Archive for April, 2015

Five Lessons From Vietnam

April 30, 2015

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By Bennet Kelley
Huffington Post

VIETNAM MEMORIAL

Matthew Carroll via Getty Images

A decade after the fall of Saigon, President Nixon wrote, “[n]o event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War.” A generation and a half later, this remains true. Yet what lessons should we draw from our nation’s first major defeat?

Consider the following:

1. Vietnam Sought Liberation from a Colonial Power. In the first sentence of Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence, Ho Chi Minh quotes from our own Declaration of Independence that all men were endowed with “certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The declaration then detailed how the French have denied them of “every democratic liberty,” while impoverishing the Vietnamese people.

President Roosevelt, a fierce anti-colonialist, had supported establishing an international protectorate over Vietnam rather than returning it to French control. Ho Chi Minh telegrammed President Truman to urge him to support Vietnamese independence, but Truman sided with the French.

After negotiations with the French failed, Ho Chi Minh issued his famous warning to the French that “[y]ou will kill ten of us, we will kill one of you, but in the end, you will tire of it first.” This was their country, the Vietnamese had nowhere else to go and would fight as long as necessary — just as we had. Yet we ignored this warning.

2. South Vietnam Was Weak. After the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam was partitioned into North and South under the Geneva Accords which also called for nationwide elections in 1956. The elections were postponed and never held since the United States feared that Ho Chi Minh might win as much as 80 percent.

It was this lack of a strong, stable South Vietnamese government that led President Johnson to abandon President Kennedy’s plan for withdrawal from South Vietnam and to instead escalate first via covert military action and then via direct military action following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

2015-04-30-1430392915-6969972-800pxLyndon_Johnson_Richard_Nixon_1968.jpg

3. Candidate Nixon Sabotaged Peace Talks. In October 1968, the North Vietnamese offered concessions that would enable peace talks to begin and permit President Johnson to halt bombing of North Vietnam. Presidential candidate Nixon dispatched a campaign advisor to urge the South Vietnamese government to withdraw from any talks and refuse to deal with Johnson since they would get a better deal under Nixon. Days before the election, President Thieu announced he would not agree to terms proposed for negotiations.

Over one-third of all U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam occurred after Nixon’s election. It is now believed that the Watergate break-in was partly motivated by a desire of President Nixon to obtain files linking him to the plot in light of the release of the Pentagon Papers. Like Lady Macbeth, Nixon was consumed by the indelible stain which gave birth to his presidency.

4. We Couldn’t Have Won. A longstanding myth about Vietnam is that the United States could have “won” in Vietnam but for meddling politicians. The fact is that the United States deployed 3.4 million soldiers in Southeast Asia; dropped four times as many bombs as during all of World War II on nearly 70 percent of Vietnam’s villages; sprayed millions of gallons of chemicals to deforest large sections of the country; at a cost of nearly $500 billion in current dollars and over 200,000 Americans killed or injured only to reach a stalemate in a war that was not vital to our national interests.

In addition, not only was the war not vital to our interests, but with reports of atrocities such as the Mai Lai Massacre, the war was inflicting serious damage to the nation’s global prestige.

Those who say we weren’t allowed to “win” never say how many more soldiers would have been deployed, bombs dropped, dollars spent or soldiers killed to achieve a “victory” in a war both Presidents Johnson and Nixon concluded was unwinnable; nor do they ever address what “winning” means in military or political terms for the weak and corrupt South Vietnamese government.

Dr. Jeffrey Record of the Army War College concluded that “the only way the United States could have avoided defeat in Vietnam was by staying out of the war altogether” given the “the absence of a legitimate and competent South Vietnamese political authority”. Any so-called victory would require a permanent occupation of Vietnam, something which American voters would not abide.

5. The War is Still With Us. While we cannot reverse what happened on the battlefields in Hue and Khe Sahn, we can still win the war at home for the millions of veterans. Consider that the number of homeless Vietnam veterans today exceeds the death total during the war or that the number of Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD is greater than the population of Buffalo; that is a battle we can and should win. As President Kennedy said, “[as] we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Al Sharpton Gets In Physical Confrontation With Fox News Reporter [VIDEO]

April 30, 2015

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Fox News reporter Leland Vittert got into a heated — and eventually physical — confrontation with activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, when the latter tried to keep him from questioning Democratic Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (VIDEO: Democratic Congressman Walks Away From Live Fox News Interview)

“We can’t ask questions?” Vittert challenged her. “You are a public official and we can’t ask questions?”

“You will have the opportunity,” Sharpton said.

“Then you’ll answer our questions?” he pressed.

“At the press conference, we will answer all questions,” Sharpton said. But as Vittert kept tailing them, a second man stepped between the reporter and the mayor and began pushing him away.

Sharpton threw up his arm as well and gave a light shove. “Relax! Relax!” he said when Vittert recoiled and yelled, “Whoa!”

Ironically, Vittert said later that one question he didn’t get to ask Rawlings-Blake was whether or not she ordered Baltimore police not to respond to Monday’s riots with force. (VIDEO: Fox Report: Baltimore Mayor Ordered Police To Stand Down And ‘Let Them Loot’)

Al Sharpton, Leland Vittert, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Video of A; Sharpton and Fox News reporter Leland Vitter:

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/30/al-sharpton-gets-in-physical-confrontation-with-fox-news-reporter-video/

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WBAL-TV\Mike French

Sharpton, Rawlings-Blake lead summit in Baltimore

Meeting held Thursday at New Shiloh Baptist Church

BALTIMORE —The Rev. Al Sharpton and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake led a summit on improving relations between police and the community after the death of a man who was in police custody.

“There is a young man that has lost his life and we want to know why and we want to know what,” Sharpton said.

Among those joining Thursday’s meeting were NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and National Urban League President Marc Morial.

The meeting was held at New Shiloh Baptist Church, where the funeral for Freddie Gray was held Monday.

