Monday, October 5, 2009

President Obama Snubs the Dalai Lama

This is an outrage. It is also shocking. Is America in the back pocket of the Chinese? Is Barack a typical scoundrel politician? He is starting to look like a fraud. He ran as a candidate who would be different from other politicians. And he turns out to be just like the rest. This kowtowing will only encourage China to try and intimidate America. That endangers our survival:

US President Barack Obama was facing criticism he succumbed to Chinese pressure as the Dalai Lama opened his first visit to Washington in nearly two decades without a presidential meeting.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader was set Tuesday to receive an award at the US Capitol complex a day after arriving for a week-long visit to the US capital that will also feature sold-out public talks on spirituality.

But for the first time since 1991, when the globetrotting Buddhist monk held his first presidential meeting with George H.W. Bush, the White House declined talks with the Nobel Peace laureate.

Obama has sought broader ties with China, a major trade partner and biggest holder of the soaring US debt. China sent troops into Tibet in 1950 and in recent months has ramped up pressure on other nations to shun the Dalai Lama.

[...]Some supporters of the Dalai Lama were outraged by Obama's decision, fearing that China could interpret it as carte blanche to clamp down on dissent in the Himalayan territory.

"This is a strategic snub that sends the wrong message to Beijing and to China's religious communities and rights activists," said Leonard Leo, chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a non-partisan government panel.

"Tibetans are being harassed, tortured and jailed right now for simple devotion to the Dalai Lama," he said.

In an editorial Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal was aghast that Obama was willing to offend China by imposing tire tariffs but not meeting "a religious leader who has long been a friend to the US and an advocate of human rights."

"Perhaps the administration is hoping for a return favor from Beijing for snubbing the man Chinese leaders label a 'splittist' and a 'wolf in sheep's clothing,'" the conservative newspaper said.

"But rewarding China's bullying only encourages such tactics," it said.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet. The Dalai Lama espouses non-violence and says he is only seeking greater rights for Tibetans under Chinese rule.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly denied that the administration was downplaying human rights and said that Maria Otero, the US special coordinator on Tibet, would meet the Dalai Lama on his current trip.

"We've decided to meet with the Dalai Lama because of our respect for his position, for the fact that he is a revered spiritual leader," Kelly told reporters.

"Our position regarding China is clear, that we want to engage China. We think China is an important global player," Kelly said.

The Dalai Lama's entourage politely accepted Obama's decision.
NY Times:
In June, the White House informed the Dalai Lama that President Obama was committed to meeting him, but not until after he visits Beijing in November, a senior administration official said.

Greeting the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing condemns as a separatist, weeks before Mr. Obama’s first presidential trip to China could be “substantially damaging to the relationship,” said this official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the issue.

Some White House officials even worried that the Chinese might withdraw the invitation to Mr. Obama, the official said, though Beijing had not issued any direct or veiled threats that it would do so.

“We want to have a good U.S.-China relationship, not for its own sake, but because if we don’t, we won’t be able to help Tibet,” the senior official said. “If the Tibet relationship is seen as an irritant to the U.S.-China relationship, then that will cripple our ability to be of help.”

Every president since George H. W. Bush in 1991 has met the Dalai Lama when he came to Washington, usually in private encounters at the White House. In 2007, George W. Bush became the first president to welcome him publicly, bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal on him at the Capitol. Mr. Obama met the Dalai Lama as a senator.

UN: Norway is the Best Place to Live

U.S. is not number one:

Norway takes the number one spot in the annual United Nations human development index released Monday but China has made the biggest strides in improving the well-being of its citizens.

The index compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranks 182 countries based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Norway, Australia and Iceland took the first three spots while Niger ranks at the very bottom, just below Afghanistan.

China moved up seven places on the list to rank as the 92nd most developed country due to improvements in education as well as income.

[...] The top ten countries listed on the index are: Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.

The United States ranks 13th, down one spot from last year.
At least we turn the best scientists:
This year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to three scientists who have solved a major problem in biology: how the chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation. The Nobel Laureates have shown that the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes the telomeres -- and in an enzyme that forms them -- telomerase.

The long, threadlike DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, the telomeres being the caps on their ends. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. Carol Greider and Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase.
But the world is becoming a better place to live in:
How dire is the world's situation? So bad, says a leading Australian scientist, that the world will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than we have in the thousands of years since civilization began.

There have been dark predictions -- mostly wrong -- of worldwide food shortages before.

But this one comes from Megan Clark, the head of Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO. Clark is hardly a wild-eyed extremist; she is a former mining executive.

In a speech in Canberra last week, Clark said growing population will cause exponentially-rising demand, and a warming climate will make the challenge more difficult.

"It is hard for me to comprehend that in the next 50 years we will need to produce as much food as has been consumed over our entire human history," she said.

"That means in the working life of my children, more grain than ever produced since the Egyptians, more fish than eaten to date, more milk than from all the cows that have ever been milked on every frosty morning humankind has ever known."

The so-called green revolution of the last half-century had dramatic results on increasing food production: India alone doubled its wheat harvest from 1965 to 1972, and, as Clark noted, the world overall doubled its food output from 1960 to 2000.

Some parched countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have surprised the world and grown food even in the desert. In the 1970s -- fearful that other countries would retaliate for the 1973 oil embargo with grain embargoes -- the Saudis used their oil-drilling technology to tap deep aquifers. They have used the water to irrigate large swaths of desert.