A Tibetan monk get his face painted in preparation for protests against the Delhi torch relay (Mustafa Quraishi/AP)

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Tibet is one thing, but India and China tensions spell bigger disaster

Tibet is one thing, but India and China tensions spell bigger disaster

Few of his contemporaries think of George Walker Bush as a visionary American president, unless they are using the term to imply a touch of madness. Yet early in his second term Bush launched a bold initiative to try to establish closer American ties with India, the world’s biggest democracy, in what may eventually be judged by historians as a move of great strategic importance and imagination.

It recognised the fact that while Al-Qaeda and its cohorts pose the biggest short-term and perhaps medium-term challenge to America, in the long term it is the expected shift in the world’s economic and political balance towards Asia that promises to have the greatest significance.

That is why this month’s events in Tibet, as well as the purchase by India’s Tata Motors of Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford, need to be seen in a wider context.

Bush, meanwhile, has managed to cast aside 40 years of hostility and suspicion between America and India – and even agreed to start collaborating over nuclear energy – in the hope of strengthening India and its economy. And all for a special reason: the rise of China.

Economists at Goldman Sachs reckon that if China carries on with pro-growth policies and manages its economy reasonably well, it could overtake the United States as the world’s biggest economy as soon as the late 2020s. By 2050 India might also have overtaken the United States if it pursues vigorous economic reforms in this decade and beyond. India, at present the world’s 11th-largest economy, has long been thought of as a laggard compared with China: good at information technology and outsourcing but incapable of the sort of manufacturing that has powered China’s economic emergence.

That is changing. These days India is beginning to follow the Chinese model with investment soaring as a share of GDP, with trade booming and with manufacturing expanding faster than services. Its biggest companies, of which the Tata Group is in the lead, are achieving global reach, capabilities and prominence far faster than their Chinese counterparts.

If a Chinese car maker had sought to buy Jaguar and Land Rover, it would almost certainly have encountered opposition in America’s Congress – but India, unlike China, is seen as an ally.

India, however, needs help in financing the construction of its roads, airports and power plants and it needs help with technology. In fact, it is already being helped by Japan – egged on by America – with its infrastructure financing. And Bush’s civil nuclear deal was aimed at providing the technology that India desperately needs.

So even if the dates and figures in forecasts such as Goldman’s are wrong, Asia is going to get richer and stronger, probably for a long time to come. The reason why Tibet and Tata come into the picture is that the rise of Asia is not just going to pit Asia against the West. It is going to pit Asians against Asians. This is the first time in history when there have been three powerful countries in Asia at the same time: China, India and Japan. That might not matter if they liked each other or were somehow naturally compatible. But they do not and are not. Far from it, in fact.

An array of disputes, historical bitternesses and regional flashpoints weigh down on all three countries. Conflict is not inevitable but nor is it inconceivable. If it were to occur – over Taiwan, say, or the Korean peninsula or Tibet or Pakistan – it would not simply be an intra-Asian affair. The outside world would be drawn in.

Such a conflict could break out suddenly. This month’s unrest in Tibet has shown just how volatile China can be – and how easily one of those flashpoints could cause international tension.

In 1962 China and India fought a border war that humiliated India and left an enduring legacy of bitterness and suspicion. Both countries are now increasing their military spending and trying to modernise their armed forces.

The border dispute remains unresolved.

China claims an entire Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh, which borders southern Tibet and is roughly the size of Portugal. India claims that China is occupying 15,000 square miles of what is rightfully India – in Aksai Chin, an almost uninhabited plateau high in the Himalayas.

You can see these disputes as relics of colonialism. They involve two areas of limited strategic importance which, while large, are not heavily populated and do not as far as we know contain hugely valuable mineral resources. The other way to view these disputes is that they are not about specific border demarcations at all. In truth, they are about Tibet.

China invaded Tibet in October 1950 and annexed it to Mao Tse-tung’s newly declared people’s republic. The Chinese say that Tibet had historically been part of China since the 13th century. But in practice the reason why it is now an “autonomous region” within China – that is, run by the Chinese Communist party – is that it is on the eastern side of the Himalayas. Strategically, China feels safer with the world’s highest mountain range as its border.

In the early 1950s China encroached on Aksai Chin in order to build a strategic road connecting Tibet and its eastern province of Xinjiang. In 1958-9 it brutally suppressed a substantial uprising by armed Tibetans, some of whom had been supplied and trained by either the CIA or India. Afterwards China proposed a border settlement that would have involved India giving up Aksai Chin and all hope of regaining influence over Tibet. Naturally the proposal was rejected.

In 1960-2 India tried to push forward its military positions in the disputed areas. China responded with attacks that left 3,000 Indians dead. Beijing had taught Delhi a lesson: India should not mess with China and its control over Tibet. Only a fool would challenge China’s control over that region now and India formally recognised in 2003 that Tibet is part of China.

On the face of it the two sides have since made progress. A border crossing was opened to trade in 2006 for the first time since the war. That year, however, the Chinese ambassador to Delhi caused outrage by publicly emphasising that China claims the whole of Arunachal Pradesh.

