Archive | March, 2012

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Nankai quake scenario menaces Pacific coast

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

Wide swaths of the Pacific coastline stretching from Honshu to Kyushu may be hit by tsunami over 20 meters high if a newly feared megaquake occurs in the Nankai Trough, a Cabinet Office panel warned Saturday.

The new warning comes after the panel revised its 2003 estimate to reflect new findings from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the coastline of the Tohoku region last year.

The 2003 report said no areas would see tsunami higher than Ǵ meters. The updated report is based on the assumption that the earthquake will have a magnitude of 9.

The tidal waves generated by the Nankai Trough earthquake would slam areas from Kanto to Kyushu, with waves up to 34.4 meters likely in Kuroshio, Kochi Prefecture, and between 10 and 20 meters in parts of Shizuoka, Kochi and Miyazaki prefectures.

Urban areas of Tokyo would see tsunami up to 2.3 meters high, but the village of Niijima in the Izu island chain, which is administered by Tokyo, could face deadly waves up to 29Ǔ meters high, the panel said.

Strong tremors will continue for around 3 minutes, and some areas in Shizuoka and Wakayama prefectures could be hit by tsunami even as they continue to shake, it said.

The panel will continue to study the potential extent of the coastal inundation while the government re-examines its emergency measures based on the new estimate.

Meanwhile, a research team under the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said Friday that a massive inland quake threatening urban areas of Tokyo and parts of Kanagawa Prefecture will top the Japanese seismic intensity scale at 7.

The quake, which will originate directly below the northern part of Tokyo Bay, will register as an upper 6 in the surrounding areas, including Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, the research team said.

Professor Kazuki Koketsu of the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute, which heads the ministry team, urged Tokyoites to prepare for the disaster.

“There is not much difference between the intensity scales of Upper 6 and 7,” he warned.

An earthquake in the upperņ range can cause landslides, ground cracks and the collapse of weak wooden houses, while sturdier wooden houses and buildings made of reinforced concrete are at risk of collapsing in quakes with an intensity ofŇ, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Article source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120331x1.html

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Thai democrats unveil strategy to regain power

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

The Democrat Party of Thailand yesterday unveiled aಏ-point strategy at its annual convention to grab power by 2015.

The strategy, to be implemented over four years until 2015, spelled out action plans to enable the democrats to achieve a majority to lead the next coalition government.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva kicked off the convention rallying his fellow democrats and promising to steer their party to victory.

Key action plans will focus on strengthening party branches, increasing party membership, reaching out to professional groups and promoting the people’s agenda, seen as an antidote to the Pheu Thai Party’s populist policies.

The democrats approved a 151-million baht (US$4.9 million) budget for spending plans designed to engage the public including young people in party building.

The democrats plan to sponsor a people’s assembly, expected to draw 300 participants from various professions, to chart the country’s future.

Abhisit said his fellow democrats wanted to lift the country out of the persisting turmoil fuelled by the power struggle to devote attention to structural issues such as economic disparity and social injustice.

The party appointed a nine-member panel, led by former Democrat Party leader Banyat Bantadtan, to pick candidates for the next general election.

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/sǗdf51c96/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29170A/story01.htm

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Burma’s men in green hold the reins of reform

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

On the surface, democratic change is sweeping through Burma.

But visitors arriving in Naypyidaw, the surreal administrative capital located more than 300km from Yangon, are quickly reminded of who is really in charge: Burma’s men in green.

The city, with its largely deserted boulevards, has a military zone that is off-limits to ordinary citizens.

Built from scratch under the watchful eyes of the army’s top brass at an estimated cost of US$5 billion, the architecture is drab Soviet-era with a distinct army feel. Shoddy workmanship, peeling wall paint and water-stained ceilings are commonplace at ministry buildings, completed only five years ago.

The most impressive structure is the national Parliament. There is also a 20-lane highway that can be converted into runways for fighter jets.

From this bunkered city, overlooked by the Shan hills in central Burma, the country’s generals watch the reforms being carried out by the civilian government headed by President Thein Sein.

