Archive for September 4, 2011


By MARK KAPCHANGA

Kenya-based aircraft leasing company, ALS Ltd, has signed a one-year lease agreement with Southern Star, a new start-up airline based in the newly created South Sudan state.

The aircraft, a 37-seater Dehavilland Dash 8, is valued at $4.5 million (Sh400 million) and will cost the South Sudanese airline approximately $200,000 (Sh18 million) a month in leasing fees.

"This is expected to be a long-term partnership with the new start-up airline that is vying for national carrier status for the new republic of South Sudan," said ALS chief executive officer Cornwell Muleya during the signing ceremony held in the South Sudan capital, Juba, when it took delivery of the aircraft.

Southern Star will use the plane to ply domestic routes in the first phase of the lease.

The second phase will incorporate larger aircraft from ALS such as the Embraer 145, a 50-seater jet, which can do international flights, under a long-term lease signed with Southern Star.

Southern Star, a new airline, is vying for national carrier status for the new republic of South Sudan, which will open up more business for ALS. "ALS will be the preferred supplier of additional aircraft to this airline, mainly due its’ IOSA status," said Mr Muleya.

ALS is also eyeing leasing more aircraft to Southern Star’s cargo division which is being set-up. ALS has leasing agreements with a number of airlines in the region, including Rwandair in Kigali and Safarilink in Kenya.

Currently, ALS operate a fleet of 22 aircraft ranging from 19-seater to 37-seater jets and turboprops. New 50-seater aircraft are being introduced, which include the Dash 8 300 turboprops and Embraer 145 jets.

ALS mainly leases to airlines, oil companies and NGO’s.

OIL COMPANIES

ALS got a major boost in its leasing business when it was recently awarded the IATA Operational safety Audit certification for meeting international aviation safety standards.

Meanwhile, Tanzania largest airline, Precision Air last week announced its intention to list at the Dar Salaam Stock Exchange.

The plans that will see it raise Sh2.7billion to increase it operation into Southern Africa, West Africa and Central Africa regions.

"We intend to raise $30million. In two weeks time we will have received all the approval from the Capital Market Authority of Tanzania. And we are hoping that in October we shall be inviting East Africans to buy shares," Alfonse Kioko, the Group Managing Director and CEO said.

Kioko said the issue would be open to all East Africans, though it will not be cross-listed in respective bourses. He said that the shares to put on sale are the authorised shares but unauthorised.

Currently, Tanzanian businessman Michael Shirima owns 51 per cent stake while Kenyamag-glass_10x10.gif Airways owns 49 per cent.

The money to be raised will also be used to purchase a new Boeing aircraft that will serve in South Africa and West Africa route.

Early last week, the airline received Boeing 737-300 making it the eleventh aircraft in its fleet. "We want to increase our fleet to 17 by the end of next year from the current 11," he said. The new Boeing will fly between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and Mwanza.

Looking to attract tourists from South Africa, Precision Air has extended its schedule flights to cover southern African regional cities through Johannesburg in South Africa. The airline launched its first flight from Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg in South Africa last week. It will be flying to South Africa four times per week from its hub in Dar es Salaam using a new Boeing 737-300 airplane.

Launching of the first flight between Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) and Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg took place recently with passengers enjoying a reduced ticket fare.

Mr Kioko said the newly-introduced flights connecting Tanzania and South Africa would attract more tourists from South Africa to visit Tanzania’s leading wildlife parks and Mount Kilimanjaro.

He said business travelers would also find it easier to fly between Tanzania and South Africa using the airplane with a capacity to carry 111 passengers.

