Looting and robbing spread to several areas of the Argentine city of Cordoba on Tuesday evening and night following a walkout from the police in the midst of a conflict over pay and other benefits. The Supermarkets association has anticipated its members will not open their stores on Wednesday unless police forces are back patrolling the streets of Argentina’s third largest city which is also an important manufacturing pole. The conflict started after negotiations for salary increases with the provincial government broke down and the police force decided to go on strike.
As the political crisis in Ukraine continues, its severely depleted central bank reserves are putting it at serious risk of a balance-of-payments crunch, its metrics looking worse than almost every big emerging economy. With demonstrators blockading government buildings in protest at President Viktor Yanukovich’s rejection of closer ties with the European Union, the creaking economy is coming under growing pressure. Based on a comparison of monthly import needs and maturing short-term debt, Ukraine’s reserves compare poorly with most of its peers, according to data released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch
The EU is supporting Libyan border security troops near Ghadames, but local members of the military complain of unclear structures and insufficient equipment. They put the blame on the government in Tripoli. The Libyan army is still growing into its tasks more than two years after the revolution against Gadhafi, and it has had only limited success in integrating former rebels. Effectively controlling the country’s borders remains beyond the army’s capabilities. “Large segments of the 1,000-kilometer long border to Algeria are nearly inaccessible.
It’s a familiar scenario: a man, usually a political, security or military figure, emerges from a location he regularly frequents—home, mosque, work, supermarket—and is promptly shot down by gunmen, or turns on his car’s ignition only for it to explode. Said gunmen will then promptly escape, most likely on a motorcycle—or, in the case of a car bomb, watch, satisfied, from afar. Yemen is now at a stage where some assassinations, especially of low-ranking security or military figures, are barely news any more.
Troops have been deployed in the Thai capital Bangkok to support riot police shielding official buildings from some 30,000 anti-government protesters. Tear gas and water cannon were fired as protesters tried to breach barricades outside Government House. Sunday is the eighth day of protests aimed at unseating Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has appeared on television, calling for a general strike starting on Monday. The protesters had declared Sunday “V-Day” of what they termed a “people’s coup”.
“They told us, ‘You are Bengalis – there is no such thing as the Rohingya,’” the imam recalled. “They said, ‘If you claim that you are Rohingya, you will be thrown into the sea.’” We were speaking in one of the internally displaced person (IDP) camps reserved for the Rohingya – Burma’s persecuted Muslim minority – near the city of Sittwe in Burma’s troubled Rakhine state. Last year, mob violence in the area left hundreds dead and well over 100,000 homeless, the vast majority of them Rohingya.
Ukraine had dodged a “death spiral” by protecting its eastern trade flows. Putin has been tightening the screws for months, blocking shipments of goods and targeting heavy industry in the eastern region that depends on the Russian market. A freeze on imports of railway carriages has hit 80 per cent of Ukraine’s carriage output. Another victim is Roshen chocolate, owned by Petro Poroshenko, a champion of the EU cause in Ukraine’s parliament. Roshen sales in Russia have been banned for “toxic impurities”. The guerrilla warfare tactics have pushed Ukraine to the brink of financial collapse.
Britain said Wednesday it was reviewing its military presence off Gibraltar following a lengthy stand-off between the Royal Navy and a Spanish ship, but denied it was resorting to “gunboat diplomacy”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said he wanted to de-escalate the situation but would not put up with “bullying and intimidation” of the British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean. Britain summoned the Spanish ambassador on Tuesday to explain the most serious incursion for months in the waters off Gibraltar, which Spain has long claimed as its own.
A secret document leaked to Le Figaro newspaper explains why President François Hollande caves in to the slightest sign of street protest. “Throughout [French] territory . . . society is in the grip of tension, exasperation and anger,” says the ministry of the interior’s monthly summary of reports from 101 prefects, dated October 25th. The monthly reports are usually couched in careful, and sanitised language, which makes the blatant warning to the interior minister and president all the more alarming. “The legitimacy of tax” is now widely questioned, it notes.
A deadly assault by Shi’ite Houthi rebels on a Salafi Islamic school planted in their mountain heartland could ignite wider sectarian conflict in Yemen, where instability has already helped al Qaeda militants to take root. The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, have bombarded the sprawling Dar al-Hadith seminary in Dammaj village for two weeks, killing at least 100 people. Political rivalries may have helped to start the violence, but the struggle over a Salafi outpost deep in Houthi territory is also part of a regional contest between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
In the rocky, mountainous area of western Libya, the Amazigh people – a large and substanital minority – are staging protests for self-rule. Their calls for autonomy follow the heels of the declaration of self-government made by ethnic groups in east Libya. The symbolic move is likely to anger the central government in Tripoli, which is trying to reopen ports blockaded by eastern rebel groups and tribes angered that they aren’t receiving what they deem to be a fair share of profits from oil extracted from the resource-rich east.
Puerto Rico’s is an overdue collision with reality. The territory’s finances have long been stretched. San Juan has run up debts of about $70bn, not far short of its $100bn gross domestic product. Many US states have been wrestling with their finances in recent years, and the island’s problems – which combine a struggling economy, bloated state spending and a terrifying entitlement overhang – do not look unfamiliar. In San Juan’s case, however, they are writ extremely large.
