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Archive for October 12th, 2006

EL MUNDO (they have a video of the aggression):

About 40 youngs with placards and independentists flags shaked hard and threw plastic bottles full of water and “some fire-works” against PP (center-right) politicians, Ángel Acebes and Josep Piqué when they were arriving at a political meeting of the pre-electoral period in Martorell (Barcelona). Acebes y Piqué,and around 150 people, were at the Cultural Center of Martorell, and waited for police reinforcements for about 1 hour, when the event finished. The independentists, radical and violent, had eggs and stones, and “it was dangerous to exit the building”.
[…]The group, which stayed out there during all the meeting, was holding placards with the words in Catalan “Martorell, village of workers, we do not want fascists or speculators” and “In Montserrat, we do not want fascists”. according to PP sources.

This is another video of the aggression:

Some photos:

Xabier García Albiol, the Organization’s Secretary of the Catalan branch of PP defended both politicians. We have to thank him for his courage, because he has been previously menaced by these radicals: a house-made bomb exploded in his parents’ house on September, 29th, 2005. As he intended to defend himself from the agression and hit a demonstrator, now Socialists are asking for his demission. An Pique’s bodyguard has a broken rib caused by a stone.

Catalan Socialist party has expelled one of their millitants, Jordi López Forn, because he was one of the culprits of the aggression. He recognized that some Socialists were there, that they yelled and insulted both politicians, but he has assured that they did not organized the event.

Catalan Parliament has also condemned the aggression. But Durán i Lleida (Unió, nationalist right) said Piqué only felt like complaining, but that he condemned the acts. He added that people who act like this are only benefiting PP and because of that they are “fools”.

Interior Ministry has suspended a European Union meeting which should have been held in Barcelona, because of the menaces from anti-globalization activists.

Others blogging about these events Criterio, Disculpen las Molestias, El Blog Antiescolar, el Blog de las Zetapolleces and Maty.

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USA has pressed for NKorea Sanctions. The proposed US sanctions are:

  • Halting trade in material that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction
  • Inspections of cargo going in and out of North Korea
  • The ending of financial transactions used to support nuclear proliferation
  • A ban on the import of luxury goods

Japan has confirmed the economic restrictions on NKorea and the restrictions to the entry of NKoreans in Japanese land. They are also forgiving NKorean ships to enter Japanese ports. All of these measures can have a very bad efect on NKorean economy as some of their products, as clams or mushrooms, are one of the main methods of achieving foreign currencies, mainly from the Japanese market. Also ferries are the main way of communication between the two countries. [The Guardian]

Of course, Koffi Annan has -in another crisis in his reign– said to the US: please, talk to NKorea…

He urged the US to enter direct talks with North Korea, something which Washington consistently refuses to do. “I have always argued that we should talk to parties whose behaviour we want to change,” Mr Annan said.

And NKorea has threaten to retaliate strongly:

North Korea today threatened “strong” retaliation against Japanese sanctions as UN security council members tried to work out a compromise deal on a response to Pyongyang’s nuclear test.

“We will take strong counter-measures,” Song Il Ho, North Korea’s ambassador in charge of talks with Japan, said when asked about Tokyo’s unilateral sanctions, imposed yesterday. The measures include a ban on North Korean shipping.

In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo news agency, he warned: “We never speak empty words.”

Newsweek asked some days ago if this test will bring down Kim. And also wrote about China:

But U.S. officials had become increasingly frustrated by China’s reluctance to squeeze Pyongyang harder. In the past, even when it was displeased with Kim, Beijing has done little more than temporarily interrupt fuel flows. The hope in Washington is now that Chinese President Hu Jintao will decide he’s finally had enough of his out-of-control former junior partner. With Sunday’s test Kim has now twice rebuffed Hu’s pleas for restraint. The last time was July, when Kim ignored the Chinese leader’s request not to test missiles. This time Kim insulted Hu the day after an important Sino-Japanese summit with Tokyo’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe—a nationalist who will no doubt be probing China’s strategic determination—and on the eve of a big communist party plenary session at which Hu’s reputation will be on the line.

For Washington, almost everything is riding on this hope. U.S. officials are talking tough about beefing up their Proliferation Security Initiative, which mainly involves interdicting suspect shipments on the high seas. But last week they quickly walked back any speculation that Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill’s stark rhetoric from last week—“North Korea can have a future or it can have these weapons. It can’t have both,” Hill said—meant a threat of war. The Pentagon is extremely leery of any military options, with the heavily-populated South Korean capital of Seoul lying vulnerable to missile attack just across the North Korean border. What Hill’s comment meant instead, several U.S. officials said, was that the U.N. Security Council would move to impose sanctions, and key countries such as China, Japan and South Korea would join in, ensuring that the Pyongyang regime remains utterly friendless.

Well, today, from Reuters:

The United States will push formally on Thursday for tough U.N. punishment of North Korea for its reported nuclear test, but is certain to face strong opposition from China.

China, the nearest North Korea has to a backer, openly condemned its communist neighbor after it announced on Monday it had conducted a nuclear test and agreed to limited sanctions.

“In response to North Korea’s actions we’re working with our partners … to ensure there are serious repercussions for the regime in Pyongyang,”U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday after Japan announced new sanctions of its own against North Korea.

