Daily Archives: October 5, 2008

Europe calls for global summit on bank crisis to ‘rebuild the world’s financial system’

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Gordon Brown at EU finance meeting

The Observer | Oct 5, 2008

By  Toby Helm in Paris

Gordon Brown and other European Union leaders called last night for a global economic summit to ‘rebuild the world’s financial system’ as they held emergency talks on how to prevent a repeat of the current international credit crisis.

At a hastily convened meeting in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the heads of the EU’s four biggest economies – Germany, France, the UK and Italy – were united on the need to call all leading economic nations together to create ‘a new financial world just as Bretton Woods did 60 years ago’.

The summit, planned for next month, is expected to include the G8 leading industrial nations, as well as India, China, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. Sarkozy, who called last night’s meeting in his role as EU President, said it was time for governments to clamp down on speculators and restore a moral element to the heart of a regime that had failed.

‘We need to literally rebuild the international financial system. We want to lay the foundations of entrepreneurial capitalism, not speculative capitalism,’ he said.

As part of a rolling programme of announcements, the EU’s ‘big four’ agreed to release £12bn of emergency aid to ailing small businesses across the EU immediately, and a further £12bn as soon as possible after that. The European Investment Bank had said the money would be released gradually over the next four years.

Calling for a more co-ordinated response to the credit crisis, Brown said international co-operation on regulation was needed. ‘We are seeing, in addition to the national action we are taking, that these global problems about oil, about the credit crunch, need global solutions,’ he said. ‘I think in the next few weeks we have got to show how we can do more in Britain and across Europe to help small businesses, as well as households, through what is a difficult economic time but where I believe Britain can lead the way out of the difficulties.’

Action was needed, and would be taken, to protect all solvent banks in the EU. ‘I want the message to go out from this meeting today that no sound solvent bank should be allowed to fail for lack of liquidity,’ Brown added. The meeting’s main pledges on restoring sound financial systems will be looked at next week by finance ministers from all 27 EU states during talks in Luxembourg.

Germany repeated its opposition to the use of taxpayers’ funds to help ailing banks after calls from France for a European equivalent of the $700bn US bail-out agreed on Friday night. Germany’s Economy Minister, Michael Glos, said such a €300bn rescue fund was a non-starter. ‘I do not think it can be justified in this situation to ask the state to restore trust that has been gambled away with large-scale debt relief plans financed by tax money,’ he said.

War on Taliban can’t be won, says army chief

British commander in Afghanistan says aim is now to reduce insurgency to low level

Guardian | Oct 5, 2008

By Mark Oliver

The most senior British commander in Afghanistan has said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” by coalition troops and has spoken about the possibility of holding security talks with the Taliban.

In an interview published today, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said “we’re not going to win this war” and the aim was not total victory but reducing the insurgency to a low level, something which could involve talks with the Taliban.

Carleton-Smith, the commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said the objective was to enlarge the Afghan army so it could take over the security of the country.

While paying tribute to his troops in Helmand province, and describing successes against insurgents, the brigadier told today’s Sunday Times: “”We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army.”

He went on: “If the Taliban were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that’s precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this. That shouldn’t make people uncomfortable.”

The Observer reported last month that the Taliban had already been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging “peace process” sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain.

There have been 120 British military fatalities in Afghanistan since military operations began in the country following the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

The UK has around 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, mainly concentrated in the volatile southern province of Helmand.

S.Korea finds melamine in China-made Snickers, KitKat

Reuters | Oct 4, 2008

SEOUL, Oct 4 (Reuters) – South Korea’s food watchdog has ordered China-manufactured snacks from Nestle SA (NESN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Mars Inc to be taken off shelves after detecting melamine in their samples, it said on Saturday.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) said 2.38 parts per million (ppm) and 1.78 ppm of the substance were found in M&M’s milk chocolate snack and Snickers peanut Fun Size, both produced by Mars and manufactured in China.

“We are urgently recalling the products due to melamine detection,” KFDA said in a statement.

Mars said it was temporarily withdrawing the products from the Korean market because it was legally obliged to do so and that the melamine levels announced by the KFDA did not pose a health risk.

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Kit Kat bars from Nestle were also found carrying 2.89 ppm of melamine, bringing the total number of melamine-detected items to 10 in Seoul.

