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.
The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) operates Boeing E-767s, 160-foot airplanes stuffed with radar and electronics that enable them to detect aircraft from 200 miles away. They confirm that the Chinese drone is wheeling above the Senkakus, and Japan dispatches F-15Js to intercept it—and shoot it down—obviously ignoring China’s Air Defense ID Zone. Chinese long-range, back-scatter radar spots the F-15Js in the air, and China dispatches quad-prop Y-8X maritime patrol for a better-resolution look. They also alert their best fighters—Sukhoi Flankers (Su 30) and Chengdu J-10s—to prepare to take off.
Egypt’s army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has reportedly said that Egypt’s state institutions have collapsed following the January 25 revolution, which ousted autocrat president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. “People keep asking about the state,” al-Sisi purportedly said in a leaked audio recording aired by the Jazeera Mubasher Misr late Friday. “The state institutions have collapsed. The presidency has been undermined, the constitution suspended, the parliament dissolved, the Interior Ministry dealt a heavy blow and the Judiciary has been questioned,” he allegedly said.
With triple tax exemption (federal, state, and local), combined with higher-than-average yields, Puerto Rican bonds became so popular in recent years that it was able to rack up $70 billion of debt now held by institutional investors and mutual funds alike. The debt-to-GDP ratio is now nearly 70% and growing, not including pension obligations, which raises the ratio to over 90%. With a per capita debt load of $19,000 and growing, Puerto Ricans shoulder almost 4 times the burden of U.S. leader Massachusetts which carries a deficit of $5,077 per citizen.
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”.
India is now the world’s third-largest grain producer after China and the United States. The adoption of higher-yielding crop varieties and the spread of irrigation have led to this remarkable tripling of output since the early 1960s. Unfortunately, a growing share of the water that irrigates three-fifths of India’s grain harvest is coming from wells that are starting to go dry. This sets the stage for a major disruption in food supplies for India’s growing population. In recent years about 27 million wells have been drilled, chasing water tables downward in every Indian state.
According to the ‘Great Men’ theory of history advanced by Thomas Carlyle, global events are shaped in significant part by the decisions and personalities of individual leaders. If this account has even marginal merit, then we might survey with optimism the personalities of the most powerful global leaders who preside over the current turbulent times in the Middle East. They have exhibited remarkable restraint and wisdom, in the face of compelling pressures to fuel further insoluble violent conflicts.
After years of tweaking and sidestepping articles that were inconvenient to Sandinista rule, such as the ban on presidential reelection, the ruling party is now embarking on an aggressive campaign to overhaul the legal document in what critics say is a bid to accommodate the party’s needs. Proposed changes to 39 articles would pave the way for President Daniel Ortega’s indefinite reelection and replace Nicaragua’s representative democracy with a version of “direct democracy,” as envisaged by Mr. Ortega’s politically active wife, Rosario Murillo.
As the latest militant-Kurdish military showdown eases in northeast Syria, Baghdad is keeping a close watch on a battle which threatens even greater instability in Iraq. Kurdish forces and al Qaeda-linked groups have for weeks fought over territory, with the Kurds taking over a key border point late last month. But with the likelihood of more fighting to follow, Baghdad is worried of militants securing a wider corridor between eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight. While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic. Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.
This support of some €5 billion to Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad (subject to the approval by the European Parliament and the European Council) will aim to help those countries tackle the specific and complex challenges of the Sahel region: security and stability, development and resilience. Governance, rule of law and security, delivery of social services, agriculture and food security, as well as regional trade and integration will be at the heart of the development programmes over 2014-2020.
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.”
Oxford academic Paul Collier is well known for his book The Bottom Billion in which he maps the links between the world’s poorest people and the world’s most war-torn countries. In a chapter in a new book for IPPR, edited by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, Collier argues that what Africa needs is an “African NATO”. He writes that the international community oscillates between “pusillanimous passivity” and “gung-ho intervention”.
