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Oct 162014

VietNamNet Bridge – Former Deputy Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, confirmed that Chinas construction activities on islands in Vietnams Truong Sa Archipelago (Spratly Islands) aim at military targets, laying the foundation for implementation of the “China dream”.

China is turning Johnson South Reef into an artificial island. Photo: DSPL

China is building artificial islands in order to change the status quo of the Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef and some areas in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. What do you think about Chinas latest moves?

Former Deputy Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh: Johnson South is actually a reef of the Sinh Ton (Sin Cowe) Island in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. This is a brown reef, surrounded by a white coral belt. Only a few stones float on the sea and most of the reef is underwater. The Johnson South Reef is over 3km southeast of Vietnams Co Lin (Collins) Reef and marks the southwestern tip of Sin Cowe Island. In 1988, China used force to illegally seize Johnson South Reef of Vietnam.

Chinas declaration of improving the reef to serve people’s lives is ridiculous because this is the new island, which is still under construction so it is it impossible to have civil activities there. According to satellite images, the building activities on the reef are on a large scale to form a floating island. In my opinion, the main goal of China still aims at military goals.

This is part of the long-term strategy: claiming Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands of China and laying the groundwork for the next steps, which is extremely dangerous to realize the “China Dream” and the U-shaped line claim.

Why does China choose Johnson South Reef to build a floating island and what threat will it pose?

Rinh: According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), countries cannot claim sovereignty over underwater reefs and “the reefs that do not sustain human settlements or do not have economic life will not have the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.” Chinas new moves in the East Sea aim to turn the Johnson South Reef into an inhabited island to claim sovereignty.

On the other hand, the position of Johnson South Reef is very important for defense and military. If a military base is built there, it will control the entire military operations in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. It is a threat to peace and security not only in the East Sea but also the entire Asia – Pacific.

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News VietNamNet

Oct 162014

The draft sent more than 2 million Americans to Vietnam, many of them baby boomers. Millions more avoided the war through deferments. Draft dodgers burned their cards to protest the war. (Loan, Gary E. Stevens)

The First Amendment took center stage in anti-war demonstrations 49 years ago this week, as the first draft card was burned in public amid nationwide protests decrying U.S. involvement in the escalating Vietnam conflict.

In August 1965, Congress passed a law prohibiting the willful destruction of draft cards. Two months later, a young Catholic pacifist, David Miller, burned his draft card in front of a crowd a rally in New York part of the Vietnam Day Committees International Days of Protest Oct. 15-16. Miller was later arrested by the FBI and sentenced to 30 months in prison. Despite the law, draft card burning became a common form of anti-war protest, even though numerous court decisions including the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court caseUnited States v. OBrien ruled that the law did not violate protesters First Amendment rights to free speech.

When Newseum curators were collecting artifacts for The Boomer List exhibit, they wanted to include a draft card from the era as a defining symbol of the boomer generations story. But they were having a hard time finding one to display. On a hunch, director of collections Carrie Christoffersen called her father, who promptly unearthed his draft card and mailed it to the Newseum, still in its plastic wallet sleeve. Why did he have it after all these years? Christoffersen said her father told her, half-jokingly, Its a federal document! You cant get rid of that kind of thing.

Continued here:
International Days of Protest

Fifty years ago, students on the University of California, Berkeley campus ignited protests over a ban on political activity. Crowds surrounded a police car holding student activist Jack Weinberg on Oct. 1, 1964. Photo courtesy U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

I used to keep a gas mask and a police-style helmet in the back of the car. That was when I was reporting on the Berkeley campus of the University of California for the NBC television station in Sacramento. It was during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s, and the anti-war movement was in full swing. Berkeley was action central for marches and confrontations with the police, which occurred as I remember it like clockwork.

And my gas mask and helmet didnt stay in the car: there was plenty of anger in the streets, plenty of action. Tear gas and police batons often filled the air on and off campus. Emotions ran high. Often the reason behind the demonstrations and marches ending the war was lost in the battles between the protestors and the cops. Who was provoking who became the issue, and certainly it made exciting television. Homegrown battles filled the airwaves, to the point where they eventually became routine. How many of those marchers were actually students wasnt ever clear, but U.C. Berkeley became the symbol of anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-military activism.

