Premier Jiabao shakes hands with Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Photo by Alexey Druzhinin of the AFP
by Su Qiang and Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
St. Petersburg, Russia – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.
Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.
“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.
The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.
The yuan has now started trading against the Russian rouble in the Chinese interbank market, while the renminbi will soon be allowed to trade against the rouble in Russia, Putin said.
“That has forged an important step in bilateral trade and it is a result of the consolidated financial systems of world countries,” he said.
Putin made his remarks after a meeting with Wen. They also officiated at a signing ceremony for 12 documents, including energy cooperation.
The documents covered cooperation on aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communiqu. Details of the documents have yet to be released.
Putin said one of the pacts between the two countries is about the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Russia by China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, the most advanced nuclear power complex in China. – More here and here
Russia’s President Medvedev shakes hands with China’s Premier Jiabao
during their meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki, Russia – Reuter’s photo
China-Russia currency agreement further threatens U.S. dollar
11/25/2010/8:30 P.M. E.S.T.
by Hao Li
China and Russia have agreed to allow their currencies to trade against each other in spot inter-bank markets.
Russia’s President Medvedev shakes hands with China’s Premier Wen Jiabao during their meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki outside Moscow
The motive is to “promote the bilateral trade between China and Russia, facilitate the cross-border trade settlement of [the yuan], and meet the needs of economic entities to reduce the conversion cost,” according to Chinese officials.
This latest move — a continuation in a series of efforts by both countries to move away from U.S. dollar usage in international trade — further threatens the dollar’s reserve currency status.
The dollar has this status because it is currently the currency of international trade.
For example, when Malaysia and Germany exchange goods, the transaction is often denominated in dollars. In particular, oil — something that all modern economies need — is denominated in U.S. dollars, so the currency is almost as indispensable as oil itself.
The dollar reserve currency status allows the U.S. to run up high deficits and have its debt be denominated in the U.S. dollar, which in turn enables it to print unlimited dollars and inflate its way out of debt. America, understandably, wants to protect these privileges.
In fact, some allege that the U.S. wants to protect this status so badly that it invaded Iraq because the country began selling oil in euros instead of dollars. Now, the U.S. is allegedly threatening Iran because of the country’s desire to use euros or Russian rubles in oil transactions.
Meanwhile, China and Russia are gradually revolting against the U.S. dollar. This latest move to shift bilateral trade away from it is significant in itself because China-Russian trade — previously denominated in dollars — is currently around $40 billion per year. For Russia, trade with China is larger than trade with the U.S.
Moreover, as this policy extends to Russian exports of oil and natural gas to China, it threatens the global “petro-currency” status of the U.S. dollar.
According to the International Energy Agency, China is already the largest consumer of energy, although the U.S. is still the largest consumer of oil. However, China, now the largest automobile market in the world, is expected to rapidly increase oil consumption.
Russia is already the second biggest oil exporter and the biggest natural gas exporter in the world.
In other words, the growing importance of Russia and China in the global energy picture — and their phasing out of dollar usage for trading energy commodities — would marginalize the status of the dollar.
Russian ambitions against the dollar for energy exports go back to 2006. That year, former President Vladimir Putin made plans to set up a ruble-denominated oil and natural gas stock exchange in Russia.
“The ruble must become a more widespread means of international transactions. To this end, we need to open a stock exchange in Russia to trade in oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for with rubles…Our goods are traded on global markets. Why are they not traded in Russia,” said Putin, according to RIA Novosti.
For China, it is promoting the use of yuan as a trade settlement currency in Asia. Recently, it allowed its currency to trade against the Malaysian ringgit. Just like the deal with Russia, the purpose of that agreement was to “promote bilateral trade between China and Malaysia and facilitate using the yuan to settle cross-border trade.”
