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Photostream : British Prime Minister David Cameron meets Israeli President Shimon Peres

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) meets President of Israel Shimon Peres at 10 Downing Street on March 30, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. President Shimon Peres has spoken out saying Israel "must take advantage of this window of opportunity and end the conflict with Palestinians" so as to help the wave of democratization sweeping the Middle Eastern Arab countries. (Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) meets President of Israel Shimon Peres at 10 Downing Street on March 30, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. President Shimon Peres has spoken out saying Israel "must take advantage of this window of opportunity and end the conflict with Palestinians" so as to help the wave of democratization sweeping the Middle Eastern Arab countries. (Photo by Andy Rain - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R), speaks with Israel's President Shimon Peres during their meeting at number 10 Downing Street in London March 30, 2011. REUTERS/Andy Rain/pool

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in World News

 

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Sarkozy arrives in Japan to discuss nuclear issues with Kan

JAPAN, March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / KYODO NEWS) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived Thursday in Japan to discuss the drawn-out crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, as reported by KYODO NEWS AGENCY.

Sarkozy became the first foreign leader to visit Japan since the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that obliterated northeastern coastal towns and ravaged the nuclear facility.

He will express his solidarity with Japan, not only as the French leader but also as the chair of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies.

He is also expected to say that France, which relies on nuclear power for nearly 80 percent of its electricity, is committed to offering more of its expertise to help Japan contain radiation spilling out of the crippled complex, located about 220 kilometers from Tokyo.

Kan and Sarkozy are scheduled to hold a joint news conference in the early evening shortly after their meeting at the premier’s office.

Sarkozy came to Tokyo for a brief visit after taking part in a G-20 seminar on reshaping the global monetary system in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.

The president, visiting Japan for the second time since taking office in 2007, will head back to France soon after the news conference, according to Japanese officials.

France now holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 and Group of Eight major powers, both of which Japan is a member country.

France has the second most nuclear power stations of any country after the United States. Japan has the third most, deriving about 30 percent of its power from nuclear reactors.

Following the serious accident at the Fukushima plant, nuclear issues will top the agenda at the G-8 summit in late May, when leaders also from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States gather in the northwestern French resort city of Deauville.

Kan and Sarkozy will almost certainly also discuss the situation in Libya, given that France has been taking a major role in demanding Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s immediate resignation, according to the Foreign Ministry officials.  (*)

 
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No options but to close Fukushima nuke plant – Japanese Prime Minister

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

JAPAN, March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI / KYODO NEWS ) — Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will most likely be closed down, the Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday, quoting Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

“We cannot but close this nuclear power plant,” Kan said during a meeting with the leader of the Japanese Communist Party, Shii Kazuo, on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano suggested that all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant should be demolished. Tsunehisa Katsumata, the director of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) which owns the plant, said earlier on Wednesday that it would be reasonable to close down the first four reactors.

All six reactors were badly damaged after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck eastern Japan on March 11. Reactors No. 5 and 6 reactors have been less problematic than the other four and are already in a state of cold shutdown.

Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said on Wednesday that the country’s nuclear power stations would be closed if they did not meet tougher safety requirements being drawn up by the government. (*)
 
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Photo : Former US President Jimmy Carter meets Cuba's Fidel Castro

In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro, right, meets with former US President Jimmy Carter, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. At center is an unidentified translator. Former President Jimmy Carter left Cuba on Wednesday without gaining the release of a US government contractor jailed the past 16 months, a deflating end to what was otherwise a groundbreaking visit.Carter spent hours talking about improving ties with brothers Raul and Fidel Castro, describing the latter as an "old friend." He met with religious leaders and members of the island's small opposition community, dined out at an atmospheric Old Havana restaurant and even sat down with family members of five Cuban agents serving long prison terms in the US (Photo : The Jakarta Post / AP / Cubadebate )

 
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I don’t know Umar Patek, says Ustadz Abu Bakar Ba’asyir

Ustadz Abu Bakar Baasyir

 

JAKARTA, March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Terrorism defendant Abu Bakar Ba’asyir says he is not acquainted with Umar Patek, another terrorism suspect who was recently reported to have been arrested in Pakistan, The Jakarta Post reported on Thursday.

Ba’asyir said he had only heard the name in the media.

