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Shammu
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« on: September 04, 2007, 09:01:06 PM »

China's influence spreads around world

By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 1, 7:58 PM ET

KARRATHA, Australia - For nearly three decades, Chinese peasants have left their villages for crowded dormitories and sweaty assembly lines, churning out goods for world markets. Now, China is turning the tables.

Here in the Australian Outback, Shane Padley toils in the scorching heat, 2,000 miles from his home, to build an extension to a liquefied natural gas plant that feeds China's ravenous hunger for energy.

At night, the 34-year-old carpenter sleeps in a tin dwelling known as a "donga," the size of a shipping container and divided into four rooms, each barely big enough for a bed. There are few other places for Padley to live in this boomtown.

Duct-taped to the wall is a snapshot of the blonde girlfriend he left behind and worries he may lose. But, he says, "I can make nearly double what I'd be making back home in the Sydney area."

The reason: China.

For years, China's booming economy touched daily life in the West most visibly through the "made-in-China" label on everything from clothes to computers. But now, economic growth is giving rise to something more that can't be measured just by widgets and gadgets — a shift in China's balance of power with the rest of the world.

China's reach now extends from the Australian desert through the Sahara to the Amazonian jungle — and it's those regions supplying goods for China, not just the other way around. China has stepped up its political and diplomatic presence, most notably in Africa, where it is funneling billions of dollars in aid. And it is increasingly shaping the lifestyle of people around the world, as the United States did before it, right down to the Mandarin-language courses being taught in schools from Argentina to Virginia.

China, like the United States, is also learning that global power cuts both ways. The backlash over tainted toothpaste and toxic pet food has been severe, as has the criticism over China's support for regimes such Sudan's.

To understand why China's influence is increasingly pushing past its borders, just do the math.

When 1.3 billion people want something, the world feels it. And when those people in ever increasing numbers are joining a swelling middle class eager for a richer lifestyle, the world feels it even more.

If China's growth continues, its consumer market will be the world's second largest by 2015. The Chinese already eat 32 percent of the world's rice, build with 47 percent of its cement and smoke one out of every three cigarettes.

China's desire for expensive hardwood to turn into top-quality floorboards for its luxury skyscrapers has penetrated deep into the Amazon jungle. For example, in the isolated community of Novo Progresso, or New Progress in Portuguese, one of the biggest sawmills was started by the mayor with financing from Chinese investors.

China accounts for 30 percent of the wood exported from logging operations in remote towns across Brazil's rain forest, where trucks carry the finished product hundreds of miles along muddy roads to river ports, said Luiz Carlos Tremonte, who heads an influential wood industry association. Many Chinese purchasers now travel to Brazil to clinch deals, and are almost always accompanied at business meetings by friends or relatives of Chinese descent who live there.

"Ten years ago no one knew about China in Brazil; then the demand just exploded and they're buying a lot," Tremonte said. "This wood is great for floors, and they love it there."

The Bovespa stock index in Brazil has climbed more than 300 percent since 2002, riding the China wave.

China is buying coal mining equipment from Poland and drilling for oil and gas in Ethiopia and Nigeria. It has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Zambia's copper industry. It is the world's biggest market for mobile phones, headed for 520 million handsets this year. The list goes on.

Along with looking to other countries for goods for its people, China is also going far and wide in search of markets for its products.

In war-torn Liberia, where electricity is hard to come by, Chinese-made Tiger generators keep the local economy humming. Costlier Western brands, favored by aid agencies and diplomats, are beyond the reach of small business owners such as Mohammed Kiawu, 30, who runs a phone stall in the capital, Monrovia.

A used Tiger generator costs around $50, he said over the steady beat of his generator. "But even $250 is not enough to buy a used American or European generator. They are not meant for people like myself."

The Chinese generators are more prone to break down, Kiawu said. When the starter cable snapped on one, he replaced it with twine. But by making items for ordinary people, he predicted, China "will take control of the heart of the common people of Africa soon."

China is having to make up for decades of economic stagnation after the communist takeover in 1949.

When Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping began dabbling in economic reforms in 1978, farmers were scraping by. By 2005, income had increased sixfold after adjusting for inflation to $400 a year for those in the countryside and $1,275 for urban Chinese, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

"The Chinese don't want war — the Chinese just want to trade their way to power," said David Zweig, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. "In the past, if a state wanted to expand, it had to take territory. You don't need to grab colonies any more. You just need to have competitive goods to trade."

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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 09:01:30 PM »

If China stays on the same economic track, it would become the world's largest economy in 2027, surpassing the United States, according to projections by Goldman, Sachs & Co., a Wall Street investment bank. And unlike Japan, which rose in the 1980s only to fade again, China still has a huge pool of workers to tap and an emerging middle class that is just starting to reach critical mass. Many development economists believe China still has 20 years of fairly high growth ahead.