“It’s from Charleston to North Charleston to Staten Island to hear. We have been involved in all of them. We are trying to act as though these are problems you can handle in isolation. There must be a national response,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton said Baltimore can be a model for how to reform policing. Rawlings-Blake told the crowd that she tried to reform the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights in Annapolis during the last legislative session but ran into stiff opposition. She said she has been doing her part to effect change.

“I invited the Department of Justice to do collaborative reform. The only thing stronger than that is if they do a consent decree. Nobody wants the Department of Justice to come and take over our city,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Gray died from a spinal injury a week after his April 12 arrest. Hours later, violence erupted in the streets near the church.

Local clergymen gathered at New Shiloh that evening and staged an impromptu march through the streets to bring calm. Many of those clergymen attended Thursday’s summit.

Eric Garner’s mother and Baltimore-native media mogul Kevin Lyles also attended the summit.

http://www.wbaltv.com/news/sharpton-rawlingsblake-to-lead-community-police-summit/32660142

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By
Salon

Topics: Sean Hannity, elijah cummings, freddie gray, Video, Baltimore, ,

Elijah Cummings (Screen shot)

On last night’s “Hannity,” Fox News reporter Leland Vittert pestered Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings as he attempted to convince protesters to obey the city’s 10 p.m. curfew.

Rep. Cummings made a brief statement to Vittert about the necessity of a federal investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, then attempted to walk away so he could help police disperse protesters.

“Sean Hannity has a question,” Vittert shouted at a retreating Cummings. He started following the congressman, and assured Hannity that his question would be heard.

“I want to know,” Hannity asked, “did the president rush to judgment like he did in the Michael Brown case?” After Vittert repeated it, Cummings replied that he and other members of Congress met with officials from the Department of Justice who assured them that Freddie Gray’s death would be investigated, but that wasn’t enough for Hannity or Vittert, who repeated Hannity’s question.

“Did the president rush to judgment?” he asked, to which Cummings responded by lifting his megaphone to his lips and saying, “I need you to help me get these people home. Let’s go home! Let’s go home!”

“Obviously,” Vittert said, “the congressman wasn’t interested in answering your question.” But that didn’t prevent him from assuring Hannity that he would continue to follow Cummings and ask it again.

Vittert literally attempted to sneak in front of the representative by crab-walking and popping up right in his face, and it was only at this point that Cummings expressed his annoyance, shouting “Let’s go home!” into the megaphone as he held it next to Vittert’s head.

His anger, however, was short-lived, as he immediately continued walking and shouted, “I’m proud of Baltimore! I’m proud of my city! Now, let’s go home!” As he passed Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, he politely — or as politely as one can through a megaphone — asked him to stop interviewing people and allow them to go home. “Excuse me, Geraldo, excuse me! We’re trying to make sure people get home!”

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/30/elijah_cummings_uses_bullhorn_to_scold_fox_news_team_for_preventing_baltimore_protesters_from_making_curfew/

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Ted Cruz accuses Obama of ‘inflaming racial tensions’ in America after Baltimore tragedy

April 30, 2015

  • Said Obama and his administration are fanning the flames of racism in America with ‘incendiary and hateful rhetoric’
  • ‘Obama…could have been a unifying figure,’ Cruz said, but ‘he’s made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions that have divided us rather than bringing us together’
  • Comments came after Obama said the nation needs to do some ‘soul searching’ as black men like Freddie Gray keep dying at hands of police
  • Cruz is one of several GOP presidential candidates who has responded to the violence that swept Baltimore by pointing the finger of blame at Obama

‘President Obama, when he was elected, he could have been a unifying figure,’ Cruz told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, according to Politico. ‘He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations and bring us together.’

But, Cruz said, Obama ‘hasn’t done that’ and ‘he’s made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions that have divided us rather than bringing us together.’

The hard-hitting comments came after Obama said Tuesday that the nation needs to do some ‘soul searching’ as black men like 25-year-old Baltimore resident Freddie Gray keep dying at hands of police.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz accused the Obama administration of fanning the flames of racism in America with 'incendiary and hateful rhetoric' at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz accused the Obama administration of fanning the flames of racism in America with ‘incendiary and hateful rhetoric’ at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday in Washington, D.C.

If elevated to the Oval Office, the 44-year-old senator said he'd also push for criminal justice reforms, but Americans would be able to count on their president not 'inflaming racial tensions, rather have the president working to appeal to our shared values.' Cruz is pictured here with Rep. Al Green, right, during a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol yesterday

If elevated to the Oval Office, the 44-year-old senator said he’d also push for criminal justice reforms, but Americans would be able to count on their president not ‘inflaming racial tensions, rather have the president working to appeal to our shared values.’ Cruz is pictured here with Rep. Al Green, right, during a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol yesterday

Calling it a ‘slow-rolling crisis,’ Obama said tensions between law and enforcement and impoverished communities will only dissipate when the root causes of injustice are addressed legislatively and societally.

‘If we really want to solve the problem…we could have,’ Obama said. ‘It’s just that it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns.

‘We don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot. Or has his spine snapped,’ he said, referencing Gray’s unexplained death, which has been vaguely attributed to spinal cord injuries.

Obama also disgraced ‘criminals’ and ‘thugs’ in Baltimore lighting fires and destroying private property in Gray’s name.

‘They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,’ he said. ‘When they burn down a building they’re committing arson.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3062716/Ted-Cruz-accuses-Obama-inflaming-racial-tensions-America-Baltimore-tragedy.html#ixzz3YpCBMKn5
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Calling it a ‘slow-rolling crisis,’ Obama said tensions between law and enforcement and impoverished communities will only dissipate when the root causes of injustice are addressed legislatively and societally.

‘If we really want to solve the problem…we could have,’ Obama said. ‘It’s just that it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns.

‘We don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot. Or has his spine snapped,’ he said, referencing Gray’s unexplained death, which has been vaguely attributed to spinal cord injuries.

Obama also disgraced ‘criminals’ and ‘thugs’ in Baltimore lighting fires and destroying private property in Gray’s name.