—Additional reporting by Patrick Githinji and Patrick Kibet

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000042179&cid=14&j=&m=&d=


Press Release National Congress bans SPLM/N, arrests many members and leaders and confiscates properties and documents all over Northern Sudan

In a significant development, the National Congress Party has banned the SPLM/North and arrested many of its members and leaders in addition to confiscating properties and documents across the Northern Sudan.
Over the last 24 hours, the following violations have been reported:-

1-Western Darfur State:
In Al Geneina, the capital of Western Darfur State, the security agencies yesterday conducted a predawn raid in a number of SPLM offices and residents of the SPLM members, resulting in the arrest of Madam Salwa Adam Bineiya, the Chairperson of the SPLM in Gadaref State. She was spending the Eid holiday with her relatives in Geneina. Madam Salwa is also a former SPLM candidate for the post of the governor of Gadaref. Five other members of the SPLM in Darfur have also been arrested. Several SPLM vehicles and documents have been confiscated after offices had been vandalized and shut down.

2-Al Gezira State:
SPLM offices in the entire counties and districts of the state have been shut down and members arrested, among them the secretary general of the SPLM in the state and a well-known activist in Wed Medani city, Ustaz Abdullah Abaker. It is to be recalled that the Governor of Al Gezira, Zubeir Bashir Taha attempted to close down the SPLM offices in many times in the last three months, even before the war could start in the two areas. Taha is well-known Islamic fundamentalist and anti-SPLM/N campaigner.

3-Northern Kordofan State:
SPLM offices in the state have been closed down. The SPLM Secretary General, the Secretary for Information and the Chairperson of Ghibesh District have been arrested by the security forces. Furniture and documents of the main office in Al Obaid town have been confiscated.

4-Khartoum State:
In the capital Khartoum, the security forces closed down the General Headquarters of the SPLM/N. The office of the Secretary General at Arkuwait has been vandalized, using a force consisting of four vehicles carrying heavily armed soldiers.

5-Nile State:
In this state SPLM offices have been shut down and vehicles and documents have been commandeered.

6-Sennar State:
Offices of the SPLM have been shut down and many members rounded up from their houses and detained. It is worth mentioning that Sennar is a neighboring state to Blue Nile.

7-Northern Darfur
All SPLM offices in Northern Darfur have been shut down, particularly offices in Al Fasher, the capital of the state. It is worth mentioning that all those who are arrested are civilians and have nothing to do with the on going war. They are citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights through peaceful means. We call upon human organizations and activists to bring pressure to bear on Al Bashir government to stop this witch-hunt against the SPLM/N membership. The general public in the Sudan, the region and the international community at large will be updated as we receive more information.

Conclusion:
The plan to eradicate the SPLM/N has been designed long time ago by the National Congress who fears the role of the SPLM/N as a democratic force in the transformation of the North. The leadership of the SPLM/N has been a target of a semi-Nazi campaign during the six year interim period. It is evidently clear to the National Congress that the SPLM/N is a formidable force, thus the delusional attempts to uproot it!
The National Congress, by depriving the SPLM/N of any political space, and by disowning the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement which was the only viable track, has deliberately chosen war as the only mechanism to eradicate the SPLM/N. The NCP will live to regret this choice as the SPLM is there to stay and to lead. Rather, it is the dictatorship of the NCP that will sooner or later be assigned to history’s dustbin.
Yasir Arman
SPLM/N Secretary General
September 4th,2011

Press Release

SPLM/N Position on the regional and international consultations to

stop the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile StatesThe SPLM/N leadership has been consulted by a number of concerned regional and international bodies and countries on the unfolding human catastrophe precipitated by the National Congress and the need for a speedy end to the current conflict.

As part of the consultation, we received an invitation from the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, inviting the SPLM/N leadership to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for consultations.

The SPLM/N has similarly been consulted by the office of the Chairman of AUHIP, former President Thabo Mbeki and also by the US Special Envoy to Sudan Ambassador Princeton Lyman.

We have also conferred with the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Haile Menkarios. In the light of these consultations, the SPLM/N would like to underline the following principles and new realities:

1-Perment and just peace is a strategic goal for the SPLM/N.

2-The SPLM/N highly values and appreciates the concern of the regional and international community and will always be ready and available to consult with them.

3-The National Congress ignited this war and must fully bear responsibility for its consequences. Moreover, it is the National Congress that dishonored the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement in an utter contempt to the regional and international efforts!

