Wednesday 5 December 2012

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(Photo, above: Pashaupatinath Temple complex and monkeys in Katmandu, Nepal. See Todd Stein report on Nepal disorder, 945 PM ET.)

Below: Dunbar Square, Katmandu, Nepal.

Wednesday 905P Eastern Time:  Fraser Howie, CLSS Singapore, in re: SEC requires basic information on firms that want to list; China is resisting mightily. More fraud? Investors lost $5bil in Sino Forest; Muddy Waters shorted SinoForest & made pots of money; there's a long list of companies that have been delisted or are selling for 2 cents a share.  This is not an issue only of fly-by-nights; rather huge govt-owned networks, esp four state-owned banks. Discovery is forbidden by the Communist Party under guise of capitalist-roaders.  JB: The way to get rich is to sell early!

Wednesday 920P Eastern Time:  Michael Auslin, Lara Resident Scholar in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies,
 American Enterprise Institute, in re: Asian pivot, take two. Obama, now in Asia, has four more years to realize his risky bet on the region. But strategic headaches abound. The administration's agenda this month is an unusual start. Unlike traditional trips that include old allies like Japan or major powers like China, Mr. Obama's Asia 2.0 policy appears to begin with Southeast Asia and smaller nations. Mr. Obama, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, will visit Thailand and Burma before heading onward to Phnom Penh for his second East Asia Summit. Mrs. Clinton has also just visited Singapore, and both she and Mr. Panetta stopped in isolated Perth, Australia, for ministerial consultations. These itineraries are consistent with Mr. Obama's stated desire to increase America's presence across Asia-Pacific (and the implicit U.S. goal of blunting China's growing influence). But regardless of how this week's presidential trip goes, visiting smaller nations won't address the major dangers facing the region.  The biggest challenge Mr. Obama faces is to create a working relationship with new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Like his American counterpart, Mr. Xi faces numerous domestic problems, foremost among them an economic slowdown. But Beijing, while nervous about the state of affairs at home, appears increasingly confident abroad, and assumes America's military will be smaller in coming days.  

Below: Neutron Spectrometer (on board Messenger, in orbit around Mercury): "NS maps variations in the fast, thermal, and epithermal neutrons Mercury’s surface emits when struck by cosmic rays. 'Fast' neutrons shoot directly into space; others collide with neighboring atoms in the crust before escaping. If a neutron collides with a light atom (like hydrogen), it will lose energy and be detected as a slow (or thermal) neutron. Scientists can look at the ratio of thermal to epithermal (slightly faster) neutrons across Mercury’s surface to estimate the amount of hydrogen – possibly locked up in water molecules – and other elements."

Wednesday 935P Eastern Time: David J. Lawrence, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (currently at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco), and David Livingston, in re: Mercury/Messenger mission.  Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury – the four terrestrial, wet planets; probe Messenger en route to Mercury.  Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer Team for  ___  Instruments, designed to measure elemental constitution of planets – from orbit. Even hot Mercury  has little hidden places (crevasses?) where ice can be harbored over long periods.  Water ice at the poles.  We think comets flying around the solar system have hit the planet, liberating water molecules, some of which bounce into the deep, very cold craters and stay there.  Also: "hollows" – gas bubbled up and left rimless features?  Organics: carbon and nitrogen also deposited?

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html

Wednesday 950P Eastern Time: Todd Stein, Director of Government Relations at International Campaign for Tibet, in re: Nepal: 26 million people, sandwiched between China – aging and tyrannical - and India – young and frantic.  Nepal currently has no constitutions; cannot draft one, fighting over who shd be interim leader to a new round of polling in the spring. Absent a real govt, and in a bad economic predicament, both China and India trying to fill the vacuum with surrogates inside the parties, and the economic vacuum via soft power – schools,  religious  institutes (from China; vey worrisome) and roads.  No Nepali leaders to direct funds; therefore, much goes into political pockets because there's SO much corruption.  Do Nepali people want to be controlled by an outside nation, or do they want to be proud of their own identity, using funding to serve their own benefit?  Tibetan community there loves on the margins economically; the number-one issue of Beijing here is the Tibetans inside Nepal – and their natural concern for the self-immolations in Tibet; China moves to prevent Nepali Tibetans from  obtaining rights in Nepal.   Plaudits to US ambassador and State Dept, who've taken principled stands f/b/o Tibetans there, esp in humanitarian concerns and civil rights. 

Damascus, Teheran and Pyongyang are the same gang.

Wednesday 1005P (705P Pacific Time): Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, in re: North Korea.  NBC publishes report just now: In Syria, Sarin gas has been loaded into bombs.  Syria's weaponeering and ballistic-missile tech from Iran, which gets much of its proliferation material from Pyongyang. Syria, Iran and North Korea are closely linked in their  weapons; a devil's brew.  In DPRK: four failed tests of ballistic missies, collaborative with Iranians.  A failed test is also pretty good – you learn a lot from it.  Diplomats are obsessed with getting full consensus; the Chinese act as North Korea's lawyer and waters everything down, then the dips are afraid and back off.   Intervention with a  ship that's directly feeding a chem/bio/nuclear program doesn’t have to go through the UN.  The red line for North Korea is the destruction of an American city and the deaths of millions. We need an Iron Dome for the US.     Damascus, Teheran and Pyongyang are the same gang.