“His name is strange, too. Patek?” he said on Thursday before his trial hearing, which proceeded without him after he asked for permission to leave the court room.

Ba’asyir said that he doubted rumor about Patek, who allegedly spent several years with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines, before he was captured.

“How could he jump from one place to another, and he is even accused of being involved in the first Bali Bombing. And was the captured person really Umar Patek?” he said, as quoted by kompas.com.

Ba’asyir is currently being tried on a number of charges, including the funding and planning of a military-style terrorist training camp in Aceh and for his alleged involvement in a deadly bank robbery in Medan.

Umar Patek was reportedly captured early this year. However, the National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and Politics, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said they were yet to confirm the arrest. (*)

 
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China issues white paper on national defense to enhance transparency

(Illustration image) China issues white paper on national defense to enhance transparency

BEIJING, March 31 (KATAKAMI.COM) — China on Thursday issued a white paper on national defense, aiming to enhance its military transparency and boost the world’s trust in its commitment to peaceful development, XINHUA reported on Thursday.

The document, the seventh of its kind the Chinese government has issued since 1998, says China will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops.

It gives an overall picture of China’s national defense ranging from the security environment, national defense policy, to defense expenditure and arms control.

On security environment, the white paper says the world remains peaceful and stable at large, but the international security situation has become more complex and military competition remains fierce.

China is meanwhile confronted by more diverse and complex security challenges, it says.

China pursues a national defense policy which is defensive in nature, the white paper says. Such a pursuit is determined by China’s development path, its fundamental aims, its foreign policy, and its historical and cultural traditions.

The goals and tasks of China’s national defense in the new era are defined as safeguarding national sovereignty, security and interests of national development; maintaining social harmony and stability; accelerating the modernization of national defense and the armed forces; maintaining world peace and stability.

The white paper reviewed the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), saying it has grown from a single service into a strong military force featuring a range of services and arms, and is now beginning to make progress towards informationization.

The PLA laid down a three-step development strategy and adopted a step-change approach which takes mechanization as the foundation and informationization as the focus.

On defense expenditure, the white paper says the increase has been kept at a reasonable and appropriate level.

China’s defense expenditure mainly comprises expenses for personnel, training and maintenance, and equipment, with each accounting for roughly one third of the total.

In the past two years, the increase in the defense expenditure has been used to improve support conditions for the troops and accomplish diversified military tasks, ranging from earthquake rescue and escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.

In view of the upward trend in purchasing prices and maintenance costs, China has moderately increased the funds for high-tech weaponry and equipment and their supporting facilities.

The white paper eyed military confidence-building as an effective way to maintain national security and development, and safeguard regional peace and stability.

China is promoting the establishment of equal, mutually beneficial and effective mechanisms for military confidence-building, via strategic consultations and dialogues, border area confidence-building measures, dialogues and cooperation on maritime security, regional security cooperation and military exchanges with other countries.

China attaches importance to and takes an active part in international efforts in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, the white paper says.

The country adheres to the complete fulfillment of the UN’s role in this area, and that of other related international organizations and multilateral mechanisms.

It considers that existing multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation systems should be consolidated and strengthened, that the legitimate and reasonable security concerns of all countries should be respected and accommodated, and that global strategic balance and stability should be maintained.

The white paper also reviewed the deployment of the Chinese armed forces, national defense mobilization and reserve force building, military legal system, as well as science, technology and industry for national defense.   (*)
 
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South Korean President to hold press conference on scrapped airport plan

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak



SEOUL, March 31 (KATAKAMI.COM)  — President Lee Myung-bak plans to hold a press conference later this week to express his position on the government’s decision to abort a major airport construction project, his aides said Thursday, amid fierce backlash from local residents, authorities and lawmakers, YONHAP NEWS AGENCY reported.

“The president is scheduled to express his position tomorrow,” a senior official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said on the condition of anonymity. “The format will be a press conference.”

Lee made a campaign pledge to construct a new airport in the southeastern region, called “Yeongnam” in Korean, but the government announced a decision Wednesday to scrap the plan, citing a lack of expected economic benefits.

A Cheong Wa Dae source said Lee is expected to express regret over the reversal rather than offering a direct public apology. (*)
 
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