|Asia News Digest
Indian Poor Devastated by Food Price Rise
June 8 (EIRNS)The ongoing price rise of basic food items in India is setting the stage for a life-and-death crisis for India's at least 400 million poor. Inflation has been above 8% for 16 months, with the wholesale-price index increasing 8.66% in April. Farm-product wholesale prices rose 7.47% in the week to May 7 from a year earlier, the Trade Ministry said in mid-May. Governor Duvvuri Subbarao of the Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank, said on May 18 that inflation needs to be curbed in order to boost economic growth.
Food-price inflation in India, Asia's third-largest economy, may accelerate in the second half of 2011, as farmers are paying 20% more to grow crops, according to the commission that helps set minimum farm-product prices. "The cost of production is going up very fast," Ashok Gulati, chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, said on May 18. "The labor cost has gone up dramatically in the past one year, and energy costs are also going up." A pickup in food prices would add to inflationary pressures in India, where the central bank has raised interest rates nine times since mid-March 2010.
The food-price rise has affected the urban poor the most. With little skill and no land to fall back on, the urban poor in India are becoming increasingly involved in criminal activities in order to survive. The rural poor, with little plots of land, are surviving, but with prices rising all around, they do not have the cash to attend to the basic requirements, such as education for the children, medicine, or clothes for the family.
The Indian middle class, which had forsaken the poor, by embracing liberal economic reforms (free trade and globalization), and benefitting momentarily from the initial increase in its earnings, are now struggling with price rises of every item, including food.
The Manmohan Singh government, catering to the free-market economy, has allowed rapid rise in prices of the basic food items and such essentials as medicine.
Strong Chinese Warning of U.S. Default Danger
June 8 (EIRNS)Peoples' Bank of China advisor Li Daokui made an unusually strong statement on the danger a potential U.S. debt-default poses for other nations, at a conference in Beijing today. He also emphasized China's commitment to cooperate with the U.S. to support the dollar.
Li, who is an academic member of the PBOC advisory board, is able to speak more bluntly than government officials. He told Reuters: "There is a risk that a U.S. debt default may happen. The result will be very serious and I really hope they would stop playing with fire.
"The Chinese government sincerely hopes that the U.S. government would look at the big picture," Li said. "If a default happens, the Chinese government should have a consultation with the U.S. government. China can promise that we will not sell our holdings of U.S. debt, but the United States must also promise that you will not hurt our interests by guaranteeing the safety of our investment," Li said. "I really worry about the risks of a U.S. debt default, which I think may lead to a decline in the dollar's value."
Philippine LaRouche Society Holds Ecumenical Conference To Defend Life
June 6 (EIRNS)A Joint Christian-Muslim Conference was held today in Manila in defense of life, and opposed to the malthusian, imperial policies of depopulation, as they are being pushed onto the Philippines at a moment of existential crisis to the nation. Among the founders are: Butch Valdes, head of the Philippines LaRouche Society; Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former President of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines; Dr. Mashur Bin-Ghaalib Jundam, Dean of the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies and an officer of the MNLF; and other political, religious and business leaders.
Convened in opposition to a "Reproductive Health Bill" being pushed through the Congress by President Noynoy Aquino and others, aimed at weakening the nation's restrictions against population control policies, the presentations at the conference targeted not only the local anti-life policies, but the imperial policy of depopulation internationally.
Archbishop Cruz specifically hit at Henry Kissinger's NSSM 200 policy from 1974, which named the Philippines (among others) as a nation whose population growth must be stopped in order to save the natural resources for the western oligarchy. He noted that the EU had promised to provide large sums to finance contraceptives and other population control efforts, while aid for development is being cut.
Dr. Jundam warned that the Islamic people of the Philippines would be driven to push for secession if the federal government pushed through anti-human policies.
Butch Valdes addressed the British imperial roots of the anti-population policies, from Malthus to Bertrand Russell and Prince Philip, and described Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" as the proper means of exposing and ridiculing the evil policies. Butch emphasized that the Christian-Islam cooperation went beyond politics, beyond "anti-corruption" efforts, to the more fundamental issue of human creativity as the identity of man in the image of God, as opposed to the beasts. He identified the "Clash of Civilizations" myth, and the imperial war policies, aimed at turning Christians and Muslims against each other, as simply another aspect of the Imperial depopulation effort.
Pro-Nuclear Japanese Governor Wins Big in Quake Zone
June 6 (EIRNS)The pro-nuclear incumbent governor of Aomori prefecture in Japan, Shingo Mimura, easily won reelection yesterday with 75% of the vote against two candidates running on anti-nuclear platforms. Aomori is in the region affected by the earthquake.
Mimura, an independent backed by the Liberal Democratic Party, pledged to set up a committee to review the safety of nuclear plants in Aomori Prefecture in the wake of the nuclear power plant crisis in Fukushima Prefecture, but remained completely committed to nuclear power.
Aomori is an excellent test case for the actual status of nuclear power with the population. While not among the worst damaged regions, it is in the March 11 quake zone. It currently has one nuclear reactor in Higashidori and also has the nation's only nuclear-reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. It was set to be the site of 4 of 14 new reactors Japan planned to be built by 2030, before Prime Minister Naoto Kan put a hold on further nuclear plans, at least temporarily.
Taiwan Candidate to Europe for Anti-Nuclear Agenda
June 6 (EIRNS)Chairperson and Presidential candidate of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai Ing-wen, left for the U.K. and Germany for her marching orders on ending nuclear power development in Taiwan. The DPP, besides having a pro-Taiwan (anti-China) independence stance, also flies a green banner. Nuclear safety, green energy, and international security are expected to be high on the agenda as Tsai makes her first trip abroad since being nominated as the party's Presidential candidate.