Bangladesh poor selling organs to pay back loans microcredit loans that were meant to lift them out of poverty
Kalai, like many other villages in Bangladesh, appears a rural idyll at first sight. But several villagers here have resorted to selling organs to pay back microcredit loans that were meant to lift them out of poverty. Journalist Sophie Cousins reports on an alarming consequence of the microfinance revolution.They, like millions of other rural Bangladeshis, grow up facing a life of hardship. In an attempt to alleviate poverty, countless numbers take on debt with microcredit lenders, only to find themselves in a difficult situation when they are unable to repay the loan.
Pakistani soldier-turned-academic Feroz Khan’s book Eating Grass is an insider account tracing the history of Pakistan’s nuclear programme — and its survival despite hurdles. Khan, who was involved in formulating Pakistan’s nuclear arms control policy, spoke with Sameer Arshad about how Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal grew, implications of its nuclear race with India — and how restraints are possible. Bhutto is undoubtedly the Pakistani nuclear bomb’s father — even before the 1965 war, he envisioned the only way to offset the strategic imbalance was through nukes.
Fears that two major naval bases sited near large British cities could become nuclear waste storage facilities “by default” have grown after it was revealed the Ministry of Defence proposes to remove low-level radioactive waste from the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet. According to minutes of a submarine dismantling meeting, the “early removal of low-level waste” has been proposed at two major dockyards: Rosyth, in the Forth estuary, Fife, and Devonport, in Plymouth. The first of Britain’s ageing nuclear fleet of 27 submarines is due to be broken up within five years.
The volume of shares traded outside of public exchanges is growing fast in Europe. Trades on so-called “dark pools” jumped 45% over the past six months, according to a new report (pdf) from Fidessa, a technology firm. These off-exchange venues processed €207 billion ($283 billion) in the six months to September, accounting for around 4% of total trading, Fidessa reckons. Others put the market share of dark-pool trading at 7% or 10% across Europe, with the highest percentages in major trading hubs like London.
The countries in the ASEAN aim to achieve full economic integration by 2015. Given how poorly integration has turned out for the EU, that might not seem like such a good idea. But, if nothing else, at least the ASEAN can learn from the EU’s mistakes. Economic integration would allow free flow of goods, services, and labor. Under the plan, tariffs would become almost non-existent. This would help the ASEAN corner more foreign direct investments, which at the moment go mostly to China and India. However, there are a series of economic, religious, and political problems that threaten to derail the ASEAN’s attempts at economic integration.
Last month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a long awaited document summarising the findings of an in-depth investigation into the prevalence of congenital birth defects (CBD) in Iraq, which many experts believe is linked to the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by Allied forces. “The rates for spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital birth defects found in the study are consistent with or even lower than international estimates. The study provides no clear evidence to suggest an unusually high rate of congenital birth defects in Iraq.”
China is largely in line with international treaties governing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but its global dealings in small arms are shadowy and potentially helpful to anti-U.S. factions abroad, a new study finds. Most Chinese weapons for export lack the quality of weapons from the United States, Russia or other developed nations. China is therefore a cheaper source of weapons for poor countries with unsophisticated militaries, like many in Africa, the Middle East and South America. China is seen to have a “guns-for-oil” relationship with some African nations.
The number of nuclear warheads globally is about 17,000, estimates the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), down roughly 75 percent over the last thirty years largely because of cuts by the United States and Russia. Last June the US president proposed further cutting nuclear arsenals by a third but Russia responded that the shield, intended to protect against attack from Iran and North Korea, would require Moscow to hold more missiles or lose its deterrent capability. Russia fears the system’s interceptors could shoot down its long-range nuclear missiles.
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.
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.
The indelible factors of geography in terms of ‘location,’ ‘space’ and ‘terrain’ in shaping the destiny of nations remains profound. The conflict that has been going on ‘for’ and ‘in’ the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for seven decades is a prime example; it is the State’s locational position on the face of the earth for China, India and Pakistan that is driving the triangular competition in which Pakistan’s virulence is being used both as the means to ‘contain’ India, and her territory, including what she occupies to act as a spring board for China’s regional outreach.
