Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gorbachev laments New World Order behind schedule

Source: Telegraph
Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the United States of mounting an imperialist conspiracy against Russia that could push the world into a new Cold War. With Dmitry Medvedev due to be inaugurated today as Russian president, the Soviet Union's last leader said that the White House's claims of peaceful intentions towards its former superpower rival could no longer be trusted.

Delivering one of his most scathing attacks on the US, Mr Gorbachev told The Daily Telegraph that a US military build-up was under way to contain a resurgent Russia.

From Nato's expansion plans in the former Soviet Union to Washington's proposals for a bigger defence budget and a missile shield in central Europe, the US was deliberately quashing hopes for permanent peace with Russia, Mr Gorbachev said. "We had 10 years after the Cold War to build a new world order and yet we squandered them," he said.

"The United States cannot tolerate anyone acting independently."Every US president has to have a war." The 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner's denunciation of the US mirrors the most belligerently anti-Western speeches of Vladimir Putin – who is said to consult Mr Gorbachev on foreign policy matters. Mr Putin may be switching jobs to become prime minister, but many expect him to remain the most powerful figure in Russian politics.

WTO says cannot solve food price crisis

Posted 12:05 pm EDT

— The World Trade Organization cannot conjure up a short-term solution to soaring food prices but a successful end to global trade talks would help in the longer term, the organization's chief said on Wednesday.

Staple food prices have risen more than 40 percent in the last year causing shortages, hoarding and riots in many developing countries and prompting the United Nations to warn of malnutrition and social unrest.

Many countries have responded to the high prices by imposing taxes and other restrictions on exports -- allowed under WTO rules -- to try to ensure adequate supplies at home.

Bangladesh said on Wednesday it had banned exports of non-aromatic rice for six months to secure domestic supplies.

Export bans by India and Vietnam, in addition to dwindling world stocks, have helped rice prices in Asia to treble this year, ringing alarm bells for policy makers struggling to rein in inflation.

Myanmar cyclone toll may top 100,000 : U.S. diplomat

Posted 2:05 pm EDT

— Myanmar's military government came under pressure on Wednesday to open its borders to international help after a devastating cyclone that a U.S. diplomat said may have killed more than 100,000 people.
The top U.N. humanitarian official urged Myanmar to waive visa restrictions for aid workers and customs clearance for goods which he said were slowing efforts to bring in disaster relief experts and supplies to help an estimated 1 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis.
A U.S. diplomat in Myanmar said diplomats there were receiving information that there could have been more than 100,000 deaths from the cyclone that smashed into coastal towns and villages in the rice-growing Irrawaddy delta southwest of Yangon.
"The information that we're receiving indicates that there may well be over 100,000 deaths in the delta area," Shari Villarosa, the charge d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Myanmar, told reporters on a conference call from Yangon.

Erupting Chilean volcano could spew ash for months

— Experts believe Chile's Chaiten volcano could continue belching out vast clouds of ash for months but distraught people evacuated from nearby towns say they yearn to return as soon as possible. Ash that has reached as far as Argentina continued to spew for a sixth day on Wednesday, disrupting flights to the southern Patagonia region with no sign of let-up.

"Everything is so uncertain," said Patricio Ide, 40, who was evacuated from the remote village of Chaiten to Puerto Montt, 125 miles away from the volcano.
"This could last a month, three months, maybe we can never return. We are so worried," the mechanic said through tears. A coating of ash over 6 inches thick has built up in places and has contaminated ground water supplies. Chaiten village can only be reached by boat or by air and the navy took people out aboard warships. The surprise eruption of the long dormant 3,280-foot (1,000-meter) Chaiten volcano has forced the evacuation within a 30 mile radius of the volcano, including more than 4,500 residents of Chaiten six miles from it.