News & Reports 2012-09-02

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-09-02

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

In This Edition

China lays out a raft of measures to help the sustainable development of Pacific island nations.
Kyrgyz acting Prime Minister resigns and moves into opposition.
A senior Iranian official says his country's first nuclear reactor has reached full generating capacity.
And more than a million people in the American state of Louisiana live in darkness after Hurricane Isaac hit.

Hot Issue Reports

China Lays Out Policy of Stability, Development in Pacific
China has laid out a raft of measures to help the sustainable development of Pacific island nations at a meeting of Pacific leaders and development partners in the Cook Islands.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai announced a set of aid programs worth of 800-thousand U.S. dollars and promised to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two sides.

Speaking at the Pacific Islands Forum, Cui Tiankai said the measures aimed to help Pacific island countries realize sustainable development.

"We are here in this region not to seek any particular influence, still less dominance. We are here to work with island countries to achieve sustainable development, because both China and the Pacific island countries belong to the rank of developing countries. Although we are far away geographically, we face very similar tasks in achieving sustainable development, in improving the lives of our peoples."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also attended the forum, which represents 16 independent and self-governing states in the South Pacific.

Clinton said the United States would buttress security partnerships across the Pacific as it strengthens ties with island nations.

She stressed that the United States played a crucial security role in the region, noting that the U.S. Coast Guard already had formal partnerships with nine Pacific Island nations and was working to build more as part of a broader "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific.

Clinton is on a six-country trip which will also take her to China, Indonesia, and Russia.

12 Killed in Suicide Blasts near US Base in Eastern Afghanistan
At least 12 people, including eight civilians and four Afghan police officers have been killed in a suicide bombing near a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan.
Two suicide attackers blew themselves up when one of them drove a fuel tanker into the district of Wardak, about 70 kilometers from capital Kabul.

A man surnamed Hamidullah witnessed the bloody explosion.

"A small explosion happened followed by a big one caused by a truck loaded with stones. In these explosions, many people were wounded, and a large number of shops were destroyed. I fell down on the ground, and everything around me was destroyed."

According to the U.S.-led NATO coalition, no American or coalition troops were killed in the blasts, although some were wounded.

A Taliban spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was targeting the U.S. base.

Last year, the same base in Wardak was the target of another suicide bombing, which killed five Afghans and wounded 77 American soldiers.

The United States and other countries have already begun withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan as part of a strategy that aims to hand over security responsibility to the Afghans by the end of 2014, when nearly all foreign troops are set to leave the country.

The troops will be replaced by Afghan army and police units, but many military analysts have questioned the effectiveness of an Afghan force, which is poorly disciplined.

Obama Levels Criticism at Romney after Republican Convention
U.S. President Barack Obama says that his Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney offers no new ideas on the economy, only "retreads of the same old policies".

The comments came following the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, which has formally nominated Romney as the Republican presidential candidate.

Speaking to supporters at a campaign event in Iowa, Obama offered his critique of the Republican National Convention.

"There was a lot of talk about 'hard truths' and 'bold choices' but nobody actually bothered to tell you what they were. And when Governor Romney had his chance to let you in on his secret, he did not offer a single new idea, just retreads of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years. They talked a lot about me, they talked a lot about him, but they didn't say much about you."

Obama said he would present his vision for the economy at the Democratic nominating convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination.

"This Thursday night, I will offer you what I believe is a better path forward; a path that grows this economy, creates more good jobs, strengthens the middle class. And the good news is, you get to choose which path we take. We can take their path or we can take the path I'm going to present."

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to open in Charlotte on Tuesday. Obama will deliver his nomination-acceptance speech on Thursday.

Kyrgyz Acting PM Resigns & Moves into Opposition
Kyrgyzstan's acting prime minister Omurbek Babanov has resigned after his party appeared to be frozen out of a new coalition to run the country.

Babanov has denied all accusations of impropriety, adding that his Respublika Party still enjoyed huge support, and he praised the party for what it had achieved.

"The main thing is that we are not to blame for anything. Whomever we meet, they all say the decision we took was not wrong. I think they support the government, and would like this government to go on. This is the main assessment for us, which we deserve, as we all worked towards this. Many thanks to all of you."

President Almazbek Atambayev has accepted Babanov's resignation.

Babanov served as prime minister since last December. He will move into opposition ahead of the formation a new coalition government that is likely to comprise three of the five parties in parliament.

The coalition government collapsed last week after two of its four members withdrew in protest against a shrinking economy and corruption allegations against Babanov.

Political analysts said Babanov was better suited to a role in opposition than negotiating a way into a coalition.

Acting First Deputy Prime Minister Aaly Karashev will replace Babanov pending the formation of a new coalition and the election of a replacement prime minister.

