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The responsibility to protect---and prosecute? Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jul. 12, 2007 (The Yomiuri Shimbun delivered by Newstex) -- The following article is based on a talk the author, who served as senior vice rector of the United Nations University, gave to Diet members in March before leaving Tokyo. By Ramesh Thakur Special to The Daily Yomiuri In an echo of the famous lines from 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats, the U.N.-centered multilateral system of global governance is in danger of falling apart. In that case, the problem of international anarchy will intensify. Yet in part the system is starting to unravel because of the spread of anarchy within the sovereign jurisdiction of member states, some of whom have abused sovereignty as a license to kill with impunity. Some others lack the essential attributes of sovereignty that would enable them to protect the lives and safety of their citizens against a range of armed predatory groups. Revulsion at the murder of large numbers of civilians in a range of atrocity crimes (crimes against humanity, large-scale killings, ethnic cleansing, and genocide)--the drowning of the ceremony of innocence--has led to a softening of public and governmental support for the norms and institutions that shield the perpetrators of atrocity crimes from international criminal accountability. The failure to act can indeed be interpreted as the best lacking the courage of their conviction while the worst engage in mass murder with passionate intensity. 'Mobilizing political will' is a more prosaic way of saying that the best need to rediscover and act on their convictions. Darfur is the current poster child for callous international indifference. World War II gave birth to the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Charter. The first was forward-looking, aiming to ensure peace and security, economic cooperation and respect for human rights. The second was backward looking, aiming to punish those who started the war and committed horrific crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg and Tokyo military tribunals were instances of victors' justice. Yet by historical standards, both tribunals were remarkable for giving defeated leaders the opportunity to defend their actions in a court of law instead of being dispatched for summary execution. Two of the most significant normative advances since 1945 are the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 1998 and the United Nations' adoption of the responsibility to protect norm in 2005. Discussions of the protection of civilians and the prosecution of perpetrators have hitherto proceeded along separate lines. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. The backdrop to both is the profound changes in the world since 1945, including in the changing nature of armed conflict that has put civilians on the frontline of conflict-related casualties; the rise of a powerful human rights movement and the parallel growth of international humanitarian law, leading to the emergence of a humanitarian community dedicated to championing the cause of civilian protection; the emergence of a robust civil society that is transnational rather than sovereignty-bound; and globalization, which (1) has shrunk distances; brought images of human suffering into our living rooms and on our breakfast tables in graphic detail and real time while simultaneously expanding our capacity to respond meaningfully, thereby increasing the calls to do so; and (2) made total state control of border crossings by people, goods, finance, information, disease, drugs and so on physically impossible, thereby severely curtailing the exercise of sovereignty in practice. The need to help and protect civilians at risk of death and displacement from armed conflict is now paramount. Diplomats, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations alike will be judged on how well they discharge or dishonor their international responsibility to protect. The way to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of conscience-shocking crimes on a mass scale is through an international legal framework that establishes the notion of 'universal jurisdiction,' where jurisdiction depends not on the place where they are committed, but on the nature of the crime itself. If they are truly 'crimes against humanity,' they can properly be prosecuted before the courts of any country. The fates of Augusto Pinochet, Slobodan Milosevic and Charles Taylor are but some of several dramatic twists and turns in the last few years in the search for universal justice. The U.N. Charter was never meant to be a tyrant's charter of impunity or his constitutional instrument of choice for self-protection. The World Court handles cases between states, not individuals. Without an international criminal court that holds individuals responsible for their actions, acts of genocide and egregious violations of human rights have generally gone unpunished in the last 60 years. An international criminal court with universal jurisdiction has been the missing link in the system of international criminal justice. The ICC will enable an escape from the tyranny of the episodic ad hoc tribunals in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia and should be an efficient and cost-effective alternative to them with respect to time, money and energy. Its jurisdiction is activated only when states are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute. Similarly, the 'responsibility to protect' requires states first to protect their populations, and triggers international intervention only after governments are either unable or unwilling to do so, or are complicit in crimes themselves. Both agendas require substantial derogations of sovereignty, the first with respect to the norm of nonintervention and the second with respect to sovereign impunity up to the level of heads of state. Both also require sensitive judgment calls: The use of external military force to protect civilians inside sovereign jurisdiction must first satisfy legitimacy criteria rooted in just-war theory, while the prosecution of alleged atrocity criminals must be balanced against the consequences for the prospects and process of peace, the need for post-conflict reconciliation and the fragility of international as well as domestic institutions. The human rights movement grew as an effort to curb arbitrary excesses by states against the liberties and rights of their own citizens. International humanitarian law emerged as an effort to place limits on the behavior of belligerent forces during armed conflict. The convergence of the interests of human rights and humanitarian communities with respect to protecting victims of atrocity crimes is a logical extension of their original impulses. At the same time, it produces the paradox of social movements whose original goal was to curb the use of force by states demanding the use of international force. Therein lies the rub. Thakur, distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Canada, was one of the commissioners that produced the responsibility to protect report and is the author of 'The United Nations, Peace and Security: From Collective Security to the Responsibility to Protect.'


