Wednesday 03/13/13 Batchelor First Hour

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Guests: co-host Gordon Chang,; Scott Harold, RAND; Charles Burton, Brock University; David Livingston,; Taber MacCollum, Paragon Space Development Corporation; Melik Kaylan, Newsweek, WSJ.



Co-hosts: Gordon Chang,, and David Livingston, The Space Show

Hour One

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Scott Harold, Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, based in Hong Kong, in re: The North Korean army has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, the official newspaper of the country's ruling Workers' Party said Monday. Since last week, North Korea had been threatening to scrap the armistice after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against it in response to its February 12 nuclear test. On Monday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that the Supreme Command of North Korea's army had done so.[more]

As new leaders take office in Japan, China, and South Korea in an unprecedented coincidence of power shifts, a fresh opportunity has arisen to hit the reset button on fractious relationships beset by territorial disputes, nationalism, and history. It will not be easy, though, to move beyond issues that have roiled Northeast Asia in recent years. It will require the region's new governments to look beyond the territorial disputes that have poisoned Japan's relations with China and complicated its ties with South Korea. And it will need a closer meeting of minds over how to halt renegade North Korea's drive for a nuclear weapon. [more]

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Charles Burton, professor at Brock University, in re:The legislature of the world’s last major communist country is almost certainly the wealthiest in the world, according to a popular rich list that names 83 dollar-billionaires among the delegates to China’s parliament this year. Meanwhile, in the United States, there is not a single billionaire in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Among the delegates gathered in Beijing this week to attend the National People’s Congress, the China-based Hurun Global Rich List identified 31 people with more than $1 billion in personal assets. The richest is Zong Qinghou, founder of Chinese drinks maker Wahaha, with an estimated fortune of $13 billion, according to Hurun. The NPC is tasked with approving legislation proposed by the ruling Communist Party, but in practice it plays a mostly ceremonial role. Another 52 billionaires are delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a toothless advisory body that meets at the same time as the NPC for about two weeks each year in early March. Given the difficulties involved in calculating the hidden wealth of many of China’s top leaders and their families, analysts say the Hurun report probably seriously understates the true number of super-wealthy participants in the political sessions.

March 10, 2013  Authorities crack down on Shangpu from the Financial Times (with thanks)

Local government authorities used teargas and cut off electricity on Sunday morning in a crackdown on a southern China village that had been involved in a tense stand-off after a land dispute last month. Villagers in Shangpu said as many as 3,000 security personnel surrounded the village on Saturday night and came into the village at 2am on Sunday morning to arrest five people.  Dozens of villagers were injured, some seriously. People from the six or seven neighbouring villages were prevented from entering Shangpu to help the villagers, according to a villager who declined to be named.

Villagers said phone lines to Shangpu had been cut off before the arrests and that the security personnel were acting on the instructions of the county government of Jiexi, which oversees the village. People in the village in Guangdong, the southernmost Chinese province that is also the country’s export powerhouse, said land had been leased to a businessman close to the village chief, Li Baoyu, for 50 years for as little as Rmb5,000-Rmb6,000 ($804-$965) per mu a year. Some villagers said 500 mu (33.33 hectares) had been leased until 2064 to the businessman since January, but others said even more land had been leased in the deal.  Villagers said they were attacked in the third week of February by gang members associated with the businessman. They retaliated by driving the attackers out and seizing the cars left behind as evidence of the involvement of the gang leader. The dispute over land and the united front of the villagers was remarkably similar to a dispute in Wukan, 100km away from Shangpu, and also in Guangdong, which first erupted in September 2011 with a similar attack on villagers there by people associated with a prominent local businessman allied to the village chief of the previous four decades, who was subsequently deposed. Taking their cue from Wukan, villagers in Shangpu last week called for free elections to appoint a new village chief and demanded that the land, estimated to be about 500 mu, be returned to the village. They had prevented police from removing the vehicles used by the gangs, hoping to use them as evidence of the businessman’s involvement in the attack of February 22. On Sunday, the authorities seized the vehicles and removed them from the village.

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Taber MacCallum,
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer, 
Co-founder of Paragon Space Development, in re: Paragon attends the announcement of the first commercial human expedition to the moon. Paragon is working with Golden Spike to design and provide the space suit systems for lunar surface operations as well as the environmental control and life support systems for the transit spacecraft and lunar lander. Video.  Announce they're looking for a long-married couple to spend 500+ days in space on Mars mission and return.

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Melik Kaylan, WSJ, in re:  large-scale brigandage in humanity's most ancient archaeological treasure sites. Sustainable Preservation Institute.   What the US can do help conserve the world's ancient heritage in war zones by allowing US museums temporarily to own looted artifacts with a view to returning them later. As it stands, US law forbids American museums, academic institutions and collectors to own illicit artifacts even for custodial purposes. The proposed solution to the impasse was suggested in the March 12 WSJ article, "Weapons Against Vandals."

PEOPLE, NOT STONES  The Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI) seeks to preserve the world's cultural heritage by providing sustainable economic opportunities to poor communities where endangered archaeological sites are located. SPI believes the best way to preserve cultural heritage is creating or supporting locally-owned businesses whose success is tied to that preservation.