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TELECOM ITÁLIA PRETENDE INVESTIR EM EXPANSÃO NO MERCADO BRASILEIRO (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Quarta-feira, 3 de Dezembro de 2008 – 15:39

FOLHA ONLINE

PUBLISHED BY ‘GAZETA DE JOINVILLE’ (SC – Brasil)

A Telecom Itália planeja reforçar sua presença no mercado brasileiro das telecomunicações durante os próximos três anos, nos quais pretende alcançar um crescimento de 8% em sua receita anual. Esse é um dos objetivos que a companhia italiana inclui em seu plano trienal 2009-2011, aprovado ontem na Itália por seu conselho de administração e apresentado nesta quarta-feira em Londres aos analistas, informou a companhia.

Entre suas pretensões no mercado das telecomunicações do Brasil, a Telecom Italia quer alcançar, em 2009, receita em torno de R$ 15,3 bilhões, e um Ebitda (lucro antes juros, impostos, depreciação e amortização) de R$ 3,6 bilhões.

“O Brasil representa um sólido mercado emergente no qual Telecom Italia quer reforçar sua própria posição, através do mercado da telefonia celular e do desenvolvimento da banda larga, com as possibilidades que oferece a passagem da rede fixa à móvel”, analisa a companhia italiana em nota de imprensa.

A Telecom Italia informou que seus investimentos industriais no Brasil para 2009 serão de R$ 2,8 bilhões, o que representa 13,5% da receita que espera registrar em 2011. Os mercados das telecomunicações de Brasil e Argentina são dois dos grandes objetivos que a empresa de telefonia italiana estabeleceu para os próximos três anos.

O jornal italiano “Il Sole 24 Ore” informou que uma das idéias para injetar recursos rapidamente no caixa seria a venda dos ativos da empresa no exterior, incluindo a TIM Brasil, por cerca de 7 bilhões. O presidente da Asati (Associação dos Acionistas Minoritários da TI), Franco Lombardi, disse que os 2.500 acionistas (80% deles funcionários) são contrários à venda das subsidiárias.

A empresa prevê contar em 2011, através da divisão de telefonia celular TIM (Telecom Itália Mobile), com mais de 2,5 milhões de clientes de serviços de banda larga, através da rede móvel, com uma fração de mercado de 25%.

A Telecom Italia também anunciou hoje a demissão de 4 mil empregados de sua matriz e o corte de suas previsões de crescimento de receita pela quinta vez em três anos.

Os conselheiros da Telecom Italia se reuniram ontem por nove horas e escolheram Londres para apresentar hoje o novo plano de negócio da companhia a analistas.

Os empregados da Telecom Italia passarão de 64 mil a cerca de 55 mil até 2011, avaliou em comunicado o administrador Franco Bernabé.

EFE

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Posted in A INDÚSTRIA DA COMUNICAÇÃO, BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDÚSTRIA DE ELETRO-ELETRÔNICOS, INDÚSTRIAS, O MERCADO IMPORTADOR, TELEFONIA - FIXA E MÓVEL | Leave a Comment »

CONSTRUÇÃO DEVE MANTER NÍVEL DE EMPREGO ATÉ 1º TRI DE 2009, DIZ SINDICATO (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Quarta-feira, 3 de Dezembro de 2008 – 15:37

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GAZETA DE JOINVILLE’ (SC – Brasil)

O volume de empregos no setor da construção civil deverá se manter próximo do ritmo atual pelo menos até o final do primeiro trimestre de 2009 graças às obras já contratadas antes do início da crise financeira internacional, informou nesta quarta-feira o SindusCon-SP (Sindicato da Indústria da Construção Civil do Estado de São Paulo).

Até outubro, o estoque de pessoas empregadas no setor no Brasil atingiu 2,19 milhões, segundo dados do Caged (Cadastro Geral de Empregados e Desempregados) do Ministério do Trabalho – uma alta de 18% sobre o mesmo mês do ano passado.

“As obras já iniciadas estão com um financiamento bem arranjado, então não vão parar e manterão os níveis elevados de empregos, perto da taxa atual, até o final do primeiro trimestre de 2009”, disse o diretor de economia do SindusCon-SP, Eduardo May Zaidan. “Minha empresa, por exemplo, começou agora uma nova obra e estou com dificuldades de contratar carpinteiros.”

Porém, Zaidan lembra que os meses de novembro e dezembro geralmente trazem uma redução no volume de empregos resultante de um efeito sazonal comum ao setor. “É por uma questão de sazonalidade, na série histórica só não ocorreram demissões neste período em apenas dois anos”, disse.

Devido a este tradicional corte de vagas no final do ano, Zaidan disse que apenas em março será possível quantificar o real impacto da crise financeira sobre o número de empregos gerados pelo setor.

A crise, explica a entidade, deverá trazer impacto em departamentos específicos das construtoras. “Os setores administrativos e de vendas deverão apresentar cortes porque haverá menor número de lançamentos”, disse Ana Maria Castelo, economista da FGV Projetos.

2009

O que acontecerá após o primeiro trimestre do próximo ano ainda não está claro para as empresas de construção civil, o que fez a entidade fazer duas previsões diferentes.

Em um primeiro cenário, onde o nível de investimento não cai abruptamente, o SindusCon-SP prevê que o setor apresentará crescimento de 4,7%, enquanto o PIB (Produto Interno Bruto) do país cresceria 3,8%. No segundo cenário, mais pessimista devido a um maior número de projetos de investimentos cancelados, o PIB cresceria 2,8% e a construção civil, 3,5%.

A entidade aposta no cenário mais otimista. O que sustenta a crença é o ciclo mais longo dos investimentos no setor – ou seja, muitas decisões de investimentos tomados nos tempos de bonança influenciarão no desempenho de 2009 -, a garantia do governo federal de manter seus investimentos em infra-estrutura e a manutenção dos recursos de financiamento do setor, notadamente vindos do FGTS (Fundo de Garantia por Tempo de Serviço) e da poupança, no caso do imobiliário, e do BNDES (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social), no caso da construção pesada.

Um crescimento menor em 2009, inclusive, chega a ser “comemorado” pelo setor. “Não haveria mão-de-obra e materiais suficientes para manter o ritmo de 2008 [que deverá fechar 10% maior que no ano anterior]”, disse Ana Maria. “É hora das empresas se reorganizarem e se prepararem melhor para a retomada do crescimento.”