4-We appeal and ask the regional and international community to seriously take in to account the fact the NCP is using food as a weapon in the current conflict, denying hundreds of thousands of civilians from humanitarian assistance and using some of them as human shields. This act is unacceptable and constitutes a war crime. There is a need to open safe corridors for delivering aid to the needy civil population. In this context, Sudan has precedence in the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) which saved millions of civilians during the war in South Sudan. The same model can be applied taking into consideration the realities of today.

5-Sudan Air Force is being used by the National Congress in targeting the civil population and civilian installations from Blue Nile to Darfur. Therefore, we urge and appeal to the international community, particularly the UN Security Council to apply a NO-FLY ZONE from Blue Nile to Darfur.

5-With the SPLM/N now having been banned; thousands of civilians killed, injured, displaced, or forced to flee as refugees in South Sudan and Ethiopia; and the Chairman of the SPLM/N and the only truly elected governor in Northern Sudan having been removed unconstitutionally and state of emergency declared and SPLM/N leaders being hunted and arrested all over Sudan and with SPLM/N properties and documents confiscated, offices closed down countrywide, the CPA has practically been dismantled.

The National Congress, by this unwarranted aggression, has created a full-fledged war, engulfing the New South in the North. Will it then be business as usual for the National Congress?

Yasir Arman
SPLM/N Secretary General
September 6th, 2011

Sudan says south-aligned group must end operations

Sun Sep 4, 2011 8:38pm GMT

(Adds Sudanese president and head of parliament comments paragraphs 7 and 15)

By Khalid Abdelaziz and Hereward Holland

KHARTOUM/JUBA, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Sudan demanded on Sunday that the southern-aligned Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) cease operations in the country, stoking tensions with the newly independent south after fighting flared in border areas.

The SPLM, the south’s dominant party, said this amounted to banning the group.

“There is no party that is called the SPLM in Sudan and it has no right to carry out political work because it is illegal,” Rabia Abdelati, adviser to the information ministry, told Reuters in Khartoum.

“Carrying out any activity is considered a crime punishable by the law.”

The SPLM’s northern wing, SPLM-N, fought with the south before a peace deal in 2005 that led to South Sudan’s independence in July. It has supporters in Sudan, particularly in areas along the border.

Khartoum blames the south and the SPLM for violence in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states as well as other areas along the boundary where fighting since Thursday has killed more than 20 and driven many from their homes. SPLM officials say Khartoum is to blame.

In a statement ran by the Sudanese news agency SUNA on Sunday, Sudanese President Omar el Bashir said that his government would “settle any security or military disturbances by the People’s Liberation Movement” yet added that his country remains “keen on having a state of peace and stability.”

Security officials told SPLM members the government was banning its political activities, according to a senior SPLM official in Khartoum late on Saturday. He said security forces had taken control of the SPLM’s main Khartoum office.

On Sunday, SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman said Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) “has banned the SPLM as a political party and arrested many civilian leaders of the SPLM.”

“They closed down my office as SPLM secretary general in Khartoum,” he said, adding that five members were arrested in Darfur — another region that has risen up against Khartoum — and that other senior officials were arrested in other regions.

“Their main objective is to destroy the SPLM in the North. They see us as a threat,” Arman said.

“The SPLM has no more political space left. It is under attack in South Kordofan and Blue Nile so the NCP is sending a message that the only option is war.”

Analysts say Sudan’s government in Khartoum is trying to strike against the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile before they become a serious political and military threat. The fighting risks drawing South Sudan into a proxy war.

The Sudanese government declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile state on Friday, sacked the governor who was a member of the SPLM-N and appointed a military ruler in the area.

The Sudanese parliament is due to discuss the state of emergency in an urgent session on Sept. 12, Egypt’s MENA news agency said, quoting the head of Sudanese parliament Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir.

Peter de Clercq, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), said a UNHCR team estimated that more than 20,000 people had crossed into Ethiopia from Kurmuk, one area of Blue Nile state where fighting has flared.

