North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What is the weeks most important development?

Trying to recognize what is merely convenient and repetitious from the Western news services and that which is worth noting is rather tiring. One could point to the continuing Syrian repression and Turkey's growing anger at its neighbor as newsworthy. Then again, Turkey is also angry these days over Israel's flotilla actions a year ago - enough to expel Israel's ambassador. It is also angry at the UN for a report that recognized Israel's right to blockade Gaza in order to intercept military weaponry and material that could be used against Israel.

Then of course, there is the daily drama in Libya, as the new NTC (TNC) National Transitional Council accepts recognition of the nations as Libya's new government, accepts substantial funds from frozen accounts, receives offers to help get the oil flowing once again, all the while searching for Gaddafi and sons, securing the country, treating the wounded, and restarting its economy.

Next, there is the famine in East Africa. The latest country to be added to the list of distressed or decimated ones is Eritrea - a secretive country. Just today word is leaking out that its citizens are seeking refuge in Ethiopia from hunger and deprivation due to failing crops. The crisis as a whole is woefully under-reported.

Likewise, the Republic of South Sudan. It has issued a new currency even as it struggles to govern areas where there are traditional tribal hostilities (and ones fueled quietly by its northern neighbor, Republic of the Sudan). Somewhat surprisingly, the world's newest nation announced its capital was to be located in Ramciel, not Juba its largest and most well known city. In the very geographic center of the Republic of South Sudan, Ramciel (or Ramcel or Ramshel) is where the late South Sudanese leader John Garang envisioned the capital. “It is a beautiful land,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s information minister. “This is a long-term plan for a capital while we continue with our priorities.” The government considered keeping the capital in Juba, but had trouble finding the 12-square-mile site needed for new government buildings. The principal ethnic group in Ramciel is Dinka, who have been among the staunchest backers of independence.

Click on image for full picture
A fitting example of our limited knowledge of the Republic of South Sudan. A time consuming internet search for a map locating Ramciel, Ramcel or Ramshel reveals none (and Teatree notes others have remarked on the same lack). The new capital is in the east of Lakes state, just south of Unity state and west from Jonglei state.

But for the news of this post, let's return to India once again. A visit on Sunday, September 4 was begun between India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart in Bangledesh. Sheikh Hasina is that country's Prime Minister, and is meeting Singh in the Bangledeshi capital Dhaka.

Sheikh Hasina, Bangledeshi Prime Minister

The two day visit will be the occasion of signing up to 15 previously negotiated agreements between the two countries stemming from a 1974 Land Boundary Agreement to address major long-standing issues: the exchange of enclaves and adversely possessed lands, and demarcation of 6.5 km of unclear border.

India and Bangledesh

The agreements represent the sinews and connecting tissues that are the stuff of neighborly relations - unpretentious, yet mutually beneficial Addressing tensions in a positive manner, they range from a 15-year interim water sharing agreement on two rivers to the import of 250 megawatt of electricity from India. One protects the Sundarbans - a world famous set of mangrove forests, and another extends cooperation in fisheries.

The Sundarbans - a world recognized forest of mangroves along the Indian-Bangledeshi border

Rounding out the 15 memorandums of understanding are several regarding renewable energy sectors and a joint venture on a coal-fired 1,320-MW power plant in Bangladesh. Finally in the field of education, further cooperation between Dhaka University and Jawaharlal Nehru University will also be initiated.

Bangledesh's premier Dhaka University

Hats off to India and Bangledesh for moving forward.

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