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theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 19 2008
news without borders
Countdown starts for anti-piracy
China to send ships to ﬁght Somali piracy
BEIJING: China will send warships to the seas off Somalia to help international efforts to ﬁght piracy there, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, in what would be the ﬁrst operation of its kind for Beijing. Nato ships began anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast in late October, but they have failed to stop the rampant hijackings, and other nations are now pitching in. A multilateral force rescued the Chinese ship, Zhenhua 4, from Somali pirates on Wednesday. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has become a major headache as it pushes up insurance costs or forces ships to take alternative routes. “China is making active preparations and the related deployments to send warships to the Gulf of Aden,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news brieﬁng, though he declined to give details. A Chinese newspaper said China would send three ships to Somalia to prevent further attacks, but that report could not be independently conﬁrmed. Earlier this month, a prominent Chinese military strategist, Maj-Gen Jin Yinan, urged the government to send ships in comments reﬂecting debate about combating piracy in a country which has generally conﬁned its navy to waters near home. China says its increasingly hightech military forces are purely for defensive purposes. It has traditionally kept troops close to home and out of international operations, reﬂecting a doctrine of non-interference in other nations’ affairs. But its growing wealth and inﬂuence have led to calls for it to take a greater role protecting world peace, even as Western nations fret about its increasing military power. It is now involved in peacekeeping operations around the world including Haiti and Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, and was praised in July by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for its contribution of both funds and forces. - Reuters BRUSSELS: After the UN Security Council’s green light, it is now only a question of when, and not whether, land military operations will be launched against pirates sheltering in Somalia, according to experts. The Council, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, gave nations battling armed and increasingly audacious pirates in the Gulf of Aden a one-year mandate to act inside the lawless country, a good way, analysts say, to stop them. “It’s clear that to deal with a problem like the one in Somalia, you need a wide-ranging operation. Catching a few pirates at sea will not be enough,” said one European diplomat. He noted that the international ﬂeet of around 15 warships in the Gulf – one of the world’s busiest shipping areas – had barely helped slow the pirates, let alone eradicate them. Increasingly emboldened, pirates using ﬂeets of small, fast boats have carried out more than 100 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean this year. Last month, they captured world attention when they hijacked the Saudi-owned super-tanker Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of crude oil, and demanded a US$25 million (RM89 million) ransom for the ship and its crew. It is one of about 17 vessels, including an arms-laden Ukrainian cargo ship, and some 300 sailors currently in pirate hands. UN Security Council resolution 1846, from Dec 2, laid out the legal framework for the EU to launch last week Operation Atalanta, which will carry out anti-piracy duties and escort aid ships over the next 12 months. But, the diplomat said, “a land attack was never in Atalanta’s mandate”. The new resolution, 1851, provides for such a move and “another sequence has begun, which aims to attack the problem at its roots,” he said. The EU has made no planning for such an operation, although Atalanta’s commander, Rear Admiral Phillip Jones said: “At every stage of the act of piracy, I’m content my force will have the rules of engagement they need.” Yet the adoption of the new resolution, the second in just a few weeks, is a sign of the
Madoff under house arrest,
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: Disgraced Wall Street investment manager Bernard Madoff, accused of orchestrating a US$50 billion (RM178 billion) fraud, was put under house arrest on Wednesday. BNP Paribas SA became the latest European bank to reveal its exposure to the scandal, and its stock was the main loser among Europe’s top banks, as the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission again answered questions about why the alleged fraud went on for a decade. A federal judge ordered Madoff, 70, conﬁned to his US$7 million (RM25 million) Manhattan apartment and told Madoff’s wife, Ruth, to surrender her US passport as part of modiﬁed bail conditions. Madoff will be ﬁtted with an electronic ankle bracelet and will only be allowed to leave his home for appointments prearranged with authorities. On Wednesday afternoon, the Madoffs signed an agreement to forfeit their Manhattan apartment and properties in Montauk, New York and Palm Beach, Florida if they failed to adhere to the bail conditions. Madoff was ﬁlmed by television crews leaving the federal court in Manhattan, but he did not talk to reporters. With a calm expression on his face, he sat in the front passenger seat of a black SUV that sped away. He later was seen by news photographers getting out of a vehicle near his apartment building. Madoff walked briskly with a slight smile on his face as photographers jostled to take his picture before he entered the front door of the building. The changes in bail conditions for the one-time Nasdaq Stock Exchange chairman were ordered as angry investors urged prosecutors to take a ﬁrmer stance. “The investors I am speaking with are extremely upset and think he should be in jail today,” said Ross Intelisano, a partner at law ﬁrm Rich & Intelisano LLP said. “They think he is a ﬂight risk, and they are shocked that the bail is so low.” On Tuesday, SEC chairman Christopher Cox offered an embarrassing mea culpa for the agency’s lack of oversight of Madoff’s investment advisory ﬁrm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. He said on Wednesday there was no evidence that SEC staff did anything wrong amid accusations the regulator failed to act on tips of alleged fraud by Madoff in the past 10 years. “I want to emphasise that there is no evidence that anyone is aware of at this point that any personnel did anything wrong,”
