December 31, 2012

Nostalghia - Cool For Chaos


Lyric

Merkel says euro zone crisis far from over

(Reuters) - The euro zone sovereign debt crisis is far from over even though reform measures designed to address the roots of the problem are beginning to bear fruit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in her New Year's address.

In a taped interview to be broadcast on Monday evening, Merkel urged Germans to be more patient even though the euro zone crisis has already dragged on for three years. She drew a line linking German prosperity to a prosperous European Union. Read more.

Reuters

Related,
Finance Minister Says Euro-Crisis Worst Is Over - Spiegel

Economists expect UK to lose AAA credit rating

At least one of the three main credit ratings agencies expected to downgrade UK's status as experts predict tough 2013

Britain is expected to lose its AAA credit rating this year, dealing a blow to George Osborne's defence of deep spending cuts as the key to retaining Britain's status with global investors. Read more.

The Guardian

Central Banking: Marxism, Not Freedom



Every two months the chiefs of more than a dozen of the world's largest central banks meet in Basel, Switzerland, to manage their national economies.

This is in accordance with the fifth plank of the Communist Manifesto, which was published in 1848 as an action plan for communizing nations on the road to creating a communist one world government.

John Birch Society

Related,
In the Shadow of Hermes (video) - Documentary

Pope calls for new economic model, more ethical markets - Reuters
Het besef dat we anders moeten leven, begint te gloren - Trouw

Peres: Israel would talk to Hamas if it met Quartet terms

Despite political uproar following his pro-Abbas words, president pursues his calls for peace in an address to Christian leaders; says Israel will talk to Hamas if it renounces terror, recognizes Israel, enters negotiations.

President Shimon Peres on Monday pursued his calls for peace when addressing spiritual and lay leaders of Israel's Christian community,.. Read more.

JPost

Related,
Palestinian official: Israel promises to further ease Gaza blockade if Hamas truce holds - Haaretz

Obama signs law countering Iranian sway in Latin America

US President Barack Obama enacted a law on Friday targeting Iran's alleged influence in Latin America. This comes as Washington already wages a “covert war” against Iran, according to researcher Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.

The act also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at US borders with Canada and Mexico to “prevent operatives from Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States.” Read more.

RT

Related,
US does not favor independent Latin America: Iran MP - PressTV

Chile: Students Protest Vs Closure of Universidad del Mar

Santiago de Chile, Dec 31 (Prensa Latina) Students of Universidad del Mar continued protesting on Monday against the closure of the institution, an action that jeopardizes the continuity of the training of thousands of students.

The students set up barricades in kilometer 137 of the 5 South Route, in Maipo highway, rejecting the decision of the Ministry of Education of closing the university, which is plunged into a much-talked-about case of profit in teaching by its former managers. Read more.

Prensa Latina

Maduro reports that President Chavez faces complications



Venezuelan Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, on Sunday informed from Havana about the health condition of President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering after he underwent surgery on December 11

Maduro said Chavez has suffered a number of new complications that have been promptly controlled by doctors. "Thanks to his physical and spiritual strength, Comandante Chavez is facing this difficult situation." Mr. Maduro said.

teleSUR

Related,
Official Communiqué on President Chavez's Health - Venezuelanalysis

December 30, 2012

25 Stories High

Welcome to the Apocalypse...

Harper government bills that enraged First Nations and sparked Idle No More

One of the first questions that people ask about the Idle No More movement is what the movement is all about.

While the historical injustices experienced by First Nations are too many to list, activists say the current government is pushing through a range of new bills that violate treaty rights. Read more.

Vancouver Observer

Related,
Native Americans in Minnesota back Canada’s First Nations - PressTV
First Nations prepared to fight Harper government, Enbridge in international court - Vancouver Observer      

Idle No More Los Angeles (video) - DigitalNdn
Idle No More Portland, Oregon 2012 (video) - YouTube

Anti-government freemen movement creating ‘major policing problem’: report

An anti-government movement known as Freeman on the Land has become a “major policing problem” in several provinces, according to a threat assessment by Canada’s spy officials.

The report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service lists Freeman members among “domestic extremists” who associate with issue-based causes, such as environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization and far-right racism. Read more.

National Post

Killings in Yemen after US drone strike

At least three killed after US drone targets al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen, according to an official.