There have recently been two noteworthy developments in the long-running saga of Burma’s reported interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In different ways, both were welcome but, inevitably, concerns remain. And it certainly is short, even more so than the first two reports, which briefly covered developments in 2009 and 2010. The latest report simply states that during 2011, Burma’s main suppliers of weapons and military-related technology were China, North Korea, Russia and Belarus. Also, firms based in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand apparently assisted Burma’s defence industries in acquiring unspecified production technology.
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.
Libya has morphed into the Wild West of northern Africa just two years after the fall of the Gadhafi regime. In particular, the Libyan Desert has become a sanctuary for radical forces. Mohamed Abdelkader, the mayor of Ghat, does not beat around the bush when he says, “The borders are wide open. Drugs and weapons flow in and out and the army has no capacity to catch smugglers or extremists.” An army, in the conventional sense, does not exist in Libya anyway. Out of fear there could be attempts to overthrow him, Gadhafi, when he was alive, kept the army weak.
Thanks to personal genomics companies like 23andMe, it’s becoming quicker and easier for us to find out who we are. But will the same technology one day allow us to decide who our babies will be — before they’re even born? That’s the question raised by a newly issued patent, which grants 23andMe rights to a system that allows parents to pick and choose their children’s traits prior to undergoing fertility treatment. The system, according to the patent, could be used to “[identify] a preferred donor among the plurality of donors,” based on genetic information.
India’s alleged involvement in illicit nuclear trade networks came under fire in a detailed report issued by a major security-focused think tank here, the Institute for Science and International Security. According to ISIS India was in fact among a group of “illicit nuclear trade suppliers of concern,” including China, Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey, Russia and a host of “rogue states” such as Iran, North Korea, Syria “and possibly a Khan-type network.” It also pulled no punches in emphasising that India benefitted from the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear smuggling network which was “exposed and rolled up in 2003 and 2004,”.
If any extra evidence was needed to shatter the myth of a “revolution” struggling for a future “democratic” Syria, the big news of the week cleared any remaining doubts. Eleven, 13 or 14 “rebel” brigades (depending on the source) have ditched the “moderate”, US-propped Syrian National Council (SNC) and the not-exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA). The leaders of the bunch are the demented jihadis of Jabhat al-Nusra – but it includes other nasties such as the Tawhid brigades and the Tajammu Fastaqim Kama Ummirat in Aleppo, some of them until recently part of the collapsing FSA.
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.
Turkey’s Alawites, most of them concentrated in and around Antakya, are said to number up to one million. Though ethnically Arab, many consider themselves part of the much bigger family of Turkish Alevis, a community of anywhere from 12 to 20 million. A large majority of Turks, including Sunnis, oppose any outside intervention in Syria, but anti-war and pro-Syria sentiment is particularly pronounced among Alawites, whose ethnic kinsmen, including President Bashar al Assad, form the core of Syria’s ruling elite.
There are three types of faultlines in South Asia – the fractures resulting from the movement of tectonic plates (as shown by the September 24 earthquake), the geopolitical differences that have kept Islamabad and New Delhi in a perpetual state of rivalry, and deprivation, with over half a billion people living below the poverty line in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh together. Geopolitical faultlines and state interests in certain cross-border groups also aid these militant movements, for example the alleged Indian support for the Bangladeshi tribes and for Baloch insurgents in Pakistan, and the ISI’s nexus with major Afghan Taliban groups and its support for Kashmir militancy since 1988.
A new report commissioned by the Greenland government has concluded that the country has full sovereignty over commodities trading, including for uranium, which is regulated by international treaties on non-nuclear proliferation. The report was kept confidential for more than six months but recently published as Greenland’s parliament prepares to vote on 24 October on whether to allow the extraction of radioactive substances in Greenland. The outcome of the vote is expected to be a clear ‘yes’.
