Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message

March 22, 2009

In a video message on March 20, 2009, Pres. Barack Obama tried to reach out to Iran, reminding the hard-line Islamic country to show its greatness not by way of arms, but through peaceful means.

His offer to normalize relations with the mullah-dominated country is a campaign promise he had to fulfill—a radical digression from Pres. George W. Bush’s policy of non-negotiation towards a regime known to be part of the “axis of evil” that threatens to wipe out Israel.

Obama’s peaceful diplomacy is what most of the Western world wanted. Yet, this presidential gesture delivered in time for the Persian new year of Nowruz is looked upon as a form of “surrender” which the “hard” Muslims expect from the “soft” Americans. Iran thinks the United States, saddled by economic problems, is wearied by terrorism and preoccupied by the Iraqi and Afghan wars; it doesn’t have the enough strength to fight. That’s why Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to rebuff the US president.

“He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed…Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged.” —-Yahoo News/ AP (03/21/09, Dareini, A)

Iran finds a new sense of self-importance learning of Obama’s conciliatory stance to patch up the strained relations between the two countries. Denying terrorism and the Iran’s race to produce nuclear arms, Khamenei lashed on Obama by mentioning a litany of Iran’s grievances against the United States.

Amid calls of “Death to America” from his audience, the cleric-leader dwelt on long standing hostilities since diplomatic ties were severed after the fall of the pro-US Shah government about 30 years ago.

Many have some inkling on know how the Iranians are taking Obama’s peace overtures. Iranians opposed to the cleric-controlled government may support him. But others may look at his peace suggestion as a sign of weakness. Like other warlike Muslims in other parts of the world, Iranians don’t respect a man who looks like a wimp even if he is the president of the United States. (Photo Credit: Polyphake; Photon Trap)=0=

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Ships hijacked by pirates, an earthquake in Indonesia and the decline of RP peso

November 18, 2008

7

Is the total number of ships hijacked by Somali pirates on since November 5, 2008 in the Aden Gulf. The latest hijacked ships are operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and that of Saudi Arabia, a super oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude oil. In the past ransoms were paid to recover the ships, but nations are finding ways to foil piracy in the busiest sea lane of the world.

P49.96

At the close of business trading on November 18, 2008, the peso-dollar exchange has floundered close to P50/per dollar. The slide of the peso value is expected to continue as local and foreign effects of recession take its full effect.

7.5

Recorded in the Richter’s scale is strength of the quake that hit Indonesian island Sulawesi on November 17, 2008 which reportedly killed at least 6 persons, toppling houses and injuring scores of people. A tsunami warning from US officials in the area was raised within 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the quake’s origin, but was later lifted.

$1.2 billion

Bangko Sentral of the Philippines (BSP,) discloses this amount of deficit in the balance of payments (BOP) mainly attributed to capital flight, weak exports, and payment of maturing obligations. BOP is the record of the country’s transactions with the rest of the world and its deficit in October 2008 reduces this year’s surplus in a 10 month period to $345 million, down from $7.87 billion registered year-on-year.

77

Is the reported number of people who contracted typhoid fever in Quezon. Caused by Salmonella typhosa, the diarrheal disease with systemic manifestations is linked with contaminated water supply. The Department of Health (DOH,) advises boiling of water and frequent hand-washing to counter the spread of the disease. In a separate outbreak, 2 persons died of another diarrheal illness in Misamis Oriental. Reported on 11/18/08, about 1,000 people have sought treatment in the hospital for complaints which are suspicious of cholera. (Photo Credit: by Moody_fingers) =0=

Richard Lugar Praises Obama on Foreign Policy

October 15, 2008

Republican Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar and a prominent member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in his speech at the National Defense University that there are benefits to talking with enemies of the US, as against use of military force.

Generally, Lugar praised Barack Obama who John McCain called “naive” for saying that as US President he would talk with the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Isolation does not resolve contentious issues, Lugar added in agreement with Obama’s line. In campaign speeches in a presidential debate, Obama repeatedly says that, while he does not take military option off the table, not talking to an enemy regime as a form of punishment does not make sense. Lugar rebuked McCaine by saying that exclusive use of isolation or military force in dealing with enemies of America may not be desirable. “In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous.”

McCain recently took a flack when he turned cold shoulder on the prospect of meeting the Prime Minister of Spain. Spain’s sin: it pulled out its troops from Iraq when the US-initiated invasion started to get messy and unpopular. Since that time, President Bush has snubbed Spain’s leaders, a cue apparently not lost to Senator McCain.

Noting recent diplomatic success in dealing with North Korea, Lugar suggested further diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iran. He suggested though that McCain may be right when the Republican nominee warned that “there are times when diplomatic approaches to rogue regimes have little efficacy.”

In July, one Obama campaign ad mentioned Lugar by name and Lugar says he is “pleased” to have worked with the Democratic nominee on nuclear proliferation issues.

We here in the Philippines remember then Congressman Richard Lugar as the head of a US conressional committee who attempted and failed to broker a deal betwen President Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino as the Marcos regime started to crumble in the aftermath of Ninoy Aquino assassination. At that time, Marcos was a SOB but “he is our SOB.” Incidentally, Obama promises not to have none of these SOBs.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad & the Impotence of the United Nations

September 24, 2008

Side by side with the financial crisis rocking America, the threat of terrorism showed its ugly head when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a controversial speech in the United Nations (UN) in New York City today September 23, 2008, highlighting the impotence and hypocrisy of current world politics. His allusion to a pessimistic outlook of America is as though the United States is alone in its march towards a rough ride into the future.