But the transition to a larger presence on the global stage comes with growing pains, for China and the rest of the world.

As Beijing plays an ever bigger role in the developing world, some Western countries fear it could undermine efforts to promote democracy. In its attempt to secure markets and win allies, China is stepping up development aid to Africa and Asia. Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged last year to double Chinese aid to Africa between 2006 and 2009, promising $3 billion in loans, $2 billion in export credits and a $5 billion fund to encourage Chinese investment in Africa. China has also promised Cambodia a $600 million aid package and agreed to loan $500 million to the Philippines for a rail project.

But China also extends aid to states such as Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Sudan whose human rights records have lost them the support of the West. Actress Mia Farrow has labeled next year's Beijing Olympics — a point of pride for China — the "genocide Olympics" because of China's support for Sudan, at a time when the West seeks to punish it for its military actions in Darfur. China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil output.

"In some ways, it will be integrating us into a new international order in which democracy as we've known it or the right to open organized political activity is no longer considered the norm," said James Mann, author of "The China Fantasy," a book about China and the West.

China is also facing some of the unease that powers before it have encountered. In Africa and Asia, some complain that massive China-funded infrastructure projects involve mostly Chinese workers and companies, rather than create jobs and wealth for the local population. And Moeletsi Mbeki, a political commentator and brother of South African President Thabo Mbeki, likens the trade of African resources for Chinese manufactured goods to former colonial arrangements.

"This equation is not sustainable," Mbeki said at a recent meeting of the African Development Bank in Shanghai. "Africa needs to preserve its natural resources to use in the future for its own industrialization."

The backlash is also coming on the consumer front, with Chinese goods earning a dubious reputation for quality. In the United States, there is a furor over the standard of Chinese imports. In Bolivia, vendors peel off or paint over any indication that their wares were "Hecho en China," Spanish for "Made in China."

A woman selling bicycles in El Alto, a poor city outside the capital, La Paz, insisted they were made in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or even India. With some prodding, she acknowledged the truth. "They're all Chinese," she said, declining to give her name lest it hurt her business. "But if I say they're Chinese, they don't sell."

Even those who benefit from China's growth express some wariness. Aerospace giant Boeing expects China to be the largest market for commercial air travel outside the United States in the next 20 years, buying more than $100 billion worth of commercial aircraft, U.S. trade envoy Karan Bhatia said in a recent speech.

"Right now, we're hiring every week," noted Connie Kelliher, a union leader. "Things couldn't be better."

Yet Boeing workers remain wary of China's ambitions to build its own planes. next year China plans to test-fly a locally made midsize jet seating 78 to 85 passengers. It also has announced plans to roll out a 150-seat plane by 2020.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword," Kelliher said. "You want the business and we want to get the airplane sales to them, but there's the real concern of giving away so much technology that they start building their own."

That's what happened to Western and Japanese automakers, which made inroads in the Chinese market only to see their designs copied and technologies stolen. Already, China's vehicle manufacturers are venturing overseas, exporting 325,000 units last year — mostly low-priced trucks and buses to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

"We're taking a bigger piece of the pie," said Yamilet Guevara, a sales manager for Cinascar Automotriz, which has opened 20 showrooms in Venezuela in the past 18 months, offering cars from six Chinese makers. "They ask by name now. It's no longer just the Chinese car. It's the Tiggo, the QQ."

China's biggest car company, Chery Automobile Co., just announced a deal with the Chrysler Group to jointly produce and export cars to Western Europe and the United States within 2 1/2 years.

Given the speed of China's ascent, it's perhaps not surprising that China itself is trying to calm some of the fears. Its slogan for the Beijing Olympics: "Peacefully Rising China."

China's influence spreads around world
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 09:04:17 PM »

Taleban 'getting Chinese weapons'
By Paul Danahar
BBC Asia bureau chief, Beijing

Britain has privately complained to Beijing that Chinese-made weapons are being used by the Taleban to attack British troops in Afghanistan.

The BBC has been told that on several occasions Chinese arms have been recovered after attacks on British and American troops by Afghan insurgents.

The authorities in Beijing have promised to carry out an investigation.

This appears to be the first time Britain has asked China how its arms are ending up with the Taleban.

Boasting

At a meeting held recently at the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing, a British official expressed the UK's growing concern about the incidents.

When asked about the latest British concerns, the Chinese foreign ministry referred back to a statement made by their spokesman Qin Gang in July who said China's arms exports were carried out "in strict accordance with our law and our international obligations".

For their part, the Taleban have recently begun boasting that they have now got hold of much more sophisticated weaponry although they refused to say from where.