Analysts have identified Zhantoro Satybaldiyev, head of the presidential administration, as a candidate for the premiership.

Iran's First Reactor Reaches Full Capacity
Iran's first nuclear reactor has reached full generating capacity for the first time.

Mohammad Ahmadian, Iran's deputy nuclear chief said the reactor, at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, had reached 1,000 megawatts.

"In the period since the inauguration of the Bushehr power plant, 1,250 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity has been generated and connected to the national electricity grid of the country."

Ahmadian said the plant has now supplied more than a billion kilowatt-hours to the Iranian national grid since electricity production started last year.

The reactor, built with Russian assistance, went into operation for the first time last year.

The US and some of its allies, including Israel, believe the plant is part of an Iranian attempt to develop nuclear weapons but Iran denied the statement.

African Leaders Pay Last Respects to Former Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi
African leaders have paid their last respects to former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died on August 21 in Brussels, where he was being treated for an unspecified ailment.

The leaders have arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, for the once powerful Prime Minister's funeral, which will take place on Sunday.

Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete praised Meles as "one of the most development conscious" African leaders.

"His charm, his intellect, his passion for Africa's development, his passion for a stronger, peaceful and stable Africa is unmatched. And he was a man of his words. He is a person, he is a kind of leader that you can trust. Always he speaks his mind. He is always predictable. You can always know that on this matter Meles Zenawi will support, on this he will not."

Meanwhile, Rwandan president Paul Kagame said Zenawi's death was not only a blow to Ethiopia but the whole continent.

Zenawi was widely credited for steering one of the world's poorest countries to sustained high economic growth.

But he had his image tainted after his crackdown on opposition leaders in the wake of the disputed 2005 election.

Among the African leaders expected to attend Sunday's funeral is also Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Minor Damage Reported after Philippines Quake
Philippine authorities have reported minimal damage from the 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which initially led to tsunami warnings and the evacuation of residents.

The quake struck on Friday some 90 miles off the town of Guiuan on Samar island, killing one person.

Right after the quake, the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and other islands in the Pacific.

Philippine authorities ordered thousands of people living in coastal villages to evacuate, but residents decided to go back to their homes after the warning was lifted a few hours later.

The national disaster agency's initial assessment recorded minimal structural damage and small landslides after the quake.

But Edgardo Ollet, the agency's director, has not ruled out the possibility of greater damage due to the range of the earthquake.

"We are currently monitoring if there is any major damage from the quake. Right now, our initial investigation reported two areas with minor structural damage on the two bridges along the southern Caraga region. We will follow up if we receive any reports of major landslides and damage from the earthquake."

Officials said they have deployed engineers to repair the identified damaged structures.

The Philippine seismology agency recorded more than a hundred aftershocks after the earthquake, with the strongest being a magnitude 6.4 in the southeast islands.

The region has been hit by two huge quakes in the past decade. At least 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries were killed in a quake and tsunami off Indonesia in 2004.

16th Summit of Non-aligned Movement Concludes
The Non-Aligned Movement's 16th summit has concluded in Tehran, Iran.

During the weeklong meeting, Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei stressed that developing nations have a greater right than the U.S. or NATO to intervene in Syria, signaling an effort to lead a diplomatic push in the efforts to resolve the crisis.

Iran sought to use the summit to assert itself on the Syrian crisis and to counter western efforts to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program.

The U.S. and its allies say Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons, but Iran denies the claims and says its program is for peaceful purposes.

The final summit declaration issued on Friday said all countries had the right to develop and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closed the summit by stressing members were in common agreement on global governance reforms.

"The common point of all statements and comments of the members was the necessity of reforms concerning global governance. Everybody emphasized the necessity of a fundamental change to the way the world is governed."

The Nonaligned Movement is an organization formed during the Cold War as an alternative to both the Soviet and U.S. blocs. It currently has 120 members 17 observer countries.

Japan Holds Annual Natural Disaster Drill
Japan has marked Disaster Prevention Day with a large-scale drill involving 380-thousand people.

Coordinated anti-disaster responses were carried out across the country, based on major earthquake scenarios.

Crowds in Japan's metropolitan area were mobilized according to the potential effects of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake just north of Tokyo Bay.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stressed the importance of raising the public's awareness of disaster prevention.

"I think that public awareness about disaster prevention is increasing for sure. It is important to have preparations on a routine basis. I felt once again the significance of many people's participation in the drill."

The drill exercises included rescuing people from quake-damaged homes.

Volunteers helped evacuate residents to parks and other designated safe areas.

Many participants believe the drill was effective and practical.

"It was the first time I've used a stretcher to carry a human being. It was a really good experience for me."

"I think it is important to hold this annual drill. Without hands-on activities, it is difficult to know what I need to do in a real case."