Why bring this up now? Because 50 years ago this month a student movement began that morphed into those huge demonstrations. Long before the Vietnam War, in 1964, students on the Berkeley campus ignited protests over a ban on political activity. Civil rights advocates, some of whom had gone to the Deep South to protest segregation, were trying to organize on campus, and the university administration said no. An activist graduate student named Jack Weinberg was arrested, put into a police car, stayed there for 32 hours as crowds built up and kept the car from moving. That was the beginning of the Free Speech Movement (FSM).

Heres the way Weinberg, now a global environmental consultant, back on campus for the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, told me about it:

We set up a big table and were trying to tell the story of the right to engage in the civil rights movement that the university was stopping, and the dean came up to me and told me to take down the table. And I said, Im sorry. I cant do that. I cant cooperate with you. And so he, the campus police put me under arrest, and then they made the mistake of bringing a police car onto campus.

Student activists Jack Weinberg and Mario Savio speaking to each other on top of the police car. Photo by U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Prior to the Free Speech Movement, Weinberg said, there was a massive civil rights movement that had already polarized American society. And when the FSM started, it was just another manifestation of the civil rights movement on campus.The students were mobilizing in support of civil rights but ended up becoming empowered beyond civil rights. So it was a turning point.

What happened next the massive and sometimes violent demonstrations over civil rights, womens causes and the war was more divisive than the FSM itself had been. A few former members of the group who have become more conservative have spoken out saying the movement went too far, that it got out of hand, that it didnt really support free speech for anyone but itself, that it swallowed left-wing ideology without criticism. And that led to unruly, undemocratic protests that did more harm than good.

Weinbergs answer: Democracys messy.

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Free speech, and what came after

Chinas completion of an upgraded airstrip in the disputed Paracel Islands gives it another foothold in the South China Sea and risks sparking a renewed diplomatic rift with communist neighbor Vietnam.

Vietnam foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh yesterday called the two-kilometer-long runway on Woody Island, part of the Paracel group, a violation of Vietnams sovereignty after photos of the project appeared in Chinese media this week. In July, a Chinese company removed an oil rig it had placed in contested waters off Vietnams coast after skirmishes between boats of the two countries and deadly anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam.

Chinas presence on the island it calls Yongxing, which houses banks, post offices and government buildings, is likely to further strain ties with fellow claimants to the South China Sea, through which some of the worlds busiest shipping lanes run. The military facility could spur countries such as Vietnam to turn to the U.S. for sophisticated maritime aircraft to counter Chinas actions.

It has a huge significance for Chinese ability to exercise its sovereignty claims over the South China Sea, Collin Koh, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said by phone. Vietnam is not going to let this go easily. Its going to lead to more diplomatic tensions.

Chinas runway violates international law and damages ties, Vietnam News cited foreign ministry spokesman Binh as saying. The move contravenes an accord between Vietnam and China on settling sea disputes and a 2002 agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on conduct in the area, he said.

Clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels near the oil rig during the summer highlighted Chinas limited maritime air surveillance in the region, according to Koh. An offer by Malaysia offer to host U.S. P-8 Poseidon surveillance airplanes in the country further unnerved China, he said.

The Woody Island outpost is set to become a military command and control network, he said.

Its not just about lengthening the runway, Koh said. Its about having shelters for small aircraft like jet fighters, underground bunkers for fuel and ammunition.

China considers much of the South China Sea its territory based on its nine-dash line map first published in the 1940s. The map covers an area that extends hundreds of miles south from Hainan Island and takes in the Paracels, which are claimed by Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands, some of which are claimed by the Philippines. China is creating artificial islands in the Spratly area.

China is sending a message to everyone in the world about its resolve to maintain what it perceives as its territorial integrity, Alexander Vuving, a security analyst at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, said by phone. China is hardening its position with all of these things.

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Chinas Airstrip in Paracel Islands Heightens Vietnam Tensions

Free Speech Victory in NYC For Veterans
In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Tarak Kauff an organizer of Veterans For Peace, who organizes a demonstration every year at the Vietnam memorial in NYC. The goal of the demonstration…

By: WeAreChange

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Free Speech Victory in NYC For Veterans – Video

As a crowd gathered on Sproul Plaza to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, I noticed some kids hanging cutouts of blue Twitter birds from an old oak tree in front of Sproul Hall, the UC Berkeley administration building.

Seriously? A corporate sponsor for one of the most politically meaningful acts that ever took place on a college campus? Mario Savio stood on top of a police car in 1964 for this?