The 2014 budget unveiled last week by tiny East Timor is a $1.5bn spending plan funded almost exclusively – 95 percent – by lucrative oil and gas revenues. One of the fastest-growing budgets in the world in recent years, it ballooned from $64m in 2004 to $604m in 2009.
That the budget depends on a single, finite resource that could be depleted in a generation has some worrying the country may fall victim to the same “resource curse” that has seen other developing countries lose their wealth to inexperience, mismanagement and corruption.
Security in Sana’a has deteriorated since popular unrest pushed President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office in 2011. Dozens of intelligence and security officials have been assassinated, al-Qaeda continues to attack government targets and Shiite-Muslim Houthi rebels, who are fighting Sunni Islamists in the north, are encamped in the city. “Yemen is slipping into chaos,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said by phone. “Assassinations of intelligence figures and threats to foreigners are rising.”
The possibility of a new “gas war” between Russia and Ukraine inched closer on Tuesday, as the Russian state energy giant Gazprom complained that Kiev had outstanding debts of over half a billion pounds and demanded swift payment. Gazprom’s concern comes a month before Ukraine is due to sign up for closer ties with the European Union, a deal that has infuriated the Kremlin. The complaint brought back memories of crises in 2006 and 2009 in which Russia turned off the gas to Ukraine, leaving many European nations that rely on pipelines passing through the country without energy in the middle of winter.
The tax inspectors swept into this picturesque village in Crete during the middle of a saint’s day celebration recently, moving from restaurant to restaurant demanding receipts and financial records. Soon, customers annoyed by the holiday disruption confronted them. Pushing, shoving and angry words followed, and eventually the frightened inspectors were forced to flee.”People are so angry and so poor,” said Nikolis Geniatakis, who has run his restaurant here on the main square for the last 34 years and who watched the confrontation from across the street.
What the EU’s founders in the 1950s intended as “ever closer union” now risks going in the opposite direction: Britain is threatening to secede; the euro, battered by the four-year debt crisis, remains at risk of splintering; anti-euro forces are advancing in France, the EU’s heartland; separatists are pushing to burst the U.K., Belgium and Spain. Economic lethargy combined with a deepening political quagmire and mounting debt load as leaders struggle to tame the legacy of the financial crisis risk condemning Europe to lag further behind emerging powers like China.
The law, already passed by the cabinet on October 10, has yet to be officially ratified by the interim president, Adly Mansour. The measure would ban any protest not approved in advance by the police, and would allow the interior minister and senior officials to postpone or cancel protests at their discretion. It would also establish “protest-free zones” around state buildings, where pitched battles have been waged between Morsi’s supporters and detractors. “The regime that came [to power] by protest is making laws against protest.”
Published this week, China and Taiwan: Possible Storm Signals for Cross-Straits Relations Underscore Need to Provide for Taiwan’s Defense says the growing economic relationship between China and Taiwan has served to promote political dialogue and strengthen trade ties. However, Cheng argues that a “militarily overwhelming People’s Liberation Army [PLA]” would be able to intimidate and coerce Taiwan which would in turn have political and economic implications. Two public statements highlight the potential return of tension to the region, he says.
Budget reductions could render the Army at “high risk to meet even one major war,” according to documents obtained by USA TODAY, a warning the Army is sounding because it sees another war as inevitable before long. The dire assessment by top Army officials to Pentagon leaders provides a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes struggle for the future of the military in a time of declining budgets. The Army provided its assessment as each of the services is conducting a four-year scrub of its strategy and the resources needed to meet it, a process called the Quadrennial Defense Review.
As the U.S. struggles to avert a debt default, Asia’s policymakers have trillions of reasons to believe they may be shielded from the latest financial storm brewing across the Pacific. From South Korea to Pakistan, Asia’s central banks are estimated to have amassed some $5.7 trillion in foreign exchange reserves excluding safe-haven Japan, much of it during the last five years of rapid money printing by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Data this week showed those reserves continued to pile up, with countries having added an estimated $85.2 billion in the July-September quarter, according to data for 12 Asian countries.
The reported abduction of Libya’s prime minster early Thursday has exposed the shortcomings in the country’s security sector, but NATO and Libya are yet to come to terms on a 5-month-old request from the country for assistance aimed at bolstering its defenses. “I can confirm that Libyan authorities have requested NATO assistance to build or reform the security sector,” Rasmussen said. “We have been exploring that request for quite some time and we are still looking into it.”
World community is waiting with fainting heart for 2014, when NATO will start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. air base leaves the International Manas Airport at the same time; financial flows to the budget of Kyrgyzstan will reduce along with increasing threat of destabilization in the region. Central Asian countries can not cope with the threats coming from Afghanistan without the help of a strategic and influential partner. However, the highest echelon of Kyrgyz power stiffly speaks about the organization as if it does not understand its importance.
In Britain, the words “East of Suez” hold a special meaning. In 1968, post-WWII weariness with imperial adventures, a deficit of cash and political will and anticolonial hostility forced acceptance of a greatly diminished world role. Specifically, London retreated from positions ‘East of Suez,’ i.e. beyond the Suez Canal, leaving it to America to keep postcolonial order in a Cold War world. Now looking at the Arc of Instability from North Africa to Pakistan, it is difficult to escape the question: Is the United States approaching its own East of Suez moment?