Ten months ago a “confidence-building” visit to China by more than 100 Indian officials had to be cancelled after China acted in a typically provocative way: it refused to grant a visa to a member of the Indian delegation from Arunachal Pradesh on the grounds that he was Chinese and did not need one.

It is conventional to assume that the disputed areas are no longer flashpoints but just irritatingly unfinished business. Which is largely right – provided there is no substantial uprising by Tibetans against being ruled by the Chinese. But that, of course, is exactly what began to occur on March 14, when Tibetans celebrated the anniversary of their 1959 uprising by launching the most violent and destructive riots since that date. Not surprisingly, the Chinese authorities stamped out the protests efficiently and brutally.

It was an embarrassing event to have taken place in the year of the Beijing Olympics, that great celebration of China’s emergence as a modern nation. But it is also a harbinger of trouble to come.

Why? Because a further possible trigger for Tibetan unrest lies ahead: the death of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, or, rather, the choice of his successor. In Tibet the Buddhist monasteries are the closest things to an alternative organising force to the Communist party. The Dalai Lama has not only traditionally been the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism but in practice the political leader, too. He has lived in exile in Dharamsala in India since 1959, but remains the focus of Tibetan identity and memory.

He will be 73 this year and, inevitably, thoughts have been turning to what happens when he dies. In Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that the Dalai Lama is reincarnated – which means that after his death there will be a search for the child who will be his successor. It often takes several years before agreement is reached on who that successor should be.

Whenever the next succession takes place there will be three extra complications. The first is that in 2007 China announced new regulations to govern the reincarnation of all Tibetan clergy: it has said it will have the last word in determining whether someone has been reincarnated. In other words, atheist party officials will govern Tibetan spiritual decisions.

In response, the Dalai Lama said he was considering naming his chosen successor before he dies. But – and this is the second complication – he has also said he will not be reincarnated in land under Chinese control. So if his followers abide by that statement they will not accept any successor who has been found inside China.

The third complication is that traditionally the second ranking lama, the Panchen Lama, has played a central role in choosing the new Dalai Lama. But after the previous Panchen Lama died in China in 1989, two successors were chosen: one by the Dalai Lama’s selection committee; the other by a selection committee imposed by China. The Dalai Lama’s choice was arrested. His whereabouts is unknown but he is thought to be a political prisoner.

If – or when – the Tibetans are faced with a dispute over the successor to their spiritual leader, serious unrest could break out. The likelihood is that China would crack down hard on Tibet, as it always has in the past and as it did this month. But if the unrest were more widespread and substantial than before, and if it coincided with a period when the central Chinese government was weak – in the wake of an economic downturn, perhaps – then it may be hard to regain control.

At such a time, unrest might break out all around China, making it harder simply to crack down in Tibet alone.

Two risks could then arise. One, admittedly unlikely, is that in the face of Chinese repression, perhaps involving the wholesale slaughter of Tibetan militants, India might feel obliged to do something: to send aid, agitate for collective international intervention or even to try to create safe havens near Arunachal Pradesh.

The other risk is that either China or India might decide to send a military force into the disputed border areas. That might be a diversionary tactic; it might be opportunism, in India’s case; it might reflect China’s sense of insecurity about Tibet; or it might be a Chinese effort to seize Tawang, an area of Arunachal Pradesh directly associated with Tibet and with Tibetan Buddhism. If any of these events occurred, the stakes would be high.

Remember: this is part of a greater Asian drama that is going to be a permanent feature of world affairs and arguably the most important single determinant of whether or not those affairs proceed peacefully and prosperously.

There are two different images of how Asia might look in 2020: the first could be termed “plausible pessimism” and the second called “credible optimism”.

The plausibly pessimistic view begins with the risk that China will suffer a bruising recession and asset-price collapse, perhaps exacerbated by a recession in the United States. This will lead to public pressure for political reform, posing the biggest challenge to Communist party rule since Tiananmen in 1989. That pressure will again be violently rebuffed and the party will accentuate its nationalist credentials in order to retain its grip on power.

Such a nationalist move would produce increased tension with Japan, a reduction in cooperation with the United States over North Korea and a spate of mutual truculence between China and India.

In these awkward times the deaths of Kim Jong-il of North Korea and the Dalai Lama could both occur, prompting China to install a new military government in Pyongyang, to reject proposals for unification of the peninsula and to use brutal methods to suppress an uprising by Buddhist monks in Tibet.

What would Japan do? If it became even more worried about North Korea and China, it would revise its constitution to permit expanded military capabilities. Then there is Taiwan, which would be an ever-present worry over an imminent conflict between China, Japan and America. There could even be a short, exploratory exchange of fire over that very issue.

The warm glow of the 2008 Beijing Olympics would be remembered only through a thick smog of tension.

Now look on the brighter side. The credibly optimistic view is that by 2020 China’s economy could be at least three times larger than it is today; the same could well apply to India as it uses its rising tax revenues to build modern infrastructure and a proper system of primary and secondary education.

Japan, with more market-oriented reforms and a corporate sector galvanised by the prospect of Chinese competition, could experience a productivity surge similar to that enjoyed by the United States during the 1990s, enabling it to become more confident in international affairs.