Trade is the major reason for the demand of foreign currencies in the first place. So as countries like China and Russia phase out the usage of U.S. dollars for international trade — including but not limited to oil trade — its status as the world’s reserve currency will continue to slide. – Source
China Assails Monetary Easing, Citing `Imported Inflation,’ Bubble Risks
11/13/2010/3:04 A.M. G.M.T.-0600
by Sophie Leung
China renewed an attack on quantitative easing, citing the risk of increased prices in emerging economies, a day after the Group of 20 nations said the markets can adopt regulatory steps to cope.
China “doesn’t support” the monetary easing that causes “imported” inflation in developing countries, Commerce Minister Chen Deming told a forum today in Macau, a Chinese special autonomous region. The capital inflows increase the risk of “asset bubbles,” Jin Zhongxia, deputy director general of the international department at the People’s Bank of China, said at the same forum.
The Group of 20 offered emerging economies cover to limit currency swings and stem asset bubbles. The U.S. Federal Reserve fueled concern in emerging economies last week when it announced plans to buy $600 billion of long-term government bonds to reduce borrowing costs and spur growth in a second round of so- called quantitative easing. – More here
Abhisit calls on Asia to use yuan in trade – G20 makes no progress in curbing capital flows
from the bangkokpost.com
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, fearful of the effects of the soaring baht due to massive capital inflows, has proposed the use of the Chinese yuan as a major regional trading currency.
Asia-Pacific leaders will have to discuss measures to deal with the fund inflows after the Group of 20 major economies failed to reach any tangible decisions, Mr Abhisit said yesterday.
“The G20 did not make any progress on the matter and it is difficult to get the United States and China to express their clear stances on the issue. But what we can do is try to cooperate in the region and reduce the impact from currency volatility,” Mr Abhisit said before leaving for the Asian Games in China and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ meeting in Yokohama, Japan, this weekend.
G20 leaders drew a veil over their economic policy disputes in South Korea yesterday. They agreed to tackle tensions that have raised the spectre of a currency war and trade protectionism, but they fell short of already low expectations.
Only vague “indicative guidelines” were set for measuring imbalances between their multi-speed economies. Leaders called a timeout to let tempers cool and left details to be discussed in the first half of next year.
Mr Abhisit echoed a call made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to use China’s yuan as a major trading currency in the region to reduce the impact of currency volatility, especially linked to the weakening of the US dollar. He said he was the one who proposed the idea to the ADB.
ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda met Mr Abhisit this week to seek Thailand’s support when it tables the proposal at the next meeting of Asean+3 (Asean plus China, Japan and South Korea) finance ministers. – More here
The Russian protesters who won’t give up
The 31ers are making their protest global after being fenced out of a Moscow square
For the Kremlin it has become something of an embarrassment. On the 31st of the month, a group of noisy protesters gather in downtown Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square. They shout slogans against Vladimir Putin and his regime. The 31ers, as they are known, are seeking to defend Russia’s much-abused constitution and in particular article 31 – meant to guarantee freedom of assembly.
Over this year Moscow’s city government has devised various tactics to stop these rallies from taking place, ranging from the brutal to the surreal – the campaign is beginning to look like a convoluted game of chess for control of the square. The authorities have turned down all applications to stage the “Strategy-31″ gatherings. And in time-honoured Russian fashion, mayor Yuri Luzhkov has sent in the goons, with riot police deployed on every occasion to arrest protesters and chuck them in the back of police vans. In May police broke a journalist’s arm; in July officials came up with a rival event in the square – a car rally.
Ahead of the latest 31 gathering, these tactics have reached a new level of ridiculousness. The government last week announced it was building an underground car park underneath the square and fenced off the whole area. On Friday, two workmen could be seen slowly digging a small hole next to a statue of Russian futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. It is clear that nobody is in any hurry to get the work completed, which could now drag on for years.
In retaliation, the 31ers have decided to take their protest global – with the first demonstration taking place today outside the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, London and in New York, Helsinki, Berlin and Tel Aviv. “We Russians living abroad cannot stand by quietly and watch as Russia gradually turns into a police state,” Andrey Sidelnikov, organiser of the London picket, says. He adds: “In recent years, in Russia the government has consistently refused to citizens of Russia their legitimate right to assemble freely.”