That designation and the Somalia and Libya raids highlight how governmental breakdown and increased lawlessness across a swath of Africa. Increasingly the wide geographical region is referred to in congressional testimony and reports by Pentagon officials and diplomats as an “arc of instability” – a designation that caught on in January when Islamist militants associated with AQIM threatened to topple the government of Mali, while others raided a natural gas operation in southern Algeria, killing 40 foreign workers.
Yemeni troops stormed Wednesday a military base overrun by suspected al-Qaida militants, and a senior officer said that the government had regained control of the compound after a three-day standoff. It was not clear if soldiers reportedly taken hostage by the militants at the beginning of the siege have survived. Maj. Gen. Mohsen Nasser told the Associated Press that all the militants were killed in the operation, which followed three hours of intense clashes. He said hostages are believed to be freed, but he didn’t have a count of the number held.
If you thought the US’s fiscal cliff—that combination of rising taxes and slashed fiscal spending that scared investors and shook the economy in December 2012—was bad, have a gander at what Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, faces. He entered the job with a mandate to grow the economy and escape deflation. But before Abe took over, the government passed a tax hike on consumption to show that the Japanese government is serious about shrinking its ¥1 quadrillion ($10.3 trillion) in public debt.
Meanwhile in Sudan: Fuel riots, a hiring spree of ex-Soviet air mercenaries and preparations for war
The escalating fuel riots in Khartoum, and increasingly in other cities in Sudan, serve as a stark reminder of the inherent fragility and instability of the country. The riots were sparked by the spiraling prices of all fuel products following the abolition of subsidies and the growing shortages of all fuel products. Moreover, the recurring shortages of fuel have resulted in shortages of food and other products and goods brought into Khartoum from both the Red Sea ports and the countryside. Within a few days, the riots became the worst since the 1989 riots which led to the military coup which brought Omar Bashir to power.
The Swiss-based ‘bank of central banks’ says a hunt for yield is luring investors en masse into high-risk instruments, “a phenomenon reminiscent of exuberance prior to the global financial crisis”. This is happening just as the US Federal Reserve prepares to wind down stimulus and starts to drain dollar liquidity from global markets, an inflexion point that is fraught with danger and could go badly wrong. “This looks like to me like 2007 all over again, but even worse,” said William White, the Bank for International Settlement’s former chief economist.
Ailing Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s massive reorganisation of the cabinet, in which he gave key posts to close allies, aims to ensure he has control over his succession next year, analysts and media say. The reshuffle on Wednesday, the largest since 1990, saw nearly a third of ministers lose their jobs and came after Bouteflika had put a confidante as head of the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) and trimmed the sails of the powerful DRS military intelligence agency. “It’s a war cabinet to prepare for the presidential election” in April 2014, political analyst Rachid Grim said.
Ever since 1990, when it was created out of the merger of independent states in the north and south, Yemen has been a republic. Yet if delegates at reconciliation talks have their way, the Republic of Yemen soon could be no more. Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, said this week that the delegates had agreed “in principle” to adopt a federal system in this country of 25 million people. Under such system, political power would devolve to regions, governorates and states, with the central government retaining control over such vital portfolios as defence and the country’s currency.
The Libyan Army has deployed a new anti-terror unit made up of 2 000 special forces soldiers across the capital Tripoli to improve security in the city.
According to the Libyan Herald, the Joint Force (JF) is made up of fighters drawn from the ministries of defence and interior and is equipped with 300 armed ‘technical’ fighting vehicles and 21 armoured personnel carriers. It is charged with conducting regular patrols to counter potential security threats after a spate of bomb attacks and shootings targeting embassies and diplomatic staff in the past two years.Libya has been beset by insecurity due to infighting among fractious militia alliances which were formed to fight strongman Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 revolution.
China’s Cosco, which runs a big part of the port of Piraeus, has already stated its interest and wants to expand its presence to take advantage of Greece’s geographical advantage as a gateway to Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. The goal is to make Greece a gateway for the transportation of goods to Central and Eastern Europe. Cosco already has a deal in place with Hewlett Packard and acquiring Trainose is seen as an important potential booster for the development of the Greek company. Russian Railways also appears to have a strong interest, aiming to create a strong “slot” in Greece that would enable it to combine sea and rail transport.
Underlying growing instability is the Egyptian state’s increasing inability to contain the devastating social impacts of interconnected energy, water and food crises over the last few decades. Those crises, already afflicting other regional states like Yemen and Syria, will unravel prevailing political orders with devastating consequences—unless urgent structural transformation to address those crises becomes a priority. The upshot is that Egypt’s meltdown represents the culmination of long-standing trends that, without a change of course, can only escalate with permanent repercussions across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and beyond.
The Indian subcontinent is moving toward becoming an arena for a Third World War. The changing world situation, sharpening contradictions, and the shifting balance of power are making it likely that the Indian subcontinent will become an arena for a Third World War. The major factors which are likely to push the subcontinent in this direction are: the decline of the American and western powers, the re-emergence of Russia as a world power, the widening gap between Europe and America, the re-emergence of Japan as a military power, the rise of secular forces in the Maghreb (Arab countries), and the growing differences between America and the South American countries.