Highly sensitive U.S. military equipment stored in Libya was stolen over the summer by groups likely aligned and working with terrorist organizations, State Department sources told Fox News — in raids that contributed to the decision to pull Special Forces personnel from the country. The stolen equipment had been used by U.S. Special Forces stationed in the country. Lost in the raids in late July and early August were dozens of M4 rifles, night-vision technology and lasers used as aiming devices that are mounted on guns and can only be seen with night-vision equipment.
Under government plans, the regular Army is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000 In the letter, the MPs say the plans are “clearly born of financial necessity and not strategic design” and are “high-risk in this increasingly uncertain world”. With report that the Army is struggling to recruit the number of reservists it needs, they call for a stop to the regular cutbacks “at the very least … until we are sure that the Army Reserve plans will work”. We suggest that the Government’s reservist plans are already having a distorting effect on the ground.”
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.
An arms race in South Asia and Pakistan’s development of tactical “battlefield” nuclear weapons are increasing the risk of any conflict there becoming a nuclear war, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said on Thursday.
Noting that Pakistan looks set to overtake Britain as the owner of the world’s fifth-largest nuclear weapons stockpile, it urged India and Pakistan to improve their communications to avoid any fatal misunderstandings during a crisis.
The proposed $18 billion (Dh66bn) economic corridor linking Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and Kashghar in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province by road, rail and an energy pipeline, could be described as a “game changer” for the whole region.
The two countries recently inaugurated the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Secretariat in Islamabad, where they also discussed laying an oil pipeline from Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan to western China. The proposed pipeline might eventually be connected with Iran.
Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh said earlier that imports of gold and crude oil in considerable quantities were exerting a deplorable effect on the trade balance deficit. He indicated that the government was pondering a possible reduction of purchases abroad by increasing purchases of gold inside the country. In particular, it might buy gold from temples, he said. Officials on the cabinet of ministers deny the presence of any plans to buy out temple gold at the moment.
For the first time ever, the Chinese yuan is one of the world’s ten most frequently traded currencies, according to a Bank of International Settlements (BIS) survey. The currency ranked ninth on the bank’s top-ten list, jumping eight places from the seventeen spot it held when the survey was last conducted three years ago. BIS attributes the move to the rapid growth of offshore yuan trading, which boosted the currency’s daily turnover by three-and-a-half times since the last survey to $120 billion. “The role of the renminbi in global FX trading surged, in line with increased efforts to internationalize the Chinese currency,” the BIS said.
In the plane of the debate on the opportunities and methods used in a chaos in the Syrian conflict, a fact is the progressive militarization of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean . The events of recent weeks have somehow forced the Western actors indirectly involved in the conflict, at least those without a concrete geographical proximity to implement some countermeasures in advance. Waiting for the go-ahead to a joint inter-and against the Assad regime, or in the event of a less than desirable escalation of the crisis, the United States, France and Britain have increased their military commitment in the area.
A nationwide strike in Colombia—which started as a rural peasant uprising and spread to miners, teachers, medical professionals, truckers, and students—reached its 7th day Sunday as at least 200,000 people blocked roads and launched protests against a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and devastating policies of poverty and privatization pushed by US-backed right-wing President Juan Manuel Santos.
When Kazakhstan’s Central Reference Laboratory opens in September 2015, the $102-million project laboratory will serve as a Central Asian way station for a global war on dangerous disease.“DOD’s involvement in biosurveillance goes back probably before DOD to the Revolutionary War,” Andrew C. Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, told American Forces Press Service last year. “We didn’t call it biosurveillance then, but monitoring and understanding infectious disease has always been our priority, because for much of our history, we’ve been a global force.”
The military’s attention on Africa continues, as its secretive Office of Net Assessment has hired contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to study the continent’s future, military documents show. The Office of Net Assessment is an internal Pentagon think tank that tries to anticipate future needs through a series of studies and war games. Created in 1973, it has been run by the same person, 92-year-old Andrew Marshall, since its beginning. Marshall, in turn, is a disciple of longtime military strategist Fritz Kraemer, a key influence on former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former vice president Dick Cheney.
