Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year

Internet access from my remote South-Egyptian
holiday resort has been registered in Cairo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chinese-North Korean Relations

According to latest news from different sources, there should be a cooling-off in Chinese-North Korean relations.

Today's article from SINA news center 新浪新闻中心 is referring to a publication made by South and North Korean peace activists, saying that a large community of overseas Chinese residents living in Pyongyang and other urban areas in North Korea have been arrested for spying.

朝鲜抓百名华侨恐或是谣言 朝方:不可能发生

That North Korea grabbed and terrorized a hundred overseas Chinese
might be a rumour. North Korea says: "That's impossible to happen."

The SINA article is quoting some North Korean news official and who rejected any rumours that such kind of incident ever happened in the frame of an interview he granted to the Chinese daily Global News 环球时报.

As to different opinions, here an excerpt from what the South Korean based activist group originally published on that item:

On the 14th of December, our Daily NK reporter spoke with a source in South Pyongan Province, who informed us that the State Security Department has been investigating Hwagyo [ Editor: Korean name for overseas Chinese (华侨) ] across North Korea, making arrests as part of an ‘emergency investigation’. Approximately 100 arrests have been made as part of this operation, and the detainees are currently being interrogated by the State Security Department.


The targets of the operation are all well-off members of the Hwagyo who have sent their children to universities in China. All of the overseas Chinese residents currently living in North Korea are citizens of the PRC and of Han ethnicity. As long as they register with their local State Security Department, they are able to travel to China whenever they wish. Until now, Chinese residents of North Korea have managed to amass small fortunes by stocking up on Chinese goods in China and then returning over the border to North Korea to sell them in the markets at a tidy profit.

They communicate freely with their children through the mail and by telephone, which has made them the target of investigation. The North Korean authorities have been keeping a close eye on these communications through wiretapping and intercepting mail, leading to accusations of spying or acting as an accomplice to a spy and subsequent arrests.

Although details of the exact charges leveled in the arrests have still not been revealed, many of those arrested were carrying out ‘special missions’ for the State Security Department, a status that allowed them to travel back and forth from China easily. Our source surmised that the probability that they were arrested on charges of either being double agents or spying for the Chinese Ministry of State Security is high.

"Rumors abound that the arrests are an attempt by the local authorities to strike back at China as the latter appears to be politically drifting away from North Korea and closer to South Korea. This would explain the need to keep an eye on the Chinese ambassador in Pyongyang," the source pointed out.

“Some Party cadres have even speculated that this move will spell the beginning of the end for Sino-North Korean relations."

He added, “The recent revelation that the North Korean authorities have been spying on and following the Chinese ambassador to Pyongyang was regarded with great displeasure by the Chinese government.” Moreover, following the arrests of the overseas Chinese residents, the state has, for the time being, stopped issuing travel permits to China for any of the Hwagyo residing within the North’s borders and there are problems procuring market goods from China as well.

Another sign for a cooling-off in Sino-North Korean relations seems to be the unexpected calling home of a North Korean dancing group of army girls after China's president Xi JinPing allegedly refused to attend the now cancelled performance. [The Telegraph, U.K. on December 14, 2015]


On December 16, the Second World Internet Conference started in Wuzhen,
Zhejiang province. Chairman Xi JinPing attended the opening ceremony and
delivered the keynote speech. [People's Network]


Russian visitors from the Moscow area who came today and yesterday
(i.e. December 15/16) and who are interested in North Korean subjects.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

ISIL Behind California Assault

Last Update included on December 9, 2015.

In the evening of December 4, Al-Jazeera reported that ISIL assumed resposibility for the shooting in San Bernardino, California / U.S.A.. The Islamic State confirmed that three of its operatives took part in the assault.

According to U.S. sources the California shooting took place as follows:
An already identified couple, Tahfeen Malik (29) and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook (28), started Wednesday, 2nd December, at about 11 a.m., interrupting a festive staff holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, which serves developmentally disabled people. They killed 14, injured at least 20 others and left a bomb behind, police said. Then they went home to nearby Redlands and left again, toting 1,400 rounds of assault-rifle ammunition before dying in a shootout with officers.

