China says Iran sanctions talks in NY “constructive”

 Originally published by Reuters, 8 Apr 2010

By Daniel Bases and Louis Charbonneau

NEW YORK (Reuters) – China joined Russia and four other world powers on Thursday for what diplomats said were “constructive” but inconclusive talks on possible new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

“It’s a very constructive negotiation,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters after a nearly three-hour meeting with his counterparts from Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

He said the group planned to meet again next week. Details of the discussions were not immediately available, but diplomats familiar with talks said the delegations were far from agreement on a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

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Our Friend, The Dragon

Originally published by Energy Tribune ,7 Apr 2010

By R. Dobie Langenkamp

China is much in the news and on the minds of those of us in the West.

There is concern over China’s human rights posture, its treatment of Tibet, its monetary policy, its massive trade surplus, its burgeoning defense budget, its contribution to global warming, and its impediment of internet freedom.

But there is one aspect of Chinese policy which causes unneeded concern when it is actually beneficial to the world economy and a win-win situation: China’s aggressive efforts to develop oil and gas reserves.

With a relatively flat 3 million barrels per day of production, and a sky rocketing economy, it is natural for China to be concerned about access to the oil it needs to move the country forward. Think of how concerned the US has been with oil production even though its production is almost twice that of China’s. And now remember that the US has the benefit of being nestled between two substantial oil producing states. (Three if you count Venezuela.)

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China’s Censors Tackle and Trip Over the Internet

Originally published by The New York Times, April 7, 2010

By MICHAEL WINES, SHARON LAFRANIERE and JONATHAN ANSFIELD

BEIJING — Type the Chinese characters for “carrot” into Google’s search engine here in mainland China, and you will be rewarded not with a list of Internet links, but a blank screen.

Don’t blame Google, however. The fault lies with China’s censors — who are increasingly a model for countries around the world that want to control an unrestricted Internet.

Since late March, when Google moved its search operations out of mainland China to Hong Kong, each response to a Chinese citizen’s search request has been met at the border by government computers, programmed to censor any forbidden information Google might turn up.

“Carrot” — in Mandarin, huluobo — may seem innocuous enough. But it contains the same Chinese character as the surname of President Hu Jintao. And the computers, long programmed to intercept Chinese-language searches on the nation’s leaders, substitute an error message for the search result before it can sneak onto a mainland computer.

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Uighurs demand release on US soil

Originally published by Bangkok Post, 7 Apr 2010

Lawyers for five Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay are petitioning the US Court of Appeals in Washington to consider their clients be initially released on US soil.

A US federal judge had granted that right to the Uighurs in October 2008, but the ruling was overturned on appeal.

US lawmakers have also blocked the Uighurs from being released in the United States, even though the federal government has cleared them of any wrongdoing and said they do not pose a risk.

Washington refused to send the men — members of a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority — back to China, fearing they would be persecuted.

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Q+A: What is going on in Kyrgyzstan?

Originally published by Reuters, 7 Apr 2010

By Guy Faulconbridge

BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as dozens of people were killed in clashes between police and thousands of protesters demanding an end to his five-year rule.

Below are questions and answers about what is going on in Kyrgyzstan:

WHY IS THE UNREST SIGNIFICANT?

Kyrgyzstan, which lies at the heart of Central Asia, is central to Western efforts to contain the spread of Islamist militancy from Afghanistan.

The United States rents an air base in Kyrgyzstan which it uses to support its fight against Taliban insurgents in nearby Afghanistan. Russia also has an air base in the country.

A change of leadership in Bishkek could complicate the base agreements. Last year, Kyrgyzstan demanded the United States close the Manas base, but later agreed to let Washington keep the base for a higher rent.

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Kyrgyz opposition says running government, wants election

 Originally published by Reuters,7 Apr 2010

By Olga Dzyubenko and Maria Golovnina

BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyz opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva said on Thursday she had taken over the government after violent protests forced the president of the Central Asian country to flee the capital.

She said she wanted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who she helped bring to power five years ago, to resign.

“We have a caretaker government now in place, and I am the head of it,” Otunbayeva told Reuters by telephone.

“It will remain in place for half a year, during which we will draft the constitution and create conditions for free and fair (presidential) elections,” she said.

Bakiyev left Bishkek — where demonstrators torched the prosecutor-general’s office and tried to smash trucks into government buildings — and flew to the southern city of Osh, an opposition member of parliament earlier told Reuters.

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Pakistan Uyghurs in Hiding

Originally published by RFA , 6 Apr 2010

By Shohret Hoshur

HONG KONG—Two prominent members of the exiled Turkic-speaking Uyghur community, many of whom oppose Chinese rule in their homeland, are on the run from the authorities following police raids on their homes.

Omer and Akbar Khan, who co-founded a charity to teach Pakistani Uyghurs their own language in the northern city of Rawalpindi, said they had fled from police after neighbors told them their close relatives had been detained for several hours.

“We didn’t do anything wrong, but we have decided to stay away from the police for some time, because of the unknown fate of two other guys [we know],” said Omer Khan, 35, who recently applied for a Belgian visa to attend a training program for Uyghur activists outside China.

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China ‘Watching’ Kyrgyzstan

Originally published by RFA,8 Apr 2010

By Luisetta Mudie

 HONG KONG—China voiced concern Thursday about events in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where opponents of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev took control of the government after a wave of deadly violence around the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which borders its troubled Muslim region of Xinjiang in the northwest.

“China … hopes the country will restore peace soon and maintain stability,” Jiang told reporters at a regular news briefing.

“China hopes that relevant issues will be settled in a lawful way.”

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