In the event of a 7-magnitude quake in the Tokyo area, official estimates suggest the subsequent impact could lead to death tolls as high as 10,000 people.

More than 20,000 people were reported dead or missing in Japan's March 2011 quake and ensuing tsunami.

Half a Million People in Louisiana Affected by Power Cutoff after Hurricane Isaac
In the United States, more than a million people in Louisiana have to live in darkness after the state suffered power cutoffs in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

Entergy Corporation deployed thousands of crews to start repairing power lines in New Orleans, the area worst hit by Isaac.

Todd Phillips, a consignment store employee in the city, said his shop would likely remain closed for another week.

"Most of the city is out (of power), which is crazy. I can't imagine not having a hot shower."

Three quarters of New Orleans residents have been in the dark since Isaac made its way through the southern state at a rather slow pace.

High temperatures have forced many New Orleans natives to leave their dark homes for the dark bars that are running power off generators. Emma Bisnett is a bartender.

"People need a place to go, and people do not stop drinking. Bars are recession proof, they are hurricane proof, and there will always be people wanting to come out to the bars."

Others were busy tending to their homes and removing debris from their property.

"There is some damage to different property, and we are trying to cope with that and clean up the debris."

Hurricane Isaac has left Louisiana and crawled into the central U.S. with its power weakened.

At least five have been reported dead in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Death Toll Rises to 43 in SW China's Colliery Blast
Death toll in Wednesday's colliery blast in southwest China's Sichuan Province has risen to 43.

Rescuers are still searching for the last three miners trapped in the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Panzhihua City, some 750 km southwest of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan.

Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, has promised a thorough investigation into the accident.

"The coal mine illegally organized its production. It also operated in violation of relevant regulations. We need to keep a close eye on what's behind the accident. Once dereliction or corruption has been found, we will deal with it seriously."

The mine was struck by a gas blast at around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, trapping about a third of the 154 miners who were working underground.

An initial investigation indicated that chaotic management and sheer ignorance of safety measures were mainly to blame for the accident.

China Daily: Sino-German Cooperation Benefits the World Economy

China and Germany draw global attention every time their high-ranking officials meet to forge new cooperative ties and discuss world economics and politics.

With no exception, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to China this week has impressed those who have been watching it with interest.

During her two-day visit to China, Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao witnessed the signing of 10 agreements, covering a range of sectors from aviation and automobiles to communications and energy. The most notable one was a deal in which China agreed to buy 50 Airbus planes worth 3.5 billion U.S. dollars.

An editorial in China Daily says the agreements give the bilateral relationship a substantial boost and almost certainly will lead to broader benefits amid the gloom hanging over the international economy.

The editorial notes that China trades more with Germany than with any other country in the European Union. Last year, trade between the two countries accounted for about a third of the total value of trade between China and the EU.

The editorial also notes that Merkel's visit is her second to China this year, which is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

China Daily argues that such good bilateral relations can help bolster the troubled eurozone and world economy as Germany and China each hold great economic influence in their respective regions. It urges the two countries to further deepen mutual political trust and accommodate each other's concerns for the benefits of both nations and the world at large.

In conclusion, the editorial says it believes that both China and Germany have the resolve and means to reap further fruit from their cooperation in the future.


Global Times: US Presidential Election Pick Barely Matters for China

Mitt Romney, the former governor of the American state of Massachusetts, was officially nominated this week as the U.S. Republican Party's presidential candidate. He has taken a hawkish stance on China, calling the country a currency manipulator.

A commentary in the Global Times newspaper suggests China is not taking Romney's tough words seriously because they are only tricks to win support from voters. It says the United States now matters less than before to China because the Chinese increasingly believe the biggest challenge for the country comes from within. It goes on to say that the U.S. cannot easily threaten China, which will respond to any moves against it accordingly.

The commentary seeks to convey the message that the Chinese public need not worry if Romney is elected president and launches a trade war with the country. It argues that China and the U.S can realize mutual benefits if the U.S. is serious about doing business together. Otherwise, China is willing to shoulder the consequences and see which side will outlast the other.

The commentary goes on to say the Chinese public no longer cares about specific trade-related decisions made by the U.S., such as reducing the quota for Chinese textile imports, because as China's interests are expanding, the weight of the U.S. is decreasing among the Chinese.

The article seeks to remind Romney to be clear about who he is. Even if he does win the presidential election, he should feel lucky if his words have an audience in the U.S., but should not expect the Chinese public to buy them.

The article cautions that the U.S. cannot contain China's development, which will only increase the cost of development, but will pay a steep price if it chooses this route.

In conclusion, the commentary stresses that neither Romney nor President Barack Obama can dismantle Sino-American relations regardless of whether a Democratic or Republican president is at the helm of the world's largest economy.