Lexus Cited in Harrowing Account Is Still on the Road
WASHINGTON —The Lexus sedan driven by Rhonda Smith, who testified in Congress Tuesday about a harrowing incident of sudden acceleration, is still on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In fact, the new owners of the luxury ES350 sedan have reported 27,000 miles trouble-free with the vehicle, according to a NHTSA spokeswoman. Mrs. Smith and her husband sold the vehicle after the incident, in which she thought she might die.
The federal safety agency followed up with the new owners last week. A NHTSA spokeswoman said "they have had no problems with the Lexus since they bought it with less than 3,000 miles on the car."
The Smiths' Lexus became a bone of contention in the congressional hearing Tuesday over Toyota Motor Corp.'s sudden acceleration issue. Ms. Smith choked back tears during her testimony as she described how her Lexus accelerated out of control up to speeds of 100 miles per hour on a Tennessee highway in 2006.
At the time, NHTSA investigators determined a rubber floor mat had trapped the accelerator into full throttle position. But Ms. Smith and her husband insisted floor mats were not at fault.
Because her cruise control light flashed before the vehicle took off at high speed, Ms. Smith thinks the problem is related to the vehicle's electronics.
Lawmakers then grilled Toyota's U.S. sales chief Jim Lentz over whether the company had tried to buy back the vehicle to assess the problem. Mr. Lentz said he was unaware of whether efforts had been made.
"I have not spoken to the Smiths but I plan to. I don't know the specifics of the situation," Mr. Lentz said, adding he was "embarrassed for what happened."
The House Energy and Commerce Committee opened the first of three congressional hearings on Toyota's safety issues. Committees are expected to grill Toyota executives and federal safety regulators over their response to more than 2,000 complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles over the last decade.
Write to Kate Linebaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiger Woods's disgusting apology
＞＞I've never been more disgusted with Tiger Woods.
I found his apology unbelievable, insincere, self-serving, self-indulgent, and narcissistic. (Long winded and repetitive, too.)
The more he spoke about redemption, about becoming a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better Buddhist, a better role model for your children and mine, the more I wanted him to just shut up.
He's not a public official or a spiritual or civic leader in whom we placed our trust and faith. He didn't campaign for votes on a family values platform. Nor was he standing behind a pulpit preaching the virtues of fidelity while carousing about town. He did not disgrace the country. He did not disgrace golf by falsifying scores or taking performance-enhancing drugs. This man, who is likely the most gifted golfer ever to play the game, cheated on his wife. And he got caught.
He did not owe us -- you and me -- an apology. That he delivered one just shows how meaningless it really was. You don't need an internationally televised apology to become a better man, a better husband, a better father -- the things he claims are most important to him. But you do need such a spectacle if you're going to remain a multi-billion dollar marketing machine. And that's what this pathetic display was all about.
By Eva Rodriguez | February 19, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
バーナード・ケリー、前ニューヨーク市警長官が、収賄～脱税～法廷で虚偽証言で実刑の判決を受けた。４年間、刑務所に入る。日本の検察と違うね～！いったい、日本の司法は何をやってるの？ 伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナBernard Kerik sentenced to four years in prison
Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was hailed as a hero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and nearly became chief of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was sentenced to four years behind bars Thursday for eight felonies.
Kerik admitted in November that he lied to the White House, filed false taxes and committed other crimes.
"The fact that Mr. Kerik would use that event (9/11) for personal gain and aggrandizement is a dark place in the soul for me," said federal Judge Stephen Robinson.
An apologetic Kerik said before the sentence was pronounced: "Allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible." Federal guidelines indicated Kerik's sentence should be between 27 and 33 months in prison. Robinson said he went beyond the guidelines because they could not account for certain factors.
Kerik was "the chief law enforcement law enforcement officer for the biggest and grandest city this nation has," Robinson said. The crimes were committed "in the process of attempting to become a cabinet level position in the government of the United States."
Kerik, 54, has already been ordered to pay $188,000 in restitution and to pay past-due taxes and penalties on six years of tax returns.
By Post Editor | February 18, 2010; 12:20 PM ET
As Obama bets on Asia, regional players hedge
By Jim Hoagland
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 NEW DELHI
Asia forms the crossroads of success or failure for Barack Obama's grandest foreign policy designs. This impression has crystallized over a year in which the president has shown himself indifferent to Europe, sentimental and somewhat conflicted about Africa, perplexed by the Middle East and largely oblivious to Latin America.
