Monday, January 30, 2012

Syria - Beginning of the End ?


لجان التنسيق المحلية: 100 قتيل برصاص الأمن اليوم معظمهم في حمص و ريف دمشق
Local organization committees say: Today, 100 died from bullets fired by security forces, most of them in Homs and the [outskirts] of Damascus.


Report from Homs via Skype:
A poster announcing the end of Assad's government in Damascus:
دمشق - بداية النهاية
Damascus - The Beginning of the End


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Israel - Joke of the Week


Israel digging another Blaumilchkanal ?


مشروع إسرائيلي ينافس قناة السويس
المشروع ينتظر أن يربط بين مدينة إيلات (البحر الأحمر) وتل أبيب (البحر المتوسط) برحلة ساعتين

Israeli project rivals with the Suez Canal.
The project is expected to connect the town of Eilat (Red Sea) with Tel Aviv (Mediterranean Sea) in a two hours journey.
[Source: Al-Jazeera Online, Arabic service, January 29, 2012]


Note: "Blaumilchkanal" or "Big Dig" is the title of another funny story written by Israel's famous humorist Ephraim Kishon. Below are two scene photos from the film. The map is showing the densely populated area of central Israel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as the desert between Beer Sheba and Eilat. The Suez Canal should be located some 150 km west of Eilat.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Syria - The Art of Revolution and Reality





الثورة الشعب تصادف الحقيقة
La révolution du peuple rencontre la réalité.
The people's revolution meeting with reality.

Graphic art by © "Ulysses" / W.W., 2012.
Original size of calligraphy: 30cm x 40cm.
...............................................................................

Art and Reality - News of the Day from Syria




Friday, January 27, 2012

China - Youth of the Dragon





The Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) is a mass organization of advanced youth under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The basic tasks of the CYLC at the current stage are to unite and lead youths to focus on economic construction and, during the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, to temper themselves as successors who are well educated and have lofty ideals, moral integrity and high sense of discipline. The current first secretary of the Secretariat of the CYLC Central Committee is Zhou Qiang. The CYLC now has more than 69.86 million members and is trying to attract only "the best of the best" of China's educated youth in order to prepare them for their future leading task in society.

The CYLC is located under the roof of the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF), a federative body of Chinese youth organizations and excellent youth nationwide. Through its 52 member organizations and over 77,000 individual members at all levels, the ACYF reaches over 300 million young people across China.


There are, as well, some institutions for students under the roof of the main organization ACYF, providing support even for students decided to study abroad. Here's an announcement I found on one of their websites:

2010年北美留学最新趋势主题讲座通知
"Announcement of some lectures on the subject of latest trends for Beijing students intending to study in America in 2010."

The lectures were held in autumn 2009 by a Canadian citizen of Chinese extraction who had been working at the University of Vancouver as kind of an assistant and at the University of Nebraska as a visiting researcher. All kinds of items including personal problems had been dealt with in these lectures.

Above: "Hu Jintao and his Whispering Dragon" (treated photo)

In 2010, Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, Secretary General of China's Communist Party and Supreme Leader of the People's Liberation Army, was considered to be the most powerful man in the world according to Forbes Magazine. He even outranked U.S. President Barack Obama who received that evaluation in 2009.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

YEAR OF THE DRAGON




Here is what a Chinese source from Taiwan is saying about the fabulous Chinese Dragon:

The Celestial Chinese Dragon is comparable as the symbol of the Chinese race itself. Chinese around the world, proudly proclaim themselves "Descendents of the Dragon".

The Dragon brings upon the essence of life, in the form of its celestial breath, known to many as sheng chi. He yields life and bestows its power in the form of the seasons, bringing water from rain, warmth from the sunshine, wind from the seas and soil from the earth. The Dragon is the ultimate representation of the forces of Mother Nature. The greatest divine force on Earth.

What an amazing coincidence: A solar eruption of unusual strength
takes place at the very beginning of the Dragon's Year.



As there are five types of dragon, a dragon's year can express five different types of character.

Now that 2012 is a year of the Water Dragon, you should know about the Water Dragon's character:
He is less selfish and opinionated than the other Dragons. He is more inhibited and less power-hungry. He can accept defeat without recriminations. He makes a good negotiator as he knows when, where, and how to apply pressure. On the other hand, he has a tendency to be over-optimistic and needs to learn how to relinquish what is unfeasible so that he can concentrate his energies on the most rewarding endeavors.

