Saturday, January 23, 2010

Views on the News - 22-01-2010

France accuses US of occupying Haiti

France accused the US of "occupying" Haiti on Monday as thousands of American troops flooded into the country to take charge of aid efforts and security. The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military buildup was hampering aid efforts. Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight. "This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said. Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers. But US commanders insisted their forces' focus was on humanitarian work and last night agreed to prioritise aid arrivals to the airport over military flights, after the intervention of the UN.

US Does Not Have Capitalism Now: Stiglitz

Layers of money managers that don't bear the brunt of losses but walk away with big payouts when things go well have turned the US economy to a type of "ersatz capitalism," Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University professor and Nobel laureate, told CNBC Tuesday. "An awful lot of people are not managing their own money," Stiglitz said. "In old-style 19th Century capitalism, I owned my company, I made a mistake, I bore the consequences." "Today, (at) most of the big companies you have managers who, when things go well, walk off with a lot of money. When things go bad the shareholders bear the costs," he said. Even worse, those giving the money to the companies are entities like pension funds that are managing money on behalf of other people, so there are "layers and layers of agency costs," Stiglitz said. It's a system where "you socialize the losses and privatize the gains," which is not capitalism, he said. There's "moral hazard everywhere," he added

American weapons stamped with bible reference used against Muslims

Muslim groups reacted angrily Wednesday after it emerged that the U.S. military is using combat rifle sights inscribed with coded Biblical references. Army officials have said they will investigate whether a Michigan defense contractor violated federal procurement rules by stamping references to Bible verses on the gun sights used by American forces to kill enemy fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The references have stoked concerns by a watch dog group about whether the inscriptions break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops. But military officials said the citations don't violate the ban and they won't stop using the tens of thousands of telescoping sights that have already been bought. The codes were used as "part of our faith and our belief in service to our country," Trijicon said."As long as we have men and women in danger, we will continue to do everything we can to provide them with both state-of-the-art technology and the never-ending support and prayers of a grateful nation," a company spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

London denies permission to be build the biggest Masjid in the country

Campaigners opposed to a “super-mosque” being built next to the 2012 Olympic site today told of their delight after the scheme was blocked. The Abbey Mills mosque and Islamic centre on a 7.3 hectare site in Stratford was to house 12,000 worshippers and would have been the biggest in Europe. But Newham council in London announced it will issue an eviction notice against the Islamist group behind it, Tablighi Jamaat, which has 80 million followers worldwide. Alan Craig, a Christian Peoples' Alliance councillor, said: “I'm delighted that the council has finally seen the light on this. It's a key site for the local community that would have been lost if the mega-mosque had been built. It is a big step forward, but a lot could still happen. The mosque has faced massive opposition from the local community and religious groups. More than 48,000 people have signed a petition against the development since the sect unveiled its plans for the site in 2007.

Britain plans to use its Afghan experience to fight future wars

The head of the Royal Navy has warned that land-locked Afghanistan is “not the only game in town” in a speech that could inflame rivalries between the services. Britain must also preserve a fleet capable of conducting far-reaching campaigns, said Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope. Gen Sir David Richards, the Army’s head, had that defense needed a "radical" shift in priorities away from "hugely expensive" equipment towards getting more troops on the ground. Sir David argued that Afghanistan is a template for wars of the future but Sir Mark said Britain had to look "beyond Afghanistan" and ensure it has the flexibility to deal with future conflicts. "We need to ensure that we, as a nation, have the strategic flexibility to deal not just with Afghanistan, but also the broad range of other threats and challenges to our national interests today and in the future," he said.

India’s military spending targets Pakistan and China

India's navy has started a $1.5 billion overhaul of its ageing Soviet-era fleet of aircraft, seeking to boost its air power in an Indian Ocean region where a growing China is threatening its traditional dominance. The investment is one of the biggest the Indian navy has made in recent years and reflects New Delhi's urgency to modernise its military, a move that rival Pakistan says could spark an arms buildup and destabilise an already roiled South Asia.India plans to buy 16 new MIG-29 fighter jets, half a dozen light combat aircraft, unmanned patrol planes and multi-role helicopters. Tenders for these will be floated soon, Indian officials said.The Indian navy is also upgrading its Sea Harrier fighter jets, IL-38 maritime anti-submarine warfare planes and acquiring five Kamov KA-31 patrol helicopters.“We are acquiring new fighters and helicopters to supplement a new aircraft carrier we are getting soon,” Commander P.V.S. Satish, the navy spokesman said in New Delhi on Thursday. Analysts said the upgrade of the navy was long due.“It is almost a matter of time before ships from China arrive in India's backyard,” said Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at New Delhi's Centre for Policy Research. India and China are locked in a battle to lead Asia. New Delhi fears China is creating an arc of influence in the Indian Ocean region, bolstering claims over what has traditionally been seen as India's backyard.

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