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07 Dec

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News

 

News

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WikiLeaks founder denied bail in UK

Julian Assange is remanded in custody after appearing in a London court on an extradition warrant.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2010 15:45 GMT

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The PA’s ultimate act of resistance

Lamis Andoni 07 Dec 2010 14:05 GMT
The PA should disband, but only as part of a resistance strategy that starts with ending cooperation with Israel.
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Dozens killed in Pakistan blasts

At least 50 people are killed in twin explosions which appear to have targeted a government official.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2010 03:53 GMT

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Madoff's scheme required a constant supply of new investors to enable him to pay off others

HSBC ‘took kickbacks to keep Madoff in business’

British bank “looked the other way”, according to the man charged with recovering Madoff losses.

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Americas

Craig Monteilh says he was recruited by the FBI after leaving prison in 2006

‘Too extreme’ FBI plant banned by mosque

 Talk of violent ‘jihad’ by FBI recruit so alarmed local Muslims, that they took out a restraining order against him……………….

Video: Floods devastate South America   new

President Obama in Bush-era tax cuts climbdown

Video: Rescue efforts after Colombia mudslide

Hope for Carty as court debates death penalty

Explosive-laden US home to be destroyed

Linda Carty: The British woman whose execution is just a phone call away

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Eighteen more countries refuse to attend Nobel peace prize ceremony

• China ‘arm-twisting’ to persuade diplomats to stay away
• But 44 countries will be at event to honour dissident Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese dissident and winner of the Nobel peace prize, photographed by his wife in 2005. Photograph: Liu XiaEighteen countries besides China have declined invitations to Friday’s Nobel peace prize ceremony, the event’s organisers said today, but they dismissed Beijing’s claim that the international community did not support the award.

China had urged diplomats in Oslo to stay away from the event honouring jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo , warning of “consequences” if they did not do so.

Several of the countries that have turned down invitations – such as Pakistan – are long-term allies of China. Others are major trade partners such as Iran and Sudan. Also on the list are Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

Another 44 countries will attend, while Algeria and Sri Lanka have not replied to their invitations.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing: “As far as I know, at present, more than 100 countries and organisations have expressed explicit support for China opposing the Nobel peace prize, which fully shows that the international community does not accept the decision of the Nobel committee.”

She declined to list those that would not attend but added: “After the ceremony, you can see that the vast majority of the international community will not attend the ceremony.”

Geir Lundestad, executive secretary of the Nobel committee, told Reuters that was “a very curious way of stating things” because only the 65 countries with embassies in Norway were invited. But he acknowledged: “One of the reasons [for states not attending] is undoubtedly China.”

In one case, an embassy is believed to have decided the ambassador should attend after receiving Beijing’s warning, having previously planned to send another diplomat on his behalf.

“China has been arm-twisting behind the scenes to stop governments from attending the Nobel prize ceremony, using a combination of political pressure and economic blackmail,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s director for the Asia-Pacific. “The fact that, despite the pressure and threats, the Chinese could only cajole a small minority of countries reflects the unacceptable nature of their demands.”

According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, all invited countries sent representatives last year, when Barack Obama won. The previous year, around 10 countries did not attend the ceremony for Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland.

In a renewed attack on the decision to honour Liu, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman described supporters of the move as clowns perpetrating a farce. Jiang added that Liu’s supporters were fundamentally opposed to China’s development and wanted to interfere in the country’s politics and legal system. She said: “We will not be pressured by clowns.”

Beijing was furious at the decision to recognise Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence for incitement to subvert state power through his co-authorship of Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms.

The authorities have placed his wife, Liu Xia, and other supporters under house arrest and have barred other activists and dissidents from leaving the country, apparently for fear they will attend the event.

The event would normally be marked by the handover of the Nobel gold medal, a diploma and prize money worth 10m kronor (£1.04m), but organisers said that would not happen this year because only close family can collect those on a winner’s behalf. China is unlikely to let Liu’s relatives attend.

The organisers said they would still hold the traditional torch parade from Oslo City Hall to the Grand hotel. Normally the winner appears on the balcony of the hotel to greet the public, but this year a picture of Liu will be projected on to the building.

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