13-Oct-11 World View — Saudi Arabia Says That Iran Must 'Pay The Price' For Assassination Attempt

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

* Burma (Myanmar) continues to become the ‘anti-China’

China and Burma ‘agree to cooperated’ on dam project

Saudi Arabia says that Iran must ‘pay the price’ for assassination attempt

China’s Mandarin language continues to lose popularity in favor of English

Burma (Myanmar) continues to become the ‘anti-China’


Burma's foreign minister (left) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart in a visit to Beijing on Tuesday (Xinhua)
Burma’s foreign minister (left) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart in a visit to Beijing on Tuesday (Xinhua)

The civilian government of Burma (Myanmar) has freed more than 180 political prisoners, as part of a general amnesty of 15,000 announced in May 2011. As we described in “3-Oct-11 News — Burma (Myanmar) suspends dam project in major break with China,” Burma is in a generational Unraveling era where the military government has been replaced by a civilian government, and restrictions on political expression are being loosened, though not nearly fast enough for many people. The 2007 massacre of peaceful protesters in the “88 Generation” is similar to China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, but Burma’s Unraveling era is taking a very different direction than China did. The suspension of the dam project indicates that Burma is turning away from China. The gradual moves toward greater political freedom may be a sign that the people of Burma want their country to be an “un-China” or “anti-China” in some sense. However, if there’s any sign of significant ethnic violence in Burma, then the new political freedom may be short-lived. BBC

China and Burma ‘agree to cooperated’ on dam project

According to China’s state-run news service,

“China and Myanmar on Monday agreed to properly settle matters related a suspended joint hydropower project in Myanmar, and both sides pledged to increase cooperation and work toward bringing mutual benefits to the two nations. …

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on bilateral relations and other issues of common concern, with both voicing commitments to push forward the bilateral comprehensive and strategic partnership in a bid to achieve joint development, said the press release.”

What’s remarkable about this news story is that it says absolutely nothing (it reminds me of Merkel and Sarkozy making a big announcement on Sunday that they had a plan to have a plan), and yet the article is extremely deferential to Burma. China seems afraid that they’re losing Burma as an ally. Xinhua

Saudi Arabia says that Iran must ‘pay the price’ for assassination attempt

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been deteriorating anyway, especially after the Saudis’ support for Bahrain’s government in cracking down on Shia protesters, earlier this year. (See “15-Mar-11 News — Bahrain uprising becomes explosive as Saudi troops arrive”) Now, the alleged scheme to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. has infuriated the Saudis. Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington, said Wednesday the evidence was “overwhelming” and “clearly shows official Iranian responsibility” for the plot. He indicated that Iran will ‘pay the price’ for its actions. VOA

China’s Mandarin language continues to lose popularity in favor of English

Education officials in China are becoming increasingly worried about the large-scale weakening of the language abilities of native speakers of Mandarin. Although China’s education system teaches Mandarin for 12 years from primary school to high school, more than 30% of college students fail tests that evaluate language abilities. There are two major factors that explain the withering popularity of Mandarin. First, more and more students have rushed to English traning classes, because better English can mean a higher salary. And second, the use of computers makes it unnecessary for students to learn how to write Chinese characters. According to one educator, every Chinese character is a light, but now many have dimmed. “We need to re-light them to provide us a guiding light.” Xinhua

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