News & Reports 2012-06-24

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-06-24

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

The UN Rio+20 Summit wraps up with a document setting down a roadmap for global sustainable development.

Turkey says it would take whatever necessary action for the downing of one of its military planes by Syria.

Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashrarf vows to try all-out efforts to save Pakistan from conflicts and tensions.

And hundreds of people flock to Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong to mark the Dragon boat festival.

Hot Issue Reports

Rio+20 Summit Ends with a Document Paving Way for Sustainable Development
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20 Summit, wrapped up with a final document entitled "The Future We Want", which sets down a roadmap for global sustainable development.

As CRI's Wei Tong reports, some leaders are praising the summit as the path to more sustainable growth, but environmentalists say it failed to achieve any tangible results.

The final document reaffirmed the Rio Principles introduced 20 years ago, which stated that countries shared "common but differentiated responsibilities" in sustainable development.

Rio+20 Summit Secretary General Sha Zukang praised world leaders for making efforts to achieve more sustainable growth.

"The groundbreaking guidelines for applying green economy policies as a useful tool in advancing sustainable development and ending poverty have been laid out. You agreed to strengthen the environmental pillars of sustainable development by enhancing the UNEP. You decided that we need a high-level political forum to address the three pillars of sustainable development in an integrated way."

Du Ying, head of the Chinese delegation for the Summit said the outcome is comprehensive and balanced, reflecting the major concerns of all parties.

"The final document adopted by the summit reflects the spirit of cooperation in the international community and future prospects for sustainable development. The Chinese delegation made important contributions to urge all parties to seek common ground, to bridge their differences and to push forward the negotiations for a consensus."

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff suggested the sustainable development goals will also help to end poverty.

"A historic step was taken in the direction of a world that is more fair, equitable and prosperous so that poverty may be eradicated and the environment protected. Brazil is proud to have organized and presided over the participative and democratic conference, where we gave space to several views and proposals."

However, environmentalists have conveyed dissatisfaction with the final document.

Antonio Tujan, the Ibon Foundation's international director, said that developed countries had escaped from their duty of offering money to finance green projects.

"Despite the economic crisis, there is actually enough money. (We want) The OECD countries, the northern countries, the rich countries, to live up to their commitments of 0.7 percent of their GDP for aid. There is enough money to contribute to climate finance. But because there is a crisis, the debate on whether to put that money into helping to save the environment, to help prevent climate crisis, to help the poor countries in the world, is now being overtaken by corporations who say that the money is better off used to catalyze investments."

Around 50,000 participants, including heads of state and government, attended the Rio+20 Summit for the past three days to discuss new measures for poverty eradication, social equity advancement and environment protection.

For CRI, I am Wei Tong.

Gul Says Country will Take Necessary Action against Syria
Turkey's president has said his country would take necessary, but unspecified, action against Syria, a day after Damascus said it had brought down a Turkish military plane that had entered its air space.

Abdullah Gul said Turkey was still trying to establish the exact circumstances of the incident and whether the jet may have been brought down in Turkish territory.

The incident further escalated tensions between the two neighbours, which used to be allies before the Syrian revolt began.

Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime's brutal response to the country's uprising.

Gul did not elaborate on what those steps would be.

"Our investigation will focus on whether the plane was brought down within our borders or not. Because the consequences could be quite serious, there will be no clear statement before the details (of the incident) are scrutinized."

The Turkish president added it was "routine" for jets flying in high-speeds to violate other countries air spaces for short periods of time.

Meanwhile, Syria's state-run news agency said the military spotted an "unidentified aerial target" that was flying at a low altitude and at a high speed.

Syria's Downing of a Turkish Plane Marks a Serious Escalation of the Syrian Conflict: Iraqi FM
Meanwhile, Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari says Syria's downing of a Turkish plane marks a serious escalation of the Syrian conflict, saying he feared a spillover of the crisis into neighbouring countries.