‘They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,’ he said. ‘When they burn down a building they’re committing arson.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3062716/Ted-Cruz-accuses-Obama-inflaming-racial-tensions-America-Baltimore-tragedy.html#ixzz3YpCgz8wl
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Several presidential candidates, including Cruz, responded to the violence that swept the Maryland city, located an hour away from the nation’s Capitol, by pointing the finger of blame at Obama and his allies.

The ‘tone and language and rhetoric’ of the current administration has been all wrong, Cruz said.

If elevated to the Oval Office, the 44-year-old senator said he’d also push for criminal justice reforms, but Americans would be able to count on their president not ‘inflaming racial tensions, rather have the president working to appeal to our shared values.’

The Obama administration is ‘deliberately dividing and inflaming tensions,’ Cruz said, offering up Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 comment that Republicans want to ‘put y’all back in chains’ and the president’s response to the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting as additional examples.

Biden’s remark was ‘incendiary and hateful,’ Cruz said. And the president shouldn’t have used the shooting to try to force through additional regulations on gun ownership supported by Democrats.

President Barack Obama departs from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a visit with wounded service members, in Bethesda, Maryland, yesterday. Obama, Cruz said, 'could have been a unifying figure. He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations and bring us together.' But he hasn't, Cruz added

President Barack Obama departs from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a visit with wounded service members, in Bethesda, Maryland, yesterday. Obama, Cruz said, ‘could have been a unifying figure. He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations and bring us together.’ But he hasn’t, Cruz added

Businessman and maybe-presidential candidate Donald Trump also went after Obama over his response to racial tensions in the wake of the Gray’s death.

‘President Obama, you have a big job to do. Go to Baltimore and bring both sides together. With proper leadership, it can be done! Do it,’ he said on Twitter.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told reporters accompanying him on a trip to Puerto Rico that Obama needs to ‘step up.’

The mixed-race president ‘could be such an eloquent spokesman to heal wounds and to be a constructive force,’ Bush said – before Obama’s remarks on Tuesday, which came after hours of silence on the issue – according to the Washington Post.

‘I’m sure he realizes that, and I’m pretty confident he will step up,’ the soon-to-announce presidential candidate added.

GOP contender Rand Paul denounced the ‘thuggery and thievery’ ransacking Baltimore in a radio interview with Laura Ingraham onTuesday morning, before Obama’s remarks, and said he was ‘very sympathetic to the plight of the police in this.’

‘The police have to do what they have to do,’ he said, contending that while there are clearly ‘root causes’ for the violence, those are irrelevant in the middle of a riot.

A comment about a train ride to Washington, D.C. on the night of the unrest in Baltimore has put another presidential candidate, Rand Paul, in the hot seat. Paul is pictured here speaking at an event in New York City on Monday. He said in an interview on Tuesday that he was 'glad' his train didn't stop in Baltimore the night before. But as several news outlets have since pointed out, every single Amtrak train headed in the direction of Washington made its regular Baltimore stop on Monday

A comment about a train ride to Washington, D.C. on the night of the unrest in Baltimore has put another presidential candidate, Rand Paul, in the hot seat. Paul is pictured here speaking at an event in New York City on Monday. He said in an interview on Tuesday that he was ‘glad’ his train didn’t stop in Baltimore the night before. But as several news outlets have since pointed out, every single Amtrak train headed in the direction of Washington made its regular Baltimore stop on Monday

A comment about a train ride to Washington, D.C. from the interview has put Paul, a vocal advocate of criminal justice reform, in the hot seat, however.

‘I came through the train on Baltimore (sic) last night. I’m glad the train didn’t stop,’ he said, laughing.

Several news outlets have since pointed out that every single Amtrak train headed in the direction of Washington did in fact make its regular Baltimore stop, that night, however, calling Paul’s account into question, in addition to complaints about the tone of his remarks.

The Kentucky senator’s campaign has not responded to requests for clarification on the senator’s travel that evening, including one from Daily Mail Online.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3062716/Ted-Cruz-accuses-Obama-inflaming-racial-tensions-America-Baltimore-tragedy.html#ixzz3YpCnVarm
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Corker, McConnell differ on Iran tactics

April 30, 2015

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a Republican committee chairman are at odds on how to handle a carefully crafted bill on Iran.

McConnell wants the measure to pass, but he is backing amendments that could scuttle the underlying legislation, which would empower Congress to review any nuclear deal with Iran.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is lobbying his GOP colleagues to reject so-called poison pills to the bill. Corker and Democrats maintain that amending the legislation could lead the White House to withdraw its endorsement of it.

McConnell on Tuesday said that passage of the Iran bill would rank as one of the biggest accomplishments of the 114th Congress, but he’s not blocking GOP colleagues from proposing changes that could derail it on the floor.

Instead, he’s forcing Democrats to take tough votes on amendments such as two sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who is running for president — requiring Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to call on Iran to release prisoners in its custody.

Some of these votes could be used as political ammunition in 2016 to help the GOP preserve its Senate majority. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the Democrats’ top target next year, offered an amendment that calls for the deal with Iran to be deemed a treaty. That would require the Senate to approve it with a two-thirds majority.

McConnell voted for the Johnson amendment while Corker rejected it. The measure failed, 39-57. Republicans who voted with the Democrats to kill it included Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and John McCain (Ariz.). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who is mounting a 2016 presidential bid, voted yes, while the other GOP White House hopefuls in the Senate missed the vote.

The majority leader’s strategy has angered Democrats and strategists from both parties, who say it could torpedo the fragile bipartisan coalition backing the bill. Earlier this month, the Iran legislation passed the Foreign Relations Committee, 19-0.

“He risks poisoning the atmosphere of bipartisanship by forcing tough votes for Democrats,” said John Ullyot, a GOP strategist and a former Senate aide. “It’s very tough to see now how this will get a veto-proof majority when he is putting Democrats in tough positions on votes.”

Ullyot says McConnell has to walk a fine line because he promised last year that he would allow many votes on amendments if Republicans took over the chamber. Yet, he also wants to get this bill to the president’s desk.