“From al-Damazin (Blue Nile state capital) we understand that significant numbers of people are leaving, trying to head north to Khartoum,” he said, without giving numbers. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Writing by Edmund Blair and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo,; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved

http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E7K40MF20110904?sp=true

Political Forces Unanimously Agree on Importance of Uniting Efforts to
Sudan News Agency
The leading figure of the SPLM, Daniel Kodi, said that Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) IN South Kordofan and the Blue Nile State is still under the command of the President of the State of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir, calling for resort to peace

Wikileak On SPLM/A’s Internal Struggle.

Posted: September 4, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Wikileaks Cables

Viewing cable 06KHARTOUM219, A/S FRAZER BREAKFAST WITH SPLM

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KHARTOUM219 2006-01-29 10:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Khartoum

Viewing cable 06KHARTOUM219, A/S FRAZER BREAKFAST WITH SPLM

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KHARTOUM219 2006-01-29 10:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Khartoum
VZCZCXRO5307 PP RUEHROV DE RUEHKH #0219/01 0291058 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 291058Z JAN 06 FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1222 INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE RUEHTRO/USLO TRIPOLI 0022
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000219 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA, AF/SPG E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2016 TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR SU SUBJECT: A/S FRAZER BREAKFAST WITH SPLM KHARTOUM 00000219 001.2 OF 002 Classified  By: POL: Michael Honigstein for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Summary. On January 25, Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer, Roger Winter, and the Charge met with three senior SPLM officials resident in Khartoum: Yassir Arman, Chairman of the SPLM National Assembly Caucus; Malik Agar, Government of National Unity (GNU) Minister of investment; and Deng Alor,  GNU Minister of Cabinet Affairs. They said that the SPLM was drifting due to the leadership of GNU First Vice President Salva Kiir. They explained that Kiir is the only one who could lead the SPLM, but said he did not represent the mainstream, and warned that the party could collapse if Kiir did not take action. The trio also said the NCP has attempted to divide and neuter the SPLM leadership in the GNU. A/S Frazer responded that the U.S. interest was the transformation of the governance of Sudan and emphasized that SPLM officials should  manage their ministries to effect this change. On Darfur, Arman,  the SPLM representative in Abuja, said that a new dynamic is linking the rebels with Chad and Eritrea. End summary.  SPLM Drifting Apart 2. (C) The three SPLM leaders explained the dynamics within the SPLM and its growing lack of cohesion. Deng said that Kiir had inherited absolute power,  but seemed unable to handle it. A number of SPLM leaders from Garang's inner  circle -- which includes Arman, Deng and Agar - discussed this drift with Kiir  on January 9 in Juba. 3. (C) Deng described the January 9 meeting as positive.  The Ganrangists allayed Kiir's fears that they were trying to remove him, and Kiir had agreed to create an interim body to manage the SPLM.  According to Deng, Kiir had been getting bad advice from Bona Malwal and Lam Akol,  which has caused chaos in the SPLM and risked splitting the movement. The three requested U.S. assistance in sensitizing Kiir to the need for greater SPLM coherence, a request they have also made to influential African heads of state.  4. (C) Arman referenced the 2004 struggle between Garang and Kiir factions, the latter supported by Malwal and Akol, and acknowledged that Kiir had inherited  an SPLM/A dominated by Garang supporters. Kiir had chosen to move his own people  into various sensitive positions, including the GNU Foreign Minister. Unfortunately, this played into the hands of the NCP and northern security forces. Arman acknowledged that Kiir was the only logical leader of the SPLM, and the Garang loyalists were prepared to follow Kiir if he started to lead  the mainstream. NCP Seizes Opportunity 5. (C) Arman said that the NCP had wasted no time in exploiting the change of leadership in the SPLM. NISS Chief Salah Ghosh had passed Kiir a report on an internal SPLM conspiracy to replace Kiir. It was the tested NCP tactic of dividing opposition. Kiir was also told that the Americans did not want him.  