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Posted in ÍNDICES DA RENDA SALARIAL, ÍNDICES DE EMPREGO, BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAMENTO IMOBILIÁRIO, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDÚSTRIA DA CONSTRUÇÃO CIVIL, INDÚSTRIAS, O MERCADO DE TRABALHO - BRASIL, O MUNDO DO TRABALHO - BRASIL, OS TRABALHADORES, TAXAS DE DESEMPREGO | Leave a Comment »

NOVOS ATOS ILÍCITOS DE TEBALDI (PSDB) (Santa Catarina – Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Quarta-feira, 3 de Dezembro de 2008 – 16:46

por Rogério Giessel – Redação Gazeta de Joinville

PUBLISHED BY ‘GAZETA DE JOINVILLE’ (SC – Brasil)

O prefeito Marco Antonio O prefeito de Joinville Marco Antonio Tebaldi (PSDB)Tebaldi (PSDB) foi novamente alvo de outra ação civil pública, com imputação de improbidade administrativa impetrada pelo promotor Assis Marciel Kretzer, da 13ª Promotoria de Justiça de Joinville, no dia 4 de novembro. De acordo com a denúncia, Tebaldi utilizou o site da prefeitura em favor do então candidato derrotado Darci de Matos (DEM), a quem apoiava.

A suposta irregularidade ocorreu no período de 5 de julho a 26 de outubro desse ano, em plena campanha eleitoral. Foram veiculadas no site oficial publicidade institucional dos atos, programas, obras serviços e campanhas de seu governo. “Dita publicidade perdurou durante todo o período vedado pela Lei n.º 9.504/97, durante o qual o requerido, ostensivamente, objetivou apoiar Darci de Matos, candidato a prefeito pela Coligação “Joinville Cidadã”, informa a ação. O promotor ainda lembra que tais atos de improbidade foram realizados à custa do dinheiro público.

Para MP, prefeito burlou a lei

O Ministério Público Estadual (MPE) cita como exemplos de publicidade indevida, os títulos das seguintes matérias, “Construção da casamata inicia na próxima semana”; “Rua Benjamin Constant em obras”; “Prefeitura repassa R$ 1,2 milhão a entidades beneficentes”; “Obras no bairro Anita Garibaldi”; “Prefeitura está concluindo mais quatro escolas e seis CEIs”; “Asfaltamento da rua Tenente Antônio João é concluído”; “São José vai ampliar o número de leitos”; “Prefeitura investe na qualificação do servidor”; “Asfalto nos bairros”; “Transparência nas contas da Prefeitura”. Além disso, relata a denúncia, Marco Antonio Tebaldi (PSDB)chama a atenção às matérias que noticiaram prestações de contas do prefeito em alguns bairros. Assis fundamenta seu entendimento com o seguinte argumento: “Pela ocorrência ventilada, é notório que Tebaldi praticou atos objetivando fim proibido em lei, vez que a legislação eleitoral não admite a autorização de publicidade institucional, por qualquer meio de comunicação, nos três meses que antecedem as eleições.”

Ressarcimento do dinheiro público e perda do cargo

O MPE finaliza a ação solicitando a aplicação das seguintes penas ao prefeito Marco Antonio Tebaldi. “(…) que seja o demandado declarado ímprobo, enquadrado como infrator do dispositivo referido, da Lei n.º 8.429/92, (Dispõe sobre as sanções aplicáveis aos agentes públicos nos casos de enriquecimento ilícito no exercício de mandato, cargo, emprego ou função na administração pública direta, indireta ou fundacional e dá outras providências.) e condenado às sanções para ele previstas no art. 12 da mesma lei, notadamente ressarcimento ao erário e decretação da perda de seu cargo público.

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Posted in A CORRUPÇÃO NO APARELHO DO ESTADO, ATIVIDADES CRIMINOSAS - BRASIL, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, CIDADES, COMBATE À CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPÇÃO NA POLÍTICA, CRIMES EMPRESARIAIS, O PODER EXECUTIVO MUNICIPAL, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO, O PODER LEGISLATIVO MUNICIPAL, ORÇAMENTO MUNICIPAL, OS JUDICIÁRIOS ESTADUAIS, OS PREFEITOS, PARTIDO DA SOCIAL DEMOCRACIA BRASILEIRA (PSDB), PARTIDO DOS DEMOCRATAS (PD), POLÍTICA - BRASIL, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, PREVARICAÇÃO, SC, VEREADORES | Leave a Comment »

FISCAIS RESGATAM 284 CORTADORES DE USINAS DE PREFEITO ELEITO DO MUNICÍPIO DE PALMARES (PE) – TRABALHADORES DE DOIS ENGENHOS (BARRA D´OURO E POÇO), PERTENCENTES A BETO DA USINA (O EMPRESÁRIO JOSÉ BARTOLOMEU DE ALMEIDA MELO É PROPRIETÁRIO DE GRANDES EMPRESAS COMO A USINA VITÓRIA, SUPERMERCADOS, ARMAZÉNS E POSTOS DE ABASTECIMENTO DE COMBUSTÍVEIS), ELEITO PELO PDT EM PALMARES (PE), FORAM ENCONTRADOS EM CONDIÇÃO DEGRADANTE PELO GRUPO MÓVEL. VERBAS RESCISÓRIAS AINDA NÃO FORAM PAGAS (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

03/12/2008

por Bianca Pyl

PUBLISHED BY ‘REPÓRTER BRASIL’

O grupo móvel de fiscalização do Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego (MTE) resgatou 284 cortadores de cana dos engenhos Barra D´Ouro e Poço, da O EMPRESÁRIO E PREFEITO DE PALMARES PELO PDT DE PERNAMBUCO, JOSÉ BARTOLOMEU DE ALMEIDA MELO, É PROPRIETÁRIO DE GRANDES EMPRESAS COMO A USINA VITÓRIA, SUPERMERCADOS, ARMAZÉNS E POSTOS DE ABASTECIMENTO DE COMBUSTÍVEISUsina Vitória Agrocomercial Ltda, propriedade de José Bartolomeu de Almeida Melo (PDT), o Beto da Usina, prefeito eleito nas últimas eleições. A empresa fica no município de Palmares (PE), a 120 km da capital Recife.

A lista de irregularidades encontradas pelos fiscais é extensa. “A empresa já havia sido notificada anteriormente pela Superintendência Regional do Trabalho e Emprego de Pernambuco (SRTE/PE) por conta das irregularidades e já tinha recebido informações de como se adequar à legislação trabalhista por meio da Secretaria de Inspeção do Trabalho, mas mesmo assim não se adequou à legislação”, explica Jacqueline Carrijo, coordenadora da ação. A operação foi motivada por um pedido da SRTE/PE, que já realizara 37 fiscalizações no local, inclusive com flagrantes de trabalho degradante.