Democrats on Wednesday grumbled that McConnell was forcing them to do the tough work of defeating popular amendments.

“We can’t tell whether this is in the spirit of open floor debate on amendments or in the spirit of trying to make the Democrats look bad. I hope it comes to an end soon and this bipartisan bill is passed intact,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

Democrats ordinarily would support requiring Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist or to push it to release prisoners or renounce terrorism. But the administration warns appending these conditions could derail negotiations with Iran.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President Obama would veto any legislation that undermines the bipartisan compromise passed by the Foreign Relations Committee or threatens diplomatic talks.

“And certainly a provision, an amendment that made this nuclear deal contingent on Iran’s release of those three American citizens would fall, I think, frankly, into both categories,” he said of Rubio’s amendment. “It certainly would interfere with the ongoing negotiations between the international community and Iran on their nuclear program.”

McConnell has left it to Corker to do the heavy lifting of fighting off amendments to the bill.

Corker has reminded GOP colleagues that they need 67 votes to override a presidential veto, which would come if the bill were changed. He warns Congress would have no chance to review an agreement without the legislation.

“The problem with going beyond the terms of the nuclear agreement on any of those certifications is that it affects the bill itself. That’s why we call them poison pills,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), the ranking Democrat on Foreign Relations, who is working with Corker.

Senate Republicans say, unlike Corker, McConnell has not made any effort in private meetings to urge colleagues to vote against pending amendments.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another presidential hopeful in the Republican caucus, is pushing an amendment that would require lawmakers to pass legislation approving a final deal with Iran instead of a resolution of disapproval.

It was unclear at press time which amendments would be approved for floor votes.

Senate Republicans argue McConnell is only fulfilling his promise to allow for robust debate on the floor.

“He takes the long view and believes the best way to get the Senate working again is to allow votes on amendments. Otherwise legislation gets held up,” said a GOP senator who requested anonymity.

Another GOP senator noted that McConnell took an important step to protect the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act from alteration by striking an agreement with Democrats to set the threshold for adopting amendments at 60 votes.

McConnell reiterated his vision for Senate debate this week.

“I said a year ago that if we were given the majority, we would — on most occasions — have an open amendment process. And I think that applies certainly to an issue of this magnitude,” he told reporters. “Members need to be able to offer their ideas and get votes on them.”

But Democrats say McConnell is playing political games that could backfire.

McConnell voted Wednesday for an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) requiring the president to certify that Iran has not supported acts of terror against the United States or a U.S. citizen. Corker and six other Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against it.

“He is for sure trying to help out members of his caucus who have presidential aspirations. It doesn’t hurt that he gets to put some Democrats in a compromising position while he’s doing it,” said Rodell Mollineau, a Democratic strategist and former senior Senate aide.

“He’s playing fast and loose with our national security and should pray none of these amendments take down this vital piece of legislation,” he added.

The underlying bill would require Obama to submit a final deal with Iran to Congress within five days of its conclusion for a 30-day review period during which he is barred from suspending sanctions. Congress would have that time to pass a resolution of disapproval. If it did, Obama would have 12 days to veto and Congress would have an additional 10 to attempt to override it.

Jordain Carney contributed.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/240600-corker-mcconnell-differ-on-iran-tactics

North Korean diplomats storm out of UN rights meeting

April 30, 2015

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) gestures during a men’s football match in an undated photo released on April 14, 2015. North Korean diplomats on Thursday walked out of a UN conference on human rights in protest at the testimonies from three defectors about their ordeal living under the regime. — Reuters photo

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – North Korean diplomats on Thursday walked out of a UN conference on human rights in protest at the testimonies from three defectors about their ordeal living under the regime.

A Pyongyang representative interrupted the conference when he tried to deliver a statement after dissident Joseph Kim had given his address.

He was told he would be given an opportunity to make a statement later. US Ambassador Samantha Power ordered UN staff to turn off the North Korean diplomat’s microphone and security guards were dispatched to the conference room at UN headquarters. The three diplomats then stood up and left the room telling reporters that they were denied the opportunity to speak as a UN member-state.

The three diplomats then stood up and left the room telling reporters that they were denied the opportunity to speak as a UN member-state.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations issued a statement accusing the United States of waging a “smear campaign” against Pyongyang and said the defectors had “betrayed and fled their motherland.”

“It plainly shows the pitiful position of the United States that reaches out even to the ‘defectors’ as if a drowning man catches at a straw, after failing in political and military confrontation with the DPRK one after another,” said the statement.

Richard Kim told the symposium organized by the United States and South Korea that he watched his father die of starvation at the age of 12.

His mother was sent to a prison labor camp for traveling to China where she had sent his sister in hope that she would be spared from hardship.

Kim eventually fled to China and arrived in the United States eight years ago as a refugee.

Kim appealed to the UN conference to “continue lending an ear to the story of the North Korean people” so that “we can bring light to the darkest corners of the world’s most isolated country.”

The UN Security Council in December held its first-ever meeting on the human rights crisis in North Korea despite objections from China, which said the issue should be discussed at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

The General Assembly last year adopted a resolution calling on the Council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

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China Stocks Rally in Hong Kong Parts Ways With Fundamentals

April 30, 2015

Investors question if gains in share prices are justified by earnings of Hong Kong-listed mainland Chinese companies

By Gregor Stuart Hunter and Jacky Wong
The Wall Street Journal

Investors are questioning whether a rally in Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, one of the world’s best-performing stock markets this year, is getting ahead of itself as these firms’ profits fail to keep pace with share prices.

Following share prices in Huaibei, China; investors are questioning whether a rally in Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies is getting ahead of itself.  
Following share prices in Huaibei, China; investors are questioning whether a rally in Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies is getting ahead of itself. Photo: Zuma Press

The Hang Seng 0011 -0.46 % China Enterprises CSHEF 0.00 % Index, a gauge of mainland large-cap stocks traded in Hong Kong, has rallied 21% this year even as analysts are projecting an earnings decline for these companies in 2015. Six months ago, their earnings were expected to rise more than 8%, according to FactSet.

