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THURSDAY APRIL 5, 2007

INTERNATIONAL

CHINA DAILY

ACROSSASIA
INDIA
Leaders vow to fight terror South Asian leaders vowed to boost efforts to thwart terrorism and establish a $300 million development fund for infrastructure and other projects, according to a joint declaration released yesterday. Iran’s application to be associated with the regional group as an observer was also accepted, the declaration said following the summit of leaders from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The leaders of the South Asian countries, most of which are facing violent insurgencies, said they would step up efforts to fight all forms of terrorism, including its financing and associated drug trafficking and illicit arms trade, said a statement following the end of the two-day summit..

Global warming hits Mars too, study shows
Increasing interplay of wind-swept dust and changes in reflected heat from the Sun causes temperature to rise on the Red Planet, scientists say
lobal warming could be heating Mars four times faster than Earth due to a mutually reinforcing interplay of wind-swept dust and changes in reflected heat from the Sun, according a study released yesterday. Scientists have long observed a correlation on Mars between its fluctuating temperatures, which range from -87 C to - 5 C depending on the season and the location, and the darkening or lightening of swathes of the planet’s surface. The explanation is in the dirt, according to the study, by the British journal Nature Glistening Martian dust lying on

Climate change driving Aussie fish south
SYDNEY: Global warming is starting to have a significant impact on Australian marine life, driving fish and seabirds south and threatening coral reefs, Australia’s premier science organization said yesterday. But much more severe impacts could occur in coming decades, affecting sea life, fishing communities and tourism. In particular, warmer oceans, changes in currents, disruption of reproductive cycles and mass migration of species would affect Australia’s marine life, particularly in the southeast. Already, nesting sea turtles, yellow-fin tuna, dugongs and stinging jellyfish are examples of marine life moving south as seas warm, said the report by the government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. “It’s not a disaster for the ones that can move south. It is for the ones that can’t move south,” said lead author of the report, Dr Alistair Hobday. “If you’re at the tip of Tasmania, you’ve got nowhere else to go,” he said, referring to Australia’s southern island state, the last major part of Australia before the Antarctic. Atlantic salmon, which are farmed in Tasmania, face a bleak future. Salmon farming businesses would become largely unviable as the ocean warmed the predicted one to two degrees over the next 30 years, Hobday said.

G

JAPAN
Tamiflu makes people crazy More than 100 mostly young people in Japan have exhibited abnormal, sometimes dangerous, behavior after taking the influenza drug Tamiflu, said a news report yesterday citing a study by the Health Ministry. Some 1,800 people have reported to the ministry that they experienced side effects after taking Tamiflu since the drug went on sale in Japan in 2001, Kyodo News Agency reported. Of those cases, 128 displayed abnormal behavior, such as attempting to jump off buildings or an overwhelming desire to hop, the report said. Rare tornado hits west coast A rare tornado swept Japan’s coast yesterday as the nation was swamped by rain and hail, causing no injuries but bringing the beloved cherry blossom season closer to the end, officials said. The tornado twisted on the East Sea off the coast of Tottori prefecture, some 700 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Tokyo was also hit by two hours of intense rain and hail. Police investigating bodies Police in western Japan are investigating five badly decomposed human bodies found lying in a house, apparently because of a belief in resurrection, officials said yesterday. Police in the Fukuoka prefecture city of Omuta discovered the bodies on Tuesday at the home of Shigeo Nagae. They were sent to investigate after a welfare worker alerted the city that he had been unable to contact Nagae.

the ground reflects the Sun’s light, and its heat, back into space, a phenomenon called albedo. But when this reddish dust is churned up by violent winds, the storm-ravaged surface loses its reflective qualities and more of the Sun’s heat is absorbed into the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise. The study shows for the first time that these variations not only result from the storms but help cause them, too. It also suggests that short-term climate change is currently occurring on Mars and at a much faster rate than on Earth. Its authors, led by Lori Fenton, a planetary scientist at NASA, describe

the phenomenon as a “positive feedback” system, in other words, a vicious circle, in which changes in albedo strengthen the winds which in turn kicks up more dust, in turn adding to the warming. In the same way, if a snow-covered area on Earth warms and the snow melts, the reflected light decreases and more solar radiation is absorbed, causing local temperatures to increase. If new snow falls, a cooling cycle starts.