Todos os 284 trabalhadores não tinham equipamentos de proteção individual (EPIs). Os empregadores forneciam uma luva somente, e só para alguns trabalhadores. “Isso é um absurdo, somente uma luva [era oferecida], e não o par. O restante dos equipamentos não era oferecido”, conta a coordenadora da ação. Ela relata ainda que a usina não fornecia água. Os próprios trabalhadores traziam água de casa em garrafas PET, mas a bebida costumava acabar por volta das 11h da manhã.

“Os cortadores procuravam os companheiros que ainda tinham água, e caso não tivessem, tomavam água de brejos próximos da frente de trabalho”, relata Jacqueline. Não havia instalações sanitárias nas frentes de trabalho no canavial e os empregados utilizavam o mato como banheiro.

A jornada dos 229 resgatados do Engenho Barra D´Ouro começava às 3h da manhã, quando eles acordavam para providenciar o preparo da alimentação, e só terminava depois das 18h. O ônibus que transportava os cortadores estava em situação precária, não tinham licença para circular e era conduzido por motoristas sem carteira de habilitação. A parada para descanso era de, no máximo, 30min para o almoço, no meio do dia.

“Os cortadores traziam a comida em potes de margarina, recipientes inadequados para o armazenamento de refeições. Eles se alimentavam basicamente de macarrão, arroz e farinha. Ou seja, só carboidrato, sem os nutrientes necessários para quem exerce uma atividade tão desgastante”, continua a auditora do trabalho que coordenou a fiscalização.

As refeições eram feitas no chão, sem nenhuma proteção contra JOSÉ BARTOLOMEU DE ALMEIDA MELO, O BETO DA USINA, FOI ELEITO PELO PDT EM PALMARES (PE)o sol. Foram lavrados 129 autos de infração e seis termos de interdição contra a Usina Vitória, incluindo o parque industrial da empresa e a frente de trabalho. Os cortadores começaram o trabalho no início de outubro deste ano.

Os outros 55 empregados trabalhavam no Engenho Poço e moravam numa vila próxima ao local, mantida por Romildo Brandão, arrendatário do engenho. De acordo com o procurador do Trabalho Flávio Gondim, as casas estavam em situação precária, com riscos até de desabamento. As condições de trabalho dos cortadores era a mesma que a dos cortadores do Engenho Barra D´Ouro, mas os empregados estavam no local há mais tempo, alguns há 15 ou 20 anos sem registro em carteira. Foram lavrados 27 autos de infração contra Romildo Brandão e dois termos de interdição do local.

Os funcionários recebiam por produção: R$ 14,70 a cada três toneladas de cana cortada. Para receber um salário mínimo por mês, eram obrigados a cortar cerca de 3,5 toneladas por dia. “Nas condições que estavam era muito difícil atingir esse peso”, constata Jacqueline. As frentes de trabalho ficavam em locais isolados e, quando a fiscalização chegou ao Engenho Barra D`Ouro, pessoas estavam passando mal. Não havia ambulância ou rádio para se comunicar no local. “Um trabalhador estava vomitando e outro muito fraco por ter cortado o pé, mas, mesmo assim, continuava cortando cana descalço”.

A topografia acidentada do local chamou a atenção dos fiscais por dificultar o trabalho dos cortadores de cana. Jacqueline Carrijo conta que o terreno é muito inclinado e que até os carros da fiscalização tiveram dificuldades de se deslocar. “Outro fator que prejudicava a saúde do trabalhador é o tipo de cana, que é embolada e plantada de forma espaçada. Os lavradores cortavam uma cana por vez e tinham que dar mais golpes de facão para conseguir cortar. Isso exigia um esforço físico muito maior. Imagina então para quem está sob sol forte, sem hidratação ou alimentação adequada?”, questiona a coordenadora.

Nas operações anteriores, realizadas pela equipe de fiscalização rural da SRTE/PE, foram lavrados 103 autos de infração contra a Usina Vitória. “As autuações foram por falta de pagamentos de salário, transporte ilegal dos trabalhadores, descumprimento da jornada legal e de descanso. A empresa também não cumpria as normas de Segurança e Saúde do Trabalho. Também realizamos interdições das frentes de trabalho e do parque industrial”, enumera Paulo Mendes, que coordena a equipe de fiscalização rural.

Paulo acrescenta que os representantes da empresa demonstraram indiferença com as ações dos fiscais locais, além de não assumir compromissos para a regularização da situação dos trabalhadores.

A equipe do grupo móvel promoveu a rescisão indireta dos contratos de trabalho. Os responsáveis, porém, não efetuaram o pagamento das verbas rescisórias, dos direitos trabalhistas e das indenizações.

A empresa nega a exploração de trabalho análogo à escravidão no Engenho Barra D´Ouro e assume problemas somente quanto à segurança no parque industrial. “Essa concepção de trabalho escravo é muito particular. A empresa contesta isso. Havia problemas na usina, não estamos no ponto ideal, assim como muitas usinas no Nordeste. A legislação brasileira é muito rígida quanto à segurança trabalhista. Mas estamos regularizando a situação”, coloca José Hamilton Lins, advogado da Usina Vitória.

O advogado explica ainda que o Engenho Poço foi arrendado por Romildo Brandão desde a época em que o local pertencia a Usina 13 de Maio. “Os trabalhadores adquiriram o Engenho Poço, na época pertencente à Usina 13 de Maio, por meio de um processo na Justiça e alguns venderam sua parte. A Usina Vitória adquiriu algumas dessas cotas, mas não o total. E como o senhor Romildo era o dono da cana e das benfeitorias do local, ele continuou lá”. Por conta desse histórico, segundo José Hamilton, nem os trabalhadores e nem a Usina Vitória tiraram Romildo da área.

De acordo com Flávio Gondim, Romildo foi definido como empregador dos trabalhadores do Engenho Poço. Judicialmente, contudo, a usina também será cobrada como uma das responsáveis pela situação encontrada. “Pelo que apuramos, Romildo não terá condições de reformar as casas dos cortadores. Então iremos cobrar da usina a responsabilidade solidária”.

Ações na Justiça serão movidas contra os empregadores. “A prioridade é o pagamento das verbas rescisórias dos 284 funcionários. Entraremos também com uma medida para resolver as questões de moradia dos trabalhadores do Engenho Poço, outra para a adequação do parque industrial da usina e outras duas para a regularização das frentes de trabalho”.