However, Arman said their goal was to reform the SPLM and keep Kiir, and they  have made headway toward this goal. Kiir had agreed to establish a leadership  convention that would establish clear policies, including a position on Darfur. The interim working group that Kiir agreed to establish would set policy until the SPLM convention, which had been moved from March until June. 6. (C) Deng said that the NCP was also unhappy that other African leaders were talking to the SPLM. Ghosh had personally entered one of Kiir's meetings during the AU summit to see who was there. The NCP believed that the SPLM had helped frustrate Bashir's quest for the AU Chairmanship (all three expressed satisfaction at Bashir's failure). Deng concluded that the NCP wanted the South to separate so the NCP could rule without constraints in the North. Arman asked A/S Frazer to help convince Kiir that Garang's vision of Sudanese unity should prevail, in spite of Kiir's known position on separation. Arman said that Uganda, South Africa, and Ethiopia could also help in this manner, especially Obasanjo and Mbeki. SPLM Challenges  7. (C) The trio described some current problems facing the KHARTOUM 00000219 002 OF 002 SPLM/A, most seriously the fact that the SPLA soldiers had not been paid, including the southern JIU forces to be paid by the GNU.  Deng said the problem was now resolved and the SPLA would be paid three months' back salaries. 8. (C) Another problem was the viability of the SPLM as a national  party. In the North, the SPLM had started registering large numbers, which alarmed  the NCP. However, Kiir had refused to release funds to Abdel Aziz, SPLM organizer in the North. Six months earlier, Deng said the party was gaining strength, but the failure to take clear positions and meet overly high expectations had undercut its appeal, which could jeopardize the entire movement. 9. (C) Arman believed that clarity was the paramount issue. The NCP had taken advantage of SPLM policy drift to counter SPLM growth in the  North. The group around Kiir has played into NCP hands by eschewing national issues. Arman stressed that the SPLM could not meet its stated goals unless it remained a formidable source in the center. Arman said that even the choice for succession would only be possible if the SPLM was strong in the GNU.  The USG Position 10. (C) A/S Frazer responded that many in the U.S. believed Garang's vision of national unity was not widely supported in the South and Kiir was seeking to consolidate his position with his constituency. While a leadership vacuum was inevitable considering Garang's strength, the party should be strong enough  to continue, and party development was therefore critically important. Frazer pointed out that every member of the Politburo in South Africa was qualified to assume the top position, if this were necessary.  11. (C) Frazer continued that while friendship between the SPLM and USG officials was important, the interests of the U.S. were her first priority. State transformation and the weakening of the NCP are jeopardized by an ineffective SPLM. She noted that those who produced, not those who complained, would help keep the SPLM united and assist Kiir's leadership. Good results were the test, and it was essential that the SPLM leadership in the GNU not be, in Charge's words, "me too" partners. The SPLM must take control of their portfolios and strengthen their place in government.  SPLM on Darfur 12. (C) On Darfur, Yassir Arman described an emerging dynamic that had created an Eritrean, Chadian, and rebel axis, with Turabi playing a supporting role in Khartoum. All were united by their opposition to the  NCP. Arman described the Abuja talks as a "bazaar" with too many negotiators that would "take us nowhere." Nonetheless, negotiations were strengthened by the NCP's fear of a UN military force being deployed. Arman felt that the priority should be disarming the militias and the jinjaweed. He believed that the 7,000 SPLA troops still in the East could be integrated into Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) and sent to Darfur for this purpose, a concept that Garang had repeatedly espoused. The Charge noted that it would take six months to stand up the JIUs, at the rate of a battalion a month. By this calculation they could be in place by the end of the year, which would be an affirmative step to resolving  the crisis. 13. Deng interjected that Obasanjo had advised Kiir to brief Sassou-Nguesso on the SPLM view of Darfur. Obasanjo told Kiir that "someone" from the NCP indicated that the South was only focused on separation and therefore not interested in Darfur. Arman, the SPLM representative in Abuja,  felt that the SPLM could do more on Darfur but said he was only empowered to  act on direct orders from Kiir. 13. A/S Frazer has cleared on this cable. 14. Tripoli minimize considered. HUME

Japan: Seven Prime Ministers in Five Years

Posted: September 4, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

A new leader for Japan

A fish called Noda

Aug 29th 2011, 10:56 by H.T. | TOKYO

THERE is not a lot that instantly stands out about Yoshihiko Noda, who was chosen in an internal ruling-party election on August 29th to become Japan’s seventh prime minister in only five years. But at least two things can be said for him before he is dismissed as yet another here-today, gone-tomorrow face in some G8 summit’s photo: he has a healthy sense of crisis, and a nicely self-deprecating sense of humour.