The Indian rupee plummeted to a record low against the dollar on Monday, leading a rout by Brazil’s real and other emerging market currencies seen by investors as the most vulnerable to an exodus of foreign capital. A fierce selloff in many emerging currencies shows no sign of abating as the expected withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus prompts investors to shun markets seen as riskier because of funding deficits, slowing economies and inflation. The rupee fits that bill, as do the Indonesian rupiah, the South African rand and the Brazilian real. The rupiah plunged to four-year troughs on Monday while the rand lost another 1 per cent to bring year-to-date losses to almost 17 per cent against the dollar.
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.
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 […]
Working in top secret over a period of 17 years, Russian and American scientists collaborated to remove hundreds of pounds of plutonium and highly enriched uranium — enough to construct at least a dozen The report sheds light on a mysterious $150 million cleanup operation paid for in large part by the United States, whose specialists feared that terrorists would discover the fissile material and use it to build a dirty bomb. Over the years, hints emerged that something extraordinarily dangerous had been left behind in a warren of underground tunnels.
Pakistan-based militants are preparing to take on India across the subcontinent once Western troops leave Afghanistan next year, several sources say, raising the risk of a dramatic spike in tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.
Intelligence sources in India believe that a botched suicide bombing of an Indian consulate in Afghanistan, which was followed within days last week by a lethal cross-border ambush on Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir, suggest that the new campaign by Islamic militants may already be underway.
The suspension of Tunisia’s transitional parliament could bring the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings closer to an “Egyptian scenario” in which the secular opposition topples an Islamist-led government, analysts and politicians say.
The biggest shock to the ruling Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be that the latest blow came from one of its own secular allies – a sign of rising polarisation between Islamist and secular forces.
South and East Asia have become the world’s major oil consumers, but they lack the supply. Energy security thus lies at the heart of Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. Jean-Pierre Lehmann and Suddha Chakravartti explain how China, India and their smaller neighboring economies are scrambling to find ways to secure and deliver enough oil from suppliers to consumers. The vastness and heterogeneity of Asia contrast with the relative compactness and homogeneity of Europe. Nevertheless, Asia does exist as a geopolitical, geo-economic and analytical entity.
Circle of Blue, with the Wilson Center, is looking at what’s probably the most important drama unfolding on the planet today, and that’s this confrontation between water, food, and energy. We created a project called Choke Point: U.S. Then we backed up and said, “Let’s take a look at China.” Our next Choke Point lens is to take a look at India, the world’s second-largest, second-most-populated nation. Keith Schneider: In the ’60s and the ’70s, the policy was to make energy, electricity, and water free to the agriculture sector in a nation that knew serious starvation.
The Arabian Peninsula Seas contain two of the most important strategic waterways in the world: Bab Al-Mandab and Strait of Hormuz. Without them much of the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa and South West Asia would make little sense. The Red Sea is moderately integrated into the regional level but it is much more deeply integrated into international level. National pride, regional developments, international commerce and worldwide political events all have played a part in shaping in the Red Sea Region as it exists today. The “new” Red Sea Region should be characterized by regional cooperation.
Soldiers once loyal to Yemen’s ousted president Saleh, protesting against what they say is neglect by the new leadership, clashed with a rival faction of the military in Sanaa on Friday, police and witnesses said. The hundreds of soldiers protesting were former members of Yemen’s elite Republican Guard, which was run by Saleh’s powerful son and which Saleh’s successor, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, abolished last year in a bid to unify the army. Yemen’s military remains divided between allies and opponents of Saleh, who stepped down in a Gulf-brokered deal in 2012 after a year of protests against his rule, but still looms large in Yemen.
In many cases the police and paramilitary units used non-lethal methods in responding to rallies and violence by supporters of Islamic parties, the New York-based advocacy group found. In other instances they resorted to “excessive force,” shooting demonstrators at close range, and beating others to death, according to witness testimony. More than 150 people were killed, including seven children, and at least 2,000 others were injured in clashes between February and early May, Human Rights Watch said after interviewing 95 victims, witnesses, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. Police officers were among those who died, it found.
