Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Among the winning photos from the "World Press."

Sisters Olga and Adelina Lim Hi, one of the few Korean descendants who do not have mixed heritage.Their grandfather was Im Cheon Taek, one of the leading figures of the earliest Korean community in Cuba. [Photo by Michael Vince Kim/Courtesy of World Press Photo Foundation via VCG]

At the hospital, (click here) Najiba holds her two-year-old nephew Shabir who was injured from a bomb blast in Kabul on 29 March 2016. Afghanistan has endured armed conflict since 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded. Afghan civilians are at greater risk today than at any time since Taliban rule, which ended in 2001. According to UN statistics, in the first half of 2016 at least 1,600 people died, and more than 3,500 people were injured. Despite billions of dollars spent by the international community to stabilize the country, Afghanistan has seen little improvement in terms of overall stability and human security. [Photo by Paula Bronstein, for Time Lightbox / Pulitzer Center For Crisis Reporting/Courtesy of World Press Photo Foundation via VCG]

Riot police clear marchers from a secondary road outside a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) worker camp using rubber bullets, pepper spray, tasers and arrests in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, US, November 15, 2016. In other incidents they've employed militarized vehicles, water canons, tear gas and have been accused of using percussion grenades. [Photo by Amber Bracken/Courtesy of World Press Photo Foundation via VCG]

China is taking criticism of human rights abuses seriously.

For a very long time one of the criticisms of the Chinese government has been it's human rights record. The prisons and prisoners were always a concern of the international community. Now, lawyers in China want better opportunity to represent the poor. 

I hope the Chinese government takes these dedicated and moral lawyers seriously and establishes funding for representation of all those taken prisoner.

February 15, 2017
By Capo Yin

A lack of defense lawyers (click here) means many people are appearing in court without adequate legal representation. Cao Yin reports.

Lawyers and legal experts are calling on the government to expand the provision of legal aid to a larger number of defendants and provide better funding to encourage more lawyers to accept criminal defense cases.

The ongoing efforts to improve the rule of law have resulted in a number of wrongful convictions being overturned, including that of Chen Man, who was sentenced to 23 years for murder. In February last year, the appeals court ruled that the evidence brought against Chen was circumstantial and that his involvement in the murder could not be proved beyond doubt.

The quashing of Chen's conviction was a boost for his lawyer, Wang Wanqiong. "My job is to play a bigger role in upholding justice," she said.

Following Chen's release, Wang's phone rang continually as people called in the hope of obtaining legal advice or persuading her to defend them in court.

"I could feel the trust the defendants and the judicial officers placed in me, which gave me a real sense of achievement," she said....

New Zealand is burning. Homes have been destroyed in Christchurch.

Live Blog (click here)

February 16, 2017

Anxious Christchurch residents (click here) evacuated from their Port Hills homes overnight are urgently trying to check whether their homes are still standing....

...Chas Muir, 65, was evacuated from his Harry Ell Drive home near the Sign of the Takahe about 9pm.

"From the Sign of the Takahe you could see it was really close, stretching right down the gully, to the new Adventure Park and to Kennedys Bush, you could see it go on for miles," Muir said....

Palestinians require a two state solution.

Perhaps First Lady Melania should meet with Queen Raina of Jordan to discuss the perils of the Palestinians in the Middle East. Queen Raina (click here) was born to Palestinian parents. I am quite sure she can speak of their plight.

She states, "We shouldn't judge people through the prism of our own stereotypes."

February 15, 2017
By Reuters

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (click here) warned on Wednesday against abandoning the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there was "no alternative."

"There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states and we should do all that can be done to maintain this," Guterres said during a visit to Cairo.

The UN chief's comments came after Trump administration officials suggested that peace between the parties might be possible in another framework.

On the eve of Trump's first official meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior White House official said it was up to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves to decide on the shape of any future peace.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have warned the United States against abandoning a two-state solution....

Someone didn't get 'the word' that "Nam' was allowed a life.

He was kinda cute in a North Korean sort of way. I am sorry he never got to "Tokyo Disneyland." He liked The West.

February 15, 2017
By Ju-min Park

Seoul (Reuters) - Five years ago, Kim Jong Nam, (click here) the half-brother of North Korea's ruler, pleaded with his younger sibling to spare his life, according to two lawmakers in South Korea.

He wrote a letter to Kim Jong Un, who took power after their father Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, and asked him to withdraw a standing order for his assassination, according to the lawmakers, who were briefed by South Korea's spy agency....

The Trump presidency is untrustworthy.

Vladimir Putin may want to save the tigers from extinction, but, he would never enter a cage with one.

February 15, 2017
By Aaron Blake

The New York Times and CNN (click here) are both reporting that members of Donald Trump's campaign spoke with Russia frequently during the campaign.

It's worth noting that their reporting includes significant caveats. Most importantly, it's not clear these discussions involved the campaign. The Times says the contacts were with “Russian intelligence officials,” while CNN says it was with “Russian nationals known to U.S. intelligence.” And, as the Times notes, “it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society.”...

There will be inevitable war between the USA and Russia. That is a fact, the only question is how many will die?

"W" did a terrible thing. He invaded an unarmed country and set up housekeeping for oil. What does Russia have the most of?

Since March 19 - 20 of 2003 the world was on alert of a "One Superpower" paradigm in the world. Every country in the world assessed it's ability to defend itself. Today we are faced with a growing willingness of countries to unhinge treaties and move into war to resolve the paradigm created by "W"'s presidency.

Is Vladimir Putin a genius strategist? Good question. He has kept Russia alive and somewhat thriving since the USSR collapsed. In some ways I don't even now if assessing Putin is important so much as assessing the large states within Russia and their leadership.

See, the one question that The West must answer is whether or not there is political will within Russian leadership to follow Putin into war with The West. If the answer is further collapse of Russia, then there is no major war in anyone's future. But, if Putin has been able to make nationalism stick so there is political will to destroy The West then there is a major issue.

Even if Putin has no political will within Russian leadership for a war with The West, there is nothing stopping him from a nuclear engagement. He has already threatened same when they first destroyed the treaty of Ukraine.

It is obvious and The West is stupid to ignore it, Russia is on the move. Russia is breaking treaties and moving forward with an agenda of occupation where it can. Russia is dangerous right now. But, can it destroy The West? Not likely, but, it could serve a blow to countries that would create a far different world than we have today. Russia would not go unscathed. Russians would pay a dear price for a president without reassurances of survival of the Russian people.

This is fact. President Obama attempted to reverse the foolishness of "W." He reached out to countries around Earth that the USA has never engaged before and placed hope where there was none. He instilled the idea that peace can be obtained and all people could have a better quality of life and ultimately happiness. Barak Obama believed that and so do I, but, with another Neocon in the White House there is little hope for peace so much as isolationism.

I think the global community has many challenges and all the hope seeded by Obama can be gone in a flash of a nuclear explosion. It can happen within seconds from now and we will be in a very different world.

Donald Trump is not capable of leading the USA in such a world.