Faced with a global economy, exploding population, dwindling resources, differing value judgments and relativist view of truth, America shares its problems with everybody. This is what is happening in the current economic crisis. The financial flu sweeping the United States is threatening to be a world pandemic of economic and political woes whose end result for the world is scary to imagine.

Wishing bad things to happen for America isn’t good to the peace and stability of its global neighbors. Just as the full-blown effects of the present US economic downturn are starting to be felt, the world waits on the edge; nobody knows how it will end. But even without this, Iran has been suffering under the current Islamic regime of Ahmadinejad. Outside the UN headquarters, he is met by protests and jeers by those who disagree with him.

The United Nations (UN) has been inutile in convincing Iran to stop its nuclear program. Effective in fighting certain world problems, UN is “forced” to give air time to Ahmadinejad whose horrific support for terrorism and promotion to destroy Israel sends goose bumps to decent people worldide. Most observers doubt Ahmadinejad’s hyperbolic rhetorics and many don’t believe his vitriol and clever pretentions. With a sluggish UN, few nations however speak up and stand against his way.

For not suspending its uranium enrichment, three rounds of UN sanctions hasn’t deterred Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. It’s this type of UN sanctions that Sadam Hussein endured until after 16 unheeded resolutions which led to the Iraq war that was supported albeit lamely by the UN.

The possibililty of nuclear war is ever more real in the current stockpiles of weapons whose oversight is increasingly becoming more difficult. Serving as a political tool and a weapon of intimidation, the acquisition of nuclear arms by unstable countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea is a scary step towards the planet’s destruction. It encourages terrorists and extremists to work harder to destabilize the world and make the nuclear cloud closer to reality.

With rogue nations sitting side by side in UN in “cooperation” with those committed to make the world a peaceful place, the challenge of diplomacy is ever more complex and daunting. The world body cannot even agree on who are the terrorists. Having reckless leaders like Ahmadinejad who denies the holocaust, lacks accountability, threatens Israel, and wages proxy wars (Hezbollah and Iraq) could be the signs of what lies in the future. It’s at this late hour that world is learning. Sooner or later, it must wake up and confront the reality at hand. Photo Credits: Ben Heine; Nickolette22; MihaiRomanciuc)=0=

RP’s 40% drop in med school enrollment & the foreign doctors

August 27, 2008

It seems a good thing that doctors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN,) a group of sovereign states in partnership with the Philippines, are coming to the country for study. This development is timely when at least 5,000 doctors have left the country since 2004 and about 6,000 have shifted to study nursing for jobs abroad. In the last three years, a staggering 40% drop in medical enrollment is noted. Asian Journal Online (08/26/08)

An uncertain number of foreign doctors who come from Iran, India, Malaysia and Indonesia and other neighboring countries have sought training in Philippine hospitals, many in the provinces, even if no Department of Health (DOH) guidelines are existent to regulate them.

According to Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Reynaldo Santos, M.D., the arrival of these foreign medical trainees attests to the high quality of education in the country. But this is doubted in the wake of a sharp decline of the number of hospitals, a marked rise in patient load for doctors and nurses, a low passing rate of Filipinos in the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE,) an over-crowding of patients and trainees, lack of budget, equipment upgrade, and medical facilities in many hospitals. See related article on medical diploma mills below.

If the Department of Health (DOH) and the Education Department (CHED) don’t act fast, it will not be long before foreigners will be able to judge for themselves the quality of education and healthcare in the Philippines compared to that of their countries of origin. It is deleterious for the country to rely on foreigners to solve the shortage of physicians or seek them to shore up dwindling medical enrollment. Without infringing on the physicians’ rights, measures to reverse the brain-drain of local doctors must be high in the priority. (Photo Credit: Doctian) =0=

MEDICAL SCHOOL DIPLOMA MILLS

A disturbing article entitled Medical School for Sale? was written by Emil Jurado of Manila Standard on July 26, 2007. It’s unclear whether the Department of Health (DOH) and school authorities (CHED) took satisfactory remedial action to prevent further erosion of credibility with the alleged proliferation of diploma mills in the country.

In concordance with the requirement of ASEAN’s Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)mandating to honor medical licenses and credentials among member nations, this highlights the need to write the long-overdue guidelines needed for the regulation, hiring, and training of local and foreign doctors in the Philippines. Here’s a part of Jurado’s riveting piece that needed verification plus action from the government:

The Times of India, a very prestigious newspaper, published an article, “Now showing: Manilabhai MBBS*.” The article is very derogatory about our kind of medical education. The latest MBBS scam to appear on the medical scene in India is based in the Philippines. “And this one’s even less complicated than the others.”

The article says: “There is no entrance test for admission, now, will you need to attempt the screening test in return?” says Upveen Harpal, accounting executive, HCMI, which is sending students abroad.

The article adds, “So, anybody with 40 percent in Class XII examination and who could pay Rs 16 lakhas (about P1.6 million) upfront could head for the Philippines for an MBBS and come home to practice. No questions asked, and Harpal claimed that this was a three-party tieup among HCMI, a medical school in Manila and a medical school in Tamil Nadu, India.”

To add insult to injury, Yogesh Sharma of Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad wrote an article entitled, “The Philippines dangles carrots to Gujarat students: Be doctor for Rs 20 lakh.” The article implies that there are no more requirements to enter an MBBS program in the Philippines since the title gives the impression that all one needs is Rs 20 lakh or P2,000,000 to become a doctor, courtesy of fly-by-night or spurious Philippine medical schools, and diploma mills for sale. “ *N.B. M.D. in the Philippines is equivalent to MBBS in India. Manila Standard (07/25/08, Jurado, Emil; Photo Credit: PaulCooperBland)