Washington welcomes visits to its nuclear weapons facilities by Japan as a way to provide “firsthand knowledge” of the U.S. nuclear posture and reassurances of its nuclear deterrent, a former senior U.S. defense official says.
“The nuclear umbrella is a centerpiece of the U.S.-Japan security alliance,” Bradley Roberts, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, said in a written response to The Asahi Shimbun’s questions in early July.
United Nations is assessing private military and security companies and their commitment to international norms, an envoy said from New York. The United Nations announced a panel discussion on the use of mercenaries and private security companies is scheduled next week at the U.N. headquarters. Group director Anton Katz said the United Nations has an opportunity to influence the standards and behavior of the private security industry in a way that puts it in line with international human rights laws.
A long time corrupt, disconnected ruling party? Check. Contentious elections? Check. Allegations of voter fraud? Check. Ethnic and religious fault lines? Check. On the surface, two months after the closest election in Malaysian history, one in which the opposition coalition actually received more votes, the situation looks ripe for an uprising along the lines of Egypt or Tunisia, or even nearby Indonesia and Thailand. Instead, the country seems destined for more years of unequal, resource-driven, racially divisive policies.
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.
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.
Today US rating agency Standard & Poor’s told a court of law that it figured every reasonable investor would know its promise to objectively rate securities was mere “puffery,” like a used-car salesman who tells you the last owner of your car was an old lady who only drove it on Sundays.
The US government thinks that S&P (a unit of McGraw Hill Financial) should pay $5 billion in penalties for giving safe ratings to risky securities while it had cozy relationships with people creating them.
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.
As the military’s assault against Boko Haram and civilians in northern Nigeria continues, so too does the ongoing and underreported conflict in the villages around Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. As in other parts of the Sahel stretching from Khartoum to Dakar, rivalries between ethnic groups, settlers and indigenes, herders and farmers, and religious groups overlap to create a kaleidoscope of insider and outsider identities. Resulting conflicts, in turn, create openings for international jihadist Islam, as in other parts of the Sahel.
Had anyone asked back in January what kind of risks you thought might be giving financial markets a jolt by mid-year, odds are that you would have talked about the Federal Reserve’s intentions with respect to quantitative easing, the outlook for economic growth and whether S&P 500 companies are delivering the kind of earnings that analysts had been expecting. That is the problem with geopolitical events, in a nutshell. They tend to fall into the category that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to as “unknown unknowns”: They can’t be predicted.
The Turkish government has plans to make a slight change to its laws to prevent coups. The contentious point in the constitution – Article 35 – has been used as justification by instigators of past coups.
Since 1960, there have been four military coups in Turkey that threw out elected governments. The last time a coup threatened the government in Turkey was 2007, when the military had a stand-off with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, the government is considering a historic step: changing Article 35 of the Turkish military’s internal laws.
The US economy continues to have a hard time recovering from the global financial crisis. So the last thing one would expect the US government to do is to engage in policies that open the floodgates to severe risks in financial markets again. And yet it is precisely doing that. For all the attention being paid to the Federal Reserve’s “tapering”, what Washington has in its crosshairs is something quite different. It is putting massive pressure on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Security and Exchange Commission. Unless policymakers, and the public at large, act quickly to counter that pressure, the disastrous past – a financial industry running amok – may well be not just be the US’ national but also the common global future.
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.
Libya is becoming an important transit hub for terrorists, constituting an “extremely dangerous” development in the region, an African Union leader said Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Algeria.
“I have many reports which say Libya has become an important transit hub for the main terrorist groups travelling from one country to another,” said Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, the AU’s special representative in charge of counter terrorism.
Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi suggested in a private meeting with security officials the announcing of a state of emergency if security matters got out of hand during planned opposition protests next week, Gulf News has learned.
The defence and interior ministers left a high profile meeting with Mursi regarding security plans on Wednesday in frustration and disappointment, turning down a suggestion by the president to declare a state of emergency if violence got out of control, government sources told Gulf News.