In the fourth such attack in a week, a US drone strike has killed three suspected al-Qaeda militants in the central Yemen province of Al-Bayda, according to a local official. Read more.

Al Jazeera

Achtung, Austerity! Prices & poverty pervade as Germans unfurl fears



The International Monetary Fund has warned Germany against its austerity plans which include a tax hike and welfare cuts. IMF head Christine Lagarde said to recover from the economic crisis, Europe needs Germany as a counterbalance. 

RT's Peter Oliver reports on whether Berlin is afraid it will follow the regional trend.

Nowhere to use Japan's growing plutonium stockpile

ROKKASHO — How is an nuclear-powered island nation riddled with fault lines supposed to handle its nuclear waste? Part of the answer was supposed to come from this windswept village along Japan’s northern coast.

By hosting a high-tech facility that would convert spent fuel into a plutonium-uranium mix designed for the next generation of reactors, Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture was supposed to provide fuel while minimizing nuclear waste storage problems. Read more.

Japan Today

Related,
M5 quake strikes off Fukushima - Japan Today
Researchers still split over fault assessment at Oi nuclear plant - Kyodo News

New Japan PM visits tsunami-wrecked nuclear plant - The Asahi Shimbun
Pro-nuclear bureaucrats back in the picture under Abe - The Asahi Shimbun

Abe intends to review goal to terminate nuclear plants in 2030s - Kyodo News

December 29, 2012

Annual Inflation Up to 2.7% in December

The annual inflation rate in Slovenia rose 0.4 percentage points to 2.7% in December as the seasonal clearance sales of clothing and footwear failed to offset the effects of the spike in energy and food prices over the past 12 months.

While prices measured by the consumer price index fell by 0.3% in December due to the clearance sales, the annual inflation rate jumped to 2.7% from the 2.3% in November. Read more.

Monti announces birth of new Italian political coalition

Caretaker premier spoke after meeting supporters in Rome

(ANSA) - Rome, December 28 - Mario Monti, who tendered his resignation last week from his job as prime minister of Italy after 13 months at the helm of the nation, said a coalition of political parties that backed his reform agenda was formed on Friday. Read more.

ANSA

Rajoy justifies austerity pain to avert “intolerable” financial squeeze

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday asked Spaniards for their “comprehension and solidarity” while his government continues to implement painful reforms to deal with the grueling economic crisis.

“I believe that Spaniards are more concerned about results and preserving the welfare system,” the prime minister said during his review-of-the-year address at his La Moncloa residence. Read more.

El País

Related,
Government develops reform of pension system - La Moncloa
Evictions Become Focus of Spanish Crisis - Spiegel

Rajoy concerned about public health in Spain (video) - teleSUR

Bankia will lose its Ibex-35 listing on Monday

Troubled Bankia will be taken off the Ibex-35 listings on January 2 because of “special circumstances” regarding the bailout it will receive from the state’s Orderly Bank Restructuring Fund (FROB), the bourse technical committee said in a statement late Thursday.

Bankia and its parent company, Banco Financiero y de Ahorros (BFA), stand to get 10.7 billion euros to help in the recapitalization of the troubled lender. Read more.

El País

Related,
Bankia shares tumble due to 10.4-billion-euro hole - El País
Brussels approves 1.865 billion in funding for four Spanish banks - El País

Deficit hits 5.6% in Q3 - Official figures

The Portuguese budget deficit in the first three quarters of 2012 reached 5.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the National Statistics Institute (INE) said Friday.

The accumulated amounts for the first nine months are € -6.93 billion, compared to € -8.53 billion in the same period in 2011.

The Portugal News

Greek Banks Bad Loans Hit $62 Billion

Whacked by big losses from government-imposed debt write-downs on investors that means they will need a recapitalization of some 50 billion euros ($66 billion) Greek banks are also staggering under the weight of 46.8 billion euros ($61.8 billion) in bad loans because customers crushed by relentless pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions can’t afford to pay their loans or credit cards, and nearly 25 percent have defaulted.

The Bank of Greece (BOG) released the statistics in a report on the recapitalization and restructuring of the Greek banking sector which put the credit risk,.. Read more.

Greek Reporter

Europe approves winding down of bailed out Franco-Belgian bank

The European Commission has approved a 90-billion euro plan to wind down the ailing bank Dexia and restructure its remaining assets.