Obama's choices about China, India, Japan and Pakistan loom at least as large as the urgent challenges of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The president has outlined the need for the United States to shed burdens abroad to help repair the badly damaged American economy. That means that Obama must settle discarded U.S. burdens -- and power -- across a range of international organizations in which Asian nations are becoming increasingly influential.
The president consigned the Group of Eight industrial countries to leadership oblivion in his recent State of the Union message, omitting any mention of it while singling out the G-20 forum of developed and developing nations. This was no oversight: His administration hopes to shift climate change negotiations out of the unmanageable U.N. format that doomed the Copenhagen summit in December and place these talks in the G-20 process, according to U.S. officials.
Asia's giants, India and China, present differing and opposed models of international cooperation. A G-20 world needs at its center a dynamic U.S.-Indian relationship to help bridge that organization's divides between haves and have-nots and their different political systems. But here in New Delhi, Indian officials increasingly fear that the Obama team does not see it that way.
Indians are flattered that the only state dinner Obama hosted last year was given for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose remarkable intelligence and gracious manner would make him a welcome guest anywhere. But they also detect an air of ambivalence blowing their way from Washington -- and are reacting by hedging against a quick U.S. pullout from Afghanistan that would bring greater U.S. reliance on China and Pakistan, at India's expense.
Romanced by the Bush administration to balance China's inexorable rise in military and economic power, India finds itself out of sync with the Obama administration on some key issues. There is no open conflict. But neither is there the air of excitement and innovation about the U.S. relationship that I found on my last trip here 18 months ago.
Since then, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has explicitly rejected balance-of-power politics as a relic of the past. Yet India, Japan and other Asian states fear that without a supportive U.S. hand on the scales, they will be swamped by China's growing military capabilities and its increasingly aggressive, and effective, diplomacy.
The somewhat fanciful notion of a G-2 directorate in which the United States and China collude to determine global economic and political direction is increasingly colliding with reality. Tensions over Taiwan, trade and Tibet make the G-2 unworkable, as recent events have again shown. But the specter lingers for Asians as well as Europeans that Obama will be tempted to try -- even though a failed G-2 would be the worst possible outcome for everyone.
"The G-2 carries the implication that the United States would leave Asia to China to run," says B.J. Panda, a rising young political star here. Adds another Indian strategist: "We have to balance the Chinese, irrespective of what the U.S. and others do."
Obama's emphasis on setting an initial date for withdrawal from Afghanistan in his Dec. 1 policy speech, even as he sent additional U.S. troops, stirred doubt here about U.S. strategic patience. So have the frequent U.S. military visits to and overblown praise for Pakistan's army leadership, despite credible evidence of high-level Pakistani involvement in cross-border terrorism directed at India.
The dominant impression from three days of informal conversations organized here by the Aspen Strategy Group with Indian officials and analysts is that Pakistan has become a second-tier problem for India, even as it increasingly preoccupies Washington. What one Indian analyst described as "Obama's nuclear alarmism" also gives Pakistan increased leverage over Washington.
India has recently moved troops away from the Pakistan frontier while increasing deployments into border areas that China is claiming in pugnacious and offensive rhetoric. In a break with its past opposition to foreign bases in the region, India has secured military transit and stationing rights at an airbase in Tajikistan. And Singh's government lavishly welcomed Japan's new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, on a recent three-day visit that included publicity about plans for joint military maneuvers in the Indian Ocean.
These are clear signs of Indian hedging: seeking allies for worst-case scenarios while accommodating China on economic matters. The Obama administration's failure to reaffirm clearly that India's rise is in U.S. strategic interests has contributed to this hedging. That is a mistake the president should quickly correct, in the interests of his own vision of a new world order centered on the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The writer is a contributing editor to The Post.
アフガニスタン南部・ヘルマンド県・マルージャ。２月１３日、５０００人の米海兵隊員と１００００人のアフガン兵が、タリバン掃討戦を開始した。そこは地雷原だった。米軍は強固な銃撃に会った。海兵隊員の一人が戦死した。Troops face gunfights and minefields in offensive against Taliban in Afghanistan
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Sunday, February 14, 2010
MARJA, AFGHANISTAN -- U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers encountered pockets of stiff resistance and extensive minefields as they sought to press into this Taliban sanctuary in southern Afghanistan on Saturday.
