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					                                               Asia-Pacific Daily News Summary
                                                       02 January 2009

                                                            Table of Contents

ASIA ................................................................................................................................................ 5
          It's Been A Miserable Year For Asia Shares .................................................................... 5
AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU) .................................................................................................... 5
          [Vietnam] Nam Dinh Uses SMS To Control Bird Flu ....................................................... 5
CHINA ANTI-PIRACY DEPLOYMENT ........................................................................................... 5
          China Navy's Main Goal Is To Escort Ships During Somalia Mission .......................... 5
NORTHEAST ASIA ......................................................................................................................... 6
    CHINA ......................................................................................................................................... 6
        Mainland................................................................................................................................. 6
         Chinese, U.S. Presidents Exchange Congratulatory Messages On Anniversary Of
         Relations .............................................................................................................................. 6
         Taiwan Newspaper Says Hu's Cross-Straits Proposals Positive .................................. 6
        Taiwan .................................................................................................................................... 7
         TSU Rejects China's Latest Olive Branch As 'Old Trick' ................................................ 7
         No Time To Add Response To Hu's 'Six Points': Spokesman ....................................... 7
         MOFA Mulls Easing Rules On Meeting Chinese Officials .............................................. 7
         TSU Rejects China's Latest Olive Branch As 'Old Trick' ................................................ 8
        Other....................................................................................................................................... 8
         Chinese Mainland To Seize Opportunity To Promote Cross-Straits Peaceful
         Development: Official ......................................................................................................... 8
         Rice To Visit China Jan 7-8: Foreign Ministry ................................................................. 9
         China Dairy Firms Plead For Forgiveness In New Year .................................................. 9
         China Dairies Offer Text Apology ..................................................................................... 9
         Parents Of China Milk Scandal Victims Detained.......................................................... 10
         China's Lunar Travel Season Off To Early Start ............................................................ 10
         China And North Korea In New Diplomatic Dance ........................................................ 10
         Hong Kong Air Pollution Worst Since Records Began: Official Data ......................... 11
         China Offers Medical Help ............................................................................................... 11
    JAPAN ...................................................................................................................................... 11
          Japan's Emperor Voices Concern Over Financial Slump ............................................ 11
          Report: US, Japan Could Finalize Troop Movement ..................................................... 12
          Court Backs Anti-Yasukuni Civic Group ........................................................................ 12
    ROK/DPRK ............................................................................................................................... 12
          Dual Diplomatic Track in 2009 ......................................................................................... 12
          Obama To Adopt Flexible Stance On N.Korea............................................................... 13
          Lee And Obama Plan April Meeting ................................................................................ 13
          Seoul Has Not Changed NK Policy ................................................................................. 13
          Why Does Kim Jong-il Promise Great Things for 2012? .............................................. 14
          Defense Chief Calls For Greater Effort In Assimilating Rank-And-Filers ................... 14
          S. Korea's Spy Chief Vows To Closely Watch N. Korea In New Year .......................... 15
          Foreign Ministry Outlines Ambitious 2009 Plans .......................................................... 15
          Retired Soldiers To Head Defense Units Amid Skepticism Over Reform Effort ........ 15
          N. Korea Vows to Rebuild Economy in New Year Message ......................................... 16
          Economy On Emergency Footing: Lee .......................................................................... 16
          Lee: Weathering Economic Storm Top Priority ............................................................. 16
          Korean Inflation Slowed Again in December ................................................................. 17
          Court Backs Anti-Yasukuni Civic Group ........................................................................ 17
          Burma Frees North Korean Refugees ............................................................................ 17
          S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos ......................... 18
    RUSSIA ..................................................................................................................................... 18
          Obama Should Work With Russia On Missile Defense ................................................ 18
          Europe Feels Russia Gas Supplies Drop ....................................................................... 18
          New Law In Russia Ends Jury Trials For 'Crimes Against State' ................................ 19
          Russia To Hold Wargames In Greek Airspace............................................................... 19
OCEANIA, SOUTH ASIA, AND SOUTHEAST ASIA ................................................................... 19
OCEANIA ...................................................................................................................................... 19
          Fiji PM Ready For Talks ................................................................................................... 19
          Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers ........................................................................................... 20
    AUSTRALIA.............................................................................................................................. 20
          Australia Unlikely To Resettle US Detainees ................................................................. 20
          Thousands Of Australian Muslims Rally For Peace In Gaza ........................................ 20
          Secret Cabinet Documents On Australia-Asia Relations Released ............................ 21
          Australian Researchers Claim Breakthrough On Dengue Fever ................................. 21
          Defence Station Interference Suspected In Qantas Mishaps ....................................... 21
          Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note ................................................................. 22
    BANGLADESH ......................................................................................................................... 22
          Bangladesh's Defeated Khaleda Ready To Work With Hasina .................................... 22
          Bangladeshi Party Softens Stance ................................................................................. 22
          Impartial Anti-Graft Drive To Continue ........................................................................... 23
          Sheikh Hasina Seeks Suu Kyi's Release ........................................................................ 23
    BHUTAN ................................................................................................................................... 23
          Communist Guerrillas Kill Four Bhutanese Forest Guard ........................................... 23
    BURMA ..................................................................................................................................... 24
          Burma Frees North Korean Refugees ............................................................................ 24
          S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos ......................... 24
          Sheikh Hasina Seeks Suu Kyi's Release ........................................................................ 24
          US Backs Democracy In Myanmar Ahead Of Anniversary ........................................... 25
          Win Tin Denies NLD Divided Over 2010 Election .......................................................... 25
    CAMBODIA............................................................................................................................... 25
          Cambodian Gov't Urged To Invest More In Agricultural Sector .................................. 25
    FIJI ............................................................................................................................................ 26
          Fiji PM Ready For Talks ................................................................................................... 26
          Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers ........................................................................................... 26
      Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note ................................................................. 26
GUAM ....................................................................................................................................... 27
      Report: US, Japan Could Finalize Troop Movement ..................................................... 27
INDIA......................................................................................................................................... 27
      Karnataka To Seek NSG Unit At CMs' Security Meeting .............................................. 27
      Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured .................................................... 27
      Ezhimala Naval Academy's Inauguration On January 8: Naval Chief ......................... 28
      India to Unveil Second Plan to Revive Economic Growth ........................................... 28
      India Slashes Rates, Lures Funds To Aid Growth ........................................................ 28
      Pakistan Stands By Offer Of Joint Probe: PM ............................................................... 29
      India Preparing Evidence To Share With Pak, Rest Of World ...................................... 29
      Coercion Won’t Work, FO Tells India ............................................................................. 29
      Don't Advise Us, Check Your Terror Outfits: India To Pak .......................................... 30
      India Asks Pakistan To Act Against Jamaat 'In Any Form' .......................................... 30
      Lashkar Rejects ‘Confession’ Report In Mumbai Probe ............................................... 30
      No Noticeable Change In Pakistan's Attitude: India ..................................................... 31
      Pak Says Terror Suspects Can't Be Extradited Without Treaty ................................... 31
      Sharif Seeks Normalisation Of Indo-Pak Ties................................................................ 32
      US Helped Ease Tension Between India, Pak: Qureshi ................................................ 32
      Pakistan Cancels Hockey Team's Tour To India ........................................................... 32
      Govt To Boost Tv, Radio Coverage In J&K To Counter Pak ........................................ 33
      Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured .................................................... 33
      Pakistan, India Swap Lists of Nuclear Facilities ........................................................... 33
      India Exchanges List Of Nuclear Facilities Muhammad Tahir Khan ........................... 34
INDONESIA .............................................................................................................................. 34
      Economic Indicators Predicted To Decline In 2009 ...................................................... 34
      Indonesia Condemns Israeli Atacks At Security Council ............................................. 34
      Muslims In Bali Demand U.S. Stop Israeli Aggression ................................................. 35
      Ex-Military Chief Acquitted Of Activist's Poisoning ..................................................... 35
LAOS ........................................................................................................................................ 35
      S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos ......................... 35
MALAYSIA................................................................................................................................ 36
      Malaysian Warship Foils Attack By Somali Pirates On Oil Tanker.............................. 36
      Malaysia's Opposition Tests New Anti-Graft Body ....................................................... 36
      Malaysian Police Arrest 26 At New Year 'Sex Party' ..................................................... 36
MALDIVES ................................................................................................................................ 37
      Maldivian President Arrives In Sri Lanka ....................................................................... 37
      Sri Lanka Welcomes The President And The First Lady With A Warm Reception .... 37
NEPAL ...................................................................................................................................... 37
      Prachanda Asks For Three Months To Fulfil Nepali Congress Demands .................. 37
      Riot Police For Nepal Temple Row ................................................................................. 38
      Nepal Army Chief Katuwal's Days Numbered: Media Reports .................................... 38
      Nepali Inflation Increases 14.5 Pct: Central Bank ......................................................... 38
NEW ZEALAND ........................................................................................................................ 39
      Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note ................................................................. 39
PAKISTAN ................................................................................................................................ 39
     Pakistanis Reopen Khyber Pass For Afghan Supplies ................................................ 39
     Suspected U.S. Drone Attack Kills Three In Pakistan .................................................. 39
     At Least 4 Killed, Several Injured As Us Drone Fired 2 Missiles In Laddah At S
     Waiziristan ......................................................................................................................... 40
     Kayani Meets Afghan, NATO Generals In Kabul ........................................................... 40
     25th Meeting Of Tripartite Commission Held In Kabul ................................................. 40
     Zardari Orders Immediate End To Unannounced Load-Shedding .............................. 41
     Protesters Rally Against Israel Across Pakistan .......................................................... 41
     Shortage Of Gas, Power Due To Govt Failure: Sharif ................................................... 41
     Solutions Sought To Tackle Deepening Energry Crisis ............................................... 41
     Pakistan Stands By Offer Of Joint Probe: PM ............................................................... 42
     India Preparing Evidence To Share With Pak, Rest Of World ...................................... 42
     Coercion Won’t Work, FO Tells India ............................................................................. 43
     Don't Advise Us, Check Your Terror Outfits: India To Pak .......................................... 43
     India Asks Pakistan To Act Against Jamaat 'In Any Form' .......................................... 43
     Lashkar Rejects ‘Confession’ Report In Mumbai Probe ............................................... 44
     No Noticeable Change In Pakistan's Attitude: India ..................................................... 44
     Pak Says Terror Suspects Can't Be Extradited Without Treaty ................................... 44
     Sharif Seeks Normalisation Of Indo-Pak Ties................................................................ 45
     US Helped Ease Tension Between India, Pak: Qureshi ................................................ 45
     Pakistan Cancels Hockey Team's Tour To India ........................................................... 46
     Govt To Boost Tv, Radio Coverage In J&K To Counter Pak ........................................ 46
     Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured .................................................... 46
     Pakistan, India Swap Lists of Nuclear Facilities ........................................................... 47
     India Exchanges List Of Nuclear Facilities Muhammad Tahir Khan ........................... 47
PAPUA NEW GUINEA ............................................................................................................. 47
     Fiji PM Ready For Talks ................................................................................................... 47
     Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers ........................................................................................... 48
PHILIPPINES ............................................................................................................................ 48
     Arroyo Stays Mum On 2010 Plans .................................................................................. 48
     Arroyo Won’t Sign CARP Resolution--Solon ................................................................. 48
     Arroyo, Cabinet In Mindanao Next Week ....................................................................... 49
     Military Boosts Intelligence Amid Blasts ....................................................................... 49
     Philippines: Islamic Militants Deny Link To Bomb Attacks ......................................... 49
     PNP: Alert Level Back To Normal Except In Mindanao ................................................ 50
     Sultan Kudarat Blast Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Hurt .................................................................. 50
     Holiday Truce Expires, But NPA Still Holds Officer Captive ........................................ 50
     Qatar Offers To Broker RP-MILF Talks ........................................................................... 51
     MILF Washes Hands Over Mindanao Bombings ........................................................... 51
     US Envoy Says RP To Survive US Recession ............................................................... 51
SINGAPORE ............................................................................................................................. 52
     Two S'poreans In Vicinity Of Bangkok's Santika Pub Remain Unaccounted For ..... 52
     Singapore Lowers Economic Growth Forecast To -2.0%............................................. 52
     Singapore Sees Biggest-Ever Quarterly GDP Fall: Govt .............................................. 52
SRI LANKA ............................................................................................................................... 53
     Sri Lanka Captures Rebel HQ; 3 Killed In Colombo ...................................................... 53
     Bomb Blast At Sri Lanka's Air Force Headquarters In The Capital ............................. 53
     Army Commander Joins The Forces In Victory ............................................................ 53
     Sri Lanka Announces Occupation Of Killinochchi........................................................ 54
     Sri Lanka President Takes Over Media Portfolio .......................................................... 54
     Maldivian President Arrives In Sri Lanka ....................................................................... 54
     Sri Lanka Welcomes The President And The First Lady With A Warm Reception .... 54
  THAILAND ................................................................................................................................ 55
       Pub Inferno Leaves 59 Dead ............................................................................................ 55
       Survivors Recall Horror Of Bangkok Blaze As Mourners Pray.................................... 55
       Two S'poreans In Vicinity Of Bangkok's Santika Pub Remain Unaccounted For ..... 55
       China Offers Medical Help ............................................................................................... 56
       Suthep Assigned To Bring Back Thaksin ...................................................................... 56
       House Speaker Urges Unity For King ............................................................................. 56
       Gunmen Injured Soldier In Pattani .................................................................................. 56
       Happy New Year: 100 Million Times ............................................................................... 56




                                                           SUMMARIES

ASIA

It's Been A Miserable Year For Asia Shares
HONG KONG: Asian stocks closed a miserable year Wednesday Dec 31 with some indices
losing more than half their value over 2008 as the global economic crisis ravaged markets.
Despite some rises over the past few days, there was no escaping the sheer magnitude of the
destruction wrought on regional indices as world credit markets dried up and some of the world's
biggest companies went to the wall. SYDNEY: The share market closed slightly up, ending a
disastrous year in which the global financial crisis slashed 41.3% from its value. The benchmark
S&P/ASX200 closed the day up 1.9% on 3,722.3, an advance of 68.1 points, while the All
Ordinaries gained 67.9 points to end the final session of the year at 3,659.3. "It was certainly a
year everyone would rather forget, with the S&P/ASX200 index losing 2,617.5 points," said IG
Markets analyst Ben Potter. SHANGHAI: Shares closed slightly lower o to end the year down
65.5% - the steepest annual loss in the market's 18-year history. The massive plunge has made
China one of the worst performing major stock markets this year. (cont)
Source: Intellasia
http://www.intellasia.net/news/articles/stock_market/111255043.shtml

AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU)

[Vietnam] Nam Dinh Uses SMS To Control Bird Flu
NAM DINH — The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has selected the northern
province of NamDinh to carry out a pilot project on collecting bird flu data using instant
messaging, according to Ninh Van Hieu, head of the provincial veterinary department. With the
SMS mobile phone service, the project would help accumulate data on affected areas, the
number of dead poultry, and the status of the epidemic in the province, as well as facilitate
quarantine and control of further spread. As part of the project, a training course was held for 45
heads of communal veterinary stations from Nam Truc and Nghia Hung districts, which are home
to many poultry farms and slaughterhouses.
Source: VNS
http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=01SOC020109

CHINA ANTI-PIRACY DEPLOYMENT

China Navy's Main Goal Is To Escort Ships During Somalia Mission
A military scholar believes China is doing the right thing by dispatching a naval task force to
escort ships and to protect them from pirates in waters off Somalia. Colonel Ge Lide, researcher
at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), was quoted by the
weekly newspaper, Youth Reference, as saying, "As a responsible member of the international
community, China is obliged to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions to curb
piracy on the high seas and protect the safety of marine routes." The Chinese naval task force,
which is made up of two missile destroyers and a supply vessel, set sail on Dec. 26. It is now on
the Indian Ocean. The PLA navy promised to escort Chinese merchant ships, which were
harassed by pirates seven times in 2008. It will also escort foreign vessels on request. Colonel
Ge said, "With the discreet and aboveboard naval deployment, China doesn't have any intentions
of challenging the security or commercial interests of other countries in the region. We are simply
interested in guarding the international waters from armed pirates, our common enemies." The
task force's commanding officer said their primary job would be escorts, not actively engaging
pirates. He, however, did not rule out possible fire exchange. The 800 or so Chinese crew
include about 70 members of the PLA Navy special forces. "I certainly believe the Navy would
win against any threats and fulfill its lofty duty," Colonel Ge said in the newspaper.
Source: Xinhua
http://english.chinamil.com.cn/

NORTHEAST ASIA

CHINA

Mainland

Chinese, U.S. Presidents Exchange Congratulatory Messages On Anniversary Of Relations
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush exchanged congratulatory
messages Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
between their two countries. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the
United States 30 years ago "is a milestone that marked a new chapter in the history of our
relations and had a significant and profound impact on the international situation and the world's
landscape," Hu said in his congratulatory message. "For 30 years, thanks to the concerted efforts
of generations of Chinese and American leaders and people of vision from all walks of life, we
have made historic achievements in growing these relations," the Chinese president said. "Our
two countries have fruitful exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of areas. Our two peoples
are increasing mutual understanding and friendship day by day. The strategic significance and
global implications of China-U.S. relations have become all the more evident," Hu said. "These
facts have proven that the establishment and development of normal state-to-state relations
between China and the United States serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples and go
along with the trend of the times. (Cont)
Source: Xinhua
http://english.chinamil.com.cn/

Taiwan Newspaper Says Hu's Cross-Straits Proposals Positive
The United Daily News, one of the biggest newspapers in Taiwan, said in an editorial on Friday
that the six proposals put forward by Hu Jintao on the cross-Straits relationship are "positive" and
"explicit". The editorial said that people in Taiwan mostly hold positive opinions about the six
proposals, made by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Hu
Jintao on New Year's Eve, and see goodwill and understanding in them. It noted that in Hu's
address, he shows understanding that "Taiwan consciousness" does not equal to "Taiwan
independence consciousness". In addition, Hu also said the mainland is willing to discuss with
Taiwan "proper and reasonable arrangements" for Taiwan's participation in activities of
international organizations as long as such activity does not create a scenario of "two Chinas" or
"one China and one Taiwan." Hu made the six proposals on promoting the peaceful development
of the cross-Straits relationship in his speech to commemorate the30th anniversary of the
mainland's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan." He called for increased communication and
exchange in all areas and said the mainland would actively respond to any constructive proposals
that would boost the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship. Hu said the two
sides could step up contacts and exchanges on military issues "at an appropriate time" and
discuss establishing a mechanism to boost mutual trust on military security.
Source: Xinhua
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/03/content_10595496.htm

Taiwan

TSU Rejects China's Latest Olive Branch As 'Old Trick'
Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech on Dec. 31 calling for closer ties between China and
Taiwan is one of China's old tricks to take over Taiwan, and a strategy aimed at unifying the two
sides through cultural and economic integration, the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union
(TSU) said Friday. According to a news release issued by the TSU, Hu's speech to mark the 30th
anniversary of a message from China, which called for reunification of the two sides of the
Taiwan Strait by peaceful means, is a prelude to China's conspiracy to achieve political
unification with Taiwan eventually. TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei said in the news release that
by launching the "three big links" and the opening of Taiwanese universities to Chinese students,
President Ma Yin-jeou's administration has basically completely accepted Beijing's policies
towards Taiwan as well as adopted China's "one-China" principle. "Ma's government has
continuously pushed Taiwan to fall into China's 'one country, two systems' scheme, " said Huang.
He expressed his discontent through the news release, adding that the proposed signing of a
Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with China will force Taiwan to follow
the Hong Kong and Macau model, which will ultimately downgrade Taiwan to the level of a local
government, subordinate to Beijing. In the news release, Huang urged Ma to stop fooling himself
by continuing to adhere to a so-called "1992 consensus" that Huang believes China will never
respect. According to Ma, the two sides reached an understanding in 1992 that there was "one
China" but with different interpretations of the meaning of the term . (cont)
Source: Central News Agency; Luis Yu
http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=827819&lang=eng_news&cate_img=83
.jpg&cate_rss=news_Politics

No Time To Add Response To Hu's 'Six Points': Spokesman
President Ma Ying-jeou did not respond to his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao's ―Six Points‖ of
Taiwan policy because there wasn't time to add it to the prepared New Year's message, his
spokesman Wang Yu-chi said yesterday. ―The message was finalized long before New Year's
Day,‖ Wang told a hastily called press conference. ―That's why there wasn't any change in it in
response to the remarks by Hu Jintao,‖ he pointed out. The six points Hu announced included an
end to political confrontation under the ―one China‖ principle, economic cooperation, promotion of
Chinese culture, intensified personal exchange with the Democratic Progressive Party, adequate
arrangement for Taiwan to participate in international organizations, and a peace accord. Ma was
under fire for not responding to Hu's omission of mention about what is known as the consensus
of 1992, dubbed ―one China with a different interpretation‖ by Su Chi, secretary-general of the
National Security Council. Under the tacit agreement in that year, both Taipei and Beijing
acknowledge there is but one China, whose connotations may be individually and orally
expressed. It ushered in a brief detente between Taiwan and China in the mid-1990s. Wang
reiterated the consensus and ―non-mutual denial‖ as underlying President Ma's China policy.
(cont)
Source: China Post
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/china-taiwan-relations/2009/01/02/190217/No%2Dtime.htm

MOFA Mulls Easing Rules On Meeting Chinese Officials
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is considering a new policy to loosen restrictions on
interaction between Taiwanese and Chinese officials abroad, a senior MOFA official said
yesterday under the condition of anonymity. The policy, the official said, coincided with the nature
of the administration‘s ―diplomatic truce‖ — a ceasefire proposed by Taiwan with Beijing on luring
each other‘s allies. President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the truce last May when he entered office.
To date, Beijing has not publicly acknowledged the diplomatic ceasefire, but Taiwan maintains
that China has shown signs of slowly acquiescing to the truce. The MOFA official said the relaxed
policy would permit Taiwanese foreign service officials to mingle with their Chinese counterparts
and Chinese media, under the condition that the officials did not meet in private but only in public.
Taiwanese foreign service personnel, including heads of representative offices and embassies,
would also be permitted to give interviews to the Chinese press. In the past, it was an unspoken
rule that Chinese and Taiwanese officials did not appear at the same setting, such as receptions
or parties. Taiwanese foreign officials were also instructed not to be too friendly with Chinese
officials, he said. The new policy, he said, did not mean Taiwanese officials could go to a
―Chinese official‘s house for dinner.‖ It has been rumored that some Chinese officials stationed in
Africa and the West Asia region have invited Taiwanese officials to their residences for private
meals. (cont)
Source: Taipei Times; Jenny W. Hsu
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/01/02/2003432664

