Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan, bringing ferocious winds

  • Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday in Japan
  • Tokyo will likely get hit with severe winds and torrential rain

(CNN)A mammoth typhoon is closing in on Japan, hurling dangerous winds and threatening to cause major flooding and mudslides.

Typhoon Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday along Japan’s southern coast near Minamiizu, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

As of Sunday evening, Lan was whipping winds of 215 kilometers per hour (134 mph). Although the typhoon is weakening, Tokyo is expected to get hit with possibly damaging winds and heavy rains, Brink said.
The storm has already caused massive waves in South Korea.

Enormous waves crash onto the coast of Busan, South Korea, on Sunday. Fishing boats were forbidden from going out to sea.

Typhoon Lan is so enormous that its cloud field is larger than Japan, Brink said.
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On Sunday, Japanese voters participated in a snap general election that was expected to make Shinzo Abe the longest-serving leader in the country’s post-war history.
The turnout Sunday was stymied by the typhoon, but a record number of Japanese citizens voted earlier ahead of the storm.

China’s Leadership Doesn’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry At Trumps Idiocy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

June 2 at 6:55 AM
Japan’s environment minister is angry, Indians are outraged but China’s nationalist state media isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord was a “huge setback” in the global battle against climate change, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Friday, calling it a retreat from the “common aspiration of mankind for a low-carbon future.”The dismay from Asia carried additional sting as nations such as China and India — once scorned as runaway polluters — now portray themselves as responsible global citizens and leaders in trying to limit climate change.But if there was regret in Beijing, it was mixed with not a little gloating.

Citing environmentalists, Xinhua news agency called Trump “reckless and foolish,” and said he was isolating the United States. China Daily denounced the “single action of just one man” that can change the course of the world, drawing a direct parallel with former president George W. Bush and decisions taken in the name of the war on terror.

Fact Check: President Trump’s remarks on leaving the Paris climate accord
Fact Checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Lee examine several of President Trump’s claims from his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on Thursday.(Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

In Tokyo, the Japanese government issued a diplomatic statement calling the American decision “regrettable” and vowed to work with the other signatories to implement the treaty.

But Koichi Yamamoto, the environment minister, didn’t mince his words. “The decision made by American President Trump amounts to turning their backs on the wisdom of humanity. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry,” he told reporters.

But the clearest denunciation came, as it often does, from nationalist Chinese tabloid Global Times, a state-owned paper whose editorials don’t represent official policy but do often represent a strain of thinking within the Communist Party.

Hours before Trump made his announcement, it said America’s “selfishness and irresponsibility will be made clear to the world, crippling the country’s world leadership.”

Pointing out that the United States joined only Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting the accord, it argued that “the Trump administration doesn’t care about putting the U.S.’s reputation at risk.”

There is a certain irony in the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gases rounding on the United States for turning its back on a climate change accord, especially when China’s promises under that accord are not particularly ambitious — while U.S. emissions are already falling.

Play Video 2:02
Nine reactions to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal
Former president Barack Obama on June 1 said President Trump’s administration “joins a small handful of nations that reject the future” by withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.(Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As Trump himself pointed out in an attempt to justify his decision, China has only promised to cap carbon emissions by 2030, giving it theoretical carte blanche to raise its emissions levels every year for the next 13 years.

Yet Trump also failed to mention other important points: that Western nations are historically much more culpable than developing nations for global carbon emissions, and on a per capita basis continues to be by far the worst offenders.

He also failed to mention that China’s emissions have been stable or falling since 2013, and are forecast to fall by around 1 percent this year. Coal consumption fell by around 1.3 percent last year, the third annual fall in a row, while China is “smashing records” for solar panel installations, installing enough panels to cover three football pitches every single hour of the year, according to Greenpeace.

It is a dramatic development that has helped halt the rise of global CO2 emissions for the first time since a global climate change treaty was first signed almost three decades ago, the environmental advocacy group said.

It is also the sort of record that has prompted some environmentalists to talk of China taking over a leadership role vacated by the United States.