Marines begin major operation in Marja, Afghanistan
Push into Marja is 'painstaking'
Numerous gunfights with insurgents and painstaking efforts to clear roads of makeshift bombs slowed the advance of many coalition units and delayed them from reaching some key destinations in this farming area of 80,000 people. The operation was further complicated by the challenge of fording irrigation canals that ring the area and traversing a landscape covered in knee-deep mud.
"We've had some pretty tough fights," said Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. "It's been a tough slog for some of our companies."
The effort to flush the Taliban out of Marja, which involves 5,000 Marines and Afghan security forces, is part of the largest coalition operation since the start of the Afghanistan war to combat the insurgency and assert government control over lawless areas of the country. British and Afghan troops are conducting a related operation in Nad Ali, a Taliban stronghold 30 miles to the northeast.
One Marine from the brigade was killed Saturday and several suffered injuries, most of them minor. It was not clear how many insurgents were killed by Marine ground units and by a series of Hellfire missile strikes from unmanned Predator and Reaper aircraft that commanders employed to pursue fighters shooting at coalition forces.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who U.S. officials said had authorized the operation, issued a statement Saturday calling on "all Afghan and international troops to exercise absolute caution to avoid harming civilians." He also urged the Taliban "to renounce violence and reintegrate into civilian life."
The danger and complexity of the mission became evident as soon as Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, approached the southeastern border of Marja at sunrise. To clear a path from the battalion command post to the outer canal, the Marines employed a tank equipped with metal fangs and a plow -- it looked like something from a post-apocalyptic science-fiction movie -- to lead the way.
The Marines also sought to detonate any bombs by firing rockets that lay a ribbon of explosives ahead of them. But even with those measures, the troops encountered 15 roadside bombs on a three-quarter-mile route from the command post to the canal. Each had to be defused or destroyed.
"It's painstaking," said Lt. Col. Cal Worth, the battalion commander.
U.S. military officials deem Marja the most-mined part of Afghanistan. Taliban operatives set up numerous laboratories in the area over the past three years to manufacture makeshift explosives, which they have placed in plastic jugs -- to avoid U.S. metal detection gear -- and buried underground. The bombs are equipped with detonators that are set off in a variety of ways: simple pressure plates, remote-control devices or wires connected to switches that are triggered by insurgents lying in wait.
Once they reached the canal, the Marines had to wait until a mobile bridge, which was carried atop a tank chassis, was extended and placed over an irrigation trench. Even with the bridge, a wide band of dense clay muck on both sides of the canal bogged down resupply trucks and other logistics vehicles. And insurgents repeatedly targeted the Marines with small-arms fire and mortar shells. As a consequence, the company made less headway into Marja than it had hoped.
"It's going to be slow," Worth said. "We have to do this in a deliberate way."
Even so, Worth said he aims to establish a "security bubble" over the next few days that will allow Afghan government officials and U.S. reconstruction personnel to operate in Marja.
Worth's other two companies -- Alpha and Bravo -- were inserted into central Marja by helicopter early Saturday. Each company, which consists of about 300 Marines and Afghan soldiers, proceeded slowly on foot, seeking to confront insurgents and reassure civilians that they had come to restore security. They, too, came under regular fire from Taliban fighters holed up in adobe housing compounds.
Worth's battalion has been designated as the "main effort" of the operation. Another unit, the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment, is operating in the northern part of Marja. Two other Marine battalions and one battalion of U.S. Army Stryker vehicles are ringing the area to prevent fighters from fleeing to neighboring communities.
"We have accomplished what we wanted to do today: get the forces into Marja," Nicholson said. "It went very well in terms of the complexity of what we attempted to do in an unknown environment. We'll attempt to expand our positions tomorrow."
But he cautioned that the task ahead remains daunting. Taliban fighters, he said, do not seem to have deserted the area in droves or thrown down their weapons to blend into the civilian population.
"There's still a lot of work to do," he said. "There are enormous areas that haven't been cleared yet."
