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Monday, 07 August 2006 01:31

World Media Watch for August 7, 2006

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WORLD MEDIA WATCH

1//The Moscow Times, Russia--U.S. PUNISHES ARMS TRADER, SUKHOI (The United States has slapped sanctions on state arms trader Rosoboronexport and jetmaker Sukhoi, accusing them of helping Iran acquire weapons of mass destruction. Officials in Moscow reacted angrily, criticizing Washington for attempting "to impose U.S. laws on foreigners." The sanctions on Friday came as relations between Moscow and Washington were strained over a number of other issues, from tensions over the Middle East to frustrations over the United States blocking Russia's World Trade Organization bid to Russian delays in announcing large contracts that U.S. firms hope to win. ... "In effect, the United States is punishing its own companies by preventing them from working with the most advanced Russian enterprises," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its web site Friday evening. ... Rosoboronexport called the sanctions "an unfriendly act toward the Russian state and an attempt to destabilize Russia military and technical cooperation with other nations." ... Sukhoi is working on a project with Boeing to design a 100-seater regional airliner, while Boeing is eager to secure imports of titanium, a metal used in the aerospace industry, from Russia. Rosoboronexport has been widely seen as planning to acquire VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest producer of titanium. The state arms dealer also controls AvtoVAZ, the country's biggest carmaker, which has a joint venture with U.S. auto giant General Motors.)

2//The Guardian, UK--ANTI-TERROR LAWS ALIENATE MUSLIMS, SAYS TOP POLICEMAN (One of Britain's top police officers will today warn that anti-terrorism laws are discriminating against Muslims and law enforcement agencies are running a "real risk" of criminalising ethnic minorities. Tarique Ghaffur, assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police, will also call for "an independent judicial review" of why some young British Muslims turn to extremism. He warns that more work is needed to stop the "flight, fright or separation" of British Muslim communities after the July 7 2005 bombings in London. ... He will say the hundreds of arrests for terrorism since September 11, with relatively few convictions for Islamist terrorism, amount to "wide-scale enforcement" that has created "a strong feeling of mass stereotyping with the Muslim community and in fact the wider non-Muslim south Asian communities". Since July 7 there has been an intensified effort among counter-terrorism agencies to understand why some young British Muslims turn to violence. Mr Ghaffur will propose a judicial inquiry along the lines of Lord Scarman's examination of the 1981 Brixton riots that were a landmark in British race relations: "We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and resentment. In particular, we need to adopt an evidence-based approach to building solutions.")

3//The Toronto Star, Canada--PM's MAILBAG FULL OF AFGHAN COMPLAINTS (Afghanistan has become a lightning rod for thousands of ordinary Canadians who write or call Stephen Harper, newly released documents show. Records of telephone calls, letters and e-mails to the prime minister in the four months since he took office Feb. 6 suggest the military mission is turning into a political quagmire for the minority government. ... The new concern about Afghanistan is also reflected in recent polls. A survey last month by Strategic Counsel suggested 56 per cent of Canadians opposed the Kandahar mission, up 15 percentage points from March. ... Pollster Bruce Anderson of Decima Research said the prime minister's correspondence does seem to mirror a growing anxiety among Canadians about the Afghanistan mission and foreign policy generally. "People thought it was important to join with America and do our part to fight terrorism, but they have lost faith that the U.S. administration is conducting this war effectively," he said. "The new conflict in Lebanon raises fears that the future holds more instability, not less, and that the U.S. may be more of the problem than the solution." Canadians also worry about safeguarding an independent foreign policy, and about the rising casualties in Afghanistan with no clear milestones of success in the troubled country, he added.)

4//AKI (Adnkronosinternational), Italy--AFGHANISTAN: UN WARNS OF INCREASED ATTACKS ON SCHOOLS (The United Nations Children's Fund warned on Friday that schools in Afghanistan are the targets of increasingly dramatic attacks and called on all parties not to target any students, teachers or educational institutions. Reported incidents have spread from the south and southeastern region to all of the provinces and include 11 explosions, 50 school burnings and 37 threats against schools and communities. In four southern provinces it is estimated that more than 100,000 children are shut out of school because of school closures. Children and teachers are under increasing threat and being denied their right to a safe teaching and learning environment. As of July 2006, the UNICEF School Incident Database - a UNICEF-run monitoring system - totalled 99 cases, or more than six times the number of incidents from the same period in 2005. Six children have died as a result of the violence.)