TSU Rejects China's Latest Olive Branch As 'Old Trick'
Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech on Dec. 31 calling for closer ties between China and
Taiwan is one of China's old tricks to take over Taiwan, and a strategy aimed at unifying the two
sides through cultural and economic integration, the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union
(TSU) said Friday. According to a news release issued by the TSU, Hu's speech to mark the 30th
anniversary of a message from China, which called for reunification of the two sides of the
Taiwan Strait by peaceful means, is a prelude to China's conspiracy to achieve political
unification with Taiwan eventually. TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei said in the news release that
by launching the "three big links" and the opening of Taiwanese universities to Chinese students,
President Ma Yin-jeou's administration has basically completely accepted Beijing's policies
towards Taiwan as well as adopted China's "one-China" principle. "Ma's government has
continuously pushed Taiwan to fall into China's 'one country, two systems' scheme, " said Huang.
He expressed his discontent through the news release, adding that the proposed signing of a
Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with China will force Taiwan to follow
the Hong Kong and Macau model, which will ultimately downgrade Taiwan to the level of a local
government, subordinate to Beijing. In the news release, Huang urged Ma to stop fooling himself
by continuing to adhere to a so-called "1992 consensus" that Huang believes China will never
respect. According to Ma, the two sides reached an understanding in 1992 that there was "one
China" but with different interpretations of the meaning of the term. Ambiguity over the term
allows Ma's administration to skirt sovereignty issues in negotiations with China. Huang insisted,
however, that Hu will never accept any definition other than the one China being the People's
Republic of China, with Taiwan a part of the PRC. Neither China nor the international community
recognize the existence of the "1992 consensus" and adhering to such a consensus will only
further jeopardize Taiwan's existence in the international arena, Huang argued. (cont)
Source: Central News Agency; Luis Yu
http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=827819&lang=eng_news&cate_img=83
.jpg&cate_rss=news_Politics

Other

Chinese Mainland To Seize Opportunity To Promote Cross-Straits Peaceful Development:
Official
A Chinese mainland official in charge of Taiwan affairs said on Thursday that the mainland would
seize "current opportunities" to promote the peaceful development across the Taiwan Straits,
firmly safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity and "fundamental interest of the Chinese
nation." Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
Central Committee, told a seminar that the mainland would spare no efforts to "create a
framework for the cross-Strait peaceful development". Wang said the spirit of President Hu
Jintao's speech at Wednesday's ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the
mainland's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" should be thoroughly implemented. The
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, issued the
"Message" on Jan. 1, 1979. In this statement, the mainland first proposed ending the military
confrontation across the Taiwan Straits through dialogue and welcomed exchanges between the
two sides. (cont)
Source: Xinhua
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90785/6565749.html

Rice To Visit China Jan 7-8: Foreign Ministry
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit China on January 7 and 8, the foreign ministry
said here Friday, in her last scheduled trip before the Bush administration leaves office. The
announcement came as China and the United States marked 30 years of diplomatic relations,
with US President George W. Bush exchanging congratulatory messages with Chinese President
Hu Jintao. "US Secretary of State Rice will visit China January 7-8 to attend activities related to
the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-US ties," a statement on the ministry's website
said. Rice had earlier told AFP she planned to visit China shortly after the New Year to mark the
anniversary, saying she thought it was "important" to do so, but the exact dates had not been
released. The United States switched its diplomatic recognition to communist-ruled China on
January 1, 1979, ending decades of US support for Taiwan's Nationalist government, Beijing's
rival since the civil war that ended in 1949. However, with the Bush administration making way for
President-elect Barack Obama's on January 20, Rice indicated earlier that little else of substance
appeared likely to emerge from her visit to China. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090102/wl_asia_afp/chinausdiplomacyrice

China Dairy Firms Plead For Forgiveness In New Year
Please forgive us, a group of Chinese dairy firms said in a New Year text message sent to
millions of mobile phone subscribers.The 22 dairy firms, led by the now-bankrupt Sanlu,
apologized and asked forgiveness for the contamination of their products by melamine, which
killed at least six babies and made 290,000 ill. Melamine, an industrial compound used in plastic
and fertilizer, was added to milk to cheat protein tests. The chairwoman of Sanlu, Tian Wenhua,
and three other company executives are on trial at a court in northern China for the
contamination. Tian, who pleaded guilty, is expected to be sentenced to life imprisonment
although the verdict may not be reached for several weeks, the Beijing News said Friday. "We
are deeply sorry for the harm caused to the children and the society," the text message read. "We
sincerely apologize for that and we beg your forgiveness." Another 17 people involved in
producing, selling, buying and adding melamine in raw milk have gone on trial in the last week.
Sanlu said it discovered the problem and reported it to local authorities in Hebei Province on
August 2, just days before the Olympic Games began in Beijing. (cont)
Source: Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE5010A720090102?feedType=RSS&feedNam
e=worldNews

China Dairies Offer Text Apology
Chinese dairy companies involved in the tainted milk scandal have apologized in a New Year text
message sent to millions of mobile phone subscribers. "We sincerely apologize...and we beg your
forgiveness," read the note from 22 dairy firms, led by the now-bankrupt Sanlu, China's state
news agency said. At least six babies died and 290,000 became ill from melamine contamination
in milk products made by the companies. Melamine was added so the milk appeared to have a
higher protein content. "We are deeply sorry for the harm caused to the children and the society,"
the text message said. "We sincerely apologize for that and we beg your forgiveness." It said a
compensation fund had been established for the victims, including the families of thousands of
babies still suffering from urinary problems such as kidney stones. Standing trial. The
chairwoman of Sanlu, Tian Wenhua, pleaded guilty to selling fake or substandard products at a
trial that recently concluded in northern China. She is expected to be sentenced to life
imprisonment although a verdict may not be reached for several weeks, the official Beijing News
said. Earlier reports indicated that the 66-year-old executive could face the death penalty. In the
past week, another 17 people involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine to raw
milk have also gone on trial. Sanlu said it discovered the problem in May and reported it to
authorities in Hebei Province on 2 August. But nothing became public until early September,
when the New Zealand government said it brought complaints by Sanlu's partner, Fonterra, to the
attention of the Chinese government. (cont)
Source: BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7807637.stm

Parents Of China Milk Scandal Victims Detained
BEIJING (Reuters) - A group of parents whose children fell ill from drinking tainted Chinese milk
have been detained by police apparently trying to block them from holding a news conference,
one of the fathers said on Friday. At least six children have died from kidney stones and more
than 290,000 been made ill from the melamine-contaminated milk, battering already dented faith
in China-made products and prompting massive recalls around the world. Tian Wenhua, the 66-
year-old former general manager of the now bankrupt Sanlu Group, pleaded guilty on
Wednesday to charges of "producing and selling fake or substandard products." She is expected
to be sentenced to life imprisonment, the Beijing News said. One of the fathers, whose 13-month-
old son suffers from severe kidney stones, said some parents, including himself, were taken to a
labor camp on the outskirts of Beijing. "We are under house arrest now, and they did not give us
any reasons why they kept us here," the father told Reuters by phone. Five parents had been
detained, but the rest of the group held a news conference on Friday, calling attention to the
plight of the children. A website created by anti-Sanlu protesters was blocked on Friday. It was
not immediately clear why. "The government said all the medical care is free, but when it comes
to the local level, things change. I have already paid more than 50,000 yuan ($7,300) for the
operation and cure," said the father, a migrant worker from Sichuan province. (cont)
Source: Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE50112220090102?feedType=RSS&feedNam
e=worldNews

China's Lunar Travel Season Off To Early Start
BEIJING: China's massive Lunar New Year travel rush has begun early this year with hordes of
migrant workers streaming out of cities where jobs have dried up due to a slowing economy, state
media said Friday. Lunar New Year for 2009 falls on January 26, but the annual exodus is
already under way in major cities, with many of China's millions of migrant laborers heading home
to an uncertain future, Xinhua news agency said. The Beijing West Railway Station logged
130,000 departing passengers Thursday, 38,000 more than the daily average, Xinhua quoted
station authorities saying. It quoted officials who "cited the lack of big construction projects in the
capital city as the reason for the increased seasonal travel," although this year's relatively early
Lunar New Year Holiday was also a factor. Long queues also developed at railway hubs in the
eastern commercial metropolis of Shanghai, with police dispatched to maintain order, it added.
State media said previously that a record 2.3 billion passenger trips were expected to be taken
during the Lunar New Year period, the country's most important holiday. A record 188 million
people will take to the nation's rail system and another 24 million will take holiday-related flights in
January and February, the reports said, in what is the world's biggest annual migration. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399782/1/.html

China And North Korea In New Diplomatic Dance
North Korea and China are showing growing signs of cementing stronger political ties this year in
what many experts here said is an effort to secure a better position in the upcoming diplomatic
dialogue with Barack Obama‘s new U.S. administration. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and
Chinese president Hu Jintao sent celebratory New Year‘s messages to each other and declared
2009 as the ―year of friendship‖ to mark the 60th anniversary of the two countries‘ diplomatic
relations, according to the two countries‘ state-run media. China was the fourth country the North
formed official diplomatic ties with after Russia, Bulgaria and Romania. Though Pyongyang has
long celebrated the anniversary of the 1961 China-North Korea Treaty on Friendship,
Cooperation and Mutual Assistance and China‘s military support to the North in 1950 during the
Korean War, the 1949 opening of diplomatic ties between the two countries has been largely
ignored. But yesterday‘s announcement was no sudden surprise, given the two countries have
made moves to forge a closer alliance since last year. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping,
China‘s second most powerful official, made an unusual visit to Pyongyang last year, while Kim
pledged Pyongyang would ―never to breach trust with China,‖ when another high-profile Beijing
official, Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China
Central Committee, visited the North last February. Kim made a personal visit to the Chinese
Embassy in Pyongyang. (cont)
Source: JoongAng Ilbo; Jeong Yong-soo
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899376

Hong Kong Air Pollution Worst Since Records Began: Official Data
Air pollution across large swathes of Hong Kong last year reached its highest level since records
began, despite government efforts to improve the environment, official figures showed Friday.
Hong Kong suffers high air pollution, caused partly by huge numbers of factories over the border
in southern China, and there have been fears the problem could compromise its position as an
international finance centre. The number of hours for which street-level pollution exceeded the
danger level in some of the city's busiest districts rose by 14 per cent in 2008, according to
Environmental Protection Department figures. The department said air pollution levels in the three
main shopping and business districts were dangerous for more than 2,000 hours last year -- the
highest figure since it began taking roadside recordings in 2000. An Air Pollution Index (API) of
more than 100 is considered dangerous, indicating immediate health risks, especially to people
with respiratory or heart problems. The latest figures are for Central, Hong Kong's main business
district, and the Causeway Bay and Mongkok shopping areas. They were released as Hong
Kong's acting environment secretary proposed a ban on running engines of parked vehicles, the
latest in a series of measures to improve the city's air quality. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090102/wl_asia_afp/hongkongenvironmentairpollution

China Offers Medical Help
Chinese medical skin-grafting experts are willing to offer treatment to burnt victims of the New
Year's Eve pub fire, Public Health Minister Manit Nop-amornbodi says. Mr. Manit said the
Chinese embassy in Bangkok had offered help through the foreign ministry after Chinese medical
skin specialists had given assistance to victims in the Thai capital in 1990 when an LPG-tank
truck crashed and exploded on New Phetchaburi Road in central Bangkok. Many people died and
many more were injured and disfigured in that accident. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health will
cover the bills of medical expenses in the Santika nightclub tragedy, according to Dr. Manit. He
said the major reason that so many people died and were injured in the inferno at the Santika
Club which occurred at about 12.30am was likely due to alleged changing of building structure by
the owner of the venue. The incident as well as the country's building safety issues will be
presented to a cabinet meeting, he said. (cont)
Source: Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/135681/china-offers-medical-help

JAPAN

Japan's Emperor Voices Concern Over Financial Slump
TOKYO: Japan's Emperor Akihito on Friday voiced concern about the growing impact of the
global financial crisis on the nation's economy as he greeted New Year crowds in the Imperial
Palace. Around 10,000 people, mostly elderly Japanese, gathered at the palace in central Tokyo,
to hear the emperor's traditional New Year address and to exchange greetings with members of
the imperial family. "I'm worried that many people are having a New Year with a lot of troubles
under the severe economic conditions," Akihito said in a rare New Year comment on economic
matters. "I hope this year will be a better year - even if only slightly - for our people," the 75-year-
old monarch said, speaking in bright sunshine from a balcony protected by bulletproof glass."At
the beginning of the year, I wish for the happiness of the people and peace in the world," Akihito
said as crowds shouted "Banzai" (long live) and waved Japanese flags. Japanese companies
have cut tens of thousands of jobs, mostly of vulnerable temporary-contract workers, as demand
for cars, cameras and other products wanes amid the crisis. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399778/1/.html

Report: US, Japan Could Finalize Troop Movement
Japanese media are reporting that the American and Japanese governments will be signing an
accord surrounding the Marines relocation from Okinawa to Guam. The document is expected to
include a clause banning Japan's financial contributions from being used for other purposes. The
draft of the accord reportedly stipulates that the Japanese government's direct contribution to the
relocation be up to $2.8 billion, inline with a 2006 agreement between the two countries. The
agreement is expected to be signed sometime early this year.
Source: KUAM
http://www.kuam.com/bm/news/report-us-japan-could-finalize-troop-movement.shtml

Court Backs Anti-Yasukuni Civic Group
A Korean court ordered the government to officially approve a civic group that is trying to bring
back the mortuary plaques of deceased Koreans affixed in a Tokyo shrine alongside Japanese
war criminals, officials said yesterday. The Korean Committee for Yasukuni Action wants to
remove the plaques from Japan‘s Yasukuni Shrine, where the country‘s war dead are laid,
including 14 Class A war criminals convicted by an international tribunal following World War II.
The committee applied last March to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for its official
registration as a nonprofit organization and for financial support. According to relevant laws,
public organizations or institutions can become eligible for government aid after submitting the
required forms to ministries that oversee their activities. The ministry rejected the group‘s
request, however, saying the scope of its activity is outside the ministry‘s authority. ―The
organization‘s activities are intended to prove the facts about the enshrined Koreans, to seek
legal procedures and finally to bring them back from the shrine. It has a close relationship with the
work of the foreign ministry, which manages international relations,‖ said the Seoul Administrative
Court in its verdict. ―As the group‘s goal is to exert influence on Japan‘s policies, the foreign
ministry should play a major role in coordinating the group‘s work to prevent unnecessary conflict
with Japan.‖ About 20,000 Koreans are estimated to be among the 2.4 million people laid to rest
at Yasukuni. A majority of the Koreans there were forced into labor or military service for Japan
during Japan‘s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea. Yonhap
Source: JoongAng Ilbo
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899373

ROK/DPRK

Dual Diplomatic Track in 2009
North Korea, in its New Year's Statement, showed a hard-line position towards South Korea, but
did not make any specific references to other outside relations. This has lead experts to anticipate
a twin track policy from North Korea. The editorial mentioned, "The justification for our
international policy, which aims to denuclearize the Chosun (Korean) Peninsula and guard the
peace and safety of the world, is gaining strength day by day." It maintained, "We will work on our
relations with those nations who treat us amicably under the principles of independence, peace,
and goodwill, and cooperate with them for global independence." Last year's editorial also urged
a middle of the road course for policy over foreign countries, "We will improve amicable relations
with all countries who also treat us amicably." This statement has the same logic as the North
Korea‘s old claim, "If the U.S. abandons its hostile policy towards North Chosun, there is no need
for us to have nuclear weapons." It merely hints to the newly elected Obama administration that
North Korea has the intention of engaging in nuclear negotiations. The reason for the lack of a
specific reference to external relations in the Statement seems to be the North's hesitance to
show its "cards" by elucidating its outside policies early, and to avoid unnecessarily restricting its
range of action. Accordingly, the North's intent as portrayed in the editorial is to continue its
strategic nuclear negotiations, such as the "salami tactic" and brinkmanship. Timely use of the
words "denuclearization of the Chosun Peninsula" contains the hidden intention of drawing the
attention of the Obama administration. (cont)
Source: Daily NK; Jeong Jae Sung
http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00400&num=4416

Obama To Adopt Flexible Stance On N.Korea
Diplomats throughout Asia will be keeping a close eye on how the next US administration of
President-elect Barack Obama deals with the North Korean nuclear issue. The six-party talks,
which have been discussing verification measures on North Korea's declaration of its nuclear
programs, ended last month without any progress reported. The current US government of
President Bush has said it does not intend to conduct any more negotiations with the country if
the North fails to make any concessions. The North has indicated it has no intention of making
any compromises. It appears unlikely that the deadlock will be broken and the negotiations will
fall on the Obama government, which takes office later this month. Obama has expressed a
willingness to promote direct talks with the country, maintaining the framework of the six-party
talks. Observers say the Obama administration will adopt a flexible, yet wary, stance toward the
country while the North will maintain a wait-and-see attitude.
Source: NHK
http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/02_11.html

Lee And Obama Plan April Meeting
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is expected to hold his first meeting with incoming U.S.
President Barack Obama in London in early April on the sidelines of the G-20 economic summit,
Seoul‘s foreign minister said yesterday. ―We need to consult with the U.S. on the issue, but
President-elect Obama will likely focus on domestic issues, including the economic crisis, rather
than foreign affairs once he takes office,‖ Yu Myung-hwan told reporters. The minister declined to
predict when he would meet with Hillary Clinton, nominated to be Obama‘s secretary of state,
citing Washington‘s schedule for confirmation hearings. However, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice‘s possible visit to Seoul later this month has been canceled, according to
Foreign Ministry officials in Seoul. Yu said earlier this week that Rice may visit Seoul after her
scheduled visit to China from Jan. 7 to 8 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic ties
between Washington and Beijing. But the recently escalating conflict between Israel and
Palestine shortened her trip to Asia, said the official. Yu added that he would soon be heading to
Southeast Asia with a planned stop in Indonesia, a member of the G-20, saying it is time to pay
more attention to the region as he spent much of last year traveling to the four major regional
powers - the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan. He did not give a date for his planned trip.
Source: Yonhap
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899374

Seoul Has Not Changed NK Policy
President Lee Myung-bak's remarks on North Korea in his New Year speech Friday would not
have impressed Pyongyang, which wants a U-turn from what it calls a hawkish stance. Lee
reiterated his previous position by saying, ``South-North relations should be resolved smoothly
with a more flexible and mature attitude.'' He added, `` It is about time the South and North
overcame confrontation and conflict and opened a new age of cooperative coexistence and co-
prosperity. I hope that North Korea will be able to read the change of the times and forge ahead
with us for a bright future.'' ``I am willing to engage in dialogue with the North at any time and am
ever ready to cooperate with it as a partner. It is my earnest wish that the North will unshackle
itself from old, outmoded tactics of instigating conflict within the South and will come forward with
a cooperative attitude,'' the president said. But he failed to mention anything regarding what
Pyongyang demands as a precondition for resuming inter-Korean dialogue. Lee said that despite
economic challenges, Korea has been making major strides on the foreign policy front. He spoke
about several policy advances during his watch, including improved relations with Washington;
the first-ever trilateral summit of leaders from South Korea, China and Japan; free trade
agreements that will likely be put into action with major markets in the coming months; and
Korea's growing leadership role in international communities including the OECD and the G-20.
The President also promised to thaw the chilly relations between the two Koreas, but offered few
concrete details on how he might improve inter-Korean ties that have plunged to their lowest level
in a decade since he took office last February. On Korea's foreign policy achievements, ``even
during this global economic crisis, Korea's opportunities are increasing in the international
community,'' Lee said during the 20-minute speech that was broadcast live across the country.
(cont)
Source: Korea Times; Michael Ha
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/01/116_37216.html

Why Does Kim Jong-il Promise Great Things for 2012?
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been quoted as saying it was "the firm intention of the party
and the people to open the gates on a powerful country by 2012." He made the cryptic statement
while inspecting the Chollima Steel Complex in South Pyongan Province, according to the official
Korean Central News Agency. Earlier, Kim was quoted by the Korean Central Television Station
as saying, "Now that an ideologically and militarily powerful country has been achieved through
the development of nuclear weapons, an economically powerful country should be achieved by
2012." "A country" in each case seems to refer to a stage in North Korea's development. But why
2012? North Korea experts note that 2012 is the centenary of founder Kim Il-sung's birth, and
suggest his son may be looking for some milestone for the occasion. The year 2012 could also
be politically important in that presidential elections are slated in South Korea, the U.S. and
Russia, and that the Chinese leadership is to undergo a generation shift in 2013. That suggests
the South Korean and American administrations could then be looking for some kind of
breakthrough in the North Korea problem to bolster their image, and North Korea could try to take
advantage of this by fishing for economic support. "Kim Jong-il, who is sick, will be 70 and want to
name a successor in one form of another by 2012, the 40th anniversary of his own official
designation as the successor," one expert said, and the new developmental stage Kim is
promising would lay the groundwork for that. Chung Young-tae, a senior researcher at the Korea
Institute for National Unification warned it was best to prepare for all eventualities since nobody
knows what could happen in 2012 amid potential power changes among all the main players.
Source: Chosun Ilbo
http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200901/200901010001.html

Defense Chief Calls For Greater Effort In Assimilating Rank-And-Filers
South Korea's defense chief called Friday on commanders to help soldiers better cope with their
compulsory armed service after a year tarnished by a grenade explosion that left five injured, an
official said. The comment by Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee came after a Nov. 23 incident in
which an army private tossed a hand grenade into nearby sleeping quarters in protest over the
difficult conditions. Speaking at his first meeting with senior commanders this year, the defense
minister also reiterated President Lee Myung-bak's call to increase dialogue with soldiers and
help them invoke their individual skills to better adapt to the military, the official who attended the
closed meeting said. "The minister understands how important it is for commanders to try to
understand and maximize the individual strengths our soldiers have," the official said on
customary condition of anonymity. All able South Korean men must serve at least two years of
armed service as their country remains technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53
Korean War that ended in a truce instead of a peace treaty. But the service, which involves more
than 660,000 members, has also been criticized as foisting menial labor on a young generation of
soldiers.
Source: Yonhap
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2009/01/02/15/0301000000AEN20090102005500315F.
HTML