Some other sources are pointing out that the Dragon can be seen as a symbol of change that might even manifest in global politics.


A Chinese online publication is concentrating on a more prosaic view of the Dragon's influence. It's all about shareholder's value:

里昂第18次公布风水指数,指明年是水龙年,利水旺土,看好博彩及水泥股表现,又预测港股上、下半年表现各异,先低后高,最终能以上涨收官。
Li Ang's 18th proclamation of the Feng Shui index points out that the coming year is a Water Dragon's year, favourable for the water and flourishing for the earth and that will make us observe the manifestation of a plentiful variety and of solid [literally: cement] shares, as well as a predicted rising of Hongkong shares and remarkable surprises emerging in the second part of the year.
[Source: 腾讯财经 "Uprising Messages from Finance and Economics", January 19, 2012]

Translator's remark: I'm not really decided whether to buy "cement shares" of China's flourishing building industry or rather any shares on the market that are being regarded as "solid". At least, cement has something to do with water and earth, and the best time to buy would be in July 2012 ...
Below is an overview of Dragon Year's impact on shareholder's value. But no, I don't tell you what to buy when unless you pay me and take the full risk yourself.



Iran - Economy and Politics




Latest News (Jan.23):
- Allied warships passing the strait of Hormuz. Aircraft carrier "Abraham Lincoln" accompanied by British, French and U.S. vessels has entered the Persian Gulf. No Iranian reaction so far [CNN and Al-Arabiya TV this morning].
- EU imposes oil embargo on Iran [international media].


据“阿拉伯新闻网”17日报道,伊朗政府一位高级官员当天强调,伊朗丝毫不惧怕来自美国包括石油、金融等在内的制裁,伊朗与海湾地区国家有着良好的关系,会得到沙特阿拉伯等国家的支持和帮助。
Based on a report provided by the "Arabic News Network" on [Jan.] 17, a high-ranking official [on behalf of] the Iranian government underlined that Iran doesn't fear to the slightest degree any punishment originating from the United States, including those having a bearing on crude oil and finance. Iran and the nations of the [Persian] Gulf region are having excellent relationships with each other and are knowing to get support and help from Saudi Arabia.
[Source: People's Network, Bejing, January 18, 2012]

The following information on Iran's economy was taken from an official Chinese source. It gives an idea of Iran's economic development during the past years:
中华人民共和国驻德黑兰的大使馆在他们的网站出版了伊朗经济新闻。

伊朗去年石化产品出口达71亿美元
Last year [i.e. 2008], Iran's export of petrochemical products reached a volume of 7,1 Billion U.S.$.

《德黑兰时报》4月7日报道,伊朗2008年共出口了3,900万吨石化产品,主要是甲醇、聚乙烯、乙烯和液化天然气等产品,出口价值达71亿美元。
According to a "Tehran Times" report dating back to April 7 [2009], Iran's export of petrochemical products in 2008 reached an overall volume of 39 Million tons. Main products were methanole, polyethylene, ethylene and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The export value reached 7,1 Billion U.S.$.
..................................................

伊朗2009年度非石油产品出口预计达到250亿美元
In 2009, export of Iran's crude oil products reached an estimated value of 25 Billion U.S.$.

《伊朗新闻报》4月6日报道,伊朗商业部副部长Ghazanfari最近在接受伊朗媒体采访时称,伊朗虽受全球金融危机的冲击,今年的非石油产品出口增幅将比去年有所下降,但仍将比去年增长20%,预计出口达到250亿美元左右。伊朗的出口促进组织将与往年一样,继续帮助非石油产品生产企业向国际市场推销伊朗的产品出口。
"Iranian News" reported on April 6 [2010] what Iran's vice-minister of commerce Ghazanfari recently said in an interview with Iranian media: Despite being lashed by the global financial crisis and a limited decrease of growth for this year's export [i.e. 2009] of crude oil products in comparison with the year before, the [value] of exported goods is still lying 20% above past year's value [i.e. 2008] and is reaching a volume of 25 Billion U.S.$.