“The elephant in the middle of the room is the military. Unless its role is clearly defined soon, Burma will be a two-bit player in the region,” said a long-time foreign aid worker who visits the country regularly.

The fact is that the military will continue to cast a shadow over Burma for years to come. And the pace at which Burma integrates with the international community after 49 years of isolation will be dictated by the military, which has the constitutional right to seize power during an emergency.

Burma, a country of 55 million people, has a 400,000-strong military.

The military controls 25 per cent of the seats in both Houses of the Union Parliament and the regional assemblies. This political clout gives it a veto over constitutional amendments, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of Parliament.

The 11-member powerful National Defence and Security Council, which counts the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the defence minister as members, have the final say on national issues, according to diplomats.

“The key will be to assure the military of its place and assurances that there will be no witch-hunt for the past. As long as the military feels comfortable, the reform process will continue,” said a local businessman who enjoys close ties with the civilian government.

For now, the military is backing the reform agenda.

This week, the Commander-in-Chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, defended the military’s continued role in national politics and declared that the armed forces would “support the functions of government” in Burma’s march towards democracy.

The reasons behind the military’s move to loosen political control are not clear.

Several analysts suggest that Burma’s collapsing economy is a key driving force. Another is the fear that deepening hardship for most of its people could raise the spectre of unrest similar to the uprisings racking the Middle East.

What particularly worried the generals is the prospect that Burma’s ethnic groups, locked in a bloody struggle for greater autonomy in the border regions, would join such an uprising.

“The military is aware that with economic development, the political and ethnic tensions can be reduced,” said a Bangkok-based South-east Asian diplomat who monitors closely developments in Burma.

“The real movers here aren’t the military but the President (Thein Sein) and (opposition leader Aung San) Suu Kyi, who have a very strong partnership,” said a Western diplomat.

Thein Sein, a former general who took power in March last year, has surprised long-time Burma watchers with the pace of reforms, which has caused unease among hardline elements in the military.

The public debate in Parliament over government spending and budget cuts for the military has lent greater legitimacy to the reform movement.

Perhaps the biggest boost for the junta’s tattered image is Suu Kyi’s decision to participate in mainstream politics, a move that is likely to jumpstart the process for the gradual removal of sanctions against Burma.

While the ongoing reform process will take the heat off the country’s generals, foreign diplomats and local businessmen argue that the military must urgently confront the protracted conflicts in the border regions.

Consider the problems in resource- rich Kachin state, which borders China. Ethnic groups fighting for greater autonomy have accused the military of widespread abuses because it wants to exploit large deposits of jade and gold through its crony corporations.

Other ventures have also raised tensions in the northern state, including the Chinese-led, $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam. The government suspended the project in October last year on environmental grounds.

“The government can’t unilaterally suspend the project because this isn’t international business practice. But to resolve this, the ethnic problem needs to be resolved first,” said a human rights activist who has regular contacts with Kachin leaders.

“The key to this issue is the military.”

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/1df51c97/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29169/story01.htm

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Japan sends F-15s to guard missile destroyers

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

The Japan Defence Ministry has decided to send F-15 fighters to guard Aegis destroyers to be deployed in preparation for the scheduled launch of a North Korean missile, government sources have said.

The ministry is expected to deploy the state-of-the-art Aegis ships to the East China Sea and two other locations to monitor the launch.

The F-15s are necessary as Russian or Chinese intelligence-gathering aircraft may come extremely close to the Maritime Self-Defence Force vessels, the sources said Thursday.

The F-15s will be deployed under a provision prescribed in the Self-Defence Forces Law’s Article 95, the sources said. The provision stipulates that the SDF can use weapons, aircraft and other equipment to defend their planes, ships and other equipment.

This will be the first application of the provision.

The ministry will deploy three Aegis destroyers–two in the East China Sea and one in the Sea of Japan–to prepare for the launch.