the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva included a new outbreak in Chegutu Urban, west of Harare, where more than 378 cases and 121 deaths were recorded, it said in a statement. It added that more than 20,580 people had been affected by cholera since August. – Reuters
Man faces life for rape of daughter, posting on internet
LOS ANGELES: A man accused of raping his daughter and posting the ﬁlm on the internet before later ﬂeeing to China pleaded guilty at hearings in the western US state of Washington, justice ofﬁcials said. Kenneth Freeman, a former policeman and bodybuilder, admitted counts of producing child pornography and transportation of a minor across state lines for sex at a Federal Court hearing in Spokane. He later pleaded guilty to three counts
of ﬁrst-degree rape at a state court hearing on Wednesday. Freeman, 46, was extradited back to the United States from Hongkong in September 2007 after more than a year on the run which saw him becoming one of America’s most wanted fugitives. His daughter, now a teenager, went public about her ordeal on the hit TV crime show America’s Most Wanted. – AFP
One has landed safely and the other is believed to have crashed into a house in Liverpool,” said Fire Brigade Superintendent Craig Brierley. “The plane (that hit the house) is on ﬁre.” – AFP
Zimbabwe cholera death toll tops 1,100
HARARE: The death toll from a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has soared to 1,111, the United Nations said yesterday, adding to pressure for a quick solution to the crisis in the southern African country. South African ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma ruled out military intervention and backed a diplomatic push as the way to end political deadlock and prevent a total collapse of the once relatively prosperous nation. The latest cholera figures from
Two killed as planes collide in Sydney
SYDNEY: Two people were killed when two aircraft collided over Sydney and one of the planes slammed into a house, officials said yesterday. The aircraft that hit the house burst into ﬂames, while the other plane landed safely at Bankstown airport. “Two planes have collided.
Brown conﬁrms Iraq pullout, rejects inquiry
LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown rejected calls for an immediate inquiry into the Iraq war yesterday and confirmed Britain will start withdrawing troops from the country by the end of May. He went before parliament to announce the end of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war, bringing an end to one of the most controversial episodes in
theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 19 2008
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news without borders
growing international resolve to rid the waters of the increasingly deadly attacks. Russia had already suggested in November that a land operation should be carried out, while Nato has been considering what role it might play against piracy in the future. “You don’t stop piracy on the seas. You stop piracy on the land,” top alliance commander US General John Craddock said last month, although he insisted he has not been asked to study any land operation. Tanguy Struye, politics professor at Belgium’s Louvainla-Neuve university, said he could envisage “a Franco-American commando operation, with France and the United States present in Djibouti and both having the necessary experience.” He said they “would be best placed to act militarily” in the region. “The operation could be put together quite quickly, but ﬁrst they would need intelligence that only Somalia’s friends of convenience would be able to provide,” he said. Struye said an EU or Nato operation would simply take too long to mount, but he agreed with the assessment of other experts that the only way to overcome the problem of piracy deﬁnitively would be to help reduce poverty in Somalia itself. Senior EU advisor on African affairs, Jean-Christophe Belliard, said last week that, ironically, the piracy problem has focused international attention and could ultimately help stop it. “One of the results of this multiplication of piracy acts is that there is an awareness that it can’t just be business as usual in Somalia. Now the international community ... is pushing for something strong to be done,” he said. – AFP
SEC under ﬁre
Cox told reporters after an agency meeting. He said he was still troubled that the securities watchdog did not catch the scandal earlier. “I was very concerned to learn this week that credible allegations about Madoff had been made over nearly a decade and yet never referred to the commission for action,” Cox said. Staffers at the market watchdog apparently saw Madoff as one of their own. He made regular appearances at the SEC and served on agency advisory panels. Madoff was accused in a criminal complaint last Thursday of defrauding hundreds of wealthy investors in a Ponzi scheme.
