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Posts Tagged ‘leaders’

World leaders scramble for funds to save the tiger

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

APEC leaders commit to strengthen economic co-operation

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 1:55 am

APEC leaders pledge to make free-trade dream real

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

World union leaders urge G20 to keep promise for decent jobs

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 6:51 am

ASEAN leaders gather as turbulence buffets region

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 7:09 am

Southeast Asian leaders meet Thursday with their region assailed by currency tensions, territorial disputes and pressure to act on troublesome neighbour Myanmar’s looming elections.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi also takes place against a backdrop of increasingly assertive behaviour by China which has put the region on edge.

The gathering of the 10-member ASEAN bloc shifts gear Saturday when it widens into the 16-nation East Asia Summit, also taking in Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Talks mooted between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan are in doubt after the two nations became embroiled in their worst diplomatic row in years, centred on a disputed East China Sea island chain.

A police officer directs traffic at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi on October 27, 2010

A meeting scheduled for Friday between the economic ministers of Japan, China and South Korea has already been cancelled, casting further doubt on the two-way talks between Asia’s biggest powers.

A Japanese trade ministry official blamed the cancellation on scheduling problems, but Kyodo news, citing government sources, said China axed the talks due to a spat over its export restrictions on rare earth minerals.

In a parallel issue, the United States and Southeast Asian countries are concerned over China’s robust approach to maritime sovereignty in the South China Sea, where several nations are claimants.

“We must ensure that this does not become an issue that is going to burden ASEAN, that creates the impression as if our region is afflicted by tensions, by competitions,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Wednesday.

ASEAN has a policy of non-interference in members’ affairs but some of its stronger democracies have spoken out on Myanmar after coming under pressure to act over the November 7 polls, which have been widely derided as a sham.

“There is a perception of a credibility deficit but it’s not too late, we think, to try to address that,” Natalegawa said Wednesday. “But I wouldn’t want to belittle the kind of efforts that we need to make.”

The ballot is the country’s first in two decades but has been discredited by the exclusion of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who is under house arrest — a measure due to end days after the election.

Asked how hopeful ASEAN was that the elections would be credible, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo replied: “We will see.”

When questioned about a push for Myanmar to permit foreign observers to supervise the voting, he said Wednesday that was “not the point”.

“The point is, will there be credible elections if Aung San Suu Kyi and the others are not part of it? It’s not the observers, it’s the participation of all,” he said.

Western governments as well as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — who holds talks Friday with ASEAN leaders — have repeatedly said the vote will not be credible unless Suu Kyi and other opponents are freed.

The UN chief has expressed his growing “frustration” with the Myanmar junta in recent weeks and called on its neighbours to be more aggressive with its pariah neighbour or risk tarnishing their own democratic credentials.

The summit is also expected to sound the alarm over the “currency war” that has sent exchange rates and share prices rocketing in the region’s emerging economies.

While China has kept a tight grip on the yuan, Japan and emerging Asian economies have seen their currencies soar against the US dollar, making their exports less competitive and inviting a massive inflow of foreign capital.

“These issues need to be discussed in the context of ASEAN and ASEAN+6, where member countries could fashion a common approach to these regional challenges,” the World Bank said in a report last week.

But coming up with a regional response at the three-day summit which begins Thursday could prove challenging.

Capital inflows push Asian currencies higher still and have led to steep gains in stocks and property prices, fuelling fears of higher inflation and speculative bubbles that could burst if the money exits as fast as it arrived

Source: SGGP

EU leaders wary of plan to re-open Lisbon treaty

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 9:35 am

A fractious European Union summit looms this week as the bloc heads for a hard hurdle — a fresh and risky rewrite of its treaty demanded by France and Germany to shore up the euro.

Leaders of the 27-nation bloc face the challenge at a two-day summit starting Thursday to turn the lessons of the 2008-2009 economic crisis into hard and fast rules tightening debt and deficit discipline.

But a controversial Franco-German proposal issued days ago, denounced by many as a “diktat”, calls for the rules to be enshrined in a new draft of the hard-fought Lisbon treaty, which came into force only last December after eight years of tough talks and failed referenda.

“This is an extremely sensitive isssue that frightens the life out of some nations,” said a senior EU diplomat. “It’ll be the hot theme of the summit.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured at a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party in Goslar, Germany, on Saturday, has agreed a controversial deal with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy on the future of EU funding…

The notion of rewriting the fledgling treaty surfaced last week when French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel plastered over their own differences over economic governance in a sudden deal.