経済回復の兆しは遠い。昨日のNYダウは、１１ヶ月ぶりに１万ドルを割った。FRB（USの日銀）議長のバーナンキは、ドル紙幣を増刷して財務省に渡した。ヘリコプター・ベンとあだ名を付けられた。さあ、インフレが心配だ。洪水のように流したカネを回収しなければならない。だが、いきなり引き締めれば、経済は挫折する。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナFederal Reserve hopes clear exit strategy will boost market confidence
By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
When you've flooded the economy with trillions of dollars, mopping up is no easy task.
That's the reality the Federal Reserve is confronting as it starts to explain how it will undo the aggressive growth-supporting steps that were put in place when the economy was in its deep dive -- and begins to be clearer about when that may happen.
But it is a fraught exercise. Federal Reserve leaders and private economists expect the jobless rate to remain high for years, despite a dip in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent in January, and the Fed could make the situation worse if it moves too abruptly. In the meantime, financial markets have shown new signs of fragility, swooning in the past three weeks, including a 1 percent drop in the stock market Monday that drove the Dow Jones industrial average to close under 10,000 for the first time in three months.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is betting that if the central bank is open about how it will phase out its expansive initiatives to prop up the economy, it will provide faith that the Fed will not allow inflation to flare down the road. That in turn would help keep long-term interest rates low and could allow the Fed to keep the short-term rates it controls at ultra-low levels for longer.
"You're trying to inspire confidence that you know what you're doing, which can help put the brakes on any incipient inflation without damaging the recovery," said Karen Dynan, a Fed economist until last year who now co-directs the Brookings Institution's economic studies program.
But that strategy comes with risks. Most notably, investors may interpret the talk about reducing the money supply as a sign that those steps are imminent. That could prompt interest rates to rise sooner than the Fed would like, which could slow the economic recovery or even stop it.
Bernanke is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday about unwinding Fed actions and will probably elaborate on those plans later in the month with his semiannual testimony on Capitol Hill about monetary policy.
Once the time comes, the Fed is likely to sop up cash from the economy by increasing the interest paid on excess bank reserves. Banks often park money they aren't otherwise using -- for instance, lending to borrowers -- at the Fed and are currently paid 0.25 percent interest on those reserves. If inflation became a threat, the Fed could raise the interest rate, giving banks an incentive to park even more cash rather than lending it.
The Fed has been able to pay interest on reserves only since the power was included as a little-noticed part of the law that created the $700 billion federal bailout, known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program, in October 2008. But now, Fed officials view this authority as a key element in the central bank's tool kit for managing the economy. This power could even eclipse the approach the Fed has traditionally used to influence the economy: setting a target for the "federal funds rate" at which banks lend to one another.
"Interest on reserves is the workhorse . . . and is intended to be the main tool" in the Fed's exit strategy, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said in an interview Monday. That, he added, has created significant discussion within the Fed about how to make policy in the months and years ahead.
"The old regime was it was always about the fed funds rate," Bullard said. He added: "You had a long history of what the impact on the economy was of a change in the rate. We don't have that now, and it doesn't look like we'll really be back in that scenario anytime very soon."
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which executes the central bank's monetary policy by buying and selling securities, has been experimenting with other tools that might allow it to drain the money supply, including "term deposits." These would essentially give banks incentive to deposit money at the Fed for a set period of time. The Fed is also testing reverse repurchase agreements, which would allow the central bank to temporarily swap assets on its balance sheets for cash, thus pulling that cash out of the financial system.
As of Feb. 1, the Fed ended several of its more unconventional lending programs that were started during the depths of the financial crisis. And Fed leaders have said it will cease purchases of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities by the end of March. A knottier question is when it might sell some of those securities on the open market, as opposed to letting them reach maturity over many years.
Selling these securities would pull money out of the economy and shrink the Fed's $2.2 trillion balance sheet, helping to avoid inflation and getting the Fed out of the business of subsidizing mortgages. But selling the assets probably would drive up mortgage rates, damaging a housing sector whose recovery is slow and fragile.
So far, the Fed has convinced markets that the "how" of unwinding support for the economy is separate from the "when." As for when the rate increases will begin, that will depend on how the economy is doing and whether inflation expectations rise. If the recovery fizzles, the central bank would wait longer. If there is a strong burst of growth, rates would increase sooner. Similarly, the Fed would probably raise rates sooner and more aggressively if investors began to expect a burst of inflation.