Afghan officials have also privately confirmed to the BBC that sophisticated Chinese weapons are now in the hands of the Taleban.

They said these included Chinese-made surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs.

A senior Afghan official told the BBC: "Chinese HN-5 anti-aircraft missiles are with the Taleban, we know this... and  we are worried where do the Taleban get them,  some of these weapons have been made recently in Chinese factories."

Another Afghan official who deals with counter-terrorism said: "Serial numbers and other information from most of the Chinese weapons have been removed in most cases and it's almost impossible for us to find out where they come from but we have shared our concerns with the Chinese and the Americans also."

Worried

The Afghan government considers China to be a friend, and a much less meddlesome ally than the other big player in its neighbourhood, India.

But, the counter-terrorism official added, "China is worried about the presence of the US in the region".

Southern Afghanistan has been awash with Chinese made arms for decades which are some of the cheapest on the market.

In the past the Taleban got them via the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI, or bought them directly from arms smugglers.

But it is extremely unlikely the ISI would now allow them access to anti-aircraft missiles or armour-piercing ammunition.

The Pakistani army's relationship between militants in its tribal areas along the Afghan border has deteriorated sharply in recent years after Washington put pressure on President Musharraf post-9/11 to crack down on al-Qaeda and Taleban groups operating inside Pakistani territory.

So the Taleban might well use any sophisticated new weapons it received against the Pakistani army.

It is not in China's interest either to arm Pakistan-based militants.

Over the last couple of years Chinese workers in Pakistan have been targeted by militants, in retaliation for the Pakistani army allegedly going after hard-line Muslim Uighur leaders from China's Xinjiang province, hiding in the tribal areas.

Proxy network

So instead of Pakistan being the transit point for these weapons, the finger is being pointed by many commentators towards Iran.

The Afghan government has long acknowledged privately that Iranian intelligence agencies have been active in southern Afghanistan post-9/11.

Iran has been pursuing a policy of building up proxy networks to be able to attack American forces in response to any US attacks against Teheran's nuclear infrastructure.

A Shia Iran and the Sunni Taleban had been firm enemies since 1998.

Then, Iran threatened to invade western Afghanistan, when the country was largely controlled by the Taleban, after nine of its diplomats were massacred in Mazar-e-Sharif.

But times have changed, now America is a common enemy and senior American commanders in Afghanistan have acknowledged the growing ties between the two.

The complication for both the UK and US is China.

Unnamed US officials have recently been quoted as saying that China has been selling arms to Iran which Iran is then passing on to insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Iraq.

China's booming economy and its seat at the UN security council have made it an important player on the world stage.

It is a major trading partner for the UK whose economy has benefited enormously from China's cheap goods.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's newly-appointed British Minister for Asia, Lord Mark Malloch Brown acknowledged to journalists in Beijing last week that countries "need to work with China to get things done in today's world".

China is going to have to show that getting things done also means stopping its arms illegally ending up in the hands of men bent on killing British troops.

Taleban 'getting Chinese weapons'
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 09:06:13 PM »

 Report: Chinese firms in Iran providing strategic and infrastructure support
More than 100 Chinese companies are working inside Iran, providing a range of goods and services in such areas as energy, dam and shipbuilding, steel production and airport and seaport development, the London-based Realite-EU reported.

Trade between Iran and China increased from $1.2 billion in 1998 to about $10 billion last year, while Iran is the second-largest oil exporter to China after Saudi Arabia, sending Beijing around $5.8 billion worth of crude oil along with petrochemical products.

China also has been shipping weapons and military technology to Iran for at least a decade and is believed to have provided some materials being used by Iran in its illegal uranium enrichment program, according to U.S. officials.

 Beijing officials have ignored U.S. protests against Chinese involvement in Iran. Beijing either denies the involvement or claims that Chinese companies are engaged in non-military trade.

Ali Akbar Saheli, Iran's former representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the two countries "mutually complement each other, they have industry and we have energy resources." In July 2004, Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, said China supported Iran’s nuclear programs.

China also played a key role in Iran's missile development, with exports and assistance dating back 20 years. They include anti-ship cruise missiles, including the C-802, the HY-2 Silkworm, and technical assistance for Iran's ballistic missile program.

Report: Chinese firms in Iran providing strategic and infrastructure support
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2008, 05:49:14 PM »

2008: The year a new superpower is born
China flexing frightening economic muscle on international markets

Here comes the world's newest superpower. The rest of the world is gloomily contemplating economic slowdown and even recession. Not in Beijing. China is set to make 2008 the year it asserts its status as a global colossus by flexing frightening economic muscle on international markets, enjoying unprecedented levels of domestic consumption and showcasing itself to a watching world with a glittering £20bn Olympic Games.