O parque industrial da Usina Vitória foi interditado. Nenhum médico do trabalho era responsável pela planta. Fiscais diagnosticaram problemas nas instalações elétricas, no uso de equipamentos de proteção indivual (EPIs) e também nas caldeiras. O ruído intenso na usina prejudicava a saúde auditiva dos 436 empregados, que tinham registro na carteira de trabalho. “Após a adequação, os fiscais da SRTE/PE virão fiscalizar novamente e só assim liberar o local para funcionamento”, explica Jacqueline. O grupo móvel foi composto por 11 auditores fiscais, oito policiais e um delegado da Polícia Federal (PF), e pelo procurador do Trabalho Flávio Gondim. A ação se estendeu durante o período de 11 a 25 de novembro.

Crime eleitoral

Beto da Usina, dono das usinas flagradas, foi cassado em condenação de primeira instância por abuso de poder econômico, emitida pela Justiça Eleitoral. Ele está sendo acusado de se beneficiar pelo uso indevido do Supermercado do Beto, estabelecimento de sua família, para angariar votos.

A denúncia foi apresentada pela coligação do atual prefeito Enoelino Magalhães (DEM), candidato derrotado. Segundo a sentença do juiz da 37ª zona eleitoral, Cláudio Cavalcanti, o crime eleitoral foi comprovado. A acusação alega que o supermercado distribuiu bonés e, numa festa de aniversário, enfeitou o estabelecimento com as cores da campanha. Além disso, faixas com o nome do candidato teriam sido afixadas no estabelecimento. Se a cassação for confirmada pelo Tribunal Regional de Contas (TRE) de Pernambuco e pelo Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE), Beto ficará inelegível por três anos.

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Posted in A CORRUPÇÃO NO APARELHO DO ESTADO, AGRICULTURA, ATIVIDADES CRIMINOSAS - BRASIL, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, CIDADES, COMBATE AO TRABALHO ESCRAVO E INFANTIL, COMBATE À CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, COMBATE À DESIGUALDADE E À EXCLUSÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPÇÃO NA POLÍTICA, CRIMES EMPRESARIAIS, DIREITOS HUMANOS - BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, INTERNATIONAL, MINISTÉRIO DO TRABALHO E EMPREGO, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, O PODER EXECUTIVO MUNICIPAL, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO, OS JUDICIÁRIOS ESTADUAIS, OS PREFEITOS, OS TRIBUNAIS REGIONAIS ELEITORAIS, PARTIDO DEMOCRÁTICO TRABALHISTA (PDT), PE, POLÍTICA REGIONAL | Leave a Comment »

ARMS SALES AND THE FUTURE OF U.S.-TAIWAN-CHINA RELATIONS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

November 24, 2008 05:01 PM – Age: 13 days

by Jau-shieh Joseph Wu

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE JAMESTOWN FOUNDATION’ (USA)

Publication: China Brief Volume: 8 Issue: 22

Category: China Brief, Featured, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific

The outgoing Bush Administration made an 11th hour decision to notify the U.S. Congress on GEORGE WALKER BUSHOctober 3—a day before Congress went into recess ahead of the groundbreaking November presidential election in the United States—that a raft of arms and weapons systems, which have been effectively frozen since December 2007, will be released for Taiwan. The passage of the arms package provided a temporary reprieve for Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, whose approval rating since assuming office in May has plummeted to 23.6 percent in October (Global View, November 2008). The items released by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, at the value of $6.4 billion, includes: 182 Javelin anti-tank missile; 30 Apache helicopters; four PAC-3 anti-missile batteries; 32 submarine-launched Harpoon missiles; and four E-2T radar plane upgrades. But more noticeable than the items released is the absence of the first phase of 8 diesel-powered submarines, Black Hawk helicopters, and two additional PAC-3 batteries that had been originally sought (United Daily News [Taiwan], October 5, 2008; Defense News, October 6). Taipei also requested 66 F-16 C/D jet fighters to add to its current inventory, but the Bush Administration has not received the letter of request for the reason that it would only process the above-mentioned package at the current stage.

The passage of the arms package was received with a sigh of relief in Taipei, which is concerned about the island’s strained relations with the United States,and, had a decision lapsed to the next U.S. president, weary that the package would be approved at all. As expected, Beijing complained bitterly and suspended unspecified military exchange programs with the United States (United Daily News, October 8, 2008), but overall the sale did not upset Sino-U.S. relations, nor did it interrupt the momentum of reconciliatory gestures between the Kuomintang (KMT), the ruling party on Taiwan, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, the scaling-down of the arms package signifies subtle changes in the geopolitical landscape in East Asia, where the shifting center of gravity may affect the long-term interests of the United States and its relations with the nations in the region.

Arms Sale and Taiwan’s Defense

Although the items approved only represent a fraction of Taiwan’s request and the value is half of what was originally sought, the package nonetheless improves Taiwan’s defense capability and reduces Taiwan’s widening military disparity vis-à-vis China. However, China’s military is rapidly modernizing, with its military defense budget has increased by double digit for more than 15 years while Taiwan’s defense budget has remained low. Therefore, the arms package will be unable to offset the strategic changes in the depth projection of China’s military in the region and encirclement of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Among Taiwan’s most cited threats is the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) deployment of more than 1,000-1,400 short-ranged ballistic missiles (SRBM), which have increased at the rate of 100 per year since 2001. These missiles have been aimed at Taiwan from six missile bases in Lepin, Santow, Fuzhou, Longtien, Huian, and Zhangzhou, spanning three southeastern coastal provinces of Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian [1] (Liberty Times [Taiwan], March 30, 2008). In addition, China has also acquired an estimated 50 advanced submarines, which is more than what military analysts state the PLA needs to blockade the Taiwan Strait. The PLA has also engaged in military exercises and deployments designed to sharpen its defensive capabilities so that even with limited offensive capabilities, China would be able to subdue Taiwan’s defenses in a limited amount of time by denying the access of other maritime powers that may come to Taiwan’s defense [2]. Furthermore, China has—in recent years—ratcheted up its computer-hacking activities against the Taiwanese government’s national security-related agencies and has stolen countless sensitive materials (United Daily News, April 8, 2007), so much so that some Taiwanese security officials describe that a “silent war” has already begun.