For two years, the conversation on Egypt centered on how to build a democracy. Suddenly the discussion has turned much darker, with some wondering aloud whether the largest Arab nation is hurtling toward civil war. The bloody crackdown by Egypt’s security forces has raised the specter of a protracted conflict pitting the military against the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s most powerful political force. Egypt’s escalating crisis is far too volatile for any declarative statements, analysts say. But here are three possible scenarios that could play out
As the army ruthlessly crushes the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets of Cairo, having swept away its elected president, Egypt is being painted as the graveyard of the Arab Spring and of Islamist hopes of shaping the region’s future. This week’s bloody drama has sent shockwaves out of Egypt, the political weathervane and cultural heart of the Arab world. The effect on the region of the army’s power grab will not be uniform, because while countries such as Egypt are locked in a battle over identity, other states, from Syria to Yemen, and Libya to Iraq, are in an existential struggle for survival.
Source: Reuters Greece will lift restrictions on home foreclosures to allow banks to recover bad loans, the finance minister said on Saturday, adding fuel to a row that may test the cohesion of its fragile coalition government. Cash-strapped banks are currently barred from auctioning most first homes owned by delinquent borrowers, under a temporary measure introduced […]
Five Indian soldiers and one Pakistani civilian lie dead, victims of skirmishes on the disputed Kashmir border. But the real target of the violence may well be Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as Pakistan’s military and intelligence services try to thwart the newly elected leader’s aspirations for peace with India. “The intention here is to sabotage the peace process,” said Michael Kugelman, an expert on South Asia affiliated with the Woodrow Wilson Center. “This is a sad reality of India-Pakistan relations — whenever things are looking up, a saboteur tries to send all progress up in smoke.” The region has been on the boil since five Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in the Poonch sector of India-administered Kashmir last week.
Egyptian security forces today moved to oust pro-Morsi supporters from two sit-in protests denouncing the former President’s removal from power, leaving scores dead and hundreds injured in Cairo. The Egyptian President Adly Mansour has announced a month-long state of emergency in reaction. As conflicting body counts emanated from both of the warring parties – with the health ministry claiming 95 killed and the Muslim Brotherhood claiming thousands – reporters on the ground have confirmed a body count of at least 120 .
The special session of the Bahraini National Assembly held on Sunday Jul. 28 was a spectacle of venom, a display of vulgarity, and an unabashed nod to increased dictatorship. Calling the Shia “dogs”, as one parliamentarian said during the session, which King Hamad convened, the Al-Khalifa have thrown away any hope for national reconciliation and dialogue. The 22 recommendations approved during the session aimed at giving the regime pseudo-legal tools to quash dissent and violate human and civil rights with impunity. All in the name of fighting “terrorism”.
The massive street demonstrations that roiled Brazil last month have eased but more radical groups are coming to the fore and resorting to violence. Late Tuesday, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse about 50 extremists who went on the rampage in Sao Paulo, ransacking banks and other businesses. The violence followed a peaceful rally by 300 people who railed against Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and expressed solidarity with Rio protesters seeking the impeachment of Governor Sergio Cabral accused of corruption and arrogance.
Dow Jones Market Watch is warning of major problems emanating from the Eurozone. This comes amid the latest data from Spain where the economy contracted yet again, this time by 1.7 percent in the second quarter on a year-on-year basis. More problems were reported out of Greece, Italy and Germany. In an article today, Michael Casey, managing editor for the Americas at DJ FX Trader, said:
“…you’d think the threat of a euro-zone financial meltdown would force policymakers into a tough, unified solution.
There are concerns as the political upheaval grows, elements of the former regime of Zein Abidine Ben Ali, driven from power in January 2011, retain considerable influence and maintain ties with the labor unions and the internal security forces and could try to stage a comeback.
The cause of Tunisia’s slide toward anarchy was the assassination Thursday of secular opposition leader Mohammed Brahmi, a member of the 217-seat parliament who represented the central city of Sidi Bouzid, his hometown.
Egypt’s army is recasting the country’s political drama, giving a popular general the starring role in a change with echoes of the past that could undermine democracy in the Arab world. Even though Sisi has a popular mandate, the army’s manoeuvring, coupled with the resurgence of the security apparatus, raises questions about the prospects for democracy in the Arab world’s biggest nation. In one incident alone, 80 Mursi supporters were killed in the streets of Cairo on Saturday.
Large deposit holders at Bank of Cyprus PCL (BOCY.CP) will see almost half of their deposits turned into equity at the lender as part of the country’s international bailout, a senior bank official said Sunday. After an all day meetings Saturday between President Nicos Anastasiades and representatives from the country’s creditors–its euro-zone partners and the International Monetary Fund–it was decided that 42.5% of all deposits over 100,000 euros ($132,764) will be converted into shares as part of its recapitalisation plan, the official said.
The protesters denounced what they perceive as entrenched corruption in the government, while chanting “Mafia!” and “Resign!” They also demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. “They threw stones … at the bus, and they call it a peaceful protest,” Bulgarian Socialist Party deputy Anton Kutev, one of the scores trapped inside the building, told BNT1 state television. On Tuesday, Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev issued a statement asking the demonstrators to be “peaceful and civilized.”
