News & Reports 2012-08-26

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-08-26

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

Humanitarian officials say the death toll from a cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has risen to 217 people.
South Koreans express concerns over a US jury decision in favor of Apple Inc and its landmark patent case against Samsung.
Support for American cycling legend Armstrong continues after being stripped of record-breaking seven Tour de France titles.
And Chinese pianist Lang Lang is awarded a high civilian honor in Germany.

Hot Issue Reports

French and Greek Leaders: Greece Stays in the Euro-zone
French President Francois Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras have insisted that Greece will remain in the Euro-zone after their meeting in Paris.

The two leaders met as Greece continued to push for more time in order to carry out major spending cuts designed to avert a fiscal crisis.

Hollande praised the Greek people for making painful budget cuts, while urging them to do more to show their commitment to reforms to keep their country in the Euro-zone.

"The question of Greece in the Euro-zone should no longer be asked. Greece is in the Euro-zone and it must remain in it. Yet, Greece still has to demonstrate the credibility of its program and the will of its leaders to carry it out until the end. In a way that is bearable for the population."

Samaras noted continued pressure within the financial markets, but stressing that Greece will weather the crisis.

"Some people keep on speculating that Greece will not make it, they keep on speculating that Greece will not be able to remain in the Euro-zone. I came here to say that Greece will make it. It will stay in the Euro-zone and play an important role in the European Union."

The Greek premier has been on a tour of key European capitals, in each one pursuing a delay in the implementation of an austerity program in his home country.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to keeping Greece in the Euro-zone after a meeting with Samaras in Berlin.

But the German and French leaders have both indicated that any decision on delays for Greece must wait for a report next month by the "Troika" of Greece's international lenders.

Deputy PM Denies Spain Already Negotiating New Bailout Terms
The Spanish government has denied reports that it's already negotiating new bailout terms and conditions with Brussels.

Spain has for months been trying to avoid following Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus in having to ask for a rescue of its government finances.

An EU Commission spokesman did admit talks were going on with Spain on a number of issues and levels.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said recently he will consider approaching the eurozone's bailout fund for such government assistance, provided the European Central Bank outlines its plans to help bring down the country's sky-high borrowing costs.

Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, now says that her government has not made up its mind.

"We should first know what is the situation, and what will the process be before we make any decisions, at least that is the way this government works. We try to make the minimum amount of decisions when we do not know the situation perfectly."

Some experts say it is only a matter of time before Spain accepts government rescue loans and that it would help, not hurt, investor confidence in the country.

Investors have taken flight from Spain as the uncertainty over whether the country can afford to save its banking sector and indebted regional governments continues.

Meanwhile, some of Spain's near 6 million unemployed got some good news.

Employment minister Fatima Banez said the government was extending a policy under which long-term unemployed people receive monthly payments of 400 euros.

Lebanese Army Increases Patrols in Tripoli Following Clashes
The Lebanese army has intensified patrols in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, after four days of fierce clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian factions that left at least 17 dead.

Hundreds of soldiers, equipped with tanks and military vehicles, have been deployed to patrol local neighborhoods.

Despite the increased military presence, fighting still continued and gunfire could be heard in many neighborhoods on Saturday.

Ahmed Abboud, one local resident, were perplexed by the fighting.

"Look at us now, we're standing here, but later on they will start shooting at us. And we don't know how this is happening."

The conflicts in neighboring Syria have exacerbated Sunni-Alawite tensions in Lebanon.

The Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is a member of Syria's Alawite minority.

Rebels fighting his government in Syria are members of the nation's Sunni majority.

Clashes over the past few days in Tripoli represent some of the most serious fighting in Lebanon in several months.

OAS Urges Britain and Ecuador to End Assange Impasse Peacefully
The Organization of American States or OAS has urged Britain and Ecuador to peacefully end a standoff over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador and is holed up in the country's embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks founder is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sex allegations, and Britain says it will arrest and extradite him if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Meeting at OAS headquarters in Washington, foreign ministers from the 34-member bloc adopted a resolution that calls for Britain and Ecuador to continue a dialogue to resolve the situation.