In the eight months since the rallies started, protesters have included elderly dissidents who fought against the Soviet Union and teenagers who were born in the 1990s, well after the collapse of communism. The protests rarely attract more than a few hundred people – although the rally in May drew a crowd of 2,000, which was violently broken up by police.
At some point, one hopes, Russia’s authoritarian-minded leadership will have to come up with a creative response to Russia’s vigorous social protest movement. A fence simply doesn’t cut it. – Source
Stray Bullets – 31ers Plan Global Protests, Nokia Sued And Sudan’s Child Soldiers
Strategy 31 protests
Russian Protests Set To Go Global:
by Richard Lemmer
A Russian protest group, known informally as the 31ers, are planning to stage global protests against the Russian government’s breaching of the national constitution. Started on July 31 2009, Strategy 31 is a civic movement which holds public protest meetings in Triumfalnaya Square, Moscow, on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days. This is a symbolic reference to article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which asserts the right to peaceful assembly.
January of this year saw more than 150 protesters arrested, including 82-year-old renowned human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva. In July 2010, city officials helped organise a bike festival from 30 July to 1 August, in Triumfalnaya Square; in what many see as a deliberate move to foil the protests. Now, the government has announced the square is out of bounds to the protest group because an underground car park is being built beneath the square, which has been partially fenced off.
In retaliation, the 31ers are planning demonstrations to take place outside the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, and in New York, Helsinki, Berlin and Tel Aviv. Viktor Korb, secretary of the Omsk Civic Coalition, told Open Democracy:
Observe the Constitution, the message from our Soviet past, has now become relevant. The possibilities afforded by this disaffection with life in a false imitation of democracy are potentially massive. Unfortunately, our civil society is still fragmented, but Stratergy-31 offers the possibility of uniting on the basis of a common idea.
Video of 31ers protest in Russia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BK8eImDEJE
Russia’s “day of wrath”
Thousands protest across Russia in largest show of discontent since
Vladimir Putin came to power more than a decade ago.
by Miriam Elder – GlobalPost
3/20/2010/15:23 ET in Europe
Opposition supporters shout slogans during a protest rally in St. Petersburg, March 20, 2010. Thousands of Russians rallied against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government in a string of protests fueled by sharp falls in living standards since the economic crisis hit. (Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters) Click to enlarge photo
KALININGRAD, Russia — They gathered under rainy gray skies — men and women, young and old — demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a man long seen as untouchable in Russia’s tightly controlled political scene.
Cries of “Freedom!” and “Putin resign!” filled Kaliningrad’s dilapidated main square, as up to 5,000 people gathered to take part in a nationwide “Day of Wrath.” From Vladivostok in the far east to this, Russia’s westernmost region, dozens of protests were held today in the largest show of discontent since Putin came to power more than a decade ago.
What began as distinct protests against specific economic policies — a rise in utilities prices, an increased tax on imported cars, environmental concerns — have now been united by a growing concensus on who is to blame, said Vladimir Milov, a former energy minister under Putin and current co-leader of Solidarity, an umbrella opposition movement.
“People are clearly moving from specific economic and social demands to general political demands, from the resignation of local governors to the resignation of Putin’s government,” he said, sitting in a Kaliningrad cafe after flying in from Moscow to observe the day’s events.
“There’s a recognition that political factors, and the government, are to blame,” he said.
As yet, it’s unclear how true that is. Putin’s popularity rating remains high and many of today’s protests garnered just 150 to 500 participants. In Irkutsk, where locals voted in a Communist mayor in local elections last week, dealing a heavy blow to the ruling United Russia party, just 500 people turned out (versus the 2,000 who attended a pre-election protest earlier this month).
In Kaliningrad, the population is certainly calling for political change. Today, protesters wore pins disparaging United Russia and called for the ouster of the Moscow-appointed governor, Georgy Boos. The smell of tangerines filled the air as they held aloft the fruit that has become the symbol of the unpopular leader. “It’s because he used to be fat,” said one protester (failing to mention that his face carries the distinct orange glow of a badly done fake tan).
