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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Rice to strengthen partner ties

BBC NEWS | Americas | Rice to strengthen partner ties: "BBC BBC NEWS
Rice to strengthen partner ties
Condoleezza Rice, President George W Bush's nominee as secretary of state, says she will strengthen US ties with allies through diplomacy.

"Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue," Ms Rice told a US Senate committee at her confirmation hearing.

Tuesday's session mainly focused on eliciting answers on US policy on Iraq.

If confirmed as expected, Ms Rice, 50, will be the first black woman to hold the office of US secretary of state.

The hearing may last until Wednesday - a day before Mr Bush is sworn in for his second term.

The time for diplomacy is now
Condoleezza Rice

Senators at the committee have been asking Ms Rice detailed questions to elicit her own opinions and judgements, primarily on Iraq.

And one in particular - Senator John Kerry who lost the presidential race to Mr Bush - said he was concerned by Ms Rice's answers, including the number of troops needed for the Iraq operations.

To no-one's great surprise Ms Rice had little to add to what is currently known about administration policy in Iraq, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

'No monologue'

"We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favours freedom," Ms Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"And the time for diplomacy is now."

She praised the leadership of President Bush in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks - "a defining moment for our nation and the world".

I would advise President Bush to continue to rely on the good people he has surrounded himself with
Susan, Washington, DC, USA

"Under the vision and leadership of President Bush," she said, "our nation has risen to meet the challenges of our time: fighting tyranny and terror, and securing the blessings of freedom and prosperity for a new generation."

"Now is the time to build on these achievements to make the world safer, and to make the world more free," she said.

But she indicated that the US would not let traditional allies or multilateral institutions stand in the way of "effective" action by Washington.

"The time for diplomacy is long overdue," said Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat. He said the US was "paying a heavy price" for the administration's policy in Iraq - the focus of most of Tuesday's questioning.

Senators were particularly interested to know whether the US had enough troops in Iraq and whether it had an exit strategy. Ms Rice said the US had to remain engaged after the Iraqi election on 30 January including improving the Iraqis' ability to defend themselves.

On other foreign policy issues, Ms Rice said:

Colin Powell: 2001-2004
Madeleine Albright: 1997-2001
Warren Christopher: 1993-1997
James Baker: 1989-1992
George Schultz: 1982-1989

# "I look forward to personally working with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, and bringing American diplomacy to bear on this difficult but crucial issue

# "We must remain united in insisting that Iran and North Korea abandon their nuclear weapons

# "We are building a candid, co-operative and constructive relationship with China that embraces our common interests but still recognises our considerable differences about values."

Ms Rice is a trusted member of President's Bush innermost circle - some describe her as almost family, correspondents say.

She is also said to share many of his views, and is described as driven and highly ambitious.
Story from BBC NEWS:

CBS 46 Atlanta - Black customers file discrimination lawsuit against Waffle House

CBS 46 Atlanta - Black customers file discrimination lawsuit against Waffle House: "Black customers file discrimination lawsuit against Waffle House

January 18, 2005

ATLANTA (AP) -- A group of blacks who claim they experienced discrimination at Waffle Houses in three Georgia cities filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the restaurant chain.

The Georgia lawsuit joins three others recently filed in North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia against the Norcross, Ga.-based company and its franchisees, who are accused of maintaining a pattern of discrimination and violations of federal civil rights laws among their employees.

The four lawsuits, along with 20 others filed in six southern states, allege that servers announced they would not serve black customers, deliberately served unsanitary food to minority patrons, ignored blacks while providing prompt service to whites, directed racial epithets at blacks and became verbally abusive when asked to wait on blacks.

One of the plaintiffs, Sharon Perry, 31, said she was required to prepay for her meal at a Savannah, Ga., Waffle House.

'I was shocked, I was disgusted by her attitude. When she spoke to us it was like we shouldn't have been there,' Perry said of her treatment at the restaurant. She added that the other black patrons in the Waffle House said they also had to pay upfront for their meals.

Perry spoke at one of four news conferences scheduled Tuesday in the four states. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People joined lawsuits in two of the states and endorsed the others.