S. Korea's Spy Chief Vows To Closely Watch N. Korea In New Year
The chief of South Korea's spy agency said Friday he will closely monitor North Korea in the New
Year, saying national security is a precondition for the country's economic revival. "The eyes of all
the Korean people and the center of the state administration are now focused on breaking the
economic impasse," Kim Sung-ho, director of the National Intelligence Service, said in a New
Year message. "To revive the economy, watertight security should be a precondition," he said.
"As the backbone of national security, (the agency) should not allow the slightest bit of negligence
in the areas of North Korean information and security investigation." Espionage activities were
highly publicized across the border last year amid frozen inter-Korean relations. The National
Intelligence Service and police arrested a female North Korean spy, Won Jeong-hwa, who was
disguised as a defector in August. Won was convicted of collecting South Korean military secrets
and sentenced to five years in jail. North Korea denied involvement. In December, the North's
State Security Ministry, in charge of spy activities, claimed it captured a North Korean man hired
by South Korea's intelligence agency to harm its leaders, possibly including state leader Kim
Jong-il. Seoul's intelligence agency denied any role in the case. A South Korean activist who
represents families of South Koreans abducted by North Korea later claimed responsibility,
saying the man was sent as his agent.
Source: Yonhap
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2009/01/02/32/0401000000AEN20090102006400315
F.HTML

Foreign Ministry Outlines Ambitious 2009 Plans
Korea plans to begin negotiations for free trade agreements with Australia, Peru, New Zealand,
Turkey and Colombia, and to wrap up FTA negotiations with the European Union, the Foreign
Ministry announced yesterday. The announcement was part of a wide-ranging report to President
Lee Myung-bak concerning the ministry‘s ambitious plans for 2009. The ministry unveiled its
three top policy priorities for this year: making diplomatic efforts to help revive the economy,
deepening the newly upgraded Korea-U.S. strategic alliance and making progress in North
Korea‘s denuclearization process. In order to achieve the third goal, the ministry pledged to
complete the second phase of the North‘s three-step denuclearization process and to kick off
negotiations for the final step - the complete and irreversible dismantlement of the North‘s nuclear
facilities - by the end of 2009. ―We will complete FTA negotiations with the EU within the first
quarter so that it can take effect on Jan. 1, 2010, and we will try to make an FTA with India ... take
effect by the end of 2009,‖ the Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. ―We will make
diplomatic efforts to help the Korea-U.S. FTA earn U.S. congressional ratification at the earliest
date possible.‖ To tackle the intensifying unemployment of the country‘s recent college
graduates, the ministry also said it would expand the current working-holiday program. In the
program, young Koreans study English and work in temporary jobs in foreign countries. The
ministry hopes that more than 50,000 Koreans can take part in the program. To further cement
the Korea-U.S. alliance, which was upgraded to a ―strategic alliance‖ during last April‘s
presidential summit, the ministry said diplomats would map out specific principles for the alliance.
The points will encompass not only the military alliance on the Korean Peninsula but also
cooperation in other areas including cultural exchanges, efforts to curb climate change and global
security concerns. (Cont)
Source: JoongAng Ilbo; Jung Ha-won
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899300

Retired Soldiers To Head Defense Units Amid Skepticism Over Reform Effort
South Korea's defense ministry said Friday it appointed four civilians to head non-combat units as
part of a government-wide effort to trim bureaucracy, but the move was greeted with skepticism
when the replacements turned out to be former soldiers. The ministry last year designated five
units, including three suppliers and one military hospital, under a decade-old mandate to
introduce private-sector initiatives and personnel into the government. Four of the five units will
be overseen by retired soldiers, including a pair of former generals, the ministry said,
acknowledging the appointees lack background in competitive sectors. Kim Yoon-seok, who
supervises reform at the Ministry of National Defense, cited a lack of applicants among civilians,
hoping the new heads will be pressured by their two-year contracts to boost the effectiveness of
their units. The ministry said it plans to broaden its reform effort by expanding the streamlining
mandate to two more units this year and attracting civilians to seek posts in the military.
Source: Yonhap
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2009/01/02/29/0301000000AEN20090102003300315F.
HTML

N. Korea Vows to Rebuild Economy in New Year Message
North Korea said Thursday that it will rebuild its ailing economy and aim for denuclearization in
the New Year, in an apparent signal of its willingness to start afresh with the United States. In a
joint newspaper editorial that summed up policy goals for 2009, Pyongyang continued criticism of
Seoul but made no hostile mention of Washington, just three weeks before the inauguration of a
new U.S. administration, according to Yonhap News. "The independent foreign policy of our
Republic to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and defend the peace and security of Northeast
Asia and the rest of the world is demonstrating its validity more fully as the days go by," said the
editorial jointly issued by the North's ruling party, army and youth military. Pyongyang sees the
inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20 as an opportunity to start afresh
after eight years of largely sour relations with the outgoing Bush administration. Six-party talks
aimed at denuclearizing North Korea are on hold until Obama takes office. Washington removed
Pyongyang from its terrorism blacklist as the talks proceeded in 2008, but the latest round ended
without progress in December. In an apparent gesture to the U.S., the editorial said North Korea
"will develop relations with the countries friendly toward us." It also eschewed Pyongyang's
customary accusations of joint military exercises by South Korea and the U.S. (cont)
Source: Korea Times
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/01/113_37114.html

Economy On Emergency Footing: Lee
To fight Korea's recession-bound economy and aid the impoverished, President Lee Myung-bak
yesterday said he would put his administration emergency mode. In a New Year address, he
reaffirmed his commitment to reforming regulations, education and the pubic sector, while calling
on the opposition to support the government's efforts to tackle the economic crisis. He indicated
no change to his stance on North Korea, urging Pyongyang to end its antagonistic attitude and
respond to Seoul's offer of dialogue. A stern-faced Lee outlined key policy plans for this year that
focused on overcoming the economic downturn and enhancing the social safety net. He also
used the 20-minute speech to advance his vision for green growth and wide-ranging reforms.
"With hope and courage, we need to operate at full throttle for the earliest possible recovery from
the economic crisis. In that sense, the Lee Myung-bak administration will be in emergency-
economic mode for 2009," he said. The economic conditions will be monitored on a daily basis
and the government will not waste time in devising and implementing necessary measures, he
added. His aides said Cheong Wa Dae plans to establish an emergency economic committee
soon for swift response and more effective coordination of policies. "It will be like a war room to
lead a battle against a stagnating economy," a senior aide explained. (cont)
Source: Korea Herald; Hwang Jang-jin
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/01/03/200901030026.asp

Lee: Weathering Economic Storm Top Priority
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak announced in his New Year speech on Friday that
overcoming economic problems is the top priority of his government. In an unusual step,
President Lee moved up his New Year speech by about 2 weeks in a bid to cope with the global
economic crisis that is also affecting his country. Lee said his government will help small and
medium- sized companies by spurring domestic demand, invite foreign investment, and promote
further deregulation. He also said massive public works projects to revive 4 rivers in the country
will lead to the creation of new jobs. On foreign policy, the president said that based on South
Korea's alliance with the United States, his country seeks a new era of cooperation with Japan
and China. As for North Korea, Lee said his government is ready to hold talks and cooperate with
the North as a partner. He said he hopes North Korea will be aware of the change of times and
move in a future-oriented manner.
Source: NHK
http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/02_14.html

Korean Inflation Slowed Again in December
SEOUL -- South Korea's consumer prices cooled for a fifth consecutive month in December,
adding to a consensus view that the central bank will take more aggressive policy easing next
year to lift the rapidly slowing local economy. The consumer-price index rose 4.1% from a year
earlier in December, decelerating from November's 4.5% gain, according to official data released
Wednesday. The rise was higher than a Dow Jones Newswires poll's median forecast of a 3.9%
increase. Inflation remains above the BOK's target band of 2.5% to 3.5% for a 13th consecutive
month. Compared with the prior month, the index was flat after falling 0.3% in November. The
market was expecting a 0.3% drop. South Korea's inflation will "absolutely" fall back within the
BOK's target band sometime this year, with the index's annual rise expected to be as low as 0.3%
in the third quarter of 2009, said Chun Chong-woo, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank.
The BOK is likely to slash its benchmark interest rate to 1.5% by the end of the first half of 2009,
one economist said. The central bank had lowered the policy rate by a total of 2.25 percentage
points since early October to 3%, including a full-percentage-point rate cut -- its biggest ever -- in
early December.
Source: Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123085739060847809.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Court Backs Anti-Yasukuni Civic Group
A Korean court ordered the government to officially approve a civic group that is trying to bring
back the mortuary plaques of deceased Koreans affixed in a Tokyo shrine alongside Japanese
war criminals, officials said yesterday. The Korean Committee for Yasukuni Action wants to
remove the plaques from Japan‘s Yasukuni Shrine, where the country‘s war dead are laid,
including 14 Class A war criminals convicted by an international tribunal following World War II.
The committee applied last March to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for its official
registration as a nonprofit organization and for financial support. According to relevant laws,
public organizations or institutions can become eligible for government aid after submitting the
required forms to ministries that oversee their activities. The ministry rejected the group‘s
request, however, saying the scope of its activity is outside the ministry‘s authority. ―The
organization‘s activities are intended to prove the facts about the enshrined Koreans, to seek
legal procedures and finally to bring them back from the shrine. It has a close relationship with the
work of the foreign ministry, which manages international relations,‖ said the Seoul Administrative
Court in its verdict. ―As the group‘s goal is to exert influence on Japan‘s policies, the foreign
ministry should play a major role in coordinating the group‘s work to prevent unnecessary conflict
with Japan.‖ About 20,000 Koreans are estimated to be among the 2.4 million people laid to rest
at Yasukuni. A majority of the Koreans there were forced into labor or military service for Japan
during Japan‘s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea. Yonhap
Source: JoongAng Ilbo
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899373

Burma Frees North Korean Refugees
The Burmese authorities have released 19 North Korean refugees at the border with Thailand, a
South Korean diplomat has said. The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
move would pave the way for their travel to South Korea. The Burmese government had detained
the 19 refugees for a month on charges of illegal entry. Instead of being jailed or deported, the
refugees will now stay in a Thai detention centre. Refugee supporters had feared the Burmese
government might have sent the refugees back to North Korea. But the group - which includes 15
women and a seven-year old boy - now have a chance of a new life. They had been arrested on
2 December as they were trying to cross from Burma into Thailand. Dangerous escape. Many
North Koreans who have managed the dangerous escape from North Korea into China in the
past have often travelled southward, undetected. Thailand does not formally recognize asylum
seekers as refugees, but has pursued a policy of allowing for their care by international refugee
groups in Thailand pending resettlement in third countries. Officials in Burma, who rarely speak
to the press, were not available for comment, and the Immigration Department in Bangkok,
Thailand, said they had not heard of the transfer yet. Thousands of people have fled North Korea
in recent years, and at least 14,000 of them have found their way to asylum in South Korea.
Burma's response to this group of North Koreans was thought to be unpredictable as the country
had been working quietly to normalize relations with North Korea since diplomatic ties were
restored in 2007. (cont)
Source: BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7806925.stm

S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos
SEOUL, Jan. 2 (PNA/Yonhap) -- A senior South Korean foreign ministry official will leave for
Myanmar and Laos this weekend to discuss the issue of North Korean defectors who are
increasingly seeking shelter there, ministry sources said. The ministry said earlier Friday that
Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon will seek ways of promoting economic and political ties
with the Southeast Asian countries during his visit from Jan. 3-7.
Source: PNA/Yonhap
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&nid=4&rid=178624

RUSSIA

Obama Should Work With Russia On Missile Defense
The arriving U.S. administration of President-elect Barack Obama that will take office on Jan. 20
will be handed not merely a can of worms but a bucket of asps. Somewhere I suspect the ghost
of Herbert Hoover, who was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 through the arrival
and worst onslaught of the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, is smiling. The inherited
foreign policy problems that will face the incoming Obama administration are no less daunting
than the economic mess. But on the latter front, there is at least one piece of good news. It may
be possible to set the U.S.-Russian relationship on a new course. The failure of successive
administrations in the United States to reintegrate post-communist Russia into the concert of
powers was a strategic blunder of the first order. The threat from the global South, manifested
most powerfully by invasion by immigration but also evident in many other ways, can be met only
by a united global North. Russia holds the West's vast eastern flank, which stretches all the way
from the Black Sea to the Russian naval city of Vladivostok on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. If
that eastern flank were to collapse, as Russia came close to doing in the early 1990s, the West's
geo-strategic position would become well-nigh hopeless.
Source: UPI
http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2009/01/02/Obama_should_work_with_Russia_on_missile
_defense/UPI-60871230912304/

Europe Feels Russia Gas Supplies Drop
European states started suffering from lower Russian gas supplies on Friday while Moscow
accused Kiev of stealing transit gas a day after deliveries to Ukraine were cut in a contract
dispute. Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom "Pressure started to decline at 1500 GMT.
Pressure is declining continuously. However, the drop has not yet reached a critical level," Edina
Lakatos, a spokeswoman for the Hungarian energy company MOL's natural gas transmission
subsidiary, said. Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz denied it was illegally siphoning off Russian
gas. Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing relatively small volumes of transit gas, but the
accusation suggested Moscow was in no mood for compromise in a re-run of a 2006 argument
that led to supply shortages across the EU. Gazprom said it was responding to Ukraine's actions
by increasing exports via alternative routes, including Belarus. "The Ukrainian side openly admits
it is stealing gas and is not ashamed of this," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.
Poland said deliveries from Ukraine had dropped six percent but were being made up by
deliveries through Belarus. (cont)
Source: Reuters
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090102/wl_nm/us_russia_ukraine_gas

New Law In Russia Ends Jury Trials For 'Crimes Against State'
Reporting from Moscow -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paused in the last, quiet hours of
a dying year to sign into law a controversial bill that eliminates jury trials for "crimes against the
state," a move that lawyers and human rights groups fear will be the start of a dangerous exertion
of Kremlin control over government critics. The law does away with jury trials for a variety of
offenses, leaving people accused of treason, revolt, sabotage, espionage or terrorism at the
mercy of three judges rather than a panel of peers. Critics say the law is dangerous because
judges in Russia are vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation by the government. A parallel
piece of legislation, pushed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and still awaiting discussion in
parliament, seeks to expand the legal definition of treason to such a degree that observers fear
that anybody who criticizes the government could be rounded up by police -- and, because of the
law signed Wednesday, tried without a jury. Human rights groups and lawyers have warned that
the changes to Russia's criminal code, largely undiscussed in the state media, would allow the
government to crack down on any whispers of dissent. The changes also seek a stronger hand
for the FSB, the modern incarnation of the Soviet KGB, by giving the state wider latitude in cases
that fall under intelligence agency rather than police jurisdiction. Some critics point to the days of
dictator Josef Stalin as a comparable legal structure. (cont)
Source: LA Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-medvedev-juries2-
2009jan02,0,3989758.story

Russia To Hold Wargames In Greek Airspace
A Russian aircraft carrier will conduct military exercises in Greek airspace later this month, the
first such wargames to take place in the NATO member's area, Greece's Defence Ministry said
on Friday. The carrier Kuznetsov will operate southeast of the Greek island of Rhodes on Jan 3,
4, 8 and 10 and south of the island of Crete on Jan 11, it said. "The Kuznetsov, which is sailing in
the southeast Mediterranean, asked Greece's civil aviation authority to operate within the Athens
Flight Information Region (FIR)," the ministry said in a statement. "The request was granted."
Greek defense officials said that Russian Sukhoi 25 and Sukhoi 33 fighter aircraft would take part
in the operations, as well as Kamov helicopters. It was the first time that such a request was
made, officials said.
Source: Reuters
http://uk.reuters.com/article/gc07/idUKTRE5012G320090102

OCEANIA, SOUTH ASIA, AND SOUTHEAST ASIA

OCEANIA

Fiji PM Ready For Talks
Fiji‘s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says he is ready to meet Pacific
leaders in Papua New Guinea later this month. In his New Year‘s message, Bainimarama
reaffirmed his attendance at the Special Forum leaders meeting on January 27, which would
decide Fiji‘s continued membership. ―I will be attending the forum leaders‘ meeting this month and
I look forward to constructive engagement and dialogue that will be in the interest of our country,‖
he said. Bainimarama‘s Government has come under criticism for failing to commit to the early
2009 election deadline it had promised at the Forum leaders‘ meeting in Niue last year.
Suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum would spell more trouble for Fiji, but Bainimarama is
adamant that his Government will not be bullied into submitting to outside demands. ―As I said to
you at the beginning of 2008, Fiji has the potential and we all have the will and ability to take it to
another level. Don‘t pay heed to the merchants of doom and gloom and misinformation,‖ he said.
―They will come and go but we as a people must forge ahead with a sense of realism, positivity
and pride.‖
Source: Fiji Live
http://www.fijilive.com/news_new/index.php/news/show_news/12232

Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers
FIJI will have a lot of explaining to do at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Papua New
Guinea this month, says Professor Brij Lal. He said explaining would not only need to be made to
Fiji's critics but, perhaps more importantly, to its friends who are hugely disappointed at its
obtuseness. Professor Lal, a constitutional consultant, said Fiji would not be expelled from the
forum, although its moral authority as a leader of the island region "is sadly tarnished". "It does
not carry the same clout as it used to and has now become a bit of a laughing stock in the
region," he said. Professor Lal said Fiji would be asked again for its plan to hold elections in a
timely fashion. "Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's recent casual remark about tossing a coin
and picking a date will not wash," he said. Professor Lal said the proposal for the United Nations
and Commonwealth engagement in the President's Political Forum would also be discussed by
the leaders. He said while it was accepted that a March 2009 election deadline would not be met,
Fiji would be asked to nominate a date. (cont)
Source: Fiji Times
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=110340

AUSTRALIA

Australia Unlikely To Resettle US Detainees
Australia will likely reject a U.S. request to accept detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention
camp for terror suspects, the acting prime minister said Friday. Julia Gillard, who is filling in for
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while he is on vacation, said President George W. Bush's
administration made the request in early December after President-elect Barack Obama
announced he planned to close the prison. Obama has not made such a request, she said.
Australia had rejected a similar request to resettle "a small group of detainees" in early 2008,
Gillard said. "Australia, as an ally of the United States, is examining this second request," Gillard
said in a statement."Notwithstanding that, it is unlikely Australia would accept these detainees."
Rudd's center-left Labor Party, which came to power in 2007, had criticized the prison camp in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as unjust and had demanded the repatriation of two Australians held
there. David Hicks, who was held at Guantanamo for 5 1/2 years without trial, was sent back in
2007 after pleading guilty to supporting terrorism as a Taliban soldier in Afghanistan. He served a
nine-month sentence in Australia. Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born immigrant who was
arrested in Pakistan in 2001, was returned to Australia in 2005. No charges were ever filed
against him. (cont)
Source: AP
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvSJk1J9GqGoATCJsQe6h2ixWlNwD95E
SGCO1

Thousands Of Australian Muslims Rally For Peace In Gaza
SYDNEY : Thousands of Muslims staged a protest in Sydney Friday against Israeli attacks on
Gaza after several local mosques urged worshippers to attend the rally rather than traditional
prayers. Bearing pro-Palestinian flags and banners, a crowd of more than 4,000 flocked to Parry
Park in the city's Islamic heartland to demonstrate and pray for the victims of renewed violence in
the Middle East. Five local mosques had closed their doors on the first traditional day of worship
in the new year, asking Muslims to attend the vigil instead. Local imam Ibrahim Abu Mohammad
led the service, urging Israel to recognise a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and agree to a ceasefire.
"Israel is committing an act of terrorism. It's the duty of all the free people in the world to stand
against it and stop this evil," he said. "This nation has many greeds, it is built on a philosophy of
transgression. Their hearts do not have any mercy." A makeshift coffin draped in the Palestinian
flag was carried before the crowd, followed by a procession of eight imams. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399802/1/.html

Secret Cabinet Documents On Australia-Asia Relations Released
Australian government documents from 1978 show how concerned Canberra was at the fall of
Australia's standing in Southeast Asia. DOBELL: Australia was starting to realize that this was
becoming both an issue for domestic politics for the way Australia was starting to view the flow of
boat people, some of whom were starting to reach Australian shores. Australia was also thinking
about what it meant for its relations with Southeast Asia in the post Vietnam War era. The
immigration minister at the time, Michael McCullough had visited the five ASEAN countries in the
middle of 1978 and reported back to cabinet that there were fears in ASEAN that up to half a
million people could flee Vietnam over the next three years. There was a real possibility that
thousands of boat people would seek to reach Australia directly. Australia would have to start
planning to build for instance a refugee holding centre. Australia would also have to start looking
at lifting the number of Indo-Chinese refugees it took. Cabinet decided at the end that year to lift
the numbers from 9,000 to 10,500. There was also an understanding that Australia would get
very little sympathy from the ASEAN governments for the Australian view that the boat people
should be held in camps in Southeast Asia and that Australia was looking at a set of issues in
Southeast Asia that would really test its diplomacy in the region, but also the way Australians
thought of the relationship with Southeast Asia. (cont)
Source: Radio Australia
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/200901/s2458039.htm

Australian Researchers Claim Breakthrough On Dengue Fever
Australian researchers funded by US billionaire Bill Gates Friday claimed a breakthrough which
could help in the fight against dengue fever by stopping the often deadly disease in its tracks.
University of Queensland researchers said they have successfully infected the mosquito which
spreads the tropical disease with a bacterium which halves its 30-day lifespan, thereby reducing
its ability to transmit dengue to humans. Scientists hope their work will help halt the spread of the
painful and debilitating disease which affects millions of people each year. "The key is that really
only very old mosquitoes are the only ones that are able to transmit the disease," said researcher
Professor Scott O'Neill. "What we've done is put this naturally occurring bacteria into the
mosquitoes that actually halves their adult lifespan so they don't live long enough to be able to
transmit the virus." The research published Friday in the journal Science is the result of injecting
10,000 mosquito embryos with a bacterium that occurs naturally in fruit flies but has never been
detected in dengue-carrying mosquitoes. O'Neill said the test was designed to see whether the
bacterium reduced the lifespan of the insects without killing them or preventing them from
breeding and was able to be passed on to offspring. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399799/1/.html

Defence Station Interference Suspected In Qantas Mishaps
A MALFUNCTION has forced a Qantas jet to return to Perth, prompting concerns for the second
time in three months that interference from a defense station in northwestern Australia may be to
blame for a mid-air drama on the national carrier. Qantas flight 71 was on route to Singapore with
277 passengers about 8.30am last Saturday when it had to return to Perth after the jet's autopilot
disconnected because of a problem with a unit that supplies key information to flight control
computers. The Airbus A330-300 was 45 minutes into the journey and about 380 nautical miles
south of the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station - 15km north of Exmouth - when the
autopilot switched off. After being notified that the plane was experiencing a problem with the air
data inertial reference unit, the crew responded in less than a minute and followed revised
operation procedures issued by Airbus after a similar emergency in October. Seventy passengers
were injured on that occasion, when the jet, also an A330-300 plunged suddenly and violently.
Yesterday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the latest incident would be investigated
as part of the October emergency inquiry because it appeared to be "a similar event". (cont)
Source: The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24867321-31477,00.html

Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note
A political analyst believes the advice given to Fiji's interim government is counterproductive. Dr
Brij Lal with the Australian National University made the comments following the recent expulsion
of New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji and Australia's defense attache. Dr Lal also thinks
the only hope of Fiji holding elections any time soon is if Commodore Bainimarama takes up the
United Nation's offer to mediate the next political forum early in the new year.
Source: Radio Australia
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200901/s2457985.htm

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh's Defeated Khaleda Ready To Work With Hasina
The party of former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia said on Friday she was ready to work
with her bitter rival Sheikh Hasina who will lead the new government following elections this
week. Hasina, who led her Awami League and its allies to a huge win in the election, is expected
to be sworn in on Monday, her party said, ending two years of rule by an army-backed interim
administration. Khaleda had challenged the result but later her Bangladesh Nationalist Party said
it would give Hasina a chance to govern. On Friday, in a further sign of reconciliation between the
two leaders known as the "battling Begums" for their decade-old animosity, the BNP said it was
ready to do business with the new administration. "Khaleda Zia will be ready to coop Delwar
Hossain said. "We hope Sheikh Hasina will invite Khaleda Zia and discuss cooperation." Hasina
had earlier said she was ready to offer senior parliamentary posts to Khaleda and her party, and
even a few ministerial positions as well, if they cooperated with her new government.
Bangladesh, a calamity-prone Indian Ocean coastal country of more than 140 million people, has
a history of post-election violence, usually triggered by the losing parties. The losers have often
resorted to strikes and street protests that can turn violent -- and provide a rationale for political
intervention by the military. (Cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-37257320090102

Bangladeshi Party Softens Stance
The defeated party in Bangladesh's election has said its leader is willing to work with victor
Sheikh Hasina. After initially alleging widespread fraud, Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist
Party (BNP) said it was ready to give Sheikh Hasina a chance. The BNP said it hoped Sheikh
Hasina's party, the Awami League, would "invite Khaleda Zia to discuss co-operation". Sheikh
Hasina won a landslide victory and her government is expected to be sworn in by Tuesday. The
democratically elected government will replace a two-year interim administration that was backed
by the military. There had been fears of unrest if the BNP refused to accept the election result.
Minor disturbances. BNP secretary-general Khandakaer Delwar Hossain said: "Khaleda Zia will
be ready to co-operate with the incoming prime minister and her government. "We hope Sheikh
Hasina will invite Khaleda Zia and discuss cooperation." Sheikh Hasina has offered the BNP
posts for co-operation Correspondents say this is a significant change in the BNP's position. It
had earlier alleged that the vote was rigged so that the result was unacceptable. It later softened
its tone with Mr. Hossain saying: "We want to give the Awami League party the opportunity to run
the country. We want to see them keep their promises to the people." Security officials say there
have only been minor disturbances since Monday's election. The Awami League won 230 of the
300 seats and the BNP just 29. International monitors said the poll was "credible". The Awami
League said Sheikh Hasina could take the oath as prime minister on Monday or Tuesday. A
campaign against corruption last year saw both main party leaders, and many of their most
prominent colleagues, arrested. The leaders were both freed to contest the poll.
Source: BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7807893.stm

Impartial Anti-Graft Drive To Continue
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the new government to be formed
by her party-led alliance will continue the ongoing anti-graft drive to build a country free of
corruption. She also said they want to make the next parliament effective and for that the post of
the deputy speaker(The Daily Star) as well as some chairmanship of parliamentary standing
committees will be given to the opposition, and she pledged to uphold human rights more
effectively too. The AL chief made the statements to a six-member UN team headed by Francesc
Vendrell who went to Hasina's Sudha Sadan resident in the capital to greet her on her party's
landslide victory in the recent parliamentary election. The delegation also included UN Resident
Coordinator in Bangladesh Renata Lok Dessallien, and Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal
Bhojraj Pokharel. "Impartial drive against corruption will continue and the law will take its own
course," Dr Hasan Mahmud, a member of parliament (MP)-elect also a personal aide to the AL
chief, quoted her as saying after a meeting between Hasina and the UN delegation. Dr Hasan
told reporters that the UN team wanted to know from Hasina how their international organization
could extend their help efficiently. In reply, Hasina told the delegation that they could provide
training for the MPs-elect. He said the AL chief told the delegation that she has plans to make the
parliament effective ensuring active participation of the opposition. (Cont)
Source: The Daily Star
http://www.bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidRecord=239022

Sheikh Hasina Seeks Suu Kyi's Release
Dhaka (Mizzima News) — Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh's Prime Minister in waiting has sought the
release of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from prolonged house arrest and
friendly relations with all neighbouring countries. Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina
made the demand at the first press conference after her party and the Awami League-led grand
alliance's resounding victory in Monday's Parliament elections. The press conference was held at
the Bangladesh-China Conference Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday. "I have also been in prison
for restoration of democracy in my country and she should not be in prison. We demand the
release of Suu Kyi," Hasina said replying to a query. She said her government would maintain
friendly relations with China, the present world's fastest-growing economic powerhouse, and seek
Chinese investments in Bangladesh. Hasina, who is expected to be sworn in on or before
January 10 as Prime Minister, her second stint after a break of five-plus-two years, said the first
task of her government would be to cut high prices of essential commodities so that its is within
the reach of the common man and eradicate poverty. Excluding the seats of its partners, the AL
bagged an astounding 230 seats in the ninth parliamentary elections, up from 62 in the 2001
polls. The AL's landslide victory is a reminder of yet another landmark election in 1970 when the
slain president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman garnered absolute majority, but was denied power by the
then Pakistani regime, political observers said. (Cont)
Source: Mizzima News
http://www.mizzima.com/news/regional/1495-sheikh-hasina-seeks-suu-kyis-release.html

BHUTAN

Communist Guerrillas Kill Four Bhutanese Forest Guard
THIMPHU, Bhutan (Reuters) - Four forest rangers were killed by a landmine planted by
communist guerrillas at a Bhutanese village, police said on Thursday. "Six Bhutanese forest
rangers were returning to their camp after shopping when the tractor they were travelling in hit a
landmine planted on the road," a police statement said. The attackers fired at the rangers after
the explosion on Dec. 30 at Singye village near a wildlife sanctuary, 250 km (155 miles) south of
the capital Thimphu. One forester escaped with two bullet injuries and informed the police.
Another who had hidden in the jungle was rescued by a search team late in the night. Police said
the attackers, from the banned Communist Party of Bhutan based in UN-run Bhutanese refugee
camps in Nepal, dragged the bodies of the dead rangers into the burning tractor tyres and took
two rifles with ammunition, and a walkie-talkie. Bhutanese police and the army beefed up security
along the 699-km (435 mile) unfenced border with India after the incident. The Party has been
demanding the repatriation of around 100,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in the
camps for nearly two decades. (Cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-37253320090101

BURMA

Burma Frees North Korean Refugees
The Burmese authorities have released 19 North Korean refugees at the border with Thailand, a
South Korean diplomat has said. The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
move would pave the way for their travel to South Korea. The Burmese government had detained
the 19 refugees for a month on charges of illegal entry. Instead of being jailed or deported, the
refugees will now stay in a Thai detention centre. Refugee supporters had feared the Burmese
government might have sent the refugees back to North Korea. But the group - which includes 15
women and a seven-year old boy - now have a chance of a new life. They had been arrested on
2 December as they were trying to cross from Burma into Thailand. Dangerous escape. Many
North Koreans who have managed the dangerous escape from North Korea into China in the
past have often travelled southward, undetected. Thailand does not formally recognize asylum
seekers as refugees, but has pursued a policy of allowing for their care by international refugee
groups in Thailand pending resettlement in third countries. Officials in Burma, who rarely speak
to the press, were not available for comment, and the Immigration Department in Bangkok,
Thailand, said they had not heard of the transfer yet. Thousands of people have fled North Korea
in recent years, and at least 14,000 of them have found their way to asylum in South Korea.
Burma's response to this group of North Koreans was thought to be unpredictable as the country
had been working quietly to normalize relations with North Korea since diplomatic ties were
restored in 2007. (cont)
Source: BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7806925.stm

S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos
SEOUL, Jan. 2 (PNA/Yonhap) -- A senior South Korean foreign ministry official will leave for
Myanmar and Laos this weekend to discuss the issue of North Korean defectors who are
increasingly seeking shelter there, ministry sources said. The ministry said earlier Friday that
Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon will seek ways of promoting economic and political ties
with the Southeast Asian countries during his visit from Jan. 3-7.
Source: PNA/Yonhap
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&nid=4&rid=178624

Sheikh Hasina Seeks Suu Kyi's Release
Dhaka (Mizzima News) — Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh's Prime Minister in waiting has sought the
release of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from prolonged house arrest and
friendly relations with all neighbouring countries. Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina
made the demand at the first press conference after her party and the Awami League-led grand
alliance's resounding victory in Monday's Parliament elections. The press conference was held at
the Bangladesh-China Conference Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday. "I have also been in prison
for restoration of democracy in my country and she should not be in prison. We demand the
release of Suu Kyi," Hasina said replying to a query. She said her government would maintain
friendly relations with China, the present world's fastest-growing economic powerhouse, and seek
Chinese investments in Bangladesh. Hasina, who is expected to be sworn in on or before
January 10 as Prime Minister, her second stint after a break of five-plus-two years, said the first
task of her government would be to cut high prices of essential commodities so that its is within
the reach of the common man and eradicate poverty. Excluding the seats of its partners, the AL
bagged an astounding 230 seats in the ninth parliamentary elections, up from 62 in the 2001
polls. The AL's landslide victory is a reminder of yet another landmark election in 1970 when the
slain president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman garnered absolute majority, but was denied power by the
then Pakistani regime, political observers said. (Cont)
Source: Mizzima News
http://www.mizzima.com/news/regional/1495-sheikh-hasina-seeks-suu-kyis-release.html

US Backs Democracy In Myanmar Ahead Of Anniversary
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States on Friday highlighted its support for efforts to
establish democracy in military-run Myanmar, ahead of the country's 61st anniversary of
independence. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack alluded to the human rights
crackdown by the military junta that has been in power since 1962, as he commemorated the
anniversary of independence from Britain on January 4, 1948. "We wish to express our warmest
wishes to the people of Burma on this occasion," McCormack said in a statement, referring to the
country's name before the junta changed it to Myanmar in 1989. "As we reflect on Burma's
independence struggle, led by General Aung San, we are reminded of our own history," the
statement said, alluding to the US drive for independence from Britain in the 18th century. "We
support the peaceful efforts of people everywhere to exercise freely their universal human rights,"
he said. "We stand with the Burmese people today in honoring Aung San's vision for an
independent, peaceful, and democratic Burma and look forward to the day when Burma's citizens
will be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy," he said. "We earnestly hope that day
will come soon," according to McCormack's statement. Massive protests in 2007, sparked initially
by fuel-hikes and involving tens of thousands of people, were eventually crushed by the military.
At least 31 people were killed, according to the United Nations.
Source: AFP
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hlSr2ONpfRFrKoMG1hNFHWl7K8bw

Win Tin Denies NLD Divided Over 2010 Election
Win Tin, a leading member of Burma‘s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy
(NLD), denied claims that he had said the party was divided over whether it would take part in an
election slated for 2010. Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Win Tin said that he was
misquoted in a report by Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), which stated that he had told a visiting
European diplomat that ―some [in the party] want to participate [in the election] and some do not.‖
―The NLD hasn‘t considered joining the military-backed election in 2010,‖ he said. ―I told the
Italian diplomat that there are two approaches in the NLD. Some, like me, reject the constitution
outright, while some want to amend the constitution after parliament is convened,‖ he said,
adding that he was referring to a parliament consisting of representatives elected in 1990. Win
Tin, who was released earlier this year from Rangoon‘s notorious Insein Prison after serving 19
years, said that ―throughout my prison life and since my release, I have rejected the junta-backed
constitution.‖ According to the DPA report, published on November 29, Attilo Massimo Ianucci,
the Asia-Pacific chief of Italy‘s foreign ministry, had urged the NLD to participate in the 2010
election. ―He said at present, the military occupied 100 percent of the government and after 2010,
there would be only 25 percent. It is much better than the current situation,‖ Win Tin was quoted
as saying. (Cont)
Source: The Irrawaddy
http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=14863

CAMBODIA

Cambodian Gov't Urged To Invest More In Agricultural Sector
PHNOM PENH, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- A well-known expert has called on the Cambodian government
to devote more resources to the rural sector in efforts to mitigate the effects of the global
economic crisis, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Friday. While the tourism and garment
sectors continue to struggle for access to international markets during the slowdown, Cambodia's
agricultural sector holds the best hope of weathering the crisis, Kang Chandararot, president of
the Cambodian Institute for Development Study, was quoted by the English-language daily
newspaper as saying. "We face a difficult situation, but the government should use most of the
(nearly) 1 billion U.S. dollars of donor aid to develop our rural areas as a top priority," he said.
Greater improvements in rural development would cut poverty and reduce dependence on loans
from banks or microfinance institutions, he said. "While direct loans from banks and microfinance
institutions provide necessary support, aid through the rural development and agriculture
ministries should be used to modernize our agricultural methods," he said. Such aid should be
used to renovate Cambodia's aging water systems, find new seedlings and fertilizers, and
improve rural markets, he said. Cambodia used to be the major rice and some other rural
products exporter in the region but years of war has made it lag behind Thailand and Vietnam in
the past decades. Currently, garment, tourism and infrastructure are the pillar industries of the
kingdom
Source: Xinhua
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/02/content_10589933.htm

FIJI

Fiji PM Ready For Talks
Fiji‘s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says he is ready to meet Pacific
leaders in Papua New Guinea later this month. In his New Year‘s message, Bainimarama
reaffirmed his attendance at the Special Forum leaders meeting on January 27, which would
decide Fiji‘s continued membership. ―I will be attending the forum leaders‘ meeting this month and
I look forward to constructive engagement and dialogue that will be in the interest of our country,‖
he said. Bainimarama‘s Government has come under criticism for failing to commit to the early
2009 election deadline it had promised at the Forum leaders‘ meeting in Niue last year.
Suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum would spell more trouble for Fiji, but Bainimarama is
adamant that his Government will not be bullied into submitting to outside demands. ―As I said to
you at the beginning of 2008, Fiji has the potential and we all have the will and ability to take it to
another level. Don‘t pay heed to the merchants of doom and gloom and misinformation,‖ he said.
―They will come and go but we as a people must forge ahead with a sense of realism, positivity
and pride.‖
Source: Fiji Live
http://www.fijilive.com/news_new/index.php/news/show_news/12232

Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers
FIJI will have a lot of explaining to do at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Papua New
Guinea this month, says Professor Brij Lal. He said explaining would not only need to be made to
Fiji's critics but, perhaps more importantly, to its friends who are hugely disappointed at its
obtuseness. Professor Lal, a constitutional consultant, said Fiji would not be expelled from the
forum, although its moral authority as a leader of the island region "is sadly tarnished". "It does
not carry the same clout as it used to and has now become a bit of a laughing stock in the
region," he said. Professor Lal said Fiji would be asked again for its plan to hold elections in a
timely fashion. "Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's recent casual remark about tossing a coin
and picking a date will not wash," he said. Professor Lal said the proposal for the United Nations
and Commonwealth engagement in the President's Political Forum would also be discussed by
the leaders. He said while it was accepted that a March 2009 election deadline would not be met,
Fiji would be asked to nominate a date. (cont)
Source: Fiji Times
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=110340

Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note
A political analyst believes the advice given to Fiji's interim government is counterproductive. Dr
Brij Lal with the Australian National University made the comments following the recent expulsion
of New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji and Australia's defense attache. Dr Lal also thinks
the only hope of Fiji holding elections any time soon is if Commodore Bainimarama takes up the
United Nation's offer to mediate the next political forum early in the new year.
Source: Radio Australia
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200901/s2457985.htm

GUAM

Report: US, Japan Could Finalize Troop Movement
Japanese media are reporting that the American and Japanese governments will be signing an
accord surrounding the Marines relocation from Okinawa to Guam. The document is expected to
include a clause banning Japan's financial contributions from being used for other purposes. The
draft of the accord reportedly stipulates that the Japanese government's direct contribution to the
relocation be up to $2.8 billion, inline with a 2006 agreement between the two countries. The
agreement is expected to be signed sometime early this year.
Source: KUAM
http://www.kuam.com/bm/news/report-us-japan-could-finalize-troop-movement.shtml

INDIA

Karnataka To Seek NSG Unit At CMs' Security Meeting
BANGALORE: In the chief ministers' meeting in New Delhi, Karnataka will reiterate its demand
for stationing an NSG commando unit in Bangalore in view of the threat perception to the IT city,
chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said on Friday. The state would also seek Centre's support to
strengthen the Coastal Guard wing, sanction 12 IPS officers posts and three battalions of 1,000
capacity each of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), he told reporters in Bangalore. The meeting
convened by union home minister P Chidambaram on January 6 to discuss internal security
issues, would be attended by state home minister V S Acharya. Ajay Kumar Singh, DGP Corps of
Detectives (COD) would be state's next Director General of Police and Inspector General of
Police succeeding Sreekumar, who retires on January 31, he said. Karnataka has been
demanding the Centre to sanction it an NSG commando unit in the aftermath of the July 25 serial
bomb blasts and arrest of a few terror suspects in parts of the state. The chief minister ruled out
undertaking a reshuffle of his seven-month-old ministry.
Source: PTI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Karnataka_to_seek_NSG_unit_at_CMs_security_meeting
/articleshow/3926880.cms

Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - At least 50 people were injured when baton-wielding police in Jammu and
Kashmir fired teargas shells on Friday to disperse hundreds of Muslims protesting at Israeli
strikes on Gaza, police and witnesses said. There were also demonstrations in other Indian cities,
including New Delhi and Hyderabad. In Srinagar, angry demonstrators shouting "Down with
Zionist terrorism, down with Israel" burnt American and Israeli flags near Kashmir's grand mosque
Jamia Masjid. Police also clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators in several other parts of the
city. Most of the protests were staged after Friday prayers. "Policemen and some photojournalists
are among the injured," Mohammad Syed, a police official said. Israel says the attacks, which
have killed more than 400 people, are designed to stop Hamas Islamists who rule the Gaza Strip
from firing rockets on towns in the Jewish state. Around 250 Muslims in Hyderabad also protested
against the offensive outside the recently opened U.S. consulate on Friday, police said. They
tried to set fire to an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert but were stopped by police.
There were further large protests in the Muslim-majority old part of the city. A Reuters witness
saw similar scenes in the capital, New Delhi, as protesters gathered outside India's largest
mosque, similarly called Jama Masjid, to burn Israeli and American flags and an effigy.
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-37264420090102
Ezhimala Naval Academy's Inauguration On January 8: Naval Chief
The Ezhimala Naval Academy, a project to conduct a host of training courses, including research,
will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on January 8, Navy chief
Admiral Sureesh Mehta said today. "After deciding to set up a full-fledged naval academy at this
site in Kerala [Images], we have come to a stage wherein we are ready to commence training at
the academy and the Prime Minister will dedicate the academy to the nation on January 8," he
told a press conference. The over Rs 720 crore project, billed as Asia's largest is capable of
accommodating 750 personnel and about 500 support staff to assist the day-to-day activities of
academy. Flanked by the Arabian Sea, picturesque hills and inland waters, the Academy spread
over a 2,452 acres, will be the only centre in India imparting four-year B Tech courses in
Electronics and Communications, and Mechanical Engineering for all the newly inducted trainee
officers. The syllabi and the curricula have been drafted keeping in mind the current technical
advancements and the skill tests that will be required in handling the future acquisition of the
Indian Navy, he said. "The academy would give a lot more thrust on intellectual works and will
have a unique laboratory and plans to allow others to do research works here," Admiral Mehta
said. (cont)
Source: PTI
http://www.rediff.com/news/2009/jan/02kerala-naval-academy-ezhimala-kerala-to-be-
commissioned-on-jan-8.htm

India to Unveil Second Plan to Revive Economic Growth
India will announce its second stimulus package in a month today to counter the impact of a
global recession on Asia's third-largest economy. Planning Commission deputy head Montek
Singh Ahluwalia will unveil measures at 6 p.m. in New Delhi, spokesman Umakant Mishra said,
without providing details. The government cut excise duty and added 200 billion rupees ($4
billion) of spending for roads, ports and infrastructure last month. Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, seeking re-election before May, wants to boost consumption as a decline in exports forces
companies to reduce production and fire workers. The finance ministry said Dec. 23 the central
bank may have to cut borrowing costs more aggressively if manufacturing slows further. ``The
manufacturing sector continues to show falling output on the sharp downturn in foreign demand,''
said Gaurav Kapur, senior economist at ABN Amro Bank in Mumbai. ``The weaker financial and
economic conditions worldwide negatively impacted both confidence and demand.'' Governments
worldwide are announcing spending packages to boost growth amid a deepening global slump.
China in November unveiled a 4 trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package to revive demand.
Thailand Dec. 26 said it will spend 300 billion baht ($8.6 billion) to help an economy the
government predicts may slip into a recession in the first quarter of this year. (cont)
Source: Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601091&sid=aZ817pqoYG4Y&refer=india

India Slashes Rates, Lures Funds To Aid Growth
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India slashed its main interest rates by 1 percentage point on
Friday, its fourth cut in four months, and tried to draw more funds into the country to boost growth
as it warned of a tough year ahead. While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut its key lending rate
to an 8-1/2-year low of 5.5 percent, the government opened the corporate bond market to more
foreign investment, eased overseas borrowing rules and promised more capital to state-run
banks. (For fiscal measures, click here) The coordinated action, which had been well flagged by
the government, follows cuts last month in Japan and the United States whose rates are close to
zero, and in neighbouring China, as a deep slowdown grips economies the world over.
Economists said India's two-pronged approach, the second such move in a month, took into
account a collapse in domestic and external demand, rapidly slowing inflation, faltering business
confidence andbanks' continued reticence to lend. "It will give a breathing space to the whole
productive sector, especially construction and infrastructure sectors," said N.R. Bhanumurthy,
economist at the Institute of Economic Growth. "Whether it can help to revive GDP growth will
depend on how soon banks reduce interest rates and raise lending to the productive sectors."
(Cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idINIndia-37262220090102

Pakistan Stands By Offer Of Joint Probe: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday reiterated his government‘s offer to
co-operate with the government of India for joint investigations into the Mumbai terror attacks.
The prime minister said this in a meeting with Lord Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, member of the
British House of Lords who called on him here on Friday. He briefed Lord Nazir on government
policies for improving bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, particularly India and the
efforts being made by his government to solve issues, including that of the Kashmir region
through composite dialogue. Gilani welcomed US President-elect Barack Obama‘s initiative to
appoint former president Bill Clinton to help resolve the Kashmir issue. The prime minister
underlined the importance of welfare of minorities and informed Lord Nazir abou the steps being
taken by his government and the ruling party (PPP) for the protection of their rights. ‗A job quota
of five per cent has been allocated for the minorities and their representation in the national and
provincial assemblies and the Senate will be enhanced,‘ he said.
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/pakist
an-stands-by-offer-of-joint-probe-pm-ha

