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Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

China’s Geostrategic Designs on Latin America

February 2, 2012 Comments off

americasquarterly.org

In the last 5 years China’s military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean have grown at an unprecedented rate.   Beijing now regularly hosts officers from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay  in its military academies, has expanded arms sales and technology transfers to countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela, and in October last year even sent  a navy ship to the Caribbean.

Is China—now Brazil and Chile’s number-one trade partner—buttressing its economic interests in the Western Hemisphere with military ties and alliances?  Is this the Middle Kingdom’s equivalent of President Barack Obama’s Pacific pivot to balance China’s saber rattling in Asia?

There’s no doubt that China’s torrid economic growth rate and its arrival as an emerging—if not already emerged—global economic superpower has shifted the international system and brought a more muscular Chinese foreign policy.  That policy—part of what the Chinese labeled its “Going Out” strategy—has come with a growing Chinese diplomatic, economic and even military presence in many of its closest trade partners.  Given China’s need for raw materials to feed its manufacturing growth and urbanization—gobbling up everything from iron, to oil, to soybeans and frozen chicken—the country’s rise has been felt most obviously (at times with alarm) in Read more…

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Global diabetes cases double to 347 million in less than 30 years, study shows

June 27, 2011 Comments off

globalpost

The number of adults with diabetes in 2008 doubled to 347 million globally since 1980, a study in the journal Lancet says. That is about 10 percent of the world’s adults, and the prevalence of the disease is rising rapidly.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Harvard University in the U.S. looked at data from 2.7 million people worldwide, using statistical techniques to project a global number, according to BBC News. The study found that found that the diabetes rate had either risen or stayed the same in virtually every country.

Although most of the increase was due to population growth and a larger number of elderly people, increased obesity and inactivity, already strong trends in the U.S. and other wealthy western countries, are contributing to the increase in the disease in developing nations including India and countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East, according to the Washington Post.

The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, is a more comprehensive calculation of diabetes prevalence than some previous estimates, according to Read more…

Argentina accuses US of trying to smuggle weapons into country

February 17, 2011 Comments off

Diplomatic row over cargo US claims was intended for training program further sours already poor relationship

Relations between the US and Argentina have deteriorated after Buenos Aires lodged a formal complaint over a US military plane that landed late last week carrying guns, drugs and satellite phones.

The Argentinian government claimed the US was trying to sneak the weapons into the country, though it didn’t offer an explanation of why Washington might want to do this.

The US state department said the consignment was intended for a police training program in Argentina.

Officials from Argentina and the state department have been in talks aimed at resolving the row.

The relationship between the two countries has been poor since Barack Obama released details of a Latin American tour next month that includes Brazil, Chile and El Salvador but not Argentina.

The Argentinian foreign ministry, in a statement on Sunday night, said “sensitive material” had been seized that had not been declared on the inventory submitted by the US embassy, including weapons, GPS equipment and drugs such as morphine. Read more…

Panama Canal rail alternative built by China considered by Colombia

February 14, 2011 Comments off

A 136 mile rail alternative to the Panama Canal built by China is being considered by Colombia in a move that would boost trade between Asia and South America.

Panama Canal rail alternative built by China considered by Colombia

The project is one of several Chinese proposals designed to help boost transport links between the two continents.

The ‘dry canal’ would link Colombia’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts by rail, according to Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia.

“It’s a real proposal… and it is quite advanced,” he told The Financial Times. “I don’t want to create exaggerated expectations, but it makes a lot of sense.”

The project is one of several Chinese proposals designed to help boost transport links between the two continents.

It is also hoped the rail link would help encourage the US to ratify a four-year-old free-trade agreement. Agreements with Colombia and Panama, which would Read more…

China sees U.S. stoking Brazil and India anger over yuan

February 13, 2011 Comments off

By Zhou Xin and Koh Gui Qing

BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States has incited Brazil and India to criticize China’s currency policy, but Beijing need not worry too much because it can defuse the tension through talks, a series of Chinese government advisers told Reuters.

Independent analysts warned, however, that a belief that Brazil and India are doing Washington’s bidding and are not truly aggrieved could make Beijing complacent and undermine fledgling ties between the emerging powers.

Increasingly widespread calls for a stronger yuan are awkward for China, which is accustomed to facing U.S. pressure over its tightly controlled exchange rate but has long tried to cast itself as the natural ally of other developing nations.

Brazil and India are unlikely to be any more successful than the United States in persuading Beijing to permit faster appreciation, researchers in Chinese government think tanks said.

“They must realize that the root of problem is not China but Read more…

Mutant mosquitoes: Malaysia release of genetically modified insects sparks fears of uncontrollable new species

January 27, 2011 Comments off

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue fever.

The field test is meant to pave the way for the official use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with females and produce offspring with shorter lives, thus curtailing the population.

Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread dengue fever, which killed 134 people in Malaysia last year.

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue feverMalaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes into a forest in a bid to curb rates of dengue fever 

However, the plan has sparked criticism by some Malaysian environmentalists, who fear it might have unforeseen consequences, such as the inadvertent creation of uncontrollable mutated mosquitoes.

Critics also say such plans could leave a vacuum in the ecosystem that is then filled by another insect species, potentially introducing new diseases.

A similar trial in the Cayman Islands last year – the first time genetically modified mosquitoes Read more…

South Africa: Another BRIC in China’s Wall

January 4, 2011 Comments off
China's President Hu Jintao has sent an invitation to South African President Jacob Zuma to attend the third BRICs leaders' summit to be held in China. Picture: Zuma (center) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on December 4, 2010 in Johannesburg. (File Photo/CFP)China’s President Hu Jintao has sent an invitation to South African President Jacob Zuma to attend the third BRICs leaders’ summit to be held in China. Picture: Zuma (center) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on December 4, 2010 in Johannesburg. (File Photo/CFP)

 

At China’s invitation, South Africa is set to join the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) group of emerging nations and will attend the first summit of the leading emerging economies in April this year. The group will thus be renamed the “BRICS,” but doubts remain over the suitability of the African nation to join the exclusive club of the fast-growing economies.

Lauding the Chinese decision to invite her country to the BRIC bloc, South Africa’s Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the invitation was conveyed to her by China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. She said Chinese President Hu Jintao also sent an invitation to President Jacob Zuma to attend the third BRIC leaders’ summit to be held in China. Read more…