Thankfully, this was not a 21st-century sellout. Social Slice, a student group working with the UC Berkeley public affairs office, was trying to generate social media attention for the noon rally last week. It was our teams idea, 20-year-old Cal junior Megha Mehdiratta assured me. In real time, Social Slice printed out tweets with the hashtag #FSM50 and pinned them to a clothesline for easy reading.

The old-meets-new tech mashup was actually kind of nice; you didnt have to bury your head in your iPhone to see what folks were saying about the wildly successful protests that altered the balance of power between universities and students, and ushered in a whole new way of, you know, like, being.

To step onto the Berkeley campus is always, just a little bit, to step back in time. All these years later, the political and social upheavals of the ’60s hang over the place like a fine Bay mist that never fully burns away.

I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. The Free Speech Movement midwifed some remarkable American moments.

Ronald Reagans political career, for instance. The anti-war movement. Americas second wave of feminism. The whole idea of a counterculture, really. And even, some believe, the American culinary revolution helped to fruition by a Berkeley student whose love of simple French food evolved into the iconic Chez Panisse.

And no, Im not tripping.

Reagan, a B-list actor and pitchman for General Electric, won an unexpected victory for California governor in 1966, vowing to clean up the mess at Berkeley.

Students who put their academic careers on the line for the principle of free speech were embolded, and emboldened others, to oppose the Vietnam War a few years later.

View post:
What the Free Speech Movement wrought — it may surprise you

Lew Rockwell discusses the life and works of Murray Rothbard with Tom Woods.

Tom Woods: In two minutes or less, why is Rothbard important to begin with?

Lew Rockwell: Well, Rothbard is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, because he was such a significant scholar as an economist, as an historian, as a political philosopher. He was an original thinker, and a very compelling thinker, a man who created, among other things, modern libertarianism, by combining nineteenth-century American anarchism and Austrian economics and natural law based in Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. And really its a durable and fascinating philosophy. It explains what we need to be concerned about; in a sense it explains how to proceed. Its extremely compelling. Everything of Rothbards was compelling.

If you speaking to the people listening to us havent read Rothbard, just pick up anything by Murray, and its all for free online at, and theres a lot at as well. Just take a look at any essay of Murrays, lets say The Anatomy of the State, which is one of his famous essays. Youre immediately pulled into it. Hes so clear. Hes so logical; hes so persuasive. Youll never be the same again. I mean, this is true of many, many of Rothbards works; they really are life-changing, based on the immense knowledge that he had.

And this is somebody, so far as I can tell, who knew everything. Now of course Im exaggerating, but only slightly. In the areas that he was interested in, he pretty much knew everything just such deep and well-analyzed and rigorous knowledge. He read everything; he remembered everything. If you were in his apartment which was full of books, almost humorously full of books and you were asking Murray a question, hed say, well, you know, thats covered in that particular book on that shelf, there it is, the third one from the left, chapter 3 and pages 29-36. I mean, he had that kind of knowledge.

Yet he was a humble guy, not at all arrogant, one of the most charming people you could ever meet, extremely funny; he was like a standup comedian in addition to all his scholarly abilities and his teaching abilities, very charming, very welcoming, and never put down students. I think of him in contrast to Milton Friedman, who was a brilliant guy, too, but was famous for humiliating a student who asked a question Friedman either thought was stupid or he didnt like the question for whatever reason. Rothbard was never like that. He was just a great human being as well as just, I think, no question one of the extraordinary men of the twentieth century, and maybe will in the future come to be seen as an extraordinary figure over a much broader time span.

TW: Before we get into the overview of his life, I want to say something, before I forget, about Rothbard that I dont think Ive ever said before. When you look at what he was engaged in doing in his scholarly work, as opposed to the various popular articles he would write for periodicals, he could write scholarly work that was respected by the academic community. For example, his book The Panic of 1819 got very good reviews in the professional journals, published by Columbia University Press, great. But a lot of the rest of his scholarly work, like Man, Economy and State, The Ethics of Liberty, a lot of this stuff, he knew for a fact there would be no academic audience for it; if there were, it would be only an audience that would condemn him. Theres no popular audience for this scholarly work either, so whos he writing this for? And the answer is he can only be writing for posterity, and I suppose to a lesser degree for himself, for the sake of the ideas. He did this knowing full well hes not going to be appointed chairman at the economics department at Harvard; hes already been purged from National Review, so libertarian economic ideas or at least his name expressing those ideas is not going to be welcome in that magazine, and yet he kept on churning out an enormous amount of output without getting the commensurate reward. And he kept on doing it and kept on doing it.

