Frank Dikotter, an historian from Hong Kong, has been allowed wide access to Chinese Communist Party archives. Speaking at the Independent Literary Festival, Dikotter described Mao Zedong as the greatest mass murderer in human history. According to the historian, the entire death toll from the Second World War was 55 million people. Mao alone was responsible for the death of a mind-numbing 55 million in the years after the war.
A costly plan by the central government of India to create unique biometric identification numbers for every Indian is meeting stiff resistance from civil-liberties groups as the regime prepares to send swarms of officials across the nation this month to kick off the program.
There’s a new arms race heating up, one that involves not nuclear weapons or satellite-guided bombs but communications. In May of this year, Chinese engineers achieved a significant technological breakthrough, broadcasting an encrypted signal 10 miles using a new technique called “quantum teleportation.”
The bank run at Afghanistan’s largest bank, Kabul Bank, was precipitated by the takeover of the bank by Da Afghanistan Bank, the country’s central bank, last week. By Friday nearly all of its currency reserves and most of its capital had been withdrawn by nervous customers, with no end in sight.
Japanese Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi confirmed that China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan had not defected to the United States, something rumored from Chinese-based sources for several days over the weekend. But the question now being asked is why the rumor started in the first place.
An influential Japanese politician is taking a few pokes at the American and British people. Ichiro Ozawa, who some think may be well-positioned to become Prime Minister in the near future, says that the American people are "simple-minded." He's got some choice words for the British as well. Saying he likes both British democracy and British discipline as depicted in the 1957 film The Bridge Over the River Kwai, he says, nonetheless, "I don't like the British people."
AFP news reported on August 25 that Iran's recent unveiling of new missile-firing assault boats and an aerial drone is a source of concern for U.S. officials. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters: "This is ... something that is of concern to us and ... concern to Iran's neighbors."
A strike from an unmanned aerial vehicle killed 20 people in Pakistan on August 23. According to Reuters news service, "missiles fired from a U.S. pilotless drone aircraft killed 13 militants and 7 civilians in Pakistan's North Waziristan." The attack, and the deaths, illustrate how the unintended consequences of policy decisions and operations conducted decades ago continue to shape events of the present.
Communist China remains passive in pointing the finger at North Korea over the the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, seemingly giving the benefit of the doubt to the North. If a shooting war flares up on the Korean Peninsula, would China intervene militarily on behalf of the North, as it did in the Korean War?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on August 20 that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to Washington on September 2 to start talks related to the Middle East peace process. Clinton said this will be the first time in 20 months that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resume direct negotiations.