In Europe this week, Premier Li Keqiang appears to be grasping that challenge — or exploiting that vacuum.

He will join with the European Union on Friday in a commitment to cut back on fossil fuels, develop more green technology and help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut their emissions, Reuters reported.

There are parallels as well to China’s attempt to portray itself as a champion of economic globalization, with President Xi Jinping attempting to seize that mantle in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January as the United States threatened to become more protectionist.

Yet talk of China as a leader in trade and globalization overlooks one massive contradiction: its own increasingly protectionist attitude at home. Similarly, talk of Beijing as a leader in climate change also overlooks some uncomfortable facts.

As Greenpeace clean air campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta pointed out in a series of tweets on Thursday, leadership can involve taking action at home, symbolic or rhetorical steps, provision of finance to drive carbon cuts or diplomatic efforts.

“China has merits on all aspects but is no means a saint,” he tweeted.

China has been vocal in defending the Paris accord, and has become the world’s number one manufacturer, developer and exporter of renewable energy. But it remains by far the world’s leading polluter, has one of the world’s most CO2-intensive economic models, and continues to subsidize “dirty” sectors.

And it is building dozens of polluting, subsidized coal plants in other countries, that could lock them into a dirty development path, Myllyvirta said.

During his speech, Trump also railed against India, which he claimed was making its participation in the pact “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

The Times of India called it an “epic rant” with “hyperbolic falsehoods,” arguing in a piece by their Washington correspondent that U.S. aid to India is set to be whittled down to $34 million in 2018.

Experts from the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research’s “Initiative on Climate Energy and Environment” called Trump’s remarks on the climate pack “baffling” and said he displayed “a disturbing lack of knowledge” on how the climate pact works.

“India’s pledge does make a partial link between implementation and financial support from the global community, but does not state that India would only make an effort to limit carbon if international support is available,” senior fellow Navroz K. Dubash said in an interview.

More important, Dubash said, is to see what India has done since — shifting in a big way to renewable energy, so that it is likely to meet or exceed its pledge of make 40 percent of its electricity capacity fossil-fuel-free by 2030.

“Trump is hiding behind India’s poor who, meanwhile, are already making the transition to clean energy that Mr. Trump scorns as unviable,” he said.

In a commentary piece, China’s Xinhua argued that Trump’s decision to quit the Paris accord would “leave a fairly big shoe for a single country to fill,” while the Global Times claimed that China is “not interested in discussions about the leadership of fighting climate change.”

Under President Obama, cooperation between the world’s two largest polluters had been widely seen as a major achievement and a bright spot in relations between the two countries. This week, it is more likely to be seen as contest, and a point of friction.

Yet seeing climate change largely in geopolitical terms, as a battle for supremacy between American and Chinese leadership, could be missing the point.

“We don’t need one perfect leader, need lots of countries, states, firms to step up, laud progress and expose unhelpful policies,” Greenpeace’s Myllyvirta tweeted.

Annie Gowen in New Delhi, Anna Fifield in Tokyo and Shirley Feng in Beijing contributed to this report.

Japan’s military begins major drill with U.S. carriers watching North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Japan’s military begins major drill with U.S. carriers watching North Korea

Japan’s navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two U.S. aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday adding pressure on North Korea to halt an accelerating ballistic missile program.

Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force has sent two ships, including one of its four helicopter carriers, the Hyuga, to join the U.S carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, and their eight escort ships, Japan’s military said in a release.

Japanese Air Self Defence Force F-15s are taking part in simulated combat with U.S. Navy F-18 fighters at the same time, the military said.

“It’s the first time we have exercised with two carriers. It’s a major exercise for us,” a Japanese military spokesman said.

The Sea of Japan separates Japan from the Korean peninsula.

The United States sent the warships to the region after a surge of tension on the Korean peninsula over fears the North was about to conduct a sixth nuclear test, or another test in its bid to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the mainland United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to work with other countries to deter North Korea, which on Monday conducted a short-range ballistic missile test.