Agencies

F

or Earth, global warming is mainly associated with human activities, notably the burning of fossil fuels — that release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, trapping more of the Sun’s heat. But changes in our planet’s average temperature can also be driven up or down by natural phenomena such as shifts in orbit or axis rotation, and the release of naturally-occurring greenhouse gases by volcanoes and vegetation. On Mars, there have been an

unusual number of massive, planetdarkening storms over the last 30 years, and computer models indicate that surface air temperatures on the Red Planet increased by 0.65 C during from the 1970s to the 1990s. Residual ice on the Martian south pole, they note, has steadily retreated over the last four years. By comparison, the average temperature of Earth increased by 0.75 C over the last century. To measure the change in pat-

terns of reflected light, Fenton and her colleagues compared thermal spectrometer images of Mars taken by NASA’s Viking mission in the late 1970s with similar images gathered more than 20 years later by the Global Surveyor. They then analyzed the correlation between albedo variations, the presence of atmospheric dust and change in temperature.
AFP

Dozens hurt in violence ahead of presidential vote
EAST TIMOR
A former East Timorese independence fighter jailed by Indonesia for six years pledged yesterday to unite his conflict-torn country and bring justice to its people, as the final day of election campaigning was marred by violence. Fernando de Araujo, whose nom de guerre was La Sama, is among eight candidates running in Monday’s presidential poll. By the standards of the tiny country’s chaotic history, the election campaign has been relatively peaceful, but yesterday rock-throwing clashes between supporters of various candidates left some 30 people in need of medical treatment in the capital Dili, according to eyewitnesses and hospital staff. Several victims had bleeding head injuries and a nurse said at least one person had been wounded by an arrow. UN police said in a statement “the situation in and around Dili has mostly been calm” but noted two incidents, one brought under control when officers fired two warning shots and another in which five people were taken to hospital with minor injuries. However, a rally for De Araujo — at 44 the youngest among the candidates and considered by some to be a strong contender — went peacefully. “La Sama has a good chance of winning. He appeals to young voters who are disappointed with the failure of the older generation,” political analyst Julio Thomas said. The candidate with the highest profile, however, is Jose Ramos-Horta, who succeeded Alkatiri as prime minister and won a Nobel Peace Prize during the struggle against Indonesia. About 2,000 people turned up at a Dili soccer field, waving De Araujo pictures and blue flags of the Democratic Party he founded. “I believe the young generation of Timor Leste will unite again,” De Araujo told his supporters, who chanted “Viva La Sama”. “It’s time for young people to replace the old ones, who have brought only chaos to this country,” said supporter Leo da Costa, his bare chest emblazoned with the Democratic Party’s initials painted in yellow. De Araujo, whose campaign theme is “It’s time for a son of the poor to lead the country,” said he would create a legal system free from discrimination. “The current judiciary is trash. Law must not discriminate. It must not only punish people who steal chickens but also those who distribute weapons illegally,” said De Araujo, standing on a truck and wearing a colorful traditional scarf around his neck. He did not mention any names. East Timor became independent in 2002 after a period of UN stewardship. It has rich energy resources but has only begun to tap them and most of the country’s one million people remain among the world’s poorest.
Agencies

CANDIDATES IN E.TIMOR ELECTION
Fernando de Araujo Democratic Party (PD) Joao Carrascalao Democratic Timorese Party (UDT) Francisco Guterres ‘Lu-Olo’ Revolutionary Front of an Independent Timor-Leste (FRETILIN) Lucia Lobato Social Democrat Party (PSD) Avelino Coelho da Silva Timorese Socialist Party (PST) Manuel Tilman Sons of the Mountain Warriors (KOTA), also known as Association of Timorese Heroes

Jose Ramos-Horta
Independent Joint winner of 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for work towards peaceful solution in East Timor conflict The former foreign minister took over as Prime Minister after Fretilin leader Mari Alkatiri stepped down in 2006

Francisco Xavier do Amaral
Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT) President for 10 days in 1975 between Portuguese withdrawal and Indonesia’s occupation Ran in 2002 race but lost to Xanana Gusmao

