships of 31 people, among them two former members of parliament, for having “undermined state security,” state news agency BNA reported. The names of the 31 activists, including brothers Jawad and Jalal Fairuz, both ex-MPs who represented the opposition Shia al-Wefaq party, were listed in Wednesday’s report, which quoted an interior ministry statement. Also named was Ali Mashaima, son of prominent activist Hassan Mashaima who is head of the Shia opposition movement Haq and who is serving a life sentence for allegedly plotting against the monarchy. Read Article

Six Tibetans set themselves alight

DW – Six Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China in an escalating wave of protest against Beijing’s rule in Tibet. The self-immolations took place on the eve of a congress opening to steer China’s leadership change. A man set himself ablaze on Thursday in the Tibetan-inhabited Huangnan prefecture in Qinghai province where a 23-year-old woman self-immolated and died on Wednesday, Tibetan exiles and rights groups said on Thursday. Read Article

US Alleges Michigan Couple Stole GM Secrets for Chinese

MoneyNews – A former General Motors Co. engineer and her husband stole trade secrets related to hybrid car technology from the automaker to use in developing such vehicles in China, a U.S. prosecutor said at the beginning of trial. Shanshan Du, the former GM employee, copied the Detroit- based company’s private information on the motor control of hybrids and provided documents to her husband, Yu Qin, the government alleges. Qin used the trade secrets to seek business ventures or employment with GM’s competitors, including the Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co., the U.S. said. General Motors contends that the trade secrets at issue are worth more than $40 million, prosecutors said. Read Article

Bahrain revokes 31 opposition activists’ citizenship

BBC – Bahrain’s government has revoked the citizenship of 31 opposition activists for “undermining state security”. An interior ministry statement published by state media said Article 10 of the Citizenship Law permitted the “re-evaluation of nationality”. Those affected include Jawad and Jalal Fairuz, former MPs for the leading Shia movement, al-Wifaq, and Ali Mushaimaa, son of al-Haq’s imprisoned leader. Last week, the government banned all public gatherings and rallies. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Al Khalifah said “repeated abuse” of the rights to freedom of speech and expression could no longer be accepted. Read Article

Asian Stocks Advance, Dollar Weakens as Obama Wins Re-Election

Bloomberg – Asian stocks rose, U.S. index futures pared losses and the dollar weakened after President Barack Obama won re-election. Metals prices climbed and Treasuries headed for the biggest gain in a week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) advanced 0.6 percent at 2:57 p.m. in Tokyo, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slid 0.3 percent after earlier dropping as much as 1 percent. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield declined six basis points to 1.69 percent. The dollar fell against 15 of its 16 major peers and dropped 0.3 percent against the yen. Copper rallied 0.6 percent and gold increased for a third day. Read Article

South Korea widens nuclear lapses probe; KEPCO chief resigns

Reuters – South Korea widened a probe into how thousands of parts for its nuclear reactors were supplied using forged safety documents, with regulators set to inspect all 23 of the country’s facilities – a move that could test public support for the industry and threaten billions of dollars worth of exports. Two reactors remained shut on Wednesday, and five others are closed for maintenance, or through other glitches, raising the prospect of winter power shortages. The nuclear industry supplies close to a third of South Korea’s electricity. Read article

Palm oil plantations fuel deforestation and forest rights violations

TOI – Palm oil may be the largest source of vegetable oil; it is also the leading cause behind losing precious primary forests in South East Asia. Palm oil companies are allegedly violating forest rights of tribals, polluting water bodies and grabbing too much of virgin forest land in different parts of Asia and Africa, according to a statement issued by Forest Peoples Program and SawitWatch, an NGO in Indonesia.
The latest violation case is by Indonesia’s largest palm oil company that allegedly ran in to trouble when tribal communities in Liberia complained about the acquisition of about 33,000 ha. Read article

Election day uncertainty felt in Asian stock market

DW – Growth has steadied for the US dollar and euro in Asian markets. Investors are increasingly cautious on the day of the election, while doubts remain over Greece’s ability to pass financial reform. The uncertainty of the US presidential election was felt around the world Tuesday as the US dollar and Asian shares opened to mixed results. The dollar and euro both weakened in comparison to the Japanese yen. The dollar’s decline in growth comes during a nearly two-month high for the currency. Read Article

Chinese women’s rights activist sent to labor camp again

Reuters – A Chinese woman who has campaigned against the strict one-child policy has been sent to labor camp for one and a half years, the third time she has been detained for criticizing the government, her husband said on Tuesday. Mao Hengfeng, who lives in Shanghai, was seized in Beijing by a team of security officials on September 20 when she was petitioning the authorities for the rights abuses she suffered during her previous labor camp sentences, her husband, Wu Xuewei, told Reuters. Mao’s sentence comes as authorities round up dissidents ahead of the ruling Communist Party’s all-important congress, which starts on Thursday and will usher in a generational leadership change. Read Article

Bomb kills police chief in Afghanistan

Al Jazeera – Officials say a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan has killed a district police chief, as fighters increasingly target Afghan security forces amid the draw-down of foreign troops. Ahmadulah Nazik, administrator of Dand district in Kandahar province, said Rahmatullah Khan died Saturday while trying to reach a police outpost said to be under Taliban attack. In a statement issued online, the provincial governor’s office said governor Tooryalai Wesa “expresses his most heartfelt condolences to the family of Ramitullah Khan and prays for the quick recovery of the policeman wounded. He also strongly condemns this cowardly act of those enemies of peace”. Read Article

Kuwaiti security forces use tear gas at rally

Aljazeera – Kuwaiti riot police have used stun grenades, tear gas and smoke bombs against thousands of demonstrators who blocked a major road south of the capital. Thousands of opposition supporters planned a rally to protest against a new electoral law on Sunday. The country’s security forces completely sealed off the original protest site in Kuwait City, so organisers told supporters via Twitter to gather instead at Mishref, about 20km south of the capital. Although most roads leading to the new location were quickly closed off by police, thousands of people still managed to get through and immediately started marching. Read Article