The world's most populous nation will mark the next 12 months with a coming-of-age party that will confirm its transformation in three decades from one of the poorest countries of the 20th century into the globe's third-largest economy, its hungriest (and most polluting) consumer and the engine room of economic growth.

Once regarded at best as a sporting also-ran, China is widely tipped to top the medals table in the Beijing Olympics in August, an event in which the country's leadership is investing huge importance and prestige.

It will be a celebration viewed with consternation by many, as China's authoritarian regime shows little sign of relaxing its grip on power and continues to expand its influence overseas from the oil fields and metal mines of Africa to the City of London. Appropriately, 2008 marks the Year of the Rat, an animal considered in Chinese folklore to be a harbinger and protector of material prosperity.

Britain will feel the full power of the new superpower's confidence. This month, for the first time, China's state-controlled banks will begin spending some of its $1.33trn (£670bn) in foreign currency reserves on London's financial markets. Beijing has ruled that Britain should become only the second destination after Hong Kong to be allowed to receive investors' money via so-called "sovereign funds" – the huge state-controlled surpluses built up by cash-rich economies from Qatar to South Korea. Throw in the biggest round of Chinese art exhibitions ever to tour these islands and the oriental bias to 2008 becomes even more pronounced.

The UK has made it clear that Beijing's investment, which could reach as much as £45bn, is welcome and it follows the recent acquisition by Chinese banks of stakes in such blue chip stocks as Barclays and the US private equity firm Blackstone, at a cost of $3bn. The talk in the finance houses is that the label "Made in China" will soon be replaced by one reading "Owned by China". Takeover speculation has provoked concern in some quarters at the wisdom of selling large assets to organs of a democratically unaccountable state where the financial sector remains underdeveloped.

China's trade surplus with the rest of the world will widen from £130bn in 2007 to £145bn this year as it tries to tame its burgeoning economy amid pressure from Washington and Brussels to narrow the trade gap and raise its currency's value.

Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club, a Sino-British business network, said: "China has become an international player much more quickly than it would have wanted to do, in part to meet its need for natural resources. But I don't think China has any intention of taking on American power. The West is important to China in this stage of its development as it seeks inward investment. But that is beginning to be much less important and it is looking more to the development of a strong Asia, in which it is one of the strongest players because of its enormous consumer base."

But while some may question Beijing's political motives, there is no doubt that China has arrived as serious power-broker. Last year, it surpassed America as the greatest driver of global economic demand. It is also widely predicted to overtake Germany as the world's third largest economy this year.

While nearly all of its success since Premier Deng Xiaoping began China's economic transformation in 1978 has been driven by producing goods for the outside world, the country has a burgeoning urban middle-class whose insatiable appetite for consumer durables is hoped to put the economy on a more stable footing. One London-based luxury markets analyst said: "The Chinese are waking up to quality brands in a way that is quite exciting. There is a real sense that what the West once kept to itself is now available to them, or at least the urban few who can afford it."

The arrival of conspicuous consumption and entry of Shanghai's sovereign funds into foreign investment markets, with London soon expected to be followed by the US, is symptomatic of a China increasingly willing to assert itself as a political and cultural influence, according to experts.

From global warming to Darfur and North Korea, the views of Beijing and its willingness to act have become prerequisites to any solution to the world's most pressing problems.

The Chinese New Year on 7 February will herald the beginning of the largest-ever festival of China's culture in Britain with an accent on contemporary artists in fields from video art to neon signs. But others warn 2008 has as much potential to be a disaster as a triumph for Beijing's attempts to herald its own arrival on the world stage. The Chinese capital will host 31,000 journalists for the Olympics and any sign of protest or an attempt to quell dissent with violence would be catastrophic.

The drum beat of protectionism is already sounding in America and will only get louder in a presidential election year, putting pressure on both Republican and Democratic candidates to take a "strong" stance on China. In the meantime, Beijing will have to grapple with issues from rising inflation to Taiwan, which holds presidential elections in March, to its status as the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and likely role as the largest consumer of primary energy resources.

Dr Kerry Brown, associate fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said: "There are good reasons to feel pretty uncomfortable about 2008 for China. The world will be rightly watching China in August for the Olympics. But it will only take one truncheon blow to turn it away from a story about sport to one about repression."
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 05:51:44 PM »

Some China firms avoid U.S. technology transfer licenses

Six months ago, the U.S. government quietly eased some restrictions on the export of sensitive technologies to China. The new approach was intended to help U.S. companies increase sales of high-technology equipment to China despite tight curbs on sharing technology that might have military applications.

But now the administration is facing questions from weapons experts about whether some equipment - newly authorized for export to Chinese companies deemed trustworthy by Washington - could instead end up helping China modernize its military. Equally worrisome, the weapons experts say, is the possibility that China could share the technology with Iran or Syria.

