Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

China holds Rio trial behind closed doors

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The trial of four Rio Tinto employees began early on a chilly, gray Monday morning in Shanghai, when four police vans in a convoy led by a cruiser with flashing lights swept the defendants to the courthouse well before 7 am.
 CHINA-RIO/

Quick glimpses from outside the modern courthouse are all that most outsiders will get.

The case has concerned foreign investors since the four were detained last summer at the height of tense
iron ore price negotiations between Rio Tinto, other miners, and Chinese steel mills.
 
Even Chinese reporters who normally cover court proceedings have not been let into this trial. Passes were handed out last week to only a few Chinese media outlets. No foreign reporters were allowed in.
 
Australian diplomats avoided making any statements as they passed through a security scanner on their
way to observe part of the trial against Stern Hu, an Australian citizen and the head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore team in China.
 
China has refused to allow the Australians access to a “closed” portion of the trial, which deals with alleged infringment of commercial secrets. That refusal has revived questions about how China defines “secrets”.

 Photo Caption: Cars drive in to the Shanghai Number One Intermediate People’s Court on the morning of Rio Tinto trail March 22, 2010. The trial of four Rio Tinto employees opens on Monday in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, in a case closely watched by investors anxious over the business environment for foreign firms and their Chinese employees. REUTERS/Nir Elias

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

General Kayani in Washington; Pakistan’s most powerful man

kayani profileSo much for democracy. When Pakistan holds a "strategic dialogue" with the United States in Washington this week, there is little doubt that the leading player in the Pakistani delegation will be its army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani.

We have got so used to Americans dealing with the Pakistan Army in their efforts to end the stalemate in Afghanistan that it does not seem that surprising that the meeting between the United States and Pakistan would be dominated by the military. Nor indeed that Dawn columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee would describe Kayani as the most powerful man in Pakistan. Even the grudging admiration granted in this Times of India profile of Kayani by Indrani Baghchi is in keeping with the current mood.

Safe landing? Airliner just had apricot face mask

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A silhouette is seen on a Mexican flagApricot face masks can hydrate the skin, shrink your pores and strip the paint off  your average Airbus passenger jet.

Next time you buckle up for landing, take a moment to find out when your plane was last blasted with ground apricot pits.

from Sean Maguire:

Want to make clean money in Nigeria? Trade stocks.

A road-side banana seller in troubled city of Jos

A road-side banana seller in troubled city of Jos

One of the global themes that Reuters news editors have picked as a focus this year is 'frontier markets.' These are less developed economies that don't yet qualify as BRIC-style 'emerging markets' but which are gradually opening up to foreign portfolio investment.  Fund managers eager to diversify from lacklustre, recession-battered Western economies are touting such markets as the next big hope for turbocharged returns.

One such place is Nigeria. The West African giant is the quintessential frontier market, with its mix of promising opportunity, political instability, a reputation for dubious financial practices, a resource curse and reform ambition.

Did the manufacture of your iPhone make someone sick?

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(Corrects name of author on March 17 and 6:38 p.m. ET)
This story by Kathleen E. McLaughlin is part of an ongoing GlobalPost investigation into the supply chains that make some of your favorite electronic gadgets.  In this installment, GlobalPost examined the fallout after a factory that supplies Apple and Nokia used the toxic solvent n-hexane in violation of local codes and without proper safety equipment. Though seven current and former workers said the chemical was used on Apple touch screens, Apple refused to comment.

SUZHOU, China — The mysterious illness began with an odd tingling of the fingers one week, a creeping numbness in the feet the next.

Head scratching over EU plans for EMF, helping Greece

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- IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn

It was no great surprise that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund looked perplexed when asked during a visit to Brussels to comment on proposals to create a European monetary fund.

 ”I would be very happy to comment if I knew what it was,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a committee in the European Parliament.

Thailand’s bloody protests

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Thailand’s anti-government protesters call it a “symbolic sacrifice for democracy”. Bangkok’s royalist elite dismiss it as a PR stunt. The government condemns it as faux “black magic”. Health workers call it a revolting waste of a precious resource. And many others get squeamish simply talking about it.

The blood-letting, blood-splashing and blood-pouring by thousands of anti-government protesters in Bangkok has drawn mixed reviews and raised eyebrows even in superstitious and politically-charged Thailand.

from Afghan Journal:

Engaging the Afghan Taliban: a short history

(The niche that once held a giant Buddha, in Bamiyan. Picture by Omar Sobhani)

(The niche that once held a giant Buddha, in Bamiyan. Picture by Omar Sobhani)

For those pushing for high-level political negotiations with the Afghan Taliban to bring to an end to the eight-year war,  two U.S. scholars  in separate pieces are suggesting a walk through recent history  The United States has gone down the path of dialogue with the group before and suffered for it, believing against its own better judgement in the Taliban's promises until it ended up with the September 11, 2001 attacks, says  Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute in this article in Commentary.

Rubin, who is completing a history of U.S. engagement with rogue regimes, says unclassified U.S. State Department documents show that America opened talks with the Taliban soon after the group  emerged as a powerful force in Kandahar in 1994 and well over a year before they took over Kabul. From then on it was a story of   diplomats doing everything possible to remain engaged with the Taliban in the hope it would modify their  behaviour, and that they would be persuaded to expel Osama bin Laden who had  by then relocated from Sudan.  The Taliban, on the other hand, in their meetings with U.S. diplomats, would stonewall on terrorism  but would also dangle just enough hope to keep the officials calling and forestall punitive strategies.

from Russell Boyce:

The promise of seven blood baths in Bangkok and no violence

    With the same ghoulish intrigue that children pull the wings off a fly, the legs off spiders or as motorists slow to look at a scene of a bad accident, I waited to see the pictures from last night's demonstration in Thailand. The "red shirt" wearing supporters of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra promised the world the sight of a million cubic centimetres of blood being drawn from the arms of his supporters and then thrown over Government House to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call an immediate election.  A million is a bold figure that I tried to picture; a thousand cubic centimetres, one litre, so one thousand litre cartons of milk.  A more compact notion of the volume would be to visualise a cubic metre of blood; or in more practical terms in the UK the average bath size is 140 litres, so that is just over seven baths filled with blood.

blood syringe

A supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra donates blood during a gathering in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Anti-government protesters will collect one million cubic centimetres of blood to pour outside the Government House in Bangkok, in a symbolic move to denounce the government as part of their demonstration to call for fresh elections. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

Lapland’s part in EU foreign policy

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Last weekend, Finland’s foreign minister gathered six of his colleagues and the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, in the frozen far reaches of Lapland for two days of talks on the future of European foreign policy.

As informal ministerial gatherings go, it was a rather jolly (if cold) affair, complete with a ‘family photo’ taken with a pair of nervous reindeer, a chance to see the northern lights and activities such as skiing, sledging and snow-mobiling. Some of the ministers even brought along their families.

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