When an Aegis destroyer detects and tracks a missile, it has to concentrate its radar systems on the missile. This will severely limit the crews’ awareness of the surrounding area and make the ship largely defenceless.

The ministry will deploy the F-15s from bases including the Naha Air Base of the Air Self-Defence Force, according to the sources. Two F-15s per destroyer will be continuously deployed to patrol air space around the ship, they said.

When jets or intelligence-gathering aircraft of other nations approach within about 36 kilometres of an Aegis ship, the SDF issues a warning to the aircraft to prevent further approach via international radio or other means.

Defence analysts say the ministry is even studying the possibility of allowing the F-15s to fire warning shots if foreign aircraft ignore warnings and continue to approach the ships.

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/1df50afe/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29171/story01.htm

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Singaporean convicted for trafficking Filipinos to M’sia

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

A Kuala Lumpur court on Friday found a Singaporean guilty of trafficking two Filipino domestic helpers to Malaysia and sentenced him to three years in jail, Philippine ambassador Eduardo Malaya said in a statement from Kuala Lumpur.

Eugene Beng Hua Lim, a.k.a. Alfred Lim was found guilty of two counts of trafficking based on the complaints filed against him by two Filipino women in July 2009.

“[The two complainants] and other victims of human trafficking need not wait any longer. Justice (has) finally prevailed,â�‚¬ï�� said Malaya, who was present at the sentencing.

In June 2010, the two women testified in court that they were recruited with insufficient documentation by Lim’s Filipino agent from their hometowns in Luzon and deployed in Malaysia as domestic workers.

Mistreated by their employers, they initially sought refuge at Lim’s agency but were subjected to verbal and physical abuse instead. Lim even threatened to sell them to prostitution syndicates to recover the expenses he incurred in recruiting and deploying them, the women said.

After enduring prolonged periods of abuse and maltreatment, the complainants and four other Filipino women fled Lim���s placement agency in June 2008 and sought assistance from the Philippine Embassy.

The group cooperated with Malaysian authorities in filing criminal charges against Lim in July 2009, and was repatriated to the Philippines three weeks after giving their testimonies in court.

Malaya said Lim’s counsel had manifested its intention to appeal before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur.

The envoy thanked the Malaysian government, “particularly the Attorney General��s Chambers and police authorities, for its strong partnership in the campaign against human trafficking. In line with the directive of President Aquino, we will tirelessly work to ensure that the rights and welfare of Filipino nationals are safeguarded.�

Malaya also cited the work done by deputy public prosecutor Nurul Ashiqin binte Zulkipli in handling the case, and lauded the  “effective team workâ€� among Philippine agencies and entities that ultimately led to Limââ��™s conviction.

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/1df524e6/l/0˸Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29173/storyǡ.htm

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Nepal should bridge India and China–PM

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai reiterated his belief that Nepal should become a bridge between India and China.

Addressing a program organised to mark the 14th anniversary of Reporters Club in the Capital on Friday, Bhattarai said, “Nepal should become a bridge not a barricade between the two countries. Then only our dream of developing country will come true.�

He remarked that the country would move towards the financial development after the conclusion of peace process and constitution drafting.

Bhattarai further claimed that the constitution would be completed within May 27. “The constitution would be promulgated within May 27. I do not see a reason to doubt it,� he claimed.

Saying that the new constitution would be drafted as demanded by a particular party, he underscored that all the parties need to compromise for the sake of peace and constitution.

Bhattarai claimed that the decision of the bigwigs to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the decision to vacate the Maoist cantonments within the fortnight has created a firm basis for concluding the peace process.

Similarly, Constituent Assembly Chairman Subash Chandra Nembang requested all the major three political parties to be serious at a time when the deadline to promulgate the constitution is getting closer.

Moreover, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal further clarified that the constitution would not be drafted without federalism.

Furthermore, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal claimed that the constitution would be drafted within the given deadline if the leaders work seriously for it.

