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Archive for June 10th, 2007

Today there are legislative elections in France. Polls consider that Sarkozy’s party, UMP is going to win. But both Sarkozy and Fillon consider that, if UMP does not achieve 400 seats, the results will be not great. First numbers point to a record abstention: between 37% and 40%.

UPDATE: Victory of UMP: Sarkozy to extent majority ater legislative vote:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to tighten his grip on policy making after his Union for a Popular Movement won the first round of legislative elections.

Sarkozy’s UMP may win as many as 501 seats in the National Assembly, up from 359 now, in the second and final vote on June 17, Paris-based polling firm CSA forecast today in Le Parisien daily. The Socialist Party, with left-wing allies, may take as few as 62 in the 577-seat lower house of parliament. With all ballots counted, the UMP won 39.6 percent against the Socialists’ 24.7 percent, the Interior Ministry said.

“These elections could be a tsunami for the UMP and a triumph for Sarkozy,” said Gerard Grunberg, head of research at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. “Voters have confirmed their presidential choice.” Sarkozy defeated Socialist Segolene Royal with 53.1 percent of the vote May 6.

In France they call it the “blue vague“.

Results according to le Monde: 43,25% for UMP, 28,5% for the socialists. @import url(http://medias.lemonde.fr/mmpub/css/blog.css);

Législatives : les résultats nationaux
LEMONDE.FR | 10.06.07

© Le Monde.fr

According to projections, that would mean UMP has between 405 and 445 seats, when in the past term it had 359.

The real loser is Bayrou’s party.

This is the first round of the legislatives. We will have to wait for the 2nd tour for knowing what majority he effectively has.

Others commenting the French elections: Fausta who links to several blogs including No Pasarán (1, 2 y 3). Specially important to read is the no.3 link which is about BBC bias.

In Italian: The Right Nation.

The left is calling the people to vote massively on the next Sunday’s second tour as “France needs the left”, specially the young ones, who have contributed to the abstention highly.

Other news are that both the Front National (Le Pen) and the communists have crashed. FN had only 4% of the votes and will continue out of the Assamblée Nationale while the Communists can lose all their representation.

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China is not respecting the Refugees’ Statute UN Convention h/t Aquiles [in Spanish]. As North Korea is not precisely heaven on earth, they try to escape from their countries to the neighbouring ones as I have already being treating here. The phenomenon is on the rise as the North Koreans want to leave in the past the chronic food shortages and political oppression.

The entry into South Korea is really hard to achieve mainly because of the de-militarized zone and because the North Korean beaches are closed.

So this poor people only have another possible way of fleeing: entering China. And what China does with them? Chinese authorities send them back to North Korea:

Now those returned by China are often sentenced to prison for several years, and repeat offenders or Christians can be sent with their entire families to labor camps for life.

Some North Koreans told me that their government now holds regular sentencing rallies, at which the punishments are publicly announced — or in extreme cases, such as those who became Christian evangelists while in China, the accused are executed in front of the crowd by firing squad.

North Korea would not be a poor country -as it is- if it would not be because of its Government, who is now spending UN Funds to buy property in France, Britain and Canada. Even the UN has conceeded North Korea has violated UN rules:

About $3 million in United Nations money intended to help impoverished North Koreans was diverted by the Pyongyang government toward the purchase of property in France, the United Kingdom and Canada, according to a confidential State Department account of witness reports and internal business records. Millions more, the department reported, went to a North Korean institution linked to a bank alleged to handle arms deals.

Ban Ki-Moon as ever kissing the ass of North Korean Kim Il Sung (something which is not new):

Ban said a follow-up visit to North Korea is required in order to get more detailed information. But the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has already rejected such a visit, and critics of the UN said they doubted it would happen. 

Of course, a visit. That’s what i call a truly good solution. And what is going to do Kim Il-Sung? To present documents accusing him of diverting money?