In efforts triggered by the emergency rescue of Greece and fears of a cascade of national basket-cases, EU leaders had this year created a 440-billion-euro rescue fund — the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) — set to expire in 2013.

Germany, which has been the biggest contributor to EU rescue efforts, favoured a temporary fund to ensure reining in spendthrift nations.

But Merkel last week caved in to Sarkozy’s call for the facility to be made permanent to shore up Europe’s monetary union, which dates back to 1999.

To meet the requirements of the German constitution, however, giving the EFSF eternal life requires a change to the Lisbon treaty, which currently outlaws EU member states from flying to the rescue of a bankrupt eurozone partner.

“The summit will have to indicate how to create a credible mechanism, given concerns in Germany, which refuses to extend it unconditionally,” the diplomat said.

Sarkozy for his part obtained a softening of already tentatively agreed sanctions against deficit offenders, which were supposed to be automatic but now would be more flexible while biting sooner.

The deal has raised hackles across the bloc of half a billion people.

“We’re not happy with what the French and the Germans did,” European Parliament spokesman for economic affairs John Schranz told AFP as lawmakers too prepared to mull the new rules this week.

“We want sanctions to be heavy-hitting and automatic” as opposed to the watered-down vision agreed by Sarkozy and Merkel, he said.

The sanctions climbdown has already been the subject of stern criticism from the head of the European Central Bank, the formal guardian of euro stability.

Budgetary hawks also including the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland do not think the proposed new rules go far enough.

Some in Berlin accuse Merkel of buckling, but others accuse EU finance ministers as a whole of getting “cold feet”.

“It is a step backwards,” said Austrian conservative Othmar Karas.

Worries are high too of opening a new Pandora’s Box in rewriting the Lisbon treaty, though some officials say the new rules could be simply written in when Croatia becomes the EU’s 28th member — which it hopes will be in 2012.

But other members could pile up new demands in exchange for green-lighting the Franco-German accord.

Non-euro Britain for example could come armed with a shopping list, even if senior EU officials insist sanctions will only apply to nations using the single currency.

British Prime Minister David Cameron “will not support anything that involves a transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels,” a government spokesman said.

While Britain ratified Lisbon without a referendum, Cameron is already planning to bring forward legislation that would make any further dilution of “sovereignty” an issue requiring popular assent.

Source: SGGP

Iraqi leaders not following US advice on gov’t

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.

Instead, Iraqis are turning to neighboring nations, and especially Iran, for guidance — casting doubt on the future of the American role in this strategic country after a grinding war that killed more than 4,400 U.S. soldiers.

“The Iraqi politicians are not responding to the U.S. like before. We don’t pay great attention to them,” Shiite lawmaker Sami al-Askari, a close ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Thursday. “The weak American role has given the region’s countries a greater sense of influence on Iraqi affairs.”

In this Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 file photo released by the Iraq Prime Minister’s office, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, right, meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Baghdad, Iraq.

Vice President Joe Biden, the administration’s point man for Iraq, has doggedly lobbied Iraqi leaders, both on the phone and in six trips here over the past two years.

Iraqis, however, measure U.S. influence largely by its military presence, which dipped by threefold from the war’s peak to 50,000 troops in late August. As a result, Baghdad is now brushing off U.S. urgings to slow-walk a new government instead of rushing one through that might cater to Iran.

“The Iranian ambassador has a bigger role in Iraq than Biden,” said a prominent Kurdish lawmaker, Mahmoud Othman. He said the Americans “will leave Iraq with its problems, thus their influence has become weak.”

One problem which could worsen as a result is the sectarian divide — particularly if the secular but Sunni-backed Iraqiya political coalition, which won the most votes in the March election, is left out of a new Shiite-led government led by al-Maliki.

Many Iraqis, particularly minority Sunnis, would view such a government as “blessed by Iran and evidence of America’s relative weakness,” analyst Michael Knights wrote on the website of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This perception could lead to a surge in violence.

Washington, which has its hands full with the war in Afghanistan and the hunt in Pakistan for Osama bin Laden, sees Iraq as “the bane of everyone’s existence lately,” said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomatic issues.

But Iraq cannot afford to ignore completely what Washington wants. For one, that could bring the end of U.S. help and financial backing to broker $13 billion worth of contracts for military equipment.

It also would all but dash any hopes by Baghdad to re-negotiate a security agreement that is set to expire at the end of 2011 — a needed step to keeping some U.S. forces in Iraq to continue training its fledgling air force and protect its borders. A senior Iraqi military official predicted the new government, once it is settled, ultimately will ask U.S. troops to remain beyond next year.