In such a climate China, Japan and India would work together to build pan-Asian institutions within which to manage their disputes and differences. When the North Korean regime collapses and the Dalai Lama passes away, their first instinct would be to talk and exchange ideas rather than to act unilaterally.

The introduction of the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive by universal suffrage, a step made possible by this harmonious atmosphere, could increase interest in the use of democracy in China itself. The emerging Chinese middle class, irritated by its rising tax burden and lack of political rights, would put pressure on the Communist party through protests and through the media to follow Hong Kong’s example.

The party’s fifth and sixth generations of leaders might decide it was time to make concessions, reasoning that they could repeat the success of Japan’s Liberal Democratic party and maintain power even in a multi-party system. The first elections would be called late in the 21st century’s second decade or early in the third.

Clearly, whether the pessimistic or optimistic scenario prevails, what is happening in Tibet does not stand in isolation. The stakes in Asia are enormous – for all of us.

Olympic torch relay ends peacefully at India Gate

Olympic torch relay ends peacefully at India Gate

Guarded by as many as 17,000 security personnel, the Beijing Olympic torch was taken through a 2.3 km stretch in the Capital on Thursday with Tibetans protesting in various places in the country.

For over five hours, the majestic Rajpath was turned into a security fortress with the Prime Minister's office and Ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Finance lining the torch route from Rashtrapati Bhavan shut down.

The truncated run that lasted for about 40 minutes was smooth and incident free.

With a three-layered security ring akin to Republic Day arrangements in place, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit handed over the Olympic flame to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi after it was lit by vice-chairman of Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, Jiang Yu, with the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan forming the backdrop.

'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh, one of India's greatest athletes, had the honour to lead the relay before the torch changed hands with nearly 70 celebrites including sportsmen, film stars and politicians taking short runs culminating at the India gate.

Sportsmen Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Aslam Sher Khan, Dhanraj Pillay, Zafar Iqbal, Wilson Cherian, Khazan Singh, K Malleswari, K Kunjurani, Bishen Singh Bedi were among others who took part in the event. Bollywood was represented by Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan.

Around 60 Tibetans were detained as they attempted to block roads and entered into minor clashes with police in various parts of the city.

The public was kept out and all the access roads to the historic stretch was cut off for several hours to ensure a smooth passage of the torch relay which was earlier plagued by disruptions.

Guarded by as many as 17,000 security personnel, the Beijing Olympic torch was taken through a 2.3 km stretch in the Capital on Thursday with Tibetans protesting in various places in the country.

For over five hours, the majestic Rajpath was turned into a security fortress with the Prime Minister's office and Ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Finance lining the torch route from Rashtrapati Bhavan shut down.

The truncated run that lasted for about 40 minutes was smooth and incident free.

With a three-layered security ring akin to Republic Day arrangements in place, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit handed over the Olympic flame to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi after it was lit by vice-chairman of Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, Jiang Yu, with the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan forming the backdrop.

'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh, one of India's greatest athletes, had the honour to lead the relay before the torch changed hands with nearly 70 celebrites including sportsmen, film stars and politicians taking short runs culminating at the India gate.

Sportsmen Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Aslam Sher Khan, Dhanraj Pillay, Zafar Iqbal, Wilson Cherian, Khazan Singh, K Malleswari, K Kunjurani, Bishen Singh Bedi were among others who took part in the event. Bollywood was represented by Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan.

Around 60 Tibetans were detained as they attempted to block roads and entered into minor clashes with police in various parts of the city.

The public was kept out and all the access roads to the historic stretch was cut off for several hours to ensure a smooth passage of the torch relay which was earlier plagued by disruptions

Security of the Olympic Flame in India

Security of the Olympic Flame in India

Vinod Anand
Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic Studies and Simulation, United Service Institute of India, New Delhi

Recent events in Olympia, Greece where the Olympic Torch lighting ceremony was disturbed by Tibetans wishing to draw attention to their cause has implications for the security of the Torch Relay passing through Delhi. Further, in the light of violent Tibetan protests and storming of the Chinese embassy in Delhi urgency has been added to organizing foolproof security for the event in Delhi. National Security Adviser, MK Narayanan, has promised that, "We will provide all possible arrangements to ensure that the Olympic torch travels through India peacefully." Earlier the torch relay was to be held in Mumbai, but due to "logistical and operational reasons," the venue had to be shifted to Delhi. However, it is apparent that the major factors that weighed on the minds of the Indian Olympic Association were security considerations.

The two main events in India which require huge logistical, operational and security efforts are the Independence Day speech delivered by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15 August and the Republic Day Parade on 26 January every year along the Rajpath-India Gate-Red Fort route. Generally, this would be the route (less Rajpath) along which the Olympic Torch Relay would be taken, but in the reverse direction. The level of security for the Relay is not likely to be at the same level as the above events. For Republic Day, massive security arrangements involving 200 companies of the Delhi Police, National Security Guard, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and other Security and paramilitary forces are made for providing enhanced security. All entry points into Delhi are manned by police pickets to prevent the entry of undesirable elements. Air defence cover is also provided to thwart any air threat. In addition helicopters are employed for air surveillance of the parade route. Though Delhi has suffered many terror attacks, any untoward incident has been avoided so far during the two major national events because of these massive security and administrative arrangements. The Olympic torch relay in Delhi is an international event and all efforts need to be made to avoid any embarrassment to the Indian government.