Zebari was speaking at a news conference in Baghdad with his Swedish, Bulgarian and Polish counterparts who were on an EU-backed mission to help seek solutions to the Syria crisis.

"If the conflict were to slide into an all-out sectarian or civil war, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey would all be affected. This is not an excuse to do nothing about Syria, no. But there will be an impact."

He said the crisis had intensified in recent days with the shelling of civilian residential areas, the increase in the number of demonstrators killed and the defection of a Syrian pilot who flew his plane to Jordan.

Syria shot down a Turkish jet over the Mediterranean and Ankara has said it will do whatever is necessary after the incident that threatened to give a new dimension in the 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Kofi Annan Warns Crisis in Syria Could Soon Spiral Out of Control
International mediator Kofi Annan has warned that the crisis in Syria could soon spiral out of control.

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, the former U.N. secretary-general asked states with influence on both sides of the conflict in Syria to be involved in the peace plan. He also urged countries not to act individually.

"It is only by working together, that we can help improve the situation and also help the Syrians, and that if we continue the way we are going and competing with each other, it could lead to destructive competition and everyone will pay a price, most of all the innocent Syrian people and the region."

Meanwhile, the Chief of the U.N. Syria monitoring force, Major-General Robert Mood, said the 300 U.N. observers were still trying to monitor the situation, despite their mission having being suspended.

"The observers in Syria at the moment, they are mainly in their team sites at headquarters, but that does not mean that we are doing nothing. It means that from their team sites they have view of the surrounding areas, the city. We are also continuing the engagement by telephone with the different parties, and we've also had some patrols going to local hospitals and assessing the situation."

New Pakistani Prime Minster Inspects the Army
Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashrarf took oath of his office in Islamabad.

Ashraf, Pakistan's former water and power minister replaced Yusuf Raza Gilani who was disqualified by the Supreme Court over contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against president Asif Ali Zardari.

Ashraf said he would try all-out efforts to save Pakistan from conflicts and tensions.

"With the behavior of the religious militants engaged with the state, in the name of Islam, Pakistan has suffered irreparable losses. I, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, appeal to them to lay down their arms and get into the mainstream."

Meanwhile, Pakistani lawmakers elected a ruling party loyalist with a checkered past as prime minister, restoring government to the country after days of political turmoil.

But the election of Ashraf was unlikely to calm the tensions roiling the country, and many predicted he would face the same fate as his predecessor who was ousted earlier this week.

The drama highlighted the turbulent nature of politics in the nuclear-armed country that is vital to US hopes for ending the war in Afghanistan.

The ruling Pakistan People's Party then nominated outgoing textile minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, but he was hit Thursday by an arrest warrant for his role in a drug import scandal.

The warrant was issued by an anti-narcotics force run by the military, which wields political power and has staged three coups in Pakistan's short history.

Egyptian Demonstrators Have Continued Sit-in into the Fifth Successive Day
Egyptian demonstrators have continued their sit-in into the fifth successive day in protest against the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated parliament last week.

Protesters continued to fill the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, as pressure mounted on the Egyptian authorities to release the results of the country's recent presidential election.

The comments by Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood came soon after the ruling military council blamed the fundamentalist Islamic group for fuelling tensions in the country.

And Morsi's claim of victory was contested by his rival, Ahmed Shafiq, ousted President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

Brotherhood supporters, gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, let off fireworks on Friday night.

Saied Zaki is one of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

"The sit in is open ended until the reversing of the supplement constitutional declaration, until the cancelling of the latest ministerial decision that gives wide powers to military officers to arrest civilians and the cancelling the disbanding of the parliament. The military for its part declared it was acting for "higher national interests" and vowed to crack down on any violence by any group unhappy with the electoral outcome.

The Brotherhood announced soon after polls closed that it had beaten Shafiq, an ex-air force commander who many view as the military's preferred candidate.
Many accuse the military of planning to direct the election commission to announce a Shafiq win.