The plan, drawn up by major shareholders Belgium, France along with Luxembourg, includes 85 billion euros in state loan guarantees and 5.5 euros of fresh capital to carry it through the restructure. Read more.

RFI

Top French court overturns 75 percent tax rate for rich

France’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Council, announced on Saturday it was overturning the Socialist government’s flagship 75 percent income tax rate for high earners, marking an embarassing setback for President François Hollande.

French President François Hollande was dealt an embarassing blow on Saturday when the country’s highest legal body scrapped his controversial 75 percent upper income tax rate. Read more + video.

Frnace24

South Africa's i-Shack gives power to the people

The South African government boasts that it has built 2.8 million new homes in 18 years, each with access to electricity, water and drains, but 14% of the population still lives in huts and shacks with no basic facilities.

That’s where the i-Shack comes in. Alex Duval Smith reports for RFI. Read more.

RFI

Related,
South Africa's i-Shacks offer hope (video) - Al Jazeera

Bolivia expropriates Spanish energy subsidiaries

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — President Evo Morales nationalized electricity distribution subsidiaries of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola in a public ceremony on Saturday.

Morales issued a decree allowing the takeover of shares in Empresa de Electricidad de La Paz (Electropaz) and Empresa de Luz y Fuerza de Oruro (Elfeo), which supply energy in the Andean nation. Read more.

AP

Related,
Bolivia nationalizes 4 Spanish-owned companies - EFE

Kevin Johansen + Liniers - Mc Guevara's o Che Donald's

Argentina asks NY appeals court to block payouts for debt holdouts

Argentina is urging a US appeals court to reverse an order requiring the country to pay $1.33 billion to creditors who did not participate in its two debt restructurings, a legal case that could have huge ramifications for global debt markets.

Lawyers for Argentina's government said in court papers filed late on Friday that a trial judge was "wrong to ignore the chorus of voices" who opposed his November order on payments to so-called "holdout" creditors. Read more.

Buenos Aires Herald

International support for Argentina fighting "vulture funds"



The Argentinean President, Cristina Fernandez, has announced that there is growing international support for her governments fight against financial institutions known as vulture funds.

teleSUR

Related,
Argentina asks NY appeals court to block payouts for debt holdouts - Buenos Aires Herald

Assange case's solution is in the hands of UK: Correa



Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said the solution to the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in the hands of Europe, since he has requested in several times to Prime Minister David Cameron to authorize a passport for Assange to leave the UK.

teleSUR

Related,
Europe Can Solve Assange Case, Says Correa - Prensa Latina

Libyans stage demonstration against militias

Thousands have demonstrated in Libya to demand militias made up of fighters, who helped topple former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, disband and join the army or police.

On Friday, around 2,000 people took the streets of Libya’s second city of Benghazi, carrying banners that read, "We want a unified army," and "no more assassinations." Read more.

Arab League chief calls last 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations 'waste of time'

In first West Bank visit, Nabil al-Arabi also calls for 'material and political support' for cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

Top Arab officials paid a rare visit to the West Bank on Saturday to discuss a Palestinian financial crisis that President Mahmoud Abbas hopes will be eased by Arab donations. Read more.

Haaretz

Related,
Abbas threatens to hand over the West Bank to Israel - Al Bawaba
Abu Mazen threatens to dissolve Palestinian Authority - Al Akhbar

Lieberman: Only Abbas' resignation could renew negotiations with Israel - Haaretz
PLO reorganisation key to Palestinian unity - Jordan Times

Egypt lets building material cross its border into Gaza

ISMAILIA, Egypt, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Islamist-led Egypt allowed building materials into Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Saturday for the first time since Hamas seized control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007, an Egyptian border official said.

It was part of a shipment of building materials donated by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar,.. Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Related,
Egypt lets building material shipment into Gaza - JPost

PCHR Weekly Report: 12 Palestinians wounded by Israeli troops, including 3 children

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 20- 26 Dec 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 12 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces this week, including 3 children.

In addition, at least 48 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were abducted in the West Bank. Read more.

IMEMC

Related,
Three Children Sentenced To 4 Months Each - IMEMC

Brahimi: Only two ways for Syria - political process or hell

A Syrian-led political process is the only way for peace in Syria otherwise the country will descend into dire sectarian conflict, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said following his meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. ­

Lavrov supported Brahimi’s statement, saying that there are still chances for political dialogue and it is the Syrians who have to decide their own future, as well as the future of certain politicians. Read more.