The missile reached an altitude of 120 km (75 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan in international waters, but inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone where it has jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of maritime resources.

The launch followed two successful tests of medium-to-long-range missiles in as many weeks as North Korea conducts tests at an unprecedented pace,

North Korea can already strike anywhere in Japan with missiles, raising concern in Tokyo that it could eventually be threatened by a North Korean nuclear strike.

South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, who took office on May 10, has taken a more conciliatory line than Abe, pledging to engage with his reclusive neighbor in dialogue.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Robert Birsel)

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage

By Dominique Patton and Sue-Lin Wong | BEIJING/PYONGYANG

China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concerns have grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the decentralization of the Korean peninsula.

“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing.

“Force cannot solve the problem, dialogue can be the only channel to resolve the problem.”

North Korea for its part denounced the United States for bringing “huge nuclear strategic assets” to the region.

A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Disarmament and Peace issued a statement condemning the United States for its attack on the Syrian airfield.

“The U.S. introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world’s biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war,” the North’s KCNA news agency said on Friday, citing the statement.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people cheering during an opening ceremony of a newly constructed residential complex in Ryomyong street in Pyongyang, North Korea April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

“This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment.”

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

On Saturday, it marks the “Day of the Sun”, the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung.

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

While Trump has put North Korea on notice that he will not tolerate any more provocation, U.S. officials have said his administration is focusing its strategy on tougher economic sanctions.

Trump said on Thursday North Korea was a problem that “will be taken care of” and he believed Chinese President Xi Jinping would “work very hard” to help resolve it.

Trump has also said the United States is prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary.

He diverted the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its strike group towards the Korean peninsula last weekend in a show of force. (tmsnrt.rs/2p1yGTQ)

The dollar fell on Friday against a basket of currencies, on track for a losing week as tension over North Korea underpinned the perceived safe-haven Japanese yen.

Media in Japan said the government confirmed it would take all precautions in the face of possible North Korean provocations.

The Nikkei business daily said government discussions included how to rescue the estimated 57,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea as well as how to cope with a possible flood of North Korean refugees coming to Japan, among whom might be North Korean spies and agents.

In Pyongyang, retired soldier Ho Song Chol told Reuters that North Korea would win should there be any conflict with the United States.

“We don’t think about other things, we just live in our belief that we will win as long as our Supreme Leader is with us,” Ho said, referring to Kim Jong Un.

Kang Gil-won, a 26-year-old graduate living in Seoul, said his biggest concern was not North Korea, but finding work in a tough job market.

“There’s no concern that war is going to break out tomorrow,” he told Reuters at a “study café” where many young job seekers prepare for interviews.

“Getting a job is a war that I feel in my bones.”

Many South Koreans, meanwhile, marked “Black Day” on Friday, but it had nothing to do with worry about North Korea.

Black Day is a day for singles, marked by eating “jajangmyeon”, a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of black beans. It’s celebrated by singles as a response to “White Day”, an Asian Valentine’s Day which falls a month earlier, on March 14.

(Additional reporting by Nick Macfie, James Pearson and Ju-min Park in SEOUL, Natalie Thomas in Pyongyang, Linda Sieg in TOKYO and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

 (LOOK AT THE SMILING AND CLAPPING FRAUDS AS THEY ATTEMPT TO NOT BE MURDERED BY THE LITTLE FAT BOY LUNATIC WITH THE BAD HAIRCUT)(TRS)
By Ju-min Park and Kaori Kaneko | SEOUL/TOKYO

South Korea and Japan said on Friday they would impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, following a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution imposed on the reclusive country this week.

North Korea has rejected the U.N. resolution, aimed at cutting Pyongyang’s annual export revenue by a quarter after its fifth and largest nuclear test in September, as a conspiracy masterminded by the United States to deny its sovereignty.

Both South Korea and Japan already have comprehensive unilateral sanctions in place against North Korea.

