|Asia News Digest
India Opting for Nuclear Desalination
Sept. 15 (EIRNS)The U.S.-based Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tubestar Oil and Gas, an oilfield inspection service based in Mumbai, India, to help determine the feasibility of building a nuclear desalination plant to supply clean water and power there. According to recently published reports by the World Bank, India's demand for water will exceed its sources of supply by 2020. Indian companies are looking into nuclear desalination reactors as one solution to that nation's water crisis.
India has been engaged in desalination research since the 1970s. In 2002, a demonstration plant coupled to twin 170 MWe nuclear power reactors (PHWR) was set up at the Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, in southeast India. This hybrid Nuclear Desalination Demonstration Project comprises a reverse osmosis (RO) unit with 1,800 m3/day capacity and a multi-stage flash (MSF) plant unit of 4,500 m3/day. In 2009, a 10,200 m3/day MVC plant was set up at Kudankulam to supply fresh water for the new plant.
"India's potential deployment of nuclear desalination reactors on a commercial basis would help spur its economic growth over the next decade," said AEHI's CEO Gillispie. "India should position itself to lead the world in the use of nuclear desalination reactors, as both the government and private sector businesses demand a cost-effective solution to the country's water crisis."
British Spread Chaos and Violence in Pakistan
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)The self-exiled leader of Pakistan's MQM party, Imran Farooq, was stabbed to death in London yesterday. Since 1999, Farooq had been there under the protection of British intelligence, and was extremely active in his party's affairs in Pakistan. Following the killing, Karachi, and a few other Sindh towns, where Farooq's party is dominant, have been shut down. Reports of violence from Karachi have begun to filter out. Karachi, a city of 15 million people, is reeling under violence.
It is evident that British Intelligence's MI5 had lifted protection to permit Farooq to be killed. In recent months, the British-Saudi nexus has suffered a number of setbacks in Afghanistan. A British-Saudi effort to lodge the Taliban quickly in Kabul was rejected by the U.S. and NATO, and did not generate much support in Pakistan. In addition, British troops were pushed out of the Afghan opium fields of Helmand province, and now the mainstream news media report that British troops are allegedly involved in opium smuggling, and will be investigated.
Farooq's assassination may shut down Karachi, Pakistan's number-one commercial center and port, and further undermine Pakistan's debt-ridden economy. The Brits expect the violence in Karachi to increase pressure on Pakistan to support British-Saudi plans in the area.
China, Japan, South Korea Offer To Fund and Build California High-Speed Rail
Sept. 16 (EIRNS)California may finally get a high-speed rail connection between Los Angeles and San Franciscobecause China, Japan, and South Korea want to build the project, and are offering the funding, as well as the technology, to get it done. The three nations, led by China, are large-scale holders of U.S. dollars and U.S. Treasury bonds, so this project and others like it, could also support the value of the dollar, were the nations to re-invest such holdings into productive infrastructure in the United States.
The California rail project would cost about $40 billion; the Obama Administration has allocated a measly $8 billion for high-speed rail for the whole United States, of which California will get only $2.3 billion. The state approved a $10 billion bond issue for the project in November 2008; at that time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein were assuming that "the priorities of President-elect Obama" would provide as much as $15-20 billion in federal funding for the project, the San Francisco Chronicle reported then.
California Gov. Arnie Schwarzenegger is currently touring these nations, and while most of his agenda is promoting Silicon Valley-type operations and financial hubs, he is also riding on high-speed trains. It shows how badly Arnie has bankrupted California, that what was the world's sixth-largest economy, now has to depend upon China or Japan to build such an important project. The train would reduce travel time from an 8-hour drive to a 2.5-hour trip. It could be launched as early as 2012 for completion by 2020.
On Sept. 14, He Hua-wu, chief engineer of the Chinese Rail Ministry, said that China can offer a "complete package" to California, including financing. "What other nations don't have, we have," He Hua-wu, said in Beijing. "What they have, we have better." He said that China's unique experience in building long-distance high-speed rail would help California.
Japan is also ready to fund the project, through loans from the state-owned Japan Bank of International Cooperation, since the East Japan Railway Co. will likely bid for the contract, Transport Minister Seiji Maehara announced Sept. 13.
China Will Maintain Economic Crisis Measures, Wen Tells Davos
Sept. 13 (EIRNS)Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao addressed the 1,500 delegates, businessmen and bankers, foreign officials, and think-tankers attending the Summer Davos conference being held this week in Tianjin, China. The Summer Davos was set up several years ago, recognizing the growing importance of China in the world economy, and gathering some of the same international crew that attends the other Davos conference, in Switzerland, but with an overwhelming participation from the Chinese side.
While expressing some optimism with regard to China's success in weathering the international financial crisis, he urged his listeners to be extremely cautious, as the economy had by no means turned the corner. For this reason, he said, China would continue the "extraordinary measures" that the government had introduced to meet the crisis. He said it would create the "instruments" needed to increase domestic demand and would continue to transform the economy from its heavy dependence on cheap exports. This would include increasing the consumption and the wages of Chinese workers. He also indicated the various problems with which China still had to cope in this respect: closing the income gap between rich and poor, continuing the drive toward urbanization, awarding qualified migrant workers the full rights of city-dwellers, and transforming the rural infrastructure.
These efforts would be based on promoting scientific innovation and upgrading industrial structures, he said: "We will create a number of world-class industrial clusters, which can serve as growth-drivers for the economy. We will transform China from a large manufacturing country to a strong manufacturing country. And domestic demand is the key to growth."
After Three Obama 'No Shows,' Indonesian President Has Prior Engagements
Sept. 15 (EIRNS)Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is unlikely to attend a summit of Southeast Asian leaders called by U.S. President Barack Obama this month in New York, a spokesman said. Officials blamed the short notice given for the summit, which was announced Sept. 3, and Yudhoyono's prior engagements.
President Obama has scheduled and cancelled three trips to Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood. The necessity for additional Congressional arm-twisting over Obamacare occasioned the last cancellation.
Carter: North Korea Wants U.S. Peace Treaty, Denuclearization
Sept. 16 (EIRNS)Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter reported on his trip to North Korea last week in a New York Times op-ed. "During my recent travels to North Korea and China," he wrote, "I received clear, strong signals that Pyongyang wants to restart negotiations on a comprehensive peace treaty with the United States and South Korea and on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The components of such an agreement have been fairly constant over the past 16 years....
"The basic provisions hold that North Korea's old graphite-moderated nuclear energy reactor, which can easily produce weapons-grade plutonium, and all related facilities and products should be disabled under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency; that while the reactor is shut down, the United States should provide fuel oil or electric power to North Korea until new power plants are built; that the United States should provide assurances against the threat of nuclear attack or other military actions against North Korea; that the United States and North Korea should move toward the normalization of political and economic relations and a peace treaty covering the peninsula; that better relations should be pursued by North Korea, South Korea, and Japan; and that all parties should strengthen their economic cooperation on energy, trade and investment."