Sex slave issue looms over Abe’s 1st US trip
JAPAN
Japan’s prime minister will make his first trip to the US as premier this month for summit talks on the Korean nuclear issue and Iraq, against a backdrop of renewed controversy over Japan’s use of military brothels during World War II (WWII). Shinzo Abe will visit the United States on April 26-27 and hold meetings with US President George W. Bush at Camp David before traveling to the Middle East, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki announced yesterday. The visit comes at a sensitive time, with US lawmakers considering a non-binding resolution urging Japan to apologize formally for forcing thousands of women into the brothels. Abe has come under fire at home and abroad for suggesting in early March that there is no proof that the Imperial government or military coerced women into the brothels during the war, apparently backtracking a 1993 apology. In a 20-minute phone call with Bush late on Tuesday to prepare for the trip, Abe said he stands by the government’s landmark 1993 apology. Abe said he broached the subject to clarify any misunderstandings. “Since my remarks on the so-called comfort women issue have not been accurately reported, I expressed my true intention to President Bush just to clarify,’’ Abe said. Bush told Abe that he appreciated his candor and noted that Japan today is not the Japan of WWII, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. The upcoming meeting will not be Abe’s first with Bush. The two leaders met on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim summit in Vietnam last year, after Abe took office in September. The US summit will touch on the ongoing war in Iraq, for which Japan has provided noncombat military support, as well as the six-nation talks on reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear program, Shiozaki said. Japanese prime ministers usually visit the US, Japan’s biggest ally, soon after taking office, but Abe has stressed his all-around foreign policy by visiting Europe and Asian neighbors first.
Agencies

Population
1,062,777 (2006 est.)

Atauro Island Savu Sea
OECUSSI (East Timor)

Area
15,007 sq km

Dili

OR T TIM EAS

Religions
Catholic 98% Muslim 1% Other 1%

Kupang

WEST TIMOR (Indonesia)
60 km

Timor Sea

Economy
GDP/capita (2005) $800 Population below poverty line (2003) 42% Unemployment 50%

RECENT UNREST
1975 Declaration of independence. Portugal withdraws. Indonesia invades 2002 May 20 - East Timor becomes an independent nation, after an historic 1999 vote ends Indonesia’s occupation 2006 Feb 8 - Hundreds of soldiers go on strike over pay and alleged discrimination Mar 16 - Premier and military chief Mari Alkatiri sacks 600 soldiers on charges of desertion, inflaming country’s eastwest divide and unleashes months of chaos

SRI LANKA
Jets destroy rebel naval HQ Sri Lankan air force jets bombed and destroyed the headquarters of the Tamil Tigers’ naval arm in the far northern district of Mullaithivu, the military said yesterday, but the rebels said a landmine victim charity was hit. As the headquarters were inland in a town called Puthukkudiyiruppu, and the feared Sea Tiger fleet of attack boats are stationed near the coast, it was unclear if any rebel vessels were damaged, the military said.

May 25 - First of 2,500 peacekeepers arrive Jul 10 - Ramos-Horta sworn in as Prime Minister after Alkatiri resigns amid accusations he was responsible for crisis Aug 30 - Major Alfredo Reinado, one of the leaders of the May revolt, walks out of a Dili jail with 50 other inmates 2007 Mar 4 - Reinado escapes a raid by foreign troops on his hideout Mar 5 - Thousands take to the streets, burning tyres and blocking roads, to protest attempt to capture Reinado
CHINA DAILY/REUTERS

France’s Royal divides Socialist voters
FRANCE
To Socialist voters, Segolene Royal should be the obvious choice in France’s presidential election, but some doubt her ability to beat rightist Nicolas Sarkozy and say they might be better off voting against her. “I’ve voted ‘left’ all my life. But it’s hard this time,” said Michel Peruzzi, a pensioner from the northern Normandy region, adding that he planned to opt for centrist Francois Bayrou in the April 22 first round of the poll. “She isn’t energetic enough,” the 66-year old said. Royal is trailing Sarkozy, according to recent polls, with not a single survey in the past 10 weeks predicting the Socialist’s victory over the conservative in any eventual May 6 run-off between the two. “I would vote Bayrou for the simple reason that if Royal and Sarkozy were to face a duel in the second round, Sarkozy would beat her. And I don’t want Sarkozy for president,” Peruzzi said. Surveys show “third man” Bayrou would beat both Royal and Sarkozy if he made it into the run-off, but the centrist is lagging Royal by 2 to 9 points in the first vote. Analysts say leftist “defectors” like Peruzzi show Royal needs to appear as a more forceful leader who is capable of beating Sarkozy. Her success also depends on her risky strategy to win over new voters, while not alienating traditional ones. Proclaiming she would be a “free woman” in her campaign, Royal has broken with several Socialist traditions, such as by calling on compatriots to have a French flag at home or by playing the Marseillaise national anthem at campaign meetings. Royal has also earned criticism within her party for promising to return a “just order” to France, proposing to send young troublemakers to army camp and a suggestion to hold lawmakers accountable to citizen juries. “She seeks to gain back the working class vote, which might not please some of the traditional Socialist electorate,” said political scientist Paul Bacot, adding the leftist party had banked on support from the middle class in past years, while many workers had voted for the extreme left or far right. “The big question is whether she can win over more voters than she risks to lose,” Bacot said. A recent survey showed 19 percent of those who voted for Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin in the 2002 election now say they will vote Bayrou, with 66 percent backing Royal. In a clear attempt to reconcile herself with leftist voters, Royal is increasingly highlighting social issues, unexpectedly visiting strikers at a car factory on Monday and on Tuesday accusing banks of penalizing the poor with high fees. Royal beat more senior Socialist rivals to her party’s presidential ticket last year, with a campaign built around the image of a dynamic, new feminine leader. But many voters say the novelty has worn off as attention shifted to a series of gaffes at the start of the year as well as disputes over Royal’s management style, with several former colleagues publicly accusing her of being cold and arrogant. But analysts say memories of the disastrous 2002 election, when Jospin was beaten into third place by farright leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, could persuade disgruntled Socialist voters at the last minute to rally behind Royal.
Agencies