U.S. alliances with Mideast nations to which Baghdad seeks to cozy up also cement American influence in Iraq, said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center think tank in Doha.

“In that, I think the U.S. is still pretty well positioned in terms of getting its voice heard in Iraq,” Shaikh said. But he agreed that the U.S. carries less sway in Baghdad than it used to: “If it was such an easy thing to exert influence, then wouldn’t Iraq have had a government by now?”

More than seven months have passed since March 7 parliamentary elections failed to produce clear winners, and Iraqi politicians say they will pick new leaders on their own timetable.

Othman said the lengthy impasse, despite heavy U.S. pressure to form a government that includes all of Iraq’s major political players, shows that Baghdad doesn’t really care what Washington wants.

“Yes, the Americans have their view on how to form an Iraqi government,” Askari agreed. “But it does not apply to the political powers on the ground and it is not effective.”

U.S. officials initially encouraged the Iraqis to form a government quickly, but recently started pushing for a slowdown after it became apparent that a party led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was poised to play a major role.

The U.S. clearly hopes to stall the formation of a new government long enough for the deal unravel between al-Maliki and al-Sadr, whose hardline Shiite followers are close to Iran.

But the days of the U.S. calling the shots in Iraq are long over — largely because of President Barack Obama’s intent to scale back America’s presence more than seven years after the invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime.

That’s led Iraqi leaders to reach out to Mideast neighbors for support and advice on brokering a new government. Leaders from rival political coalitions in the last several months have been to Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia on official visits. On Thursday, al-Maliki was in Ankara to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It is Iraq’s newly warmed alliance with Iran that worries the United States.

In a development that may have assured him a second term, al-Maliki this month won al-Sadr’s backing. And this week, top Iranian officials gave al-Maliki their clearest nod of support yet during his trip to Tehran.

“Our concerns about Iran and its meddling in Iraq’s affairs are long-standing,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington this week. “But that said, we would expect the Iraqi government to work on behalf of its own citizens and not on behalf of another country.”

In Cairo this week, al-Maliki predicted a new government will be formed soon. A senior Iraqi government official said that will happen regardless of whether the U.S. blesses it, though he acknowledged that Baghdad would be weak without American support. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

“There is U.S. influence in the political process and forming of the government, but less so than before,” said Sunni lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi. “As they (the Americans) begin to withdraw their military, the Iranians are taking advantage of the empty space, and are ready to fill the vacuum.”

Source: SGGP

Iran, Venezuela leaders seek ‘new world order’

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship on Wednesday, saying they are united in efforts to establish a “new world order” that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and visiting Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, watched as officials from both countries signed 11 agreements promoting cooperation in areas including oil, natural gas, textiles, trade and public housing.

Among the agreements, Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA said the South American country was forming a joint shipping venture with Iran to aid in delivering Venezuelan crude oil to Europe and Asia. It said in a statement that the agreement for a joint venture also would help supply Iran “due to its limited refining capacity.”

Both presidents denounced U.S. “imperialism” and said their opponents will not be able to impede cooperation between Iran and Venezuela.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, shakes hands with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, during an official welcoming ceremony for him, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010.

Iran’s state TV quoted both Ahmadinejad and Chavez as calling their relationship a “strategic alliance” that would eliminate the current global order.

“Iran and Venezuela are united to establish a new world order based on humanity and justice,” Ahmadinejad said, repeating his predictions that those who today seek “world domination are on the verge of collapse.”

Chavez said this is a time of “great threats” that make its necessary to swiftly “consolidate strategic alliances in political, economic, technological, energy and social areas,” according to the state-run Venezuelan News Agency.

Details of the latest accords were not released, and Chavez said some agreements went beyond those put on paper. He said a Venezuelan delegation will soon travel to Iran to follow up on the agreements.

Iran has become the closest Middle East ally to Chavez’s government as the left-leaning leader has sought to build international alliances to counter what he sees as U.S. economic and political dominance.

“Imperialism has entered a decisive phase of decline and … is headed, like elephants, to its graveyard,” Chavez said, according to the Venezuelan state news agency.

Chavez has staunchly defended Iran’s nuclear energy program, siding with Tehran by insisting it is for peaceful uses and not for nuclear bombs.

U.S. officials have worried Iran may be using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Four rounds of U.N. sanctions, as well as broader severe U.S. and European Union sanctions have not persuaded Tehran to halt the program.

