US President Obama says Asia-Pacific is key to future

US President Barack Obama has said that the Asia-Pacifc region will play a key role in defining the world's future.

Speaking to the Australian parliament in Canberra, Mr Obama said the US was now turning its attention to the region.

His comments come after Australia agreed to host a full US Marine taskforce in the coming years.

China has questioned the move, which many analysts see as being a counter to Beijing's growing influence.

However, Mr Obama was clear in his message about the role the US would play in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Let there be no doubt: In the Asia-Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in," he said.

New world order: Australia at heart of power base

US President Barack Obama will use troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan to bolster forces in the Asia-Pacific - the strongest sign yet that Australia will be at the centre of a new world order.
President Obama addresses ParliamentWe're here to stay: Obama confirms US presence Their special relationship - the audacity of grope Ear bashing: Obama tries the local lingo The Punch: Gillard and Obama - US forces given the nod Announcing yesterday, during a historic speech to the Australian parliament, that he had already told his national security team to draw up plans, Mr Obama gave his strongest vow to date about more US involvement in our economic zone, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Trans-Pacific Partnership is Govt's 'secret dirty deal'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being called the Government’s “secret dirty deal” and thousands of riled Kiwis, sick of being kept in the dark, have signed a petition delivered to Government House today.
The small group of protesters marched the petition through Wellington to the gates of the Governor-General’s residence in a bid to convince him that the TPP “will strip away New Zealand’s sovereignty”.
At the head of the walking convoy was Green MP Catherine Delahunty who says the petition, signed by 2,500 people, asks Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae to do his job.

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Bilderberg To Meet In Switzerland

James P. Tucker Jr. American Free Press: The shadowy group known as Bilderberg will be gathering this year for its annual meeting at the resort city of St. Moritz, in southeastern Switzerland, June 9-12, but they will have a lot of company. St. Moritz is a short distance from Davos, the site of the regular high-priced meeting of thousands of bankers, political leaders and other notables called the World Economic Forum. But unlike at Davos, where the press is always welcome, Bilderberg still tries to maintain absolute secrecy.

China plans to track Beijing citizens through their mobiles

Government claims technology will ease transport congestion, but experts warn it could be used to control dissent. Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns over plans to track every mobile phone user in Beijing through global positioning technology.

Chinese media reported this week that pilot schemes were being introduced for an "information platform of real-time citizen movement" to help with traffic management.


China prepares to end GDP obsession

BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China will seek lower economic growth in the coming five years as the constant pursuit of rapid expansion in past years has brought about unbalanced economic and social development. China is targeting an annual average growth rate of seven percent in the next five years to 2015, Premier Wen Jiabao told nearly 3,000 national legislators Saturday.

The move is meant to bring a "significant improvement in the quality and performance of economic growth," Wen said. The new target is quite impressive for the developed nations still struggling to stimulate economic growth after the international financial crisis. However, it seems modest in comparison with the target of 7.5 percent five years ago.

Australia: Proposed legislation to make numerous common plants illegal?

The Federal Attorney General wants to expand the list of federally prohibited plants. The list currently has 5 types of plants in it which can be used as drugs. This is to be expanded to include hundreds (possibly thousands) of other species, including all Angel’s Trumpets, many common cacti, many native and exotic wattles, powderpuffs, fodder grasses, Jimson weed, and many other common ornamental plants.

These laws will make criminals out of most nurseries, commercial propagators, gardeners, cactus collectors, farmers, and people working in landcare and dunecare. Selling just a single one of these plants can cause you to be charged and convicted with a federal drugs conviction and criminal record.


Arrests after "Jasmine Revolution" call in China

BEIJING - Several top Chinese rights activists have disappeared into police custody as a web campaign urged angry citizens to mark the Middle East's "Jasmine Revolution" with protests, campaigners said Sunday.

Up to 15 leading Chinese rights lawyers and activists have disappeared since Saturday amid a nationwide police mobilisation, according to activists, while the government appeared to censor Internet postings calling for the demonstrations.

"We welcome... laid off workers and victims of forced evictions to participate in demonstrations, shout slogans and seek freedom, democracy and political reform to end 'one party rule'," one Internet posting said.

Economic union with Aussie urged

The Muldoon-era Cabinet minister widely credited as the architect of closer economic relations between Australia and New Zealand is calling on both countries to bite the bullet on economic union.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will honour former trade and industry minister Hugh Templeton today with one of her country's highest honours at an Order of Australia investiture ceremony. It is a level of recognition that has eluded Mr Templeton on this side of the Tasman.

Ms Gillard yesterday put further expanding CER – a deal liberalising trade between New Zealand and Australia that came into effect in 1983 – at the top of her agenda in New Zealand. She said it was a "living agreement".

Gillard given unique chance to advance 'shared future'

Fran O’Sullivan: New Zealand has accorded Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard a singular honour with her invitation to address the NZ Parliament next Wednesday - the first foreign leader to do so.

This landmark event in the history of New Zealand-Australian relations will have great ceremonial and symbolic significance.

But tempting as it may be for Gillard to focus on the usual (easy) transtasman cliches - the big brother/little brother friendly rivalry, our shared Anzac tradition where we have "spilt blood" together on foreign battlefields, and, each other's blood when it comes to rugby - we should expect her to deliver much more than conventional bromides.

New Zealand and Australia are at a crunch point.

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