The technologies include advanced aircraft engine parts, navigation systems, telecommunications equipment and sophisticated composite materials.

The questions raised about the new policy are in a report to be released soon, possibly this week, by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, an independent research foundation that opposes the spread of arms technologies.

The government's new approach is part of an overall drive to require licenses for the export of an expanded list of technologies in aircraft engines, lasers, telecommunications, aircraft materials and other fields of interest to China's military.

But while imposing license requirements for the transfer of these technologies, the administration is also validating certain Chinese companies so that they can import these technologies without licenses. Five such companies were designated in October, but as many as a dozen others are in the pipeline for possible future designation.

Mario Mancuso, the under secretary of commerce for security and industry, said the new system was resulting in more effective protections.

"We believe that the system we have set up ensures that we are protecting our national security consistent with our goal of promoting legitimate exports for civilian use," he said during an interview. "We have adopted a consistent, broad-based approach to hedging against helping China's military modernization."

But the Wisconsin Project report, made available to The New York Times, asserts that two nonmilitary Chinese companies designated as trustworthy are in fact high risk because of links to the Chinese government, the Peoples Liberation Army and other Chinese entities accused in the past of ties to Syria and Iran.

One of the Chinese companies, BHA Aerocomposite Parts, is partly owned by two U.S. companies: the aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the aerospace materials maker Hexcel, with each holding a 40 percent stake. The remaining 20 percent is owned by a Chinese government-owned company, AVIC I, or China Aviation Industry Corp. I.

"In principle you could find companies that would be above suspicion, but in this case they haven't done it," said Gary Milholin, the Washington director of the Wisconsin Project. "If you just look at the relations these companies have, rather than be above suspicion, they are highly suspicious."

The Wisconsin Project report also asserts that both Boeing and Hexcel have been cited for past lapses in obtaining proper licenses for exports.

Spokesmen for both Boeing and Hexcel said during interviews that they were fully confident that BHA had no ties to the Chinese military and that its use of aircraft parts and materials were strictly for commercial and civilian ends.

Milholin said that research by his staff had uncovered several links with the Chinese military establishment involving both BHA and another of the five companies, Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics.

AVIC I, the Chinese government entity that owns a minority share of BHA, also produces fighters, nuclear-capable bombers and aviation weapons systems for the People's Liberation Army, the report says. The U.S. State Department has cited another AVIC I subsidiary, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export, for links to arms sales to Iran and Syria.

The report also says that Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics is majority owned "through a corporate chain" by China Electronics, which the report says is a government conglomerate that produces military equipment along with consumer electronics. It has a subsidiary, the report says, that procures arms for the military.

Milholin said that the new administration policy granting companies the right to import some technologies without prior licenses was adopted quietly as "a stealth attack on export controls."

But Mancuso, the Commerce Department official who oversees the program, noted that the department proposed it publicly in mid-2006 and adopted it a year later after lengthy public comment by interested parties and members of Congress.

In addition, he said, no Chinese company can receive sensitive technologies - as part of a category known as "validated end users" - without a review of its record by the State, Energy and Defense departments and by relevant intelligence agencies. The five companies designated in October, he said, were approved without dissent by these units of the government.

"China is a huge market for our commercial technology exports," Mancuso said. "Yet there are real security risks we are mindful of. We take that concern very, very seriously." Only those companies that have "a demonstrable record of using sensitive technologies responsibly" are approved, he said.

Beyond that, he said that companies for which licensing requirements had been lifted were subject to additional disclosure obligations, including on-site visits by U.S. government personnel.

Business groups that advocate greater technology-sharing with China in civilian aeronautics and other areas say that the administration has been cautious in its new policy, in particular choosing Chinese companies with U.S. partners or owners.

The three other Chinese companies announced as "validated end users" in October are Applied Materials China, a subsidiary of Applied Materials USA, a maker of semiconductors; Chinese facilities operated by National Semiconductor, an American company; and Semiconductor Manufacturing International.
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2008, 07:15:20 PM »

Saudis, Chinese invest in Citibank 
Mortgage crisis expands as Dow takes dive

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has finished the week down 246.79, at 12,606.30, reflecting Wall Street's concern that consumer purchases are being dampened by a weakening economy.

Then, after the market closed on Friday, the Wall Street Journal announced Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of Citibank's largest shareholder, and the China Development Bank are expected to invest several billion dollars in Citibank, which is facing in excess of $15 billion in fourth-quarter losses from mortgage-related investment vehicles.

The Financial Times also reported Citibank was in the process of raising up to $14 billion in new capital from Chinese, Kuwaiti and other public market investors.

In December, the Abu Dhabi government invested $7.5 billion in Citibank, for a 4.9 percent ownership provision plus a preferred coupon return of 11 percent.