recent British history. “The fundamental change of mission will take place at the latest by May 31, 2009. At that point we will start a rapid withdrawal of our troops,” Brown said, telling parliament what he had already told British troops in Iraq on Wednesday. He rebuffed renewed opposition calls for a prompt inquiry into the origin, conduct and planning of the war.– Reuters
Greek activists call for Europe-wide protests
ATHENS: Activists called for demonstrations across Europe yesterday in solidarity with those planned in Greece, as Greek students marked their 12th day of protests that have shaken this Mediterranean nation. Their demand was written on a banner pinned at the base of Athens’ landmark Acropolis on Wednesday, while a second banner nearby simply declared “Resistance” in several languages, including Greek. The student march yesterday will be followed by a separate demonstration against a European Union agreement cracking down on immigration. Also on Wednesday, police arrested a number of illegal immigrants in Athens, accusing them of pillaging. But demonstrators denounced the move, and called on the foreigners to join their cause. Meanwhile, separate syndicate action is adding to the government’s headaches. Several thousand activists from the Communist PAME trade union marched in Athens in the evening behind a banner reading: “The plutocracy must pay for the crisis!” The civil service trade union Adedy also organised a demonstration and a threehour work stoppage yesterday, three days before lawmakers vote on the budget. Yet another union has called on supporters to gather before the parliament today. Earlier in the day, protesters pitched molotov coctails at an anti-riot police van near the police headquarters in the capital, setting it alight. Nobody was hurt. The events underscore ongoing anger at the police killing of a teenager earlier this month that has shaken the government and reportedly damaged the Greek economy during a larger global downturn. In Athens, some 70 self-proclaimed “outraged workers” invaded the headquarters of the country’s main union, the General Confederation of Labour (GSEE). The building remained occupied as of early evening. Earlier in the day, youths occupying Athens Polytechnic and also set ﬁre to a newspaper kiosk, police said. The unrest was not limited to the capital. Student protest leaders claim that some 600 schools across the country remain occupied since unrest ﬁrst ﬂared Dec 6 over the police shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in Athens. Authorities offer a far lower ﬁgure of about 100. Students also continued to occupy several universities. In the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina, some 50 youths took over the town hall for several hours, while 20 others entered the main local radio station and started broadcasting their own programmes. And in the second largest city of Thessaloniki, three gas bottles exploded in front of a bank and four others in front of a public building. – AFP
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Under a Ponzi scheme, later investors’ funds are used to pay returns to initial investors. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum ﬁne of US$5 million (RM18 million) if convicted. A rewrite of US regulations to prevent a relapse of the Madoff ﬁasco will be high on the agenda of the new US Congress, said US Rep. Paul Kanjorski, who chairs the House Capital Markets Subcommittee. He said he will convene a congressional inquiry in early January. – Reuters
Madoff ... ﬁtted with an electronic ankle bracelet and will only be allowed to leave his home for appointments prearranged with authorities.
Taiwan court sticks to ruling on release of ex-leader: TV
TAIPEI: A Taiwan court yesterday ruled it would stick to its previous decision to release former president Chen Shui-bian without bail pending his trial on corruption charges, television
stations reported. A panel of three judges at the Taipei district court made their decision following a ﬁve-hour court hearing during which Chen and his lawyers battled prosecutors’ attempts to get him back into custody for further investigation. “The prosecutors would have needed more firm evidence against the defendant if they want him to be detained,” Formosa Television cited court papers as saying. – AFP
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