South Korea said in a statement its expanded measures would blacklist senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s closest aides, Choe Ryong Hae and Hwang Pyong So.

Hwang, at one point considered North Korea’s second-most powerful official outside the ruling Kim family, is already subject to U.S. Treasury sanctions.

South Korea also said it would ban entry from the South by foreign missile and nuclear experts if their visits to North Korea were deemed to be a threat to South Korean national interests.

Japan said on Friday it too would add to its own list of unilateral sanctions, including a ban on all ships that have called at ports in North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

“It is a new phase of threat that North Korea forced, carrying out nuclear tests twice this year and launching more than 20 missiles, and it is enhancing capability. Japan absolutely cannot tolerate these acts of violence,” Suga said.

“Japan will consider further measures depending on moves by North Korea and the international society,” he said.

Tokyo will freeze the assets of more groups and individuals connected to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, he said.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the Security Council on Wednesday the United States was realistic about what the new sanctions on North Korea could achieve.

“No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK (North Korea) regime for defying this council’s demands,” she said.

In February, Seoul suspended operations at a jointly run factory park just inside North Korea, ending the only significant daily interaction across the heavily fortified inter-Korean border.

In March, Seoul released a list of companies and individuals it said were connected to North Korea’s weapons trade and nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea said its new sanctions would expand the entities on that list to include Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co, a Chinese company sanctioned by the United States in September for using front companies to evade sanctions on North Korea’s banned programs.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was opposed to unilateral sanctions and urged countries to proceed cautiously.

“China always firmly opposes unilateral sanctions on a country outside the framework of U.N. Security Council sanctions, and is even more opposed to any party harming China’s reasonable and lawful interests through unilateral sanctions,” he told a regular news briefing.

The new U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution is intended to slash North Korea’s exports of coal, its biggest export item, by about 60 percent with an annual sales cap of $400.9 million, or 7.5 million metric tonnes, whichever is lower.

It also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports – and the sale of statues. Pyongyang is famous for building huge, socialist-style statues which it exports mainly to African countries.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim in SEOUL and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Tsunami hits Japan after 7.4 quake, Fukushima nuclear plant ops affected

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

Tsunami hits Japan after 7.4 quake, Fukushima nuclear plant ops affected

  • Reuters, Tokyo
  • |

  • Updated: Nov 22, 2016 07:25 IST
Passengers crowd at Sendai Station in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan on Tuesday after train services are suspended following an earthquake. Coastal residents in Japan were ordered to flee to higher ground on Tuesday after a strong earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture. (AP Photo)

A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan on Tuesday, briefly disrupting cooling functions at a nuclear plant and generating a tsunami that hit the same region devastated by a massive quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011.

The earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, had a magnitude of 7.4, the Japan Meteorological Service said, and was centred off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10km.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries several hours after the quake hit at 5:59 am (2059 GMT Monday).

A tsunami of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) had been observed around Sendai, about 70km north of Fukushima, with smaller waves hitting ports elsewhere along the coast, public broadcaster NHK said.

Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from harbours as tsunami warning signals wailed, after warnings of waves of up to 3 metres (10 feet) were issued.

“We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers,” a man in the city of Iwaki told NTV television network.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the tsunami threat had now largely passed.

“Sea level fluctuations may continue along some coasts of Japan over the next few hours,” it said.

The US Geological Survey measured Tuesday’s quake at magnitude 6.9, down from an initial 7.3.

All Japan’s nuclear power plants on the coast threatened by the tsunami are shut down in the wake of the March 2011 disaster, which knocked out Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spilling radiation into the air and sea.

A spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, said the cooling system for a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel at the reactor at its Fukushima Daini Plant had been halted. A spokesman said the cooling system had restarted soon after.

No other damage from the quake has been confirmed at any of its power plants, although there have been blackouts in some areas, the spokesperson said.

Only two reactors are operating in Japan, both in the southwest. Even when in shutdown, nuclear plants need cooling systems operating to keep spent fuel cool.