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/1df52a70/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29176/story01.htm

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US to rely on India if talks with Pakistan fail

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

The delay in finalising parliamentary recommendations for US-Pakistan relations is causing confusion in Washington where the Obama administration seems unable to decide how to proceed with rebuilding this key relationship.

While the White House and the State Department say that they will wait patiently for Pakistan to complete the review, a senior US general told a congressional panel on Thursday that the United States would have to rely on India and the northern distribution network if Pakistan did not reopen Nato supply lines to Afghanistan.

“If we can’t negotiate or successfully negotiate the reopening of ground lines of communication with Pakistan, we have to default and rely on India and the northern distribution network,� said Lt-Gen Frank Panter, the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics.

â€Å“Both are expensive propositions and it increases the deployment or redeployment,â€� the general told the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

In earlier testimonies, other US generals have warned that the failure to reopen Pakistan routes could delay the schedule for withdrawing US combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

American political analysts, however, say that the Obama administration, which is seeking re-election later this year, will not want any delay as the war has already become very unpopular in America.

A CBS News/New York Times survey, released on Thursday, showed that the support for the Afghan war in America reached an all-time low in March with only 23 per cent backing continued US engagement while 69 per cent saying that now was the time to pullout troops.

Within the ruling Democratic Party, only 24 per cent said the war had been mostly a success and 18 per cent said the US was doing the right thing.

Increased pressure at home is obviously forcing the Obama administration to ensure that the troops are withdrawn as scheduled, if not before as 47 per cent Americans want.

“This has also increased their frustration with the delay in the Pakistani parliamentary process, even if they do not say so publicly,� said a diplomatic observer.

Meanwhile, CNN reported on Friday that the Obama administration was also talking to Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the US was conducting drone strikes in Fata.

They have offered to provide Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modify the targets and change how targets were determined.

CNN noted that the drone strikes had already reduced, although a fresh strike killed four militants in Fata on Friday.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told CNN she had no confidence that the relationship with Pakistan would smooth out any time soon.

Senator Feinstein is going to Pakistan early next month with a delegation from both Senate and House intelligence committees â�‚¬Å�to demonstrate the importance of the nationsâ€â„¢ relationship and to re-enforce their shared national security objectives,â€� CNN reported.

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/1df52a71/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0Chome0Cnews0Bphp0Did0F29175/story01.htm

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Assemble a cache of luxurious skincare samples from New York City’s famous Kiehl’s Since 1851

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

Travel Tip of the Day

March 31, 2012

Assemble a cache of luxurious skincare samples from New York City’s famous Kiehl’s Since 1851

Take a little bit of New York luxury back with you, without emptying your wallet. At Kiehl’s Since 1851, urbanites satisfy their craving for skin-softening luxuries. Better yet, Kiehl’s is known for being generous with samples, so be sure to ask for your own bag of take-home testers.

Thinking of a trip to New York City? For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our online New York City Travel Guide.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/fodors/travel-news/~3/zEkoKpSexY4/story_5310.html

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Narita to open Tokyo’s first biz jet terminal

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin

Tokyo’s first dedicated business-jet terminal opens Saturday as Japan tries to lure millionaire tourists from China and investment from multinationals adding Asian offices.

The facility at Narita Airport, the nation’s biggest international gateway, will have dedicated customs and immigration counters, allowing travelers to avoid the lines. The center will cost ¥250,000 ($3,040) per plane, said Hiroaki Suda, a spokesman for state-owned Narita International Airport Corp. There will be 18 parking spaces.

“We want to prepare ourselves so business leaders from overseas can come to Japan, adding to the country’s growth,” said Kunihiko Muroi, a parliamentary secretary at the transport ministry. “We also want Japan’s young small and medium-size business owners to be flying around the world.”

Japan has also expanded Tokyo’s two airports to boost international flights, begun building new roads to ease congestion and drawn up plans to merge stock exchanges to help Tokyo compete with Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The terminal may also boost the use of business jets in Japan, where the fleet totaled 55 at the end of 20Ǫ, compared with 12,074 in the U.S., according to the Japan Business Aviation Association.