India Preparing Evidence To Share With Pak, Rest Of World
As Islamabad continues to be in denial mode, India is compiling evidence about the role of
Pakistan-based elements in the terror strikes for sharing it with the world besides the neighbour
very soon. The evidence, being put together, includes the confession of the lone terrorist held in
Mumbai terror attack Ajmal Amir Qasab, logbook recovered from the vessel in which the 10
terrorists came from Karachi, records of satellite phone used by the attackers and transcript of
conversations between the attackers and their handlers in Pakistan, the sources said. The
dossier will also include the corroborative evidence tracking the journey of the attackers from
Karachi to Mumbai, they said. The evidence will mostly include Qasab's confession to the police
wherein he has given details of how he became a motivated terrorist of Lashkar-e-Taiba from a
normal youth of Faridkot in 741Pakistan's Punjab province. Investigators have found evidence to
show that the terrorists, who struck at the Taj Hotel, Trident Hotel and Nariman House on
November 26, were in touch with their handlers in Karachi even while their three-day engagement
with security forces was on. As the armed engagement was being telecast live by Indian TV
channels, the LeT commanders in Pakistan were found giving directions to the attackers like 'set
ablaze the hotel' and 'throw grenades' on the crowds outside the hotels and Nariman House. The
evidence will be shared with Pakistan along with the US, UK, China and other countries which
have influence on Islamabad.
Source: PTI
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090078613

Coercion Won’t Work, FO Tells India
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would not accept any political or military coercion from India and it was
ready to defend itself, the Foreign Office said on Thursday. ‗It will be unfortunate if a military
confrontation takes place. A war or any level of military confrontation can have disastrous
consequences for the region,‘ spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said in an online briefing. He said
Pakistan would counsel restraint and an attitude of responsibility. The statement came as
Pakistan prepared to offer new proposals for defusing the tension between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is expected to offer the proposals on Friday or
Saturday. Earlier, Mr. Qureshi urged India to deactivate its forward bases and withdraw troops to
peace-time positions. Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee rejected the de-
escalation call, saying ‗We have not done anything to escalate tension. So where is the question
of de-escalating it?‘ Mr. Sadiq said: ‗Pakistan has sincerely offered its cooperation in investigating
the Mumbai tragedy. We await response to our concrete proposals regarding joint investigations
and a high-level visit. We also await evidence from India to enable our own investigations to
make progress.‘ He said the fight against the ‗pernicious phenomenon‘ of terrorism required
international cooperation at every level. The spokesman rejected allegations against Inter-
Services Intelligence agency and said Pakistan‘s government and state institutions were
committed to the ‗war against terror‘. (Cont)
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/coerci
on+wont+work+fo+tells+india--il

Don't Advise Us, Check Your Terror Outfits: India To Pak
Rubbishing Pakistan's "advice" for de-activating ground and air troops in forward areas, India on
Friday said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that 330 terror outfits are
still active in that country. Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the armed forces
were only doing their duty, Defence Minister A K Antony said there is "no noticeable change" in
the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert. "I do not think there is any
noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are
important. They have to prove by their action," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters in New
Delhi on the sidelines of a Defence Ministry function. "More than 330 terrorist outfits are still
operating in Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude," Antony said
responding to questions from reporters. To a question on Pakistan's suggestion that India should
withdraw ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give
any such advice. "Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It
is our duty," he asserted. "Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything.
They are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully
prepared to meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter," Antony said. "We
are not escalating the issues. There is no unusual troop movement on our side. (Cont)
Source: PTI
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090078536

India Asks Pakistan To Act Against Jamaat 'In Any Form'
NEW DELHI: With Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) assuming a new name to evade UN sanctions, India
on Friday said Pakistan government has the responsibility
of acting against the outfit even if it changes its nomenclature or form. Underscoring that JuD has
been banned by the UN, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said the world community
should take appropriate action if Pakistan fails to comply with its international commitments and
conventions. "When LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) was banned, it came up as JuD. Now it has been
banned. It (JuD) might have taken another name.... This is the pattern we have noticed in
Pakistan," Mukherjee told reporters here. "It is the responsibility of Pakistan government to stop
activities of these banned organisations in any form, in any name, in any shape," he said.
Mukherjee's remarks came on the move by JuD to rename itself as 'Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool'
(Movement for defending the honour of God) to avoid restrictions which Pakistan could be forced
to impose on it because of UNSC sanctions in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Mukherjee
pointed out that Pakistan is a party to various international conventions, including SAARC
Convention against terrorism of 1987 and the special protocol of 2004 of SAARC countries.
Mukherjee said if Pakistan does not comply with the UNSC ban, it is for the international
community to "take appropriate action". He said India has asked Pakistan to fulfill these
commitments and take action against terror groups and bring to book perpetrators of November
26 attacks.
Source: PTI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India_asks_Pakistan_to_act_against_Jamaat_in_any_form/arti
cleshow/3927623.cms

Lashkar Rejects ‘Confession’ Report In Mumbai Probe
SRINAGAR: The Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for the Mumbai attacks rejected on Friday
a report that one of its leaders had acknowledged the group's involvement. The Wall Street
Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported Wednesday that Pakistani authorities had obtained a
confession from a senior member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba. The suspect, Zarar Shah,
allegedly told investigators he had played a key role in the planning of the November attacks that
left 172 dead. 'Lashkar-e-Taiba rejects the Wall Street Journal report,' its spokesman Abdullah
Ghaznavi said in an email statement. 'India has failed to furnish any evidence of Lashkar-e-
Taiba's involvement in the Mumbai attacks and America is now trying to help it out,' he said. No
evidence could be found 'on the scene of the crime, and now there is an effort to manufacture
evidence thousands of miles away,' he added. Islamabad has also rejected the report. On
Thursday, Pakistani interior ministry spokesman Shahidullah Baig told AFP: 'We have no such
information. We don't accept that report.' 'America was putting pressure on Pakistan's
government to manufacture the evidence itself, and then also take action on the basis of this
evidence' too, in order to please India,' Ghaznavi said.
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/lashka
r-rejects-confession-in-mumbai-probe-ss

No Noticeable Change In Pakistan's Attitude: India
NEW DELHI: Rubbishing Pakistan's "advice" for deactivating ground and air troops in forward
areas, India on Friday said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that 30
terror outfits are still active in that country. Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the
armed forces were only doing their duty, defense minister A K Antony said there is "no noticeable
change" in the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert. "I do not think there
is any noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are
important. They have to prove by their action," defense minister AK Antony told reporters on the
sidelines of a defense ministry function. "More than 30 terrorist outfits are still operating in
Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude," Antony said responding to
questions from reporters. To a question on Pakistan's suggestion that India should withdraw
ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give any such
advice. "Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It is our
duty," he asserted. "Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything. They
are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully prepared to
meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter," Antony said.
Source: PTI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/No_noticeable_change_in_Pakistans_attitude_India/articl
eshow/3926104.cms

Pak Says Terror Suspects Can't Be Extradited Without Treaty
Islamabad, Jan 2 (PTI) Rejecting India's contention that a bilateral extradition treaty was not
required to hand over the Mumbai attack suspects, Pakistan today said that such a pact was
needed as the US pressed Islamabad to take action against the perpetrators and "ensure"
conviction. "There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. We are keen on rebuilding
our internal institutions. So if we engage in these issues, it will be harmful for Pakistan," Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Geo TV. He was asked whether India and America have
demanded handing over of terror suspects like Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur
Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks; Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar
and Jamaat-ud Dawa leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Qureshi's remarks came a day after
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying there was no need for an extradition treaty to
take action on these matters. The Pakistan Foreign Minister said Islamabad has conducted its
own "independent investigations" into the charges of Pakistani elements' involved in the Mumbai
terror strikes. "We will do everything in the interests of India and Pakistan," he said. Pakistan is
under intense pressure from major powers like the US and UK to take action against the
perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. The Bush Administration has asked Pakistan to ensure that
those responsible for the 26/11 attacks are punished by it, according to a media report. The move
reflects a "clear change" in the attitude of the US, which earlier had backed the Indian demand
that some suspects be extradited to India, it said.
Source: PTI
http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/32048128C37C6F016525753200513FBA?OpenDocu
ment

Sharif Seeks Normalisation Of Indo-Pak Ties
Islamabad, Jan 2 (PTI) Unhappy with the chill in Indo-Pak ties, former Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif today said the PPP-led government should try to normalise bilateral relations and sought
an end to the "blame-game" over the Mumbai attack. The opposition PML-N leader said his party
was ready to extend all cooperation to the Pakistan Government in improving relations with India.
"The relations with India should improve and we are ready to extend support to the Government
on this issue," Sharif told reporters here. He said there should be an end to the blame game
between the two countries in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. "We should stop this blame
game. The situation is really disappointing and we are ready to cooperate with the Government,"
he said. Identifying poor economic condition, rising prices of petroleum products and growing
unemployment as key challenges facing the nation, the former Prime Minister appealed to the
government to put its efforts in building a strong Pakistan. India has blamed the Pakistan-based
elements, including the LeT, for the Mumbai attacks. It has asked Pakistan to act against these
elements and to deliver on past commitments to not allow terrorists to operate from its soil.
Pakistan has said it is waiting for India to provide evidence and information to push forward its
own investigation into the Mumbai incident.
Source: PTI
http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/1DD053DB577E11446525753200475AE9?OpenDoc
ument

US Helped Ease Tension Between India, Pak: Qureshi
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that US President George W
Bush's telephone call to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
has had a positive outcome. Speaking in an interview to Geo TV, he said that it has helped bring
down tensions between the two countries. So, is Pakistan now climbing down from its denial
mode on the 26/11 perpetrators? Under growing pressure from the United states and India,
Pakistan's constant denials about the identity of the 26/11 perpetrators seems to be wearing thin.
A day after reports of an FBI team visiting 26/11 terrorist Qasab's alleged hometown in Faridkot,
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Geo TV interview did not deny a Wall
Street Journal report that Pakistan's own investigators had found that all the Mumbai attackers
were Pakistanis. Instead of rejecting the report he merely said that he could not comment on it at
this stage. The Wall Street Journal report that has created furore came out on of December 31.
The report said, "Pakistan's own investigation of terror attacks in Mumbai has begun to show
substantive links between the 10 gunmen and an Islamic militant group. At least one top leader of
Lashkar-e-Toiba, captured in a raid in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, has confessed to the group's
involvement in the attack as India and the US have alleged, according to a senior Pakistani
security official." (Cont)
Source: NDTV
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/mumbaiterrorstrike/Story.aspx?ID=NEWEN20090078480
&type=News

Pakistan Cancels Hockey Team's Tour To India
KARACHI: In a tit-for-tat response, Pakistan on Friday decided to call off its hockey team's tour to
India for the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup tournament to be held later this month, citing "security
risks for the players" as the reason for the cancellation. The decision, which was expected after
India scrapped its cricket team's tour across the border in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks,
will further strain the sporting ties between the two countries. Although Pakistan Hockey
Federation was keen to send the national team to India, they left the final decision on the Foreign
Office. In view of the mounting tensions between the two nations, Sports Minister Jillani said the
government had decided not to send the hockey team to India. "There is a security risk in sending
our players to India at this stage because of the mood in India. So we have not given permission
to the PHF for the tour," he said. Interestingly, Jillani's announcement came after the organisers
of the tournament had already named New Zealand as Pakistan's replacement in the double-leg
event that also features Beijing Olympic gold medallist Germany, the Netherlands and host India.
Pakistan's particpation in the tournament, to be held in Chandigarh from January 31, had come
under cloud after Indian government cancelled the cricket team's tour to the strife torn nation.
There was popular sentiment among citizens and former players that since Indian government
refused to send their cricket team, Pakistani teams should also scrap their India tours in a
retaliatory move.
Source: PTI
http://sports.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pakistan_cancels_hockey_teams_tour_to_India/articles
how/3928340.cms

Govt To Boost Tv, Radio Coverage In J&K To Counter Pak
NEW DELHI: Troubled by aggressive Pakistani propaganda along the border areas of Jammu
and Kashmir, the government has mooted a Rs 389 crore proposal to broaden its television and
radio coverage in the higher reaches of the state and near security establishments. The proposal
-- of immense strategic importance -- is in the final stages of approval. It comes at a time when
India and Pakistan are caught in a diplomatic impasse over the Mumbai terror attacks. The
Centre had in 1999 pumped in Rs 430 crore under a special package for J&K to strengthen
Doordarshan and AIR network services. The new proposal is expected to bolster the existing
infrastructure even as instability continues to mark the Indo-Pak relationship. According to
sources, there has been growing concern over propaganda from "hostile neighbors" and a need
was felt that border coverage by the strong signals of radio and TV was important to provide
information to people in the sensitive J&K area. An inter-ministerial committee headed by I&B
secretary Sushma Singh has narrowed down on 17 sites situated at higher reaches and close to
establishments of security forces. (cont)
Source: TNN
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Govt_to_boost_TV_radio_coverage_in_JK_to_counter_Pak_/ar
ticleshow/3927997.cms

Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - At least 50 people were injured when baton-wielding police in Jammu and
Kashmir fired teargas shells on Friday to disperse hundreds of Muslims protesting at Israeli
strikes on Gaza, police and witnesses said. There were also demonstrations in other Indian cities,
including New Delhi and Hyderabad. In Srinagar, angry demonstrators shouting "Down with
Zionist terrorism, down with Israel" burnt American and Israeli flags near Kashmir's grand mosque
Jamia Masjid. Police also clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators in several other parts of the
city. Most of the protests were staged after Friday prayers. "Policemen and some photojournalists
are among the injured," Mohammad Syed, a police official said. Israel says the attacks, which
have killed more than 400 people, are designed to stop Hamas Islamists who rule the Gaza Strip
from firing rockets on towns in the Jewish state. Around 250 Muslims in Hyderabad also protested
against the offensive outside the recently opened U.S. consulate on Friday, police said. They
tried to set fire to an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert but were stopped by police.
There were further large protests in the Muslim-majority old part of the city. A Reuters witness
saw similar scenes in the capital, New Delhi, as protesters gathered outside India's largest
mosque, similarly called Jama Masjid, to burn Israeli and American flags and an effigy.
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-37264420090102

Pakistan, India Swap Lists of Nuclear Facilities
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says it has swapped a list of nuclear facilities with India, as part of an
agreement prohibiting attacks on such installations. The countries have routinely exchanged
these lists on the first day of the year since 1992, under an agreement signed two decades ago.
Thursday's exchange was carried out as normal, despite tensions from November's deadly
attacks in Mumbai by suspected Pakistani militants. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (File) On
Wednesday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told U.S. President George Bush by phone that
any Pakistani involved in the attacks would be dealt with sternly. But India's home minister, P.
Chidambaram, said Pakistan "is in a state of denial" about the possible involvement of its citizens
in the violence. Earlier Wednesday, U.S. media reported that a leader of the Pakistan-based
militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba admitted he helped plan the Mumbai attacks. Pakistani
authorities arrested militant leader Zarah Shah in December under intense international pressure
to crack down on his group. India says the gunmen who attacked Mumbai were Pakistanis trained
and equipped by Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has had close ties to Pakistani intelligence services in
the past. Pakistan says India has failed to provide evidence of the attackers' nationalities.
Source: VOA News
http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-01-voa14.cfm

India Exchanges List Of Nuclear Facilities Muhammad Tahir Khan
ISLAMABAD: Amidst tensions in the wake of Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan on Thursday
exchanged lists of their nuclear installations under an agreement aimed at preventing attacks on
each other's atomic facilities, the Foreign Ministry said. "The Governments of Pakistan and India
today exchanged lists of their respective nuclear installations and facilities in accordance with
Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities
between Pakistan and India of 31st December, 1988," a statement said. The Foreign Office
handed over a list of Pakistan's nuclear installations and facilities to an official of the Indian High
Commission at 11 am, it said. In New Delhi, the Indian side handed over its list to an official of the
Pakistan High Commission at the external affairs ministry, the statement said. There were no
more details in the statement. PRISONERS: The two sides also exchanged fresh lists of
prisoners being held in each other's jails, officials said. Islamabad and New Delhi had exchanged
lists of prisoners being held in each other's jail but both sides subsequently expressed
reservations about these lists. During talks here between home secretaries of the two countries in
November, they agreed to exchange fresh lists of prisoners. Further details about the number of
prisoners being held in the two countries were not immediately available.
Source: The Frontier Post
http://frontierpost.com.pk/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=3222

INDONESIA

Economic Indicators Predicted To Decline In 2009
Economic indicators amidst the global financial crisis are predicted to decline in 2009, an
Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) executive says. "The global crisis which
hit many countries in the world in 2008 will continue this year. We should remain watchful over
economic developments in the first quarter of this year," HM Fauzy A Bahtar, chairman of Kadin's
East Kalimantan chapter, said here Thursday. The condition of businesses in East Kalimantan
was quite satisfying on account of significant progress this province had made in 2008. Some
sectors which kept on running smoothly amidst the ongoing global crisis in 2008 were contributed
by mining, construction of road following the succession the hosting XVII National Sports Week
(PON) in East Kalimantan and exports which continued to rise. In the meantime, forestry sector
was reported to record a relative slowdown following the impact of global crisis. East Kalimantan
in the sector of manpower in 2008, according to Fauzi, acted as an initiator of an organization to
improve the compentency of manpower in the province, namely the Profession Sertification
Coordinating Agency. "The implementation of PON XVII in East Kalimantan in 2008 also
contributed to development of business sector especially small and medium scale businesses in
some districts/cities. Road infrastructure also recorded an improvement, thus smoothening the
traffics of the world businesses in province," he said. (cont)
Source: Antara
http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2009/1/2/economic-indicators-predicted-to-decline-in-2009/

Indonesia Condemns Israeli Atacks At Security Council
Indonesia, during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the latest
situation in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday , condemned Israel's brutal air strikes which had killed
over 400 Palestinians. Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian permanent representative to the UN
Headquarters in New York, expressed Indonesia's deep disappointment about the barbaric
Zionist violence, according to a release from the permanent representative's office on Thursday.
"My delegation would like to begin by expressing in the clearest manner possible, its outrage and
strong condemnation of the continued military onslaught by Israel in the Gaza Strip. "For days
now, we have all been witnessing the excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel; of
collective punishment of innocent civilians in contravention of international humanitarian law,
including the Geneve Convention." he said. Marty reminded that at least 1.5 million Palestinian
citizens in the Gaza Strip were currently living in fear, while many of the innocents like women
and children were killed. (cont)
Source: Antara
http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2009/1/2/indonesia-condemns-israeli-atacks-at-security-council/

Muslims In Bali Demand U.S. Stop Israeli Aggression
Hundreds of people in Bali staged a rally in front of the U.S. Consulate in Denpasar on Friday
demanding that country exercise its influence to stop Israeli attacks on Palestinians. State news
agency Antara reported those joining the rally were mostly Muslims living on the predominantly
Hindu island and also sympathizers of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). The rally began at the
governor's offices then set off on a 1-kilometer march to the consulate. During the march
protesters sang an Indonesian national song, "Maju Tak Gentar" (Press on bravely), while
carrying banners bearing slogans such as "Free Palestine", "Stop Israeli Predators" and "Boycott
Israeli Zionists". The protestors also asked for donations from rally onlookers. They said the
money would be used to fund humanitarian aid in Gaza. The rally went peacefully, but there was
no response from the consulate siunce officials were still on their New Year's holiday.
Source: Jakarta Post
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/01/02/muslims-bali-demand-us-stop-israeli-
aggression.html

Ex-Military Chief Acquitted Of Activist's Poisoning
An Indonesian court has acquitted a retired deputy chief of the country's military intelligence
agency of ordering the 2004 killing of a prominent human rights activist. A panel of judges cleared
Major-General Muchdi Purwopranjono yesterday of all charges relating to the assassination of
Munir Said Thalib. ''Muchdi Purwopranjono cannot be proved legally and convincingly to have
ordered the murder of Munir,'' one judge said. ''He should be removed from detention
immediately.'' Mr. Munir died of arsenic poisoning while on a Garuda Indonesia flight from
Singapore to the Netherlands on September 7, 2004. He was Indonesia's leading human rights
and anti-corruption activist. The founder of the Kontras human rights organization, the 38-year-old
Mr. Munir was assassinated while travelling to Utrecht University to pursue a master's degree in
international law and human rights. He was an especially vocal critic of Indonesia's military,
accusing it of numerous human rights violations in East Timor and the troubled provinces of
Papua and Aceh. Significantly, he exposed the kidnapping of 13 student activists by Indonesian
special forces under General Purwopranjono's command in 1997 and 1998, under the late
president Suharto. (cont)
Source: Jakarta Post
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/exmilitary-chief-acquitted-of-activists-
poisoning/1397959.aspx

LAOS

S. Korea To Discuss N. Korean Defector Issue With Myanmar, Laos
SEOUL, Jan. 2 (PNA/Yonhap) -- A senior South Korean foreign ministry official will leave for
Myanmar and Laos this weekend to discuss the issue of North Korean defectors who are
increasingly seeking shelter there, ministry sources said. The ministry said earlier Friday that
Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon will seek ways of promoting economic and political ties
with the Southeast Asian countries during his visit from Jan. 3-7.
Source: PNA/Yonhap
http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&nid=4&rid=178624

MALAYSIA

Malaysian Warship Foils Attack By Somali Pirates On Oil Tanker
A Malaysian warship on Thursday helped Indian seamen fight off heavily-armed Somali pirates
attempting to board an il tanker, a maritime watchdog said. It was the second time the Malaysian
navy has fought off pirates in the Gulf of Aden, after it successfully repelled a group who boarded
a Chinese commercial vessel on December 18. The Indian-flagged ship was heading west
towards the Suez Canal when it was attacked by pirates in two skiffs at 03:37 GMT on Thursday,
said Noel Choog, head of the International Maritime Board's piracy reporting centre. "The master
of the ship said that seven pirates in one of the skiffs were dressed in military-type uniform," he
told AFP. "The small boats used machine guns to repeatedly fire at the vessel's bridge and
accommodation," he added. Choong said Malaysian navy vessel KD Inderasakti, which was
leading a convoy of ships about 15 nautical miles away, responded to the tanker's distress call by
launching a helicopter and steaming towards the vessel under attack. "The pirates on noticing
the helicopter stopped firing at the tanker and escaped," he said. Choong said the Indian tanker
then followed the Malaysian warship's convoy. He said none of the crew were injured but the
ship's radar system had been damaged in the hail of bullets. "We urge vessels in the area to be
on visual and radar alert for pirates as they are still able to find loopholes to attack ships as the
international coalition patrolling the pirate-infested waters cannot be everywhere at the same
time," he said. Pirates have carried out more than 112 attacks in the key shipping lanes of the
Gulf of Aden, located between the south of Yemen and the north of Somalia, and the Indian
Ocean east of Somalia since the start of 2008.
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399732/1/.html