5//The News International, Pakistan--CHAD CHOOSES REALISM, CASH & CHINA OVER TAIWAN (Chad's decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and reestablish links with Beijing is motivated by financial self-interest and the advantages of a relationship with a major global force, observers said Sunday. "The interest of the state outweighs all other considerations," said a senior Chadian diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. Chad, a desperately poor country, menaced by rebellions, in conflict in different ways with neighbouring Sudan and the World Bank, broke off relations with China after 25 years in favour of Taipei in 1997. "For N'Djamena and [President Idriss] Deby [Itno], in view of the general situation it's better to have Beijing with you than against you," said a French specialist, who found nothing surprising about Chad's change of heart, other than its rapidity. ... The alliance with Beijing "which appears as the anti-World Bank" strengthens Chad's hand in dealing with the bank, he said. Chad and the bank have been at loggerheads since January over the spending of oil revenues and the bank suspended payments until an agreement was signed last month. From now on "if the World Bank imposes too many conditions, N'Djamena will tell it it has a ready alternative: Beijing, " he said.)

* * *

1//The Moscow Times, Russia Monday, August 7, 2006. Issue 3469. Page 1.

U.S. PUNISHES ARMS TRADER, SUKHOI
By Valeria Korchagina, Staff Writer

The United States has slapped sanctions on state arms trader Rosoboronexport and jetmaker Sukhoi, accusing them of helping Iran acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Officials in Moscow reacted angrily, criticizing Washington for attempting "to impose U.S. laws on foreigners."

The sanctions on Friday came as relations between Moscow and Washington were strained over a number of other issues, from tensions over the Middle East to frustrations over the United States blocking Russia's World Trade Organization bid to Russian delays in announcing large contracts that U.S. firms hope to win.

The United States has been seeking greater help from Moscow in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program, citing fears Tehran is planning to make a bomb. Iran insists its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes only.

The two companies denied in statements any wrongdoing, while the Foreign Ministry hinted that a tit-for-tat response would hurt U.S. companies in Russia. The Defense Ministry said the sanctions were likely a response to Russia's arms deal last month with Venezuela.

Last Monday, Russia voted for a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council resolution that called for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program.

Questioned about the timing of the trade restrictions, a senior U.S. government official said there was "never a good time" to impose sanctions, adding: "They know the law," The New York Times reported Saturday.

"In effect, the United States is punishing its own companies by preventing them from working with the most advanced Russian enterprises," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its web site Friday evening.

The Foreign Ministry's statement was the first indication of the sanctions, which were not officially announced by the U.S. State Department but were later confirmed by unnamed officials within the department.

It was not immediately clear how the sanctions would affect the Russian companies. The sanctions were imposed under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, a law that bars U.S. government agencies from working with companies judged to be aiding Iran in acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
The sanctions came into effect July 28, and will last for two years.

Of the five other companies put on the State Department's blacklist, two are from India, two from North Korea and one from Cuba, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed State Department official.
(SNIP)

Rosoboronexport called the sanctions "an unfriendly act toward the Russian state and an attempt to destabilize Russia military and technical cooperation with other nations."

It was unclear from the Foreign Ministry's statement whether Russia saw a link between the sanctions and trade disagreements with Washington involving the two blacklisted companies and other deals.
This year, Gazprom has repeatedly delayed the announcement of foreign partners for the Shtokman Arctic gas fields. Two U.S. oil and gas majors, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, have been seeking to participate in the multibillion-dollar project, which is designed to produce liquefied natural gas and sell it primarily on the U.S. market.

Another major deal under consideration is Boeing's bid to supply $3 billion-worth of planes to Aeroflot.
Sukhoi is working on a project with Boeing to design a 100-seater regional airliner, while Boeing is eager to secure imports of titanium, a metal used in the aerospace industry, from Russia.
Rosoboronexport has been widely seen as planning to acquire VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest producer of titanium.

The state arms dealer also controls AvtoVAZ, the country's biggest carmaker, which has a joint venture with U.S. auto giant General Motors.

2//The Guardian, UK Monday August 7, 2006

ANTI-TERROR LAWS ALIENATE MUSLIMS, SAYS TOP POLICEMAN
Riazat Butt and Vikram Dodd

One of Britain's top police officers will today warn that anti-terrorism laws are discriminating against Muslims and law enforcement agencies are running a "real risk" of criminalising ethnic minorities.

Tarique Ghaffur, assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police, will also call for "an independent judicial review" of why some young British Muslims turn to extremism. He warns that more work is needed to stop the "flight, fright or separation" of British Muslim communities after the July 7 2005 bombings in London.

Mr Ghaffur, Britain's highest-ranking Muslim police officer, will today address a National Black Police Association conference in Manchester and tell how racism has blighted his own career.