Here’s what your stockbroker and the media aren’t telling you: the world is more indebted now than it was at the height of the financial bubble in 2007. That’s right. Despite the extraordinary government intervention of the past six years. Despite continuing optimism of a recovery. Despite the reassuring words of central bankers. We’re worse off in debt terms. Interest rates can’t rise above GDP rates, otherwise debt to GDP ratios will climb further. If they do, you can expect more money printing, budget cuts and tax rises.
A group of jihadists from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan are reported to have formed a “brigade” to fight the Burmese government. A Burmese branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami that is based in Karachi, Pakistan and has been in operation since the late 1980s is likely involved in recruiting Pakistanis to fight in Burma. “A brigade of Mujahedeen from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan under the leadership of Abu Safiya and Abu Arif reached Burma,”.
After the genocide that tore apart a nation and killed 800,000 in Rwanda, the world said never again. But nearly 20 years later, we find ourselves on the brink of another campaign of destruction against an entire people. Yet once again it is being greeted with silence.
In Burma, ethnic cleansing is happening. We have seen more human rights violations and attacks on Rohingya minorities in the past two years than in the last 20. Mobs have attacked our villages, driving us from our homes, children have been hacked to death, and hundreds of my people have been killed by members of the majority.
The Commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet addressed a recent report Thursday at the Pentagon that outlines a growing Chinese intercontinental ballistic threat that estimates that the Chinese could have over 100 ICBMs able to reach the U.S. in 15 years.
The report in question, called the 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, called China’s ballistic missile development program the “most active and diverse” in the world.
Japan’s nuclear regulator says radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima power plant is probably leaking into the Pacific Ocean, a problem long suspected by experts but denied by the plant’s operator. Officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority said a leak is “strongly suspected” and urged plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to determine where the water may be leaking from and assess the environmental and other risks, including the impact on the food chain. The watchdog said Wednesday it would form a panel of experts to look into ways to contain the problem.
The new middle class is “much more likely to engage in political activism to get their way.” Not just protests and civil unrest but revolutions — the kind predicted by the Pentagon a decade ago. This “threatening gap between rapidly rising expectations and a disappointing reality” will have enormous implications for China’s stability. Reading “Middle-Class Revolution” and other Fukuyama works, it is obvious that the “Pentagon 2020” war scenario is accelerating everywhere — across Asia, India, Africa, Europe, South America and the United States — fueled by capitalists who only see population growth as an opportunity for new consumer markets.
You have been hoarding money. You purchased real estate. You’ve invested in Swiss francs. All of this you’ve done to stave off the spectre of inflation, because we’ve watched how national banks have been printing money for years, as never before. And then last week the European Central Bank announced that record-low interest rates would be staying low for years to come. In the opinion of the many currency depreciation prophets out there, that means that sooner or later we’re looking at a second 1923 — an era of hyperinflation, and we’ll soon be using billion or trillion Euro notes.
Scores of militants linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, now locked in an explosive confrontation with the Egyptian army over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, are reported to have moved into the Sinai Peninsula to fight the military.
They’re expected to join forces with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida who have established bases in Sinai’s vast desert wastes since 2011 and are already clashing with Egyptian security forces.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for an “uprising” on Monday after dozens 35 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were killed at dawn when security forces opened fire on them as they were praying, and urged international intervention to prevent a “new Syria.”
“Morsi supporters were praying while the police and army fired live rounds and tear gas at them. This led to around 35 dead and the figure is likely to rise,” the Brotherhood said in a statement
Portugal’s governing coalition today saw its second major loss in two days, as Paulo Portas, the foreign minister and leader of the Democratic and Social Center-People’s Party (CDS-PP), tendered his resignation.
Meanwhile, EU authorities have given Greece three days to deliver on promises it’s made to the troika—the group composed of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank, and representatives of European countries, which is monitoring the euro debt crisis.
Preventing capital flight from banks in crisis-hit countries has been a priority for eurozone policy makers. But have they just shot themselves in the foot? At the height of the region’s debt problems, the amounts held by foreigners in banks in Spain, Italy and other eurozone “periphery” countries shrunk worryingly. Recent months have seen signs of improvement – thanks to a pledge by the European Central Bank to prevent a eurozone break-up, as well as government efforts to boost confidence in the banking system.
By collecting millions of signatures, opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are pressuring his Muslim Brotherhood. Organizers have planned a large protest for June 30, which could turn violent. This anger toward the president and the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood has found an outlet in the two-month old “Tamarod” campaign, the goal of which is to raise 15 million signatures against the president. In 2012, Morsi was elected with only 13 million votes. The campaign’s initiators hope to force the president to resign this way.
The Philippines on Sunday accused China of a “massive military buildup” in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), warning a Southeast Asian security forum that Beijing’s tactics were a threat to peace in the region.
Following the harsh rhetoric of Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, China agreed to hold formal talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on a proposed code of conduct to ease tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
Syrian companies and citizens are stockpiling goods, ripping up old market rules and switching away from dollar-priced imports, in an effort to combat the threat posed by the tumbling currency to their livelihoods and savings.
As the Syrian pound plunges to less than a quarter of its prewar value against the dollar, the ever-harsher financial problems facing the population are spawning increasingly inventive responses to limit the damage.