Today you and I have instant gratification: you write an essay it goes up on the Internet. The next day, people write you emails telling you how great you are. He didnt have that kind of feedback; he didnt have that kind of audience; he didnt have that kind of technology. And look what he produced.

LR: Well he really was such an extraordinary guy, and of course he enjoyed money; he loved buying books, for example. But money was not the chief motivator in his life. Of course this is one of the ways in which Austrian economics differs from mainstream economics: we dont think of man as homo economicus; there are other things that motivate people besides money, although again money is a great thing, its necessary. Murray taught for a very long time at a very minor school in New York, Brooklyn Polytechnic, only getting a job there because he was such an expert exponent of the case against the Vietnam War. And of course, like everything else Murray got interested in, he knew everything about it. He knew everything about the history of Vietnam, the previous interventions, all the people that were important on the North Vietnamese side, the Viet Cong, the South Vietnamese, the American government, the French government and so forth. He felt they were so impressed by him that he felt that they sort of overlooked or didnt really care about his other views. Later, when they realized what his other views were, they never would have hired him because it was pretty much a left-wing outfit. He made at the height of his income there at Brooklyn Polytechnic, $26,000 a year. So he never had much money, exactly like Mises when he famously told Margit, the woman who was going to be his wife: I just want to warn you Im going to write much about money, Im not going to have much of it.

TW: (laughs) Thats exactly it.

Go here to read the rest:
Murray N. Rothbard: The Man and His Work

Oct 012014

Thai Islands
We are backpacking around Far East Asia. We have currently visited Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Northern Thailand. The next stop is Thailand Islands (Koh Phangan, Koh Samui…

By: MHHR Backpacking-Buddies

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Thai Islands – Video

Fifty years ago Wednesday, a small campus protest at UC Berkeley exploded into what came to became known as the Free Speech Movement paving the way for Vietnam War demonstrations, the Occupy protests, and more. Now it's being celebrated by the university.

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KCBS Cover Story: UC Berkeley Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of Free Speech Movement

BERKELEY — Fifty years ago this week, UC Berkeley students barred from promoting civil rights and other causes on campus staged a peaceful and relentless protest, demanding — and months later, gaining — their constitutional rights to free expression and assembly.

The free speech movement made an unmistakable stamp on a campus that prides itself on its legacy of social activism, and its spirit of protest quickly spread to colleges across the nation.

The victory showed people what free speech movement leader Bettina Aptheker now teaches her students at UC Santa Cruz: “When large numbers of people can be mobilized and organized in a mass movement, you can make significant change.”

Discussions take place at tables set up in Sproul Plaza on the University of California Berkeley, Calif., campus on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. The Free Speech Movement that began in late September 1964 paved the way for broader freedom of expression on college campuses across the country. At Cal, the movement began after the administration tried to ban students’ political activity — including tabling for social or political causes. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group) ( Laura A. Oda )

Students at Cal and other colleges would go on to fight for women’s rights, gay rights, disability rights, and — much later — against apartheid in South Africa before settling into a broader activism today that engages thousands of students in many groups, causes and campaigns.

They also would campaign, successfully, for ethnic studies programs on their campuses in the late 1960s and ’70s, demanding scholarly programs on the history and experiences of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

Massive student-led demonstrations have greatly diminished since the 1960s, when Cal history professor David Hollinger was a graduate student who rallied to support the free speech movement.

Today’s political problems and injustices, he said, can be more difficult to pinpoint than the Vietnam War, Jim Crow racial-segregation laws and campus regulations denying students constitutional rights.

“It’s a little bit harder to know where to get a grip on it,” Hollinger said.

But many students, he said, have embraced other kinds of activism.

See the original post here:
UC Berkeley celebrates free speech movement's 50th anniversary

SEO-Vietnam Webinar 27th September 2014
SEO-Vietnam Career Program not only offers a great work experience at many prestigious companies in Vietnam but also – as past participants confirmed – a fantastic networking opportunity that…

By: Linh Thuy Nguyen

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SEO-Vietnam Webinar 27th September 2014 – Video

SEO-Vietnam Winter Program Webinar
SEO-Vietnam Career Program not only offers a great work experience at many prestigious companies in Vietnam but also – as past participants confirmed – a fantastic networking opportunity that…

By: Huy Nguyen

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SEO-Vietnam Winter Program Webinar – Video

An iconic image from the Free Speech Movement, which erupted on the Berkeley campus 50 years ago. Photo: UC Berkeley Libraries

Oct. 1 will mark the 50thanniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s.