In mid-August, he wrote a blog post (sorry, Japanese only), referring extensively to our cover story of July 30th, “Turning Japanese”, which is about debt and politics in the West. As Japan’s finance minister, he could have focused on the debt issue alone, but instead he chose to translate—and echo—our lament about Japan’s long-standing political paralysis. “I feel very keenly the eyes of the foreign media on our country. And I think a lot of Japanese people feel that things are not working the way they should.” He added, “When the time comes, I will put myself forward.”

At the time, some people would have shuddered at the thought that such a little known politician—and one closely aligned with that bureaucratic powerhouse, the ministry of finance—might replace the woefully uncharismatic Naoto Kan. But there is at least one thing to be thankful for in today’s victory: Mr Noda sidelined one of the main forces of paralysis in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Ichiro Ozawa, who continues to head the largest faction within the party though he has been indicted in a money scandal and his party membership is suspended.

Mr Ozawa backed Banri Kaieda, a trade minister who looked increasingly in danger of becoming a puppet for the backroom fixer. But though the first vote put Mr Kaieda in front, thanks to the support of Mr Ozawa’s cronies, it was not enough to win him an outright victory. In the run-off, Mr Noda’s supporters joined forces with those of Seiji Maehara, another anti-Ozawa candidate who lost in the first round (and whom we had thought would be the front-runner, because of his support among the electorate at large). Mr Noda won with 215 votes to Mr Kaieda’s 177. It is the second time this year—the first was a no-confidence vote against Mr Kan in June—that Mr Ozawa has failed to impose his will on the party, though that is not to say that he will stop making mischief for the new leader.

Mr Maehara’s performance, at first glance, was disappointing. The pro-America former foreign minister could have used his popularity among the ordinary electorate to galvanise people’s interest in politics after so many weak prime ministers. But he failed to excite his fellow lawmakers and has had funding irregularities of his own, which he admitted during a weekend of campaigning. There is some gossip that he and Mr Noda, who was his senior at the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management when they both studied politics, may have struck a deal to defeat Mr Ozawa and his allies. If true, that would make his defeat look less embarrassing.

But Mr Noda deserves credit, as much as anything, for outshining his rivals in an impassioned 15-minute speech just before voting began. In it he told a very human story about how he had come from nowhere (well, the eastern prefecture of Chiba in fact, but that, to many Tokyoites, is the same), without political connections, and how he stumped on the streets for days at a time trying to drum up political support.

Deftly, he drew attention to what some people regard as his weakest point—that he does not look like a prime minister. “There is no point in a loach trying to mimic a goldfish,” he said, comparing himself to the whiskered, mud-dwelling fish. He then promised, in a loose translation, to “stink like mud” in trying to push the country forward. Neither did he flinch from warning the Japanese that they may have to shoulder a heavier burden (ie, pay higher taxes) because of the nation’s budgetary and debt problems.

These were nice touches, especially after Mr Kaeida’s empty rhetoric. It is hard to get excited, however. A few weeks ago, Mr Noda entangled himself in what could potentially be a point of tension with neighbouring South Korea when he reiterated his long-held view that Japan’s war criminals are not actually criminals. And he has done a less-than-spectacular job as finance minister, though he has been a steady one. The problems he faces are mostly the same as those faced by Mr Kan: the need to clear up a huge natural and nuclear disaster with only a split party, a divided parliament, and no common idea of what the priorities should be. It is a relief to see that he has a flair for oratory. But what he most urgently needs to do is to make the rest of Japan’s political class shut up and get to work.

http://ht.ly/6kPkF