For more information on Iran's economy refer to:
Economy of Iran



Israel's Need for Energy


The situation of Israel's energy supply, regarded to be a main feature behind the actual conflict between Israel and Iran, can be highlighted by relevant information extracted from Wikipedia (or any other related source). In addition, I remember Iran's president Ahmadi Nejad urging Arab nations not to allow their oil being "stolen" by the West and their allies.

"As of 2009, Israel relied on external imports for meeting most of its energy needs, spending an amount equivalent to over 5% of its GDP per year on imports of energy products. The transportation sector relies mainly on gasoline and diesel fuel, while the majority of electricity production is generated using imported coal. The country possesses negligible reserves of crude oil but does have abundant domestic natural gas resources which were discovered in large quantities starting in 2009, after many decades of previously unsuccessful exploration. A 33-billion-cubic-metre (BCM), or 1,200-billion-cubic-foot, natural-gas field is located offshore of Ashkelon; however, as of 2009 it is approximately two-thirds exhausted. In 2009, a significant gas find with proven reserves of 188 BCM or 6.6×1012 cu ft (259 BCM probable) was located in deep water approximately 90 km (60 mi) west of Haifa, as well as a smaller 15 BCM (530×109 cu ft) field situated nearer the coastline. Furthermore, results of 3D seismic surveys and test drilling conducted in 2010 confirmed that a 480 BCM (17.00×1012 cu ft) natural-gas deposit exists in a large underwater geological formation nearby the large gas field already discovered in 2009. (For comparison purposes, the United Kingdom's total proven gas reserves as of 2009 are 343 BCM while Germany's consist of 176 BCM.) The large gas discoveries have confirmed that the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean contains significant quantities of natural gas and, potentially, crude oil. Consequently, additional exploration for oil and gas off Israel's coastline is continuing."

It should be noted that all significant gas reserves are located offshore and in international waters which makes their exploration not only more difficult but more vulnerable as well when seen in the frame of Israel's traditional conflicts with its Palestinian and Arab neighbours. Such conflicts are already surfacing in regular assaults on the natural gas pipeline between Egypt and Israel and are endangering one of Israel's most important lines of energy supply after the fall of Mubarak's regime in Egypt.

The CIA Factbook is offering additional information on Israel's economy and natural gas reserves:
Economy of Israel
Natural Gas - Proved Reserves

Monday, January 16, 2012

China's Internet - 500 Million Users




中国的网民规模突破5亿
互联网普及遇新挑战

China's Internet People: Population Topping 500 Million
The spreading internet is meeting with new challenges.


今天,中国互联网络信息中心(CNNIC)发布《第29次中国互联网络发展状况统计报告》。报告显示,截至2011年12月底,我国微博用户数达到2.5亿,成为网民重要的信息获取渠道。
Today, China's Internet Information Center (CNNIC) published its "29th Statistics Report on the State of China's Internet Development". The report displays: By the end of December 2011, the number of Chinese households using the web has increased to 250 Million. [The web] then became the most important medium of communication for its [users] when fetching news.

As to the extreme numbers mentioned in this report, I had some second thoughts like some of my visitors might have as well. Unfortunately, the meaning of that Chinese character 亿 used to express "100 Million" is not standardized. It might as well have the meaning of "extremely much" or "something about a million". Nevertheless, a closer look at the original statistics shows that such numbers are true (if the statistics are true at all). This can be concluded from the history of internet users' increase:
In July 2008 for example, the 22nd CNNIC report counted 253 Million internet users using a different Chinese character for the description of that number and which has the traditional meaning of "10.000". Therefore, the 253 Million could be described as 25.300 times "10.000" (25.300万). And voilà, now everything is fitting perfectly. Quite ingenious those Chinese !

It must be added that an overall number of Chinese internet users of 5亿 or 500 Million should include even occasional users who are taking advantage of public computer installations (i.e. at university libraries or internet cafés) or who are working at private installations together with friends.

This goes together with 7,9 Million websites using the ".cn" domain in July 2011 which might hint at a certain restriction to users of the Chinese internet to freely build their personal homepages. Maybe, the ".com" or ".net" domains are being applied on a larger scale in China or subdomains like ".com.cn" are more extensive than expected. Unfortunately, there's no further information available.

The below picture is showing the concrete numbers of internet users and their development from 2004 to 2011. The latest number registered is 513,1 Million users which make up to 38,8% of China's population.