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More Financial News

10 bil. yen lost in margin transactions

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jul. 15, 2007 (The Yomiuri Shimbun delivered by Newstex) --

More than 30 securities houses have suffered losses amounting to 10 billion yen after clients who traded a large volume of shares via margin transactions in electronic testing equipment company OHT Inc. failed to pay up after the price of the company's stock plunged, it was learned Saturday.

As the money is unlikely to be recovered, the loss might be the largest-ever suffered via margin trading.

The Minato Ward, Tokyo-based office of a lawyer suspected of share manipulation was searched by officials from the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office. The whereabouts of the lawyer, 53, are not known.

According to sources close to the officials, starting around 2006, the lawyer borrowed at least 50 bank and securities accounts from more than 10 acquaintances, including executives of small and midsize companies, and general contractors, living in Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures.

In addition to individual accounts, accounts opened by the companies for whom the acquaintances were nominal executives were also included.

The acquaintances were paid sums between hundreds of thousand yen and more than 1 million yen for allowing their names to be used, but they reportedly said they did not follow the transactions.

After acquiring shares in Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture-based OHT Inc. with the borrowed names, the stock price, which fluctuated between 100,000 yen and 200,000 yen, skyrocketed to about 1.5 million yen, but plunged to 300,000 yen in May.

In margin trading, investors who borrow funds from brokerages by offering cash and stocks as collateral can buy shares worth three times the value of their collateral.

Since the lawyer's collateral could not meet the margin call, the acquaintances who lent their names to the lawyer were asked by securities houses to pay additional collateral amounting to hundreds of million yen.

They are currently saddled with debts ranging from hundreds of millions of yen to 1.5 billion yen, totaling about 10 billion yen.

Despite having seized the homes of the lawyer's acquaintances, the securities houses suffered huge losses, as most of the 10 billion yen cannot be recovered.

A securities house employee said it was unprecedented for brokerages to lose so much money in margin transactions.

With some of the small and midsize securities houses being affected by the loss, each brokerage is mapping out stringent measures to screen customers for margin transactions.

The lawyer disappeared immediately after the stock plunge, and his office has been closed.

On Friday, officials from the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office searched his office in Minato Ward.

They are also searching for the lawyer and questioning those involved in the margin transactions to try and shed light on the case.


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Baht strengthening is short-term: Thai PM

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jul. 14, 2007 (Xinhua News Agency delivered by Newstex) -- Baht strengthening is short-term: Thai PM

BANGKOK, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The strengthening of Thailand's currency, the baht, is expected to be shot-term, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said in a television interview broadcast on Saturday.