Tohoku Electric Power Co <9506.T> said there was no damage to its Onagawa nuclear plant, while the Kyodo news agency reported there were no irregularities at the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture.

An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant in Naraha town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on Tuesday. (Reuters via Kyodo)

Coast evacuated

One woman suffered cuts to her head from falling dishes, Kyodo news agency reported, citing fire department officials. Japanese Minister for Disaster Management Jun Matsumoto told reporters about three hours after the quake that there had been no reports of significant injuries so far.

NHK showed footage of residents of Ishinomaki, a city badly hit in 2011, standing on a hill dressed in hats and heavy coats, staring down at the ocean. Several thousand people along the coast evacuated or were told to evacuate.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The March 11, 2011, quake was magnitude 9, the strongest quake in Japan on record. The massive tsunami it triggered caused the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

Nissan Motor Co said it would suspend work at its engine factory in Fukushima at least until the latest tsunami warning was lifted. A spokesman said there were no injuries or damage at the plant, which was badly damaged in the 2011 disaster.

Separately, Toyota Motor Corp said all its factories in northeastern Japan were operating as usual.

An Iwaki city fire department official said there was smoke or fire at Kureha’s research centre in a petrochemical complex in Iwaki city at 6:17 am (2117 GMT Monday) but it was extinguished soon after. Other details were not clear, he said, but no other major damage had been reported in the city so far.

Japan’s famous Shinkansen bullet trains were halted along one stretch of track and some other train lines were also stopped.

One hotel in Ofunato, also badly hit by the 2011 quake, initially told guests to stay in the facility but later bussed them to higher ground.

Japanese financial markets were little affected, with Nikkei futures <NKc1> recovering after a brief fall and the yen up a touch against the US dollar, although still near a five-month low hit earlier in the session.

As China Threatens: India And Japan Choose To Grow Closer With Each Other & U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

JAPAN

What to Know About Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Japan

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Friday, commencing a three-day bilateral meeting in Japan, to discuss developing the two countries’ economic and strategic relationship.

“Japan may be on its way to becoming one of India’s most important strategic partners, some years from now,” Sanjib Baruah, an honorary research professor at India’s Center for Policy Research think-tank and professor at Bard College, tells TIME. “[But] China is the elephant in the room.”

Traditional alliances in the region are shifting, as Russia — one of India’s biggest arms suppliers — seeks stronger relationships with Pakistan and China. As the country looks to phase out its phase out its fleet of Soviet-era aircrafts, India has increasingly looked to Washington, and American defense companies for military equipment.

The meeting with Japan is indicative of a continuing pivot for India as the two countries discuss deals ranging from a highly coveted civil nuclear cooperation pact to a defense trade agreement worth more than a billion dollars.

“There is always some nervousness in Indian policy circles that the U.S. may be insufficiently appreciative of India’s desire for strategic autonomy. But with Japan there is no such baggage,” says Baruah. “In the long run I can see Japan occupying the kind of place that Russia once did in Indian foreign and defense policy.”

Here’s what you need to know about Modi’s visit to Japan.

1. Pomp and circumstance

Modi’s visit was preceded by much fanfare as 32 members of India’s military band will participate in Japan’s Self Defense Forces 2016 Marching Festival for the first time, celebrating the two countries’ efforts to developing closer strategic ties. According to The Hindustan Times, the festival, which was held in Tokyo this year, is a tradition going back more than half a century and draws audiences of more than 50,000 people. Although India’s marching band has been in Tokyo since earlier this week, the actual festival will take place from Nov. 11 to 13, during Modi’s visit. While the march is a largely symbolic overture, it sets the tone for a meeting highly anticipated in bringing the two countries together both economically, as well as strategically.

2. Search and rescue planes

The meeting will also finalize one of the first military sale’s Japan has made since lifting a 50-year-old export ban on arms sales two years ago. According to Reuters, India will buy 12 rescue water-planes from Japan, worth an estimated $1.6 billion. The deal will be included in the memorandum of understanding signed by Prime Minister Abe and Modi during the summit.

