February 24, 2003
World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
BUZZFLASH NOTE: Once again, these are the views and perspectives of the individual papers, not of BuzzFlash or Gloria. They offer BuzzFlash readers a way of reading what other nations are saying about the crisis, whether we like it or not. We repeat: This is not an endorsement of their viewpoints.
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1//TurkishPress.com, USA--TALKS ON MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING START (Talks between Turkey and the United States on military issues within the scope of possible action against Iraq, started on Sunday...Ankara did not find the developments as ''satisfactory'' despite some openings.)
2//Arab News, Saudi Arabia--ARAB BANKS LIKELY TO SUFFER SR225 BILLION WAR LOSS (Arab banks are likely to suffer losses of SR225 billion ($60 billion) in the event of a US-led war on Iraq, according to the Arab Bank Federation. The potential losses to the Arab countries would be much higher than those suffered during the 1991 Gulf War, said Dr. Fouad Shakir, secretary-general of the federation.)
Daily Inquirer, Philippines--DEATH AWAITS US SOLDIERS, MUSLIM LEADERS
IN SULU WARN ("It's like committing suicide, given
the historical background of Sulu against the US colonization way back
in (the) 1900s," Sulu Congressman Hussein Amin told the Inquirer.
Gov. Parouk Hussin of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shared
the same view, saying the people of Sulu "have not forgotten their
horrible experience" under the American soldiers.)
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TALKS ON MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING START
ANKARA - Talks between Turkey and the United States on military issues within the scope of possible action against Iraq, started on Sunday.
Ankara did not find the developments as ''satisfactory'' despite some openings.
Disarmament of Kurds in Northern Iraq, and structure of Iraqi army are among the issues discussed.
ARAB BANKS LIKELY TO SUFFER SR225 BILLION WAR LOSS
JEDDAH - Arab banks are likely to suffer losses of SR225 billion ($60 billion) in the event of a US-led war on Iraq, according to the Arab Bank Federation.
The potential losses to the Arab countries would be much higher than those suffered during the 1991 Gulf War, said Dr. Fouad Shakir, secretary-general of the federation.
Dr. Yaseen Al-Jefry, an independent economist, said the losses were estimated in light of the those likely to be suffered by Arab economies in general during the war as a result of diminished economic activity.
However, Saudi banker Mishter Al-Murshid discounted the fallout of a possible war as banks in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are in an "excellent" state. "Even if the whole Gulf economy is affected, the banking situation will remain stable as Gulf banks enjoy high liquidity," he explained.
Al-Jefry said the banks would suffer losses due to economic depression, but "the solvency of Arab banks and their capital strength will enable them to withstand the shock."
DEATH AWAITS US SOLDIERS, MUSLIM LEADERS IN SULU WARN
ZAMBOANGA CITY-Muslim political leaders here warned American soldiers joining combat operations in Sulu that they would be digging their own graves.
"It's like committing suicide, given the historical background of Sulu against the US colonization way back in (the) 1900s," Sulu Congressman Hussein Amin told the Inquirer.
Gov. Parouk Hussin of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shared the same view, saying the people of Sulu "have not forgotten their horrible experience" under the American soldiers.
In 1906, American soldiers led by Gen. Leonard Wood killed over a thousand Tausugs (a Muslim ethnic group predominant in Sulu) in Bud Dahu in Patikul, Sulu.
"It was characterized by bloody confrontation, a quagmire of violent situations. It was not something pleasant to recall, and I don't want people to face the same experience," Hussin said.
Amin said many Suluanos were "excited" about the arrival of the US soldiers because "for them, it's their chance to avenge their forefathers who were victims of the Americans' abuses in the past."
Amin and Hussin said that if the national government insisted on pushing through with the joint combat operations, US and Filipino forces would not only face the Abu Sayyaf but also the descendants of those killed in the 1906 massacre.
DEPOLITICISE ECONOMIC COOPERATION, SAYS VAJPAYEE
KUALA LUMPUR Feb. 23. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said today that economic cooperation must be "depoliticised" and made immune to "bilateral issues" - an obvious, indirect reference to Pakistan, which India believes has actively subverted bilateral and regional economic cooperation in South Asia.
Addressing the NAM Business Forum on South-South Cooperation, he called for the "reform and reorientation" of globalisation as part of the effort to remake the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) by articulating a strong developmental agenda. He spoke of the volatility of capital flows and the need for increasing resource flows to poor countries through "affirmative action" if necessary.
He proposed that capital flows be regulated by an "international levy". A token tax of a quarter of a percent could generate annual revenues of some $300 billion and could form the corpus of a Global Poverty Alleviation Fund. Describing the NAM journey as one of "huge missed opportunities", he said further opportunities should, however, not be missed by this 116-nation organisation.
On the relevance of NAM, he said its political agenda had changed with the end of the Cold War. Globalisation had thrown up both challenges and opportunities for developing countries. "Our unrealised goals of development and our shared vision for a peaceful tomorrow should unite us even more conclusively in the era of globalisation than the political goals of the Cold War era."
Mr. Vajpayee said 10 million people had been annually joining the ranks of the world's poor in the last decade.
A quarter of the world's population, he stressed, lived below the poverty line - a billion people surviving on less than a dollar a day.
The 116 nations of NAM, representing two-thirds of the world's population, still contributed barely 20 per cent of the globe's GDP, he pointed out.
"Their economic growth was slower in the Nineties than in the Seventies. In most developing countries, per capita incomes have been falling, unemployment is rising and income disparities are widening.''
G-7 COOL TO JAPAN'S DEFLATION CONCERNS
By Naoko Aoki
PARIS -- Japan's efforts to highlight concerns of a global deflation and the impact of a cheap Chinese currency on the global economy fell flat at the meeting of Group of Seven financial chiefs.
In the face of the far bigger and more immediate concern of a potential war in Iraq and its impact on the fragile global economy, the Japanese pitch apparently received little attention from Japan's G-7 partners.
Japanese Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa admitted after the two-day G-7 meeting Saturday that the proposal to address signs of persistent price falls on a global scale did not arouse interest among the top G-7 financial officials.
"Europe does not seem to feel much in the way of deflationary trends. The U.S. is not in a state of serious deflation either," Shiokawa said at a news conference, when asked about the response to his proposal.
"The country that is feeling the issue of global deflation strongly is Japan," he said.
Japan is the only G-7 country suffering from full-fledged deflation, although economists have pointed to risks of price falls in other developed countries, such as Germany, where the economy has been stagnant.
Hence, Japanese government officials have argued that if stubborn price falls grip other parts of the world, it could impede worldwide growth for a long time.
"The topic was unlikely to receive attention from other countries to begin with, since they are not experiencing such price falls," a senior Japanese government official said on condition of anonymity.
"As expected, discussions on the topic were not held at length. But there may be some meaning in the fact that the subject was raised at all, to note that there are such risks," the official said.
Japan's G-7 colleagues -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United States -- were similarly cool to Shiokawa's call for a change in China's dollar-pegged currency regime, which keeps the yuan in a tight range against the dollar, although the minister said he had won at least some support.
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© 2003, Gloria R. Lalumia, email@example.com
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