“Earnings growth has been pedestrian, and earnings estimates have been progressively settling down,” said Manishi Raychaudhuri, BNP Paribas’s Asia equity strategist of Hong Kong-listed China stocks. “This equity rally has been uncorrelated with the economic fundamentals and corporate earnings, which are supposed to be the lifeblood of all equity-market rallies.”

China bulls routinely look at the price/earnings multiples of the Hong Kong bourse and come to the view the market is cheap. The P/E ratio of the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was 9.2 as of Wednesday’s close, based on estimated forward earnings. That is below its 10-year average even after the rally this year.

It is also one of the cheapest of global emerging markets, with a multiple around half that of benchmarks in India, Thailand or Indonesia.

A closer look shows the index isn’t as cheap as it appears.

Part of what keeps the valuation of the China enterprises index so low is that it is overwhelmingly weighted toward big banks and other state-owned companies, which trade at low multiples. These behemoths are cheap for a reason: Their profit growth is slowing and their outlook is murky.

“The earnings-growth outlook is now highly variable by sector—in particular, the outlook for big index [sectors] such as banks and energy is highly opaque driven by [nonperforming-loan] recognition, credit costs and oil prices,” said Charlie Awdry, who manages China-focused funds with assets of US$1.1 billion at Henderson Global Investors.

Mainland banks with Hong Kong listings trade at multiples of between 6.39 and 7.20, and the heavy weighting of these institutions alone in the China enterprises index explains a lot of the cheapness of that benchmark. But for many global investors, with their eye on earnings, the stocks remain unappealing.

A Chinese national flag flies beside a flag of the Hong Kong Exchanges in Hong Kong.  
A Chinese national flag flies beside a flag of the Hong Kong Exchanges in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

Earnings of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., one of the world’s largest banks, are expected to rise 4.6% in 2015, the slowest rate since the company went public four years ago.

The large-cap state-run firms are highly exposed to the Chinese economy’s slowdown, with concerns rising in particular about the large banks’ nonperforming loans and their transparency about such assets.

“We remain wary of the banks and large state-owned enterprises,” said Matthew Vaight, global emerging-markets fund manager at M&G Investments, with $412 billion in assets under management. “They fail to meet our corporate-governance standards as they are run for the state rather than minority shareholders.”

Other big state-owned enterprises, including energy firms such as PetroChina Co., China Oilfield Services Ltd. and China Shenhua Energy Co., are posting a sharp decline in earnings with no recovery soon in sight.

Another group of Chinese stocks is on track for profit growth, but the market has already priced in these gains, and more. These include firms that are likely to benefit from China’s regional push to develop infrastructure, such as China Railway Group Ltd. 601390 -1.98 % , which is expected to report a 14.1% increase in profit this year from 2014, according to FactSet. China Communications Construction Co.’s earnings are expected to rise 11.5% during the same period.

Many of the share-price rises in this group are outpacing analysts’ estimates of profit growth. China Railway’s shares, for instance, are up threefold over the past year, and China Communications’ shares are up almost as much. Yet for most of these infrastructure stocks, earnings estimates haven’t changed much since the beginning of the year.

ENLARGE

A lot of the momentum comes from mainland money arriving in Hong Kong via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, which opened the Hong Kong market to mainland investors and vice versa in November.

The Shanghai Composite trades at a price/earnings ratio of 22.7, while the smaller Shenzhen market’s benchmark trades at around 50 times earnings.

Shares of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong look like a steal compared with shares of the same companies that are listed in Shanghai. Such stocks on average trade at a 32.89% discount in the former British colony, according to the Hang Seng China AH Premium Index.

“Sometimes it happens in the last leg of a rally where people don’t look at fundamentals,” said Rahul Chadha, co-chief investment officer at Mirae Asset Global Investments of China equities. “If you chase momentum, it can hurt very badly.”

Write to Gregor Stuart Hunter at gregor.hunter@wsj.com

Baltimore Police Complete Freddie Gray Investigation; Pass Details to Prosecutors

April 30, 2015

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© Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says investigators have carried out an urgent examination of events surrounding the April 12 arrest of Freddie Gray and his death a week later

AFP — Washington DC — Baltimore detectives probing the death of a US black man who died from injuries sustained in police custody have handed their investigation over to prosecutors, officials said Thursday.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters that a team of investigators had carried out an urgent examination of events surrounding the April 12 arrest of Freddie Gray and his death a week later.

“I understand the frustration, I understand the sense of urgency, and so has the organization and that is why we have finished (the probe) a day ahead of time,” Batts said.

“The state’s attorney is committed to seeing justice. And from this point on, we will take all directions from the state attorney, because it is now their case.”

The development means it is now up to prosecutors to decide who — if anyone — will be charged in connection to Gray’s death.

Gray, 25, died of spinal injuries apparently suffered during his arrest or soon after. His death sparked riots in Baltimore and protests in cities on the US East Coast, including New York, Washington and Boston.

Gray died with 80 percent of his spine severed at the neck, lawyers for his family say, portraying him as just the latest young African American to die at the hands of the police.

In August, a white policeman shot dead a black teenager in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, triggering demonstrations in major US cities from Los Angeles to New York that were repeated when a grand jury declined to indict the officer.

Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the investigation into Gray’s death had revealed some new findings, including that the police wagon he was traveling in had made an additional stop, though he did not elaborate on the significance of this.

Related:

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Clinton Foundation in campaign tailspin

April 30, 2015

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Donors are having second thoughts about big giving as accusations fly about Hillary Clinton’s role.

By  
Politico

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 23, 2014 in New York City. The annual meeting, established in 2005 by President Clinton, convenes global leaders to discuss solutions to world problems.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A handful of deep-pocketed donors are reconsidering their gifts to the $2 billion Clinton Foundation amid mounting questions about how it’s spending their money and suggestions of influence peddling, according to donors and others familiar with the foundation’s fundraising.