At its policymaking meeting in late January, the Fed said it is likely to keep interest rates "exceptionally low" for "an extended period," repeating language it has used for more than a year. While Fed policymakers have differing views on how long an extended period would be, William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said last week that it means rates will stay very low for at least six more months.
The financial markets will be closely watching Bernanke testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee. After all, the key to Bernanke's strategy is winning is the confidence of market participants in the Fed ability to drain cash from the system.
"I think the markets would like to have a bit more transparency on the exit strategy plans," said Kurt Karl, chief U.S. economist at Swiss Re. "It's probably the right time to provide more detail. As I understand it, the chairman will provide quite a bit of detail, though perhaps not as much as the market wants."
Another day, another Prius recall report
Today brings another unsourced report from another Japanese media outlet that Toyota is preparing a recall of its high-profile hybrid, the 2010 Prius, to take care of complaints from drivers that the vehicle's brakes are squishy.
Today's report comes from Japan's Kyodo news agency. It reports, though does not identify its source, that the Japanese auto giant will recall 270,000 Priuses on Tuesday. The company has not confirmed the report.
Last week's report came from Japanese news outlet Nikkei, and its number was 160,000 Priuses. The company last week denied that report.
Over the weekend, however, Toyota said it is working on a plan to fix the Prius brakes and would announce something this week.
The problem in a nutshell: The Prius, like other hybrids, uses an innovative braking system known as "regenerative braking" that has an electronic and more conventional hydraulic braking system. When the Prius switches from one system to another, sometimes over bumpy roads, there is a momentary feeling of squishiness in the brakes. Toyota says the brakes are fine and if you keep applying them, the vehicle will brake. Of course, that's not what a number of the more than 100 complaints by 2010 Prius owners to NHTSA have said, so Toyota has a problem on its hands.
So here's what's probably going on: Automakers understandably hate to issue recalls. Recalls are the last-ditch resort because (a) they are so expensive, (b) they kill your public image, (c) they may not have diagnosed the problem accurately and the recall won't work, and (d) a lot of people will not bring their recalled vehicles in to be fixed because they are busy or they don't think the problem is that bad.
Toyota has likely been trying to figure out if this brake squishiness is a real mechanical problem that is the result of a design flaw or if it's a perception problem that can be fixed with a software change that will make the brakes feel firmer.
Then, the automaker has been trying to figure out whether it's a systemic problem on all the company's assembly lines -- maybe, because it's been installing a software fix on recently produced Prius brakes (an issue, by the way, that Ford hybrids have, as well) -- or whether it's isolated to a few assembly plants.
Then, Toyota is trying to figure out if this is a safety issue or a perception issue. Make no mistake -- automakers run a cost calculus on recalls, weighing the potential hazard of a situation (and that includes the potential for class-action lawsuits, which Toyota is already facing) against the cost of the recall.
Here's a good academic study on the production cost vs. liability cost of the Ford Pinto's exploding gas tank.
For Johnson & Johnson, which faced eight deaths in Chicago in the early '80s because a never-apprehended villain poisoned the company's Tylenol with cyanide, the choice was simple: Our product is killing people. We need to take all Tylenol off the shelves everywhere, immediately.
Toyota's choice is not so simple. No deaths have been attributed to the squishy Prius brakes and only four crashes are alleged to have happened because of them. But the P.R. hit Toyota is taking is massive.
If the automaker chooses to execute a recall, it wants to run the cheapest recall possible that will fix the problem, i.e, a software fix versus ripping out the entire brake assembly.
Toyota has a lot of parts in motion right now, as it tries to figure out what to do about its 2010 Prius, which has been the automaker's halo vehicle -- the car that is meant to embody all that is best about Toyota. That's why you're seeing this drip-drip-drip unsourced reports on the future of the Prius. It's not an easy choice Toyota faces.
