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Today’s Taiwan Photo

7 Jan
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_, originally uploaded by tIdo162.
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White Mountain Links, 1-7-09

7 Jan

Sucker in the Middle: FP The Argument‘s Nikolas K. Gvosdev explains how Gazprom is paying dearly for increasing demand for gas in Western Europe and PRC.

To meet ever growing demand in Europe, not to mention in Russia itself, Gazprom has been forced to buy larger quantities of gas from outside the country, and it has significantly raised the price it is prepared to pay, particularly to Turkmenistan. Gazprom has done this to protect its Central Asian sources of natural gas from a growing and rapacious Chinese market for energy — and to drive a stake through the heart of a proposed gas pipeline that would link Central Asia to Europe while bypassing Russia.

Chinas

Why Should We Trust Beijing: PRC’s Health Ministry promises one death from the H5N1 bird flu virus is “isolated”. So, who gets executed this time?

Japan

20-Year after Hirohito: The anniversary of the controversial WW2 monarch’s death raises the old questions again.

Koreas

What Comes from Too Much Soju: Ambassador James Laney calls for a peace treaty ending the Korean War.

Time to Make the Rubber Stamps: A new class of North Korean MPs are ready for sitting.

The Philippines

One Thumb Up: Fitch says The Philippines don’t suck as bad as other economies in the region.

2019 Bond: Manila offers a 10-year bond.

12 Day Festival of Buffoonery Ends

7 Jan

No, not Christmas.

Korea Report is for once insightful about the value of the last 12 days of ridiculous brutality in the ROK National Assembly.

The ruling Grand National Party accuses the opposition parties on disruptions, but the GNP is also responsible for instigating the parliamentary crisis by trying to railroad bills (such as the contentious Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement) in locked committee rooms, using its majority advantage.

Filibuster, which is a common parliamentary procedure in the U.S. Senate, does not exist in Korea, so minority lawmakers sometimes have to resort to unorthodox methods to prevent the majority party from steamrolling legislations without deference to minority concerns.

Yet, amid the quixotic, perfunctory calls for debate over the momentous issues wrapped in the omnibus legislation is another less gracious, more cynical evaluation of the political process not even a constitutional amendment on filibustering could erase.

“The country ran all right even with those clowns in the Assembly,” I said. “Besides, how can we be so sure the new guys we are going to replace them with will not be a bunch of men and women with stiff upper-lips who have no legislative experience? They might be worse than the old ones with experience.”

“I agree it could be a problem,” he said.

“You mark my word,” I said, “at the very least, the country will be a really drab place to live in without those clowns in the National Assembly.”

That’s the Korea I love!

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