Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Reuters's top news and innovation teams have put together a web site on the yuan and the debate over its revaluation. Particularly worth a look after the weekend's statement by China that it would allow more flexibility in its currency exchange. You can access it here, but it looks like this:
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
The United States should consider offering Pakistan a civilian nuclear deal in return for a real and verifiable commitment to eradicate all militant groups operating from its territory, a new report by the RAND Corporation says.
The report, by Seth Jones and Christine Fair, echoes a criticism often levelled at Pakistan that it is only willing to tackle those militant organisations which threaten it directly, while retaining links with groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba which can be used to expand its influence in Afghanistan or against India. It argues that Washington needs to find a new mix of incentives and sanctions to convince Pakistan to abandon the use of militant groups as a foreign policy tool.
Rubble lines the forlorn streets of Ciudad Juarez’s historic center just across the Rio Grande and the sleek glass towers of El Paso, Texas in the distance. Huge piles of grey debris lie on the roadsides as dogs sniff in the ruins of the destroyed Vampiro nightclub, its pink concrete walls nothing but a mountain of steel and dust.
The desolate remains of buildings in the Mexican border city look like the place has been bombed. This is a war zone, the bloodiest front in Mexico’s drug war where a staggering 5,500 people have died over the past 2-1/2 years. But there are no bombers flying over head.
There may be no bigger question mark hanging over North Korea these days than who will succeed the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, who has ruled with an iron fist since taking over when his dad, the “Great Leader”, died in 1994. Kim is 68 years old and believed to have suffered a stroke in August 2008.
His economy is in a shambles. Food is becoming more scarce. Trade links with the rest of the world are nearly non-existent. And tension on the Korean peninsula is at its highest in decades after the March sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul blames on the Stalinist North.
Officials working for the government of communist North Korea seldom appear in public — especially in front of reporters from countries they view as hostile. But Pyongyang’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sin Son-ho, turned to the U.N. press corps in New York on Tuesday to defend his nation against Seoul’s allegtions that the North Korean military torpedoed a South Korean naval ship on March 26, killing 46 sailors.
from Afghan Journal:
A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials have concluded that Afghanistan is sitting on untapped mineral deposits worth more than $1 trillion, officials said. The deposits of iron, copper, cobalt and critical industrial elements such as lithium are enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the war itself, the officials said.
Lithium is a key raw material for the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones, and the potential reserves of the metal are so huge that the country may well become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium", a Pentagon memo said.
When Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshito Sengoku, was asked — as new Japanese leaders often are — to characterise the government’s new cabinet line-up, he fumbled a bit and then awkwardly said something about it being “fresh and hardworking.”
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
According to a new report published by the London School of Economics, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement's leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations.
The ISI has long been accused of backing the Taliban - an accusation Pakistan denies, saying this would make no sense when it is already fighting a bloody campaign against Islamist militants at home. But the report is worth reading for its wealth of detail on the perceptions held by Taliban commanders interviewed in the field. You can see the Reuters story on the report here and the full document (pdf) here.
from Afghan Journal:
If you still thought things hadn't dramatically changed on the Afghan chessboard ever since U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to begin pulling out from mid-2011, you only need to look at President Hamid Karzai's recent utterances, or more accurately the lack of it, on the Taliban and Pakistan, the other heavyweights on the stage.
For months Karzai has gone noticeably quiet on Pakistan, refusing to excoriate the neighbour for aiding the Taliban as he routinely did in the past, The Guardian quoted a source close to the country's former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh as saying.