MAPUTO: Cholera, malaria and hunger were the new killers facing Mozambique, failing immediate steps to provide clean drinking water and adequate medicines after catastrophic floods, relief workers warned.
ABU DHABI: Senior OPEC officials announced that the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries will increase production by nearly one million barrels per day in April.
BEIJING: China said it would raise defence spending by 12.7 percent this year as it stepped up threats against Taiwan, but the budget showed only a fraction of the true cost of the vast military.
MOSCOW: A total of 73 Chechen fighters surrendered to Russian forces overnight in the rebel province�s mountainous south, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.
WASHINGTON: A Southwest Airlines jet with 137 passengers onboard skidded off the runway and onto a busy California street while landing.
SEOUL: Russia and South Korea announced they will hold their first joint naval military exercise in April, signalling the coming of age of the fledgling ties between the ex-Cold War foes.
KARACHI: Pakistan�s deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif prepared to give evidence in his trial starting Wednesday on hijacking, abduction, attempted murder charges.
BANGKOK: Election monitors said that Thailand�s Senate election was laced with vote-buying, but described the polls as a step forward after decades of corruption-tainted democracy.
GUWAHATI: Separatist guerrillas in the northeastern Indian state of Assam ambushed a police vehicle, killing seven people, including two paramilitary police officers, officials said.
PATNA, India: At least six people were when two maintenance locomotives collided head on in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, state railway officials said.
By Wayne E. BEAUREGARD
ALMATY, March 2 (THE GLOBE)
An American tradition has been made aware, today, to the large number of Almatyans that have packed the Kazakh Concert Hall of Ablay Khan Avenue.
Sponsored by Almaty�s U.S. Embassy, a musical evening has been organized to honor the African American History Month, an all American event that, on a yearly basis, reminds all US citizens of the Afro-Americans� contribution to the discovery, pioneering, development and continuance of America.
Not by chance such history month has been set to be February, since it contains the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Douglass, a Black American, was one of the most eloquent and outspoken voices of abolition prior and during the troubled years of the Civil War between the States. Lincoln, the Emancipation president, who in 1858 during the famous series of debates engaged with Stephen A. Douglas, made clear what would have been his policy toward slavery � �A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved � I do not expect the house to fall � but I do expect it will cease to be divided� � elected president, and challenged by the secession of the South, issued the final Emancipation Proclamation of all black slaves in the Confederate States of America on January 1st, 1863.
Lincoln also welcomed Douglass� urge to enlist black soldiers into the Northern Army to contribute to the defeat of the rebel states. As a result the Civil War saw 178,000 African Americans serving in the Union�s Colored Troops and other 29,500 serving in the U.S. Navy.
To remind all this H.E. the ambassador of the United States of America, Richard H. Jones, has welcomed the musical evening a little after 7 P.M. with an introductory and poignant speech delivered in fluent Russian.
Duty observed, a bonanza of American popular music has been performed by the most appealing quintet �Sax-Chorus Female Jazz Group�, a group of 5 beautiful saxophonists that, led by Mr. Jacov M. Tkachenko, himself playing a clarinet, has delighted a concert hall filled to capacity with music by George Gershwin, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Arthur Tatum, Scott Joplin, Gene Krupa and many more.
In between all sax sections, Mr. Tkachenko has inserted some solo piano performances by Vlacislav Korbanij, a virtuoso pianist that has pleased the public with famous pieces such as Gershwin�s �Summertime�, Tatum�s �Blues�, Jabro�s �Girl from Ipanema�, Rodger�s �Yellow River� and Joplin�s �Ragtime�.
The 5 catch-eye girls from their part have given wide demonstration of group ability and, individually, of superb skill in difficult pieces such as Ellington�s �Indigo�, �Solitude� and �Satin girl�, Guryanov�s �In motion�, Guffrey�s �Four brothers� and Garland�s �In the mood�, which has caused the audience to beat tempo by clapping during the lively performance of the five� outstanding creatures.
Seen, among the many listeners, the Italian ambassador Fabrizio Piaggesi and his wife Livia.
Frederick Douglass was a strong advocate of black soldiers enlisting into the Union Army during the Civil War.