The premier also expressed confidence that the sharp strengthening of the baht will not have severe repercussions on the economy and ultimately cause another economic crisis

Surayud said although it poses negative impact on textile sectors, the baht appreciation has some benefits. 'It allows us to buy petrol at cheaper prices', he said.

Surayud also suggested investors to adopt sufficient economy principles and urged them not to buy the baht currency for speculation as that will put the economy in jeopardy.

The premier added that the government is trying its best to control political and economic problems so they will not cause problems to a new government.

Surayud has asked the Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand to report baht activity every Friday, while Tuesday's Cabinet meeting will discuss ways to handle the possible closure of export firms as a result of the strong currency.

The baht continued to rise reaching a new 10-year high on Friday at between 33.30 and 33.35 to the U.S. dollar.

Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said Friday that over the past two months 600 million U.S. dollars had been invested in the stock market, causing currency volatility.

Newstex ID: XIN-0001-18129763


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News items from Asia-Pacific Desk of Xinhua

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jul. 14, 2007 (Xinhua News Agency delivered by Newstex) -- News items from Asia-Pacific Desk of Xinhua

HONG KONG, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Following are news items from the Asia-Pacific Desk of Xinhua in Hong Kong Saturday:

Major news items in leading Thai newspapers

Major news items in leading Philippine newspapers

Major news items in leading Japanese newspapers

Concerted community action urged to contain dengue in Cambodia

S.Korean ship carrying heavy oil arrives in DPRK

Foreign exchange rates in Nepal

Major news items in leading Nepali newspapers

Nepal to open embassy in Israel

Major news items in leading Australian newspapers

Philippine net hot money inflow hits 2.5 bln dollars in first half of 2007

Millennium development goals slow in S. Asian nations: UN report

Foreign exchange rates in Indonesia

Australian police charge doctor with supporting terrorism

Electoral program proposed for CA polls in Nepal

Major news items in leading Indian newspapers

Nepal says to revise 48-year river agreement with India

Major news items in leading Pakistani newspapers

Baht strengthening is short-term: Thai PM

Nepal, India agree to jointly crack down border terror

Major news items in leading Afghan newspapers

Security tightened in NW Pakistan

Moderate earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

Road accident kills 3, injures 50 in southeastern Bangladesh

Sri Lankan troops, rebels clash in north

Conflict leaves 8 dead in S. Afghanistan

Situation in Thai deep South improved: PM

2 villagers shot dead in Thai South

Urgent: At least 10 security personnel killed in Pakistan

Red Mosque administration has links with tribal militants: official

1st Ld: At least 10 security personnel killed in Pakistan

2nd Ld: Suicide attack kills 13 security personnel in Pakistan

3rd Ld Writethru: Suicide attack kills 13 security personnel in Pakistan

24 people missing after wooden ship sunk in Indonesia

Transport strike cripples people's life in Nepali capital

4th Ld-Writethru: Suicide attack kills 8 soldiers,injuries 20 in NW Pakistan: military spokesman