Malaysia's Opposition Tests New Anti-Graft Body
Malaysia's opposition on Friday lodged a bundle of graft allegations with the newly launched Anti-
Corruption Commission, saying it would be a test of the body's mettle. "We want to give an
opportunity to the Anti-Corruption Commission to show it is different and that there is hope for the
people," said Badrul Hisham Shaharin, a senior member of Keadilan which leads the opposition
alliance. The body, created as of January 1, replaces the much-criticized Anti-Corruption
Agency, and is being promoted as having more independence and greater accountability.
However, critics say that the new commission will also be toothless unless it is given unrestricted
power to prosecute corruption cases -- currently the responsibility of the government. "The
people are waiting to see if the ACC will act in the interests of the people or if the changes are
just cosmetic," Badrul told reporters after lodging three reports with the commission.
"This is a test of the ACC to see if there is real reform and improvement or whether it is just
rhetoric to get a bigger budget than the former ACA, but providing the same results in not being
able to take action against big fish." He said that the first report involved cases where the ACA
had found evidence of misdeeds by prominent figures and submitted them to the Attorney-
General's (AG) office for prosecution, but no action was ever taken. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399816/1/.html

Malaysian Police Arrest 26 At New Year 'Sex Party'
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police arrested a female newsreader, an actress and 24 other
revelers at a New Year's Eve "sex and drugs" party at a Kuala Lumpur hotel, reports said Friday.
The two high-profile women and seven others tested positive for drugs, police said, according to
The New Straits Times, which reported that condoms, beer cans and half-eaten pizza were found
strewn around the hotel room. "When police arrived, many of the party goers were already high
on drugs," The Star newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying, adding that various illegal
substances, including cocaine, ketamine and amphetamines were seized. It said that the party
was organized through the social networking website Friendster. Police acting on a tip-off raided
the gathering at a downtown Kuala Lumpur hotel in the early hours of New Year's Day. The raid
came after rumors that a New Year's Eve sex party was being planned on a remote beach in
southern Malaysia. Tourism Minister Azalina Othman condemned the beach party as "against our
culture and religion" and potentially damaging to the reputation of majority-Muslim Malaysia.
Police warned that the "no-underwear" event for the under-40s, advertised through a website that
asked for 250 ringgit (US$72) as an entrance fee, could be a money-making scam. Party
organisers had reportedly said that male guests were banned from wearing briefs to the event,
while women were permitted to wear only G-string underwear which had to be removed after
midnight.
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399784/1/.html

MALDIVES

Maldivian President Arrives In Sri Lanka
Jan 02, Colombo: Newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) and his wife
arrived in Sri Lanka today on a three-day official visit. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa
with the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa welcomed the Maldivian leader with a full military guard of
honour at the Bandaranaike International Airport. This is the first state visit by the Maldivian
leader to Sri Lanka since assuming the office of the President of the Republic of Maldives in
November 2008. During his visit Nasheed will meet his Sri Lankan counterpart President
Rajapaksa, Premier Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka and the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama,
the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. President Nasheed is expected to hold talks on strengthening
bilateral corporations in trade, tourism, and cultural sectors during his stay in Sri Lanka.
Source: Colombo Page
http://www.colombopage.com/archive_09/January2141900RA.html

Sri Lanka Welcomes The President And The First Lady With A Warm Reception
President Mohamed Nasheed and the First Lady Madam Laila Ali, arrived in Sri Lanka this
morning on a State Visit. The President and the First Lady were welcomed with a warm reception
at Banadaranaike International Airport. The President and the First Lady were received by the
President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse and Madam Rajapakse. President Nasheed was
introduced by the Sri Lankan President to senior Sri Lankan Government officials. Further, the Sri
Lankan President was introduced to the members of President Nasheed‘s delegation. The
national anthems of the two countries were then played, with President Nasheed on the dais. He
then inspected a Guard of Honour which was followed by a 21-Gun Salute. The President and
the First Lady then signed the visitors‘ ―Golden Book‖. During the 3 day State visit to Sri Lanka,
the President is scheduled to meet with the Sri Lankan President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and
Prime Minister, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and senior officials of the Sri-Lankan Government.
Bilateral consultations also will be held during the visit. The President and the First Lady will also
attend a State Banquet hosted in their honour by the President and the First Lady of Sri Lanka.
Source: Miadhu News
http://www.miadhu.com.mv/news.php?id=8909

NEPAL

Prachanda Asks For Three Months To Fulfil Nepali Congress Demands
Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda has expressed his willingness to fulfill the nine-point demands of
the Nepali Congress (NC) in three months. He expressed the fresh willingness at the meeting of
the six ruling parties on Thursday. A meeting of the High-Level Political Coordination Committee
(HLPCC) held at the PM‘‘s official residence had suggested Prachanda to address the Nepali
Congress demands including the return of the seized property to the rightful owners. The Nepali
Congress has been boycotting the House even after the government committed to fulfil its
demands saying that Prachanda must give a deadline by which the implementation will be
completed. Meanwhile, the meeting reached an agreement to recommend the names of the
representatives of different parties who will participate in different constitutional commissions
within two days to the Prime Minister. It also decided to give full shape to the high-level Scientific
Land Reforms Commission. According to Nepalnews, UML leader Surendra Pandey said, ―We
asked him that he should give time-bound commitment as demanded by Nepali Congress and he
agreed to give three months.‖ Pandey added that Prachanda also asked the ruling partners to
provide their nominees by Friday for the six commissions and to fill vacant positions in some
constitutional bodies.
Source: ANI
http://www.newspostonline.com/world-news/prachanda-asks-for-three-months-to-fulfil-nepali-
congress-demands-2009010222187

Riot Police For Nepal Temple Row
Riot police have been deployed at Nepal's holiest Hindu temple to stop protesters angry at the
government's attempt to remove Indian priests. Prayers at Pashupatinath temple have always
been led by high caste Brahmin priests recruited from south India. Earlier this week they were
replaced by local priests - a move that ended centuries of tradition.The move is seen as a
reflection of wider changes in the past year with the former Maoist rebels coming to power. The
temple decision has led to demonstrations by Hindu groups. "We want this decision scrapped
immediately," news agency AFP quoted one priest, Hariharman Bhandari, as saying. "The
Maoists have appointed their own people." On Thursday, Nepal's Supreme Court directed the
temple authorities to clarify the controversy and not to let the newly appointed Nepali priests
perform the rituals. However, the new priests visited holy sites around the Pashupatinath complex
escorted by riot police and Maoist volunteers. Outside, protesters shouted "Down with Maoists"
as the priests performed ceremonies. (Cont)
Source: BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7807741.stm

Nepal Army Chief Katuwal's Days Numbered: Media Reports
Media reports in Nepal have it that the Maoists-led government is all set to bid adieu to the Chief
of the Army Staff Mr. Rookmangad Katawal. Reports also say that Mr. Katawal will be replaced
by his immediate deputy Mr. Kul Bahadur Khadka who is a Pakistan trained Nepali Army man.
Mr. Khadka is a graduate of Pakistan‘s Quaid-E-Azam University in the field of Defense and
Strategy.Khadka is considered to be close to the Maoists. Sources at the Ministry of Defense led
by none less than the Maoists‘ leader Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa aka Badal say that CoAS Katawal
is mainly being replaced for his disobedience to the government led by the Maoists. Recently, the
Nepal Army and the Maoists Government were at a standoff after the NA began recruiting
soldiers---with both the UN and the Maoists party calling it a violation of the peace agreement.
The government later asked the Nepal Army to stop the recruitment process which the NA had
denied. The Nepal Army responded that it was a ―routine affair‖ and had nothing to do with the
nitty-gritty of the ongoing peace process. The UNMIN is being regularly alleged as a Maoists
friendly global body by the opposition parties in Nepal more so by the Nepali Congress leaders
Source: Telegraph Nepal
http://telegraphnepal.com/news_det.php?news_id=4608&PHPSESSID=7f25d0f1a387071d9d640
8e89d0194a1

Nepali Inflation Increases 14.5 Pct: Central Bank
KATHMANDU, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The rate of inflation in Nepal rose to 14.5 percent in mid
November 2008 from 6.3 percent in the corresponding period of the pervious year, The Rising
Nepal reported on Friday. The year-on-year inflation as calculated by the consumer price index
was driven both by the significant rise in food and beverages as well as non-food and services
group, the newspaper said. According to first four month data of the Nepal Rastra Bank, the
central bank of the country, last year's price rise on food and beverages and non-food and
services group was 8.4 percent and 4.1 percent respectively, Of the items in the food and
beverages group, price indices of sugar and sugar related products as well as oil and ghee sub-
groups increased on a year-on-year basis in mid-November 2008, by a whopping rate of 37.6
percent and 31.6 percent respectively. This was in sharp contrast to previous' increase by a
change of18.0 percent and 14.8 percent respectively. The subgroup of grains and cereal products
witnessed a year-on-year price rise of 19.1 percent in the review period compared to an increase
of 11.4 percent in the corresponding period of previous year. Prices of rice and rice products of
this sub-group increased with a higher rate of 22.3 percent compared to an increase of
13.0percent a year ago. Within the group of non-food and services, the index of transport and
communication, housing goods and services as well as tobacco and related products rose by
22.0 percent, 15.2 percent and 15.1 percent respectively in mid-November 2008. (Cont)
Source: Xinhua
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/02/content_10590559.htm

NEW ZEALAND

Fiji Finishing 2008 On A Disappointing Note
A political analyst believes the advice given to Fiji's interim government is counterproductive. Dr
Brij Lal with the Australian National University made the comments following the recent expulsion
of New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji and Australia's defense attache. Dr Lal also thinks
the only hope of Fiji holding elections any time soon is if Commodore Bainimarama takes up the
United Nation's offer to mediate the next political forum early in the new year.
Source: Radio Australia
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200901/s2457985.htm

PAKISTAN

Pakistanis Reopen Khyber Pass For Afghan Supplies
JAMRUD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Trucks rumbled through Pakistan's Khyber Pass on Friday,
resuming the transport of supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan three days after authorities
suspended shipments to clear out militants. Pakistani Taliban militants in the Khyber region have
been trying for months to block vital supplies bound for landlocked Afghanistan, launching a string
of attacks in which hundreds of trucks have been destroyed and several drivers killed. Pakistani
security forces began an operation on Tuesday, sealing off the road while troops backed by tanks
and helicopter gunships moved in to tackle the militants. A top government official in the Khyber's
main town of Jamrud said the road was re-opened on Friday and trucks were free to go up to the
Afghan border. "The route will remain open between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. (0600-1100 GMT)
every day and can be used by whoever wants to," the region's top administrator, Tariq Hayat
Khan, told reporters. Another administration official, Jehangir Khan, said 300 trucks had travelled
through the pass to the Afghan border on Friday, many carrying supplies for Western forces. The
U.S. military sends 75 percent of supplies for the Afghan war through or over Pakistan, including
40 percent of the fuel for its troops, the U.S. Defence Department says. The attacks have
exposed the vulnerability of supply links for Western forces struggling to subdue an intensifying
Taliban insurgency and NATO has been forced to look for alternative routes, including through
Central Asia into northern Afghanistan. (cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-37262920090102

Suspected U.S. Drone Attack Kills Three In Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on Friday in
Pakistan's South Waziristan region killing at least three people in an area known as a stronghold
of Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud. U.S. forces in Afghanistan, frustrated by a
spreading Taliban insurgency that is getting support from militant enclaves in northwest Pakistan,
have stepped up strikes by pilotless drones despite Pakistani objections. The missiles hit an
abandoned girls' school being used by Taliban militants in a remote area 55 km north of South
Waziristan's main town of Wana, residents and Pakistani intelligence officials said. "Two missiles
were fired on the school and three bodies have been recovered from the rubble," said an
intelligence official who declined to be identified. It was the second strike in South Waziristan in
as many days. A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on Thursday into another part of South
Waziristan, near the region's main town of Wana, killing three foreign militants and wounding one,
two intelligence agents said. U.S. forces in Afghanistan carried out about 30 missile strikes in
Pakistan in 2008, according to a Reuters tally, more than half since the beginning of September.
The attacks have killed more than 220 people, including foreign militants, according to a tally of
reports from Pakistani intelligence agents, district government officials and residents. (Cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-37256920090102

At Least 4 Killed, Several Injured As Us Drone Fired 2 Missiles In Laddah At S Waiziristan
Four people have been killed in US drone attack in South Waziristan on Friday. Sources said US
drones once again violated Pakistani airspace and fired two missiles in at a building in tehsil
Laddah in South Waiziristan killing four and injured several people. Suspected US missile strike
Friday killed at least three foreign militants in northwest Pakistan, in a stronghold of an influential
local Taliban commander, a senior security official said. The strike was the second in as many
days in the South Waziristan tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, where hundreds of
extremists sought refuge after the US-led invasion in late 2001 that drove the Taliban regime from
Kabul. "Two missiles were fired on Taliban offices near Ladha village in South Waziristan, killing
three foreign militants and wounding two others," a senior security official said. The official, who
said the death toll could rise, had no immediate details on the nationalities of those killed. Ladha
is the stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, who leads the country's umbrella Taliban organization,
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The shadowy Mehsud was accused by the government of
former president Pervez Musharraf and US officials of masterminding the assassination of former
premier Benazir Bhutto at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. (cont)
Source: The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/02-Jan-2009/At-
least-4-killed-several-injured-as-US-drone-fired-2-missiles-in-Laddah-at-S-Waiziristan

Kayani Meets Afghan, NATO Generals In Kabul
KABUL: The heads of the Afghan and Pakistani armies, and the commander of the Nato force in
Afghanistan, met in Kabul on Friday to review efforts to fight insurgents straddling the border, an
AFP report says. One of the main topics of the Tri-Partite Commission meeting was the
establishment of centres along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier to improve intelligence-sharing,
the Nato-led force said in a statement. One centre has already been established near the Khyber
Pass that links the countries and around three others are planned, an International Security
Assistance Force (Isaf) spokesman said separately. A larger Joint Coordination Centre is also
envisaged ‗to disrupt terrorist activity at the borders and will require the joint effort of all military
forces along the border,‘ Isaf Captain Kevin Callahan said in the statement. The commission
brings the Afghan and Pakistani militaries together every few months, with Isaf as a mediator, to
improve border relations. Afghan General Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, Pakistani General Ashfaq
Pervez Kayani and Isaf commander US General David McKiernan also signed a charter to
formalise their commitment to the commission, Isaf said. (Cont)
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/world/kayani-
meets-afghan-nato-generals-in-kabul-ha

25th Meeting Of Tripartite Commission Held In Kabul
ISLAMABAD, Jan 2 (APP)- The Tripartite Commission composed of senior military
representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, held twenty-fifth
meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday. Delegations were headed by Chief of the General Staff
Afghan National Army General Bismullah Khan, Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army General
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Commander International Security Assistance Forces, Afghanistan
General David D. McKiernan. The meeting reviewed the security situation in areas along the
Pak- Afghan border and discussed measures to improve the effectiveness of on going operations
in the respective areas. They showed satisfaction at the existing level of cooperation. Earlier on
arrival COAS met President Hamid Karzai on his special invitation.
Source: APP
http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63828&Itemid=1

Zardari Orders Immediate End To Unannounced Load-Shedding
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Friday ordered WAPDA to immediately put an end to the
unannounced load-shedding across the country. During the meeting of concerned authorities held
to review the shortage of gas and petrol, the President said Pakistan People‘s Party represents
people of Pakistan and incidents like this create stir among the people. He said no delay will be
tolerated in the provision of facilities to the people. President Zardari asked as to why the people
are not getting the petrol even after the prices of the commodity have come down. He directed to
ensure supply of oil and gas for generation of additional electricity.
Source: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=63871

Protesters Rally Against Israel Across Pakistan
LAHORE: Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in several cities across Pakistan on Friday against
Israel's strikes on the Gaza Strip against the Jewish state. In Lahore, protesters chanted "Allahu
akbar" (God is greater), "Jihad against Israel" as they marched through the city centre. "The
Islamic world failed to take timely action to stop Israeli action on Gaza," Jamaat-e-Islami leader
Liaqat Baloch told the crowd of hundreds. He blasted the United Nations, the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference (OIC) and human rights groups for failing to prevent the "massacre of
Palestinians" and called for UN sanctions against Israel. More than 420 Palestinians have been
killed in Israel's seven-day-old blitz on the densely populated Gaza Strip, as the Hamas called for
a "day of wrath" in solidarity with those killed. In the southern port city of Karachi, more than 200
protestors rallied outside mosques after main Friday prayers, with some burning an effigy of
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well as Israeli and US flags. Demonstrators also rallied in
the central city of Multan, burning an effigy of Olmert and the Israeli flag. Pakistan has strongly
condemned Israel's air strikes, calling them counterproductive and urging a stop to the fighting.
Source: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=63890

Shortage Of Gas, Power Due To Govt Failure: Sharif
FAISALABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has blamed the 'ill-
conceived policies' of the federal government for allegedly putting the country's sovereignty at
stake. He claimed that the present rulers had failed to deliver as masses were suffering because
of gas and electricity loadshedding. Talking to mediamen, industrialists, labor leaders and
exporters at the residence of MNA Abid Sher Ali on Thursday, he said the federal government
had failed to carry out its responsibilities, which resulted into shortage of electricity, gas, and fuel;
anarchy and terrorism. He said no sovereign country could afford to remain silent over foreign
attacks on its territory. He said his party would submit a requisition for a national assembly
session exclusively to discuss the issue of power outages, gas suspension, reduction of
petroleum prices, unemployment and closure of industries. Opposition leader in the National
Assembly Chaudhary Nisar Ali would be asked to submit the requisition, he said. He urged the
federal government to mend its ways and control the 'critical' situation. He said that if the
government took the right steps, his party would also support the rulers. (Cont)
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/punjab
/shortage+of+gas%2C+power+due+to+govt+failure+sharif-sal

Solutions Sought To Tackle Deepening Energry Crisis
ISLAMABAD: As the energy crisis deepens amidst incidents of violent anti-government protests,
President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered an immediate end to gas loadshedding for domestic
consumers and elimination of circular debt within six months that has bulged to Rs400 billion,
crippling the country‘s power generation system. Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani
jointly headed a high level meeting at the presidency here on Friday to discuss the energy crisis.
They ordered some short term measures for gas and petrol shortages and a few mid-term
solutions for load-shedding. The move also includes an assurance of daily supply of 30,000 tons
of furnace oil to power generation companies which will likely add 2,700MW of electricity to the
system by the end of this month. The industrial sector has to bear the brunt of the relief
announced for domestic consumers. The total gas shortage is around 707 billion cubic feet per
day and the Ministry of Petroleum believes that load-management is the sole option they are left
with to deal with the crisis. Therefore, any relief for any sector does not mean that gas shortages
have subsided but that other sectors have to shoulder some more load. Sources told Dawn that
the president was also informed that relief for domestic consumers meant that factories had to
remain shut for more hours than they do now. This would ultimately mean further decline in
industrial growth than expected. (cont)
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/solutio
ns+sought+to+tackle+deepening+energry+crisis-sal

Pakistan Stands By Offer Of Joint Probe: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday reiterated his government‘s offer to
co-operate with the government of India for joint investigations into the Mumbai terror attacks.
The prime minister said this in a meeting with Lord Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, member of the
British House of Lords who called on him here on Friday. He briefed Lord Nazir on government
policies for improving bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, particularly India and the
efforts being made by his government to solve issues, including that of the Kashmir region
through composite dialogue. Gilani welcomed US President-elect Barack Obama‘s initiative to
appoint former president Bill Clinton to help resolve the Kashmir issue. The prime minister
underlined the importance of welfare of minorities and informed Lord Nazir abou the steps being
taken by his government and the ruling party (PPP) for the protection of their rights. ‗A job quota
of five per cent has been allocated for the minorities and their representation in the national and
provincial assemblies and the Senate will be enhanced,‘ he said.
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/pakist
an-stands-by-offer-of-joint-probe-pm-ha

India Preparing Evidence To Share With Pak, Rest Of World
As Islamabad continues to be in denial mode, India is compiling evidence about the role of
Pakistan-based elements in the terror strikes for sharing it with the world besides the neighbour
very soon. The evidence, being put together, includes the confession of the lone terrorist held in
Mumbai terror attack Ajmal Amir Qasab, logbook recovered from the vessel in which the 10
terrorists came from Karachi, records of satellite phone used by the attackers and transcript of
conversations between the attackers and their handlers in Pakistan, the sources said. The
dossier will also include the corroborative evidence tracking the journey of the attackers from
Karachi to Mumbai, they said. The evidence will mostly include Qasab's confession to the police
wherein he has given details of how he became a motivated terrorist of Lashkar-e-Taiba from a
normal youth of Faridkot in 741Pakistan's Punjab province. Investigators have found evidence to
show that the terrorists, who struck at the Taj Hotel, Trident Hotel and Nariman House on
November 26, were in touch with their handlers in Karachi even while their three-day engagement
with security forces was on. As the armed engagement was being telecast live by Indian TV
channels, the LeT commanders in Pakistan were found giving directions to the attackers like 'set
ablaze the hotel' and 'throw grenades' on the crowds outside the hotels and Nariman House. The
evidence will be shared with Pakistan along with the US, UK, China and other countries which
have influence on Islamabad.
Source: PTI
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090078613
Coercion Won’t Work, FO Tells India
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would not accept any political or military coercion from India and it was
ready to defend itself, the Foreign Office said on Thursday. ‗It will be unfortunate if a military
confrontation takes place. A war or any level of military confrontation can have disastrous
consequences for the region,‘ spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said in an online briefing. He said
Pakistan would counsel restraint and an attitude of responsibility. The statement came as
Pakistan prepared to offer new proposals for defusing the tension between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is expected to offer the proposals on Friday or
Saturday. Earlier, Mr. Qureshi urged India to deactivate its forward bases and withdraw troops to
peace-time positions. Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee rejected the de-
escalation call, saying ‗We have not done anything to escalate tension. So where is the question
of de-escalating it?‘ Mr. Sadiq said: ‗Pakistan has sincerely offered its cooperation in investigating
the Mumbai tragedy. We await response to our concrete proposals regarding joint investigations
and a high-level visit. We also await evidence from India to enable our own investigations to
make progress.‘ He said the fight against the ‗pernicious phenomenon‘ of terrorism required
international cooperation at every level. The spokesman rejected allegations against Inter-
Services Intelligence agency and said Pakistan‘s government and state institutions were
committed to the ‗war against terror‘. (Cont)
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/coerci
on+wont+work+fo+tells+india--il