During their meetings, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has told his OAS counterparts to pass a resolution guaranteeing the security of its London mission.

"There was already a transgression of international law therefore we request the expressed guarantee that by no means our diplomatic mission will be assaulted. There was a transgression from the U.K. to invoke norms of internal law as a justification to not abide by its international commitments."

Ecuador has accused Britain of threatening to raid its embassy in violation of diplomatic conventions to extract Assange and had sought support from the OAS in preventing such a possibility.

However, due to objections from the United States, Canada and others, references to the alleged threat were removed from a draft resolution offered by Ecuador and strongly backed by Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Norwegian Mass Murderer Remains Unrepentant after 21-year Sentence
Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik says he will not appeal his prison sentence for the massacre of 77 people in bomb and gun attacks last year.
At the end of his sentencing hearing in Oslo, Breivik said appealing the judgment would legitimize the court.

He also apologized to "militant nationalists" for not having killed more people in the attacks in July last year, but his microphone was cut off as Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen reprimanded him for his comment.

However, the judge Arne Lyng has rebutted Breivik as saying Norway will still be a nation where different ethnic groups coexist peacefully.

"At the time of release, the democracy which the defendant wants to abolish will still remain. Norway will still have inhabitants of different ethnic backgrounds, different cultures and different religions. The defendant made clear to the court that he will continue his political fight behind the prison walls. After the sentence is complete he will most probably still have the will and the ability to commit countless and very brutal killings."

Earlier, Breivik was sentenced to a maximum of 21 years in prison by a court in Oslo.

The sentence brings a form of closure to Norway because Breivik's lawyers said before the verdict that he would not appeal any ruling did not declare him insane. But Breivik remained unrepentant at the end.

77 people, most of whom teenagers, were killed and 200 others injured in the bomb- and-shooting attack orchestrated by the Norwegian far-right activist on Utoya island in July, 2011.

Sierra Leone Cholera Death Toll Rises to 217
Humanitarian officials say the death toll from a cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has risen to 217 people.

Nearly 12-thousand cases already have been reported and the number of people affected is likely to increase significantly in the next month.

Aid groups say there has been a sharp increase in reported cholera cases since mid-July and the onset of the rainy season.

Medicins Sans Frontieres medics treating cholera patients in capital Freetown said that volunteers and authorities were doing their best to cope with the rising numbers of cases in the country.

Here is a doctor speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We have here ORS which is a re-hydration fluid that the patients drink to get better. It has salt and sugar that the patients lose a lot through diarrhoea, it's to replace what they lose with the diarrhoea. It's the best treatment for cholera is to drink the ORS."

Anne Maithe, MSF Coordinator in charge of the cholera operations in Sierra Leone.

"We and the ministry of health with other actors are doing their very best but, I have to say, that the needs are large, not just in Freetown, but outside of Freetown as well. The needs are very big and we do need more support."

Some 82 deaths have been reported in neighboring Guinea, while other cases have been seen in Mali and Niger.

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine, contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids.

It can cause acute diarrhoea and vomiting and can kill within hours.

South Koreans Concerned over US Jury Decision in Favor of Apple
South Koreans have expressed concerns over a US jury decision in favor of Apple Inc and its landmark patent case against Samsung.

Apple scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung who was accused of copying critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad. They were forced to pay the US company over 1 billion USD in damages.

Some South Koreans saw the result as a battle for national interests.

"The US verdict reversed the Seoul court's decision. I think it's about national interest. The United States was once generous to multinational corporations, but now the country is giving weight to its own national interests."

Others say Apple was sensitive regarding patent rights due to Samsung's rapid growth, threatening Apple's position in the world market.

"Yesterday, Samsung won in our country, and today, Apple won in the United States. It think the results were predetermined, since the battles were held on each countries' home ground. I thought Apple wasn't this sensitive before, but now that they see Samsung growing fast, they react even more sensitively."