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One major donor who contributed at least $500,000 to the foundation last year said a 2015 donation is less likely because of revelations about sloppy record-keeping and huge payments for travel and administrative costs.

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“There are a lot of factors and the reputational is among them,” said the donor, who did not want to be identified discussing philanthropic plans that have not been finalized. “We had some questions about how the money was being spent — and that was long before the problems were in the press.”

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At least three other major donors also are re-evaluating whether to continue giving large donations to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, according to people familiar with its fundraising.

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They say increasing financial pressures and escalating outside scrutiny have sparked sometimes intense internal debates about the priorities and future of a pioneering charitable vehicle that was supposed to cement the family’s legacy.

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The uncertainty comes at the beginning of what was supposed to have been a four-month victory lap of sorts — starting with Bill and Chelsea Clinton’s trip to Africa with major donors this week. Next week’s splashy Clinton Global Initiative conference in Marrakesh was originally supposed to have been followed by a lavish reception and conference in Athens in June, and finally a September extravaganza in Manhattan featuring an appearance by Elton John.

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Instead, it’s turned into heartburn for Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and for the foundation, which has been under increasing pressure to distance itself from its more controversial partners.

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It scrapped early internal conversations about borrowing a private plane owned by Canadian billionaire donor Frank Giustra — whose business ties to Russia have brought recent scrutiny — to fly the delegation to Africa, according to sources with knowledge of the foundation’s planning (the foundation would not say who owns the plane that was ultimately used, which suffered engine problems Wednesday and was forced to make an unscheduled landing).

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And it canceled the Athens conference amid what foundation sources describe as concerns about damaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign by collaborating with a Greek government that is increasingly close to Russia’s combative president Vladimir Putin.

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Bill Clinton did not want to cancel the meeting, the sources said. They said the foundation had already booked a hotel and secured more than $1 million in funding from former Greek parliamentarian Gianna Angelopoulos, a major foundation donor who is friendly with the former president.

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Meanwhile, the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea Clinton, objected to a suggestion that a high-profile program she spearheads, the Clinton Global Initiative University, be scaled back because it is as much as $700,000 in the red, say the sources. At a foundation staff meeting this month the day after her mother stepped down from the foundation board and announced her campaign for president, Chelsea Clinton defended CGI U’s value, calling the program, which holds free college events to encourage student participation in service projects, the most “pure” platform at CGI, according to the foundation sources familiar with the meeting.

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This story is based on interviews with more than a dozen donors, staffers and operatives who have interacted with the foundation or continue to do so. Taken together, their accounts portray an organization scrambling to address concerns about its budgeting, fundraising and donor-vetting while being buffeted by a raging political storm.

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The paradox is that Bill Clinton’s unparalleled fundraising ability — the secret to the foundation’s extraordinary global growth and programmatic successes — is now fueling the very questions and allegations complicating both the foundation’s efforts and his wife’s presidential campaign. Critics — emboldened by frenzied media scrutiny of the Clinton’s personal and charitable finances and a new book on the subject from a conservative author — are alleging without hard evidence that deep-pocketed individuals, companies and foreign governments wrote checks to the foundation or paid speaking fees to the former president to win favorable treatment from Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

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Some Clinton allies argue that the former president should dial back his foundation role — even his appearances at CGI meetings, which he has embraced as his signature showcase — during the presidential campaign and any subsequent Clinton presidential administration.

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“You can only imagine the scrutiny they’d face if she were president,” said a former Clinton aide, who was not authorized to speak for the foundation or the former first family. “They’d have to dramatically limit their universe of donors. But if she wins, that’s kind of a high-cost problem that they can survive,” said the former aide, suggesting the foundation’s appeal would be even greater for donors after the Clintons leave the White House for the second time.

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The worst case scenario for the foundation, its allies say privately, would be if Clinton lost her presidential campaign in a manner similar to the way she lost her 2008 race to then-Sen. Barack Obama, which at least temporarily tarnished the family’s political brand. Unlike 2008, a losing 2016 campaign would effectively end the political ambitions of Bill or Hillary Clinton. That would thrust responsibility for the foundation’s future squarely into the hands of their daughter. While she is being groomed to take over the family’s political dynasty, thus far she has not demonstrated her parents’ fundraising prowess or leadership ability, say foundation sources.

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In response to questions from POLITICO, Clinton Foundation officials disputed that the foundation is in turmoil or suffering from a budget crunch. They also rejected suggestions that Bill Clinton might limit his CGI role after the September meeting, pointing out he “has publicly said many times he wants to continue his work with CGI and the Clinton Foundation.” They pointed out that Elton John was invited to the New York meeting not to perform, but to collect an award for his two decades of work fighting AIDS.

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Additionally, they rejected the idea that concerns about the Greek government played any role in the cancellation of CGI Athens, and said CGI U will continue at college campuses across the country. It “has never been an event designed to generate profit,” they said. “We don’t charge admission fees for students, and sponsors underwrite the ability for over 1,000 students from all 50 states and around the world to attend,” they said, explaining that “through the CGI University Network, the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, and other opportunities, more than $900,000 in funding opportunities were made available directly to select CGI U 2015 student commitment makers to help them turn their ideas into action.”

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The foundation has combined Bill Clinton’s star power with its unique structure to bring moneyed interests together to finance major advances in causes such as the fights against AIDS and childhood obesity, for which it brokered agreements to decrease prices for HIV medication and remove sugary drinks from schools, respectively. The Africa trip — which includes stops in Tanzania, Kenya, Liberia and Morocco — will highlight foundation work on economic development, climate change, and empowerment of women and girls.

Yet, results have been mixed in the foundation’s efforts to increase its transparency and pave the way for its future work.

