Archive for September 28th, 2006

Looks like Prodi is also having problems with illegal immigration: 16.000 illegal immigrants have arrived only this year, to the Italian and little island of Lampedusa. His proposals, “ambiguous and contradictory“, are a good reflection of the several political parties which conform Italian Government nowadays. “Il Professore” has reduced from 10 to 5 years the time to grant Italian citizenship to foreigners. But this is the first step: the Social Security Minister, the Communist Paolo Ferrero, announced unilaterally a regularization which would be greater than the one Zapatero made in Spain [my goodness… another non-existent human being…].

Yesterday, Giuliano Amato, Italian Interior Minister , announced a new law. Spanish newspaper writes that it consists, basically, in abolishing the “Fini-Bossi” Act, but without any alternative measures to contain the arrival of the illegal immigrants to Italy. Yahoo News! Italy has titled their information “Amato: Sponsor per immigrati“, that is, “Amato: the immigrants’ sponsor” (via Italian blog Fard Times).

Italian Newspaper Il Corriere della Sera also writes about this: Italian immigrants will need an sponsor. According to Italian newspaper,

the Government is going to let enter in Italy only the immigrants that have taken Italian classes, a formation course for the job. Only immigrants in those lists could be admitted. BUT, instead of letting immigrants come only from countries  that would readmitting their citizens [as it is now], now this wouldn’t be necessary.

There will also be “sponsors that engage themselves financially with guarantees“. If they arrive to Italy and do not work, then these sponsors, whether associations, Chambers of Commerce, etc. would have to pay their contributions.

He also announced system of “voluntary repatriations“, which would be of a lower cost than to have them in jail.

Firstly, I think these measures are a little bit naïf: Does he really think they are going to return voluntarily to their countries of origin once they have arrived to El Dorado? I am not really sure. And what methods are they going to use if they are not willing to return?

Secondly, who is going to pay the guarantees of these sponsors? Italian contributor? Countries of origin? This is important to know, because of the cost to the average citizen the measure can have.

Thirdly, the idea of making the would-be immigrants take classes of Italian and to specialise in their future jobs, is a very good one. But, do they think that if people can arrive without any kind of these requirements and stay in the country, are they going to fulfill them? I mean, you want to come to Europe where jobs are very easy to find and everyone lives really well [or so they are saying to the would-be immigrants]. There are some friends of yours who have arrived here without any requirements and are working here. Remember Mohammed,  the Moroccan immigrant in Spain:

France is a racist country. Italy, on the contrary is ideal. If you work without bothering, Police just leaves you alone. In Spain, by contrast, if you are detained, you are thrown into jail“.

If you work, whether being legal or illegal, -should be added- without bothering… I do not know, I am not very optimistic about this. And what would be the solution if instead of entering through Italy they have entered through Spain and have gone to Italy afterwards?

And lastly, what is going to say Paolo Ferrero, the regularization man, about this “restrictive” law?

Thanks to enzo, for the help with translation.

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Yesterday I wrote about Russians being accused of a coup which intended to change the Georgian Government. Today, from the blog Taking Aim, Georgia has surrounded the Russian Army Headquarters in Tbilisi.

Have found two blogs which seem to be really good.

  1. The first one about Venezuelan reality called Venezuelan News and Views. The blogger profile says: Written from the Venezuelan provinces, this blog started as private letters to my friends overseas, letters narrating the difficult days of the 2002/2003 strike in Venezuela. These letters became this mix of news, comments, pictures of the Venezuelan situation. Unknowingly, I have written the diary of Venezuela slow decent into authoritarianism, the slow erosion of our liberties, the takeover of the country by a military caste, the surrendering of our soul to our inner demons. You should read about Anti-Semitism in Venezuela or Chavez’s concept of democracy: not applicable.
  2. The second one is about Belarus. Belarus -Bielorrusia en español- is a very unknown country in Spain. And information is always useful. But if this does not convince you, what about this photo?

If you want to laugh, Bill [Clinton] and Belinda [Stronach]’s excellent adventure. Looks like Clinton is now with the Canadian Conservative-turned-out-Liberal Stronach. Or so it is rumoured.

Newsweek: China’s Wealth Woes.