Samsung Electronics called the decision in favor of Apple Inc, "a loss for the American consumer," saying it would stifle innovation and push up prices.

Samsung said that this was not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple's claims.

Support for Armstrong Continues after being Stripped of Cycling Titles
Supporters of Lance Armstrong have rallied around the legendary cyclist after the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life from the sport.

The agency concluded that Armstrong used banned substances in his competitions.

Armstrong said that he had decided to not pursue arbitration with the agency.

Armstrong's bitter fight with the agency makes Greg LeMond the only American to win the Tour de France.

Despite this negative news, Armstrong remains a hero to millions of cancer survivors for beating the disease and coming back to win the Tour de France a record seven times.

In his hometown of Austin in Texas, fans still support him.

"I think that Lance's hometown will always support him. I don't think this news will change anyone's opinion about Lance."

"The doping allegations don't really change my opinion of him really, because, in the sport of cycling, so many people dope that it seems like they really haven't been able to get it under control. I don't think he was doing anything that others weren't doing."

As for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, better known as Livestrong, the support for its mission and its founders continues unfettered.

The Foundation's spokesperson Katherine McLane:

"We might see a temporary effect but, long term within the cancer community, Lance Armstrong is a hero. He helped pass legislation in Texas that created a 3-billion dollar investment in cancer research and prevention. That is the largest fund for cancer research outside of the federal government. He has done so much great work here at the foundation helping us raise close to 500-million dollars to serve cancer survivors."

The foundation raised $51 million US dollars in 2011 and said it was on pace to surpass that mark this year.

Flooding Brought by Tropical Storm Isaac Hits Haiti
Tropical Storm Isaac has dumped torrential rains on Haiti and began to hit on eastern Cuba.

Heavy rains and high winds lashed Haiti's southern coast, flooding parts of the capital Port-au-Prince and flattening tents in some of the fragile resettlement camps that house more than 350,000 survivors of the 2010 earthquake.

Power outages and minor flooding were reported.

At tent camp Le Piste in Port-au-Prince, residents blamed President Michel Martelly and his government for not doing enough to help the people ahead of the storm.

"We are living in the camp, we have children and we are having hard time sleeping. We don't even have a sheet cover for the tent and last night we had to stay awake and stay standing up all night with our children. I would like to ask President Martelly who I gave him my vote. On the election day I was hungry and we wanted change and that is why I voted for him."

Children under the age of eight were allowed to shelter with a parent at a United Nations office in camp Le Piste. Others had to find shelters at a cholera treatment clinic near the camp.

Many fear that a cholera epidemic would break out.

"Since the 2010 earthquake, President Martelly and the one before him have never visited us here in camp La Piste. We are human beings, there is a storm and if you visited this camp you would see all the damage."

No major damage has been reported by Saturday, but forecasters said heavy rains would continue in Haiti.

Isaac was forecast to sweep over eastern Cuba and strengthen into a hurricane before hitting the Florida Keys early on Monday.

Chinese Criminal Gang Members Flown back to China from Angola along with Victims
Thirty-seven Chinese suspected of involvement in criminal gangs in Angola and fourteen of their victims were flown back in Beijing on Saturday.

The suspects have been charged with committing crimes against Chinese nationals including kidnapping, robbery, blackmail and human trafficking.

Twenty-four more people believed to have been involved in the crimes were arrested inside China.

Among their victims, four women were forced into prostitution in the city of Lobito after arriving in Angola late last month.

Zhang Zhendan is a police officer from the team sent by Chinese police to help with the rescue efforts.

"They were forced to provide sexual services from July 19 to August 3. From the accounting book, one was forced to provide sex service more than 50 times during a given period, sometimes 10 in one day. The criminal suspects threatened the four girls with claims that they would report them to the immigration department and have them arrested if they tried to escape Lobito."

Chinese police dispatched an advance investigation team to Angola in May after receiving a report from the Chinese embassy in Angola.