Friction between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the CCP in the Taiwan Strait was to be expected for two parties whose visions for Taiwan and its relationship with China are diametrically opposed. That the result of Taiwan’s presidential election on March 22 was embraced by the embattled U.S. leadership came as no surprise. The KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou appears more conciliatory toward China than his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian of the DPP. Chen stoked tensions in cross-Strait relations prior to the election by advocating that Taiwan join the United Nations as a new member, promoted a national referendum on the issue during the recent presidential election. These tensions have since eased following President Ma’s inauguration. Bush Administration officials—in pubic and in private—conveyed satisfaction to see Taiwan’s KMT government and the CCP re-engaged in cross-Strait dialogue, particularly the resumption of the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) – Association for the Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) channel, severed by the CCP after former President Lee Teng-hui stated in a major policy speech in 1999 that Taiwan-China relations are “special state-to-state relations.”

Cross-Strait Politics and China’s Legal Warfare against Taiwan

From November 3 to 7, the head of ARATS, Chen Yunlin, serving as China’s special envoy to Taiwan, participated in an unprecedented visit to Taiwan to negotiate cross-Strait aviation, shipping, and food safety agreements. Chen Yunlin’s visit has attracted international attention on the warming relations between a democratic Taiwan and an authoritarian China, and also on a deepening divide in Taiwanese society.

A closer examination of ongoing cross-Strait shuttle diplomacy between the KMT and CCP, and public announcements made by President Ma raises legitimate questions about whether the current trend is in Taiwan’s national interest or for that matter U.S. long-term security interest.

The issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty has always been the focal point of cross-Strait tension, since the PRC claims that Taiwan is a part of China under its interpretation of the “one-China principle.” The Chinese government has engaged in what some analysts call a diplomatic “full-court press,” using a carrot and stick strategy in the form of financial and monetary incentives, to legalize the “one-China principle” in major international organizations and thereby legitimize its claim of sovereignty over Taiwan (Javno, November 16, 2007).

The first such step came in May 2005, when the Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat requiring the WHO to seek Chinese approval before Taiwan, under the name “Taiwan, China,” could participate in any WHO-related activities. The second came in the United Nations, which in March 28, 2007, issued a letter from the Secretariat to Nauru stating that, in compliance with the 1972 UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, “the United Nations considers Taiwan for all purposes to be an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.” The third incident was with the OIE (World Organization of Animal Health). In May 2007, Beijing attempted to pass a resolution “recognizing that there is only one China in the world and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China which includes Taiwan,” changing Taiwan’s membership into “non-sovereign regional member,” and using “Taiwan, China” or “Taipei, China” as Taiwan’s official title in this organization.

As these three examples demonstrate, the “one-China principle” has been used by the PRC as a means of waging its “legal warfare” to incorporate Taiwan and to accomplish its bottom-line goal of de jure unification, as explicitly stated by its CARCEL PARA POSADAdeclared intent to use military force if necessary under the “anti-secession law” of 2005 to “reunify” Taiwan. The examples also illustrate how, if Taipei agrees to the “one-China principle,” it may be interpreted as accepting China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. Under such pretexts, the government under the DPP had to avoid and even repel the “one-China principle” as the precondition for the resumption of cross-Strait talks. The DPP did this by seeking international support for its counter-position, which led to the standoff in cross-Strait negotiations and showed the world that the “one-China principle” effectively became a non-starter.

These efforts notwithstanding, Ma Ying-jeou in his inaugural address reversed the previous administration’s position and accepted the so-called “1992 consensus” as the foundation for cross-Strait reconciliation in spite of the fact that the PRC officially stated that the “1992 consensus” was a consensus realizing (ti-xien) the “one-China principle.” In several private meetings with foreign visitors, Ma even went on to say that he accepted the one-China principle with or without any elaboration on what he meant by it. In addition, Ma stated in September during an interview with a Mexican journal that the relations between Taiwan and China are “non-state to state special relations,” and his spokesperson Wang Yuchi further qualified that statement of policy by saying that relations should be characterized as “region to region” (diqu dui diqu) relations (September 3, 2008, news release, http://www.president.gov.tw). In the effort to participate in international organizations, Ma announced that there is no better title for Taiwan other than “Chinese Taipei” (United Daily News, April 5, 2008). During the August/September effort to participate in the United Nations, the KMT government gave up on the membership drive and pursued only “meaningful participation” in UN-affiliated organizations. Even so, the Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Wang Guang-yia, stated that Taiwan was not qualified to participate in major international organizations, and Taiwan’s participation in the WHO had to follow the MOU signed between the Chinese government and the WHO Secretariat (Liberty Times, August 28, 2008). The Ma administration made no attempt to repudiate the Chinese claim, and Ma’s spokesperson stated that it was not a “non-goodwill” (Liberty Times, August 29, 2008). In addition, when in the negotiations for cross-Strait chartered flights the Ma administration decided to open up six domestic airports in addition to two international airports, the decision apparently fell into the Chinese claim that the cross-Strait flights are domestic flights. In short, the official statements and policy actions by the KMT government on relations between the two sides of the Strait thus put Taiwan within the description of the “one-China principle,” with Taiwan being part of China.

Inner Politics and Arms Sales

In another interview by India and Global Affairs, Ma stated that HOMELESS - USAhe wanted to pursue full economic normalization with China, and that he also wanted to reach a peace agreement within his term (Liberty Times, October 18, 2008). If Ma’s concept on the relations between Taiwan and China falls within the description of the “one-China principle,” a full economic normalization will mean an arrangement similar to the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and China. A peace agreement between Taiwan and China within the timetable of his four-year term may necessitate that the United States prepare for an eventual termination of arms sales to and security cooperation with Taiwan. Ma’s statements may be welcomed by the international community as gestures toward peace, but it is actually putting Taiwan’s security in jeopardy. If Taiwan were to sign a peace agreement under the KMT where the conditions are defined by the KMT and CCP, the resulting equation, influenced by a much more powerful China at the other end of the negotiating table, may forfeit Taiwan’s freedom to repudiate China’s claim over Taiwan. Taiwan may be moving dangerously too close to the PRC and may not be able to maintain its current de facto independent status any longer.

The United States has for decades held a policy of refuting the PRC’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, as stated in the “six assurances” provided by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and other private communications with Taiwan (Fredrick Chien Memoir, vol. 2, 2005, 215-6). When China manipulated the UN Secretariat to issue a letter in March 2007, which stated that Taiwan is considered by the UN an integral part of the PRC, the United States protested to the UN Secretariat, arguing that such a declaration is against U.S. policy (Liberty Times, September 6, 2007). But if Taiwan itself accepts one-China principle, the foundation for this U.S. policy may be jeopardized. In other words, Ma’s effort of reconciliation is a short-term relief for the United States at a time when it is not capable of addressing simultaneous international conflicts. However, such efforts may prove to be against U.S. long-term interests, especially if the United States continues to view China’s rapid military modernization with suspicion.