On that day, thousands of UC Berkeley students surrounded a police car parked near Sproul Plaza. A young man named Jack Weinberg was inside. He had been arrested for distributing political material on university grounds despite rules that forbade it.

Many of the students who spontaneously surrounded the police car had been involved or had been watching the Civil Rights movement emerge. They were outraged by the injustices of the Jim Crow south. They had protested when the House Un-American Activities Committee held hearings in San Francisco. They had been furious when Clark Kerr, the president of the UC system, had declared that it was illegal to hand out political pamphlets on university grounds.

Jack Weinberg, who was arrested for distributing information about CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, sat in a police car for 33 hours. Photo: Steven Marcus/Bancroft Library

The stand-off at the police car lasted 33 hours. At one point, a young graduate student, Mario Savio, stood on top of the police car and made a speech that catapulted him into the leadership of what would be known as the Free Speech Movement.

The Oct. 1 stand-off ended peacefully when university officials agreed not to press charges against Weinberg. But it launched a series of direct actions by students, including marches and sit-ins, to secure the right to distribute whatever information they wanted to on campus.

The Free Speech Movement affected national events as well. UC Regents fired President Kerr because they did not think he took a strong enough stance against the students. FBI Director Edgar Hoover used the movement as an excuse to bump up the agencys spying on students and leftist protest groups. A Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan used the student unrest as a wedge issue to defeat Gov. Pat Brown in 1967, thereby launching a political career that would carry him to the Presidency. And the Free Speech protests would radicalize thousands of students,many of whom went on to fight other important battles, including protesting the Vietnam War.

Mario Savios famous Dec. 2 1964 speech when he talks about the odious gears of the machine.

There are numerous events and exhibitions happening in the next few months to mark the 50th anniversary of the protest against the police car in Sproul Plaza.

Read more here:
Events mark 50th anniversary of Free Speech Movement

Best beaches Vietnam Arabic

By: VietnamOpentour SinhCafe

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Best beaches Vietnam Arabic – Video

Now And Forever by Richard Marx covered by RJ at Liberty
Now and Forever – RJ at Liberty Hotel – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

By: Rainier Insigne

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Now And Forever by Richard Marx covered by RJ at Liberty – Video

China Says Vietnam “Distorts” History With Claims To Disputed Islands
China says Vietnam “distorting” history with claims to disputed islands in South China Sea. Story: China said on Monday (May 26) that Vietnam is “distorting history” as tension rises over…


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China Says Vietnam "Distorts" History With Claims To Disputed Islands – Video

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday refuted Vietnamese comments on the sovereignty of the Xisha Islands, vowing determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Qin Gang said the information offered by the Vietnamese side at a press briefing in Hanoi last Friday was ridiculous.

“Their comments showed the country’s falsification of history, denial of truth, inconsistency and treachery,” Qin said, arguing that Vietnam has little international credibility.

He cited historical evidence to show the Xisha Islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times.

“China was the first country to discover, develop, name and govern the Xisha Islands,” while Chinese people are indisputable owners of the islands, said the spokesman.

According to Qin, the Chinese people discovered the Xisha Islands when they cruised to them during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Since then, lots of Chinese have traveled there for business.

Historical documents show Chinese fished and traded around the Xisha Islands during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, which serves as proof for China’s jurisdiction of the area, he said.

During China’s Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century, astronomer Guo Shoujing set up an observatory on the Xisha Islands, Qin added.

Vietnam appeared to acknowledge and respect China’s sovereignty over the islands before the mid 1970s. In 1956, a senior official of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry told a charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam that the Xisha Islands were part of the Chinese territory, according to the spokesman.

In 1958, China announced it had set 12 nautical miles as the width of its territorial sea and the Xisha Islands were included. Ten days after that, then Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong told then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai that the Vietnamese government admitted the truth of and respected China’s statement on its territorial sea, he said.