2 killed, 19 injured in accident in central Nepal

(Sports) Soccer: J-League Nabisco Cup fixtures

First meeting for Nepal's peace, rehabilitation held in Kathmandu

2 weeks deadline for rebels to come to table: Nepali minister

4 passengers of sunken ship in Indonesia's Maluku waters rescued

Abe's car slightly hit in rear

Ukraine to open embassy in Afghanistan

Death toll rises to 9 in road accident in Bangladesh

Weather information for Asia Pacific cities -- July 14

Malaysia to build first Nuclear Monitoring Facility in ASEAN

(Sports) Indonesia's starting line-up against Saudi Arabia at Asian Cup

Human capital quality must be bolstered: HK CE

Update: Death toll rises to 18 in Pakistan's suicide car blast

(Sports) Starting line-up of Saudi Arabia against Indonesia at Asian Cup

(Sports) J-League Nabisco Cup results

Powerful typhoon kills 1, injures 58 in southwestern Japan

1 killed, 3 injured by lightning strike in east Nepal

(Sports) Halftime: Indonesia 1 Saudi Arabia 1

Nepali Parliament begins discussion on annual budget

Death toll rises to 13 in road accident in southeastern Bangladesh

Pakistani Islamic alliance party leader quits Parliament

Sri Lankan Air Force bombs rebel target

(Sports) Asian Cup soccer result

(Sports) Standings of Asian Cup Group D

Hill calls on DPRK to report all nuclear programs in weeks

Update 2: Death toll rises to 24 in Pakistan's suicide car blast

(Sports) Indonesia defeated by Saudi Arabia at last minute in Asian Cup

Roundup: Suicide blast hits Pakistani military convoy, causing severe casualties

By Zhang Yunlong


Newstex ID: XIN-0001-18134996


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Dow Ends Amazing Week by Nearing 14,000

Saturday, July 14, 2007


NEW YORK, Jul. 14, 2007 (AP Online delivered by Newstex) -- Wall Street ended an extraordinary and record-setting week Friday by surging higher again, sending the Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) 500 index past a trading high set in March 2000 and thrusting the Dow Jones industrial past 13,900 for the first time.

Both the S&P and the Dow logged record closes for the second straight day and the Dow's new trading high put the blue chip index within about 70 points of 14,000. But the technology-laden Nasdaq composite index showed more modest advances in Friday's session and remained far from its record levels seen early in the decade.

In a week that saw the Dow swing more than 450 points, including a gain of 283 points in Thursday's session alone, investors grappled with unease over soured subprime loans and the broader economy before casting off such concerns and bidding stocks higher amid signs consumers might yet again pull through and give Wall Street reason to climb higher.

On Friday, investors seemed upbeat about earnings and takeover activity and appeared only slightly disappointed by the Commerce Department's report that retail sales dropped 0.9 percent last month, following a 1.5 percent jump in May. The June figure was weaker than anticipated and marked the steepest decline in nearly two years.

'I think investors are overstating their moves on a day-to-day basis but over the long term we continue to trend upward,' said Brian Levitt, corporate economist at OppenheimerFunds Inc. 'I think that is reasonable given the strong global quality picture and the strong global growth picture.'

The Dow rose 45.52, or 0.33 percent, to 13,907.25 after reaching a new trading high of 13,932.29.

Relief that Alcoa (AMEX:AA.PR) (NYSE:AA) won't pursue a deal with Alcan Inc. (TSX:AL.F) (TSX:AL.E) (NYSE:AL) (TSX:AL) helped the Dow Friday, as did solid quarterly results from General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) , which sent the conglomerate's stock above $40 during trading and to a five-year high.

For the week, the Dow rose 295.57 points, or about 2.2 percent. Its three-day gain following sharp losses Tuesday was the Dow's biggest percentage increase since a rise of 3.17 percent over three sessions in May 2005 and its biggest point gain since early 2003, when the Dow added 405.74 points.

Broader stock indicators also advanced Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.80, or 0.31 percent, to 1,552.50. The index late in Friday's session set a fresh trading high of 1,555.10, topping a previous record of 1,553.11 set in March 2000. The S&P added 1.4 percent for the week.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 5.27, or 0.20 percent, to 2,707.00 after spending much of the session moderately lower; the week's gain totaled 1.5 percent. Though the Nasdaq was trading at levels not seen since early in the decade, the index remains well short of its closing record of 5,048.62, set in March 2000 when it was bloated by the late 1990s tech boom.

On Friday, an upbeat report on the mood of consumers released after trading began seemed to inject the market with additional confidence. The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment increased to a six-month high of 92.4 for mid-July from 85.3 in June.

The reading followed Thursday's session in which the stock market surged after strong sales reports from a few U.S. retailers gave investors a reason to be optimistic about consumer spending and the upcoming deluge of second-quarter earnings results.