The US response to the torture of Chen Ke-guei should be to go to Interpol to ask for a warrant for the arrest of Xi Jinping and the rest of the Standing Committee -- the Central Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Wednesday 1020P (720P Pacific Time): Bob Fu, president and founder of China Aid, in re:  Chen Guanghen's nephew. Chen Ke-guei, is imprisoned and tortured basically for trying to protect his blind uncle.  Scapegoat, hostage and victim for revenge by the Chinese govt: local people's court after a totally secret trial gave the nephew a three years and three months' sentence.  This reverts to Mao or Stalin, an unreformed Stalinist state. High-profile intervention occurred – both the Speaker (Boehner), and Minority Leader, plus six Committee Chairmen, issued a letter to Chinese President, Premier, and chair of People's Congress, urging them to free Chen as a goodwill gesture; he nonetheless got a 39-mo sentence for a crime he didn't commit. Guards beat him almost to death.   US response should go to Interpol ask for  a warrant for the arrest of Xi Jinping and the rest of the Standing Committee.  Even his lawyers were forbidden to communicate with him.  Mrs Pelosi, Mr Boehner:  you have your response from the Peoples Republic of China.

Wednesday 1035P (735P Pacific Time):  Martin Fackler, FT, in re: Japan’s Space Agency Says Rocket Information Was Stolen by Computer Virus.  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said that the virus in a computer at its Tsukuba Space Center was found to be secretly collecting data and sending it outside the agency.    China of course is the main suspect since it's been implicated in previous thefts. Japan is reluctant to speak of this and so can avoid confrontation, Still, constant drumbeat of these incidents. Mitsubishi found viruses in several computers and big servers; it became a big incident, traced it back to the screen used by the virus's human controller: in simplified Chinese characters.  Japan is in a pinch because it also depends on China economically; currently, China testing to see how far it can push.  Answer: not forever. A number of hawkish Japanese leaders calling for military confrontation with China,, and for Japan to have a nuclear arsenal. This is held in check so far because there are ten s of thousands of US soldiers in Japan and South Korea; if the US is seen to be weak, both S Korea and Japan may swiftly develop their own nukes.

Wednesday 1050P (750P Pacific Time): Tyler Rogoway, Aviation Intel, in re: Drones captured by Iran.

Wednesday 1105P (805P Pacific Time): Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray,  in re: Iran aims 17o ballistic missiles at Tel Aviv, some with bio warheads; also Iranian ships carry missiles through Suez into Syria

Wednesday 1120P (820P Pacific Time): Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute, in re: Gov Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg go to Washington to plead for billions for Sandy repair. Washington responds: not so much.

Wednesday 1135P (835P Pacific Time): Mary Anastasia O'Grady, WSJ, in re: Argentina and the pursuit of the suspect killers of the Buenos Aires bombing of 1994; what is to be done, does Argentina look to make a deal with Iran?

Wednesday 1150P (850P Pacific Time): Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Cairo in turmoil, Moslem Brothers in charge, the failure of democracy to free the people of authoritarian MB. Morsi moves above the law.

Wednesday/Thurs 1205A (905 Pacific Time): Fraser Howie, CLSS Singapore, in re: SEC requires basic information on firms that want to list; China is resisting mightily. More fraud? Investors lost $5bil in Sino Forest; Muddy Waters shorted SinoForest & made pots of money; there's a long list of companies that have been delisted or are selling for 2 cents a share.  This is not an issue only of fly-by-nights; rather huge govt-owned networks, esp four state-owned banks. Discovery is forbidden by the Communist Party under guise of capitalist-roaders.  JB: The way to get rich is to sell early!

Wednesday/Thurs  1220A (920 Pacific Time): Michael Auslin, Lara Resident Scholar in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies,
 American Enterprise Institute, in re: Asian pivot, take two. Obama, now in Asia, has four more years to realize his risky bet on the region. But strategic headaches abound. The administration's agenda this month is an unusual start. Unlike traditional trips that include old allies like Japan or major powers like China, Mr. Obama's Asia 2.0 policy appears to begin with Southeast Asia and smaller nations. Mr. Obama, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, will visit Thailand and Burma before heading onward to Phnom Penh for his second East Asia Summit. Mrs. Clinton has also just visited Singapore, and both she and Mr. Panetta stopped in isolated Perth, Australia, for ministerial consultations. These itineraries are consistent with Mr. Obama's stated desire to increase America's presence across Asia-Pacific (and the implicit U.S. goal of blunting China's growing influence). But regardless of how this week's presidential trip goes, visiting smaller nations won't address the major dangers facing the region.  The biggest challenge Mr. Obama faces is to create a working relationship with new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Like his American counterpart, Mr. Xi faces numerous domestic problems, foremost among them an economic slowdown. But Beijing, while nervous about the state of affairs at home, appears increasingly confident abroad, and assumes America's military will be smaller in coming days.  

http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/asia/asia...

Wednesday/Thurs  1235A (935P Pacific Time): David J. Lawrence, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (currently at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco), and David Livingston, in re: Mercury/Messenger mission.  Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury – the four terrestrial, wet planets; probe Messenger en route to Mercury.  Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer Team for  ___  Instruments, designed to measure elemental constitution of planets – from orbit. Even hot Mercury  has little hidden places (crevasses?) where ice can be harbored over long periods.  Water ice at the poles.  We think comets flying around the solar system have hit the planet, liberating water molecules, some of which bounce into the deep, very cold craters and stay there.  Also: "hollows" – gas bubbled up and left rimless features?  Organics: carbon and nitrogen also deposited?

Wednesday/Thurs  1250A  (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. James Taranto, WSJ, in re: voter suppression in 2012, where and how? and did voter ID laws in 11 states suppress the vote? Where, and what's the verdict?

..  ..  ..

Surface of Mercury from Messenger.

Music (using New York City broadcast times)  

9 hour: Shaolin, Battlestar Galactica.

10 hour: Shaolin, The Raid, Tomorrow Never Dies.

11 hour: Season of the Witch, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Raid, Syriana.

12 hour: Shaolin, Battlestar Galactica, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.