Some security measures have already been put into place for the event. The Route for the last Olympic Torch Relay in New Delhi in June 2004 was from Qutub Minar in South Delhi to India Gate/National Stadium, a distance of approximately 21kms. Now, since the distance has been reduced to 9kms the requirements of security arrangements would be less, and greater security can be provided with the same resources. Further, in June 2004, 105 participants had taken part in the Relay but only 80 participants would be taking part this time. The time taken from start to finish of the Relay would be two hours, which is considerably less than the last time, thus reducing the risk-exposure time. Interestingly, Tibetan organzations have approached Aamir Khan and other prominent participants to refrain from participating in the Olympic Torch Relay as a mark of protest against human rights violations by China.

Special emphasis on anti-sabotage checks, access control and intelligence coordination are needed. The entire route from Red Fort to India Gate needs to be covered by a special security cordon and anti-terrorist arrangements. Coordination between the Army, Intelligence Bureau and other security forces must be instituted much in advance, and regular checks would be mandatory a few weeks before the event. A large number of Commandos should be mobilized from the Delhi Police and the ITBP and a number of Mobile Hit Teams (Quick Reaction Teams/Force in military parlance) as well as Sniper Teams of the National Security Guard should be deployed. After the termination of the Relay Run a Cultural Programme of approximately two hours duration has been organized. A dress rehearsal for the security, traffic and administrative arrangements for the cultural event had already been organized on 6 January when a Cultural Programme on 1000 days to the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 was organized.

In addition to the likely threat to the disruption of the torch relay by Tibetan groups, there is also a threat from terrorist groups like the Lakskar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Besides the NSA, both the Home Minister and Foreign Minister have assured the Chinese that the passage of the Olympic flame through Delhi would be safe. Despite the many politico-diplomatic differences between India and China on the Tibetan issue and controversies surrounding it, India is obliged to ensure the smooth conduct of the event which is of a non-political nature.

Chinese students to escort Olympic flame

Chinese students to escort Olympic flame

Tue, Apr 15 01:18 PM

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Over a dozen Chinese college students are expected to act as escorts for the Olympic flame when the torch comes here Thursday from Islamabad, but no decision has yet been taken on involving Chinese security personnel, an official source said.

'Negotiations are still on between the Indian and Chinese sides on the details of the security arrangement for the torch relay,' the source told IANS.

Beijing has proposed 16 of its own security personnel guard the torch procession, but New Delhi is not keen to involve them. A decision on this issue is likely to be taken Tuesday night, the source said.

India has made it clear to China that ensuring security of the Olympic torch in the country is its responsibility.

It has also conveyed that, being a democracy, it can't stop Tibetans from holding protests, but will ensure that they do not come anywhere close to the torch procession.

Chinese personnel formed part of the security cover for the torch relay legs through Paris and London, which were disrupted by pro-Tibet protesters.

China is anxious about the safety of the New Delhi leg of the Olympic torch relay, especially after Tibetan activists infiltrated the Chinese embassy compound following the reported crackdown on Tibetan protesters in Lhasa last month.

The relay here was originally slated to be from the Red Fort to India Gate. The route has been truncated from nearly nine kilometres to a little over two kilometres. It will now start at Rashtrapati Bhawan and end at India Gate, in the heart of the capital.

Protests by Tibetans against the Chinese crackdown in Tibet and the attempts at disruptions in London and Paris have forced the Indian government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to make changes in both the route as well as the people to be invited for the relay.

The IOA has kept the list of sportspersons and celebrities who will take part in the Olympic Torch relay in the capital Thursday a closely guarded secret.

IOA president Suresh Kalmadi is expected to announce the names of the runners on the eve of the relay.

Initially, some 80 names were selected for the run, but uncertainty over the route and security concerns made some of the sportsmen and women excuse themselves.

The list has now been pruned to almost half the original 80. Some names still doing the rounds include those of cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, as well as film star Aamir Khan. The runners are expected to include brand ambassadors of sponsors of the Beijing Olympics, like Samsung, Lenovo and Coca Cola.

Beijing Olympic flame reaches India

Beijing Olympic flame reaches India
+ -
11:28, April 17, 2008

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The Beijing Olympic flame arrived in New Delhi in the early morning of Thursday on the second leg of its relay in Asia as it makes its way to Beijing.

The Olympic flame, carried in a specially-designed lantern on a chartered plane, was flied to New Delhi from Islamabad, Pakistan.

Upon arrival, the Olympic flame and the whole delegation were welcomed by a cheering crowd, among whom are President of India Olympic Committee Kalmandi and Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan.

Jiang Xiaoyu (L in front), executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG), displays the lantern which holds the Olympic flame together with Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi (R in front) upon arrival in New Delhi, capital of India, April 17, 2008. New Delhi is the 11th leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay global tour outside the Chinese mainland.