Beijing’s growing dollar hoard represents the most dangerous imbalance in today’s global economy. The United States is both importing heavily from China and borrowing heavily from the country to finance those purchases, pushing the dollar down and putting the two economic superpowers on a collision course. Washington politicians demand that Beijing raise the value of the yuan against the dollar, and Chinese officials have hinted that if pushed too hard they might shift their near-trillion-dollar reserve out of U.S. Treasury bonds, which could trigger a U.S. and global recession. The main thing preventing this confrontation is the fact that both sides have too much to lose. Former U.S. Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers once called this “the balance of financial terror.” What has gone widely unremarked is that, increasingly, this balance is threatening China as much as the United States.

The United States has been worrying for the past 25 years about a mounting trade deficit and the threat it poses to America’s financial pre-eminence. But China now views its surplus with growing alarm, too. Its dollar mountain reflects huge demand for Chinese goods and the Chinese currency needed to buy those goods.

Also from Newsweek: Silent Games.

Beijing’s goals are far more sweeping than the chicken-and-monkey metaphor could encompass. Today’s targets are not just domestic media and foreign correspondents, not just our Chinese sources and local assistants. Less than two years before Beijing hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics, authorities are in the midst of a concerted—and disturbing—effort to slam stricter controls on what Chinese know and how they know it. The aim of the recent crackdown is not only to silence individual “troublemakers,” but also to beef up institutional controls over the free flow of information. This is a grim portent for the 2008 Games, when some 20,000 international journalists are expected to descend on Beijing. “These latest measures sound a wake-up call to the international community that a closed, state-controlled Olympics is on the horizon,” warns Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, an NGO.

Asia’s Mistery Man, about Shinzo Abe, likely to be the new Japanese leader:

What will the world see when the cameras are finally trained on Abe? The problem is that no one—not even the Japanese—really knows. At the tender age of 51, Abe is decades younger than most of his predecessors. He has no high-level government track record, and his policy views in some areas, especially in terms of economic reform, are vague. That’s caused observers to latch onto what little they do know about his ambitions—which, despite the muted reaction to his Yasukuni visit, are worrying to many outside Japan.

He’s got at least two big goals, and they’re both risky. The first is revising the Constitution to eliminate Japan’s pacifist postwar military tradition, and the second, which could be a function of the first, is defying China’s bid for regional pre-eminence. A generation ago, the first idea would have struck mainstream Japanese voters as irresponsibly radical; the second even now strikes many as fraught with uncertainty.

Rights group Slams Legal System as China Jails Blind Activist. via Causes of Interest.

Last week, authorities in the eastern province of Shandong handed a four-year jail term to Chen Guangcheng, a social activist who blew the whistle on official abuses under China’s one-child policy. Lawyers and Chen’s relatives called the trial an illegal and retaliatory move by local officials.

Background about Chen: Cina et dintorni. Chinese authorities had to postpone his judgement as his supporters gathered to protest his arrest.

Lastly, I am going to direct you to a post by Díaz Villanueva in which he quotes Danish-American-Argentinian actor Viggo Mortensen saying, about his new film, Alatriste:

“US Health system is nearly at the same level as it was in XVIth century Spain. Really, this film (Alatriste), it’s not history but plain present”.

I think it deserves no comments…

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Yesterday there was a Government’s control session in Congress. Spanish right-wing newspaper LA RAZÓN writes about it:

Nicholas Sarkozy, French Interior Minister, Otto Chilly, German Interior Minister; Rita Verdonk, Dutch Immigration Minister; Dominique de Villepin, French Prime Minister; Nicholas Schimit, Vicepresident from Luxembourg; Günther Beckestein, representative of the Interior Ministers from the German Länder; Wolfgang Schuable, Federal German Interior Minister and Franco Frattini, European Minister of Justice and Security. There can be foreign responsibles that speak about some sort of EU’s problems, but not with such unanimity and in such a contusive manner as these responsibles have been doing these past weeks about the Spanish immigration policy. And not to praise it. The long list of critical voices was shown yesterday in Congress by Mariano Rajoy.

But Mr Rajoy also extracted two political consequences:

The first, that the credit of the Spanish Government “could certainly be better”; and the second, that it’s “impossible to understand how the Minister for Labour and Social Matters (Mr Caldera or “immigrants do not read the laws”) has not been dismissed”.

The answer from Mr. Zapatero was that he:

did not admit any lectures from nobody of EU, and less from Sarkozy, remembering the riots who were “caused by citizens of foreign extraction in Paris”.