There's a related blogspot of mine that is providing further information:
Chinese Language Flooding the Web.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New U.S. Strategy - Chinese View




Latest UPDATE of this blogspot on January 16, 2012.

美国战略调整逼近中国
山姆大叔对华有三怕

Revised U.S. military strategy pressing on China.
Uncle Sam so much afraid of China.


美国怕我们什么?就怕中国强盛!于是千方百计干扰我们的发展。我们偏偏不为其所动,专心致志搞发展。美国还怕我们什么?怕我们有一个良好的外部环境。于是千方百计挑拨离间、拉帮结派,毒化我们的发展氛围。我们则要纵横捭阖,巧施外交,把朋友争取得越多越好,把对立面孤立得越少越好。

What does America fear from us ? They are afraid of China's power and prosperity ! As a result, they are obstructing our development by every possible means. Though we are not inclined to change each other's place [in the world], just being wholeheartedly devoted to carry on [our] development. What else does America fear from us ? They are afraid because we enjoy favorable external conditions. As a result, they are [steadily] sowing discord and are giving a helpful hand to the formation of bandit factions, thus poisoning the atmosphere of [our] development. Our rules [or: laws] need to cope with various political groupings and [we need to] skilfully handle [our] foreign affairs. Friends we have to win over, the more the better. The isolated [individuals or positions] we have to oppose, the fewer the better.

[Source: People's Network, Beijing, January 8, 2012]

This text has been translated by Ulysses who introduced all remarks in brackets in order to reach a better understanding of the Chinese source. "People's Network" can be considered as a semi-official publication of the People's Republic directed to its own people rather than "China Daily" which is being published in English for Western readers. The above comment should therefore be regarded as what it is : An unmasked piece of semi-official opinion from China. The translator recognizes some poisonous aspects in that comment which might be based on a profound misunderstanding between the American and Chinese positions. It could therefore be useful to "work" on that misunderstanding in order to avoid any further acceleration of an already existing conflict.

亚太国家心态复杂看美国新军事战略

Asia's great nations and their complex attitude
towards America's new military strategy


... is a related article published by People's Network on January 9, 2012. It is dealing with the presumed attitude of countries like Thailand and Australia towards the new goal that has been set for the armed forces by U.S. President Obama. Here some excerpts from that article:

美国政府强调了一年多的“重返亚洲”战略终于在1月5日公布的新军事报告中显露出了其锋芒所在。
It's just another year that America emphasized its war strategy of "returning to Asia", the spearhead of which became visible last time on January 5 in a new military report.

亚太地区的媒体普遍认为该报告中有两点值得重视:其一是亚太地区成为重点,其二是美国将进一步削减军费。一些学者更多地将关注点集中于第二点和有可能引发的问题。
Media reports of [all] great Asian countries generally consider two points worth to be taken seriously. One of them is [implying] that Asian regions become focal points [of that strategy]. The second point is America's intention to further cut down military expenditures. Some analysts [liter.: scholars] are even more paying attention rather to the second of these points and any questions it might probably raise.

......................................................

In January 2012, talks between ASEAN states and China should begin on what the U.S. call a "code of conduct" that would allow foreign ships to freely navigate the South China Sea which is, up to now, eagerly controlled by Chinese naval forces.


美媒:美欲推“南海行为准则”反制中国
According to U.S. media, America desires to promote a "code of
conduct for the South China Sea" that would put restrictions on China.

美国海军作战部长乔纳森·格林纳特10日在华盛顿表示,为应对中国经济军事能力增长可能发生对区域准入的限制,美国和亚太地区的盟友将共同推动一个国际行为规范准则,以确保在南中国海的航行自由。
On [January] 10 in Washington, Jonathan Greenert, the head of U.S. Navy's operative department [precisely: Naval Operations Admiral], showed [the need to] reply to the increase of possibilities occurring to China's economic and military abilities [by means of] establishing regional standards of restriction [... to China !]. America and their allies in the great regions of Asia are altogether pushing forward an international code of conduct as a regulation that firmly guarantees liberty of navigation in the South China Sea.
[People's Network citing a Western source, January 13, 2012]

The following, most recent article is showing how America and China are increasingly drifting apart on the subject of any free navigation in the South China Sea.
[People's Network, January 16, 2012]

在北京召开的会议上,中国与东盟10国高官及东盟秘书处官员就进一步推动《南海各方行为宣言》的落实交换了看法,对实施已经达成的一些合作项目达成了一系列共识。这次会议的召开表明,目前南海局势总体上是和平稳定的,各声索国也愿意通过协商谈判的途径来解决问题。
At the conference convened in Beijing, high-ranking officials from China and 10 nations of the Asian alliance [ASEAN] as well as high officials from the secretariat of that alliance, are stepping forward to promote a practical exchange of views for a "Declaration of Mutual Conduct in the South China Sea" [while realizing the] implementation of some items already [decided] in cooperation on the basis of common [considerations]. The realization of that conference indicates that a peaceful stabilization of the current situation is its ultimate goal.