The commission itself says it is sorting out the claims of election violations filed by both candidates.

Spain to Send a Formal Letter Requesting Financial Aid
The final meeting of European Union finance ministers, which is underway in Luxembourg has raised concerns over Spain's stricken banking system.

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told the press that his country will send a formal letter to request financial aid next week and details will be finalized at next the Eurogroup meeting in early July.

"What we agreed is to advance on the procedure, because what is much more important is that the letter is the memorandum that Spain will sign with the European Commission and the others. And we agreed to discuss the proposal for the memorandum at the Eurogroup on July 9, which will have more details than the letter with the formal demand for financial assistance."

Spain is set to receive up to 100 billion euros of aid from the euro zone for troubled banks.

Some euro zone countries have said Greece might get extra time to meet its commitments, but Germany said there was little room for maneuver on the goal of cutting its national debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product.

The ministers agreed that officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, will return to Athens on Monday to prepare the way for an update of the terms of Greece's bailout following the parliamentary election in mid-June.

Paraguay's New President Says His Predecessor's Ousting was an Impeachment, Not Coup
Paraguay's newly sworn-in President Federico Franco says Friday's move to oust Fernando Lugo was an impeachment, not a coup.

Centrist vice president and a Lugo political opponent, Franco was sworn in to complete the last year of his presidency.

His message on Saturday struck a reconciliatory tone.

"The situation is not easy, I recognize that there are inconveniences with the international community. I ratify and reaffirm that there was no coup here, there is no institutional breakdown. This was carried out in accordance with the constitution and the laws. It is a legal situation that the constitution and the laws of my country permits us to do in order to carry out changes when the situation calls for it. What was carried out was a political trial in accordance with the constitution and the laws."

Franco also said he did not think Brazil would impose any commercial sanctions, saying their larger neighbours had many investments in the country.

Paraguay's Congress removed President Fernando Lugo from office on Friday after a lightning-quick impeachment that he said was tantamount to a coup but pledged to accept.

Political allies deserted him as criticism mounted over last week's bloodshed in the rural northeast, and the Senate voted 39-4 to oust him on Friday, a day after the lower house set the impeachment proceedings in motion.

Meanwhile, Franco named a new foreign minister and charged him with explaining to governments elsewhere in South America that the impeachment drive was constitutional, although "a little quick."

Colourful Annual Dragon Boat Race in Hongkong
Hundreds of people have flocked to Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong to watch the annual dragon boat races.

The event marks the Dragon boat festival, an exciting and colourful traditional Chinese celebration.

Young and old participant in the races dug deep and paddled hard for glory at the event.

Crowds lined the sides of the harbour to watch the long, narrow boats with golden dragon figure heads perched on their bows.

Ho Wai-hung brought his daughter to see the spectacle.

"I can't find a seat and need to stand here to watch the race. But the weather is good today, it is not raining. So, it's okay."

After the races the boat crews attended a ceremony to receive special flags in honour of their efforts.

They then splashed each other for good fortune.

Thought to have originated more than 2,000 years ago, the dragon boat festival is to honour Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet, who drowned himself in a river to protest against corrupt rulers of the day.

To prevent fish from eating Qu's body, people used their dragon boats and beat their paddles on the water to scare away the fish.

Rice dumplings were also thrown into the water to lure them away.

Severe Drought Hits Parts of China
A severe drought has been plaguing parts of China, affecting agricultural production on more than five million hectares of farmland.

The drought has hit central, eastern and northern China including some main grain-producing areas.

Li Zongchen is a local villager in Anhui Province.

"The water source nearby has been used up. We have to use two machines to pump water from other water sources more than 2.5 kilometers away. It costs 200 to 300 yuan to irrigate only 0.07 hectares of farmland."

Chinese meteorological departments predicted that there would be no sufficient rainfall in the next 10 days to alleviate the drought in these regions.