Nestle said the KFDA asked it to withdraw one batch of mini Kit Kat made in China from the market, after their tests detected minute traces of melamine in a single batch out of eight Nestle confectionery items tested. No melamine was detected in the other seven products, the company said.

“The company immediately complied with the authorities’ request, even though this product is absolutely safe by recognized international standards,” Nestle said in a statement.

“South Korea has no regulations on maximum levels of melamine in food, and the conditions under which the South Korean authorities conducted their tests are unclear,” it added. Melamine, widely used in kitchen utensils, can pose serious health risks if consumed in large quantities. At least four children in China died after drinking tainted infant milk formula last month.

KFDA said it is currently examining 428 processed products manufactured in China. It had completed checks on 288 items as of Saturday. (Reporting by Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Sam Cage in Zurich; Editing by Louise Ireland and Ruth Pitchford)

Communist party leader: ‘Maoists favor Pol Pot regime in Nepal’

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China to continue support for Maoist Peoples’ Liberation Army in Nepal as it has in the past

Maoists Aiming at Dictatorship

Nepal’s ban on private schools is unjust

“The inner intent of the Maoists in Government who are currently favoring a Peoples’ Republican Order is to implement a sort of totalitarian System in the name of the Peoples’ Republic”, said the Nepal Communist Party-UML Senior Leader Oli.

TGW | Oct 4, 2008

A Communist leader-commitment wise, a sharp critic of the Maoists-instinct wise and in contradiction to his ideology as a matter of habit portrays himself as a staunch-democrat-to which he is not, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli who generally is known for his jocular remarks-speaking at a program in the capital on Friday blamed the Maoists for trying to bring in a totalitarian system of the sort of Pol-Pot in Nepal.

“The inner intent of the Maoists in Government who are currently favoring a Peoples’ Republican Order is to implement a sort of totalitarian System in the name of the Peoples’ Republic”, said the Nepal Communist Party-UML Senior Leader Oli.

“This Maoists mission for a people’s republic will invite a conflict of much larger dimension”, predicted Oli.

Oil says, “The Maoists leadership is also known for their double talks”

“Prime Minister Dahal while meeting his party cadres not only calls India an expansionist force but when he met the Indian Prime Minister freshly in New Delhi could not restrain his temptation to hug him which perhaps explains the dual character of our Prime Minister”.

The Prime Minister who was on a trip to attend the 63rd UN General Convention in New York has misguided the people when he said that he was on a trip to the US and he also met President George Bush”.

“Basically he was in the US territory only to attend the UNGA”, concluded Oli at a media-interaction program orgnized by the Reporters’ Club.

South American nations move toward legislative amalgamation

UNASUR Moves to Regional Legislation

The meeting was led by Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice President Luisa Estela Morales, with participation of President Hugo Chavez.

Prensa Latina | Oct 4, 2008

Caracas, Oct 4 (Prensa Latina) Experts of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) took the firststeps to create a regional system in legal issues, as part of the integration process that is currently in progress.

In three days of meetings at the 3rd UNASUR Judicial Power President Summit, the participants achieved agreements in issues as extradition, exhortation, alternative mechanisms to solve conflicts and exequatur.

The final statement of the meeting held in Margarita Island, in the Venezuelan Caribbean, highlighted the need to establish mechanisms to facilitate extradition and create center for conciliation and arbitration to make progress in the regional project.

Brazilian, Paraguayan, Chilean, Peruvian, Panamanian, Uruguayan and Venezuelan Judicial Power presidents debated an extensive spectrum of issues, which included the need to sign protocols to unify sentence proceedings.

The proposal of a regional center for conciliation and arbitration was presented by Colombia and Chile, reported Peruvian Supreme Court President Francisco Tavara, who supported his country’s initiative.

The objective is to create an institution to resolve controversies that might emerge when implementing cooperation programs, as contracts for large public infrastructure works and others.

Paraguayan Supreme Court President Victor Manuel Nuñez defended the signing of protocols to unify the proceedings for foreign sentences in national spheres.

UNASUR needs to be agile in dealing with international problems, and its concept of integration has to be extensive and global, and in this respect, we share the integrationist idea, he said.

The meeting was led by Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice President Luisa Estela Morales, with participation of President Hugo Chavez.