Taiwan’s domestic politics are severely divided over the course of the government’s ongoing rapprochement with China. President Ma has not made any efforts to seek domestic reconciliation or attempt to communicate with the opposition over his intentions on cross-Strait policy. In fact, Ma’s statements and actions angered many people who believe that Taiwan should keep China at arm’s length. Taiwan appears to be more divided than before in the months since Ma’s inauguration, as evidenced by several large-scale, anti-government/anti-China demonstrations. Consequently, Taiwan’s status has been relatively weakened in facing the subtle and not so subtle threats from authoritarian China. A divided and weakened Taiwan severely threatens Taiwan’s national security, and is, by extension, not in the interests of the United States or Japan, its key ally in East Asia. All interested parties should therefore encourage the KMT to engage the opposition DPP in formulating its policy across the Taiwan Strait.

Conclusion

The changes occurring within the strategic landscape of East Asia are quite subtle indeed. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are one of the most important means LOADING BOMBSfor the United States to demonstrate its security commitment to its key allies and ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In order for the United States to continue to maintain peace and stability in the region, the United States has long held the position, as prescribed by the Taiwan Relations Act, that arms sales to Taiwan are evaluated on the merit of Taiwan’s defense needs, not political judgments or as a result of consultations with the PRC. However, the U.S. decision to scale down the volume of weapons that had already been promised may make Taiwan feel uncomfortable about the U.S. commitment at a time when Taiwan needs a strong defense in order to ward off China’s possible aggression. A continued U.S. commitment is also integral in permitting Taiwan to resist China’s political pressure, however remote it may seem, and most importantly enable Taiwan to negotiate with China from a position of strength. The unfinished issue of arms sales to Taiwan thus becomes another pressing matter for the new U.S. administration to address in order to safeguard American interests in reinforcing peace and stability in East Asia.

Notes

1. Tseng Shiang-yin, “The Enhancement of Taiwan’s missile defense,” Taiwan Defense Affairs (Vol 5, No. 3, Spring 2005) pp. 88-117, www.itdss.org.tw/pub/05_3/05_3_p088_177.pdf.

2. Ling Chang-sheng, “Research, Development and Deployment of China’s Cruise Missiles,” Defence International Issue 213 (Taiwan: April 12, 2003), www.diic.com.tw/comment/06/06930412.htm.

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SHARING THE RESPONSABILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

DECEMBER 3-8, 2008

by Michael Levitin

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – Print Edition – (USA)

He was Chief of Staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the leading voice behind 'A BIGGER BREAK' - Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the crisis forced the U.S. to leave behind its traditions - Photo by Hans-Christian Plambeck (Laif-Redux)Germany’s refusal to fight in Iraq. Now German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor in next year’s elections, running against the popular Christian Democrat incumbent, Angela Merkel. In his first major interview with the U.S. press, Steinmeier sat down with NEWSWEEK’s Michael Levitin to discuss German troop engagements in Afghanistan, Russia’s recent aggression, the global financial crisis and how Germany might work alongside the United States. Excerpts:

LEVITIN: The day after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to install missiles in Kaliningrad if Washington did not “rethink” its deployment of a NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe. Did Moscow’s latest show of aggression shift the dynamic between Russia and Europe? How should you respond- and what should Europe’s response be?

STEINMEIER: Medvedevs announcement the day after the elections was clearly the wrong signal at the wrong time. We have no illusions about Russia. In the last few years it has often proved itself a difficult partner. The question remains how to deal with this huge country in Europe’s immediate neighborhood; having to choose between containment versus engagement, I advocate the latter. We must try to develop relations with Russia that go beyond economic interests and contribute to increased stability and security. After all, it is in our own interest to make sure that a Russia that is looking for its own identity is politically and culturally anchored in die West.

LEVITIN: Do you see Germany as a middleman, acting as a buffer between Russia and the rest of Europe-perhaps at the moment even Russia’s closest EU ally?

STEINMEIER: Russia is aware of our uniquely close relationship with the United States. We are firmly embedded in NATO and the EU and thus we don’t aspire to play the role of a middleman. Together with our European partners we showed a strong and outspoken response to Russia’s role in the conflict in Georgia. I think Europe’s united voice no doubt contributed to the military conflict ending. Now the stabilization of the region as a whole has to continue, and for genuine stability we need Russian cooperation. As for energy links between the EU and Russia, the answer depends on which European country you talk to. But in general, Russia depends as much on Europe and America buying its goods as we rely on Russia supplying us with natural gas and oil. As far as Germany is concerned, it is little known in the United States that we have worked successfully for decades to diversify our suppliers of various forms of energy and fuels, with Russia but also Norway and Africa being important suppliers.

LEVITIN: You mentioned the conflict In Georgia. Should that country and Ukraine be Invited to Join NATO?

STEINMEIER: This is not a simple yes-or-no decision. With national elections looming, the domestic situation in Ukraine has changed, as has the situation in the Caucasus since the conflict broke out this summer. Yes, we remain committed to supporting and assisting these countries on the road ahead. But concerning the Membership Action Plan, Germany and other European governments continue to stand by their position.

LEVITIN: The most urgent U.S. foreign-policy question involving Germany, which Obama raised many times during his campaign, is Afghanistan and whether Germany will contribute more troops there to stabilize the south. How much is your country willing to sacrifice for this partnership, putting its soldiers into harm’s way?

STEINMEIER: I have spoken to Barack Obama twice, and from these exchanges I know that he sees Afghanistan in a very nuanced way. I feel we see eye to eye in our assessment that we’re facing a very difficult security situation, but that military means alone cannot bring about the necessary changes. Our approach has to be a comprehensive one, and contrary to what some people may say, Germany has played its part.

LEVITIN: In the north, certainly. But It’s in the south where the greatest violence has taken place, and where Obama’s asking for greater German participation.

STEINMEIER: We have shouldered our share of the military responsibility and we have also enlarged our engagement. We are about to increase our troops by 30 percent, to 4,500. We are participating in aerial surveillance across the whole of Afghanistan, including the south, and German radio engineers are also stationed in Kandahar. The German Air Force runs flights for all NATO countries throughout Afghanistan, again including the south. We took over the lead of the Quick Reaction Force in the north. And let us not forget that circumstances there have also changed; the north, too, has seen its share of armed opposition activities increasing in the last month. But our engagement in Afghanistan is about much more than military action. We have always said that we will only be successful if we succeed in helping rebuild the country and its economy. Civil reconstruction is the second important pillar of our engagement on the ground, and we’ll continue to increase our contribution in this area next year.