Whaler, activist ship collide again off Antarctica
反捕鯨団体シーシェパードのボブ・バーカーは、ゲームショーのプロジューサーが１ミリオンドルを寄付したので名付けたと。シーシェパードは、捕鯨反対が商売だ。一方の日本の鯨研調査捕鯨は合法だ。ただし、ほとんどの日本人（９９．９９９％）にとっては、迷惑な話なのだ。あくまでも、鯨研 VS シーシェパードの小競り合いである。適切な法廷へ行け！伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ
By ROHAN SULLIVAN
The Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2010; 9:35 AM
SYDNEY -- The anti-whaling ship the Bob Barker and a Japanese harpoon boat collided Saturday in the icy waters off Antarctica - the second major clash this year in the increasingly aggressive confrontations between conservationists and the whaling fleet.
No one was injured in the latest smash-up, for which each side blamed the other.
The U.S.-based activist group Sea Shepherd, which sends vessels to confront the Japanese fleet each year, said the Japanese ship deliberately rammed the Bob Barker - named after the U.S. game show host who donated millions to buy it for the anti-whaling group.
However, Japan's Fisheries Agency said the activist boat caused the collision by suddenly approaching the harpoon vessel No. 3 Yushin Maru to throw bottles containing butyric acid in an attempted attack on the Japanese ship.
The Japanese agency accused Sea Shepherd of "committing an act of sabotage" on the Japanese expedition, noting that it is allowed under world whaling restrictions as a scientific expedition. Conservationists call the annual hunt a cover for commercial whaling.
"We will not tolerate the dangerous activity that threatens Japanese whaling ships and endangers the lives of their crew members," it said in a statement late Saturday.
Neither side's account could be verified. Video shot from the Bob Barker and released by Sea Shepherd shows the two ships side by side moving quickly through the water. The ships come closer together and the Japanese ship then appears to turn away, but its stern swings sharply toward the Bob Barker. The collision is obscured by spray, but a loud clanging noise can be heard before the vessels separate.
Saturday's collision was the second this year between a Sea Shepherd boat and the Japanese fleet.
On Jan. 6, a Japanese whaler struck Sea Shepherd's high-tech speed boat Ady Gil and sheared off its nose. The Bob Barker then came to rescue the crew of the Ady Gil, which sank a day later.
Sea Shepherd and the whalers have faced off in Antarctic waters for the past few years over Japan's annual whale hunt, with each side accusing the other of acting in increasingly dangerous ways.
Sea Shepherd activists try to block the whalers from firing harpoons, and they dangle ropes in the water to try to snarl the Japanese ships' propellers. They also hurl packets of stinking rancid butter at their rivals. The whalers have responded by firing water cannons and sonar devices meant to disorient the activists. Collisions have occurred occasionally.
Japan aims to take hundreds of whales each year - mainly minke whales, which are not endangered - under a program that is allowed despite the international moratorium on killing whales because it is done in the name of science. Critics say the scientific program is a front for commercial whaling, and much of the meat is eaten.
On Saturday, the Bob Barker found the whaling fleet for the first time since the time of the Ady Gil clash, Watson said.
Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said by satellite telephone on Saturday that the Bob Barker took up a position behind the Nisshin Maru - the Japanese factory ship where dead whales are hauled aboard and butchered - so the four harpoon vessels could not reach it, he said.
"The harpoon ships started circling like sharks," Watson told The Associated Press from his ship, the Steve Irwin. "They were making near passes to the stern and the bow of the Bob Barker, then the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Bob Barker."
The Bob Barker sustained a 3-ft. long, 4-inch wide (1-meter long, 10-centimeter) gash in its hull. Welders aboard the ship were already working on patching the hole, and the Bob Barker would resume its pursuit of the whalers, Watson said.
Watson said the Yushin Maru 3 appeared to stop moving after the collision and had not been seen by the Bob Barker's crew to have moved since, suggesting it also may have been damaged.
The Japanese fisheries statement said the Bob Barker caused the collision by coming in too close to throw butyric acid - smelly, rancid butter that spoils whale meat - onto the Japanese vessel. "The No. 3 Yushin Maru immediately moved away to avert a collision, but it was grazed in its tail area," the Fisheries Agency statement said.
The clash caused No. 3 Yushin Maru minor damage - its railing was slightly bent - but involved no injuries among crewmembers, the agency said.
The governments of Australia and New Zealand, which have responsibility for maritime rescue in the area where the hunt is usually conducted, say the fight between the two sides is becoming increasingly dangerous and have repeatedly urged them to tone it down.
