News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Net censorship spreads worldwide: Where China has led, other nations are following and taking active steps to filter the net before it gets to their citizens. Zimbabwe is reportedly buying technology directly from China to beef up its censorship efforts.
Many other nations, including Burma, Cuba, Iran, Libya, Nepal, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam censor the net. Often this filtering involves stopping access to some types of sites, such as those showing pornography, but it can also involve blocking sites critical of governments or religions.
Some nations, such as Turkmenistan, have banned home net connections and restrict people to using net cafes which, said the RSF, were much easier to control. Burma has banned web e-mail systems such as Hotmail and Yahoo mail and every five minutes screen grabs are taken of what people are looking at in net cafes.
Communists, oil and the Florida coast: America's energy policies have been so counterproductive during the past 20 years that the time has now arrived when the communist governments of China and Cuba can jointly teach us a lesson about supply and demand. For years, the United States has refused to explore for oil in the 90-mile-wide waters separating Cuba and Florida. Now, Cuba is enlisting help from China, India and other interested parties in an effort to explore for oil in Cuban waters 50 miles off the Florida coast.
...Even ANWR's huge reserves pale compared to oil located throughout the waters of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of Interior estimates that the OCS contains 76 billion barrels of oil in yet-to-be-discovered fields. That's three and a half times U.S. proved oil reserves. Offshore oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico alone are estimated to be more than 40 billion barrels, much of it precluded from exploration by official U.S. policy. Compared to U.S. proved natural-gas reserves of 189 trillion cubic feet, the MMS estimates that the Gulf of Mexico alone holds more than 200 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas. While celebrating their success in preventing American energy companies from exploring for oil and gas between Florida and Cuba, environmentalists and Florida politicians ought to contemplate China's egregious environmental record as they look with horror at Chinese drilling rigs soon to be dispersed throughout Cuban waters less than 50 miles from the Florida coast.
Falun Gong Practitioners Attacked in Indonesia: Actually it is not hard to guess who is behind this, because in the whole world, only the CCP persecutes Falun Gong and behaves like hoodlums. Spreading hatred is a trick the CCP has mastered well. We have discovered this several times already. The Chinese Embassy instigates or even directly manipulates from behind the scenes, utilizing Chinese nationalism to easily distort facts.
China Unveils New Generation of Fighter Plane : Industry reports have said the aircraft is unlikely to be used by China's own air force. But Pakistan plans to buy eight of the planes late this year or early next, according to the China News Agency. This week Russian Defense Minister Sergei Invanov said China may participate in Russia's development on a new-generation fighter, but he said it was a "long term" prospect that had to surmount economic and legal obstacles. Biff- sounds like another patriotic flying coffin, this one being export-quality...
China gets energized over ethanol: Even knowing that Brazil heavily uses ethanol in transportation doesn't prepare one for the startling sight of roadside vendors selling beer to motorists during a recent rush hour traffic jam in Sao Paulo.
...And while Brazil's ethanol experience has largely been a pleasant one, surprisingly, that isn't particularly the case at the moment. "Today, the price of alcool is higher than when the flex system started," said Renato Astur, a salesman with Caoa Ford, a car dealership in Sao Paulo. "Now, the people who buy [flex-fuel cars] don't see a big advantage." Partly, this is because ethanol has a lower energy content per liter than gasoline does. Drivers can travel about 10 kilometers per liter of gasoline in Brazil, compared with only 7 per liter of ethanol, Astur said. So the price of alcool has to be 70% of the price of gasoline, or less, for consumers to see a financial advantage; of late, it has been greater than this. And while for the most part the environmental benefits of ethanol are clear, including the fact that it is a minimally toxic fuel, improves air quality where it is widely used, and biodegrades rapidly, Fischer notes that large-scale ethanol production can harm soil because of the need to plant the same crops again and again, depleting ground nutrients
Myanmar's junta goes for the kill: In the past, Myanmar's police have been accused of planting drugs, especially heroin, on young activists and students, then arresting them and sentencing them to several years of imprisonment. These tactics are being complemented with a more subtle strategy aimed at crippling the NLD's ability to operate and recruit, according to the recent police meeting notes. ...Sources close to the SPDC's top leadership say that Than Shwe has apprehensively monitored recent international and regional news from his fortified bunker in Pyinmana, including the street rallies that last month drove Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to abandon his political post, and Nepalese King Gyanendra's recent acquiescence to more violent street protests where demonstrators called for a return to democracy. These events have "rocked the old man, who now more than ever fears a repeat of the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 1988 which forced Ne Win to stand down", said a close confidant of Than Shwe. In response, the SPDC leader has reportedly ordered police to crack down on even the faintest signs of political ferment.

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