World View: Burma (Myanmar) Army Warplanes Strike Kachin Rebels in North

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Burma (Myanmar) Army warplanes strike Kachin rebels in north
  • Australians blame Chinese for shortage of baby milk formula
  • Venezuela's government vows unity as Chávez's health deteriorates
  • Bloggers reveal the pork and new spending in 'fiscal cliff' bill

Burma (Myanmar) Army warplanes strike Kachin rebels in north

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma, in April (CNN)
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma, in April (CNN)

Burma's army is escalating clashes with ethnic Karen rebels in northern Kachin state by carrying out air strikes against the rebels, after they threatened to block supply convoys to a government base. According to the separatist Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the supply convoys were being blocked because the government has imposed a blockade, preventing food from being delivered from a camp with 40,000 refugees. (For some background, see "23-Feb-10 News - Is Burma poised for a new civil war?")

This escalation in northern Burma comes at a time when ethnic and religious violence is also increasing in Rakhine state in western Burma, between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslims Rohingyas. ( "27-Oct-12 World View -- U.N. alarmed as ethnic violence grows in western Burma (Myanmar)")

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we're seeing something very familiar. Burma's last crisis war was an extremely bloody and genocidal civil war engulfing a number of ethnic groups in Burma. That war ended in 1958, so the time is approaching when the survivors of that war will all have disappeared, and a new bloody civil war can begin. In the meantime, outbreaks of violence between ethnic groups are on the increase, and there will be periods of violence alternating with periods of "truce," until something finally triggers all out war. BBC and Radio Free Asia

Australians blame Chinese for shortage of baby milk formula

Australian supermarkets that are supposed to hold baby formula have become bare, as the two major suppliers of baby formula have become unable to keep up with the demand. The demand is coming from visitors from China, who visit Australia, buy the formula in bulk, and take it back to China with them. China is apparently suffering a new panic related to the 2008 scandal, where thousands of babies got sick because milk producers added melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer, to their milk products. (See "A generational view of China's growing melamine food disaster" from 2008.) The melamine was added because it gave the appearance of higher protein levels in government tests. Unfortunately, it also caused kidney stones and renal problems and, in some cases, death. Now there's a new surge of concern in China, and tourists are flocking to Australia to stock up on "safe" baby formula, leaving the Australians high and dry. Al-Jazeera

Venezuela's government vows unity as Chavez's health deteriorates

The top lieutenants in the government of Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez vowed unity and blamed the United States for "lies and manipulation, a campaign to try to create uncertainty." According to Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who will succeed Chávez if he dies:

"We are here more united than ever. And we have sworn before comandante Hugo Chávez, and we reaffirmed to him today in our oath ... that we would be united with our people. ...

We know that the United States is where these manipulations are being managed. They think that their time has come. And we have entered a kind of crazy hour of offensive by the right, here and internationally."

There is talk of government infighting, as questions arise whether Chávez will be fit to take the oath of office on January 10. Officials refused to discuss the health of Chávez, except to describe it as "stable" but "delicate." It's thought that Chávez is seriously ill from a respiratory infection, following a complex cancer surgery on December 11. AFP

Bloggers reveal the pork and new spending in 'fiscal cliff' bill

Like the Obamacare bill, the recent 154 page "fiscal cliff" bill was prepared by Democratic strategists in dark rooms and presented to the Senate for a vote before anyone even had a chance to read it. The law raises everyone's payroll tax, and brings in $600 billion in new taxes, but adds $4 trillion to the deficit in new spending. Now that a couple of days have passed, blogger Matt Stoller has studied the bill to find some of the pork. Probably the most startling example is $1.6 billion in tax free financing for the new massive headquarters building for Goldman Sachs. As we've pointed out many times, the Obama administration refuses to investigate and prosecute any of the bankers responsible for the financial crisis, despite evidence of massive fraud, because these bankers made huge campaign contributions to President Obama. Apparently giving big campaign contributions to Obama not only excuses you from criminal prosecution for any crimes, leaving you free to go on and commit more crimes, but it also gets you big subsidies from the government. Naked Capitalism

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Burma, Myanmar, Kachin state, Kachin Independence Organization, KIO, Rakhine state, Rohingyas, Australia, China, melamine, Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, Nicolas Maduro, fiscal bill, Goldman Sachs
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