Investors abroad were also in a buying mood Friday. In European trading, Germany's DAX index of blue chip stocks hit a new all-time high, breaking through a seven-year-old record. The DAX finished up 0.49 percent. Elsewhere, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.28 percent and France's CAC-40 rose 0.24 percent.

In Asian trading, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.42 percent; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.27 percent to a new record; and China's often volatile Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.04 percent.

Treasury bond prices rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note falling to 5.10 percent from 5.13 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies and still trading at a record low versus the euro and 26-year low against the British pound. Gold prices fell.

Light, sweet crude rose $1.43 to $73.93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Buyout activity _ or the possibility of further deals _ appeared to help buoy stocks Friday and perhaps helped stave off a pullback. Often after big jumps in stocks, investors are tempted to cash in gains and stand back as the market consolidates. But a Standard & Poor's analyst said that after Rio Tinto's bid for aluminum producer Alcan beat out Alcoa's offer, Alcoa is now a more attractive takeover target. Alcan slipped 95 cents to $97.50, while Alcoa jumped $2.06, or 4.6 percent, to $47.35, making it the best performer among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials.

Meanwhile, Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE:ENR) said it agreed to acquire Playtex Products Inc. (NYSE:PYX) for about $1.16 billion. Playtex surged $2.45, or 16 percent, to $17.97, while Energizer rose to an all-time high of $114.17 amid enthusiasm over the deal. The stock finished up 94 cents at $107.67.

But the type of news that aided some of the major indexes Friday also worked against stocks earlier in the week. On Tuesday, stocks fell sharply following lackluster forecasts from retailers such as Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) Concerns about soured loans and other woes in the subprime housing market also dogged Wall Street at times.

'We seem to be having knee-jerk reactions depending on the latest news and that makes sense following a long period of complacency,' Levitt said. 'Investors can expect to see some level of volatility despite the fact that broad economic conditions look pretty good.'

He contends further unease about the effect of faltering subprime loans, which are made to those with poor credit, could still upset the markets and that investors should brace for potential bumps on Wall Street.

'We do expect volatility for the remainder of year and we think investors need to be positioning their portfolios so they can absorb some of that volatility.'

But the news Friday appeared to trump longer-term concerns some investors might hold. GE posted a rise in its second-quarter profits that met Street forecasts and said it is ridding itself of its subprime mortgage business. The company also said it was boosting its stock-buyback program. GE rose 50 cents to $39.50.

In other corporate news, Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) rose 98 cents to $56.93 after the biotechnology company increased its stock-repurchase program by $5 billion, adding to the $1.5 billion already earmarked for buybacks under a previous plan.

RadioShack Corp. (NYSE:RSH) fell $2.12, or 6.5 percent, to $30.75 after an analyst predicted sales growth would prove elusive.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) plunged $2.22, or 38 percent, to $3.57 after drug regulators suspended clinical study of the biopharmaceutical company's hepatitis C drug because results so far haven't merited potential risks of the treatment.

In other economic data, the Commerce Department reported June import prices rose 1 percent in June, and that export prices rose 0.3 percent. The government also reported that inventories held by businesses increased by 0.5 percent in May. The stronger-than-expected increase supported a notion that inventory rebuilding might give a boost to economic growth in the coming months.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 0.59, or 0.07 percent, to 855.77.

Consolidated volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 2.75 billion shares compared with 3.42 billion traded Thursday.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the week up 295.57, or 2.17 percent, at 13,907.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished up 22.06, or 1.44 percent, at 1,552.50. The Nasdaq composite index ended up 40.49, or 1.52 percent, at 2,707.00.

The Russell 2000 index finished the week up 3.46, or 0.41 percent, at 855.77.

The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index _ a free-float weighted index that measures 5,000 U.S. based companies _ ended Friday at 15,700.95, up 193.61 points for the week. A year ago, the index was at 12,497.96.

___

On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com

Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com

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