But a new U.S. resolution goes further than Beijing wants.

There has not yet been any independent confirmation that Monday’s test was of a nuclear device. But some have speculated that if it was nuclear, it might not have been successful as claimed by Pyongyang.

North Korea has held out the threat of more tests, calling U.S. pressure to rein in its nuclear program tantamount to a “declaration of war”.

A U.N. Security Council vote on the resolution could come on Friday, when the leaders of China and South Korea — on which Pyongyang relies for economic aid and a level of diplomatic protection — are also due to meet in Beijing.

Both countries are anxious to avoid driving the reclusive North — with its 1.2 million-strong army — further into a corner, possibly triggering instability on the Korean peninsula, which has been divided for more than half a century.

USA has softened previous proposal on NKorea.

The new American resolution, to be formally introduced this morning, would declare North Korea’s actions to be a threat to international peace and stability and would require countries to freeze assets related to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs and ban the sale or transfer of materials that could be used in them. It would also ban travel by people involved in the programs and bar the sale of the luxury goods used to reward the regime’s elite, diplomats said late Wednesday.

But unlike an earlier version, it would allow but not require inspections of all cargo going into or out of North Korea, or the freezing of assets related to counterfeiting or narcotics, which American officials say are crucial sources of the hard currency needed to fund the weapons programs. Japanese demands for a ban on allowing North Korean ships or planes to enter other countries were also dropped.

In Beijing today, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry appeared to back away from a statement on Tuesday by the country’s United Nations ambassador expressing support for “punitive” sanctions.

“It’s necessary to express clearly to North Korea that the nuclear test is the wrong practice,” said the spokesman, Liu Jianchao. “As to what measures to take, I think the measures themselves are not punitive action,” he said. “One can say that punishment isn’t the goal.”

Precisely the question now arising in some places is whether or not NKorea really tested a nuclear bomb.

UPDATE: An interesting article from the Telegraph: The West woke up too late to the nuclear threat of rogue states. (Found at Disculpen las Molestias)
EEUU presentó una resolución en la que se imponían una serie de sanciones a Corea del Norte por la prueba nuclear. Estas eran no dejar entrar material que pudiera ser usado para hacer ADM, inspecciones de todos los buques cargueros que entren y salgan de Corea del Norte, el final de todas las transacciones financieras usadas para apoyar la proliferación nuclear y una prohibición para importar bienes de lujo.
Japón por su pare ha establecido restricciones a sus transacciones comerciales con Corea del Norte y sobre los ciudadanos norcoreanos que quieran entrar en el país nipón. Asimismo, también ha prohibido a los barcos norcoreanos atracar en puertos japoneses. Estas medidas pueden ser penosas para la economía norcoreana que recibe muchas divisas procedentes de la exportación de setas y almejas a Japón y cuyo único medio de comunicación con este país son los ferries. Corea del Norte ha anunciado “grandes represalias” contra Japón.
Hace unos días ya escribí que el principal problema para imponer una sanción a Corea del Norte era precisamente China. Pues bien, después de protestar mucho cuando Corea del Norte hizo la prueba nuclear, ahora no es partidaria de que se le impongan muchas sanciones. EEUU ha tenido que presentar una nueva propuesta de resolución en la ONU, en la que ya no se exige un registro de los barcos que entran y salen de Corea del Norte, medida que es vital según los expertos, porque de esa forma se impediría que llegara dinero procedente de drogas o de falsificación, para financiar el programa armamentístico.
Eso sí, Koffi Annan le ha dicho a EEUU que a ver si dialoga con Kim Jong Il, diciendo: “Creo que siempre hay que hablar con las personas cuyo comportamiento debemos cambiar”. NO comments 😦
Mientras crecen las dudas sobre si efectivamente Corea del Norte tiene la bomba realmente.

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Yahoo! News:

Just a little more than a year ago, the small spot on Jupiter was a pale white; now it matches the reddish hue of its bigger sibling, the Great Red Spot, and boasts 400 mph winds, according to new data from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Both spots are actually fierce storms in Jupiter’s atmosphere. While the red spot — at three times the size of Earth — is much more noticeable, strange things are happening to the smaller spot.
Scientists aren’t quite sure what’s happening to the smaller storm, nicknamed the Little Red Spot or Red Spot Jr. but officially called “Oval BA.” It probably gained strength as it shrunk slightly, the same way spinning ice skaters go faster when they move their arms closer, said NASA planetary scientist Amy Simon-Miller. Her findings from the Hubble data were published in the astronomical journal Icarus.
As the storm has grown stronger it’s probably picked up red material from lower in the Jupiter atmosphere, most likely some form of sulfur which turns red as part of a chemical reaction, she said.

Los científicos de la NASA a través del Telescopio Espacial Hubble han detectado un cambio en el llamado “Pequeño punto rojo” de Júpiter -el grande es 3 veces el taamño de la tierra…-. Hace unos días estaba más claro, pero parece ser que una tormenta lo ha vuelto rojo: la razón puede ser que ha cogido elementos de la baja atmósfera, seguramente azufre, que hace que se vuelva de ese color por una reacción química.

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