Don't Advise Us, Check Your Terror Outfits: India To Pak
Rubbishing Pakistan's "advice" for de-activating ground and air troops in forward areas, India on
Friday said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that 330 terror outfits are
still active in that country. Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the armed forces
were only doing their duty, Defence Minister A K Antony said there is "no noticeable change" in
the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert. "I do not think there is any
noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are
important. They have to prove by their action," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters in New
Delhi on the sidelines of a Defence Ministry function. "More than 330 terrorist outfits are still
operating in Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude," Antony said
responding to questions from reporters. To a question on Pakistan's suggestion that India should
withdraw ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give
any such advice. "Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It
is our duty," he asserted. "Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything.
They are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully
prepared to meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter," Antony said. "We
are not escalating the issues. There is no unusual troop movement on our side. (Cont)
Source: PTI
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090078536

India Asks Pakistan To Act Against Jamaat 'In Any Form'
NEW DELHI: With Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) assuming a new name to evade UN sanctions, India
on Friday said Pakistan government has the responsibility of acting against the outfit even if it
changes its nomenclature or form. Underscoring that JuD has been banned by the UN, external
affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said the world community should take appropriate action if
Pakistan fails to comply with its international commitments and conventions. "When LeT
(Lashkar-e-Taiba) was banned, it came up as JuD. Now it has been banned. It (JuD) might have
taken another name.... This is the pattern we have noticed in Pakistan," Mukherjee told reporters
here. "It is the responsibility of Pakistan government to stop activities of these banned
organisations in any form, in any name, in any shape," he said. Mukherjee's remarks came on the
move by JuD to rename itself as 'Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool' (Movement for defending the
honour of God) to avoid restrictions which Pakistan could be forced to impose on it because of
UNSC sanctions in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Mukherjee pointed out that Pakistan is a
party to various international conventions, including SAARC Convention against terrorism of 1987
and the special protocol of 2004 of SAARC countries. Mukherjee said if Pakistan does not comply
with the UNSC ban, it is for the international community to "take appropriate action". He said India
has asked Pakistan to fulfill these commitments and take action against terror groups and bring to
book perpetrators of November 26 attacks.
Source: PTI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India_asks_Pakistan_to_act_against_Jamaat_in_any_form/arti
cleshow/3927623.cms

Lashkar Rejects ‘Confession’ Report In Mumbai Probe
SRINAGAR: The Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for the Mumbai attacks rejected on Friday
a report that one of its leaders had acknowledged the group's involvement. The Wall Street
Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported Wednesday that Pakistani authorities had obtained a
confession from a senior member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba. The suspect, Zarar Shah,
allegedly told investigators he had played a key role in the planning of the November attacks that
left 172 dead. 'Lashkar-e-Taiba rejects the Wall Street Journal report,' its spokesman Abdullah
Ghaznavi said in an email statement. 'India has failed to furnish any evidence of Lashkar-e-
Taiba's involvement in the Mumbai attacks and America is now trying to help it out,' he said. No
evidence could be found 'on the scene of the crime, and now there is an effort to manufacture
evidence thousands of miles away,' he added. Islamabad has also rejected the report. On
Thursday, Pakistani interior ministry spokesman Shahidullah Baig told AFP: 'We have no such
information. We don't accept that report.' 'America was putting pressure on Pakistan's
government to manufacture the evidence itself, and then also take action on the basis of this
evidence' too, in order to please India,' Ghaznavi said.
Source: Dawn
http://www.dawn.net/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/lashka
r-rejects-confession-in-mumbai-probe-ss

No Noticeable Change In Pakistan's Attitude: India
NEW DELHI: Rubbishing Pakistan's "advice" for deactivating ground and air troops in forward
areas, India on Friday said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that 30
terror outfits are still active in that country. Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the
armed forces were only doing their duty, defense minister A K Antony said there is "no noticeable
change" in the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert. "I do not think there
is any noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are
important. They have to prove by their action," defense minister AK Antony told reporters on the
sidelines of a defense ministry function. "More than 30 terrorist outfits are still operating in
Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude," Antony said responding to
questions from reporters. To a question on Pakistan's suggestion that India should withdraw
ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give any such
advice. "Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It is our
duty," he asserted. "Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything. They
are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully prepared to
meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter," Antony said.
Source: PTI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/No_noticeable_change_in_Pakistans_attitude_India/articl
eshow/3926104.cms

Pak Says Terror Suspects Can't Be Extradited Without Treaty
Islamabad, Jan 2 (PTI) Rejecting India's contention that a bilateral extradition treaty was not
required to hand over the Mumbai attack suspects, Pakistan today said that such a pact was
needed as the US pressed Islamabad to take action against the perpetrators and "ensure"
conviction. "There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. We are keen on rebuilding
our internal institutions. So if we engage in these issues, it will be harmful for Pakistan," Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Geo TV. He was asked whether India and America have
demanded handing over of terror suspects like Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur
Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks; Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar
and Jamaat-ud Dawa leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Qureshi's remarks came a day after
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying there was no need for an extradition treaty to
take action on these matters. The Pakistan Foreign Minister said Islamabad has conducted its
own "independent investigations" into the charges of Pakistani elements' involved in the Mumbai
terror strikes. "We will do everything in the interests of India and Pakistan," he said. Pakistan is
under intense pressure from major powers like the US and UK to take action against the
perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. The Bush Administration has asked Pakistan to ensure that
those responsible for the 26/11 attacks are punished by it, according to a media report. The move
reflects a "clear change" in the attitude of the US, which earlier had backed the Indian demand
that some suspects be extradited to India, it said.
Source: PTI
http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/32048128C37C6F016525753200513FBA?OpenDocu
ment

Sharif Seeks Normalisation Of Indo-Pak Ties
Islamabad, Jan 2 (PTI) Unhappy with the chill in Indo-Pak ties, former Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif today said the PPP-led government should try to normalise bilateral relations and sought
an end to the "blame-game" over the Mumbai attack. The opposition PML-N leader said his party
was ready to extend all cooperation to the Pakistan Government in improving relations with India.
"The relations with India should improve and we are ready to extend support to the Government
on this issue," Sharif told reporters here. He said there should be an end to the blame game
between the two countries in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. "We should stop this blame
game. The situation is really disappointing and we are ready to cooperate with the Government,"
he said. Identifying poor economic condition, rising prices of petroleum products and growing
unemployment as key challenges facing the nation, the former Prime Minister appealed to the
government to put its efforts in building a strong Pakistan. India has blamed the Pakistan-based
elements, including the LeT, for the Mumbai attacks. It has asked Pakistan to act against these
elements and to deliver on past commitments to not allow terrorists to operate from its soil.
Pakistan has said it is waiting for India to provide evidence and information to push forward its
own investigation into the Mumbai incident.
Source: PTI
http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/1DD053DB577E11446525753200475AE9?OpenDoc
ument

US Helped Ease Tension Between India, Pak: Qureshi
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that US President George W
Bush's telephone call to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
has had a positive outcome. Speaking in an interview to Geo TV, he said that it has helped bring
down tensions between the two countries. So, is Pakistan now climbing down from its denial
mode on the 26/11 perpetrators? Under growing pressure from the United states and India,
Pakistan's constant denials about the identity of the 26/11 perpetrators seems to be wearing thin.
A day after reports of an FBI team visiting 26/11 terrorist Qasab's alleged hometown in Faridkot,
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Geo TV interview did not deny a Wall
Street Journal report that Pakistan's own investigators had found that all the Mumbai attackers
were Pakistanis. Instead of rejecting the report he merely said that he could not comment on it at
this stage. The Wall Street Journal report that has created furore came out on of December 31.
The report said, "Pakistan's own investigation of terror attacks in Mumbai has begun to show
substantive links between the 10 gunmen and an Islamic militant group. At least one top leader of
Lashkar-e-Toiba, captured in a raid in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, has confessed to the group's
involvement in the attack as India and the US have alleged, according to a senior Pakistani
security official." (Cont)
Source: NDTV
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/mumbaiterrorstrike/Story.aspx?ID=NEWEN20090078480
&type=News

Pakistan Cancels Hockey Team's Tour To India
KARACHI: In a tit-for-tat response, Pakistan on Friday decided to call off its hockey team's tour to
India for the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup tournament to be held later this month, citing "security
risks for the players" as the reason for the cancellation. The decision, which was expected after
India scrapped its cricket team's tour across the border in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks,
will further strain the sporting ties between the two countries. Although Pakistan Hockey
Federation was keen to send the national team to India, they left the final decision on the Foreign
Office. In view of the mounting tensions between the two nations, Sports Minister Jillani said the
government had decided not to send the hockey team to India. "There is a security risk in sending
our players to India at this stage because of the mood in India. So we have not given permission
to the PHF for the tour," he said. Interestingly, Jillani's announcement came after the organisers
of the tournament had already named New Zealand as Pakistan's replacement in the double-leg
event that also features Beijing Olympic gold medallist Germany, the Netherlands and host India.
Pakistan's particpation in the tournament, to be held in Chandigarh from January 31, had come
under cloud after Indian government cancelled the cricket team's tour to the strife torn nation.
There was popular sentiment among citizens and former players that since Indian government
refused to send their cricket team, Pakistani teams should also scrap their India tours in a
retaliatory move.
Source: PTI
http://sports.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pakistan_cancels_hockey_teams_tour_to_India/articles
how/3928340.cms

Govt To Boost Tv, Radio Coverage In J&K To Counter Pak
NEW DELHI: Troubled by aggressive Pakistani propaganda along the border areas of Jammu
and Kashmir, the government has mooted a Rs 389 crore proposal to broaden its television and
radio coverage in the higher reaches of the state and near security establishments. The proposal
-- of immense strategic importance -- is in the final stages of approval. It comes at a time when
India and Pakistan are caught in a diplomatic impasse over the Mumbai terror attacks. The
Centre had in 1999 pumped in Rs 430 crore under a special package for J&K to strengthen
Doordarshan and AIR network services. The new proposal is expected to bolster the existing
infrastructure even as instability continues to mark the Indo-Pak relationship. According to
sources, there has been growing concern over propaganda from "hostile neighbors" and a need
was felt that border coverage by the strong signals of radio and TV was important to provide
information to people in the sensitive J&K area. An inter-ministerial committee headed by I&B
secretary Sushma Singh has narrowed down on 17 sites situated at higher reaches and close to
establishments of security forces. (cont)
Source: TNN
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Govt_to_boost_TV_radio_coverage_in_JK_to_counter_Pak_/ar
ticleshow/3927997.cms

Kashmir Protests Over Assault On Gaza, 50 Injured
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - At least 50 people were injured when baton-wielding police in Jammu and
Kashmir fired teargas shells on Friday to disperse hundreds of Muslims protesting at Israeli
strikes on Gaza, police and witnesses said. There were also demonstrations in other Indian cities,
including New Delhi and Hyderabad. In Srinagar, angry demonstrators shouting "Down with
Zionist terrorism, down with Israel" burnt American and Israeli flags near Kashmir's grand mosque
Jamia Masjid. Police also clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators in several other parts of the
city. Most of the protests were staged after Friday prayers. "Policemen and some photojournalists
are among the injured," Mohammad Syed, a police official said. Israel says the attacks, which
have killed more than 400 people, are designed to stop Hamas Islamists who rule the Gaza Strip
from firing rockets on towns in the Jewish state. Around 250 Muslims in Hyderabad also protested
against the offensive outside the recently opened U.S. consulate on Friday, police said. They
tried to set fire to an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert but were stopped by police.
There were further large protests in the Muslim-majority old part of the city. A Reuters witness
saw similar scenes in the capital, New Delhi, as protesters gathered outside India's largest
mosque, similarly called Jama Masjid, to burn Israeli and American flags and an effigy.
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-37264420090102

Pakistan, India Swap Lists of Nuclear Facilities
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says it has swapped a list of nuclear facilities with India, as part of an
agreement prohibiting attacks on such installations. The countries have routinely exchanged
these lists on the first day of the year since 1992, under an agreement signed two decades ago.
Thursday's exchange was carried out as normal, despite tensions from November's deadly
attacks in Mumbai by suspected Pakistani militants. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (File) On
Wednesday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told U.S. President George Bush by phone that
any Pakistani involved in the attacks would be dealt with sternly. But India's home minister, P.
Chidambaram, said Pakistan "is in a state of denial" about the possible involvement of its citizens
in the violence. Earlier Wednesday, U.S. media reported that a leader of the Pakistan-based
militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba admitted he helped plan the Mumbai attacks. Pakistani
authorities arrested militant leader Zarah Shah in December under intense international pressure
to crack down on his group. India says the gunmen who attacked Mumbai were Pakistanis trained
and equipped by Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has had close ties to Pakistani intelligence services in
the past. Pakistan says India has failed to provide evidence of the attackers' nationalities.
Source: VOA News
http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-01-voa14.cfm

India Exchanges List Of Nuclear Facilities Muhammad Tahir Khan
ISLAMABAD: Amidst tensions in the wake of Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan on Thursday
exchanged lists of their nuclear installations under an agreement aimed at preventing attacks on
each other's atomic facilities, the Foreign Ministry said. "The Governments of Pakistan and India
today exchanged lists of their respective nuclear installations and facilities in accordance with
Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities
between Pakistan and India of 31st December, 1988," a statement said. The Foreign Office
handed over a list of Pakistan's nuclear installations and facilities to an official of the Indian High
Commission at 11 am, it said. In New Delhi, the Indian side handed over its list to an official of the
Pakistan High Commission at the external affairs ministry, the statement said. There were no
more details in the statement. PRISONERS: The two sides also exchanged fresh lists of
prisoners being held in each other's jails, officials said. Islamabad and New Delhi had exchanged
lists of prisoners being held in each other's jail but both sides subsequently expressed
reservations about these lists. During talks here between home secretaries of the two countries in
November, they agreed to exchange fresh lists of prisoners. Further details about the number of
prisoners being held in the two countries were not immediately available.
Source: The Frontier Post
http://frontierpost.com.pk/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=3222

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Fiji PM Ready For Talks
Fiji‘s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says he is ready to meet Pacific
leaders in Papua New Guinea later this month. In his New Year‘s message, Bainimarama
reaffirmed his attendance at the Special Forum leaders meeting on January 27, which would
decide Fiji‘s continued membership. ―I will be attending the forum leaders‘ meeting this month and
I look forward to constructive engagement and dialogue that will be in the interest of our country,‖
he said. Bainimarama‘s Government has come under criticism for failing to commit to the early
2009 election deadline it had promised at the Forum leaders‘ meeting in Niue last year.
Suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum would spell more trouble for Fiji, but Bainimarama is
adamant that his Government will not be bullied into submitting to outside demands. ―As I said to
you at the beginning of 2008, Fiji has the potential and we all have the will and ability to take it to
another level. Don‘t pay heed to the merchants of doom and gloom and misinformation,‖ he said.
―They will come and go but we as a people must forge ahead with a sense of realism, positivity
and pride.‖
Source: Fiji Live
http://www.fijilive.com/news_new/index.php/news/show_news/12232

Forum Awaits Fiji's Answers
FIJI will have a lot of explaining to do at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Papua New
Guinea this month, says Professor Brij Lal. He said explaining would not only need to be made to
Fiji's critics but, perhaps more importantly, to its friends who are hugely disappointed at its
obtuseness. Professor Lal, a constitutional consultant, said Fiji would not be expelled from the
forum, although its moral authority as a leader of the island region "is sadly tarnished". "It does
not carry the same clout as it used to and has now become a bit of a laughing stock in the
region," he said. Professor Lal said Fiji would be asked again for its plan to hold elections in a
timely fashion. "Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's recent casual remark about tossing a coin
and picking a date will not wash," he said. Professor Lal said the proposal for the United Nations
and Commonwealth engagement in the President's Political Forum would also be discussed by
the leaders. He said while it was accepted that a March 2009 election deadline would not be met,
Fiji would be asked to nominate a date. (cont)
Source: Fiji Times
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=110340

PHILIPPINES

Arroyo Stays Mum On 2010 Plans
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo kept everyone guessing on her political plans, evading
questions on them ahead of the 2010 elections, amid fears raised by her critics that moves by her
legislative allies to amend the Constitution would extend her term. Asked about the 2010 general
elections during an interview with reporters at the Mansion House in Baguio City, Arroyo said:
"You know, I don't want to talk about 2010. That's far away. I want to talk about what I'm doing,
what I have to do now." "Politics is not foremost on my mind. If I were always thinking about
politics, I would not have been able to build all these roads," the President told the Baguio-based
media, adding, "Let's talk economics, not politics." At the end of 2008, Arroyo's allies in the House
of Representatives drew up a resolution to convene themselves into a constituent assembly to
amend provisions in the 1987 Constitution. The President's critics believe that such efforts would
pave the way for Arroyo's extended stay in power, and that such efforts would go full steam in
2009, a year before the elections. "We decline to comment on those critics whose hearts and
minds are still consumed by political fears. We hope the spirit of the new year brings fresh and
positive thoughts and for all to unite behind President Arroyo's focused efforts to prepare the
nation to weather the challenges we face in 2009," Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said. (cont)
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/topstories/topstories/view/20090101-180923/Arroyo-stays-mum-on-
2010-plans

Arroyo Won’t Sign CARP Resolution--Solon
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not sign Joint Resolution 19 extending the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for six months and will just let it lapse into law,
Speaker Prospero Nograles has said. Nograles said this was the President‘s inclination as the
joint resolution has been in Malacañang for almost three weeks after the House of
Representatives transmitted the measure there. "I am told that this will just lapse into law,"
Nograles said in a text message Friday when asked if the President signed the resolution.
Nograles said the President "wanted to insert the provision to allow agricultural lands to be used
as collateral for bank loans" but this was not included in the joint resolution approved by the
Senate and the House. Joint Resolution 19 extended the land distribution component of CARP for
six months or until June 30, 2009 but did not include compulsory land acquisition. For six months,
only those lands that will be under voluntary offer to sell (VOS) and voluntary land transfer (VLT)
will be subject to distribution. The resolution will lapse into law on January 23 if Arroyo does not
sign it, Nograles said. He added that the House transmitted the measure to the Office of the
President on December 19, but that it was officially received between December 20 and 23.
Farmers groups from Task Force Mapalad slammed the resolution as a virtual death for CARP,
saying it did not mean anything without the compulsory acquisition component. The group has
threatened to raise the matter before the Supreme Court. (cont)
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090102-181071/Arroyo-wont-sign-CARP-
resolution--solon

Arroyo, Cabinet In Mindanao Next Week
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be in Mindanao next week, as she buckles down to work
after the long holiday break, according to a copy of a schedule released by Malacañang. The
President will inaugurate a church in Midsalip town, Zamboanga del Sur province, and an
irrigation project in Bonifacio town, Misamis Occidental province on Monday, it said. On the same
day, Arroyo will have some private time, and will go scuba-diving in Sinicaban town, Misamis
Occidental, before proceeding to Ozamiz City for dinner with local officials. On Tuesday, Arroyo
will inaugurate a bridge project in Clarin town, Misamis Oriental province, before presiding over a
full Cabinet meeting in Molundo town, Lanao del Sur province for some private time. "The
planned Cabinet meeting in Lanao next week is part of this presidential routine of bringing the
central government closer to the people," Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in a statement.
Before returning to Manila on Thursday, she will be interviewed by a local radio station in
Bukidnon. Arroyo returned to Malacañang Thursday afternoon after spending the holidays at the
Mansion House in Baguio City.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090102-181087/Arroyo-Cabinet-in-
Mindanao-next-week

Military Boosts Intelligence Amid Blasts
The military will be intensifying its intelligence in Mindanao amid the series of bomb attacks over
the holidays in central parts of the region, a spokesman said Friday. In a telephone interview,
Lieutenant Colonel Julieto Ando of the 6th Infantry Division said they would focus in high risk
areas like the cities of Kidapawan, Tacurong, and Cotabato. Ando denied that a failure in
intelligence resulted in the bombings but said that the size of the area they were covering made
monitoring difficult. ―There have been reports of planned bombings but we could not monitor all of
them because of their size,‖ Ando said in Filipino. Nevertheless, Ando said there was no need for
additional troops in Central Mindanao, saying that there are enough Explosives and Ordnance
Division (EOD) teams from the Army that could be deployed when needed. In a separate
interview, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, Jr.
said that the bombings in Central Mindanao have ―been a concern now of the PNP [Philippine
National Police] and Military, so we really have to strengthen our information gathering and
coordination with the local government officials and other agencies.‖ He added that the military‘s
efforts to prevent rebel groups and lawless elements from conducting atrocities were relentless.
(cont)
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090102-181090/Military-boosts-
intelligence-amid-blasts

Philippines: Islamic Militants Deny Link To Bomb Attacks
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Friday denied any involvement in a string of bombing
incidents in the southern Philippines in recent weeks. MILF negotiating panel head Mohagher
Iqbal criticised the military and police in the southern province of Mindanao for linking the MILF to
every bombing incident. "It seems the police and military have made it a standard operating
procedure in blaming us for every bombing incident in Mindanao," Iqbal said in a radio interview.
Local media said police and military authorities had blamed "rogue" commands of the MILF for a
series of bombings in Mindanao in December. A number of attacks have occurred in Mindanao
since August, following the Supreme Court's blocking of the signing of a memorandum of
agreement on ancestral domain. Meanwhile, militants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on
Friday were accused of abducting five villagers in the southern Philippines and reportedly used
them as shields against pursuing government forces. The kidnapping was the second abduction
in Southwest Mindanao in the past week. On December 28, three farmers were also abducted in
Alamada, a hinterland town in North Cotabato. The MILF is one of the largest Muslim separatist
groups located in Southern Philippines. There are around 4.5 million Muslims in the Philippines.
Source: ADNKRONOS
http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=3.0.2872833636

PNP: Alert Level Back To Normal Except In Mindanao
Except for their comrades in Mindanao, members of the Philippine National Police can finally get
much-needed rest after the PNP downgraded alert status to normal. However, radio dzBB's
Benjie Liwanag Jr. reported Friday that PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome
said police will remain on full alert in Mindanao. Bartolome said the downgrading could give police
personnel a chance to get a rest, after they stayed on heightened alert during the holidays. Some
of the police personnel had been on alert even earlier, keeping watch over cemeteries during the
All Saints' holidays. Also, Bartolome noted the recent Yuletide had been relatively peaceful, thus
allowing the downgrading of the alert level status. On the other hand, he said police will remain
on full alert in Mindanao due to recent attacks by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Source: GMANews.TV
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/142178/PNP-Alert-level-back-to-normal-except-in-Mindanao

