October 6, 2008

India 'not a threat to Pakistan'

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that India is not a threat to Pakistan, and in fact never has been, and that the militants in Kashmir are terrorists.

This is Zardari basically making a radical departure from national stances of the past. Pakistan and India have engaged in conflicts before, and the militants in Kashmir used to be supplied by Pakistanis.

Also, Zardari said that the U.S. was firing missles at militants in Pakistan and got the OK from his government.

What the Pakistani citizenry will think of this remains to be seen, but considering Zardari has basically come out and said the exact opposite of what's traditionally been said about these issues, it might not turn out so great.

This was just a little news brief on BBC, but still an interesting one. The quick facts listed could potentially be enough to keep a reader waiting for a follow-up in the coming days.

September 29, 2008

China space craft returns to earth

China's Shenzhou VII space capsule came back to earth Sunday, landing in the Mongolian desert. The purpose of the mission was to do some experiments and also have an astronaut tethered out into space, which they did successfully. China is the third country to have men in space, since in 2003, i think, they did a manned space mission.
It was news to me that China hadn't done anything like this in the past. I thought a lot of countries had done space stuff.
The suit that the astronaut wore while out in space is thought to have cost $10 million to $40 million, if i'm to be reading the British style of "$10m to $40m" correctly.

Many of the quotes in the story were about how momentous this was for China, and how this is part of a three-step program. So to find out just why this is so momentous, i followed a link on to an article titled "What's driving China's space efforts?"

According to Dean Cheng, senior Asia analyst at think tank CNA in Washington, D.C., there are many political motivations for the China space program. It seems to be a way of saying to the rest of the world that China has "arrived" on the international stage. Also, interestingly, Cheng said it's a move on the part of the government to boost the morale of the China citizenry.
"There are problems like melamine in milk. There are issues of corruption. But the party has shown it is able to achieve things that no previous Chinese government has ever done, and that China is among the first-rank powers in advanced technology," Cheng said.
The article then goes on to say that there may be military motivation with this space program, like developing precision launching systems which could carry over to weapons technology.
"It is a demonstration of technological virtuosity," said Dr Roger Launius, senior curator in the division of space history at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. "It's a method of showing the world they are second to none - which is a very important objective for them."

Some have apparently begun to think that the United States may get into a race with China, but both Launius and Cheng say that this isn't really the case.
"There is a space race underway," Launius said, "but it is an Asian space race. It is between China, Japan, maybe Korea, certainly India. They are competing with each other for stature in that context."

Some thought that because NASA is set to retire its shuttles, therefore having to rely on Russian craft to get up to the space stations, whom the U.S. is in conflict with over Georgia, the pressure would be on NASA to push up its debut of the new Ares-Orion. Apparently that's not the case.

September 22, 2008

South African pres steps down

South African President Thabo Mbeki stepped down Sunday. This comes a day after the national congress called for him to quit.
The story opens up with three or four grafs that read very much like hard news, quickly establishing the 5 W's. After that, we get more information on what's been leading up to Mbeki's resignation, such as the allegations that he might have tampered with a rival's corruption case. The rest of the story is divided up via subheads chronicling things like Mbeki's resignation speech, who his successor is and a more in-depth look at what led up to his resignation.
An interesting note: Since this was culled from, notice that on second reference all people are referred to Mr. or Mrs.