Home > News > News in Brief: 2 October 2009

News in Brief: 2 October 2009

A brief list of news for the day:

Iran & 5+1: First day of Talks Yields Significant Confidence-Building Steps. Delegates of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany met with representatives of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for 7 and a half hours on Thursday for talks on Iran’s nuclear research program. Amazingly, there were signs of significant progress even on the first day, which most seasoned observers had not expected. (Informed Comment)

China maps an end to the Afghan war. A senior Chinese official has publicly put forward an unusually forthright and timely view on the Afghanistan conflict, proposing concrete steps to be taken towards unlocking the stalemate there. This, he argues, is an Afghan issue, while al-Qaeda is not a big factor. Not the least important: US troops should go home. (Asia Times)

Armenia ruling coalition backs Turkey ties. The three parties in Armenia’s ruling coalition, which holds a majority in the country’s parliament, said Friday they would support establishing ties with Turkey after decades of hostility. (Hurriyet/AFP)

Maliki launches coalition. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki officially unveiled his coalition aimed at defeating former partners in the coming January election… The Supreme Council is the leader – along with the Sadr Movement – of the new Iraqi National Alliance. The INA had discussed Maliki and Dawa joining it, but Maliki demanded Dawa receive the majority of Parliamentary seats won by the block and the retention of the prime minister’s position. The Supreme Council, Kurdish Alliance and Dawa had formed the coalition government currently in power. (Iraq Oil Report)

Lebanon: All for none. What’s wrong with Lebanon? Nearly four months after a landmark election handed the western-backed March 14 coalition a victory over the opposition alliance of Hizbollah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement, all efforts to form a government have failed. Rather than taking advantage of his coalition’s victory by putting together a cabinet composed exclusively of his own allies, prime minister-designate Saad Hariri has spent weeks coaxing and cajoling the opposition to join him in a national unity government, in which they would wield significant power. (The National)

White House Eyeing Narrower War Effort. Senior White House officials have begun to make the case for a policy shift in Afghanistan that would send few, if any, new combat troops to the country and instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, continued assassinations of al-Qaeda leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban. (Washington Post)

Chinese Economic Juggernaut Is Gaining on Japan. Many economists expect China to replace Japan as the world’s second-largest economy next year, five years earlier than previously forecast. (New York Times)

Turkmenistan: Gazprom Won’t Be Buying Gas from Ashgabat for the Rest of ’09. Gazprom and the government of Turkmenistan have tried to turn over a new leaf in their contentious energy relationship. But the page is proving to be uncommonly sticky. The Kremlin-controlled energy conglomerate has revealed that it will not be resuming purchases of Turkmen gas for the remainder of 2009, according to a report in the Russian newspaper Vedomosti. Gas deliveries stopped in April of this year, when the main natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries was hit by an explosion. The stoppage touched off a burst of mutual recrimination, with Ashgabat accusing Moscow of intentionally causing the explosion in order to coerce Turkmen officials into accepting a lower gas delivery price. (EurasiaNet)

India protests new special China visas. India has lodged a formal protest with Beijing over a new practice of issuing special Chinese visas for residents of Indian-administered Kashmir, which is viewed by China as disputed territory. (Dawn)

India and China profess brotherhood. With flashy ads and eloquent statements, India congratulated China on its 60th anniversary, with Beijing in turn touting its commitment to India’s economic development. Beneath the surface, however, a number of issues simmer, particularly border disputes. (Asia Times)

ISRAEL-US: Goldstone Rejects Netanyahu Remarks. The head of the U.N. commission that investigated the December-January Gaza war Thursday rejected assertions by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that any action to pursue the recommendations of his commission’s report could prove fatal to any renewed peace process with the Palestinians. (IPS)

Ireland Votes Again on European Union Treaty. For the second time in two years, voters in Ireland went to the polls Friday to cast ballots in a referendum that will help determine the future of the European Union, a political and economic project that embraces nearly 500 million people. (New York Times)

The Population Myth. People who claim that population growth is the big environmental issue are shifting the blame from the rich to the poor. (Monbiot)

Occupation Authorities, the Hatoyama Purge and the Making of Japan’s Postwar Political Order. The purge of Hatoyama Ichirō and the elevation of Yoshida Shigeru as a substitute prime minister in May 1946 deeply impacted their respective political careers. More important, these actions taken by the Allied occupation authority set the course for postwar Japan’s conservative parties. This article examines the thinking of GHQ leaders that led to these actions. The bureaucratic rule of the so-called Yoshida-school was the long-term side effect of a policy that was meant to guide the development of Japan’s conservative political parties at the dawn of the occupation. The bloodlines of the two statesmen continue to influence contemporary Japanese politics as Hatoyama’s grandson, Yukio, replaces Yoshida Shigeru’s grandson, Asō Tarō, as Japan’s prime minister. (Japan Focus)

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