The flame delegation is headed by Jiang Xiaoyu, vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee of Olympic Games, who carried the flame lantern. A Indian girl offered a bunch of flowers to Jiang.

The Olympic torch relay, the first time for New Delhi, will start Thursday afternoon along three-kilometer-long Raji Path between the Indian Gate and the Indian Presidential Palace. 70 torch bearers will take part in the relay.

Another US Congress committee holds steroids hearings: Uniform testing laws?

Another US Congress committee holds steroids hearings: Uniform testing laws?

The AP publishes this lenghty article on Rep Bobby Rush's "House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection" hearings, which invited America's sports leagues chiefs.

Image511852x Some members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection used Wednesday's hearing to express doubts that the leagues have done enough since a similar session before the same subcommittee in 2005. Several called for a federal law to legislate drug testing for all the major professional sports.

"Let's get it right this time. ... Let's go ahead and get something into law that is acceptable," Texas Republican Joe Barton said. "It's no fun having this hearing every two to three years."...

There were no players at Wednesday's hearing. Instead, the commissioners sat side-by-side with their sport's union chiefs: Bud Selig was inches away from Donald Fehr; Stern was next to Hunter. Then there was the NFL's Roger Goodell and Gene Upshaw, and the NHL's Gary Bettman and Paul Kelly.

The NBA's David Stern disagreed with PED testing mandates:

No, thank you, said Stern, who twice interrupted lawmakers to cite the progress made by all four leagues since the 2005 hearing through collective bargaining with their respective unions. He and the other witnesses also cautioned against a one-size-fits-all law that would apply to their very divergent sports.

"Federal legislation in this area is not necessary for the NBA," Stern said. "Nor do I believe that a uniform, federally mandated approach to drug testing for all sports leagues would be appropriate."

(more on the issues after the jump)

"In spite of the fact that they want to pronounce that they have it under control, I still think that it's not fully under control," said the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. "And we have to do more."

The committee should consider sports frauds law -- that would protect the consumer.

Continue reading "Another US Congress committee holds steroids hearings: Uniform testing laws?" »

Cops on 'roids present big problems

Cops on 'roids present big problems

Lately the sports world water calmed down, just in time for the political storms to blow in. However, another group of roid users -- law enforcement -- now grabs the headlines. (see companion story on federal authorities looking at cops on 'roids)

The Tennessee Highway Patrol announced an investigation of THP troopers engaged in steroid use or trafficking.

202cops001 The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating allegations of troopers using or selling steroids, a spokesman says.

Mike Browning said Monday night an internal investigation is under way into the accusations.

"It's based on allegations that came to us," he said. "We take it seriously."

A similar investigation at the Metro Nashville Police Department led to temporary disciplinary action this year against three officers, who were stripped of their badges and guns.

A Michigan grand jury indicted four policemen and a biker for a steroids trafficking ring in the Detroit area.

Four police officers and a member of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club (HMG) have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges ranging from lying to federal agents, lying to a grand jury, and committing various drug offenses.

In addition, a formal criminal complaint was filed against Detroit area attorney Lee O’Brien for lying to federal agents. All charges arose from an FBI investigation that resulted in the indictment of over forty HMG members and associates last year.

David Tomlan, a Garden City police officer, was brought to the attention of the FBI by the Garden City Police Department after they discovered he had become an HMG member. Tomlan’s employment with the police department has since been terminated.

Miami police arrested a Miami police officer for purchasing steroids through the Internet.

Miami Officer John I. Fedak, a U.S. Marine reservist who recently completed a tour in Iraq, has been arrested on charges of buying steroids through the mail, police said.

He is the third Miami officer arrested this week...

Fedak, 26, was cuffed late Wednesday, charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Miami internal affairs investigators ''received information'' that Fedak, six-foot-two, 175 pounds, had been buying steroids for his own use.

Detectives teamed up with Miami-Dade police, the FBI and U.S. postal inspectors to send a phony delivery -- a package containing four vials of steroids -- to Fedak's home.

Fedak, knowing the package contained steroids, signed for the delivery and was arrested, according to his arrest report.

The Village Voice reviews the recent New York police steroid busts:

While NYPD officials boast about what they claim is a steady drop in crime on the streets, crimes committed by cops may be on the upswing.

In the past couple of years, the city's cops have not only been caught up in steroids investigations, like the one revolving around Lowen's Pharmacy in Bay Ridge; they've also been nabbed for running a Canada-to-Long-Island dope ring, stealing guns from their evidence rooms and selling them, providing muscle for an Albanian stick-up crew, pimping out teenaged girls, ratting out their own department to gangster pals, and stealing drugs to give to their informants.

Ouch. Does anyone want policemen, who carry deadly force to be increasing their aggressiveness by 'roiding? Seems the world has gone goofy.