“We have high hopes for the new terminal,” said Junichi Nagano, president of Tokyo-based business-jet operator Japan Jet Charter Co. “It’s a big breakthrough for Japan’s gateway.”

The company will add an additional plane by the end of the year, as demand for business jets from overseas, including China, grows, he said. That would raise the carrier’s fleet to four.

The new center is located about 100 meters from the Terminal Two tarmac. It’s opening alongside wider expansion work at the airport that has boosted the total annual capacity to 250,0Ǡ takeoffs and landings a year from 235,000. That will rise to 270,000 by the end of next March, Kosaburo Morinaka, Narita Airport’s president, said Thursday.

“Access to airports and landing slots in Tokyo has always been a problem,” said Ernie Edwards, president of plane-maker Embraer SA’s executive-jet division. By contrast, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing all already have dedicated business-jet centers.

The facility at Narita, about 70 km from downtown Tokyo, will be only the fourth dedicated business-jet terminal in Japan, following two in the Nagoya area and one in Kobe, according to the Japan Business Aviation Association.

“This was a problem in Japan, where general aviation wasn’t a priority,” Francois Chazelle, Airbus SAS’s vice president for corporate jets, said at a Shanghai business-jet show this week. The new Narita facility “is a big step.”

Tokyo’s airports had 2,573 business jet takeoffs and landings in 2011, according to figures from the transport ministry. That was little changed from a year earlier, even following the March 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

There were about 5,000 business-jet movements at Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka airports last year. A total of 2굣 flights nationwide involved flights to or from the U.S. South Korea was the second-most popular destination, while China ranked third.

Aircraft manufacturers expect business-jet use in China to surge, as rising wealth spurs purchases. Cessna Aircraft Co. and Embraer both have plans to build aircraft in the country because of anticipated local demand. The country’s fleet may increase to 2,470 planes by 2030 from 150 in 2010, according to Montreal-based Bombardier Inc.

While the new Narita facility will ease arrivals for business-jet travelers, it will still take at least 30 minutes to reach central Tokyo, even by helicopter. For that reason, operators are also pushing for a dedicated terminal at Haneda airport, near the heart of the capital.

“We should have business-jet facilities at Haneda, not just Narita,” said Kazunobu Sato, vice chairman of the Japan Business Aviation Association. “We’ll keep pushing for more takeoff and landing slots.”

Article source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120331n2.html

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F-15s to be sent to guard Aegis ships

Posted on 31 March 2012 by admin




The Defense Ministry has decided to send F-15 fighters to guard Aegis destroyers to be deployed in preparation for the scheduled launch of a North Korean missile, government sources have said.

The ministry is expected to deploy the state-of-the-art Aegis ships to the East China Sea and two other locations to monitor the launch.

The F-15s are necessary as Russian or Chinese intelligence-gathering aircraft may come extremely close to the Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels, the sources said Thursday.

The F-15s will be deployed under a provision prescribed in the Self-Defense Forces Law’s Article 95, the sources said. The provision stipulates that the SDF can use weapons, aircraft and other equipment to defend their planes, ships and other equipment.

This will be the first application of the provision.

The ministry will deploy three Aegis destroyers–two in the East China Sea and one in the Sea of Japan–to prepare for the launch.

When an Aegis destroyer detects and tracks a missile, it has to concentrate its radar systems on the missile. This will severely limit the crews’ awareness of the surrounding area and make the ship largely defenseless.

The ministry will deploy the F-15s from bases including the Naha Air Base of the Air Self-Defense Force, according to the sources. Two F-15s per destroyer will be continuously deployed to patrol air space around the ship, they said.

When jets or intelligence-gathering aircraft of other nations approach within about 36 kilometers of an Aegis ship, the SDF issues a warning to the aircraft to prevent further approach via international radio or other means.

Defense analysts say the ministry is even studying the possibility of allowing the F-15s to fire warning shots if foreign aircraft ignore warnings and continue to approach the ships.


Article source: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120330006164.htm

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