The announcement came at the end of a day on Wall Street that began with the announcement the Bank of America, the largest U.S. retail bank, was acquiring Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage bank, in a $4 billion all-stock deal.

In August, Bank of America invested $2 billion in Countrywide for preferred shares convertible to a 16 percent stake in the company.

(Story continues below)

These transactions underscore the continuing negative impact the real estate crisis has on U.S . financial institutions, including some of the largest.

Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures have inflicted billions of dollars damage on the asset portfolios of banks that have held Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMOs, in their asset portfolios.

When CMOs are marked to market, delinquencies and foreclosures mean the assets have to be discounted to reflect their current worth, including billions in losses that cause the securities to have a present value worth considerably less than the initial value the financial institutions placed on the assets when they were first acquired.

In the extreme, banks facing billions in losses on CMOs held in their asset portfolios may be forced to scramble to find new billions in investments, including investments from foreign sources, to make sure the banks have sufficient assets to meet their reserve operating requirements.

Increasingly, U.S. banks are seeking capital from sovereign wealth funds held by Middle Eastern oil producing countries with trillions in petrodollar profits as oil has held to over $90 a barrel, or by China as the U.S.' negative imbalance of trade continues to grow.

WND reported earlier when the DJIA ended the first week of January under 13,000, at 12,800.18.
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2008, 09:52:00 PM »

Well I've said it before but here it is again.  It's really too late to save America from it's self.  We shot our own self in the foot and the damage is too wide spread to save it now.  Everywhere you turn there is a leak in the dyke.  I'm afraid that very soon we will wake up and wonder what happened and how.  I'm just kind of curious what country will take us over first.  Actually I know the answer.  It's already here.  We are GLOBAL.
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 07:17:47 PM »

3 companies indicted for poisoned pet food
Contaminated gluten just latest in list of 'filthy' products from China


Just six months after an epidemic of pet illnesses and deaths across the United States was blamed on contaminated Chinese proteins in pet food, the federal government has announced indictments against three companies, including two from China.

Named in the indictments released by the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City, Mo., were Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co. and ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The tainted pet food was blamed for the deaths of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of house pets last year and an inflation in the fear American consumers felt toward products from China amidst a long series of reports about contaminated products ranging from sardines to toothbrushes.

The companies were named in two separate but related indictments, the report said.

One alleged Xuzhou Anying Biologic, headquartered in China's Jiangsu Province, and Suzhou Textiles, of the city with the same name, introduced contaminated or adulterated food into interstate commerce as well as introducing "misbranded" food, for a total of 26 counts.

The report said ChemNutra, owned by Chinese national Sally Quing Miller and husband Stephen S. Miller, were accused of the same charges plus one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The report said the indictments accuse Suzhou of incorrectly labeling more than 800 tons of wheat gluten that had been poisoned with melamine to avoid governmental inspections, and then failing to declare the material when it was hauled to the United States to be used in food.

The government alleges the product was delivered to ChemNutra at the port of entry in Kansas City, and resold to pet food makers who used it in their products.

Government authorities allege the melamine was dumped into the gluten so that it would meet a "required standard" for protein content.

"Millions of pet owners remember the anxiety of last year's pet food recall. The indictments are the product of an investigation that began in the wake of that recall," said a statement prepared by U.S. Attorney John Wood.

WND, which has been documenting reports of contaminated products from China, has confirmed Food and Drug Administration inspectors are finding increased cases with products that have been contaminated with carcinogens, bacteria or banned drugs.

In one month in 2007, some 257 refusals of Chinese products were recorded, compared to only 140 from Mexico and 23 from Canada.

Among the products turned away from U.S. borders were:

    * salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
    * dried apple
    * dried peach
    * dried pear
    * dried round bean curd
    * dried mushroom
    * olives
    * frozen bay scallops
    * frozen Pacific cod
    * sardines
    * frozen seafood mix
    * fermented bean curd
    * frozen eel
    * ginseng
    * frozen red raspberry crumble
    * mushrooms

Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.

Toothbrushes were rejected because they were improperly labeled. And the FDA found Chinese toothpaste contaminated with a chemical used in antifreeze – the same chemical that killed people in Panama in 2006 when it turned up in cough syrup.

In one case, the U.S. warned consumers not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish, which actually may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Many times inspectors simply call the products "filthy" when they can smell the rot and decay evident on arrival in America.

In the age of globalization, food imports in America are big business and getting bigger. In 2006, they represented $64 billion – a 33 percent increase over 2003. No country is increasing its food exports faster than China – about 20 percent in the last year alone.