Chavez also has plans to develop a nuclear energy program in Venezuela and last week signed an agreement for Russia to help build a reactor.

Without mentioning the countries’ nuclear ambitions, Chavez said his government demands respect for Iran’s sovereignty and that “those who think they are most powerful and want to impose their will on the world respect Iran.”

Chavez’s trip to Iran was his ninth as president. Before coming to Tehran, he made stops in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Later Wednesday, Chavez arrived in Syria, and is due to travel next to Libya and Portugal.

Iran and Venezuela both belong to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In recent years, the two oil-producing countries have also set up joint ventures to produce cars, tractors and bicycles in the South American country.

Source: SGGP

Party, State leaders prioritize aid for flood victims

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Party, State leaders prioritize aid for flood victims

QĐND – Monday, October 18, 2010, 21:19 (GMT+7)

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh has sent a dispatch to condole with flood victims and provide guidance for coping with natural disasters in provinces from Nghe An to Thua Thien-Hue.

In his dispatch, dated October 18, Mr Manh complimented the party members, state cadres and servicemen for their efforts to overcome difficulties and protect the lives of people. He said there have been many bright examples set by good people during the disasters.

Mr Manh extended his condolences to the families of those who died in the floods.

To conclude, he called on party committees, and people’s committees from the provinces affected by the storms to make more effort to minimize the losses caused by the floods as well as take the necessary measures to cope with the typhoon Megi predicted to land in Vietnam soon.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai presided over a teleconference, which involved the committees for preventing floods and storms in provinces from Quang Ninh to Khanh Hoa. He urged them to seek ways of dealing with the coming super typhoon Megi.

Mr Hai requested officials of localities to visit and organize careful burials for those killed by floods and ensure sufficient warm clothes, food and medicine were available for local people.

Source: VOV

Photo: Tuoitre

Source: QDND

Top leaders attend opening ceremonies for new school year

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 8:05 am

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh attended the new school year opening ceremony at Chu Van An High School in Saturday, hailing the school’s achievements.

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh beats the drum to start the new school year at Chu Van An High School in Hanoi September 4 (Photo: VNA)

He congratulated the school’s teachers and students on their new academic year, saying they should maintain and promote their teaching and studying to obtain more achievements.

The Party leader on this occasion asked the education sector to continue improving management and education quality, creating strong and comprehensive changes in the sector.

He stressed the ultimate goal of the education-training sector and the socialist school which is teaching and educating pupils with great aspirations toward the motherland.

Chu Van An is considered a cradle for outstanding students. Many students from the school became patriotic personalities, intellectuals and leaders of the Party and State such as Ngo Gia Tu, Nguyen Van Cu, Pham Van Dong. Uncle Ho visited the school three times and the hundred-year old school has been recognised as a national cultural and historical relic site.

On the same day, State President Nguyen Minh Triet attended and beat the drum to open the new academic year at Thang Long Secondary School in Hanoi.

Speaking to teachers and students at the school, President Triet highlighted the school’s achievements in the past year.

He asked every teacher and officer of Thang Long School to uphold tradition and chalk up even greater achievements in the future, so that their school will deserve to bear the name of the capital city and its glorious thousand-year history.

The State leader told the school students to exert more efforts in their studies, practice good morals and actively take part in social activities.

In Ho Chi Minh City the same day, thousands of students and teachers at Tran Dai Nghia High School participated in an opening ceremony for the new academic year with the attendance of the city Party Committee Secretary Le Thanh Hai.

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh and teachers , students at Chu Van An High School

Stating at the ceremony, Mr Hai highly appreciated and praised great efforts of the school’s teachers and students to obtain excellent achievements in the last school year.

He hoped that the school should continue improving education quality to train high quality human resources, meeting the city’s development demand.

In the meantime, Le Hong Phong High School organized a ceremony to start the new school year with the attendance of some city senior officials.

The city People’s Committee chairman Le Hoang Quan ordered the school should show more efforts to become a high-ranking school not only in the country but also in the Southeast Asian region.

At the Gia Dinh High School’s ceremony, the city People’s Council chairwoman Pham Phuong Thao gave certificate of merit and excellent emulation flag for the school as it has got plenty of achievements over the past school year.

Other high schools like Vo Truong Toan and Nguyen Thuong Hien also hosted their new school year opening ceremonies with the participation of permanent deputy secretary of the city Party Committee Nguyen Van Dua and permanent deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tai respectively.

Source: SGGP