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Komura: Japan not seeking ‘rewards’ – I blogged about the Japan-Africa relationship before. This article reveals that Japan’s government is renewing its commitment to sustainable development aid measures in Africa and heavily implies they are “not after Africa’s resources like China”. This is not all altruistic, aid allocation never is. Japan is seeking a permanent seat on the security council and Africa has 53 nations. Upping aid from its current 10% on the continent might sway more to back Japan.

S. Korea’s Lee moves to revitalize relations – South Korea’s president elect, Lee Myung Bak, is seeking better relations with Japan. This is somewhat surprising to me since he has a history of being anti-Japanese, but I suppose he is a pragmatist. It is easy to be a anti-Japanese mayor, but not so easy to be an anti-Japanese president in the region. It is positive he is already seeking regional support to deal with the North Korean issue.

Liberia: Charles Taylor Trial Gets Under Way – Considering what this scum is responsible for in Liberia and the neighboring Sierra Leone, the child soldiers; drugs; rapes; mutilations; corruption; mental trauma of the victims. Taylor is a sub-human monster that should be hung like the war criminals of World War II.  Some people are not fit to live, and there is nothing wrong with culling the herd.  Here is a site that is monitoring the trial, Charles Taylor Trial.

Liberia: Market Women Help Revive Economy – There is some good news in Liberia. Not only do they have a woman president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who seems to be respectable; but women are reviving the market! Johson-Sirleaf owed a debt to these women who were instrumental in her election, so she set up a Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund; more about this in the article.  While reading the article, I saw similar dynamics in Liberia as in Sudan during the time of conflict. Women would be the ones foraging for goods, because they were least likely to be killed or forced into a militia. In Darfur, the choice was between a man possibly being killed and a woman raped, so often they sent the woman. In any case, I am quite happy with the industriousness and entrepreneurship I see in Liberia.

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Kenya’s Odinga Calls for Mediator to Resolve Crisis – Sitting president Kibaki called for a power sharing plan, which was rejected by Odinga.  Odinga wants international mediation lead by John Kufour, Ghana’s president. He is insistent that the true winner of the election is not known and needs to be discovered.  This makes sense to me to uphold the rule of law.  In this situation, if there was significant ballot box stuffing; a recount will not help. They will need to do a new election that is heavily supervised by foreign monitors. I believe Kibaki will oppose this as long as he possibly can, for obvious reasons.

China planning Taiwan Strait route for commercial aviation – China appears to be muscling in on airspace very close to what has been traditionally controlled by Taiwan. This has the effect of limiting Taiwan’s military exercises in the straight.  I see this as a duel maneuver for China.  They can reinforce the idea to Taiwan that their is “one China” and the shots are called from Beijing.  At the same time; China can relieve air congestion between Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing without opening up strategic airspace over the Mainland. Taiwan is crying foul to Washington, and the Bush Admin is doing some behind the scenes mediation. If I were Taiwan I would use whatever leverage I have to resist this.   I believe China is trying to intimidate; as well as, test the resolve of the U.S. over the Taiwan issue.

Smear tactics dominate Taiwanese parties’ campaign for parliamentary vote – Just some old old Taiwanese mudslinging election politics.  Legislative Yuan seats are up for election and Pan Blue/Pan Green are duking it out. Example: “‘The Nationalists are joining hands with China to suppress Taiwan’s democracy,’ the commercial says.”

Nigeria: Ribadu Remains EFCC Chairman – Presidency – I blogged on this before. The controversy was that Ribadu appeared too successful at his job and was being “sent away” for an extended period. Here is an update of the brouhaha this has caused. The fact it has caused major outrage is a good thing though.

UK Doubles Contribution to African Development Fund – This is great! $863 million will go far on the continent. The monies will be tracked through projects of the Millenium Development Goals, which include “improving the productive capacity in Africa, promoting economic integration, investing in infrastructure, private sector development, developing the skills needed to be competitive, as well as stepping up engagement in fragile states”.

Uganda: Fuel Prices Double As Stocks Run Out – This is a great example of a relatively stable and prosperous landlocked nation hindered by its much larger unstable conduit to the sea.  A common problem in Africa as so many nations are landlocked.

-Turnout is heavy in Kenyan election – Well it is election time in Kenya. I covered the candidate that is expected to win, here a few days ago. It seems to come down to a battle between Kibaki and Odinga; Kibaki being the incumbent establishment candidate of the dominant Kikuya tribe, and Odinga; the up and comer from a less affluent tribal group. Turn out is very high and from earlier reading it seems many people from the various other ethnic groups are tired of the Kikuya running things, but besides that education and the economy seem to be big issues. Whatever happens, I’m glad the vote is being judged “free and fair”.