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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2008, 07:44:09 AM »

Olympians forced to sign no-criticism-of-China contract
If competitors agree to clause but then speak their mind, they'll be sent packing

British athletes who want to compete in the summer Olympics will be required to sign a contract promising not to make statements critical of the communist regime's human rights record or they will not be permitted to travel to China, according to a 32-page document prepared by the British Olympic Association.

"There are all sorts of organizations who would like athletes to use the Olympic Games as a vehicle to publicize their causes," Simon Clegg, BOA's chief executive, told the London Daily Mail.

"I don't believe that is in the interest of the team performance. As a team we are ambassadors of the country and we have to conform to an appropriate code of conduct."

While this is the first time the clause prohibiting any kind of political statement about the hosting country has been included in the BOA contract, the British team is not alone. New Zealand and Belgium also make the same requirement of those who qualify to compete in Beijing.

According to BOA, any athlete who refuses to sign the contract will not be allowed to travel to Beijing, and any competitor who signs it and later makes statements critical of China will be immediately put on a plane back to the UK.

The clause, which will be in effect from when the athletes are selected for the team in July until the close of the games on Aug. 24, reads: "[Athletes] are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues."

Competitors are referred to Section 51 of the International Olympic Committee charter, which "provides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

WND reported China has plans to target 43 types of people with investigations – and possibly bans – when the 2008 Olympics are held in Beijing.

Those targeted will include "religious infiltrators," employees of media organizations, those tied to "illegal" religious organizations and others, according to information from a "secretly issued" notice from China's Ministry of Public Security that went to security officials and departments throughout the nation.

Additionally, organizations that monitor persecution against Christians have reported crackdowns against believers in advance of the Olympics as part of an effort to sweep away any groups that would challenge the image Beijing's leaders want to present to the world. In one case, a pastor and his elderly mother were arrested for walking by one of the Olympic construction sites.

In November, China denounced media reports Bibles would be banned in in Olympic facilities, despite a warning on the Olympic Games' official website, which outlines the process to enter China, advising athletes, visitors and journalists they should bring no more than a single Bible with them to the Games. Chinese authorities have the right to inspect any and all luggage of those entering the country.

But with the Olympic association in visiting countries forcing their athletes to sign speech-ban contracts, there may be little for Chinese authorities to worry about.

BOA's decision to ban criticism is likely to cause a public outcry, Edward McMillan-Scott, Conservative member of the European Parliament and the body's vice-president, said, encouraging the government to tell BOA to remove the offending clause.

He noted athletes' blogs and e-mails home will have to be self-censored to avoid being sent home.

"It is extraordinary to bar athletes from expressing an opinion about China's human-rights record. About the only justification for participating in the Beijing Games is that it offers an opportunity to encourage more awareness about human rights," said Lord David Alton.

"Imposing compulsory vows of silence is an affront to our athletes, and in China it will be viewed as acquiescence.

"Each year 8,000 executions take place in China, political and religious opinion is repressed, journalists are jailed and the Internet and overseas broadcasts are heavily censored. For our athletes to be told that they may not make any comment makes a mockery of our own country's belief in free speech."

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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2008, 02:41:25 PM »

China has penetrated U.S. databases: 'They are already in and we have to find them'
Chinese computer attackers have conducted an aggressive, non-stop campaign to penetrate key government and industry databases in the United States, according to a computer security specialist.

Disturbingly, the Chinese have succeeded, said Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute, a computer security center. “They are already in and we have to find them.”

The hackers, he noted, are likely working for the People’s Liberation Army.

Paller told SCMagazineUS.com. that evidence makes clear the Chinese government is behind the attacks, which he described as non-stop and well-financed efforts to breach key national security and industry databases.

The evidence includes keystroke logs of the attacks, which have been devoid of errors usually found in amateur hack attacks, the use of "spear phishing" to gain entry into computer networks and the massively repetitive nature of the assaults.

“This is not amateur hacking. They are going back to the same places 100 times a day, every day. This kind of an effort requires a massive amount of money and resources,” Paller said.

The U.S. government must monitor all Internet traffic to critical government and private-sector networks "to find the enemy within," he said.
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2008, 11:14:42 AM »

China-made blood thinner killing Americans?
Investigation follows 4 deaths, hundreds of 'reactions'

The U.S. government is investigating a Chinese manufacturing plant as a possible source of the problems with a Baxter International brand name blood thinner that has been linked to four deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration is looking into "all possible sources of the problem" that has developed in recent weeks with the use of the drug heparin, which is sold by Baxter and used by patients in danger of having their blood clot.

Erin Gardiner, a spokeswoman for Baxter, told AP her company buys the active ingredient for heparin from a company that makes it both at a Chinese factory as well as a facility inside the United States.

The company reported it did inspections at both locations and discovered no "quality issues" in 2007, she said. She said there will be new inspections "very soon" because of the problems that have developed.

