World View: South Africa Racial Tensions Revived

World View: South Africa Racial Tensions Revived

This morning’s key headlines from

  • South Africa racial tensions revived with bloody mine workers confrontation
  • BBC’s Humphrey Hawksley scammed by HSBC bank
  • Japanese officials to visit disputed islands after ‘stunt’ by Chinese activists
  • China protests visit by Japanese nationalists to disputed islands

South Africa racial tensions revived with bloody mine workers confrontation

 At least 34 people were killed, 78 injured and over 200 peoplearrested on Thursday in a confrontation between police using liveammunition and protesting mine workers at the Lonmin Marikana platinummine in South Africa. Two of the dead are policemen, and policeclaimed that they were defending themselves from striking miners whowere carrying sticks and machetes. The entire country is shocked bythe incident, because it recalls the “Sharpeville Massacre” of March21, 1960, when white policemen fired at a crowd of black protesters,killing 69.

Thursday’s incident does not involve white vs black violence, but itinvolves racial violence nonetheless. The strike was called by therock drillers, who earn the lowest pay (about $500 per month) andperform the hardest and most dangerous job, and who are mostly fromthe Basotho tribe, immigrants from the country Lesotho. The betterpaying and safer jobs are done by groups from the elite Xhosa tribe.The rock drillers are asking that their pay be tripled, to around$1500 per month. Independent Online (Cape Town) and BBC

BBC’s Humphrey Hawksley scammed by HSBC bank

This is from the blog of BBC commentator Humphrey Hawksley:

“I have just looked too closely into a regularlyrenewed household insurance policy run by HSBC and uncovered anunderbelly of the life of a British consumer.

The premium was increased by 100 per cent without notice orexplanation. The policy which I thought was with HSBC had beenoutsourced to Premium Scanner which had re-outsourced it to BDMLwhich is owned by Capita. The insurance company is Prestige whichon the Internet has a telephone number in Spain. A premium chargeis made on the 0845 number which begins with a lengthy ramblingmessage. But this is not stated and the staff do not know what thecharge is. In my first call to an rival insurance company, I wasquoted less than half the HSBC premium for twice as muchcover. HSBC claims to ‘search the most competitive price from ourpanel of insurers.’

In two hours of household admin this morning, I have foundhundreds of pounds in small bills here and there that are beingwrongly charged.”

As we reported in July, HSBCHoldings is the largest bank in Europe, and has admitted to criminalmoney-laundering. In today’s society, where fraud and extortion arerampant, it pays to check everything. Humphrey Hawksley

China protests visit by Japanese nationalists to disputed islands

A flotilla of 20 ships carrying about 150 Japanese nationalists andeight lawmakers arrived Sunday on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, whosesovereignty is claimed by both China and Japan. The flotilla visitcomes just days after Japan’s coast guard arrested, and then released,a group of 15 Chinese activists from Hong Kong who visited the sameislands to establish China’s sovereignty. China issued a strongprotest about the visit on Saturday. The flotilla visit was sponsoredby Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government and not approved by the Japanesegovernment. Some of the Japanese nationalists plan to fish in thedisputed waters to try to catch their breakfast. Reuters and Xinhua and Asahi (Tokyo)

Although China appears to be using its vast military power to enforceclaims against practically everything in the Pacific Ocean and centralAsia, there is quite a big difference between the status of theSenkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea and the Paracel andSpratly islands in the South China Sea. As we’ve reported, China hasestablished “Sansha City” in the South China Sea, along with amilitary force that apparently plans to kill anyone that challengesChina’s claims to the entire South China Sea. But China can’t reallydo something similar with the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The reason isthat, in 2010, Hillary Clinton reaffirmed that the Senkaku/Diaoyu areconsidered Japanese territory under the mutual defense treaty that theUnited States and Japan signed in 1960. Thus, the Senkaku/Diaoyuislands have the same status as Taiwan. China claims both as theirsovereign territory, and we’re obligated to go to war with China todefend either of them.

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