Kaliningrad has held the largest anti-Putin protest to date, with 12,000 taking to the streets on Jan. 30.
Yet ask anyone here, and they will tell you Kaliningrad is different. Nestled between European Union members Poland and Lithuania, and separated from the Russian mainland, it is unlikely to be the launching pad for a wave of large-scale protests — all the more so since television in Russia remains largely state-controlled, and coverage of events here has been nonexistent.
“Our population is different from Russia,” said Konstantin Polyakov, a regional Duma deputy from United Russia. (Nevermind that Kaliningrad is, actually, Russia.) – 2 page here.
From RussiaToday.com (04/16/2010/13:45):
A 14-year-old boy killed his sleeping father with a sledgehammer after his parents told him not to play a computer game overnight and took away the keyboard.
Yaroslav Melnichenko committed the horrible crime in cold blood and feels no remorse for the fratricide, reports Life News tabloid.
Moreover, he told investigators that initially he planned to kill the mother because she was the one to stand between him and the game, but then he thought the father would wake up and stop him, so he decided to kill the man.
In the middle of the night the boy sneaked into the parents’ bedroom, covered the head of his father with a plastic bag and landed six strikes with a sledgehammer. The bag was to prevent blood from splattering on him, he later explained to the police.
Then the murderer demanded his keyboard from the shocked mother, took her mobile phone, locked the door and went straight to the computer to play a dark-themed fantasy role-playing game.
Relatives describe Yaroslav as a reclusive youngster with almost no friends and addicted to computer games. They also said that the parents had spoiled him, bringing him up with little discipline and making him the only heir to the family business – a resort hotel on the Black Sea. The shocking case also has a Freudian twist, as the boy said during the investigation that “now he was head of the family.”
The murderous teen now faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime. - Source
South Korean children face gaming curfew
The South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games.
The first involves barring online gaming access to young people of school age between 12am (midnight) and 8am.
The other policy suggests slowing down people’s internet connections after they have been logged on to certain games for a long period of time.
The Culture Ministry is calling on games providers to implement the plans.
It is asking the companies to monitor the national identity numbers of their players, which includes the age of the individual.
Parents can also choose to be notified if their identity number is used online.
“The policy provides a way for parents to supervise their children’s game playing,” Lee Young-ah from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told Reuters.
The Korea Herald reports that Barameui Nara, Maple Story and Mabinogi, three popular virtual worlds, will introduce the blackout later this year.
Meanwhile role playing games “Dungeon and Fighter” and “Dragon Nest” will pilot the connection slowing scheme.
A total of 19 role playing games will eventually be included – a huge proportion of the online gaming market in the country.
South Korea has sophisticated high speed broadband connections and online gaming is enormously popular.
But there has been growing concern over the amount of time its citizens spend in virtual worlds and playing online games.
A couple whose baby daughter starved while they spent up to 12 hours a day in internet cafes raising a virtual child online have made headlines around the world.
Who with common sense would put their faith in the Russian Orthodox sect after this?
Not surprising to me, the Pentecostal “Assembly of God” denomination, which is plagued with Arminians (heretic Christians who deny that God gives eternal life upon asking him for forgiveness by saying in various ways that man’s will can negate God’s promise and gift of eternal life / God’s will), has also shown it’s weakness in a related tragedy (and no doubt many other times, but not always connected to their denomination or publicized widely):
Daniel Petric killed mother, shot father because they took Halo 3 video game, prosecutors say
by Karl Turnerr
Mark Petric, who is a minister, cries during testimony in the trial of his son Daniel.
Previous post: Pastor’s son charged in mother’s murder, father’s shooting
ELYRIA — Daniel Petric shot his parents — killing his mother — because they wouldn’t allow him to play the violent video game Halo 3, prosecutors told a judge at the boy’s murder trial Monday.
The trial, on charges of murder and attempted murder, opened Monday for Petric, 17, of Brighton Township. He is being tried without a jury before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge. – More here.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful,
proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Have nothing to do with them.
2 Timothy 3:1-5