FDA officials said on their website that their investigation would include the Chinese manufacturing location and Baxter's plant in New Jersey, where the final work on its product is completed.

The Wall Street Journal reported the agency never had completed an inspection at the Chinese plant, but FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley declined to confirm that for the AP.

WND recently reported three corporations, including two from China, were indicted for selling contaminated proteins to a company that supplied pet food makers in the U.S.

The tainted pet food was blamed for the deaths of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of house pets last year and an inflation in the fear American consumers felt toward products from China amidst a long series of reports about contaminated products ranging from sardines to toothbrushes.

WND, which has been documenting reports of contaminated products from China, has confirmed Food and Drug Administration inspectors are finding increased cases with products that have been contaminated with carcinogens, bacteria or banned drugs.

In one month in 2007, some 257 refusals of Chinese products were recorded, compared to only 140 from Mexico and 23 from Canada.

Among the products turned away from U.S. borders were:

    * salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
    * dried apple
    * dried peach
    * dried pear
    * dried round bean curd
    * dried mushroom
    * olives
    * frozen bay scallops
    * frozen Pacific cod
    * sardines
    * frozen seafood mix
    * fermented bean curd
    * frozen eel
    * ginseng
    * frozen red raspberry crumble
    * mushrooms

Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.

Toothbrushes were rejected because they were improperly labeled. And the FDA found Chinese toothpaste contaminated with a chemical used in antifreeze – the same chemical that killed people in Panama in 2006 when it turned up in cough syrup.

In one case, the U.S. warned consumers not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish, which actually may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Many times inspectors simply call the products "filthy" when they can smell the rot and decay evident on arrival in America.

In the age of globalization, food imports in America are big business and getting bigger. In 2006, they represented $64 billion – a 33 percent increase over 2003. No country is increasing its food exports faster than China – about 20 percent in the last year alone.

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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2008, 10:16:50 AM »

Satellite shoot-down shows missile muscle

The Pentagon's plan to shoot down a failed satellite with a missile defense interceptor in the coming days is aimed at preventing toxic fuel from reaching earth. But U.S. officials and experts said yesterday it would also signal that U.S. missile defenses can be used to counter China's strategic anti-satellite weapons.

China conducted its first successful test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon on Jan. 11, 2007, in what defense and military officials called a new strategic threat to the United States.

Bush administration defense and national security officials involved in interagency discussions on the satellite destruction plan said one reason for using the missile defense system against a space target would be to highlight its potential as an ASAT weapon. The Pentagon has been discussing ways to deter and counter China's ASAT weapon, which can threaten U.S. military and civilian communications, especially command and control systems involving satellites.
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2008, 06:53:48 PM »

China to open world's largest Bible printing plant

Bob Fu, the president of the China Aid Association, says it's ironic that the communist country of China will soon have the largest Bible print shop in the world.

It was recently reported that China will soon open the largest Bible production plant in the world on the outskirts of the city of Nanjing. The plant will be operated by government-sanctioned Amity Press and reportedly will print one-million Bibles each month.
 
But while Chinese officials have heralded the development, Bob Fu, president of the China Aid Association, says the communist government could do more to get Bibles into the hands of Chinese citizens. "If China is serious on this issue of printing Bibles, they should make the Bibles available, at least in the public library [and] bookstores and so that citizens can have free access to buy it if they want," states Fu.
 
Fu says the Chinese government has nothing to brag about with this new production plant. He says with the world's largest population (1.3 billion people), China has the largest number of Christians within its borders. "To print a few million Bibles does not really show there's any religious freedom to boast [about]," the Christian activists argues.
 
He says despite efforts to make the Chinese government look tolerant, the Bible is still restricted in the public square.
 
Lead-up to Olympics
 
Meanwhile, Associated Press reports the director of China's religious affairs bureau is trying to calm U.S. misgivings ahead of Beijing's Olympic Games this summer. In Washington, Ye Xiaowen met with U.S. officials and spoke at Georgetown University.
 
After talks Wednesday with Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, he told reporters that China's peaceful development depends upon its respect for human rights and religious beliefs. Ye said he also met with President Bush's ambassador for international religious freedom, John Hanford, and with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington.
 
Ye criticized as groundless last year's State Department report on religious freedom that said China continued to repress religious groups and was cracking down ahead of the Olympics. Fu argues the crackdown on Christians and unregistered house churches is indeed related to the upcoming Olympic Games.
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2008, 06:46:59 AM »

If what I remember is true, these Bibles would be just for show, sales to other countries, and life-threatening to have after the foreigners are gone. I doubt that China will have much tolerance for Christians or Christian materials in this age. If anything, I would expect them to get worse, not better.
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