Since the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States, western countries have toughened counter-terrorism laws. Mr Ghaffur will say: "Not only has anti-terrorism and security legislation been tightened across many European countries with the effect of indirectly discriminating against Muslims, but other equally unwanted practices have also emerged, including 'passenger profiling' as well as increased stop and search and arrest under terrorism legislation."

In Britain, people of Asian appearance have borne the brunt of increased stopping and searching. Police have said the practice is "intelligence-led", but Mr Ghaffur appears to cast doubt on this repeated defence: "These practices tend to be based more on physical appearance than being intelligence-led."

Mr Ghaffur will say the July 7 attacks "revealed some of the limitations of the policing response" and other authorities such as Revenue and Customs are acting in a way that could be counterproductive: "There is a very real danger that the counter-terrorism label is also being used by other law enforcement agencies to the effect that there is a real risk of criminalising minority communities.

"The impact of this will be that just at the time we need the confidence and trust of these communities, they may retreat inside themselves. We therefore need proper accountability and transparency round all policy and direction that affects communities."

He will say the hundreds of arrests for terrorism since September 11, with relatively few convictions for Islamist terrorism, amount to "wide-scale enforcement" that has created "a strong feeling of mass stereotyping with the Muslim community and in fact the wider non-Muslim south Asian communities".

Since July 7 there has been an intensified effort among counter-terrorism agencies to understand why some young British Muslims turn to violence. Mr Ghaffur will propose a judicial inquiry along the lines of Lord Scarman's examination of the 1981 Brixton riots that were a landmark in British race relations: "We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and resentment. In particular, we need to adopt an evidence-based approach to building solutions."

(MORE)

3//The Toronto Star, Canada Aug. 6, 2006. 01:59 PM
PM's MAILBAG FULL OF AFGHAN COMPLAINTS
Dean Beeby, Canadian Press

OTTAWA (CP) - Afghanistan has become a lightning rod for thousands of ordinary Canadians who write or call Stephen Harper, newly released documents show.

Records of telephone calls, letters and e-mails to the prime minister in the four months since he took office Feb. 6 suggest the military mission is turning into a political quagmire for the minority government.

In May, for example, Harper's office received 1,453 letters and e-mails about Canada's Afghan deployment, two-thirds calling on the government to pull out and get the troops home. Another 114 telephone callers said the same.

The mission in Kandahar by far eclipsed any other issue that month, according to an internal analysis obtained under the Access to Information Act.

It was similar in April, when 1,805 pieces of correspondence and another 422 telephone calls dealt with Afghanistan-related issues.

Most criticized the government's decision not to lower flags on Parliament Hill to honour fallen soldiers, and there was vocal opposition to the mission itself. Almost 200 callers said the media should not be banned from reporting the return of the bodies of soldiers.

Again, Afghanistan dominated as the top issue that month when measured by the volume of correspondence.

The released analyses paint a picture of deepening concern about Canada's increasingly bloody engagement on the other side of the world, where at least 24 soldiers have died, including five in the last week.

In the month after Harper was sworn in, Afghanistan was barely on the radar of Canadians who tried to contact the prime minister, according to the analysis provided by the Privy Council Office.

(SNIP)

The prime minister's mailbag and phone logs are decidedly unscientific samples of opinion, though three dozen bureaucrats are employed full time to wade through some two million items each year and categorize them by subject.

Their analyses carefully exclude so-called write-in campaigns, which use form letters and e-mail templates to flood politicians with standardized messages.

Instead, staff focus on e-mails, letters and telephone calls that appear to be spontaneous and individual.

The emphasis on Afghanistan contrasts sharply with former prime minister Paul Martin's mailbag in 2005, where the subject was hardly mentioned. Instead, same-sex marriage was last year's hottest topic.

The new concern about Afghanistan is also reflected in recent polls. A survey last month by Strategic Counsel suggested 56 per cent of Canadians opposed the Kandahar mission, up 15 percentage points from March.

(SNIP)

Pollster Bruce Anderson of Decima Research said the prime minister's correspondence does seem to mirror a growing anxiety among Canadians about the Afghanistan mission and foreign policy generally.

"People thought it was important to join with America and do our part to fight terrorism, but they have lost faith that the U.S. administration is conducting this war effectively," he said.

"The new conflict in Lebanon raises fears that the future holds more instability, not less, and that the U.S. may be more of the problem than the solution."

Canadians also worry about safeguarding an independent foreign policy, and about the rising casualties in Afghanistan with no clear milestones of success in the troubled country, he added.