And do you know who have also behaved like China with North Korean refugees?

SEOUL: In 1999, a group of seven North Koreans fleeing their country was intercepted in Russia. The Russian authorities, rejecting appeals from the United Nations and human rights groups, sent them to China. China returned them to North Korea.

In the ensuing uproar in South Korea over the government’s failure to rescue them, the foreign minister had to step down. And then, the seven were largely forgotten. Those who remember them may have recalled their frightened faces on Russian television, where they said they feared death if sent back to their Communist homeland.

Now, two of them have escaped again and arrived in South Korea, contradicting what the North Korean government told United Nations officials about the group’s fate – that most had been returned to their homes and jobs. One brought with him accounts of life and death at North Korea’s infamous prison camp No. 15, known to the outside world as Yodok.

“Until the last minute, until the Russians blindfolded us, loaded us into a truck and handed us over to the Chinese at a border bridge on Dec. 31, 1999, we believed the United Nations could save us,” said Kim Eun Chul, now 27, in an interview. “We were naive about real-world politics.”

At least five of the seven languished in Yodok, where inmates toiled 15 hours or more a day on rations meager even by the standards of the impoverished North for such deeds as criticizing the government

or fleeing the country because of famine, Kim said.

[…] Moscow said it was honoring its border treaty with Beijing, and Beijing said it was doing the same with Pyongyang. Pyongyang accused Seoul of trying to kidnap its citizens.

Read all the article.

Jang Ho Young -right- was one of a group who fled North Korea, but was returned and jailed at Yodok, a prison camp. [Photographs by NKHR]

The pressure is so great that North Koreans are now fleeing on boat to Japan (here, here and here). Japanese authorities have doubted if the 4 were spies (they had wristwatches, an important amount of fuel and the younger son was having methamphetamines to keep him awake and to be able to manage the jobs) although there are other considerations which lead to consider them only as refugees. South Korea has accepted them and Japan will transfer them there.

North Korea has also used political prisoners from a concentration camp to prepare for its underground nuclear test h/t One Free Korea.

But that is not at all interesting for China.

Related news:

    Workers at the factory

  1. “Slaves” rescued from China firm. Many workers had extensive burns from the hot bricks -they were obliged to carry them even they have not been properly cooled-. Eight workers were so traumatised by their experiences that they were only able to remember their names. The labourers had to work unpaid for 20 hours at a time, and were only given bread and waterobreros chinos esclavos in return. The brickworks, in the poor inland province of Shanxi, is owned by the son of the local Communist Party secretary.  […] the rescued workers had been duped into working at the factory. Once there, they faced a harsh regime. One man was even reported to have been beaten to death with a hammer, because he did not work fast enough. When police raided the brickworks they discovered foul-smelling workers who had been wearing the same clothes for a year. […] Local people said the brickworks, near Linfen, would have been closed down a long time ago had it not been for the protection of the party secretary. In Spanish in El Mundo. In a whole year, they couldn’t get out of the brickworks. They were also obliged to walk barefoot in the oven. Even the existence of a Chinese civil registry, which controls the movements of all Chinese, has not stopped the peasants from migrating to other areas. They are foreigners in their own country and become illegal workers, accepting jobs for 60€/month and no contract, security or right to protest.
  2. Well, do you know what is Le Monde worried about? The attacks against French Marks in China multiply: Milk bottles for children and feeding bottles, mineral water Evian and seafood are the targets of denigrating campaigns in the MSM. More than 118 tons of Evian’s mineral water have been blocked, Feb 2007, in the customs duty in Shangai, because of an alleged “very high level of bacteries“. And they continue: “Must we long for the time when China was asleep? When it is awaken, it has a apetite that makes anyone feel anxious”. Hmm, life is good. The only problems with China are related with our firms… But French products are not the only ones who have faced this kind of blocking. Also US products. I wonder if Spanish products have faced something similar…
  3. China has increased its trade with North Korea, despite nuclear conflict and missile launching -again on Jun, 7th-. Or thanks to it? h/t NoKorea Economy Watch.
  4. From China e-Lobby: Chen Yonglin talks about Communist espionage and the Long Arm of Lawlessness in Canada: The former Communist consular official who defected to Australia in 2005 “brought with him a portfolio of Chinese documents” (Toronto Star, h/t Between Heaven and Earth) detailing Communist China’s espionage network in Australia, and in particular its targeting of exiled dissidents and other anti-Communists (dubbed “The Long Arm of Lawlessness” by yours truly). Chen further ” says that Canada likely has a comparable amount (of Communist spying) within its borders” (Globe and Mail, h/t BH&E).Human rights activist sentenced in Beijing; family and lawyer still know nothing about it: The cadres were so determined to send Hua Huiqi to jail that they refused to let his family or his attorney into the courtroom for the sentence (Epoch Times). Hua was arrested for “accompanying his mother who tried to hand-deliver materials of complaint letters to representatives of the ‘two conferences (i.e. the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference).'” His mother is serving a two-year jail term.