مصادر أمريكية: هجوم سان برناندينو مستلهم من تنظيم الدولة دون ارتباط مباشر به حتى الان

U.S. sources: The assault of San Bernardino [inspired]
by the Islamic State without direct connection until now.

[First news from Al-Jazeera TV الجزيرة. Confirmation of ISIL involvement followed only minutes later on December 4, 2015, at 20:00 CET.]

تقارير: المرأة الشريكة في هجوم كاليفورنيا بايعت داعش

A report [is saying] the female accomplice in
the Californian attack should have named ISIL.

مسؤولون أمريكيون، يقولون إن "تشفين مالك"، بايعت البغدادي في تدوينة عبر موقع فيسبوك، من خلال حساب تستخدم فيه اسماً مختلفاً.ـ

U.S. officials are saying that "Tashfeen Malik" named [ISIL leader] Al-Baghdadi [at the inscription to her Facebook site]. In the frame of that account she used different names.

[Source: Erem News إرم, Abu Dhabi, on 4th December 2015]

فيسبوك يحذف حسابا للمشتبه بها تشفين مالك بعد حادث كاليفورنيا

After the California incident, Facbook closes a suspicious account for "Tashfeen Malik".

[Source: Reuters in Arabic on 4th December 2015]

Tashfeen Malik

Up to now, it is not quite clear whether the above mentioned Facebook account can be related to the real Tashfeen Malik and who staged the San Bernardino shooting together with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook. An evaluation of the proceedings by U.S. authorities has already been published by [ The New York Times ] on December 5, 2015.


Update for December 7, 2015:

#أوباما: #داعش يريد جرّنا إلى حرب برية

Obama: ISIL wants to drag us into a ground battle.

أعلن الرئيس الأميركي، باراك أوباما، أن هجوم كاليفورنيا كان عملاً إرهابياً، متعهداً بتدمير تنظيم "داعش".ولفت أوباما إلى أن الجيش الأميركي سيواصل تعقب مخططي الإرهاب في أي دولة.ـ

U.S. President Barak Obama declared the Californian attack was a terrorist act promoted by subversion of ISIL organization. And Obama called to attention that U.S. forces will continue to persecute terrorist plannings in any country whatsoever.

[Source: Al-Arabiya العربية on December 7, 2015]


Latest News on further ISIL Operations:

معلومات جديدة عن عملية اغتيال سفاح داعش

New information regarding a bloody assassination operation [staged by] ISIL.

تكشفت معلومات جديدة بشأن عملية اغتيال سفاح "داعش" في الرقة السورية الشهر الماضي، حيث أفيد عن تنفيذ فريق من القوات الخاصة البريطانية العملية.ـ

New information appeared regarding a bloody assassination operation of ISIL in Raqqa, Syria, last month, and reporting the execution of a British special forces operation team.

[Source: Al-Arabiya العربية on December 6, 2015]

Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 3rd man
in the assault on Bataclan theatre,
Paris / France, is believed to have
traveled to Syria in 2013 in order
to undergo military training there.
[BBC World News December 9]


Visitor from Iraqi Kurdistan

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Islamic Lawyer: No Excommunication of ISIL

Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb (left), the Sheikh of Al-Azhar

شيخ الأزهر مجدداً: لا أستطيع تكفير "داعش"ـ

Sheikh of Al-Azhar renews that it is imposssible to excommunicate ISIL.