LEVITIN: Given the turmoil in Pakistan, what do you think the next steps forward ought to be?

STEINMEIER: The security of the whole region strongly depends on Pakistan. If we want to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, we have to succeed in stabilizing Pakistan politically and economically. This calls for a strengthened Pakistani commitment to combat terrorism, but it also calls for international assistance for this country. It needs a substantial loan from the IMF. We also need to be ready to help stabilize the country in a lasting way.

LEVITIN: On Iran, what realistic hopes do you see of bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the table and persuading him to give up Tehran’s nuclear ambitions? And how far will you be willing to push?

STEINMEIER: No doubt there is hope in the international community that after 29 years of standstill, a new approach may be possible. We all remember the reasons for the break-off of relations between the U.S. and Iran. Since then, U.S.-Iranian relations have also been a story of missed opportunities: when Washington signaled openness, Tehran wasn’t willing or able to respond in kind, and vice versa. I think it would be worthwhile trying to have direct talks, but the Iranians have to know it is up to them to prove they do not aspire to nuclear weapons-and that they’re willing to play a constructive role in the region. I have to admit I am skeptical, and can only express my hope that the leaders in Iran seize this opportunity.

LEVITIN: Turning to the financial crisis, the banks got a bailout. Now the automobile manufacturers are seeking the same thing. How do you see EU countries regaining their competition policy-and their legitimacy-after this?

STEINMEIER: I believe the politicians would have lost their legitimacy if they hadn’t acted. What we’re facing here is the very visible failure of the market. We had to make sure that the crisis in the financial markets does not lead to a total breakdown of the financial system as a whole. On both sides of the Atlantic, unconventional means were applied to manage the crisis. Honestly speaking, many of the measures taken in the U.S. seemed a bigger break with American tradition than can be said about European measures.

LEVITIN: How important is it that developing countries play a greater decision-making role In the future? For example, we saw hints of the G8 expanding into a G20 several weeks ago in Washington.

STEINMEIER: What is the most fundamental challenge the world is facing today? To my mind, it consists of integrating the emerging powers of the 21st century into a system of shared global responsibility. I am talk ing about countries like China and India, but also Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia. Can any of the global challenges we face be tackled without them? I don’t think so. That is why we have to make them stakeholders, and in that respect the recent financial summit in Washington was historic. To me it is obvious we cannot stop there.

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OBAMA BANKING ON LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008

by Ann Sanner – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

OBAMA TRANSITION: CHANGE.GOV

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday he wants to revive the economy through a job-creating public works plan on a scale unseen since the building program of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

He offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country’s financial health at a time of burgeoning deficits.

The ideas were outlined in the weekly radio address the day after the government reported that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years. They are part of a vision for a massive economy recovery plan Obama wants Congress to pass and have waiting on his desk when he takes office Jan. 20.

The president-elect’s address never once used the word “spend,” relying instead on “invest” or “investments,” and pledging wise stewardship of taxpayer money in upgrading roads and schools, and making public buildings more energy-efficient.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” Obama said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve , by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

Obama said his plan would employ millions of people by “making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.” He said state officials would lose the federal dollars if they did not quickly use the money to repair highways and bridges.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, a 1991 final estimate of the cost of the interstate system put it at $128.9 billion, with a federal share of $114.3 billion. The estimate covered only the mileage (42,795 miles) built under the interstate construction program. Construction of the system began in 1956 under President Dwight Eisenhower.

More than 5,000 highway projects are ready to go today, state transportation officials say, if Congress will pony up $64.3 billion as part of an economic aid plan. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which compiled the list, said the projects would provide jobs and help reduce a backlog of crumbling roads and bridges.

A bipartisan group of governors recently met with Obama to press for some $136 billion in infrastructure projects in addition to money for health care costs.

Several governors welcomed Obama’s economic plan.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said the state had more than a billion dollars in “ready-to-go” projects that have been planned for and can be under contract within 180 days. “His plan will put people to work and give the economy a critically important boost,” Kaine said in a written statement.

In a joint statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it would help the U.S. stay ahead of other countries. “To stay competitive globally, the time to repair and modernize our nation’s infrastructure is now,” they said.

In the address, Obama also said he wants to install energy-saving light bulbs and replace old heating systems in federal buildings to cut costs and create jobs.

School buildings would get an upgrade, too. “Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools,” Obama said.

As a part of the package, Obama said he wants to expand broadband Internet access in communities. “Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online,” he said.

Hospitals also should be connected to each through the Internet. He said he wanted to ensure the facilities were using the latest technology and electronic medical records.

Obama planned to announce more details of the economic recovery plan in the coming weeks.

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RUMSFELD NEMESIS SHINSEKI TO BE NAMED VA SECRETARY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008

by Hope Yen – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama has chosen retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, turning to a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy.

Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home,” Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” to be broadcast Sunday.

NBC released a transcript of the interview after The Associated Press reported that Shinseki was Obama’s pick.

Shinseki’s tenure as Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003 was marked by constant tensions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which boiled over in 2003 when Shinseki testified to Congress that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion.

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, belittled the estimate as “wildly off the mark” and the army general was forced out within months. But Shinseki’s words proved prophetic after President George W. Bush in early 2007 announced a “surge” of additional troops to Iraq after miscalculating the numbers needed to stem sectarian violence.

Obama said he selected Shinseki for the VA post because he “was right” in predicting that the U.S. will need more troops in Iraq than Rumsfeld believed at the time.

“When I reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and, I think about how so many veterans around the country are struggling even more than those who have not served , higher unemployment rates, higher homeless rates, higher substance abuse rates, medical care that is inadequate , it breaks my heart,” Obama told NBC.

Shinseki, 66, will take the helm of the government’s second largest agency, which has been roundly criticized during the Bush administration for underestimating the amount of funding needed to treat thousands of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans currently endure six-month waits for receiving disability benefits, despite promises by current VA Secretary James Peake and his predecessor, Jim Nicholson, to reduce delays. The department also is scrambling to upgrade government technology systems before new legislation providing for millions of dollars in new GI benefits takes effect next August.

Obama’s choice of Shinseki, who grew up in Hawaii, is the latest indication that the president-elect is making good on his pledge to have a diverse Cabinet.

In Obama’s eight Cabinet announcements so far, white men are the minority with two nominations , Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Robert Gates at Defense. Three are women , Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Hillary Rodham Clinton at State. Eric Holder at the Justice Department is African American, while Bill Richardson at Commerce is Latino.

Shinseki is a recipient of two Purple Hearts for life-threatening injuries in Vietnam.