More about NKorea Human Rights, here.

China has put economy before environment (more here: 16 out of 20 of the more polluted cities are Chinese). But if there is something very surprising is:

Ma, however, stressed that the bulk of responsibility for battling climate change still lay with industrialized countries, which “are in a better position to cap emissions.”

He said they also have the obligation to provide financial and technical support to developing nations — like China — whose “overriding priority at the moment is still economic development and poverty eradication.”

And the result of Chinese policies: From Phastidio.Net:

Prosecutors have charged environmental activist Wu Lihong with extortion from industrial plants that he accused of polluting Taihu Lake in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, state media said on Wednesday. The prosecutors in Jiangsu’s Yixing city accused Wu, who was once nominated as one of China’s top 10 environmentalists, of extorting 55,000 yuan (6,875 dollars) by threatening to expose the plants’ pollution, the official Xinhua news agency said. The agency quoted prosecutors as saying Wu’s diary listed “blackmail targets and showed amounts of money he had planned to extort from each factory or enterprise.

The Yixing court had not set a date for the trial of Wu, 39, who had fought for years against the pollution of Taihu.
Water supplies from the lake had to be cut to 2 million people in nearby Wuxi city in late May because excessive pollution had promoted the growth of a pungent blue-green algae.

Sent to Open Trackbacks to: 123 betaA Blog for AllBlue Star Chronicles, Dumb Ox, Pirate’s Cove, The Amboy Times, Woman Honor Thyself.

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A wealthy Syrian arms dealer previously accused of arming militants from Iraq to Somalia has been arrested in Spain on charges he plotted to supply millions of dollars worth of weapons to Colombian rebels, U.S. officials said Friday.

Syrian Arms Dealer Indicted in U.S. Court

As I have written about this in my Spanish blog, themozer al-Kassar man in fact is the Syrian Monser Al-Kassar (left,back in 1995):

The weapons dealer has been reclaimed by the South Disctrict Federal Court of N.Y. charged with several crimes, among them conspiracy to give help and material means to a terrorist organization, conspiracy to kill US citizens, conspiracy to kill US officials, conspiracy to use and to buy anti-aircraft missiles and money laundering.

[…] Al Kassar was accused by Judge Baltasar Garzón because of his alleged collaboration in the kidnapping of the Italian ship ‘Achille Lauro’, back in 1985. In 1992 Garzón accused Al Kassar of belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, murder in first grade, belonging to armed band and terrorist organization, frustrated murder, illegal detention and piracy.

After he was detained in Madrid on 1992, the Syrian millionaire was held in prison for 14 months, being later free on a bail of €12 million. The National Court considered him not guilty because the instruction made up by Garzón, there weren’t enough proofs to condemn him –something not unusual, by the way-.

Al Kassar was sending weapons to FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

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