This year, another doping scandal has hit the famous cycling event, the Tour de France. Last year, the superstar Floyd Landis was disgraced when he was accused of doping with testosterone. He initially claimed to have the same problem faced by others like the notorious blogger, Dr. Urs Truly, namely, an un-naturally high level of testosterone that is considered impermissible by society.
Doping is, as all of us know, the taking of prohibited substances that can enhance performances in sports. These include blood, blood producing substance Erythropoietin, anabolic steroids, diuretics, and so many more.
The first recorded case of doping was in the eighth century BC when Ancient Greek Olympians ate Ram’s testicles (ouch!), thereby getting a fix of testosterone, presumably. Through the centuries, countless other cases took place, including the historic dethroning of Canadian Ben Johnson who won the 100m sprints in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Guilty of doping Stanazolol (an anabolic steroid), Johnson was disgraced and replaced by Carl Lewis. And let us not forget that Shane Warne, the legendary Aussie leg spinner lost one year, for doping diuretics.
Why the blog, you wonder?
Because, simply put, I think the world is wrong. I think there is nothing essentially wrong with taking performance-enhancing drugs. In a way, every athlete does try this when he eats loads of proteins and vitamins, which could enhance performance. Anyone can get stimulated by a cup of coffee, for another example. Or feel less pain with a painkiller or a shot of alcohol. There are many agents with potential adverse effects on the consumer’s health that are banned from use. Every sports agency in the world prohibits doping. And every year, great athletes test positive, get disgraced, and fade away, never to be seen or heard again.
What is essentially wrong if performance is enhanced? It may give an unfair advantage to the user, perhaps, though I am not aware of any scientifically conducted trials that prove this. It is, therefore, possible that these drugs are thought to be enhancers, but not actually so. In effect, this means that those great athletes who have been banished from the honor roll of history may not actually have committed any crime at all, beyond breaking a rule. Big effing deal!
Contrary to popular belief, drug intake may actually affect health negatively and cause weakness. Try taking a diuretic, and feel the difference! Left to themselves, once science disproves the notion that additives are of no use, athletes will not use them. Contrarily, once specific drugs are proven to be enhancers, everyone would use them.
There is, in my mind, no other moral locus standi to banning these drugs other than a cry for equal opportunity and egalitarianism, all catchwords for not allowing people to scale the heights possible to mankind. For an interesting article, look here. Look at countries that have sophisticated training centers, psychologists and sports physiologists: don’t their sportsmen do better than Indian and Bangladeshi athletes? Should we bring their preparation down to our level so that there be ‘fair’ competition? When they eat loads of meat and fruits, are the athletes not artificially pumping in iron, proteins, minerals and vitamins? Then why the hypocrisy of disallowing sportsmen from taking drugs that would (at least theoretically) take sports performances to a new level?
Do the top honchos of these Olympic Associations not take Viagra at a big night out (or in)? Why, is that not performance enhancement??

'Dope-free' pigs bred for the 2008 Olympics


'Dope-free' pigs bred for the 2008 Olympics

To avoid accidental false positives in doping tests for the next Olympic Games, China is breeding special all-natural pigs in secret, under video surveillance.

Friday, September 7, 2007

With 11 months to go before the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese authorities have engaged the help of "honourable" pigs (an ironic term given by Chinese bloggers). China is determined to put on a successful Olympic Games. The slogan "I participate, I am devoted, I rejoice" on enormous posters lining Beijing's main thouroughfare Chan'An Jie invites everyone to participate - civil servants, workers, taxi drivers, restarauteurs, cleaners, citizens, and now, even the pigs.

According to a report published at the end of August in Xinjing Bao, one of Beijing's largest official daily papers, these biologically-raised pigs receive very special treatment: they are raised in carefully selected parks throughout the country, far from all forms of pollution - far from big cities, transportation lines, and especially industrial zones and mines.

They are fed with agricultural products certified by the European Union as being organic and free of additives. Additives often found in normal pigs in China could potentially cause an athlete to fail his doping test, says Niu Nansheng, spokesman for Lucky Crane, a company providing pork for the Games, in an interview with the Financial Times.

In addition, the pigs are given vaccines made with traditional, 100% natural Chinese medicinal plants. And - they do sports. Every day, the pigs are required to do at least two hours of exercise in fresh air, to ensure that they will be fit by the time the Olympic athletes arrive next year. To ensure the safety of the pigs, the Chinese government is keeping their whereabouts secret. Not only are these parks under video surveillance, but they are also under 24-hour protection by security professionals.

"We are on a political mission. And for a political mission, one never speaks of cost," explains Niu Nansheng. News of the pig's special treatment sparked waves of criticism among Chinese Internet users. On the forum "Douban", where young people exchange opinions on books and articles, one can find numerous commentaries on the government's precautions in the lead-up to the Games. "All those close to the government live more happily than others - even the pigs!" writes one Internet user. “The beautifual image of a country rests neither on the Olympic Games, nor on pigs," mocks another. On the forum “11 persons”, a poem in slang circulates, “We Chinese people have to offer a great meal to our foreign friends even if we have to live without shorts ourselves. We Chinese people are diverting steel from our precision instruments in order to make window frames for our foreign friends”.

Doping probe of Greek weightlifters launched

Doping probe of Greek weightlifters launched

Prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into the alleged use of banned substances by 11 Greek weightlifters, judicial officials said Monday.