Sultan Kudarat Blast Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Hurt
An improvised explosive device exploded near a police checkpoint at the boundary of Sultan
Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces, killing the man believed to be transporting the explosive
device and wounding a policeman. In a statement, Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo
Brawner Jr said the explosion occurred around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the boundary of Esperanza
town in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao. The official said the explosive was being concealed
inside a sack of charcoal and was being transported in a tricycle when it went off. For his part, Lt.
Col. Julieto Ando - spokesman for the Army's 6th Infantry Division - said the improvised explosive
which was assembled from an 81 millimeter mortar bomb was likely intended for another target
but prematurely exploded due to "faulty assembly." "The driver of the tricycle was killed in the
blast. We still do not know what triggered the explosion, but it's one terrorist down," Ando said.
"The bomb was in transit and probably exploded due to faulty assembly. We appeal to the public
to stay vigilant and report to authorities any suspicious persons in your community," he added.
(cont)
Source: GMA News.TV
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/141863/Sultan-Kudarat-blast-leaves-1-dead-1-hurt

Holiday Truce Expires, But NPA Still Holds Officer Captive
New People‘s Army rebels continue to hold an Army officer in Compostela Valley even as the
government‘s unilateral Christmas/New Year truce ended at midnight of Jan. 1. The NPA
promised to free Army Special Forces Lt. Vicente Cammayo on the first week of this month. Lt.
Col. Romeo Brawner, Army spokesman, said troops in the area would make some tactical
adjustments to allow the safe release of Cammayo. ―Our troops on the ground would make some
operational adjustments because the Suspension of Offensive Military Operations has already
expired,‖ he said. ―We would just give them some leniency for the release, which they promised
would be made by the first week of this month.‖ Brawner said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
and his daughter Vice Mayor Sara Duterte are still negotiating with Cammayo‘s captors. ―They
asked us to stop military offensives in the area so they could release Cammayo, but after the
SOMO expired, we could not guarantee that there wouldn‘t be any combat operation,‖ he said.
(cont)
Source: Philippine Star
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=428795

Qatar Offers To Broker RP-MILF Talks
MANILA, Philippines -- Several countries, including Qatar, have made overtures to broker peace
talks between the government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Agrarian
Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman said Friday."Several countries are offering to broker it.
But since the talks are still ongoing, I can't identify them,'' Pangandaman, a member of the newly
reconstituted peace panel, said in a phone interview. However, he went as far as to say that
Qatar, which brokered the settlement of the Lebanese internal conflict with Muslim separatists,
was among these countries. "Qatar is looking at how they can help us. They've brokered talks
with Lebanon. There are insinuations they want to be part of the ongoing peace process,'' he said
on the phone. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a three-day official visit to Qatar in mid-
December to enlist its support for the resumption of talks with the MILF, and convince it to pour
more investments into the country, including Mindanao. Secretary Hermogenes Esperon,
presidential adviser on the peace process, has said that Qatar could serve as an "international
guarantor'' in the peace negotiations with the MILF. The talks collapsed in August after the
government refused to sign a deal expanding the Bangsamoro territory in Mindanao that was
eventually declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. (cont)
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090102-181091/Qatar-offers-to-broker-
RP-MILF-talks

MILF Washes Hands Over Mindanao Bombings
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front washed its hands Friday off a string of bombing incidents in
Mindanao in past weeks. MILF negotiating panel head Mohagher Iqbal twitted the military and
police in Mindanao for making a standard operating procedure (SOP) out of linking the MILF to
every bombing incident. "Parang SOP na yan ng military at pulis. Tuwing may sumasabog na
bomba o granada ang iniisip MILF (It seems the police and military have made an SOP out of
blaming us for every bombing incident in Mindanao)," Iqbal said in an interview on dzXL radio. He
said the MILF could not have been behind such incidents since it has nothing to gain from it.
Police and military authorities earlier blamed "rogue" commands of the MILF for a series of
bombings in Mindanao in the last part of December. The MILF rogue commanders had been
linked to attacks on Mindanao since August, following the Supreme Court's blocking of the
signing of a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain. "Walang makukuha ang MILF na
political advantage or political gain. Ang MILF, walang kinalaman sa pagsabog sa Mindanao (We
get no political advantage or gain from such bombings. We have nothing to do with them)," Iqbal
said. (cont)
Source: GMA News.tv
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/142195/MILF-washes-hands-over-Mindanao-bombings

US Envoy Says RP To Survive US Recession
BAGUIO CITY – United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney on Tuesday said it would be hard to
predict how soon her country can recover from its first recession in nearly a century, but added
the Philippines is resilient enough to survive the impact of the recession on the local economy.
Noting the termination of about 400 employees of the Texas Instruments Philippines Inc. (Tipi) at
the Baguio City Economic Zone, Kenney said American investments in the country have started
fortifying against their home offices‘ financial troubles. Kenney, who hosted reporters at a
―Christmas Coffee‖ at the Ambassador‘s Residence at Camp John Hay here, noted the strong
symbiosis between the Philippines and the US because of exports and globalization. She said
she could not hazard a guess about the recession until President-elect Barack Obama assumes
office on Jan. 20. ―It would all depend on what kind of economic recovery program [Obama would
impose]… How people [in the United States] spent during Christmas…It‘s just impossible to
predict,‖ she said. Kenney said Obama had already warned her countrymen to prepare for ―tough
times to get the [US] economy going.‖ But given the strong showing by other US firms here like
Sitel Philippines and Moog Phils, Kenney said American investors have been cushioned from the
recession because of the Philippines‘ good economic situation. (cont)
Source: Philippine Daily INquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20081231-180878/US-envoy-says-RP-
to-survive-US-recession

SINGAPORE

Two S'poreans In Vicinity Of Bangkok's Santika Pub Remain Unaccounted For
SINGAPORE: Two Singaporeans who were in the vicinity of the Santika Pub when the fire broke
out just after midnight on New Year's day remain unaccounted for. Singapore's Foreign Ministry
and its Embassy in Bangkok have been in close contact with their next-of-kin. In a statement, it
added its Embassy in Bangkok is working closely with the local authorities to determine their
status; and also if there are any other Singaporeans affected. One Singaporean man was among
the 60 people killed in the fire. Two other Singaporeans suffered minor injuries. Local media
reports put the total number of injured at about 200. Police say the fire may have been caused by
firecrackers or pyrotechnics or an electrical fault but have ruled out arson.
Source: CNA
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/399766/1/.html

Singapore Lowers Economic Growth Forecast To -2.0%
SINGAPORE: The Singapore economy is expected to grow between -2.0 per cent and 1.0 per
cent in 2009. The forecast by the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) is lower than the -1.0 per cent
to 2.0 per cent range forecast in November 2008. The weaker prognosis for the Singapore
economy in 2009 is based on the sharp contraction seen in the fourth quarter of 2008. Advance
estimates show that Singpore's gross domestic product (GDP) for 2008 should come in at 1.5%
compared with 7.7 per cent in 2007. This figure is lower than MTI‘s forecast of around 2.5 per
cent in November 2008 and is attributed to a fourth quarter contraction of 2.6 per cent in real
terms over the same period in 2007. This follows a decline of 0.3 per cent in the preceding
quarter. On a seasonally adjusted, annualized quarter-on-quarter basis, MTI said real GDP fell by
12.5 per cent, compared to a decline of 5.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2008.
Source: CNA
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/399750/1/.html

Singapore Sees Biggest-Ever Quarterly GDP Fall: Govt
Singapore's economy could contract by as much as two percent this year, the government said
Friday after data showed a deepening recession and the worst quarterly GDP decline on record.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.5 percent in the fourth quarter, on a seasonally
adjusted annualized quarter-on-quarter basis, which the trade ministry said is the biggest fall
since records began in 1976. "The global economic crisis has worsened since November, with
sharp declines in global demand, trade and investments," the Ministry of Trade and Industry said
in a news release. It also cited the sharp fourth quarter contraction in the trade-dependent
economy for its revised 2009 growth forecast, which now ranges between a contraction of 2.0
percent and expansion of 1.0 percent. "The fourth quarter was a little bit weaker than most of us
were projecting," said David Cohen, director of Asian forecasting at global research house Action
Economics. "This is clearly a major global downturn and Singapore is taking its lumps." The trade
ministry downgraded its previous growth estimate, made in November, which ranged between a
contraction of 1.0 percent and expansion of 2.0 percent in 2009. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090102/bs_afp/singaporeeconomygrowth
SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka Captures Rebel HQ; 3 Killed In Colombo
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan troops captured the Tamil Tigers' headquarters town on Friday
in one of the biggest setbacks for the rebels in years, but in an apparent riposte a suspected
suicide bomber killed three airmen in the capital Colombo. Troops fought their way into the
separatist stronghold of Kilinochchi deep in the north, dealing a heavy blow to the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Details of casualties from the fighting were not immediately
available. "It was the constant dream of all Sri Lankans, whether Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, who
are opposed to separatism, racism, and terrorism, and have always, sought peace, freedom and
democracy," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a nationally televised address. "Today our
heroic troops have made that dream a reality. A short while ago, our brave and heroic troops
have fully captured Kilinochchi that was considered the main bastion of the LTTE." Within an hour
of his statement, a suspected suicide attacker struck near the Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters,
a spokesman at the Media Centre for National Security said. Hospital officials said 37 people
were wounded in the blast. The military said all three of those killed and 12 of the wounded were
air force personnel. The Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority
Tamils in the east and north of the island for a quarter of a century, could not immediately be
reached for comment. (Cont)
Source: Reuters
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-37260720090102

Bomb Blast At Sri Lanka's Air Force Headquarters In The Capital
Colombo: A powerful bomb blast shook the Sri Lankan Capital following minutes after the Sri
Lankan President announcement of its forces occupation of the former administrative head
quarter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Killinochchi. The powerful bomb blast
occurred in front of the Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters in Colombo and two airmen died and
over 32 injured, according to the Colombo Hospital official. "Two airmen died in the bomb blast
while another 32 were brought to the Hospital," a hospital official told TNS. Minutes earlier, the Sri
Lankan President gave a televised address to the country and announced their forces occupation
of the Tamils separatists’ abandoned administrative town of Killinochchi. According to the
military observer in Colombo, the strategically, Kilinochchi was not a particularly important target
in Sri Lanka's offensive against the separatist. But it is just another symbolic value for the current
government facing few provincial election in few weeks. UN World health organization estimates
at least 300,000 civilians are internally displaced in Vanni due to the ongoing military operations
for the past 22 Months.
Source: TNS
http://www.tamileelamnews.com/news/publish/tns_10736.shtml

Army Commander Joins The Forces In Victory
(Colombo Lankapuvath January 02) Addressing the media, Army Commander Lt General Sarath
Fonseka said that this is an important moment in history, when the Sri Lankan Forces captured
Kilinochchi, the heart of terrorism. LTTE suffered great losses in men and land under them. One
by one, area by area the forces under the direction of the Defence Secretary and Army
Commander took over the important and strategic places under LTTE control. Kilinochchi had
been under them for over 10 years, since 1998. From 2006 onwards the battles against LTTE
and terrorists continued uninterrupted, areas of Manar, Paranthan, Mullaitivu, Welioya and finally
Kilinochchi together with all the important administrative buildings and offices, air strip in
Mullaitivu etc came under the troops and worked against all odds to reach the goal of victory. The
Army Commander explained that last night the troops entered the ital Kilinochchi town and battled
to take over the earth bunds, bunkers and targets of fleeing and weakened terrorists over land,
by Army, Navy and Air Force blocked their supply lines and took over A-9 and A 32 that had
provided the LTTE with ample communication facilities.
Source: Lankapuvath
http://www.lankapuvath.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5424&Itemid=76
Sri Lanka Announces Occupation Of Killinochchi
Vanni: The Sri Lankan Government announced that their forces have occupied the strategic town
of Killinochchi in Vanni, situated 320 km north of Colombo. Sri Lankan Security Forces (SF)
Commander, Saratha Fonseka officially informed the occupation of the Killinochchi town to Sri
Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at 4:00 p.m. Following this, Sri Lankan president gave
televised address to the people of Sri Lanka, and said this is a historical win for the Sri Lankan
forces. People in the South of Sri Lanka celebrate the Killinochchi occupation by the SF by
lighting fire crackers at their homes, exchanging sweets, and flying Sri Lankan flags in the streets,
businesses, shops and government buildings. The Sri Lankan private and government televisions
went on live broadcasts of the Killinochchi occupations by the Sri Lankan security forces. The Sri
Lankan Security Forces (SF) has entered a virtual ghost town as the whole civilian infrastructure
as well as the centre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) had shifted further northeast.
It is the first time after a decade the Sri Lankan forces have been able to take control of the town
after several months of fierce fighting that has claimed hundreds of combatants on both sides of
the war. Most of the buildings in the town were partly damaged or completely destroyed by
continuous air strikes and artillery barrage by the Sri Lankan forces. (cont)
Source: TNS
http://www.tamileelamnews.com/news/publish/tns_10735.shtml

Sri Lanka President Takes Over Media Portfolio
January 1, 2009 (AFP) - Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday took the country's
influential media ministry under his wing ahead of a key mid-term election for his administration,
officials said. The Ministry of Mass Media and Information was taken away from Anura
Priyadharshana Yapa, who was instead given the Ministry of Investment Promotion post, a
government spokesman said. The surprise move came as the government prepared for a key
local council election next month and amid speculation that the president may call early elections
to test his popularity. Rajapakse came to power in November 2005 for a six-year term. The
parliament he inherited can go on till 2010, but he has the power to call an early election. An
opinion poll last month suggested that the government's war on Tamil separatists had
overwhelming support despite economic hardships. The country's media ministry controls state-
run media, which has the biggest reach across the country by far of any media outlet.
Source: AFP
http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=510263267\

Maldivian President Arrives In Sri Lanka
Jan 02, Colombo: Newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) and his wife
arrived in Sri Lanka today on a three-day official visit. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa
with the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa welcomed the Maldivian leader with a full military guard of
honour at the Bandaranaike International Airport. This is the first state visit by the Maldivian
leader to Sri Lanka since assuming the office of the President of the Republic of Maldives in
November 2008. During his visit Nasheed will meet his Sri Lankan counterpart President
Rajapaksa, Premier Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka and the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama,
the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. President Nasheed is expected to hold talks on strengthening
bilateral corporations in trade, tourism, and cultural sectors during his stay in Sri Lanka.
Source: Colombo Page
http://www.colombopage.com/archive_09/January2141900RA.html

Sri Lanka Welcomes The President And The First Lady With A Warm Reception
President Mohamed Nasheed and the First Lady Madam Laila Ali, arrived in Sri Lanka this
morning on a State Visit. The President and the First Lady were welcomed with a warm reception
at Banadaranaike International Airport. The President and the First Lady were received by the
President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse and Madam Rajapakse. President Nasheed was
introduced by the Sri Lankan President to senior Sri Lankan Government officials. Further, the Sri
Lankan President was introduced to the members of President Nasheed‘s delegation. The
national anthems of the two countries were then played, with President Nasheed on the dais. He
then inspected a Guard of Honour which was followed by a 21-Gun Salute. The President and
the First Lady then signed the visitors‘ ―Golden Book‖. During the 3 day State visit to Sri Lanka,
the President is scheduled to meet with the Sri Lankan President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and
Prime Minister, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and senior officials of the Sri-Lankan Government.
Bilateral consultations also will be held during the visit. The President and the First Lady will also
attend a State Banquet hosted in their honour by the President and the First Lady of Sri Lanka.
Source: Miadhu News
http://www.miadhu.com.mv/news.php?id=8909

THAILAND

Pub Inferno Leaves 59 Dead
Police are looking for clues into what started the fire at the Santika pub in the first seconds of the
New Year, leaving 59 dead and at least 243 injured. The blaze broke out in the early hours of
yesterday while some 1,000 revellers were celebrating New Year's Eve and bidding farewell to
the pub, which was to be closed after the "Goodbye Santika" party. The pub's lease was due to
expire. Crime scene investigators and forensic officers were still collecting evidence and trying to
identify bodies yesterday. The compound remained off-limits until all legal proceedings were
completed. Police could not reach the pub's owner. Only staff and cashiers were available for
questioning. Deputy national police chief Jongrak Juthanont said the investigation would focus on
whether the fire was caused by carelessness or accident. But Somchai Frendi, a 28-year-old
survivor, told investigators the pub had prepared some special-effect fireworks on the stage for
the countdown to the New Year. (cont)
Source: Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/135680/pub-inferno-leaves-61-dead

Survivors Recall Horror Of Bangkok Blaze As Mourners Pray
BANGKOK: Survivors recalled how revellers shoved and trampled on screaming victims to
escape the New Year fire at a packed Bangkok club, as police Friday tried to piece together how
nearly 60 people died. Newspapers here carried harrowing accounts of the scenes of panic and
fear inside the Santika nightclub in the Thai capital's popular Ekkamai district, where more than
200 people were also injured in the blaze early Thursday. Mourners - some with coffins of victims
in the back of trucks - trickled to the club to pray and to give offerings to the dead, while scores of
people including foreigners remained in hospital after the tragic night. Thanawut Santhong, who
lost three friends, told the Bangkok Post newspaper that fire broke out within an hour of revellers
ringing in the New Year. He said each guest was given a sparkler to light up during the
countdown to 2009, but suddenly smoke engulfed the club and all the lights went out. "People
were in panic after the blackout," he said. "The situation became worse as people screamed 'fire'
and tried to escape." He recalled party-goers crying, screaming, pushing and stepping on top of
one another as they struggled to steer a way through the few doors out of the club, while flames
rained down on people's hair and clothes from the ceiling. (cont)
Source: AFP
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/399795/1/.html

Two S'poreans In Vicinity Of Bangkok's Santika Pub Remain Unaccounted For
SINGAPORE: Two Singaporeans who were in the vicinity of the Santika Pub when the fire broke
out just after midnight on New Year's day remain unaccounted for. Singapore's Foreign Ministry
and its Embassy in Bangkok have been in close contact with their next-of-kin. In a statement, it
added its Embassy in Bangkok is working closely with the local authorities to determine their
status; and also if there are any other Singaporeans affected. One Singaporean man was among
the 60 people killed in the fire. Two other Singaporeans suffered minor injuries. Local media
reports put the total number of injured at about 200. Police say the fire may have been caused by
firecrackers or pyrotechnics or an electrical fault but have ruled out arson.
Source: CNA
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/399766/1/.html
China Offers Medical Help
Chinese medical skin-grafting experts are willing to offer treatment to burnt victims of the New
Year's Eve pub fire, Public Health Minister Manit Nop-amornbodi says. Mr. Manit said the
Chinese embassy in Bangkok had offered help through the foreign ministry after Chinese medical
skin specialists had given assistance to victims in the Thai capital in 1990 when an LPG-tank
truck crashed and exploded on New Phetchaburi Road in central Bangkok. Many people died and
many more were injured and disfigured in that accident. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health will
cover the bills of medical expenses in the Santika nightclub tragedy, according to Dr. Manit. He
said the major reason that so many people died and were injured in the inferno at the Santika
Club which occurred at about 12.30am was likely due to alleged changing of building structure by
the owner of the venue. The incident as well as the country's building safety issues will be
presented to a cabinet meeting, he said. (cont)
Source: Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/135681/china-offers-medical-help

Suthep Assigned To Bring Back Thaksin
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban will initially coordinate with relevant people to bring
back ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to the country, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on
Thursday. Mr. Abhisit said the government is ready to negotiate with all sides based on the
principle of justice, so the country can progress forward. Mr. Thaksin should not be concerned
that the government will mistreat him, the prime minister added. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep,
meanwhile, admitted that he was assigned to approach Mr. Thaksin's close associates. He said
the negotiation is aimed at restoring order to the country. The government already contacted his
close associates and it is waiting for their response, Mr. Suthep revealed. He insisted the
government only wants the ex-premier to fight his graft charges in the country and does not want
to aggravate him.
Source: Bangkok Post
http://216.46.180.242/breakingnews/135677/suthep-assigned-to-bring-back-thaksin

House Speaker Urges Unity For King
House Speaker Chai Chidchob on Thursday called on Thai people to unite and be patient as a
New Year's gift for His Majesty the King. Mr. Chai, who is a Buri Ram local, extended his New
Year's wishes to people in Buri Ram province and all Thais nationwide. He wished them
happiness and prosperity while asking them to reconcile and be tolerant. He asked all sides to
share the same goals to reduce social conflicts, revive the economy and restore peace and order
in Thailand because the country has already suffered greatly. "If Thai people from all sides can
reconcile, they can overcome crises in the country and restore confidence of Thai and foreign
investors," Mr. Chai concluded.
Source: Bangkok Post
http://216.46.180.242/breakingnews/135678/house-speaker-urges-unity-for-king

Gunmen Injured Soldier In Pattani
Southern insurgents on Friday morning shot and critically wounded a soldier in Muang district of
Pattani province. Following the ambush, a 29-year-old soldier identified as Private Sutthisak
Namesi suffered a bullet wound in the head, and he was immediately sent to Pattani Hospital.
According to reports, a group of gunmen opened fire at Private Sutthisak with a pistol while he
was heading to Thepsatri-Sisunthon Camp in Nakhon Si Thammarat province via a motorcycle.
Source: Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/135683/gunmen-injured-soldier-in-pattani

Happy New Year: 100 Million Times
People in Thailand sent more than 100 million Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia
Message Service (MMS) messages during the New Year's holiday. The estimates were made by
the third largest wireless firms: Advance Info Service known as AIS, Total Access Communication
or DTAc, and True Move. Market leader AIS alone said that on New Year's Eve and New Year's
Day, its users sent about 50 million short text messages popularly called SMS. They also sent
about a million more colourful - and more expensive - multimedia messages with photos, sounds
and varied fonts. The head of DTAC Value Added Service (VAS) Division, Pakorn Pannachet,
said the company counted about 39 million SMS and 4.6 million MMS on the two-day festive
holiday. He said that was 27.13 and 35.32 per cent more than last year. Last month, the new
Democrat government infamously "requested" the mobile phone firms to send a message
purportedly from the new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, and also asked phone owners to reply
to the message. Mr. Abhisit denied that he knew anything about that program, which drew the ire
of consumer groups for its "spam" quality - unrequested mass messaging by big companies or
groups. Mobile messages have far surpassed ordinary mail for season's greetings. Marketing
Communication Manager Parisa Pananond of Thai Post said Thais would be sending about 20
million ordinary mails from Dec 15 to Jan 15. Still, that is 8 per cent higher than last year. (cont)
Source: Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/135682/100-mln-sms-mms-sent-during-new-year

				
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