The St. Brother Albert Homeless Shelter in this city in central Poland needs 60,000 zloty ($20,000) for renovation. To raise the funds, the shelter’s residents are offering “urban survival” workshops to teach people how to survive in the city without a penny.
Jerzy Czapla, the director of the homeless shelter, says he hopes managers and businessmen will sign up for the workshop. The price of the workshop is: “Pay what you want.”
Tamir Pardo, director of Israeli national intelligence agency Mossad, has covertly met with Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan in Turkey to discuss the situation in Syria and the ongoing anti-government protests in Turkey, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.
According to reports, Pardo, who is of Turkish and Serbian origin, traveled to Turkey in a private airplane to see Fidan. They reportedly discussed the latest situation in Syria, which has been in turmoil for more than two years, and the impact of Iran on the situation.
Creditors filed “upwards of 200,000” debt collection lawsuits in New York State in 2011, according to a report this week from the New Economy Project, a community advocacy group that has sued debt collectors in the past. In many of those cases, debt collectors won default judgments when borrowers didn’t show up in court. One reason for those absences, the New York-based group says, is that creditors engage in so-called “sewer service”—delivering subpoenas down sewer drains instead of to the intended recipients.
Office workers in business suits chant anti-government slogans alongside pious women wearing Muslim headscarves. Schoolchildren and bearded anarchists rub shoulders with football fans, well-heeled women in designer sunglasses and elderly couples donating food.
These disparate groups are united by alarm at what they consider unwarranted meddling and increasingly autocratic behavior by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s most popular prime minister in decades. Even some of his supporters are joining the protests sweeping the country.
In a sign Venezuela’s food shortages could be worsening, restrictions on the sale of 20 basic items subject to price controls, including toilet paper and chicken, are set to begin next week in its most populous state, officials said on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government said it is incorrect to call the plan rationing because it is meant to fight smuggling of price-controlled food across the border into Colombia. He said there are no plans to extend the program nationally.
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.
In most Chinese cities, the environmental cost of rapid development is obvious: unbreathable air and undrinkable water. Less obvious is the cost of cleaning them up.
Since the late 1990s, the “National model city for environmental protection programme” has accredited at least 76 cities nationwide as exemplars of urban sustainability, based on criteria including clean air, rubbish-free streets and ample public parks. Yet China is also home to hundreds of cancer villages, and a US-based academic has spent years drawing a link between the two.
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.
Over the past year, Turks have protested against the deteriorating state of press freedoms, a reckless construction boom, a draft law placing new curbs on abortion, the government’s response to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, the jailing of hundreds of top generals on coup charges, the arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists accused of abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey labels a terrorist group, and, most recently, new restrictions on alcohol sales.
Eurasian specialist Paul Goble warns that the politically volatile situation of the Central Asia’s nine exclaves is “heating up”. He attributes it to the recent political actions of the regional governments, people within the enclaves, and the Russian government. If this trend continues, there is a “risk that one or more of them will become a “Central Asian ‘Karabakh’”. Some regional analysts suspect regional governments may have an interest in intensifying ethnic tensions for their own political purposes.
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.
Defense ministry and security force officials discussed ways to work together to battle terrorism, organised crime and prevent interethnic conflicts at a recent conference in Skopje.
Top-level military and intelligence services leaders from Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, Slovenia, Italy and NATO officials gathered for the third Western Balkans Defense/Intelligence Chiefs meeting late last month.
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.
Venezuela’s president has ordered the creation of a new workers’ militia to defend the country’s “Bolivarian revolution” at a time when the government faces economic problems and political turmoil.
President Nicolas Maduro gave few details about the militia, including how many members it would consist of, but said it would be part of the Bolivarian Militia created by late President Hugo Chavez, which consists of roughly 120,000 volunteers. Analysts have said only about one-fourth of that force is combat ready.
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.
An undersea gold rush could be coming soon with the rising cost of minerals and advancements in technology opening the seafloor to mining – environmental concerns not withstanding.