The athletes' suspended coach, meanwhile, blamed a mistake by a Chinese drug maker for the positive tests.

Olympic weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou, one of Greece's most successful coaches, was suspended on Friday after 11 Greek weightlifters tested positive for banned substances. Olympic weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou, one of Greece's most successful coaches, was suspended on Friday after 11 Greek weightlifters tested positive for banned substances.
(Newsports, File/Associated Press)

The probe, headed by prosecutor Andreas Karaflos, was announced as Greek sporting authorities began an emergency meeting and weightlifting team's preparations for the Beijing Olympics were thrown into turmoil.

Sports Minister Yiannis Ioannidis summoned the heads of the country's main sporting federations and representatives of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

"We are interested in winning medals, but medals that have been earned with hard work and training," Ioannidis said.

Ioannidis told Associated Press Television News that "I think it is not likely" that Greek weightlifters will compete in the Olympics, but that the International Weightlifting Federation will make the final decision.

Olympic weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou, who was suspended Friday, denied any wrongdoing and blamed the test results on a faulty batch of dietary supplements.

"Neither the athletes nor the team officials and pharmacologists or Mr. Iakovou, knew that the dietary supplements being taken contained any banned substances," Iakovou said in a statement — adding that he was "devastated" by the allegations.

Iakovou, 60, is one of Greece's most successful coaches with his athletes winning five Olympic gold medals, along with five silver and two bronze, since the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Iakovou's lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, said Monday he had received documents from a Chinese drug maker admitting it had made a mistake and shipped the wrong drugs to Greece.

"The company admits it has made a tragic mistake … I have the documents. I don't think there is stronger proof than this," Dimitrakopoulos said.

Dimitrakopoulos named the company as Auspure Biotechnology Co. Ltd., a Shanghai-based drug maker.

The names of the male and female weightlifters who tested positive have not been announced pending confirmation — expected later this week — of the out-of-competition test from samples taken on March 7.

On Sunday, all 11 athletes testified before an investigative committee set up by the Greek Weightlifting Federation.

The tests were conducted in Athens by the World Anti-Doping Agency, on orders of the International Weightlifting Federation.

campaigning to end the export of domestic dogs to China

Just cam across a website at Sirius Global Animal Organisation where I found the pictures below. I knew that in some Asian countries it is normal to eat dogs and cats but the pictures made me absolutely mad! This is not normal and it actually made me sick just looking at the pictures and reading the story.
There are actually western countries who sell dogs to China, Vietnam and Korea.
Go to the above website and sign their petition at (Sirius GAO) campaigning to end the export of domestic dogs to China
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Greece to toughen doping laws

Greece to toughen doping laws

Suspended Greek weightlifting coach Christos Iakovou is set to sue a Chinese drug-testing company [AFP]

Greece has pledged to toughen its doping laws after some of the national team's top weightlifters failed drugs tests which could lead to a ban from the Beijing Olympics.

Eleven weightlifters tested positive for banned substances last week, stunning the sport that has enjoyed large medal hauls for Greece in three of the past four Olympic Games.

"We are not interested in medals that come at all costs," Michalis Liapis, Culture Minister, who also oversees the country's sports, told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

"We were ordered by the Prime Minister to take all necessary measures to expose this case.

"It is time to bolster our legal arsenal to have healthy sports and clean athletes."

"It is time to bolster our legal arsenal to have healthy sports and clean athletes."

Michalis Liapis,
Culture Minister
Liapis added that the government would draft and include amendments to the law within 10 days.

Ministry officials have said the main legal change to existing doping laws will be upgrading the use and distribution of banned substances from its current status as a misdemeanour to a felony.

The weightlifting case has made media headlines for the past week as memories of another pre-Olympic doping fiasco four years ago returned to haunt the Greeks.

Sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, the country's main medal hopes, were withdrawn from the Athens Olympics after failing to appear for doping tests on the eve of the Games.

Alleged spike

Greek weightlifting federation officials including Christos Iacovou, suspended head coach, blamed the positive tests on Chinese company Auspure Biotechnology, who they say accidentally spiked a batch of supplements with banned ingredients.

Greek officials said Auspure had also sent an e-mail apologising for the ingredients mix-up which the Shanghai based company have since confirmed.

However the federation also blamed Iacovou on Thursday for "acting on his own initiative, without the approval of the federation, when he ordered the supplements in question."

Iacovou, who has said he will sue the Chinese company as will one of the athletes who tested positive, insisted the federation had been kept informed of his nutritional supplements purchases.

Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into the matter.

The Greek weightlifting squad could face expulsion from the Beijing Olympics if their follow-up B-samples test positive.

Under the current World Anti-Doping Agency code, the athletes face a two-year ban if they are first-time offenders.

Drug firm investigated in Greek doping incident

Drug firm investigated in Greek doping incident

China's drug watchdog said on Thursday that an investigation was underway concerning the reported involvement of a Chinese drug maker in a Greek doping scandal.

Since April 9, China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has launched inquiries into the incident, together with the country's health ministry, the customs administration, sports administration and other relevant departments, Yan Jiangying, the SFDA spokeswoman, told a press conference.

