Archive for June, 2012
Japan and South Korea were minutes away from agreeing a new strategic treaty to offset the rise of China — when the signing was called off because of an outcry from South Korea. The military pact, the first between South Korea and Japan since the Second World War, had been seen as a breakthrough between the neighbours despite their difficult history. The agreement had caused an uproar in South Korea, which was ruled by Japan as a colony for decades until the end of the Second World War in 1945.
But it’s seen as a crucial element in the shift of US military power to the Asia-Pacific, which includes a new alliance with India and stationing troops in Australia.
Congratulations and good luck for the best of British filmmaking — no questionable tax schemes, no public money — initiative, hard work, creativity and stamina from all involved.
The US Navy’s new carriers — the Gerald R Ford Class — will rise 20 stories above the water, be 1,092 feet (333 meters) long, move at 30 knots (35 miles per hour) an carry almost 5,000 personnel. http://bloom.bg/NO2IUO New Zealand and US sign a new defence pact bolstering America’s strategic military shift to the Asia-Pacific.
After persistence, obstacles, love, loyalty, tears and triumph, John Robert’s brilliant romantic drama Day of the Flowers has been nominated for the Michael Powell Best British Feature Film award at Edinburgh. Starring the world’s greatest ballet star Carlos Acosta with Eva Birhistle and Charity Wakefield, this is the first British film to be shot in Cuba since 1960 with Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana with Alec Guiness.
The performances are superb, the music to die for and the feel-good factor unbeatable.
Day of the Flowers has its world premier on June 25th
Much of the effort comes from a small band of people in Suffolk, UK of which I sit right on the fringes — hence my cheer-leading.
The outgoing head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, warns that Europe runs the risk of sparking a Lehman-style global crisis that will have dire consequences for developing nations. http://bit.ly/MgS5nq
Lehman’s was in 2008. So why? What happened to four years of economic and financial reforms? Or is good banking like good democracy; you can’t build it overnight.
The New York Times reports: “The inability of the United Nations to bridge the gap only increases the likelihood that the Syrian conflict will become a regional proxy fight. ‘The problem is that if we do nothing and Syria explodes, we have a broader conflict in the Middle East,’ a senior American diplomat said early last week, before the United Nations announcement, adding, ‘But our options aren’t any better than they were a year ago.’
Wasn’t that same argument used nearly fifty years on Vietnam?
I have just looked too closely into a regularly renewed household insurance policy run by HSBC and uncovered an underbelly of the life of a British consumer.
The premium was increased by 100 per cent without notice or explanation. The policy which I thought was with HSBC had been outsourced to Premium Scanner which had re-outsourced it to BDML which is owned by Capita. The insurance company is Prestige which on the Internet has a telephone number in Spain. A premium charge is made on the 0845 number which begins with a lengthy rambling message. But this is not stated and the staff do not know what the charge is. In my first call to an rival insurance company, I was quoted less than half the HSBC premium for twice as much cover. HSBC claims to ‘search the most competitive price from our panel of insurers.’
In two hours of household admin this morning, I have found hundreds of pounds in small bills here and there that are being wrongly charged.
North Korea says it has no plans to conduct a third nuclear test “at present”. It carried out atomic tests in 2006 and 2009 after UN imposed sanctions against its rocket launches. The US has warned that a nuclear test would lead to a “swift and sure response” from the region, saying any such move by Pyongyang would be “a serious miscalculation”.
Insightful piece by Bobo Lo on the contradictions in the Russia – China strategic alliance and Moscow’s attachment to Beijing as “success by association.” Dynamic China against fading, complacent Russia.
Is this a coincidence? If not how did it happen?
China’s Shanghai stockmarket index fell 64.89 points on Monday, numbers which are being read as June 6th 1989, the killing of students around Tiananmen Square that ended months of pro-democracy protests. And it opened on the at 2,346.98 which is being read as 23rd anniversary of June 4th 1989 — when read from right to left. The government reacted by blocking access to Internet sites — and what signal does that give to investors?
Read more: http://bit.ly/LuMBao