The report stated that criminal activity by Chinese gangs had been rampant in the West African nation since last year.

The Chinese team busted 12 criminal gangs with the help of Angolan policemen early this month, rescuing the 14 victims.

The rescue operation marked the first time Chinese police carried out a large-scale crack down on crimes involving Chinese citizens in Africa.

Chinese Pianist Lang Lang Receives Top German Honor
Chinese pianist Lang Lang was awarded a high civilian honor in Kiel, a port city in northern Germany.

Torsten Albig, Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein, presented Lang Lang with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the country's only federal decoration commending individuals who make outstanding contributions to fields such as politics, economics and society in Germany.

Lang Lang was awarded for his distinguished contribution to German music, as well as his services to the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

"I am greatly honored to receive the Order of Merit today. I have a special bond with Germany. My first overseas performance was in Germany when I was 12 years old. I hope there will be more exchanges between the East and West through music and art, so we can gain mutual understanding. I hope I can be a good cultural envoy."

Albig said Lang Lang's close cooperation with German musicians and his rendition of German music attracted larger audiences, bringing classical music to more people.

The award was created by the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss in 1951.

Xinhua: US should Stop Military Build-up in Asia Pacific

Senior military officials from the United States and Japan confirmed this week that the two countries were discussing the option of adding another X-band early-warning radar at Japan's northern Shariki base to contain missile threats.

The US State Department promptly denied that the missile defense hardware is targeted at China.

But a commentary by the Xinhua News Agency says the denial is at best a poor lie, considering America's persistently deliberate exaggeration of "China's military threat".

The article notes that it has become a tradition for the US to identify an "enemy country". With the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, a rising China has appeared to be the next choice.

The commentary contends that Washington is playing a double game by diplomatically welcoming China's rise on one hand and covertly curbing China's development on the other.

It says that Washington is seeking to drive a wedge between China and its neighboring countries with intensive joint military drills and insidious arms deployments.

Tokyo is currently wrestling with Beijing over China's Diaoyu Islands, and a number of other territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific are still boiling.

Xinhua says Washington's military build-up in the area would further fuel the already flaring antagonism and harm regional peace and stability.

The article notes that Beijing is committed to peaceful development and insists on bilateral talks to solve territorial disputes with its neighbors, as a peaceful relationship is in China's own interests.

Xinhua urges Washington to revise its false-hearted China policy, learn to co-exist and cooperate with an emerging power and keep good faith with the "stay-neutral" stance toward the regional territorial disputes.


China Daily: China Prepared for Grain Crisis

A disastrous drought in the US and an equally ravaging heat wave in Russia have quickly pushed up global grain prices, causing a shortage similar to what was seen in 2008.

Meteorologists say that it is rare for exceptional droughts to hit both North and South America. The effect of the weather on grain production, therefore, could be more serious than previously expected.

Meanwhile, the US government has chosen to reduce subsidies to farmers in the coming decade, a decision that has led to concerns about a decline in the grain supply.

An editorial in the China Daily newspaper suggests that America's emphasis on bio-fuels has contributed greatly to the increase in grain prices. By reducing the reliance on foreign oil imports, less corn will be produced for consumption, causing prices to soar.

The article points out the policy is not good news for the world's grain market, considering the 2008 global grain shortage was partly the result of bio-fuel programs from important grain producers, most notably from the US.

The editorial suggests that it's high time that the world kept a closer eye on the grain market. Those doing the monitoring should prepare themselves for financial speculation in the capital market, which could exacerbate real-world price fluctuations.

The article warns that people should not take the grain shortage for granted. Back in 2008, few people saw the shortage coming, and it led to people in certain vulnerable countries taking to the streets.

China, for its part, should proceed cautiously, especially since it suffered from "import inflation" in 2008 and is now importing more grain.

The China Daily editorial says China will be able to iron out crop price fluctuations by importing grain with its large cache of foreign reserves to tackle the grain crisis.