By Wayne E. BEAUREGARD
ALMATY, March 3 (THE GLOBE)
A truly interesting photo-exhibition has been officially opened today by H.E. Israel Mey-Ami, ambassador of the State of Israel, at the Central State Museum in this former capital.
�Vibrant Israel�, this the poignant name given to the wide pictures display, is a path into and along the many faces of Israel, blending East and West alike, as well as past, present and future of that Mediterranean land.
Pictures and captions dig deep into the uniqueness of the country, its history, religion, language and people.
Properly set, that path winds, on a thematic way, instructing, almost lecturing visitors about the country that this year celebrates Jesus Christ�s 2000th birth anniversary. So stops are being made in front of large photos �explaining� Zionism; Archeology; Heritage; Jerusalem; Landscape; Freedom of religion; Survival; Hebrew; Architecture; Agriculture; Science; Technology and industry; Education; Culture and arts; Tourism; At leisure; Aliya � Ingathering of exiles; Faces of Israel; Striving for peace.
The exhibit, made of hundreds of color pictures, has been produced back in 1997 by the Public Affairs Division of Israel�s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and serves the purpose of having people at large, not only Jews, acquainted with the most ancient country on earth, yet still so vibrant and alive!
The official opening has taken place at 4 PM and has been marked by a speech, delivered by H.E. Mey-Ami in Russian, to an attentive audience of some two hundred. Among the visitors have been spotted special guests such as the ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. Richard H. Jones, and his aide Mr. Matthew A. Weiller, second secretary at the American embassy. Of course, the cordial conversation that has gone on between the two ambassadors has made the joy of photographers and TV camera operators, causing them to have shot dozens of pictures.
Mrs. Vivian Aisen, first secretary of the Israeli embassy, also present at the inauguration, has taken care of the organization of the exhibition.
Most touching the panel dedicated to Israel�s survival, reminding how Jews had been slaughtered in mass executions or murdered in gas chambers during the Holocaust era. At the end of W.W.II two-thirds of the European Jewry had disappeared! Today Israel exceeds 5,500,000 population thanks also to Alyia, or ingathering of exiles, that in recent years, i.e. since 1990, has brought to the Holy Land some 600,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union.
Special attention is also dedicated to Jerusalem, Israel�s capital, depicted as �the focal point of the Jewish People, a potent symbol as much as a reality�, where the heterogeneity of her population has created an atmosphere of tolerance and mutuality.
3 March (Stratfor)
In China on March 2, the state-run People�s Daily ran several articles touting the benefits of strategic partnership between Russia and China. The publication appears to endorse little noticed negotiations between Moscow and Beijing, which are exchanging top-ranking officials in preparation for a summit. Details have been closely guarded, but the talks involve oil and weapons. The timing of the state press coverage suggests that there has now been a breakthrough in the talks. And it appears that a more vigorous strategic partnership between Russia and China � one that will worry the West � is beginning to take shape.
Until now, China�s official press has remained relatively quiet about a flurry of diplomatic activity between Beijing and Moscow, leading up to a long-delayed summit between the two governments this summer. But on March 2, the state-run People�s Daily ran a series of articles touting the benefits of strategic partnership between Russia and China. The articles also called for a multi-polar world, instead of one in which the United States is the dominant power � calling for the �establishment of a just and reasonable new world order.� The timing does not appear to be coincidental.
Right now, one high-level meeting between Russian and Chinese officials is concluding in Moscow and another is beginning in Beijing. They are part of a string of talks � eight exchanges in recent weeks � in preparation for a summit between Chinese and Russian leaders. The People�s Daily articles appear to signal a possible breakthrough, both in the talks and the leadership strategies of both nations. It now seems that a more vigorous strategic partnership is forming between Russia and China. Alone each is too weak to challenge American power, but together the two nations can coordinate strategy and ultimately create simultaneous problems for the West on disparate parts of the globe.
China and Russia have claimed to be strategic partners since 1992 (see timeline). But in reality, the two nations have made little real progress other than to ineffectively challenge U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Tactical problems have consistently arisen. Both, for instance, have vied for influence over Central Asia and its resources. Issues of internal stability have overshadowed progress toward partnership; China�s unresolved leadership problems are a good example. The first suggestion of an invigorated partnership began with an agreement on borders and shared influence in Central Asia, addressed last year at the meeting of the Shanghai Five in August 1999.