Debt is deadly, and it’s made even worse with rising interest rates that can prevent you from eliminating the load. What happens with rising interest rates is that more of the payments go toward the interest and less to the principal. In fact, it’s what I call a death spiral of debt that worsens as rates move higher.
When individuals face excessive debt, often the solution is to reduce spending and adhere to a strict repayment program. But when governments build up massive debt loads, there is no definitive solution, and it becomes problematic.
A coalition of Egyptian Islamist parties on Monday called for an “open-ended” demonstration on Friday in support of President Mohamed Morsi two days before planned rallies against him, raising fears of violence.
The alliance is calling for a “million-man march” followed by an open-ended protest outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Egypt’s Nasr City under the slogan “legitimacy is a red line”, Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party said in a statement on its website. The call comes a day after the defence minister warned that the army will intervene if violence breaks out.
Bank of China, the country’s leading commercial bank, has denied a media report claiming the bank had defaulted earlier on Thursday. The bank’s statement came after the official Sina Weibo account for 21st Century Business Herald said the bank had defaulted on Thursday afternoon, deferring transactions for half an hour due to a fund shortage, citing anonymous sources. The bank responded in a post on its official Sina Weibo that it has never had monetary defaults and had completed all outbound payments on Thursday in a timely manner.
Having recently found its way out of a political deadlock and having just terminated negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the European Union, Moldova is rattled by fears of a military confrontation. “Moldavia fears possible renewed military hostilities, says Moldovan daily Jurnal de Chişinău, on June 20, ahead of a parliamentary debate regarding “how to respond to the provocation of the authorities of Tiraspol,” the capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria.
As Lebanese Army officers gather the intelligence that may anticipate a Hezbollah coup attempt, ostensibly to protect “the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon,” the possibility that an army coup d’état cannot be ruled out, even if the likelihood of such a development was remote. There were two reasons for such reservations: First, because Hezbollah is now mired in Syria and unlikely to open a second front. And second, because army officers believed in and accepted the separation of powers.
Some of the biggest demonstrations since the end of Brazil’s 1964-85 dictatorship broke out across this continent-sized country, with more expected Tuesday, protests uniting multitudes frustrated by poor transportation, health services, education and security despite a heavy tax burden. Mostly peaceful protests in at least eight big cities drew large crowds, and local news media estimated that at least 240,000 people took part in the demonstrations nationwide.
The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead.
“The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation,” said Charlene Chu, the agency’s senior director in Beijing. “There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising.
Egypt’s military will not allow violence during protests against President Mohamed Mursi that his opponents have planned for June 30, the first anniversary of the leader’s election, a state newspaper said yesterday.
“Security forces from the armed forces and the military police will deploy on all main roads” on June 28 “to secure vital installations and public facilities”, Al Gomhuria said, quoting a military source. “The armed forces will not allow any confrontations that could lead to violence or drive the country into a spiral of blood during the June 30 protests,” it said.
In 2008, the impossible happened. Investors lost money on something they thought they could never lose money on. One of the oldest and most respected money market mutual funds, Reserve Primary Fund, announced that due to losses incurred on its investments (in Lehman Brothers debt) in the midst of the financial crisis, the fund lost money — investors were down (down! in a money market fund!) 3 percent. Five years later, the Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing to do something to make sure that losses in these “safe investments” don’t happen again.
This is a country standing on the edge of an existential precipice. Now, facing an Iraqi government that lacks the intelligence targeting capabilities of the U.S. government, AQI’s effective successor, the Islamic State of Iraq ( ISI), is wreaking havoc. Waging a campaign of murder against Iraqi Shia, these terrorists want to exacerbate an ongoing government crackdown against Iraqi Sunnis. Their sustaining objective is unambiguous — fostering a cauldron of chaos in which Iraqis detach into base sectarian alliances. In short, they desire a civil war.
The ongoing unrest in Turkey may lead to a new military coup in that country, Israeli political expert Avigdor Eskin told ArmInfo. The expert believes that Turkey is changing its image these days. Even if Prime Minister Erdogan manages to suppress the wave of protests, they will have a crucial role in the history for the former Ottoman Empire. “I witnessed the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, then the public unrest in Russia in 1991 and 1993. The scales are incomparable. Turkish dissidents managed to awaken the entire city.
The President of the Popular Algerian Republic left the country on 27 April 2013 to behospitalized in Paris at Val-de-Grâce, following a non-fatal stroke. Since then, Bouteflika’s absence has provoked an increasing anxiety. The French press has reported on the worsening of his health, which was subsequently printed in various Algerian newspapers. Despite Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal’s denial of these reports, the uncertainties regarding his succession (which appears increasingly imminent) are growing. Most significantly, the general fear of destabilization in the country heighten these worries.
American bases in the Arabian Gulf have been put on high alert in anticipation of any kind of fallout to the security deterioration in Syria and Iraq, a local daily reported yesterday quoting a “senior military official” familiar with the subject. The senior Kuwaiti official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information to the press. He made these remarks to a local daily without providing any further details on the topic.
The Bank for International Settlements has crafted a plan to inject major lenders with more cash, in the event of financial failure, while avoiding market chaos and the need to use taxpayers’ money.
