National Security Committee meeting on Gitmo detainees postponed

Originally published by MINIVAN NEWS,19 May 2010

By Laura Restrepo Ortega

Today’s National Security Committee meeting regarding the transfer of Guantánamo Bay inmates to the Maldives [1] has been rescheduled, after Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid requested to cancel it.

The meeting has been postponed for next week, after a call from Shahid to the Chairman of the committee and leader of the People’s Alliance (PA), Abdulla Yameen.

He wanted to postpone the meeting until Parliament reconvenes in June and all committee members are back from leave.

Yameen said the meeting “was cancelled by the speaker,” and has been rescheduled for next Sunday. He said although he was not sure if all members of the committee would be present at the meeting, “we will have quorum.”

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Beijing Olympics beat terror threats, unsafe sex-report

Originally published by Reuters, 19 May 2010

By Emma Graham-Harrison

BEIJING, May 19 (Reuters) – Thorough planning enabled Beijing Olympics organisers to stave off threats to the 2008 Games ranging from bioterrorism to unsafe sex, a joint Chinese-United Nations report said on Wednesday.

Security forces dealt with several potential biological, chemical and explosive attacks, including an incident in which packages containing white powder were sent to five unidentified embassies in Beijing, the report said.

Tests later proved the powder was harmless, a Beijing Health Bureau official said, adding that information about the previously unpublicised scare had come from “anti-terrorism” security forces.

The other episodes involved plans by “overseas terrorists” to target Olympic venues, explosives on a plane at Beijing airport and rumours of an explosion on the metro, the report said, without giving further details.

“The Health Legacy of the 2008 Olympic Games”, launched by the World Health Organisation and the Beijing Olympic City Development Organisation, assessed the long-term impact of the Beijing Games and drew lessons for future mass events.

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New Book Says Obama Offered Skadden’s Craig Judgeship

Originally published by THE AM LAW DAILY,18 May 2010

By Zach Lowe

 Political junkies are rejoicing today about the release of a new book about President Obama’s first year in office. Those interested in the personalities of the folks who populate the administration’s upper ranks will surely enjoy Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter detail Rahm Emanuel’s macho back-and-forth with staffers (he instructs one male aid to “take your tampon out!” at one meeting) and the playful rapport between David Axelrod, a longtime Obama adviser, and Larry Summers, head of the president’s National Economic Council. (There’s also this: Summers apparently sweats in the winter, something Obama poked fun at, Politico reports).

But for our purposes, the key early revelation from Alter’s book is that Obama offered Gregory Craig a judgeship in order to ease Craig’s forced departure from his spot as the president’s first White House counsel, according to Politico’s early reading of Alter’s book.

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USTR Kirk to press China on piracy, innovation

Originally published by Reuters,19 May 2010

By Paul Eckert

 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will use economic talks next week with China to focus on intellectual property rights protection and China’s “indigenous innovation” industrial policy which discriminates against foreign firms, U.S. Trade representative Ron Kirk said on Tuesday.

“Our next steps with China include continued pressure to strengthen their IPR regime — and to step back on their flawed and troubling policies across the industrial sector, like indigenous innovation,” he said in remarks prepared for a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

Many foreign companies have objected to Chinese policies aimed at increasing China’s share of the world’s most valuable patents and trademarks by requiring companies to develop and register intellectual property in China to qualify for government procurement preferences.

The so-called indigenous innovation policy — seen by outsiders as a sign that China is retreating from steps it has taken to open its economy to foreign companies — will be raised by top U.S. officials in the bilateral Strategic & Economic Dialogue in Beijing on May 24-25, Kirk said.

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Beijing seeks a fresh start in Xinjiang

Originally published by Asia Times,19 May 2010

By Wu Zhong

HONG KONG – It was not much of a surprise when the power center of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) announced in April that Wang Lequan, the “King of Xinjiang”, was being removed as party secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

It was a surprise, however, when the People’s Daily, the CCP’s flagship newspaper, published a lengthy special report on May 7 praising Wang’s “contributions to the stability and prosperity in Xinjiang” over the past two decades. Publishing a report that salutes a provincial leader who has just been removed is rare – if not unprecedented – for a government mouthpiece.

The CCP has taken extreme care over the reshuffle of the party leadership in Xinjiang, fearing it could impact on the seemingly stable situation in this “new frontier” province where riots last July by the Uyghur ethnic group left nearly 200 dead.

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China wants to rid the Internet of ‘hostile foreign forces’

Originally published by The Associated Report Online

The Chinese government, announced Monday, that a further strengthening of its control over the Internet will take place. The intn is to keep out the ‘hostile foreign forces’ who spread ‘dangerous information’ on the Web.
Beijing regularly launches major operations to serve the Chinese Web, tightly controlling its sites contrary to law. Several operations involving cracking down on pornography sites took place in 2009, leading to dozens of arrests and closure of sites.
The defenders of human rights believe that these operations are mainly a pretext to eliminate sites with political content, such as those addressing the issue of Tibet. After the riots in Xinjiang, Beijing had even completely blocked access to the network in that province.

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US Cites AZ Immigration Law During Human Rights Talks with China, Conservatives Call It An Apology

 Originally published by ABC News,17 May 2010

During two days of talks about human rights with China last week, the US raised examples of problems on its own soil and cited Arizona’s controversial new immigration law as an example of “racial discrimination.”

“We brought it up early and often.  It was mentioned in the first session and as a troubling trend in our society, and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination.  And these are issues very much being debated in our own society,” Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner, who led the US delegation to the talks, told reporters on Friday.

That the US mentioned the Arizona law during talks about human rights with China, consistently ranked among the worst human rights violators in the world, has raised the ire of some conservatives who see the US as apologizing for the law to a country that persecutes its own dissidents and minorities.

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Maldives to re-settle two terrorism suspects from Guantanamo bay

Originally published by Srilankaguardian, 17 may 2010

By B.Raman

( May 17, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a controversial decision, which should be of concern to India’s national security managers, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives has accepted a request from the US Government to re-settle in Maldivian territory two terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay military detention centre in Cuba. Talks in this regard have been going on with the US authorities since December last.

Under a policy initiated by the administration of President Barack Obama after it assumed office in January,2009, it is pledged to close down the military detention centre after transferring to normal judicial custody for trial in US territory according to the normal laws of the land those against whom there is evidence to justify a trial and transferring others against whom there is no such evidence either to the countries to which they belonged before they were arrested post-9/11 or to other countries which are prepared to accept them.

The implementation of this policy has slowed down due to the following reasons:

* Opposition to bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, to New York for trial.

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