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The foundation raised a $250 million endowment to sustain it during Hillary Clinton’s campaign and a possible second Clinton presidency, and it has promised to release donor names more frequently during the presidential campaign. Additionally, it pledged to stop taking donations from most foreign countries and suspend CGI meetings abroad after next week’s meeting in Marrakesh with King Mohammed VI of Morocco, marking the end of the Africa trip. As POLITICO revealed, the Marrakesh event is to be funded partly by a donation of more than $1 million from a Moroccan government-owned phosphate company — a donation that has drawn fire from critics who contend that Moroccan phosphate extraction in the adjacent disputed territory of Western Sahara amounts to exploitation.

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The foundation has also come under scrutiny for failing to clear all foreign government donations through an agreed-upon State Department vetting process when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and for failing to identify foreign government donations on tax returns. Fact-checkers this week challenged the foundation’s claims that it’s barred by Canadian privacy laws from revealing the names of more than 1,000 mostly foreign donors to a joint Clinton-Giustra nonprofit registered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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It acknowledged in response to POLITICO’s questions that it mischaracterized as foundation donations money from the China Overseas Real Estate Development and the U.S.-Islamic World Conference. That money was actually honoraria paid for Bill Clinton speeches by those entities, said foundation officials, who added this week those were the only mistakes “we are aware of.”

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When Chelsea Clinton was asked last week about allegations that the foundation accepted funding in return for favors from the State Department when her mother headed it, she erroneously claimed that the watchdog group Transparency International said “we’re among the most transparent of foundations.” Transparency International this week issued a rebuke to Clinton, in which it noted that it has not “focused on the transparency of nonprofit charitable foundations, including by any ranking.”

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Sources familiar with the foundation’s inner workings worry that it has failed to rein in program costs or substantively expand fundraising to support its sprawling initiatives, which include everything from fighting elephant poaching to measuring female political participation.

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One major philanthropy player, Apple, was courted for months by the foundation and agreed to sign up as a CGI member (which typically costs $20,000). But it has not donated more significantly, as the foundation had hoped, say sources familiar with fundraising.

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“Too much money is being asked for at the same time, especially right after the endowment was just raised, and access to the Clintons is getting more limited,” said a source familiar with fundraising and budgeting. “Do less, but twice as well is not something that goes over well at CGI.”

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Andrew Tobias, a longtime Clinton ally who has given between $250,000 and $500,000, said that far from being defensive over the former president’s foundation work, he thinks the campaign should tout it as a strength.

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“It’s AMAZING what he’s done since leaving office,” Tobias, a personal finance author and the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, wrote in an email. He contrasted the post-administrative efforts of Clinton, as well as fellow Democrats Jimmy Carter and Al Gore — who have worked to eradicate diseases in the developing world and raise awareness about the climate change, respectively — with the post-White House work of recent Republican presidents and vice presidents.

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“They’re very nice people, I’m sure, but what, really, have the Bushes and Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney done since leaving office?” asked Tobias, who declared himself “proud to have helped a little bit” at the foundation, and said he was planning to attend the CGI meeting in New York in September. “I’m all paid up and looking forward to it. I’ve been at every one (or all but one) since the first.”

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But Clinton loyalists fear that the meeting, which comes as the presidential campaign approaches the first primaries, could be — in the words of the former Clinton aide — “a media whack-fest. … Even donors that seem pretty anodyne — like the Norwegian companies that give because they don’t have their own version of USAID — are going to get a ton of scrutiny if they lobbied the State Department.” Still, the former aide predicted, even if CGI loses some sponsors, others will remain either out of loyalty to the Clintons or a desire to capitalize on the attention. “Because of the platform, where you get to stand up and announce your commitment, you’ll get a bunch of companies that will weigh the pros and cons. And, if they’re cold-blooded, they’ll say, if anything, there will be more cameras there.”

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Expected sponsors of the September meeting in New York include the Swedish and Dutch Postcode Lotteries, which have jointly donated more than $31 million to the foundation, and Angelopoulos, the former Greek parliamentarian who has donated as much as $10 million through personal and foundation accounts.

Neither sponsor seems particularly concerned by recent foundation scrutiny. Angelopoulos, the wife of a billionaire shipping and steel magnate, is in talks about how to redirect her generous contribution to the canceled Athens meeting to other programs. And the Swedish and Dutch lotteries, which allocate part of ticket buyers’ purchases to charities including the Clinton Foundation, prominently feature a website endorsement from Bill Clinton and a Chelsea Clinton speech to their 2013 annual gala. The lotteries recently evaluated their foundation partnership and extended it through 2019, according to a spokesman, who praised the foundation’s efforts to fight poverty and climate change, and improve global access to medicine, food security and sustainable agriculture.

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Some donors enmeshed in recent foundation controversies are considering attending the New York meeting, including Giustra, a Canadian mining billionaire, and Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch.

Pinchuk’s company Interpipe Group, which makes pipes for oil and gas industries, did business with Iran in 2011 and 2012, according to a Newsweek report. It suggested that company dealings could have posed a conflict for Hillary Clinton as secretary of state because her department oversaw aspects of U.S. sanctions applicable to Interpipe.

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Pinchuk’s foundation has donated $8.6 million to the Clinton Foundation and pledged a further $1.5 million or more to Ukrainian projects through CGI. It has sponsored CGI’s annual meetings in past years, though it was not listed as a 2014 sponsor and will again not be among the sponsors this year.

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Pinchuk might attend the New York meeting, said a spokesman for his foundation, adding the organization has no plans to end its relationship with the Clinton Foundation.

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A source close to Giustra said he hasn’t decided whether to sponsor or attend the New York meeting.

Hillary Clinton, a foundation board member between her tenure as secretary of state and her presidential campaign launch this month, has occasionally participated in CGI meetings. She attended the 2007 annual meeting during her previous presidential campaign, while Obama and his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, participated in 2008. Foundation sources say it is an election-year tradition to invite both parties’ presidential nominees to address the annual CGI meeting, but they said Hillary Clinton “is not planning to speak” in New York this year.

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And don’t expect to see Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is seeking the GOP nomination, at CGI, a spokesman said.