相比之下,在美国召开的南海会议就没有那么多和平的气氛了。从美国媒体传出的有关信息看,华盛顿某些人眼看南海局势走稳而美国似乎要被排除在外,显露出急于有所作为的焦急心态。
In comparison with [that conference], the U.S. convened "South China Sea Conference" hasn't got much of a peaceful atmosphere. As can be seen from related information spread by U.S. media, certain persons in Washington are looking passively on the situation of the South China Sea and which is steadily developing [while] America seemingly wishes to be excluded [from that development], yet appearing eager to some extent to [demonstrate its] worried attitude.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Iran's Dilemma and Strategy

As recent naval exercises have shown, the Islamic Republic of Iran is still defiant, even though the Obama administration just confirmed the application of further sanctions. Here now excerpts of a comment on Iran's strategy for the limitation of damage. This evaluation has been published the day before by semi-official People's Network, Beijing:

伊朗在制裁尖刀下寻突围
Iran is seeking to escape the encirclement
with downheld dagger while being punished.


“穿越霍尔木兹海峡的美国航母不要返回波斯湾水域,否则伊朗的反应将不会仅仅停留在建议上”;“制裁不会让伊朗经济伤到一根头发”……最近几天,伊朗政府和军方接连向西方发炮,回击白宫年前出台的针对伊朗石油出口的制裁新措施。
"No U.S. [carrier ship] passing through the strait of Hormuz must return [through] Persian waters. Otherwise Iran's response could not merely restrict to recommendations." "Punishment cannot hurt a tiny bit of Iran's economy. [Lit.: cannot bent a single hair on the head of Iran's economy]" ... During the last days, both, Iranian government and military successively sent a cannonade [of stances] to the West, such striking back at the White House that delivered a stitch [of the needle] to Iran last year and in the frame of new steps against Iranian oil export.

向来嘴不饶人的伊朗,摆出一副无所畏惧的架势,对西方称为“严厉”的制裁轻描淡写地略过。然而外界分析认为,伊朗表面嘴硬,内心则担心制裁的严重后果。而眼下除了喷喷口水显示强硬外,伊朗也开始寻求破解压力的突围之策。
All along a bigmouthed Iran, [not sparing anybody and] assuming a fearless posture, is using the strategy of just occasionally mentioning what the West calls "severe" punishment. However, any foreign analysis is considering Iran's superficial stubbornness [as a sign of] deeply-rooted anxiety of severe consequences that might arise from punishment. Thus at present and in addition to a strong demonstration of gushing saliva directed at the outside, Iran has begun to look for a strategy to escape from the encircling pressure as well.

伊朗寻求斗而不破
Subtitle: Iran is seeking struggle but not rupture.

互摸底线不求战姿态强硬为选战
Subtitle: Trying to gain mutual knowledge of each other's intentions and political lines doesn't [go together with] striving for a state of warring capabilities that is [already] strongly inclined to war.

[来源:人民网>>军事,2012年01月06日]

Below: Location of nuclear facilities in Iran.


Below: Mahjoob Zweiri, Professor of Middle-Eastern politics at
Qatar University, says Iran is not willing to put the option of
talks from the table.


Below: Rear admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, Iranian senior navy commander.


Below: Satellite photo showing the Strait of Hormuz.


Latest News:

الجيش الأمريكي يواصل تعزيز وجوده بمنطقة الخليج
الولايات المتحدة "سترد" إذا سعت إيران إلى إغلاق مضيق هرمز

U.S. forces continue their reinforcement and [deployment] in the Golf region. - The United States "will repulse" in case Iran might close the strait of Hormuz.
[Source: Al-Arabiya TV, January 8, 2012]