According to BIS’ paper, the central bank forum laid out blueprints on how to recapitalise banks quickly and easily, while also allowing authorities to give an ironclad guarantee that insured depositors would not lose savings.
The euro zone’s messy bailout of Cyprus caused a mini-run on banks in many of the currency union’s 17 members in April, exacerbating the decline in lending to the real economy, data from the European Central Bank showed Wednesday. The country most affected was inevitably Cyprus itself, where private deposits fell by EUR3.2 billion ($4.11 billion), or 7.3%, in a single month to EUR41.32 billion. The impact was also felt strongly in Greece, where private deposits fell EUR2.8 billion, or 1.6%, on the month.
It’s not pretty in Spain these days. A contracting economy and a spiraling unemployment rate are taking its toll on the population. New shares in nationalized financial institution Bankia began trading, closing the day at €0.57 ($0.74), marking a more than 80% drop from their floating price in 2011 when the banking group was formed. The average Spaniard is suffering, and the situation has gotten to the point where on Sunday, a police officer stabbed a former Bankia employee four times after a heated discussion related to the sale of preferred shares in the failed banking group.
Adam Adli, a student activist, was charged on May 23 under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for saying merely “you cheated in elections, we go for demonstrations”. Eighteen other people have been also detained by police, with three claiming injuries, for attending a vigil held in response to the activist’s detention. The next day, two opposition parliamentarians and a leading activist campaigning against the dominant ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) were arrested under the same law.
When James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, arrived in Frankfurt last week, he issued an unusual public warning to the European Central Bank: Be bolder.
Central bankers, anywhere in the world, are a cautious lot. They prefer slow and steady over the dramatic gesture. And they rarely go public with criticisms of other central banks. But the economic stagnation of the major developed nations has driven central banks in the United States, Japan, Britain and the European Union to take increasingly aggressive action.
Rocketing unemployment and poverty in some areas of Europe could lead to rising civil unrest, unless governments take measures to address the humanitarian consequences of austerity measures, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross warned.
Bekele Geleta’s caution comes as police battle with rioters in Stockholm, where high unemployment and social deprivation in migrant communities have been blamed for a week of violence. As Europe continues to grapple with the financial crisis, the situation for many young people is dire.
Lord Blair, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said there were “thousands and thousands of people who listen to Islamic extremists”. MI5 and MI6 must go after the most dangerous suspects who travel abroad for terrorist training, he said. “The Security Service (MI5) has limited resources. They must prioritise people who are most likely to move from being interested in violent extremism to carrying it out. “Even if you have the resources to do it, you have to have a very high level of suspicion to put surveillance on them. “What are you monitoring? Lots of people have very odd views.”
European Union governments approved a mission on Wednesday to help Libya improve its border security in response to concerns that Islamist militants and weapons move freely across the North African country’s frontier.
The 110-member EU civilian team, expected to start deploying in Libya next month, will advise and train Libyan officials on how to strengthen the security of the country’s land, sea and air borders, an EU statement said. The EU team, being sent at Libya’s request, will have a budget of 30 million euros ($39 million) for its first year and be based in Tripoli.
The streets are so much darker now, since money for streetlights is rarely available to municipal governments. The national parks began closing down years ago. Some are already being subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. Reports on bridges crumbling or even collapsing are commonplace. The air in city after city hangs brown and heavy (and rates of childhood asthma and other lung diseases have shot up), because funding that would allow the enforcement of clean air standards by the Environmental Protection Agency is a distant memory. Public education has been cut to the bone, making good schools a luxury and, according to the Department of Education, two of every five students won’t graduate from high school.
The Serbs living in the north of Kosovo flatly refuse to abide by the agreement reached in Brussels, which makes them deprived of the Serbia’s citizenship in favor of becoming Kosovars, or the citizens of Kosovo. Soon they will face a military force called in to guarantee the fulfillment of Brussels accords. The formations of 525th US Army Battlefield Surveillance Brigade come to take part in the three-week-long exercises in Hohenfels, Germany. The future mission includes combat planning, preventing and putting down public unrest, evacuation of wounded and interaction with civil officials.
On the outskirts of Ubari, a remote outpost in Libya’s southwest near the Algerian border, armed militia from the Tebu tribe speed across the desert in Toyota trucks towards the sprawling Sharara oil fields.
They, along fighters from the town of Zintan further north, are spearheading efforts – under the auspices of Libya’s defence ministry – to secure the oil installation’s vast perimeter from sabotage.
India is still at significant risk of having its credit rating downgraded to junk status by Standard & Poor’s, despite the government’s efforts to secure an upgrade. S&P on Friday reiterated its negative outlook on India, with its rating sitting just one notch above “junk”.
“The negative outlook signals at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade within the next 12 months,” S&P said. “High fiscal deficits and a heavy government debt burden remain the most significant constraints on our sovereign ratings on India.
Critics dismiss the “Secure Homeland” initiative as a political charade that risks degenerating into human rights abuses while having no lasting impact on crime. But to many residents, weary of being terrorized by armed gangs, seeing troops on the streets is a welcome projection of government power.