Originally posted here:
China slams Vietnam's Xisha Islands comments

BEIJING: Terming Vietnamese claims over the disputed islands in the South China Sea as “ridiculous”, China today accused Vietnam of changing its stand since 1975 after having officially endorsed Chinese sovereignty over them.

Reacting to assertions by Vietnam claiming sovereignty over the Paracel islands in the South China Sea which China refers to as the Xisha islands, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang told a media briefing here that Hanoi’s claims are “very ridiculous”.

“Large amount of historical facts had proven that Xisha islands are China’s territory since ancient times,” he said.

“Vietnam has always gone back on its words. The credibility of this country is very low,” Qin said.

The war of words between Vietnam and China over the ownership of the islands heated up in recent weeks after Beijing deployed an oil rig in waters close to the islands, which was staunchly opposed by Hanoi.

While naval vessels of the two countries rammed into each other hundreds of times, four Chinese were killed and over 100 injured in anti-China riots in Vietnam in which over 460 factories mostly Chinese-owned were destroyed by mobs.

Beijing withdrew over 7,000 of its workers from Vietnam and demanded compensation for the victims.

China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea which is hotly contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, who are backed by the US.

Defending Chinese claims over the islands, Qin said they were discovered and developed during ancient Chinese kingdoms and patrolled by their navies.

He said Vietnam officially endorsed Chinese sovereignty in a letter to China from its then prime minister in 1958 besides reflecting the same in Vietnamese official documents and textbooks.

Continue reading here:
China brands Vietnam claims over South China Sea islands as 'ridiculous'

May 252014

IT WAS 20 years ago when the Philippines and Indonesia first decided to talk about their claims of islands in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea.

Within this month, the two countries have set new maritime boundary lines in the areas with unclear sovereignty. This includes rich fishing grounds, trading routes and sources of oil or natural gas. And the agreement, set for signing, is called Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary.

That’s what the Philippines has asked for in its claim of the Spratly Islands over which China claims authority. China is also claiming the South China Sea islands that Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, also Brunei, believe are theirs.

The agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia over some islands show the intent of both countries to stay as friends and keep the regional community firm according to Aseans international laws. It could serve as example of steps towards real world peace.

In the early years of the world, there werent people quarreling over islands since there were few people in a big world, each prehistoric clan could own one and more of an archipelago, except that the travel from one island to another would lead to the people’s preference of vast land in its natural flourish.

But through the years and today, man has found the importance of small islands, as rich fishing grounds, also as sources of oil and natural gas reserves in reefs, atolls, and coral islands. Most of the world’s plants and animals are endemic and indigenous species, mostly found only in some islands.

The islands in total the world over—of land and the water—is sixth of the world’s total area and home to a big portion of the world’s animals and plants.

Over these islands are the disputes of territorial ownership, like the South China Sea. In the Philippines, the islands in dispute are found in the west, in Vietnam found in the east. The area is called the South China Sea which the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea and Vietnam calls the East Sea. Japan and China are in dispute over seven islands in East China Sea which Japan calls the Senkaku and China, Diaoyu.

And the quarrel over these islands are referred to as a sea row among Asian countries, or territorial issues, or disputes, with tensions running high.

There is the 2002 Declaration among Asean countries on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. But is China looking? Its looking towards a claim of about a 90-percent of the sea and islands in the area.

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Cuizon: Islands, islands

May 222014

Condoleeze Rice, Robert Bigeneau and Christine Lagarde all withdrew from giving the commencement speech at three highly regarded universities. Student protests led to their decision not to appear on campus. These are three highly respected people who have given their views across America and the world.

What a setback to have free speech universities cave in to a few protesters that didn’t approve of something these speakers said or did in the past. Free speech created a civil rights revolution, it ended the Vietnam War and it is the one thing more than any other factor that determines real democracy. God help us if we only want views that preserve the status quo.

A democracy encourages diverse views and a genuine exchange of ideas. These speakers who felt they had to withdraw so the protests did not distract from the honoring of students are truly acting at a high ethical level, but how embarrassing to the university and all Americans who value speech that opposes their thinking.

The best way to stop creative change and encourage conformity is to limit new ideas and limit free speech zones. We have enough problems with surveillance in this country without adding to the problem by driving away smart, accomplished people from free expression of thought. What a step backwards. Keep in mind, there was a time when many universities did not want Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at their institutions of higher learning. Enough said.

Darrel Collins,

La Crescent

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Colleges and free speech

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