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Paul has attacked Clinton over the foreign government donations to the foundation, calling them “thinly veiled bribes.” Asked whether Paul might attend CGI if invited, his campaign spokesman Sergio Gor said, “He isn’t allowed to accept money from foreign governments and wouldn’t really want to pay his own way, so probably not.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/clinton-foundation-bill-hillary-chelsea-117505.html#ixzz3YoVn1hRz

Vietnam marks 40 years since fall of Saigon

April 30, 2015

AFP

Vietnam marks 40 years since fall of Saigon

HI CHI MINH CITY —Vietnam is set Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of Saigon’s fall with a huge military parade celebrating the moment their communist forces ended a decades-long conflict and delivered a painful blow to American moral and military prestige.

The centre of Vietnam’s usually bustling southern business hub was sealed off ahead of the parade marking the moment tanks smashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in the then southern capital of Saigon—now named .

“That day my comrades and I were overjoyed as our country was totally liberated and we gained freedom and independence,” veteran Le Cong Bui, 63, who planned to attend the parade, told AFP.

The Northern victors went on to reunite the country under a communist government after a draining war which eviscerated much of Vietnam, killing millions of its people as well as 58,000 American servicemen.

The conflict was also bitterly divisive in the U.S. and still haunts the country.

As the first Cold War conflict to be covered extensively covered by the Western press—and the first to be lost by a modern superpower that thought itself unbeatable—it remains seared into the public imagination, most often as a tragic waste of blood and treasure.

The winning side has also struggled with the meaning of the war as the nominally communist government deepens its embrace of market capitalism.

For decades, Hanoi has celebrated its military victory as a means to legitimise its ongoing authoritarian rule.

The communists’ 1975 victory was a moment of global historic importance, said Vietnam expert Jonathan London, at City University of Hong Kong.

With the parade the party is trying to both commemorate victory and “erase any possibility that its achievements over the last 40 years have fallen short of the mark,” he said.

Vietnam has come a long way since the end of the war, and especially over the last 20 years since the adoption of market reforms, London added, but wartime anniversaries still play a key role for the older generation.

Yet increasingly, the public is indifferent or even hostile to such shows of official patriotism.

“I don’t care about this parade—it’s bad for business,” said Nguyen Thi Dieu, 25, a vendor who sells cold water and snacks in the city center told AFP.

“The parade is just for the TV cameras and for the top leaders, not for people like me.”

Vietnam remains a one-party state where dissent is not tolerated and all media is state-controlled.

Local press has run fawning stories ahead of the anniversary, heavy on wartime heroism.

But online, where many citizens now prefer to read their news, criticism of the anniversary is more widespread.

“Let the past go, it’s been 40 years,” wrote businessman Tran Minh Chien on his Facebook page in a typical comment, urging the government not to waste time and money on a major military parade.

Related:

China’s leap forward in science and engineering

April 30, 2015


The Washington Post

No country can be a global power without an engineering and scientific base. It’s necessary to run modern factories, develop new products, analyze and deal with complex social problems — pollution, food safety, sickness and disease — and (if the country chooses) to build and project military might. China’s rise to power once again confirms this truism.

It is a stunning reversal. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) — Mao Zedong’s grisly effort to purify the Communist Party by banishing millions of Chinese to the countryside — China repudiated modern science. It effectively shut many universities. Admission exams were suspended. No new undergraduates entered from 1966 to 1969. The ban on graduate students lasted until 1977.

Since then, China has been on a science and technology tear, as a new study by Harvard economists Richard Freeman and Wei Huang shows. Here are highlights:

● From being a “bit player” in research and development, China now spends more on R&D than any other country except the United States. In 2011, China’s R&D totaled $208 billion compared with $429 billion for the United States and $147 billion for Japan, says the National Science Foundation. However, the entire European Union (about $300 billion) topped China.

● The pool of scientists and engineers has exploded. From 1990 to 2012, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to science and engineering graduates rose from 148,886 to 1,258,643. (These figures exclude students who receive technical degrees and typically graduate in two or three years.) Large gains have also occurred for higher degrees. From 1990 to 2012, the number of scientific and engineering PhDs jumped from 1,626 to 27,652.

● China’s share of worldwide scientific papers has increased dramatically, from 6,285 in 1990 (1.2 percent of the global total) to 116,633 (13.7 percent) in 2012. The United States remains the leader, however. It accounted for 30.8 percent of worldwide papers in 2012, down slightly from 32.5 percent in 1990.

“China’s leap forward in science and engineering,” write Freeman and Huang, “is one of the defining events in modern intellectual history.”

Still, they caution against overstating China’s advances. They note that China’s population is roughly four times America’s; the huge numbers of college graduates reflect this — not “high rates of college-going.” As important, the quality of China’s colleges and universities lags. In one global ranking of universities, no Chinese institution made the top 100 (52 U.S. universities did). Among the top 1 percent of scientific papers cited in other studies, American papers led at 46.4 percent in 2012; China’s share was 5.8 percent.

The United States has played an important role in China’s advance. It is the destination of choice for Chinese students. In 2012, almost 60 percent of the roughly 400,000 Chinese students studying abroad did so at American schools. They constituted one-quarter of foreign students in the United States. Freeman and Huang don’t say how many ultimately remain, though they do cite one estimate that three-quarters of Chinese PhD s were still in the United States a decade after receiving their degrees.

The other avenue of U.S. influence has been collaboration. American and Chinese scientists are becoming each other’s favorite foreign research partners. Americans represent about half of China’s overseas collaborations. Chinese researchers can learn the best practices of U.S. laboratories — and Americans can glean Chinese insights.

All this bodes well, say Freeman and Huang. Global knowledge will “advance more rapidly than if China had remained a scientific backwater.” Everyone benefits. Scientific collaboration could spill over into broader “cooperative relations between the two countries.” That is the upbeat view. It is plausible.

But so is the pessimistic view that the two countries are already economic rivals and might become military adversaries. Cooperation with China might then seem shortsighted behavior that made us more vulnerable. The central question remains: Are American and Chinese interests compatible — or on a collision course?

Read more from Robert Samuelson’s archive.