4//AKI (Adnkronosinternational), Italy August 4, 2006

AFGHANISTAN: UN WARNS OF INCREASED ATTACKS ON SCHOOLS

New York, 4 August (AKI) - The United Nations Children's Fund warned on Friday that schools in Afghanistan are the targets of increasingly dramatic attacks and called on all parties not to target any students, teachers or educational institutions. Reported incidents have spread from the south and southeastern region to all of the provinces and include 11 explosions, 50 school burnings and 37 threats against schools and communities.

In four southern provinces it is estimated that more than 100,000 children are shut out of school because of school closures. Children and teachers are under increasing threat and being denied their right to a safe teaching and learning environment.

As of July 2006, the UNICEF School Incident Database - a UNICEF-run monitoring system - totalled 99 cases, or more than six times the number of incidents from the same period in 2005. Six children have died as a result of the violence.

While UNICEF and the Afghan government are taking steps to protect children and schools, the latest school-security related incidents are becoming increasingly worrisome. The education structure is still shaky following years of political turmoil, including denial of education for girls, under Taliban rule and the subsequent ongoing conflict.
(SNIP)
UNICEF called on all parties to cease targeting children, education workers and schools.

In response, UNICEF, Afghanistan's education ministry and other partners have set up a special task force to devise solutions to strengthen the protection of students, teachers, school officials and schools themselves and to provide a rapid response when incidents arise.

When incidents do occur, UNICEF, if security allows, is on-site within 72 hours providing classroom tents, teaching-learning stationary materials, blackboard, chalks and floor mats so as to restore normal functioning of schools as soon as possible.

5//The News International, Pakistan Monday, August 07, 2006, Rajab 11, 1427 A.H.

CHAD CHOOSES REALISM, CASH & CHINA OVER TAIWAN

N'DJAMENA: Chad's decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and reestablish links with Beijing is motivated by financial self-interest and the advantages of a relationship with a major global force, observers said Sunday.

"The interest of the state outweighs all other considerations," said a senior Chadian diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chad, a desperately poor country, menaced by rebellions, in conflict in different ways with neighbouring Sudan and the World Bank, broke off relations with China after 25 years in favour of Taipei in 1997.

"For N'Djamena and (President Idriss) Deby (Itno), in view of the general situation it's better to have Beijing with you than against you," said a French specialist, who found nothing surprising about Chad's change of heart, other than its rapidity.

"Apparently the Chadian delegation sent to Khartoum in July (to repair links damaged by Chad's accusations against Sudan of backing rebels) got in touch with the Chinese ambassador in Sudan," he said.

Chad's chief preoccupation is financial, he said.

"Chad will have a lot to gain economically with Beijing, besides the resumption of all the projects left behind by Taiwan," said the diplomat.

Taiwan has provided Chad with major financial and technical aid in several areas - including roads, water supply, and education - but "one can imagine that this U-turn will be accompanied by Chinese financial backing greater than that of Taiwan," the French specialist said.

The alliance with Beijing "which appears as the anti-World Bank" strengthens Chad's hand in dealing with the bank, he said.

Chad and the bank have been at loggerheads since January over the spending of oil revenues and the bank suspended payments until an agreement was signed last month.

From now on "if the World Bank imposes too many conditions, N'Djamena will tell it it has a ready alternative: Beijing, " he said.

Oil is a major factor in the resumption of ties between Beijing and N'Djamena. Chinese companies are interested by several blocs in Chad but have so far not been present except indirectly through participation in companies holding exploitation rights.

Now they can establish a direct presence and should rapidly take over from the Taiwanese CPC company which was granted a major exploration authorisation in January.

In the longer term Chad could see an extension of the oil pipeline built in Sudan by China so it can send oil to Port Sudan, giving it a bargaining chip in its dispute with the consortium transporting Chadian crude to Cameroon.

A further important factor in Chad's switch is the right of veto in the United Nations Security Council held by China as one of the five permanent members.

Chad faces internal upheavals from the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan which has seen 200,000 refugees arrive on its soil and created tensions with Khartoum, a traditional ally of China.

"As China has a veto we have to have it by our side so the draft (UN resolution) on the presence of UN forces (in Darfur) goes through without difficulty," the Chadian diplomat said.

He also suggested that N'Djamena could hope that arms supplies to rebel movements operating in Chad and using Chinese weapons might be cut back. "It is a moment of grand diplomatic manoeuvres between N'Djamena and Khartoum. Beijing could act as an intermediary and appear as a stablising element between the two countries, " said the French specialist.

(MORE)

Copyright 2006, Gloria R. Lalumia

WORLD MEDIA WATCH