Upon leaving his post in June 2003, Shinseki in his farewell speech sternly warned against arrogance in leadership.

“You must love those you lead before you can be an effective leader,” he said. “You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance.”

Shinseki also left with the warning: “Beware a 12-division strategy for a 10-division army.”

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Posted in AL QAEDA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), DEFENCE TREATIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN | Leave a Comment »

RETAIL INDUSTRY LOSES 91,300 JOBS IN NOVEMBER (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Fri, Dec. 5, 2008

by Anne D’innocenzio – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

NEW YORK – The U.S. retail industry slashed a startling 91,300 jobs in November, the biggest monthly loss in more than half a century, as it confronts a severe retrenchment in consumer spending and what could be a long and deep recession.

The worst job losses in the sector since April 1956 , an era that pre-dated Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer , offers dramatic evidence of the industry’s woes as merchants close stores and slash sales help as it faces what may be the weakest holiday season in decades.

It also marked the 12th consecutive month of retail job reductions and was well above the industry’s average monthly pace of 40,000.

“The recession is clearly deepening , on the employment front, the consumer front,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers. “Until we get the financial problems squared away, we are looking at a long and severe recession.”

The dismal job news came a day after retailers , with Wal-Mart a notable exception , reported the weakest month in at least 39 years.

Overall, the nation’s employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, pushing the unemployment rate to a 15-year high of 6.7 percent. The losses were much deeper than the 320,000 job cuts that economists were expecting. While the unemployment rate wasn’t as high as the 6.8 percent estimated, the overall picture was still miserable.

Niemira noted that the retail job losses were the most recorded for any month since April 1956, when 99,000 jobs were eliminated. At that time, said retail consultant Walter Loeb, the industry was less than half its current size , so the reductions were even more dramatic. Back then, before Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was founded in 1962, stores like the now-defunct Montgomery Ward ruled.

Still, November’s retail job reductions were jaw-dropping and well exceed the levels during recessions in 2001 and the early 1990s, Niemira says. In 2001, the industry’s average monthly job decline was 24,000, while the 1990-1991 period saw an average monthly decline of 10,000 retail jobs. Niemira believes that the U.S. economy is only one-third of the way into the current recession and said consumer spending hasn’t hit bottom yet, either.

“There is a lot of hardship to come,” he added.

Frank Badillo, senior economist at consulting group TNS Retail Forward, says that the sharp job cuts across the retail industry show that all sectors are feeling the pain. The November report showed that motor vehicle and parts dealers suffered the biggest losses, cutting 27,100 jobs. But clothing and accessories stores lost 17,600 jobs, while sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores shed 10,700 jobs. Furniture and home furnishings stores eliminated 9,800 jobs. Electronics and appliance stores lost 6,700 jobs.

Stores have dramatically scaled back their holiday hiring plans from a year ago, but the bigger job losses are coming from the rash of store closings and liquidations, from Mervyns LLC to Linens ‘N Things, that have picked up in recent weeks.

Circuit City Stores Inc., the nation’s second-largest consumer electronics chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month and is cutting thousands of workers but plans to keep operating with a reduced store base. Loeb and other analysts expect that many more stores will file Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the holiday shopping season.

“This is just the beginning,” Loeb said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

FIDEL ABRE PORTAS DE CUBA AO DIÁLOGO COM OS EUA (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

06/12/2008 – 14:53

PUBLISHED BY ‘BLOG OF ZÉ DIRCEU’ (Brasil)

por Zé Dirceu

O ex-presidente e líder cubano Fidel Castro saiu na frente e 44 dias antes da posse (20 de janeiro) do novo presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, tomou a iniciativa de abrir as portas de Havana ao diálogo com o governo norte-americano em relação à suspensão do bloqueio econômico com que Washington sufoca Cuba há 48 anos.

Em seu mais recente artigo assinado no Granma, Fidel considera que Obama é um líder com quem o governo de Cuba, hoje chefiado pelo presidente Raúl Castro, pode conversar “em qualquer lugar” que o norte-americano escolher.

Ele lembra sua condição, e de Cuba, de “não pregadores da violência e da guerra” e só adverte a Obama que se lembre de que “a diplomacia da cenoura e do porrete (afagar ou castigar)” não funcionará nos entendimentos com o governo de seu país.

Há uma semana Raúl já antecipou à revista The Nation estar disposto a encontrar-se com O presidente Obama em território neutro. Sua disposição casa-se com a do futuro secretário de Comércio de Obama, Bill Richardson, para quem os EUA têm de “mudar a política em relação à Cuba porque o embargo (bloqueio econômico) não faz sentido”.

TODOS NO MUNDO CONTRA O BLOQUEIO

Conforme registrei aqui nesse blog ontem, também a Câmara de Comércio Americana juntou-se a outras 11 entidades empresariais e entregou essa semana carta ao presidente Barack Obama na qual solicita a suspensão do bloqueio.

As 12 entidades reconhecem ser complicado a suspensão total e imediata do bloqueio de 48 anos, mas até sugere que ela se faça gradualmente – no começo, suspendendo-se a proibição de viagens e de envio de dinheiro a Cuba, dos cubanos residentes nos EUA.

Estes, conforme pesquisa que também publiquei ontem, em sua esmagadora maioria já não querem mais saber desse bloqueio. De acordo com a pesquisa, feita pela Universidade Internacional da Flórida (FIU), 55% dos cubanos de Miami (maior colônia cubana do mundo) estão a favor do fim do embargo.

Esse índice sobe para 60% que querem o fim da proibição de viagens e chega a 65% entre jovens e cubanos de meia idade de Miami que são contra as sanções. O bloqueio já foi rechaçado e teve sua suspensão pedida por 185 países em nada menos que 17 resoluções oficiais aprovadas pela Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU).

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BLOG OF ZÉ DIRCEU’ (Brasil)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BRASIL, CUBA, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA | Leave a Comment »

CHILE REPORTS 4.1 PERCENT ECONOMIC GROWTH IN 12-MONTH PERIOD ENDING IN OCTOBER

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Last update: December 5, 2008 – 9:08 AM

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean officials say the economy grew by 4.1 percent in the 12 months ending in October, less than the previous 12-month period but still strong enough to ward off a recession.

The economy grew 5.3 percent in the 12 months ending in October 2007, and 5.1 percent for all of 2007.

The Central Bank predicts 4 percent to 4.5 percent growth for all of 2008 and 2 percent to 3 percent for 2009.

Economic growth is expected to slow during 2009 as a result of the international crisis, but the bank says Chile will not fall into a recession.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHILE, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »