World Bulletin/News Desk
China unveiled another double-digit rise in military expenditure on Tuesday, but for a third year in a row the defence budget will be exceeded by spending on domestic security, highlighting Beijing's concern about internal threats.
Spending on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will rise 10.7 percent to 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion), while the domestic security budget will go up at a slightly slower pace, by 8.7 percent, to 769.1 billion yuan, according to the budget released at the opening of parliament's annual meeting.
The numbers underscore the ruling Communist Party's vigilance not only about territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asia and the U.S. "pivot" back to the region, but also about popular unrest over corruption, pollution and abuse of power, despite robust economic growth and rising incomes.
The number of "mass incidents" of unrest recorded by the Chinese government grew from 8,700 in 1993 to about 90,000 in 2010, according to several government-backed studies. Some estimates are higher, and the government has not released official data for recent years.
In his "state of the nation" address to the largely stamp legislature, Premier Wen Jiabao listed maintaining social harmony and stability as one of the government's priorities for this year.
"We should improve the mechanism for assessing potential risks major policy decisions may pose for social stability ... The purpose of this work is to preserve law and order and promote social harmony and stability."
CHINA'S MILITARY AMBITIONS
Still, defence spending is contained at about 5.4 percent of total expenditure, up from 5.3 percent last year, and remains at about one-fifth of the Pentagon's outlays. But even with its worries about domestic problems, China has become increasingly assertive on the world stage.
Wen said the government "should accelerate the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces ... (and) should resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and ensure its peaceful development".
China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011 and its launch of a fledgling aircraft carrier - both trials of technologies needing years more of development.
Beijing is also building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernisation, and has tested emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air.
He also said it was wrong to compel Muslim students to attend church services
Ukraine's state enegry firm Naftogaz charged Russian gas giant Gazprom
The first visit by a member of the British royal family in almost three decades
The attack targeted militants travelling in a vehicle in Shabwa province.
Chief Justice Minister Mahmoud al-Habash has said that Hamas has made critical mistakes which led to the "terrorist" organisation group.
The party urged "the Houthi militia to immediately release the abducted members," and held it responsible for their safety
This is Washington's second major engagement with Latin America after reversing longstanding Cuba policy in Dec 2014
Libya is caught up in a conflict between two rival governments, with only one being internationally recognized.
Iraqi army says it is preparing for a large-scale anti-Daesh operation in Tikrit in north.
Eurogroup head warns Greece that no emergency funds will be made available if Greece does not implement economic reforms.
Protesters in several parts of southern Algeria have held near-daily protests since last December to pressure authorities to halt shale gas drilling in the area
Pyongyang threatens US and South Korea with 'merciless strikes' as tensions build on Korean Peninsula.
According to Grantz, Israel's military command was against carrying out an attack on Iran, unlike the political leadership which seemed to favor the move
Leonard Nimoy revealed in an interview how a Jewish sign, signifying the feminine aspect of God was used for the Vulcan greeting, which has been used by unwittingly by thousands of people.
Iraqi army forces bombarded ISIL positions. The offensive is the biggest military operation in the province
Magnitude-5.5 tremor affects 62,000 residents in Cangyuan county on Myanmar border.