With some 15,000 killings a year, Venezuela’s homicide rate is the fifth highest in the world, according to U.N. statistics. The murder rate doubled during the 14-year-rule of the late President Hugo Chavez as cheap access to guns and an ineffective justice system fed a culture of violence in slums like Petare, parts of which have become no-go zones for outsiders, including police.
Egypt experienced a state of unrest on Friday, as numerous protests across the country took place. While various protests shared similar demands, people largely voiced their concerns on varying issues.
In Alexandria people took to the streets to denounce the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, calling for early presidential elections. A similar protest took place in Cairo, where security surrounding the cabinet building was intensified in preparation.
A new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
Defense Department spokesman George Little confirmed Monday that an element of the U.S. Marine unit in Spain moved over the weekend to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. Little said the unit is still on standby, but the move puts it closer to Libya if suddenly needed in Tripoli.
A unit of about 50 Marines has already been providing security at the embassy in Libya since January. Meanwhile, another unit, an elite response team based in Germany and assigned to AFRICOM, was put on alert last week.
Libyans have played down reports of possible foreign intervention after news reports on Friday said the US has alerted special Marine units to be ready to respond to developments in the security situation in Libya.
Speaking to Libya Al-Hurra TV on Saturday, Mr. Mohamed Abdul Aziz the Libyan Foreign Minister denied the reports of American intervention in Libya and that he was aware that the both the US and Britain withdrew some unessential members of staff in their embassies.
Marines and other U.S. forces in Europe are on a heightened state of alert in response to a deteriorating security situation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a U.S. military official said Friday.
The alert order applies to a U.S. special operations team based in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a Marine group of air and ground forces based in Moron, Spain, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The forces are under U.S. Africa Command, which acquired the special operations team in the fall.
Although the Department for Work and Pensions insists that the Government already provides a safety net for essentials such as food through the benefit system, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that many struggle.
Professor Lang said: “There ought to be a very big political debate about food banks. It should be a sign of shame that the sixth-richest economy on the planet has people who are essentially retreating to a Dickensian world. It’s shocking how quickly it’s been normalised.”
After five years of relatively stable civilian rule, Pakistan seems ready to move ahead with another democratically elected government. But how will that administration behave at home and abroad?
Many longtime observers of Pakistani politics think that the new administration is most likely to be a coalition government of conservative political parties that enjoy the full support of the country’s all-powerful military establishment.
The army on Wednesday briefed the UPA government on the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, giving it a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian soldiers have been eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector since April 15, after Chinese soldiers pitched tents 19km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. Army sources have maintained that it is possible to cut off the supply lines of Chinese troops, but some in the military establishment believe it could escalate tensions along the disputed border.
BJP today cautioned that the Chinese incursions into Indian territory in Ladakh could snowball into a “Kargil-like” situation and urged the government to take the issue seriously instead of treating it as merely a local issue. “The Prime Minister has said the incursions in Ladakh are a localised issue. To say so is wrong. After all, what had happened in Kargil?” BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters. Incidentally, NDA was in power when the Kargil conflict took place in 1999. The then government was taken by surprise when the incursions from Pakistan were detected. Naqvi said India should give up its “confused and contradictory” policy towards China and take some serious measures.
Armed protests targeting Libya’s ministries and media in the capital this week have alarmed international observers who say deteriorating security conditions are becoming a matter of serious concern. Reporters without Borders said there was cause for “grave concern about recent violent attacks on Libyan journalists, whose safety conditions are deteriorating drastically” and called on the government to act. Gunmen in heavily armed vehicles remained in control of Libya’s Foreign Ministry for a fourth day on Wednesday, while the Justice Ministry was similarly surrounded on Tuesday and other institutions including the media have been targeted.
Saxo Bank’s Lars Christensen: Political discontent will soon force the Eurozone’s inevitable break-up
A political rebellion is brewing, and many countries are close to breaking point. Beppe Grillo’s success in Italy was just the start – it could have been anyone standing with an anti-euro message. There’s a new anti-euro party in Germany gathering interest. And the anti-bailout True Finns in Finland are now the country’s third largest party. This will happen in every European country, and it’s all down to economic conditions. As long as you’re in the euro, you’ll be less and less competitive, and will get weaker and weaker against Germany.
With the Sino-India standoff in Ladakh now in it’s third week, Chinese are showing no signs of withdrawing from the territory they occupied after their incursion in Ladakh two weeks ago. On Monday news reports said Chinese troops have erected an additional tent in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector raising to five the number of such structures in the area. The Chinese troops have also deployed Molosser dogs to keep a vigil, according to latest reports on Monday from the site of incursion, 70 km south of Burtse in Ladakh division. A banner hoisted outside the camp reads in English “you are in Chinese side” with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel maintaining a round-the-clock vigil, official sources said.
The current tensions on the disputed India-China border – known delightfully for its vagueness as the ‘Line of Actual Control’ – in the western sector of the Ladakh region bordering China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region hark back to the scenario five decades ago when little skirmishes snowballed into a major outbreak of hostility. Fortunately, however, this time around there is a fundamental difference, too, which obviates the danger of a catastrophic slide to armed conflict. On a systemic plane, there are disquieting signs that the Indian establishment has not been pulling together on the country’s China policy and this disconnect, which has been suspected through the recent past, threatens to introduce its own disharmony.