Monthly Archives: May 2007

Death penalty in Asia

Only the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia and Turkmenistan had outlawed death penalty in Asia (and other asian microstates), but on the other side, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Japan (as we have read today) still have it… More details here and an interesting report by AI here.

It looks that Asia is the worst continent from this point of view, after the Middle East.

Death Penalty Outlawed (year)1

  • Albania (2000)
  • Andorra (1990)
  • Angola (1992)
  • Armenia (2003)
  • Australia (1984)
  • Austria (1950)
  • Azerbaijan (1998)
  • Belgium (1996)
  • Bermuda (1999)
  • Bhutan (2004)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina (1997)
  • Bulgaria (1998)
  • Cambodia (1989)
  • Canada (1976)
  • Cape Verde (1981)
  • Colombia (1910)
  • Costa Rica (1877)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (2000)
  • Croatia (1990)
  • Cyprus (1983)
  • Czech Republic (1990)
  • Denmark (1933)
  • Djibouti (1995)
  • Dominican Republic (1966)
  • East Timor (1999)
  • Ecuador (1906)
  • Estonia (1998)
  • Finland (1949)
  • France (1981)
  • Georgia (1997)
  • Germany (1949)
  • Greece (1993)
  • Guinea-Bissau (1993)
  • Haiti (1987)
  • Honduras (1956)
  • Hungary (1990)
  • Iceland (1928)
  • Ireland (1990)
  • Italy (1947)
  • Kiribati (1979)
  • Liberia (2005)
  • Liechtenstein (1987)
  • Lithuania (1998)
  • Luxembourg (1979)
  • Macedonia (1991)
  • Malta (1971)
  • Marshall Islands (1986)
  • Mauritius (1995)
  • Mexico (2005)
  • Micronesia (1986)
  • Moldova (1995)
  • Monaco (1962)
  • Montenegro (2002)
  • Mozambique (1990)
  • Namibia (1990)
  • Nepal (1990)
  • Netherlands (1870)
  • New Zealand (1961)
  • Nicaragua (1979)
  • Niue (n.a.)
  • Norway (1905)
  • Palau (n.a.)
  • Panama (1903)
  • Paraguay (1992)
  • Poland (1997)
  • Portugal (1867)
  • Philippines (2006)
  • Romania (1989)
  • Samoa (2004)
  • San Marino (1848)
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (1990)
  • Senegal (2004)
  • Serbia (2002)
  • Seychelles (1993)
  • Slovak Republic (1990)
  • Slovenia (1989)
  • Solomon Islands (1966)
  • South Africa (1995)
  • Spain (1978)
  • Sweden (1921)
  • Switzerland (1942)
  • Turkey (2002)
  • Turkmenistan (1999)
  • Tuvalu (1978)
  • Ukraine (1999)
  • United Kingdom (1973)
  • Uruguay (1907)
  • Vanuatu (1980)
  • Vatican City (1969)
  • Venezuela (1863)

Death Penalty Outlawed for Ordinary Crimes2 (year)

  • Argentina (1984)
  • Bolivia (1997)
  • Brazil (1979)
  • Chile (2001)
  • Cook Islands (n.a.)
  • El Salvador (1983)
  • Fiji (1979)
  • Israel (1954)
  • Latvia (1999)
  • Peru (1979)

De Facto Ban on Death Penalty3 (year)4

  • Algeria (1993)
  • Benin (1987)
  • Brunei Darussalam (1957)
  • Burkina Faso (1988)
  • Central African Republic (1981)
  • Congo (Republic) (1982)
  • Gambia (1981)
  • Grenada (1978)
  • Kenya (n.a.)
  • Madagascar (1958)
  • Maldives (1952)
  • Mali (1980)
  • Mauritania (1987)
  • Morocco (1993)
  • Myanmar (1993)
  • Nauru (1968)
  • Niger (1976)
  • Papua New Guinea (1950)
  • Russia (1999)
  • Sri Lanka (1976)
  • Suriname (1982)
  • Togo (n.a.)
  • Tonga (1982)
  • Tunisia (1990)

Death Penalty Permitted

  • Afghanistan
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • China (People’s Republic)
  • Comoros
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Korea, North
  • Korea, South
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Libya
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Authority
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
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The ASEM and G8 summits and the China peaceful rise.

EU and US are asking China to engage and make contributions to the global governance in issues like global warming, trade imbalances, Africa, nuclear conflicts, copyright piracy, etc… China non-interventionism foreign policy is getting less and less realistic in a globalized world and European are starting to look for the “discourse trap” in a Shimerferling way: “Creating a harmonious world will not come about by default.” those are the words of the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett on a recent visit to Beijing. So China says it wants a harmonious world, but what is doing about it? The Chinese government response is that if they are not members of the G8 they should not be asked to take so much responsabilty.
Meanwhile we can see the first important demonstrations against an ASEM summit. Presstv.ir says: Less than 10 days before the G8 summit in the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, hundreds of anti-globalization protesters led fierce street battles with police in Hamburg on Monday as 43 European and Asian foreign ministers (ASEM) opened their two-day talks, DPA reported.