3. Civil nuclear cooperation-pact

Modi and Abe will also conclude a much-anticipated civil nuclear-cooperation pact, which would allow Japan to sell nuclear technology to India. According to the Japan Times, the pact will benefit Japanese nuclear-component manufacturers who suffered setbacks after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The deal may also mark the first time Japan has sold nuclear technology to a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Negotiations began in 2010, before either Prime Minister was elected, and the two leaders reached a memorandum of understanding in December of last year, during Abe’s visit to India. Abe’s Vice-Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama traveled to India last month to put finishing touches on the deal.

4. Focus on Regional Security

Despite the promises of the meeting, some experts see the recent U.S. election as a monkey-wrench in terms of projected gains from the bilateral talks — as much of the long-term success of the meeting will hinge on U.S. influence in the region. There is also uncertainty as to how the new U.S. administration, under President-elect Donald Trump, will respond to its alliances around the world, especially in Asia.

“With the election of Trump, the containment strategy towards China embraced by the U.S. and Japan looks uncertain at best,” Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies in Japan’s Temple University tells TIME.

Although, there has been little indication of Trump’s policies, some fear his “America First” policy speech last April, raised serious questions as to America’s future global commitment in Asia.

“The Trump factor reinforces the perception that the U.S. is a declining power in Asia, and leaders will act accordingly,” says Kingston.

Among Japan’s largest concerns is China’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea. As an island nation, with very few natural resources, the disputed waterway is Japan’s cheapest trade corridor. For this reason, China’s militarization of the sea is of great concern to Japan and one of the areas in which it seeks stronger rhetoric from India.

While India issued a joint statement with the U.S. in January, “[calling] on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means,” the country has not risked adopting stronger rhetoric against China’s actions in the contested waters.

Ahead of Modi’s meeting with Abe, China’s state-run Global Times, warned India of “great losses” should New Delhi decide to call on Beijing to respect the Hague tribunal’s arbitration ruling rebuking China’s behavior in the South China Sea. Since then, the Times of India reported, Beijing’s foreign ministry has called on New Delhi to “respect [the] legitimate concerns” of India’s northern neighbor during the Indian prime minister’s meeting with Abe.

Although India would like to check the growing influence of China in the region, “China has significant capacity to cause trouble for India in its immediate neighborhood,” says research professor Baruah. For now, it isn’t in India’s best interest to antagonize the Asian giant — especially when there is still much trepidation as to Trump’s policies and influence in the region.

“Everyone is on ‘wait and see’ mode to gauge how Trump will act, because on the campaign trail he was a loose cannon,” says Kingston.

Shanghai China Now Ranked 16th Among World Financial Hubs

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Global survey ranks city 16th among financial hubs

SHANGHAI ranked 16th in a list of 87 global financial hubs, with Shenzhen at 22nd and Beijing at 26th place, a survey showed yesterday.

London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo were ranked in the top five, according to the Global Financial Centers Index report.

Shanghai stayed sixth in Asia rankings, a repeat of its position in the prior survey released in March. However, the city’s financial infrastructure gained higher points.

The index is compiled by the London-based Z/Yen Group and the non-official think tank China Development Institute. The index began the ranking in 2007, featuring five sub-indexes of human resources, business environment, entry barrier, infrastructure and general features.

Shanghai ranked fifth in 2011, but has since been surpassed by cities such as Los Angeles and Montreal, due to fast development of financial technology firms and better plans to deal with post-economic crisis problems.

“I believe Shanghai has real capacity,” said Mark Yeandle, associate director of the Z/Yen Group. “If we give it some true light in years to come, Shanghai might rank back among the top-10 centers though that’s with the expectation of how long it will take for the yuan to become truly internationalized.”

Shanghai aims to become an influential global financial center by 2020, “in accordance with China’s economic strength and a broader use of the yuan,” Zhen Yang, director-general of the Shanghai Financial Service Office, said in a speech yesterday.