رفض الدكتور أحمد الطيب شيخ الأزهر تكفير تنظيم "داعش" مجدداً. وقال خلال لقائه، مساء الثلاثاء، بطلاب جامعة القاهرة إنه "لكي تكفر شخصاً يجب أن يخرج من الإيمان وينكر الإيمان بالملائكة وكتب الله من التوراة والإنجيل والقرآن، ويقولون: لا يخرجكم من الإيمان إلا إنكار ما أدخلت به".ـ

Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, once again refused to excommunicate ISIL organization. During a meeting with students from Cairo university held on Tuesday evening, he said that " for the accusation of a person of infidelity it is necessary that [such person] gives up faith and refuses to belief in angels and the writings of Allah in the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran and these are saying: Don't give up faith if [that means] denial of what was introduced [to you]. "

[Source: Al-Arabiya العربية on December 2nd 2015]

The Arabic text is referring to Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the actual Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque who is presiding, as well, the religious office of Al-Azhar University in the Islamic quarters of Cairo and which has always been associated with Al-Azhar Mosque. The academic office of Al-Azhar University, however, is being presided by a secular president as Al-Azhar makes part of Egypt's educational system since 1961.

The post of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, or Sheikh of al-Azhar, has always been filled by a member of the ulema, the religious scholars, of Egypt. The position of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque is among the most prominent roles in Sunni Islam, the most prominent official religious role in Egypt, and is considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority in Islamic jurisprudence.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

China's Yuan Now Globally Leading Currency

人民币加入SDR 在SDR货币篮子中的权重为10.92%

The Renminbi [or: Yuan] is entering the SDR, making up for
10.92% of the SDR currency basket's weight [of influence].

The Chinese article also mentions the weight of other globally leading currencies included in the SDR basket: U.S. $ (41.73%), Euro (30.93%), Japanese Yen (8.33%) and English Pound (8.09%). The addition of China's currency to the SDR basket is to take effect on 1st October 2016.

[Source: People's Network 人民网 on 1st December 2015]

The following text is a quotation from U.S. broadcaster CNBC as published on their website under the title IMF agrees to include China's RMB in benchmark SDR currency basket :

On Monday, November 30, the International Monetary Fund IMF agreed to add the Chinese yuan to its reserve currency basket.

The decision — which marks another step in China's global economic emergence — came after the IMF evaluated the Asian nation's standing as an exporter and the yuan's role as a "freely usable" currency. In a statement, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde noted the yuan's inclusion is a "clear representation of the reforms" taking place in China.

Lagarde and the United States had supported its inclusion in the basket, known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR). It will join the euro, yen, pound and dollar in the reserves basket. The yuan will have about an 11 percent weighting in the SDR. The addition of the yuan, or renminbi, will take effect next October.

[Illustration for a Chinese language article of DW on 1st December 2015]


Editor's Remarks:
A visitor to "blueprint news", coming from the Jurong community of Singapore, reminds me of my own visit to Jurong Bird Aviary and nearby Bukit Timah Natural Reserve. The experience of that "giant bird cage" with lots of colourful birds moving freely and fearlessly around me stayed in my memory as well as the experience of Bukit Timah Hill where I met with a foggy rainforest from where the mysterious sounds of birds and monkeys emerged. It must be added that this was a time when the Jurong area had still preserved its rural character and when even the centre of Singapore was marked by an old Chinatown, full of unexpected corners, where the demolition hammer had only just begun to make room for future skyscapers and office buildings. I still remember the "mortuaries" in a busy street of that Chinatown, each occupied by a few dying persons, lying in their shop-like caves open to the street, thus participating at the daily lives of their neighbours until the last moment of their existence. I even encountered some funeral party where they were sumptuously feasting and burning hell money in order to impress the divine authorities and such ensure a comfortable place in Heaven and VIP treatment for the deceased. Coming from a Western society that usually rejects any thought of death and after-live, this became a rather impressive experience for me. By the way, it was just "mooncake festival" at the time of my visit, and I had to learn that such cakes are not intended for immediate eating (not even by hungry tourists !) but are dedicated to somebody as a present, the person's esteem rising with the number of mooncakes he can collect.

Traditional Chinese "Hell Banknote" from the "Underworld Bank"
with a nominal value of 10.000 Dollars.

Modern "Hell Banknote" from the "Underworld People's Bank of China"
[中国冥民银行] with a nominal value of 500.000 Yuan / Renminbi.