ダライ・ラマが、二月の末に訪米する。「ダライ・ラマは世界にh指導者だ。だから会う」とオバマ。「中国の面子を傷つける好意だ」と中国外務省。台湾への武器供与に関連したボーイングなどに経済制裁をちらつかせている。「これは神経戦だ。オバマが瞬かないことを祈る」とバージニアのウルフ議員。「米中関係は倒れる寸前だ」とシンクタンク、、伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナObama Plan to Meet Dalai Lama Prompts New Friction With China
By Hans Nichols
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama plans to meet with the Dalai Lama later this month, ignoring Chinese warnings that it would further damage U.S.-China ties already strained by a proposed arms sales to Taiwan and a dispute over censorship of the Internet.
“The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the president will meet with him in that capacity,” Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said yesterday.
Burton declined to say when or where the meeting might occur. An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it would be later this month when the Tibetan spiritual leader is scheduled to be in the U.S.
Friction between the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 economies may threaten U.S. goals for thwarting the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, reaching a global accord on climate change and addressing trade imbalances. It also creates challenges for U.S. companies such as Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Mountain View, California-based Google Inc.
Obama’s decision to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader will bring the U.S.-China relationship closer to a “tipping point,” said Christopher McNally, an analyst at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“The Chinese are really pushing back” against U.S. actions, he said. “They are pushing back because they feel much more self-confident in their international position.”
Threat to Cooperation
Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who manages Tibet affairs, told reporters in Beijing yesterday that a meeting between the U.S. president and the Dalai Lama would “seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations” and “threaten trust and cooperation.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ma Zhaoxu also reiterated China’s threat to impose sanctions on companies involved in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan announced by the Pentagon last week.
The proposed sales include United Technologies UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters valued at $3.1 billion and Boeing Harpoon missiles costing $37 million.
China and the U.S. also are at odds over censorship of Google’s Chinese search engine. Google, which runs the world’s most popular Internet search site, said Jan. 12 it would stop censoring its search results as required by the government in China and might end operations there.
That followed what the company described as an infiltration of its technology and the Gmail Internet e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Ten days later, China criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a speech in which she said the communist country’s Internet controls might hamper its development.
The political difficulties coincide with rising conflicts over bilateral trade. The U.S. is China’s biggest trading partner and China is the second-biggest U.S. trading partner after Canada, with two-way trade totaling $409.2 billion in 2008. China’s $266.3 billion trade surplus with the U.S. that year helped spur its purchases of U.S. treasuries.
The confrontation has domestic political implications in both nations. China’s Communist elite is jostling for influence as it grooms new leaders to take over in 2012.
“They are quite insecure of the Communist party’s long- term position in China,” McNally said.
In the U.S., congressional elections in November may increase pressure on the Obama administration to stand firm.
Pushing and Probing
“The Chinese test and they push and they probe,” said Representative Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican and frequent critic of China’s human rights record. “Hopefully the administration won’t blink.”
Obama didn’t see the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan leader was in Washington in October. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said at the time that the president would meet with the Dalai Lama sometime after Obama returned from a trip to Asia in November that included a stop in China.
At the close of his formal meetings with President Hu Jintao in Beijing, Obama said that while Tibet is part of China, the U.S. “supports the early resumption on dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences.”
Burton said Obama told China’s leaders during that visit that he would meet with the Dalai Lama.
Every president since George H.W. Bush, who served in office 1989-1993, has sat down with the Dalai Lama, usually in private and frequently prompting criticism from the Chinese government.
In October 2007, President George W. Bush met the Dalai Lama in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, the first time a U.S. president had met with him in a public setting. The event didn’t set back ties with China, though then-Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao said the gesture “severely hurt the Chinese people’s feelings.”
China, Iran Prompt U.S. Air-Sea Battle Plan in Strategy Review
今夜、米国防省は「四年毎の国防展望“QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW”（QDR)」を発表する。「中国とイランの二国が、武器を改良しており、米国とその同盟国に脅威を与えている～実際に戦時の展望だ」とロバート・ゲーツ国防長官。特に、西太平洋（中国VS沖縄・台湾）米軍の強化を担うのは、空軍と海軍だ。米空軍の中心となる兵器は、長距離爆撃機～新型クルーズ・ミサイル～空母から発進できる無人機。米海軍は、無人潜水艇の開発である。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ
By Viola Gienger and Tony Capaccio
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. military is drawing up a new air-sea battle plan in response to threats such as China’s persistent military build-up and Iran’s possession of advanced weapons, according to the Pentagon’s latest strategy review.