The country’s currency will be included in the International Monetary Fund’s currency basket from October 1, holding a 10.9 percent weighting in the Special Drawing Rights administered by the fund, as China looks for a bigger say in the global market.

Reality Is: Honesty Or Truthfulness Is Not Tolerated Concerning Islam

(This article is courtesy of the Times of Israel)

After 4 years, Turkish pianist cleared of insulting Islam

A Turkish court has acquitted world-renowned pianist Fazil Say of blasphemy on Wednesday, four years after he first went on trial on charges of insulting Islam in a case that raised alarm about freedom of expression in Turkey.

The Istanbul court ruling ends a long-running legal saga which began in October 2012 when Say went on trial on charges “insulting religious beliefs” in a series of Twitter posts.

In a hugely convoluted process, the Turkish classical star was initially handed a 10-month jail sentence in 2013 before a retrial was ordered the same year in which he received an identical sentence.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say, center, stands during a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Virginia Mayo)

Turkish pianist Fazil Say, center, stands during a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Virginia Mayo)

But the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2015 overturned the sentence, sending it back to a lower court for a final ruling.

And the Istanbul court on Wednesday supported the appeal court decision to overturn the sentence against Say and ruled he should be acquitted, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Say, 45, has played with orchestras across the world including in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel and regularly gives sold-out solo recitals that often mix Mozart with Turkish traditional sounds.

The charismatic pianist — who is also a renowned composer — was prosecuted for Twitter posts in 2012 that allegedly attacked Muslims.

One of which was a re-tweet which said: “I am not sure if you have also realized it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists. Is this a paradox?”

Was It Honest And Fair That The U.S. Ladies Relay Team Got A Redo?

 

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Chinese Netizens Fury Over Outrageous US Women’s Solo Run in Relay Heats

2016/08/19
Chen Xiaoli
 (I am an American yet I agree with the Chinese ladies being upset with this decision. I only wish honesty in all things and I do not feel that this was a fair decision.)

The United States controversially qualified for the women’s 4x100m relay final at the Rio Olympics, recording the fastest time in the semifinals after being granted a re-run and competing alone. The result meant China missed out on the final next day after qualifying eighth fastest, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The reigning Olympic champion dropped the baton during the second exchange between Allyson Felix and English Gardner in the second heat.

The Americans protested, claiming Brazilian Franciela Krasucki bumped Felix before the handover.

Race officials then ruled that the Americans must run again, in a highly unusual solo-flying lap — to beat China’s eighth fastest qualifying time of 42.70sec.

Most of the American netizens were happy at this unusual development. A netizen called silkkyfingazz said, “It was a fair and just decision. Fair is fair if it was Jamaica we would have wanted the same opportunity. Justice has been done. Well done by the IOC.”

A netizen from Colorado said, “Trying not to be biased. I think the officials got this one right.”

A netizen from Hawaii also commented, “She was bumped. Glad they got the redo.”

But one poster from Illinois saw it differently. “Do you believe any other country would get a second chance in this situation? Especially Russians? US would be screaming ‘bloody murder’ first. Hypocrites!”

However, the decision angered Chinese officials and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) dismissed their protest.

Chinese athlete Liang Xiaojing questioned, “Where is the pure sport?”

CCTV commentator Yang Jian said on Weibo, “The decision was made against the regularity in relay races and even in all athletic contests.”


Chinese social media users were outraged by the development.

One of them said: “The US team shouldn’t re-run, but Brazil should be disqualified. Otherwise, all the teams should compete again and not just the US alone. What a weird competition!”

“Take pity on our girls. Be strong!”

“The Olympic spirit disappeared. So sad!”

“This is an insult to the athletes. It’s unfair!”

Chinese Athletics Team also said on its official Weibo account, “We refuse to accept the result, but we obey the rules. That is the tolerance of Chinese track and field athletes! Cheer up, Chinese team, Chinese athletics. Girls, we feel proud of you!” It also posted a picture saying, “We don’t re-run, but we’ll re-start. See you in Tokyo!”

 

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