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
Even Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines, calls Communist China's claim to Panatag Shoal a historical absurdity: “Chinese historical claims since ancient times amount to an absurdity as this would be like Italy claiming as its sovereign possession all areas previously occupied by the Roman Empire."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Chairman Joma Sison are of one mind on the issue. In response to a self-serving position paper where the Red Chinese Embassy claimed "Huangyan Island (China's name for Panatag Shoal) has been the traditional fishing... Read More
MANILA, Philippines - Amid rising tensions between the Philippines and China over a section of the West Philippine Sea, a member of the private consortium exploring oil in the area said it may have made a "world-class discovery."
Officials of Atok-Big Wedge Co. told shareholders during its annual meeting that a report from experts commissioned to assess Service Contract (SC) 72 in Reed Bank has yielded a “world-class discovery.”
Walter Brown, Atok vice chairman, said the board met last week to assess the results of the seismic test at SC 72, also known as the Recto Bank, and they... Read More
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