The Air Force and Navy are seeking more effective ways of ensuring continued access to the western Pacific and countering potential threats to American bases and personnel, according to the Quadrennial Defense Review to be released later today.
The joint Air Force-Navy plan would combine the strengths of each service to conduct long-range strikes that could utilize a new generation of bombers, a new cruise missile and drones launched from aircraft carriers. The Navy also is increasing funding to develop an unmanned underwater vehicle, according to the report.
The battle plan is among a range of new initiatives outlined in the review, which is conducted every four years to revise U.S. military strategy for the coming decade or more. The new report places top priority on the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq and against terrorist threats elsewhere, while also preparing for future threats.
“This is truly a wartime QDR,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in a cover letter for the report. “For the first time, it places the current conflicts at the top of our budgeting, policy and program priorities.”
The review deemphasizes but does not abandon the Pentagon’s doctrine that calls for the military to be able to fight two major wars nearly simultaneously. It acknowledges this mission but says planning should focus more closely on other scenarios, such as irregular warfare including conflicts involving insurgents or drug traffickers and even humanitarian disasters.
“In the mid- to long-term, U.S. military forces must plan and prepare to prevail in a broad range of operations that may occur in multiple theaters in overlapping time frames,” the Defense Department says in the review.
“This includes maintaining the ability to prevail against two capable nation-state aggressors,” it states.
Alluding to China in his cover letter, Gates cites longer- term threats such as “the military modernization programs of other countries.” He also hints at dangers such as al-Qaeda in referring to “non-state groups developing more cunning and destructive means to attack the United States and our allies and partners.”
Tensions With China
U.S. officials have often called on their Chinese counterparts to provide explanations and assurances that their moves are purely defensive. The two countries resumed military talks last June, then China halted visits again over the Defense Department’s Jan. 29 announcement of a new arms sale to Taiwan.
China is developing and deploying “large numbers” of advanced missiles, new attack submarines, long-range air defense systems and capabilities to wage electronic warfare and target computer systems, according to the report, which echoes an assessment of China’s military power issued almost a year ago.
China’s refusal to provide adequate assurances of its intentions raises “a number of legitimate questions regarding its long-term intentions,” the Pentagon says in the review.
Citing “more complex” security conditions in the region, including North Korea and terrorist threats in Southeast Asia, the review calls for “a more widely distributed” and flexible U.S. presence in Asia that relies more on allies. Partners would include Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Threat From Iran
In the Middle East, Iran is fielding small attack boats in the Persian Gulf, a development that U.S. officials have cited in the past. That compounds the threat to naval operations from the acquisition by Iran and other nations of weapons such as quiet submarines and advanced cruise missiles that can target ships, according to the report.
Iran also has provided drones and shoulder-fired missiles to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Russia and other nations have contributed to the spread of surface-to- air missiles, the department said.
Among the solutions proposed are more ways to deploy U.S. forces abroad, such as naval assets, “in regions facing new challenges.” Existing bases also need to be either hardened to protect against potential attacks or reinforced with back-up locations or by dispersing them in multiple places, the department concluded.
The Pentagon has about 400,000 U.S. military personnel stationed overseas, either in war zones or elsewhere. The review emphasizes “taking care of our people” serving in multiple long deployments that take a “significant toll” on them and their families.
In addition to supporting existing wars, the Quadrennial review emphasizes the need for more unmanned aircraft, intelligence, special forces, helicopters and long-range strike capabilities as well as skills such as foreign languages and training of foreign military forces.
The U.S. military, especially the Navy and Air Force, also should find better and faster ways to strengthen the defense systems of foreign allies and partners as needed, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon should continue to maintain a nuclear arsenal as a “core mission” until “such time as the administration’s goal of a world free of nuclear weapons is achieved,” according to the report.
The potential threat of cyber attacks and the need to conduct “high-tempo operations” will require more expertise in that field and centralized command of cyber operations, the department said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at email@example.com; Viola Gienger in New Delhi via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: January 31, 2010 17:39 EST