World View: South Korea Refuses to Extradite Yasukuni Arsonist to Japan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Syria's Bashar al-Assad will make a major speech on Sunday
  • U.S. troops pour into Turkey to operate Patriot missile systems
  • Israel quietly puts the 'E-1' settlement plan on hold
  • South Korea refuses to extradite Yasukuni arsonist to Japan
  • Greek communities adopt local currency to enable bartering

Syria's Bashar al-Assad will make a major speech on Sunday

Syrian soldier (EPA)
Syrian soldier (EPA)

Syria's state-run news agency, SANA, made a bare-bones announcement that president Bashar al-Assad will deliver a major nationwide speech to the nation on Sunday, the first in seven months. The announcement has raised hopes that al-Assad will announce some sort of plan to achieve peace, but it's just as likely that he'll announce plans to conduct more slaughter. The uprising has killed more than 60,000 people since it began in March 2011, and the vast majority of those killed have been innocent civilians, women and children who were targeted for extermination by the al-Assad regime's forces. In his last formal speech, given last June, al-Assad said:

"If we work together. I confirm that the end to this situation is near."

Global Post and Al-Jazeera

U.S. troops pour into Turkey to operate Patriot missile systems

U.S. troops have stared to arrive in Turkey to man Patriot missile systems meant to protect the country from potential Syrian missiles, following Nato's November 30 approval of Turkey's request for the Patriot systems. Some 400 American troops will be airlifted into Turkey in the next few days, and additional equipment will reach Turkey by sea later in January. Germany and the Netherlands are also deploying their own batteries of U.S.-built Patriot systems. When fully deployed, there will be more than 1,000 American, German and Dutch troops based in Turkey. AP

Israel quietly puts the 'E-1' settlement plan on hold

Days after the Palestinian Authority won the vote in the United Nations General Assembly to create the State of Palestine, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a series of sanctions in response to this "attack on Zionism." (See "3-Dec-12 World View -- Israel withholds tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority")

One of those announcements was plans to build 3,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank in the "E-1 area." This plan was particularly condemned because filling that area with settlements would cut off the West Bank from Arab neighborhoods, and would end the "peace process" (which is dead anyway).

Now Netanyahu is being criticized by Israel's right-wing because he is reportedly delaying plans to build the settlements. According to Uri Ariel:

"Stopping the publication of the building plans for E-1 proves that his talk about settlement is an illusion. The day after the elections, we will again discover the real Netanyahu, the one who freezes building and gives in to pressure."

However, the prime minister's office denied that the project has been shelved. Israel National News

South Korea refuses to extradite Yasukuni arsonist to Japan

Japan had sought from South Korea extradition of a Chinese national who set fire to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which houses veterans of WW II, including some war criminals. The South Korean court refused the request, saying:

"[Extraditing Liu to Japan would] "deny the universal value of most of the civilized countries. ...

The Yasukuni Shrine is the property of a religious group in legal terms but (the court) deems the shrine holds a political symbol where the war criminals are enshrined."

So I guess South Korea believes that it's OK for anyone to burn down any building that symbolizes an ideology that they disagree with. Perhaps this court decision will motivate some North Koreans to burn down some Seoul buildings, or perhaps launch a few missiles at some South Korean homes or warships.

The 38-year-old Chinese national is now back in Shanghai. Japan Times and The Kankyoreh (Seoul)

Greek communities adopt local currency to enable bartering

A number of communities in Greece, led by the central Greek port city of Volos, are adopting a new ad-hoc local currency called the Tem ("Alternative Monetary Unit") to make it easier to barter goods and services in the face of the growing financial crisis. Thousands of people have joined the bartering network that uses the Tem currency. According to one mother of five who uses the currency:

"One Tem is the equivalent of one euro. My oil and soap came to 70 Tem and with that I bought oranges, pies, napkins, cleaning products and Christmas decorations. I've got 30 Tem left over. For women, who are worst affected by unemployment, and don't have kafeneia [coffeehouses] to go to like men, it's like belonging to a hugely supportive association."

The financial crisis is linked to a deflationary spiral that makes it hard for many people to obtain any currency (coins or bills), and this makes it difficult for ordinary people to barter goods and services. By introducing a new local currency, the "wheels of commerce are oiled," and bartering becomes a lot easier. This even has the effect of increasing employment, in the sense that people who work in this bartering network get paid in the available Tem currency, rather than in the unavailable euro currency. Guardian and BBC


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