Taiwan opposition presidential candidate awaits verdict on corruption case – I am pretty sure the verdict will be upheld and Ma will not go to jail or be disqualified from running for president. I’m also sure he is guilty but you know… 🙂

Japanese PM looks to boost ties through China visit – Well, looks like Fukuda will have a good trip as Beijing seems to approve of him and no major typical issues of “Chinese outrage” are on the table. This usually means that China wants something, like more Japanese investment (as they asked for a few weeks back). China is Japan’s largest trade partner and Japan is China’s largest investor. It seems most of the outstanding issues revolve around economics and military buildups on both sides. Could this be the dawn of new relations? I wouldn’t count on it, but money unites all. 🙂  The capital must flow!

Is the sun setting on Japan’s economic power?: GDP drops to 18th among major nations – This is nominal per capita, not purchasing power parity. Japan is still the second largest economy on earth in terms of GDP. Japanese people are also not poor, PPP is more accurate to measure this. This has to do more with exchange rates.

Asia: Lure of China proves irresistible for Japanese seeking fame and fortune – Maybe relations are getting better, after all. This is a very interesting article, worth the read; especially the last part concerning the Japanese companies problems.

Africa Brings New Financial Frontier to American Investors – This article speaks primarily  about African Americans investing in Africa.

First off…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Crisis of faith for Catholics in Macao – The article talks about the sharp decline of Catholicism in Macao in the last few years. This is not shocking to me as I have talked about Christianity and China before a few times. Confucianist based societies do not easily mess with Christianity or Abrahamic faiths for that matter.

‘Lust, Caution’ has its way with bourgeois China – I think Mr. French is almost a decade late. Most Chinese people I know buy the bootleg version that is uncensored. He is talking about elites traveling to Hong Kong to see the movie uncensored, meanwhile average people are watching it on their computer and in their home a day after the movie came out in Hong Kong or Taiwan. I think what is new is that people are publicly starting to complain about state censorship. I still have not got a look at Tang Wei this flick!! I am obviously opposed to any government media censorship.

Young population dwindles as birth rate declines – More stats and predictions concerning China’s population demographics. The gist of it is that the Chinese population is aging rapidly, part of this is due to the one-child policy, this trend is likely accelerated by the fact China has a huge gender imbalance which will knock a lot of young men out of the breeding pool. There is more on the gender imbalance issue here. I imagine this will likely put a strain on China’s growth, as the amount of labor will decline fairly fast, while the number of retirees dependent on the state increase. I would assume that China’s challenge is to move into more value added/less labor intensive markets before this occurs.

Class of ’77 has withstood the test of time in China – The greatest generation? They have my vote as I have been privileged enough to meet several people “sent down” during the Cultural Revolution (Wen Ge). Here is an interesting factoid, “The 4.7 percent of test takers who won admission to universities – 273,000 people – became known as the Class of ’77, widely regarded in China as the best and brightest of their time. (By comparison, 58 percent of this year’s 9 million exam takers won university places.)”. My friends mother and a Chinese History professor I had were both part of the class of ’77. After 10 years of oppression at the hands of the state, it must have been an amazing things to be part of; to know that you actually had an opportunity to succeed on merit. The fire in their bellies must have been enormous. It was succeed or go back to hard labor for many; I know it was for the people I know.

Africa: New Cable Promises Faster Internet – If the net spreads the way telephone use has, “Mr. Karuranga is one of an estimated 120 million Africans using phones, up from just 2 million in 1998.” this is positive news indeed. I also like this will be owned and operated by African entities and the fact that coastal nations will serve as nodes for landlocked nations. So far, about half the countries in Africa have signed on (23).

There has been a lot of news about HIV in China this week. I do not have much to say about the article below, other than I have blogged about this before, but in regard to North Western Europeans. I’m sure someone is trying to develop a vaccine based on the what makes these people immune, to my knowledge, a different protein structure on the type of immune cells that does not allow HIV to attach to them. A few years ago, I read a story concerning a group of Kenyan prostitutes who were thought to be immune, but it turned out to be bogus.

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https://i1.wp.com/www.durex.com/nl/images/worldwide/worldwide_china.jpg

Two women found with HIV-immune mutant gene
Wang Zhuoqiong
2004-10-01 05:17

SHENZHEN: Two women have been identified as carrying a mutant gene that is immune to HIV/AIDS, the first such cases uncovered in China, a researcher said.

The finding is the joint effort of a research programme, “Association of Human Genetic Polymorphisms with HIV Affections,” jointly conducted by the University of Washington in the US State of Washington and local Infectious Disease Hospitals and medical institutions in Guangdong Province.

Tuofu Zhu, associate professor of University of Washington and associate director of the Clinical Core at the Centre for AIDS Research (CFAR), introduced the programme to China a year ago as a part of his global research in nations in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

“Before, such mutant genes were only found in Caucasians. The finding has encouraged us to do further research in China, with the aim of developing medicines to prevent and cure HIV/AIDS for different races,”said Zhu.

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