Morales explained that the Summit was summoned to pave the way to cooperation among regional countries and avoid hindrances that could arise to achieve a true unity in justice administration.

The first meeting of this kind was held in Chile in 2007 and the second was held in Peru in 2008.

British armed forces facing ‘explosion’ of mental illness

Britain is facing an “explosion” of psychiatric disorders amongst serving and former members of the armed forces.

Telegraph | Oct 5, 2008

By Sean Rayment

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that ex-servicemen’s charities have seen a 53% increase in the number of veterans seeking help since 2005, a rate which threatens to “swamp” them within a few years.

The Ministry of Defence’s own figures show that up to 2000 members of the armed services are being diagnosed every year with a psychiatric condition after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Former service personnel who fought in earlier campaigns stretching back to the Second World War are also coming forward for treatment after psychological problems have emerged years, sometimes decades, later.

Those problems include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), manic depression, mood swings, and drug and alcohol dependency. It has also emerged that up to seven service personnel have committed suicide either during or after active duty in Iraq.

Details of the size of the problem were revealed by a senior MoD official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said: “We are facing an explosion of psychiatric problems not just from serving military personnel but also from those who served in campaigns dating all the way back to the Second World War. It is a huge problem and something which requires a cross-governmental solution.”

The official’s comments were supported by Combat Stress, the ex-services mental welfare charity, which has seen an increase in the number of referrals of veterans rise by 53 per cent since 2005.

In 2000, the charity saw just 300 new patients who had an average age of 70. So far this year, the charity has seen 1,160 veterans, with an average age of 43. Of those, 217 saw service in Iraq and 38 fought in Afghanistan. The youngest veteran being cared for by the charity is just 20.

Robert Marsh, the director of fund raising for Combat Stress, said his organisation was working at full capacity.

He said: “There is a strong possibility that we face being swamped by new veterans seeking our help. There has been a 53 per cent increase in the number of veterans seeking our help in just three years. Lord knows what we are going to be faced with in five or 10 years time. We need to develop more capacity for the future because we are already creaking.”

The charity, which has three regional treatment centres in the UK – in Surrey, Shropshire and Ayrshire – has 8,490 ex-service personnel on its books of whom around 4000 are currently receiving treatment.

The charity is treating 246 veterans who fought in the Second World War; 57 who fought in Malaya; 128 who were based in Aden; and around 2000 who served in Northern Ireland.

But it is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are likely to produce the most psychiatric casualties over the next few years.

The Iraq War developed into a bitter insurgency in which dozens of soldiers were killed and hundreds were maimed by improvised explosive devices.

The war in Afghanistan is now regarded as the bloodiest campaign since Korea.

The latest government figures available show that for the first nine months of 2007, more than 1500 servicemen and women who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder – a rate of 2000 a year. Personnel who are posted to Afghanistan are 14 times more likely to develop PTSD than those who do not deploy.

But the MoD’s own analysis warns that its figures might be hiding the true extent of the problem because of the social stigma associated with mental illness.

Liam Fox, the Tory shadow defence secretary, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of veterans coming forward with mental health problems because of the stresses they faced in places like Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War – this was entirely predictable. But what is absolutely tragic is the fact that these same veterans have been abandoned to their fait by this government.”

The military has gone to great lengths to diagnose psychiatric disorders amongst troops. Serving personnel have access to 15 community mental health centres across the country which provide psychiatric out-patient care. Those troops requiring in-patient care are treated at The Priory, which has centres across the UK. Troops also have access to in-service psychiatrists. Junior commanders are trained to recognize the symptoms of psychological trauma at an early stage.

A spokesman for the MoD, said: “Counselling is available to Service Personnel and troops receive pre and post deployment briefings to help recognise the signs of stress disorders. We recognise that operational deployments can be stressful experiences, so we offer individuals briefing prior to returning to their home base. ‘Decompression periods’ at the home base or in places such as Cyprus are in place for personnel to unwind mentally and physically and talk to colleagues about their experiences in theatre. The families of returning personnel are also offered presentations and leaflets about the possible after-affects of an operational deployment.”

Last month it emerged that one in ten of the British prison population was a former member of the armed services. The revelation led to calls for greater welfare improvements for veterans.