'The NAACP supports this effort to obtain justice and respect for African American consumers and other people of color,' Angela Ciccolo, NAACP's interim chief counsel, said in a statement Tuesday. 'The NAACP will continue to demand fair and equal treatment and respect for African Americans and other people of color in dining establishments.'

Waffle House operates and franchis"

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Hong Kong, Taiwanese press mourn hero

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Hong Kong, Taiwanese press mourn hero: "Hong Kong, Taiwanese press mourn hero

Hong Kong newspapers heap praise on late Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang, who showed sympathy for the 1989 pro-democracy protesters, in contrast to China's low-key coverage of his death.

Editorials reflect the high esteem Zhao was held in the former British colony, which still enjoys some Western-style freedoms. Many lament the absence of political reform in modern China.

Taiwanese papers, recalling Zhao's house arrest after Tiananmen Square, urge Beijing to clear his name in a fusillade against the current Chinese leadership.

He will be remembered here as a reformist leader who was in touch with the people - a Communist Party chief with a distinctive human touch. It would be optimistic to think that a posthumous 'rehabilitation' of Zhao by the party is imminent. But we hope people on the mainland will be allowed to freely mourn his passing - and to openly pay tribute to the former leader's undoubted achievements.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post - editorial

Zhao Ziyang advocated democracy and the rule of law so he was ousted and illegally put under house arrest by certain people. What was Zhao Ziyang's crime? Was democracy a crime? Was the rule of law a crime? They expunged Zhao Ziyang's name from history and this illegal measure has exposed the illegal nature of these people. Attempts to cover up the truth have exposed their shamelessness and weakness. Mourning Zhao Ziyang is a quest for democracy, the rule of law, and a republic system.

Hong Kong Economic Journal, commentary by Zhao Ziyang's former secretary, Bao Tong

Today, the question of appraising Zhao Ziyang could be called a test of the Chinese Communist Party's ruling ability. If some people worry that positively affirming Zhao Ziyang could trigger 'turmoil', remember Zhao Ziyang's words - 'resolve problems on the track of de"

Monday, January 17, 2005

CNN > Purged Chinese leader dies

From CNN Beijing Bureau Chief Jaime Florcruz
Sunday, January 16, 2005 Posted: 9:58 PM EST (0258 GMT)
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Former Chinese Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted amid the upheaval surrounding the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, has died at the age of 85, the state news agency Xinhua has announced.
Zhao had suffered from respiratory and cardiovascular problems and died early Monday in a Beijing hospital, Xinhua said.
Zhao was considered one of the standard-bearers of political and economic reform in China.
He opposed the use of force against the Tiananmen Square demonstrators and was removed from his post during the clampdown.
The former leader had been kept under house arrest until his death.
CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Jaime Florcruz reported that there was no indication Zhao's death had triggered any public show of sympathy on the streets of the capital shortly after his death was announced on Monday.
Most Chinese will remember Zhao as a well-meaning, honest official, Florcruz said, but as someone who was not good at political maneuvering.
"He was a very pragmatic leader, and he was very successful in provincial level market reforms in the early years," said Tang Wenfang, a professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh.
In the late 1980s, when Zhao rose to become China's premier and later party chief, he stood out by pushing political reforms, but he clashed with conservative leaders as students gathered to agitate for freedom and democracy.
He was last seen in public in May 1989, when he visited hunger strikers at the Square.
"We have come too late," he tearfully told the students.
But Zhao may have been too early for his time, political analysts say.
"Hard-line conservative leaders were not ready for market reform, and so there was a lot of ideological resistance to his initiatives, policy initiatives," Tang said.
"On the other hand the ordinary people were not ready to absorb the cost of market reform, such as inflation, unemployment, corruption, all those negative, unintended consequences of market reform.
"He was purged, accused of sympathizing with the protesters and splitting the Communist Party," Tang said.
Zhai Weimin, one of the leaders of the Tiananmen Square protests, said Zhao was "a daring and resolute reformer ... but he was not as good at political maneuvering as the other leaders were."
For years following his ouster, Zhao remained under house arrest inside his closely guarded Beijing courtyard.
Zhao was rarely allowed to step out, except to play occasional rounds of golf. Even out of power in his twilight years, he remained a threat to the leaders who followed him.

