So, North Korea has announced plans for further rocket launches and a nuclear test as ‘New phase of the anti-US struggle.’ The official communiqué could not make it any clearer;
We do not hide the fact that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets will be launched by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea one after another, and a nuclear test of a higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action will target against the US, the sworn enemy of the Korean people. Settling accounts with the US needs to be done with force, not with words. The world will... Read More
Last August, in China’s Hunan province, a woman by the name of Tang Hui was sent to a labour camp, sentenced to eighteen months‘re-education’ for “seriously disturbing the social order and exerting a negative impact on society.” Why, you may wonder, what was her crime? Simply that she had repeatedly petitioned officials, saying that the sentences passed against the men who had kidnapped, raped and forced her eleven-year-old daughter into prostitution should have been more severe.
Times have changed, even in China. In times past Tang Hui would simply have vanished into night and fog.... Read More
Those who take the view that Islam is not wholly incompatible with modernity and democracy tend to look to Malaysia and Indonesia. The latter is held to be a particularly good example, the most populous Islamic nation on earth, a country that has embraced freedom and plurality.
Alas things are not as they were; or rather an ugly truth is beginning to come out from behind a comforting illusion. Last month, on two separate occasions, a Muslim mob attacked local Protestants at the half-finished church at Bekaski, just outside Jakarta, the capital. Shouting death threats, they threw stones... Read More
Last year I published a review here of Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (Better off as a Dog, 1 September). In part this touched on the disastrous famine that hit the hermit state in the 1990s, forcing desperate people into desperate exile. I made the following observation;
No, it wasn’t politics that forced them into exile: it was hunger, the famine which gripped this ideological museum in the 1990s and is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of as many as two million people, reduced in their final extremity to eating bark and weeds.
Now... Read More
Last week the Chinese National Bureau of Corruption Prevention issued a statement saying that 72.7 per cent of the population was satisfied with progress the government was making on tackling corruption, an endemic problem in the country. It caused a virtual tsunami. People went on line in their thousands, creative in their derision of a figure that doubtless sprung fully armed from the mind of some bureaucrat or other. One individual said “Public opinion poll? Did they conduct it inside the Politburo? Poor old public opinion – raped once again.”
I say ‘said’ but the comment was... Read More
MANILA, Philippines -- Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Sunday called on other nations to take a stand on China's new aggressiveness in a simmering territorial dispute over a shoal in the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.
Del Rosario warned in a statement that other nations would be affected by China's claim over the mineral-rich area if they did not speak up now, like the Philippines is doing.
"Since the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce in the (South China Sea) are of great import to many nations, all should consider what China is... Read More
MANILA, Philippines (Update 7:17 p.m.) -- At least three websites of Malacañang were attacked by Chinese hackers Monday afternoon.
The attacks took place at around four o' clock in the afternooon, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.
The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office "noticed a significant spike in traffic with malicious URL requests from forged user-agents" being channeled to the Official Gazette website (www.gov.ph), PCDSPO website (www.pcdspo.gov.ph), and the Presidential Museum and Library website (www.malacanang.gov.ph),... Read More
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