The two governments have most recently been preparing for a summit between acting President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Jiang Zemin of China. The summit has been discussed, reported, tentatively scheduled and repeatedly postponed ever since former Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned on Dec. 31, 1999. The repeated postponement suggests that the summit is serious, a matter of considerable advance negotiation, and not merely a photo opportunity.
Most of the hesitation has come from Beijing, as Chinese officials petitioned for international recognition and strength based on economic growth, attempting to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). With its economy in much worse condition, Russia appeared less an asset to Beijing than a liability. Throughout the talks, Beijing appears to have kept Moscow at a distance both to keep the door open to the United States and to remain dominant in negotiations with the Russians.
Quite suddenly, China has turned public attention toward its relationship with Russia. Aside from mentioning future bilateral visits, the articles emphasized the idea of fostering �global strategic stability and regional security� through Chinese and Russian cooperation. Clearly looking back at U.S. military action in both the Persian Gulf and Kosovo in the last 14 months, the articles also call for respect for territorial integrity of sovereign states and opposition to �humanitarian intervention.�
This endorsement of the relationship appears timed to coincide with intense, high-level diplomatic activity and suggests that some sort of breakthrough has been achieved in the talks. In recent weeks, Beijing and Moscow have had no fewer than eight exchanges of officials to prepare for the summit, now tentatively set for June. While the People�s Daily was publishing its articles, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was concluding his visit to Moscow and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov arrived in Beijing on March 1.
In addition, the two nations are studying a deal that furthers their common goals by advancing their individual interests. A deal may involve both Russian oil and advanced weapons systems bound for China. A main topic of Klebanov�s visit to Beijing is Russian arms sales and energy for China. On the table is a renewed proposal for an oil pipeline from the Russian Far East through Mongolia and into China, nuclear fuel for a Chinese reactor and continued sales and cooperation on advanced weapons systems. In turn, Russia would receive some hard currency and the benefits of increased economic activity within its energy and arms industries.
The People�s Liberation Army in China does not have the technology necessary to build a modern, competitive military force. Nor does it possess the energy resources needed to supply its population of over one billion. Russia desperately needs to stabilize its economy and can provide China with both resources in exchange for hard currency. Currently, China imports approximately $2 billion worth of arms a year from Russia � almost 70 percent of all of its arms imports. The majority of these are Sukhoi bombers. Moscow also sells military technology to Beijing.
Moscow is also in a position to supply China with the oil it very much needs. Since 1996, China has been a net importer of oil and last year it imported more than 40 million tons of crude oil and oil products, the equivalent of 20 percent of consumption, according to China Daily. To help fill growing energy requirements, discussions are underway for a new pipeline capable of delivering over 30 million tons of Siberian crude oil yearly to China, via Mongolia. According to the South China Morning Post, the directors of both Transneft and OAO Yukos, two major Russian oil companies, will join Russia�s Fuel and Energy Minister on a trip to Beijing later in March to discuss the plan.
This evolving relationship suggests a series of important developments. In China, it appears that the center of gravity within leadership circles is shifting. Until now, China held Russia at arm�s length and elements for economic reform had the ear of Jiang. But Jiang�s ambitions and the deteriorating domestic situation have fostered a resurgence of the old-guard � those who want a strong China without needing to appeal to the United States or the western world. This shift is also evidenced by Beijing�s increased sense of urgency toward Taiwan.
On a global scale, both countries are increasingly squeezed by international pressure in the issues and areas that they consider to be within their respective spheres of influence � and this is driving them closer together. In the aftermath of the Chechen war, Russia is under pressure from the West; NATO�s decision-making body has met in Ukraine, and the West is stepping up military activity in the Baltics. China continues to face pressure over its opposition to Taiwan�s independence. And Beijing remains under attack for its domestic policies on political, press and religious freedoms. More directly, the power of Chinese strategic � like those of Russia � is increasingly threatened by U.S. efforts to build theater missile defense systems in the Pacific, as well as a national missile defense.
The strategic partnership now taking shape is not a formal military alliance with neither necessarily hostile intent nor desire for global conquest. Rather, it is based on a simple, common fact. Individually, China and Russia are weak � economically, politically, and militarily � in comparison to the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia.
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
© 1998 IPA House. All Rights Reserved.