BBC > Japan hopes for Israel arms halt

Japan has asked Israel to stop selling arms to its regional rivals, the country's foreign minister said during a visit to Jerusalem.
Nobutaka Machimura, in the Middle East for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, said he had raised the subject with counterpart Silvan Shalom.
Mr Machimura said he had made similar requests to Russia and the EU.
Earlier Mr Machimura met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He said Japan was eager to work for peace.
Israel is a leading developer of weapons systems, and has developed the world's only functioning anti-missile system, Arrow, in conjunction with the US.
Japan recently approved new defence guidelines aimed at developing a missile security programme with the US.
'General request'
But the country's constitution, drafted in the wake of the Japanese defeat in World War II, explicitly renounces force of arms as a method of resolving international disputes.
Despite this, the new defence guidelines describe North Korea and China as potential military threats to Japan.
North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear programme, while China is currently modernising its military.
Israel was recently in dispute with the US about the sale of pilotless "drone" technology to China.
Mr Machimura said he raised the issue in a "general way" during talks with Mr Shalom in Jerusalem.
Both nations agreed to work to increase bilateral trade to $3bn per year, Mr Shalom said.
Story from BBC NEWS: /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/4179871.stm

BBC > PLO demands end to armed attacks

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has called for an end to attacks by militant groups against Israel.
In its strongest such appeal since the death of Yasser Arafat, the PLO's top body "demanded halting all military acts that harm our national interests".
The call came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave his troops free rein to crack down on militants.
Tensions have soared since Palestinian suicide bombers killed six Israelis at a Gaza Strip crossing late on Thursday.
In continuing violence, an Israeli tank shell killed a Palestinian woman and her son in Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza on Sunday, Palestinian medics and witnesses said.
This follows the deaths on Saturday of eight Palestinians killed by Israeli troops during incursions into Gaza.
Two Israelis, including a seven-year-old, were also injured by Palestinian rockets.
In a statement, the PLO's decision-making executive committee said it gave its "full support to Abu Mazen's [Mahmoud Abbas] inauguration speech to stop all military acts that harm our national interest".
These instructions will remain valid as long as the Palestinians fail to lift even a single finger
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister
Mr Abbas - who was elected Palestinian president last Sunday and has also succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman - called for an end to violence on both sides and urged a resumption of peace negotiations with Israel.
He has said he will not use force against militants but try to persuade them to call a ceasefire.
The PLO embraces most Palestinian groups bar the Islamists.
Israel severed ties with the Palestinians following Thursday's truck bombing and gun attack at a Gaza-Israel crossing point.
Meanwhile Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak called on the Israeli leader to resume contacts with Mr Abbas.
Free hand
On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister said he has given his troops a free hand to launch a crackdown on Palestinian militants.
"Despite the change in Palestinian leadership, we have yet to see them taking any action against terror," Ariel Sharon told his cabinet.
At the same time that Abu Mazen says he will work hard to return to the peace track, Sharon declares a military escalation
Nabil Shaath, Palestinian foreign minister
"The Israeli military and security apparatus have been instructed to take any action needed without restriction," Mr Sharon said on Sunday.
"These instructions will remain valid as long as the Palestinians fail to lift even a single finger."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath condemned the announcement.
"At the same time that Abu Mazen says he will work hard to return to the peace track, Sharon declares a military escalation," he said, using the Palestinian leader's nickname.
Palestinian officials said Mr Abbas will visit the Gaza Strip this week in an effort to convince militant groups to stop attacks against Israeli targets.
But the BBC's James Reynolds in Jerusalem says Mr Sharon's latest move may complicate Mr Abbas' tactic of trying to reach a ceasefire through negotiation and persuasion.
Militant factions have indicated they will only stop attacks if Israel does the same.
Mr Sharon's comments to his cabinet suggest that that is unlikely to happen, our correspondent says.
Story from BBC NEWS: /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/4179327.stm

Published: 2005/01/16 20:11:18 GMT