Business Politics and Current Affairs

November 29, 2010

Disputed Claims of South Korea Over North Korea

Filed under: Korea — ispoli @ 5:31 am

The South Korean president has labelled North Korea’s artillery attack on a southern island a crime against humanity and said Pyongyang will pay the price for any further provocation.   

“North Korea will pay the price in the event of further provocations,” President Lee Myung-bak said in an address on Monday.

“Attacking civilians militarily is an inhumane crime that is strictly forbidden in a time of war,” he said.  

North Korean shells rained down on the tiny island near the disputed maritime boundary and killed four people.

A poll requested by the independent East Asia Institute think-tank showed 72 per cent of South Koreans surveyed thought the government response to Tuesday’s violence was inappropriate and 69 per cent supported a “restrained military attack”.

That figure was up sharply from less than 30 per cent in the previous poll after the sinking of the Cheonan naval vessel in March, also blamed on the North.

North Korean Crimes - Point out by S. Korea

North Korean Crimes - Point out by S. Korea

Lee’s address came as South Korean and US forces pressed on with massive military drills on Monday, while regional powers considered a call by China for emergency talks.

China suggestion

China suggested talks between the six governments involved in stalled negotiations aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear programme.

China’s proposed emergency consultations came amid global pressure on Beijing to be more aggressive in helping resolve the stand-off between the rival Koreas and try to rein in ally Pyongyang which depends on China for aid.

Washington and Tokyo were non-committal, saying they would consult with Seoul, which was sceptical of the proposal to sit down with North Korea around a table, effectively rewarding it for bad behaviour.

North Korea's Crimes - Claims By South Korea

North Korea's Crimes - Claims By South Korea

The reclusive North was previously offered massive aid in return for disarmament pledges that went unmet.

“The six-party talks cannot substitute for action by North Korea to comply with its obligations,” a state department spokesman said, referring to disarmament talks which North Korea abandoned two years ago.

“We have called on China to urge the DPRK (North Korea) to restrain its provocations and responsibly act in the interests of peace and stability.”

The call for the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, and Russia to meet at a forum hosted by China must be reviewed “very cautiously” in view of North Korea’s provocations, Seoul said.

Both Beijing and Pyongyang have been pressing regional powers to return to talks in some form or other for the past few months in a move analysts say is aimed at extracting concessions.

China, which agreed with South Korea that the situation was “worrisome”, suggested the emergency talks for December.  It did not say whether Pyongyang had agreed to join.


Fraud In Haiti Presidential Poll – Violence In Haiti Recent Election

Filed under: Haiti — ispoli @ 5:23 am

Nearly all of the major candidates in Haiti’s presidential election have called for the country’s election to be scrapped amid allegations of fraud and reports that large numbers of voters were turned away from polling stations throughout the nation.

Twelve of the 18 candidates endorsed a joint statement denouncing Sunday’s voting as fraudulent and called on their supporters to show their anger with demonstrations against the government and the country’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

The statement included all of the major contenders except Jude Celestin, who is backed by the Unity party of Rene Preval, the outgoing president.

“It is clear that Preval and the CEP was not prepared for elections,” said candidate Anne Marie Josette Bijou, who read the statement to a cheering crowd that sang the national anthem and chanted “arrest Preval”.

Opposition frontrunner Mirlande Manigat said the polls were fraudulent and that ballot boxes had been stuffed with votes before polls opened.

Residents of the cholera-hit country were voting for a new president, parliamentary deputies and several senators in the election.

Ninety-six contenders are competing for 11 senate seats and more than 800 more are seeking to fill the 99-seat lower house. There are also local and municipal contests.

Voting was scrapped in two northern Haitian towns following violence, local officials said, as a polling station was ransacked in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

In the towns of Acul du Nord and Trou du Nord, near Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second city, voting was abandoned after people fired volleys of gunshots into the air and went on a rampage at a voting station.

Neither official pinpointed which candidate’s supporters were behind the violence.

“Men armed with machetes ransacked six polling stations – the elections were cancelled,” Acul du Nord mayor Patrick Julien told the AFP news agency by telephone.

In the Tabarre district of the capital, near the international airport, “about 30 people … went on a rampage” at a voting station after finding their names were not on a list of those registered to vote, the centre’s supervisor Peteckson Renevil said.

About 10,000 people had expected to vote at the station.

‘Documentary evidence’

The CEP had earlier acknowledged problems with the voter lists but said immediately after the candidates’ news conference that the election would continue.

Even so, the united front of so many candidates could cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, the first since a January earthquake destroyed much of the capital, leaving more than a million people still stranded in crowded tent encampments.

The call for protests could also spark violence, especially with tensions already high following a series of deadly clashes earlier this month between UN peackeepers and demonstrators who suspected them of bringing a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak.

Jean-Henry Ceant, a lawyer running for president on the “Love Haiti” ticket, dismissed the notion that the calls for protests could result in bloodshed, saying, “The only one responsible for the violence is President Rene Preval.”

The Haitian government had no immediate response to the criticism.

Bijou told The Associated Press news agency that she had photos and “documentary evidence” of election fraud but walked away when asked for further details.

Voters throughout the country showed up at polling stations only to find them closed hours after their scheduled opening, or to be turned away because their names were not on lists.

At one station, even Celestin was turned away.

There were also sporadic reports of violence and intimidation, as well as a ballot boxes being stolen, its contents strewn about, in the Cite Soleil slum of the capital.

It was not yet clear whether the problems were the result of orchestrated fraud or merely disorganisation made worse by the January 12 earthquake.

Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker, reporting from the capital, Port-au-Prince, said that it has been difficult for internally displaced Haitians to get to the polls.

Our correspondent said makeshift booths have been set up in the tent cities to facilitate voting.

Many voters and candidates said Preval, who cannot run for re-election, was trying to sway the vote in favour of Celestin.

More than 4.7 million people were eligible to vote. Results are to be made public from December 5, with the official tally announced on December 20.

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