In Eux.tv we can read:

Beijing (dpa) – China is viewed as a reluctant player in addressing the world’s global challenges the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations will be tackling at their June summit.

Although not a member of the exclusive club of rich nations, how the seven leading industrial nations – US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada – plus Russia are called, China has participated in their annual summits since 2003 as an observer.

In so-called outreach sessions the heads of the G8 countries will discuss global problems with China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico during this year’s summit to be held in Germany’s resort town of Heiligendamm June 6-8. (…)

As the world’s third-largest trading nation and permanent member on the UN Security Council, China has more than earned a global voice and no other emerging country would be more qualified as an additional member of the exclusive G8 club.

However, no invitation has been forthcoming and will not this year, as the current G8-President, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has clearly indicated.

“Nobody has asked us so far. If we are not invited (to join) we are also unable to give any answer (if we would like to join or not),” said the Chinese official.

Regardless if it will be the G9, G10 or even the G15 said the official, what’s important is that the forum exists and all questions are discussed.

Meanwhile India is in a slightly better position, but EU and US are not pressing her like they are pressing the Chinese. But a recent poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org shows that the Peaceful Rise is successing… Most see China catching up with the Us, but few are scared.


China’s pork crisis

Today we can read the following news in Financial Times:

A disease killing millions of pigs in China has sharply lifted the price of pork, the country’s staple meat, fuelling fears about inflation and prompting calls from Beijing’s top leadership for increased production of the meat.
Pork prices have risen as much as 30 per cent in Chinese cities over the last week. According to the agriculture ministry, wholesale prices for pigs have gone up even more, rising 71.3 per cent since April.
China’s 500m-odd pigs are the country’s most important source of affordable meat, and any sustained interruption in supply would be a big political problem for the government.

While the price of feed, such as corn, has risen, the main culprit is an epidemic of a mysterious illness known as “blue ear” disease, as well as the more common foot-and-mouth affliction.

“I have heard it has killed as many as 20m hogs,” an industry executive said.

China cannot easily find competitively priced pork to replace the shortfall at home, because of itsown health-related restrictions on imports from South America, where pricesare relatively low. US andEuropean pork is more expensive.

The government has a “strategic pork reserve”, established in the late 1990s, including both frozen stocks and access to pig farms, which could provide abuffer.

“We are considering releasing some of these reserves into the market in certain targeted areas in order to reduce soaring prices,” said Li Xizhen, of the Ministry of Commerce.

“We will not be giving free meat to people, but will sell pork and use market mechanisms to bring down volatility.”

The Standard also points:

“Pork accounted for about 5-6 percent of the mainland CPI basket in the past but, with the price gains, it now makes up more than 20 percent,” Chen Xindong, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities, told The Standard.

With the surge in pork prices, economists said, inflation in the coming months will surpass the 3 percent target set by Premier Wen Jiabao in March.

Forbes concludes:

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan may be worried that a drastic correction is ahead for high-flying Chinese stocks, but Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa appears to be more concerned about the dangers posed by the soaring price of pork.

EU, Central Asia and Energy diversification

Otro interesante informe del International Crisis Group, recién salido del horno, uno de los elementos más destacables es el mapa del final, que puede ser de gran utilidad por su claridad:

Bishkek/Brussels, 24 May 2007: Central Asia’s oil and gas cannot solve the European Union’s energy dependence on Russia, but these resources can destabilise the producing region unless governments use the revenues to promote good governance and rule of law.

Central Asia’s Energy Risks,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the resources of three countries – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and the dangers of mishandling them. It argues that a trans-Caspian gas pipeline cannot largely write Russia out of the European energy equation, as Brussels hopes. But it also disputes the common view that the 12 May Russian-Central Asian gas agreement prevents that pipeline from being built.

“Central Asia can make a contribution – a modest one – to helping resolve Europe’s energy security concerns”, says Charles Esser, Crisis Group Energy Analyst, “but only if outside investment is tied to the good governance that is needed to improve regional and human security. If Western governments turn their eyes away from mismanagement and human rights abuses in expectation of short-term gains, they risk stimulating instability in Central Asia that will only add to their energy and other security problems”.