Local governments have been called upon to intensify drought relief efforts and take measures to minimize the extreme weather's impact on the farming industry.

Cuba's Sporting Greats are Readying for Another Shot of Olympic Fame
With only 34 days until the London games kick off, Cuba's sporting greats are readying for another shot of Olympic fame.

Cuba's top Greco-Roman wrestler Mijain Lopez already has Beijing gold under his belt and is looking for a gold-medal repeat in the 2012 summer games.

The Olympic champion and four-time winner of Greco-Roman wrestling world titles said the key to sporting success is hard work and mental prowess.

"I have always said that he (the athlete) who is better prepared is the one who is going to win the fight (London Olympics) and with the right mentality goes to the top, that he (athlete) always will win the fight. I have thought this up to now and it has always given me good results."

Not resting on the laurels of past success, the 30-year-old champion suffered a minor defeat this year which he says has strengthened his resolve ahead of London.

With gold eluding the country's female judo athletes since Sydney 2000, the national women's team is looking to outdo traditional champions China and Japan and break its gold drought.

Cuba is sending six female judo players to London in hopes of scooping the field.

Joining them will be the country's male judo stars. Cuba's male judo athletes have collected four bronze medals for the Caribbean island in the last three Olympic games and are desperate for a taste of gold.

The London 2012 Olympic Games will kick off on July 27 and run through August 12.

People's Daily: Delayed Apology, Delayed Justice

After the U.S. Senate passed a bill to apologize for the "Chinese Exclusion Act" a year ago, the U.S. House of Representatives also passed a bill last week, formally apologizing for the discriminative act passed in 1882.

A commentary in China's People's Daily notes that this is one of the latest in a series of repentance by the United States in recent years over the injustice in its history. A House of Representatives act in 2008 asked the U.S. Congress to apologize for slavery and racial segregation.

Calling the move "delayed justice", the commentary says the world has waited 130 years to hear the apology from the United States for its institutionalized discrimination against the Chinese.

However, the article contends that the apology for the "Chinese Exclusion Act" does not mean complete elimination of discrimination in the United States. In fact, it is a long-term process to eliminate what it called transparent discrimination, and for the mainstream American society to fully respect ethnic minorities including the Chinese.

The commentary adds that proper treatment of ethnic minorities may be a disputed topic, but it is a common aspiration, and the United States has much room for improvement and introspection.

The People's Daily article concludes that the United States had made many mistakes on its road to development, but now it is beginning to correct them one by one. The article hopes the US will learn a lesson and genuinely respect others when dealing with their own ethnic relations and international affairs.


China Daily: China Should Reconsider Interaction & Cooperation with Japan

A recent survey, jointly conducted by China Daily newspaper and the Japanese nonprofit think tank Genron NPO, indicate the number of Chinese who have positive attitudes toward Japan has increased after a dip in 2011. About 31.8 percent of those polled in China say they now have good feelings toward Japan.

By in contrast, the survey suggests that the number of Japanese people who harbor a negative attitude toward its neighbor has continued to rise.

An editorial in the China Daily Newspaper says that the findings from the polls serve as a useful reference for decision-makers to reconsider the interaction and cooperation between China and Japan.

The article says this favorable change in Chinese people's attitudes toward Japan is linked with the continuous efforts by the Chinese government and society to nourish its neighborly ties with Japan.

But it also pointed out that of all the issues that are preventing bilateral ties from growing, the Diaoyu Islands are cited as the top concern by Chinese respondents in the survey.

The editorial suggested that such a result is worrying as it does not reflect the interdependency of the two economies, the high frequency of people-to-people exchanges and the colossal size of bilateral trade.

The editorial went on to state that it did not reflect the unselfish assistance China offered its neighbor after Japan was hit by the devastating earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in March 2011.

It adds that Japan should do more to cultivate a more favorable atmosphere with China and that this will be a move that stresses the importance of China-Japan ties.