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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Maoist rebels kill at least 76 soldiers in east India

The guerrillas' attack on paramilitaries in Chhattisgarh state is among the deadliest in memory and illustrates the persistence of an insurgency that India has tried to wipe out since the late 1960s.

Men carry an injured paramilitary soldier for treatment at Jagdalpur in India. Maoist rebels launched a series of deadly attacks on forces patrolling the forests of eastern India. (Associated Press / April 6, 2010)


By Mark Magnier and Anshul Rana


Reporting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and New Delhi - Maoist rebels in eastern India killed at least 76 paramilitary soldiers Tuesday, authorities said, underscoring the continued strength of an insurgency that India has tried for decades to wipe out. The dawn attack in Chhattisgarh state was among the deadliest by the guerrillas in memory.

S. R. Kalluri, a deputy police inspector in densely forested Dantewada district where the attack occurred, told local media that the soldiers were on an extended patrol and stopped to rest Monday night.

At some point, insurgents learned of their location and "at the break of dawn the Maoists attacked," Kalluri said. "Now we are chalking a strategy to retaliate."

Several thousand people have died in attacks since the Maoist insurgency began in the late 1960s. The rebels are said to number about 20,000, including an estimated 6,000 hard-core combatants.

In recent months, they have stepped up their attacks in response to a police offensive initiated late last year across several "red corridor" states. On Sunday, rebels set off a land mine that killed at least 10 members of an elite anti-Maoist unit in the mineral-rich eastern state of Orissa.
The rebels are funded in part by hundreds of millions of dollars extorted from companies each year. Their arsenal includes automatic rifles, shoulder-fired rocket launchers, mines and related explosives, some of which have been stolen from Indian authorities and some purchased from Chinese smugglers.

The Maoists, who say they are fighting for poor farmers and landless workers, are particularly strong in impoverished, rural areas where basic government services are limited and local corruption is endemic. Even as India's expanding middle class struts its stuff in the cities, clogging roads and crowding shopping centers, vast swaths of the country have not shared in their gains.

Home Affairs Minister P. Chidambaram said there was an evident intelligence failure that saw the patrol, a joint operation of state and central government forces, walk into a trap. Monday was reportedly the second night that the paramilitary units had been camping out in remote jungle terrain.

"I am deeply shocked at the loss of lives," he said. "This shows the savage nature" of the Maoists.

Police spokesman R. K. Vij estimated that 1,000 rebels took part in the attack, while others put the number closer to 300.

While the state has claimed progress in its current "Operation Green Hunt" campaign against the Maoists, the number of attackers and their ability to avoid detection suggests the government faces a tough fight ahead. More than 1,000 attacks, resulting in 600 deaths, were recorded last year.

"They will hit you where you are the weakest and run and hide when you are strong," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, a think tank. "It is the basic principal of guerrilla warfare. . . . The government needs to stop telling people about massive deployments and giving sound bites to the media. It needs to develop a strategy."

Air force pilots worked Tuesday afternoon to fly the injured and dead from the area, even as senior military officials rushed to the site and pledged to redouble their efforts to root out the insurgency.

mark.magnier@latimes.com
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Benefit for Cambodian Landmine Removal today in Palm Springs

Peabody's Cafe in downtown Palm Springs is set to host its third annual benefit for Cambodian Landmine Removal from 7 to 9 p.m.

Attendees can bid on exotic items made in Cambodia as well as items donated by Palm Springs merchants, according to a Small Hotels of Palm Springs (SHoPS) e-mail. The items to be auctioned typically value $30-$50, the e-mail stated.

Cambodian Landmine Removal has "a huge impact on those in especially rural and more remote areas who suffer from the fear of living amongst old land mines and far-to-often (sic) the devastating injuries sustained when encountering them directly," the e-mail stated. "This organization also takes care of about thirty youngsters who've lost limbs due to landmines."

Those interested can RSVP by sending an e-mail to peabodyscafe@gmail.com with a head-count in the subject line, the e-mail stated.. Read more!

Aspire Signs MOU to Explore Mining Property in Cambodia

Aspire Has Obtained the Right for Exploration and Geological Data Collection in Cambodia

TORONTO, April 6, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aspire International, Inc. ("Aspire" or the "Company") (OTCBB:APIT) announced today that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) of Cambodia for conducting geological data collection in Phnum Ngout area, Salakrau district, Pailin province, Ratanakmondol and Samlot districts, Battambang province, Kingdom of Cambodia.

The objective of the MOU is the cooperation of geological data collection for preliminary geological survey for mineral deposits in the above-mentioned area. The MIME Ministry of Cambodia agrees to allow the Company to cooperate with General Department of Mineral Resources (GDMR) to conduct the geological data collection to consider in applying for the exploration and exploiting licenses in the future.

The surface area by mining standards is quite exceptional at 261 square kilometers. This sizeable area under acquisition is considered to contain rich amounts of Iron Ore that, based on historical exploration data, represents a potential resource size believed to be in excess of 1 billion tons of exploitable Iron Ore.

Iron Ore has more than doubled in price over the past year and currently sells for as high as $140 per ton. With recent media reports of expectations of prices in excess of $200 per ton by year's end, it makes this MOU an especially valuable opportunity for Aspire to acquire a very sizeable Iron Ore deposit so close to China, which is by far the largest importer and most voracious consumer of Iron Ore in the entire world.

Aspire International Inc. (OTCBB:APIT) was registered on December 18, 2007 in the state of Maryland. Perfisans Networks Corporation, founded in 2001, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspire International Inc. and is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

More information can be obtained from the Company's web sites at www.perfisans.com and http://www.apit.ca

Cautionary Statement

This press release contains statements relating to future results of Aspire (including certain projections and business trends) that are "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry and the markets addressed by the company's and its customers' products; demand for and market acceptance of new and existing products; successful development of new products; the timing of new product introductions; changes in product mix; product obsolescence; the availability of manufacturing capacity; fluctuations in manufacturing yields; pricing pressures and other competitive factors; the ability to develop and implement new technologies and to obtain protection for the related intellectual property; the uncertainties of litigation; our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Aspire's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: Aspire International, Inc.
Investor Relations
(905)943-9996 x 230
ir@perfisans.com
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