The three countries present different challenges, but all three are suffering from the “resource curse”. Kazakhstan has used its money best and is impressive compared to its neighbours but should aim for a higher standard now. It is at a point where enormous oil revenues need to be translated into commensurate outcomes that benefit its citizens. Corruption, an undiversified economy, improper management of state funds and a lack of the legal guarantees that are part of a true democracy hold it back.

All these problems are more extreme in Turkmenistan, a major gas exporter that was pillaged by the eccentric and brutal dictator Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in December 2006. Despite a relatively high per capita income on paper, most Turkmen live in poverty. Investment in energy production has faltered. It remains to be seen if anything fundamental will change under the new leader, a close protégé of Niyazov’s who came to power in a rigged election. He may not have much time before revenues fall, as gas production will decline without substantial new investment.

Uzbekistan has the least oil and gas of the three producers. It is a net importer of oil, and much of its declining gas output has been sold to Russia. Despite wishful thinking in some European capitals, it will never be a part of EU energy security arrangements. The gas also perpetuates a system that impoverishes and represses its people. Domestic supplies are often cut in winter, for example, so the gas can be sold abroad, leaving cities unheated in freezing weather, provoking protests and serious unrest.

“The hard fact is there is no substitute for arrangements with Russia that stress mutual dependence on commercial oil and gas delivery”, says Michael Hall, Crisis Group Central Asia Project Director. “The international community needs to pay more attention to Central Asia as a security risk, without expecting it to solve its outside energy needs”.

Myanmar nuclear

La junta militar de Myanmar lleva años formando técnicos nucleares e interesado en conseguir tecnología y uranio (del que parece podría disponer en su propio territorio). Rusia parece que podría ser el principal cooperante en este sentido, pues ha formado ya más de 1000 técnicos y los planes para el desarrollo de una central nuclear se han re-abierto. Pero no es el único, Corea de Norte, Pakistán o Irán también han sido contactados por la junta militar.

Sin embargo, una visita de inspectores de la AIEA estableció que Myanmar no tiene las capacidades ni ofrece la garantías mínimas para desarrollar y mantener una central nuclear segura. Así, mientras el peligro de armamento nuclear parece todavía lejano en el Sud-Este Asiático (declarada zona libre de armas nucleares), el peligro de un desastre nuclear civil sería el riesgo más evidente.

Estados fracasados con instalaciones nucleares, una mala perspectiva de futuro.

Asesinatos políticos

Interesante documento de trabajo: “Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War” by Benjamin Jones, Northwestern University, and Benjamin Olken, Harvard University, CEPR discussion paper 6298

Se analizan las consecuencias políticas de más de 100 asesinatos de líderes políticos durante el siglo XX. Algunas conculsiones son que estos han disminuido, y que estos provocan mayores cambios de rumbo en gobierno autocráticos que democráticos, especialmente a medio plazo.

Kazajstán-España

Buen artículo de Augusto Soto en ElCano sobre las relaciones entre ambos países, destaco algunos párrafos:

Los vínculos bilaterales, establecidos en 1992, se han acompañado de unas cordialísimas relaciones entre el Rey Juan Carlos, que ha visitado varias veces Kazajistán, y el presidente Nursultán Nazarbayev, que ha visitado seis veces nuestro país desde 1994, más que ningún jefe de Estado de las Américas o de Rusia. Más aún, en la última boda real, en 2004, entre los invitados, Nazarbayev fue el único presidente asistente de un país al este de Berlín.
Igualmente cuenta el sentido de la reciprocidad. Se ha resaltado la presencia del ministro español de Asuntos Exteriores, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, como más alto representante de un gobierno de la UE en la ceremonia de investidura de Nazarbayev, en enero de 2006, tras su tercera reelección. Tal asistencia habría favorecido la decisión del Gobierno kazajo para proponer a Repsol YPF un mejor acceso en el Caspio. El acuerdo se firmó en noviembre pasado para trabajar en el yacimiento de petróleo y gas de Zhambay, donde la empresa española tiene el 25%, al igual que la rusa Lukoil, y Kazmunaigaz, kazaja, el 50%. El último proyecto de Repsol había sido el del área de Darjan, hoy asignado a la petrolera china CNPC.

Tan importante como la energía es el compromiso de permanencia en el país demostrado por Talgo en la agilización de la red ferroviaria. Destaca la venta y mantenimiento de nuevos trenes entre la antigua capital Almaty –la ciudad más cosmopolita de Asia Central– y la nueva capital, Astaná, poseedora de los edificios más modernos entre Moscú y Pekín, además de los trenes de la conexión Almaty-Chimkent, ciudad colindante con Uzbekistán y en dirección al Caspio. Por otro lado, la empresa Indra, de tecnologías avanzadas, cuyo presidente viajó en la delegación con Moratinos, espera obtener un sustancial contrato de suministro de radares para el Ministerio de Defensa.