AFGHANISTAN
2 aid workers, 3 guides missing Two French aid workers and their three Afghan guides have gone missing in Afghanistan, the French Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The ministry contacted the aid group Terre d’Enfance, which said it had not heard from two volunteers from its Afghan mission or their guides since Tuesday morning.

AUSTRALIA
Parents freed for mercy killing An elderly Australian couple who killed their severely disabled adult son to end his pain and suffering avoided prison yesterday when a judge ruled they had been punished enough. Margaret and Raymond Sutton pleaded guilty to the 2001 killing of 28-year-old Matthew, who was blind from birth, intellectually disabled and, due to face surgery that was likely to leave him deaf, without a sense of taste.

Fame hurts Ecuador’s ‘valley of eternal youth’
ECUADOR
Nestor Carpio, frail at 89, says he doesn’t expect to live as long as his father Miguel, who reached 124 and made this tiny valley famous around the world for the longevity of its inhabitants. These days, the famous elders of Vilcabamba are dying at a younger age, the result of the stresses of modern life brought by the scores of tourists and health buffs who flock here in search of eternal youth. “Before life was tranquil, now the town has turned too big,” said the bespectacled Carpio, sitting outside his adobe home as cars blasting technocumbia cruised nearby. “The really old ones are dying off quickly.” Gangs of youths drinking beer and smoking around the village’s main square contrasted sharply with the hardy elders carrying the day’s harvest of potatoes, onions and herbs through the steep roads of the Ecuadorean Andes. Old timers say modern life has encroached on and disrupted the valley’s tranquil and carefree lifestyle, which was key to their longevity. Centenarians used to be seen playing cards at the main square or sitting in church, villagers say, but there are fewer now as many have died in recent years. They cited recent funerals of two elders believed to be 118 and 124. “We are not eating the natural food we used to,” said Ramon Santin, an 89-year-old peasant with thick, dirty hands who has only been in the hospital once because of a stomachache. “Life is different.” Nelson Jurado, a gerontologist who has studied Vilcabamba’s seniors, said that a delicate balance between good genes and a healthy environment has helped prolong lives. “The fragile ecosystem of Vilcabamba has been affected by this tsunami of development,” said Jurado, who is based in Quito, Ecuador’s capital. “Now these people live at a faster pace and that has affected their quality of life and longevity.” Foreign scientists have questioned the real age of Vilcabamba’s supercentenarians because most lack official documentation such as birth records. But Ecuador was home to the world’s verified oldest person, Maria Capovilla, until her death in the port city of Guayaquil in August, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Vilcabamba thrives on tourism and uses its fame to sell everything from “Valley of Eternal Youth” cigarettes to Vilcawater with the face of a white-bearded elder stamped on the bottle. But local officials said the hamlet struggles to keep a balance between tourism and a healthy way of life. “We are happy with tourists, but they are changing our culture,” said Adalber Gaona, the president of the neighborhood association, who said his grandmother died just short of her 100th birthday. “The young are now drinking sodas, smoking and eating junk food.” “It seems our own longevity fame is hurting us.”
Agencies

CAMBODIA
1st US Peace Corps mission Three Americans sang the Cambodian national anthem in the Khmer language at a ceremony in Phnom Penh yesterday to herald the official start of the US Peace Corps’ first volunteer program in Cambodia. Over the next two years, 28 US volunteers will be stationed across seven Cambodian provinces teaching English to rural schoolchildren.
Agencies

Luis Camacho smokes a handmade “Chamico” cigarette at the Vilcabamba valley in Ecuador’s Andes mountains on March 4.
Reuters


				
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