A preliminary investigation indicated the facts might not be totally the same as earlier reports by foreign media, she said.

Greek media reported on April 7 that 11 lifters tested positive in a surprise inspection by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Greek side claimed on the same day that the athletes tested positive because they had taken a dietary supplement produced by the Shanghai-based Auspure Life Science Co. The Chinese drug manufacturer apologized through a letter for adding the wrong substances in the nutritional supplement, according to the media reports.

Yan promised China would seriously deal with any law or regulation-violations in the incident.

Earlier this month, China launched a six month anti-doping campaign. The country said it would severely crack down on any illegal activities of producing, selling and using doping drugs.

China release video of Tibetan protesters

Soldiers in Kangding

China release video of Tibetan protesters

A new video taken by Chinese state television has been released showing monks confronting riot police.

Officials have also posted a series of photos of their 'most wanted' suspects.

It is China's first admission its security forces have caused injuries in their crackdown on anti-government demonstrations

Tibetans in China's province of Sichuan said they believed police had killed several people in anti-Chinese riots.

The claim disputes China's official report that no protesters have died since the clashes began.

But Chinese authorities have revealed four protesters were shot and wounded in a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of the province, where protests broke out after riots in neighbouring Tibet a week ago.

The police said they acted in self-defence when they opened fire in the Chinese city of Kangding on Sunday.

It is China's first admission its security forces have caused injuries in their crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

A new video taken by Chinese state television has been released showing monks confronting riot police and officials have posted a series of photos of their 'most wanted' suspects.

Chinese authorities also said they had arrested dozens of people involved in the protests that have swept Tibet and prompted Beijing to pour in troops to crush further unrest.

Exiled Tibetans say as many as 100 Tibetans have been killed in total, while China says 13 "innocent civilians" died in riots last week in Tibet's capital Lhasa.

Mindful of the international condemnation of its military crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, China says its security forces in Lhasa exercised "maximum restraint" and did not use lethal weapons.

China has accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, of orchestrating last week's violence - a charge he has denied.

Speaking in his home in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama said he was ready to travel to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders, and called on Tibetans to end the violence.

Beijing has long said it will meet him only if he forsakes claims to Tibet's independence. The 72-year-old says he just wants greater autonomy for his homeland.

The Chinese government has resisted international calls for dialogue over the unrest and expressed serious concern that Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to meet the Dalai Lama during a visit to Britain in May.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged China to show restraint towards protesters.

"We have urged for many years that China engage in a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, who represents an authoritative figure who stands against violence and who also stands for the cultural autonomy of the Tibetan people but has made very clear that he does not stand for independence," she added.

And the speaker of the United States House of Representatives has called on the world community on Friday to denounce China in the wake of its crackdown in Tibet.

Nancy Pelosi has called the crisis "a challenge to the conscience of the world."

Mrs Pelosi was the first major foreign official to meet the Dalai Lama since protests turned violent in the Chinese-ruled region.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of Tibetans, she said: "If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world."

The unrest has alarmed China, keen to look its best in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.

China condemned as 'world's top executioner'

China's hardline under scrutiny

China condemned as 'world's top executioner'

Updated 14.54 Tue Apr 15 2008

Amnesty International hascondemned China as the "world's top executioner" in its annual survey of countries that carry out capital punishment.

The human rights organisation said China had executed at least 470 people in 2007 - but campaigners believe the true figure may be 8,000.

"I hope, as China takes its place on the global stage, that it will seriously look at its human rights record" - Amnesty researcher Piers Bannister

Amnesty said the total number of executions worldwide was at least 1,200, suggesting that China accounts for more than a third of the global count.

Noting that Beijing classifies the death penalty as a state secret, Amnesty commented that "as the world and Olympic guests are left guessing, only the Chinese authorities know exactly how many people have been killed with state authorisation."

The organisation said that with the Olympic Games taking place in Beijing this year, it was pushing for change on the part of the Chinese authorities.

"I hope, as China takes its place on the global stage, that it will seriously look at its human rights record, and that one of the things it will do is abolish the death penalty," Amnesty researcher Piers Bannister said.

The report estimated 374 people will be executed in China during the Olympic Games.

The Amnesty report said 88 per cent of all known executions take place in just five countries - China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States.

It said Iran carried out at least 377 executions, while the figure for the US was 42.

Amnesty called on all governments that allow the death penalty to lift what it called the "veil of secrecy" over the practice.

"We need to see that the borders of execution-free Europe and the Americas are pushed back into the Middle East and Asia until we see a world free of executions," Mr Bannister said.

Kenny Richey, from Edinburgh, who was finally cleared for release at the end of last year after spending more than 20 years protesting his innocence on death row in the US, said of the report: "These numbers are really chilling.

"Having actually been on death row I can guarantee that there's a human tragedy behind every one of these statistics.

"In my case, shoddy justice was to blame for my having to endure the living hell of two decades staring death in the face.

"Looking back I am incredibly grateful to the campaigners in Scotland and elsewhere who managed to get me off death row - the important thing now is to press for abolition of the death penalty in every country in the world."