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

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

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 innorthern 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 hasimposed a blockade, preventing food from being delivered from a campwith 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 andreligious violence is also increasing in Rakhine state in westernBurma, 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 seeingsomething very familiar. Burma’s last crisis war was an extremelybloody and genocidal civil war engulfing a number of ethnic groups inBurma. That war ended in 1958, so the time is approaching when thesurvivors of that war will all have disappeared, and a new bloodycivil war can begin. In the meantime, outbreaks of violence betweenethnic groups are on the increase, and there will be periods ofviolence alternating with periods of “truce,” until something finallytriggers 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 havebecome bare, as the two major suppliers of baby formula have becomeunable to keep up with the demand. The demand is coming from visitorsfrom China, who visit Australia, buy the formula in bulk, and take itback to China with them. China is apparently suffering a new panicrelated to the 2008 scandal, where thousands of babies got sickbecause milk producers added melamine, an industrial chemical used tomake plastics and fertilizer, to their milk products. (See “A generational view of China’s growing melamine food disaster” from 2008.) The melamine wasadded because it gave the appearance of higher protein levels ingovernment tests. Unfortunately, it also caused kidney stones andrenal problems and, in some cases, death. Now there’s a new surge ofconcern in China, and tourists are flocking to Australia to stock upon “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 HugoChávez vowed unity and blamed the United States for “lies andmanipulation, a campaign to try to create uncertainty.” According toVice President Nicolas Maduro, who will succeed Chávez if he dies:

“We are here more united than ever. And we have swornbefore comandante Hugo Chávez, and we reaffirmed to him today inour oath … that we would be united with our people. …

We know that the United States is where these manipulations arebeing managed. They think that their time has come. And we haveentered a kind of crazy hour of offensive by the right, here andinternationally.”

There is talk of government infighting, as questions arise whetherChávez will be fit to take the oath of office on January 10.Officials refused to discuss the health of Chávez, except to describeit as “stable” but “delicate.” It’s thought that Chávez is seriouslyill from a respiratory infection, following a complex cancer surgeryon 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 wasprepared by Democratic strategists in dark rooms and presented to theSenate for a vote before anyone even had a chance to read it. The lawraises everyone’s payroll tax, and brings in $600 billion in newtaxes, but adds $4 trillion to the deficit in new spending. Now thata couple of days have passed, blogger Matt Stoller has studied thebill to find some of the pork. Probably the most startling example is$1.6 billion in tax free financing for the new massive headquartersbuilding for Goldman Sachs. As we’ve pointed out many times, theObama administration refuses to investigate and prosecute any of thebankers responsible for the financial crisis, despite evidence ofmassive fraud, because these bankers made huge campaign contributionsto President Obama. Apparently giving big campaign contributions toObama not only excuses you from criminal prosecution for any crimes,leaving you free to go on and commit more crimes, but it also gets youbig 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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