The potential for exploiting undersea reserves is higher than any time in history. Incentives for undersea mining are rising metal prices, the high profitability of mining companies, declining yields of land-based nickel, copper and cobalt sulphide deposits (over years of mining), as well as new advancements in the machinery that’s used to extract and process mineral rich rocks from the seabed.
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.
Could Okinawa become an independent state? Five Okinawans formed a group to study the possibility on May 15, the 41st anniversary of the island prefecture’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty.
While only a minority of Okinawans are calling for independence, a growing distrust among islanders toward those on the mainland, who have left the southern prefecture burdened with U.S military bases, could lead to more empathy for the idea. Okinawa Prefecture accounts for only 0.6 percent of Japan’s landmass, but it hosts 74 percent of all U.S. military bases in the country.
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.
Foreign companies are getting ready to undertake the risky business of exploring for oil in war-torn Somalia, a quest that could trigger new conflict as the Western-backed government struggles to stop die-hard Islamist insurgents.
“The world’s leading oil companies are increasingly accepting that their quest for new reserves will take them into challenging new territory,” the Financial Times observed this week. “In regions such as the arctic, the problems are technical. Around the Horn of Africa, companies must calculate whether political and security risks will put too heavy a burden on their production costs.
The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans. Scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person’s skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for super-personalized therapies made from people’s own DNA.
It’s unlikely that this clone could develop into a human, say the scientists, a team of biologists from the U.S. and Thailand. The team plans to publish a paper in the future detailing why not, Nature reported.
India continues to view Pakistan as the “real threat” even though it is adjusting its military strategy to include the possibility of a limited two-front war with both Pakistan and China, the first Blue Book on India published by a Chinese think tank said.
Pakistan is India’s main “real threat” to maintain a high degree of vigilance and preparedness, the summary of the Blue Book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, (CASS) said. The report says Indian military deployment on land is mainly fixated against Pakistan but in recent times, it is also being adjusted for both China and Pakistan.
Consider the significance of the Federal Reserve announcement last week of its plan to maintain a policy of cheap debt — continuing its “stimulus” plans that camouflage a stagnant economy by purchasing $85 billion a month of a variety of forms of debt. Troubling elements of such a policy include the fact that American taxpayers own a larger and larger share of all mortgage-backed securities thanks to the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Remember, these government service organizations were declared insolvent as recently as 2008 during the subprime housing crisis.
In spite of all obstacles, a major breakthrough is required to end the current nuclear deadlock in the region, where Israel is the only atomic power, though the Iranian nuclear programme continues to draw attention – and sanctions – in Western countries. Should such a breakthrough not happen, Egypt and Arab countries may withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they were pushed to join in 1995 in exchange of U.S. promises to free the Middle East from atomic warheads, Israeli nuclear arsenal included.
A leading member of a United Nations investigatory commission says there are “strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that Syrian rebels have used the nerve agent sarin.
Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor for U.N. tribunals investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made the comment in an interview Sunday with a Swiss television channel, the BBC reported. She said the evidence emerged from interviews conducted by investigators with victims, physicians and others in neighboring countries.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
Tension is rising on the Israel-Syria cease-fire line on the Golan Heights and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he’s ready to launch military operation to prevent the weakening Damascus regime’s chemical and other advanced weapons falling into Islamist hands. “We see a deterioration of the general chain of command” in the Syrian-held sector of the Golan, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. But the Israelis see the main threat to them as the jihadists acquiring the regime’s well-stocked arsenals of chemical weapons and advanced systems such as Russian-made Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry chemical warheads, and surface-to-air missiles that would challenge Israel’s long-held air supremacy in the region.
The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.
After decades in the shadow of the military, Myanmar’s ragtag police force has found itself thrust onto the security frontline – and under fire for failing to stop a wave of religious unrest. Under the former junta that ruled the country also known as Burma for almost half a century, any sign of unrest was quickly quelled by soldiers.
But since a new reformist government took power two years ago, the job of maintaining order has been largely left to police who lack basic equipment and only have about a year of training. “The police were never well-equipped,” said an officer with 20 years in the force who did not want to be named.