He could have charged against any other European minister critical with his Government, that there a lot, but he chose the French Interior Minister -right-, the principal defender of a harder European immigration policy. Zapatero does not support Sarkozy, but integration and multicultural pluralism seriously questioned in some countries of EU. He is so sure about this that the lectures of European politicians are not valuable for him. “They could be valuable for you” -he shouted at Rajoy- but not for this Government,  and they are not convenient for this country”. He added that “there haven’t been any critics. The European Governments and the European Commission try to cooperate in front of this challenge that for some countries has a great range”.

Surprised at the answer, Rajoy censured Zapatero for denying evidence, and demanded him a little humility to recognize his errors, and to take a look at the PP’s proposals regarding immigration. After that, Acebes showed the most shivering figures about immigration: for each illegal immigrant returned to their country of origin, 7 remain in Spain; thousands of them are not even taken to temporal living centers as they are too crowded; the calling effect has already taken to Spain 690.000 illegal immigrants and only 12.000 have been returned to their countries of origin.

Pride is one of the seven capital sins and this laic Government of us have a good proportion of it. The reason why he charged against Sarkozy can be that he is coming to Spain to participate in an interministerial conference on immigration matters. I would like to know what it is said on it… it would be funny.

The Madrid’s Autonomous TV Channel showed a report in which some immigrants were escaping easily from the temporal living center in which they were held. That same day we were told that Interior Minister has instructed Policemen not to write down or make any statistics about the immigrants who escape from those centers. When questioned yesterday about this order, the Government did not contradict it. Vice President Fernández de la Vega only answered that now immigration is more “human and noble“.

Tell that to the approximately 5.000 immigrants who have died in the trip. Tell it to the immigrants who are not granted even a health control when they are held to provide them with medicines and appropriate diagnose and treatment. Finally, look into the eyes of normal people and tell them that an invasion of nearly 1.400.000 (the 700.000 who were legalized last year and the 690.000 who have come because of the calling effect) without any control, job or even perspective of having one (if an illegal immigrant is employed by Spanish firms, the responsibles of the latter will have to face criminal punishment, aggravated by socialist laws, so they have it very difficult to be admitted in one), are not going to cause any type of security problems, not only to citizens but also to legal immigrants.

And after everything happens, laments are not necessary. Politicians should know they are experimenting with people’s lives, dreams, desires, families, jobs, etc. So please before any type of “I’m so good and clever, my critics are idiot and are not worth even the time I am dedicating them“, think a little bit. I think, so I am, said Descartes. Several political figures today do not exist -as they do not think at all-, but they harm citizens and societies a lot for being non-existent human beings from Descartes perspective.

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Some time ago, I wrote about prisoners in China being removed several parts of their bodies to sell them in the international organ market. An investigation from BBC has concluded that the market of organs appears to be thriving in China.

Organs from death row inmates are sold to foreigners who need transplants.

One hospital said it could provide a liver at a cost of £50,000 ($94,400), with the chief surgeon confirming an executed prisoner could be the donor.

China’s health ministry did not deny the practice, but said it was reviewing the system and regulations.

‘Present to society’

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes visited No 1 Central Hospital in Tianjin, ostensibly seeking a liver for his sick father.

Officials there told him that a matching liver could be available in three weeks.

One official said that the prisoners volunteered to give their organs as a “present to society”. [Oh, yes, and I am just so stupid as to believe it…]

He said there was currently an organ surplus because of an increase in executions ahead of the 1 October National Day.

China executes more prisoners than any other country in the world. In 2005, at least 1,770 people were executed, although true figures were believed to be much higher, a report by human rights group Amnesty International said.

In March, China’s foreign ministry admitted that organs from prisoners were used, but said that it was only in “a very few cases”.

Spokesman Qin Gang said that the organs were not taken forcibly, but only with the express permission of the convict.

But whether prisoners really are free to make up their own minds on organ donation just before they are executed is not at all clear, our correspondent says.

In April 2006, top British transplant surgeons condemned the practice as unacceptable and a breach of human rights.

But the No 1 Central Hospital carried out 600 liver transplants last year, our correspondent says, and the organ transplant industry has become big business.

So Europeans, we are so good to be opposing death penalty, but then use their organs to save lifes -nowadays this reason looks like that is OK for everyone-. The problem is that some of this organs are removed before the condemned has been killed, especially if he is a dissident -in the case of the link, Falung Gong prisoners-. Of course, BBC has not told that. So if it’s terrible that people are made to give their organs if they have not decided to, this is much more terrible, as the prisoners are “donatingalive their organs.

UPDATE: Le Monde: In China, the fight against corruption boosts the influence of the President Ju Hintao. In French, but very interesting.

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