RT

Related,
Egypt's Morsi says Assad regime has no future in Syria - Ahram
Postpone your demands to send away Assad - AA

Russia supports Brahimi on Syria issue (video) - CNTV
Syria's militants advancing US imperialist agenda in Mideast: Randy Short (video) - PressTV

Syria's war creates concern for its neighbor - DW
Erdoğan to visit Syrian refugee camps in Şanlıurfa - Today's Zaman

Taliban ready for peace talks, but won't disarm

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The head of Pakistan's Taliban said his militia is willing to negotiate with the government but not disarm, a message delivered in a video given to Reuters on Friday.

The release of the 40-minute video follows three high-profile Taliban attacks in Peshawar this month: an attack by multiple suicide bombers on the airport, the killing of a senior politician and eight others in a bombing and the kidnap of 22 paramilitary forces on Thursday. Read more.

PakTribune

Related,
Pakistani Taliban leader calls for talks (video) - Al Jazeera

The Truthseeker: 12 Banks of Death



A Nobel Laureate tells us chase out the moneylenders, Named and Shamed the 12 giant banks which feed on death, and 'hundreds' who should join Madoff in the slammer.

Seek truth from facts with Nobel prizewinner Ed Prescott, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the world's top crisis economist Steve Keen, legendary investor Jim Rogers, bailout investigator Randall Wray, The Untold History of the United States co-author Peter Kuznick, and Rep. Ron Paul.

RT

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography By John J Collins / The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea By Joan E Taylor

For six decades, the enigmatic texts have excited and baffled seekers after the origins of faith

There is surely no better example of academics collectively acting like angels dancing on pinheads than the sorry saga of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Way back in the late 1940s, a Bedouin herder was looking for his lost goat in a cave south of Jericho when he stumbled upon a stash of ancient religious texts, dating back to the time of Jesus.

It caused an international sensation and gripped the public's imagination. Read more.

The Independent

Related,
Scroll down for the Dead Sea Scrolls: Google and Israel put the ancient religious texts online for anyone to view (video) - Daily Mail
- Dead Sea Scrolls - Digital Library

Jesus not born 'yesterday': Majority of Christians do not believe December 25 Christ's birth date

The majority of those who took part in the poll "What Do Christians Really Believe about Christmas", 83 percent, are sure: Jesus was not born on December 25.

96 percent of those polled described themselves as Christian. 82 percent reported they have been a Christian for more than 10 years, and 79 percent stated they had read the entire Bible at least once. Females made up 60 percent of the respondents. Read more.

The Devil's Bible



It's a mysterious book that in its day was believed to contain all human knowledge. But why did medieval people believe that the author sold his soul to the devil to be able to write it?

The "Devil's Bible," a behemoth volume weighing in at 165 pounds, believed to have been produced by a single monk over the course of decades in the 13th Century, is the focus of a documentary that was featured on the National Geographic Channel.

Four Horsemen - Trailer


BT

The Fed Targets Unemployment With More Money for Banks



Robert Pollin: The Fed breaks ground with unemployment target but pushing more money into banks without requiring more lending won't solve the problem

TRNN

American salary = Chinese salary



RT

Oliver Stone: Obama a wolf in sheep's clothing



RT's Abby Martin sits down with Academy Award Winning Director, Oliver Stone, and Historian Peter Kuznick, to talk about US foreign policy and the Obama administration's disregard for the rule of law. Read more.

December 28, 2012

Fukushima victims take a stand with human rights declaration

FUKUSHIMA--In a symbolic gesture, residents of Fukushima Prefecture have sought to address their grievances stemming from the nuclear disaster here last year with a basic declaration of human rights.

It was drafted by Yoshitaro Nomura, a Tokyo-based lawyer who has been providing legal consultations for those affected by the reactor meltdowns that caused mass evacuations. Read more.

The Asahi Shimbun

Related,
TEPCO requests additional Y697 bil yen for compensation - Japan Today
Abe government questions 'no nuke' future hours after taking office - The Asahi Shimbun

Nuclear watchdog to urge shutdown of Oi plant if active fault found - The Asahi Shimbun

Photos show N. Korea nuclear readiness

SEOUL, South Korea--North Korea has repaired flood damage at its nuclear test facility and could conduct a quick atomic explosion if it chose, though water streaming out of a test tunnel may cause problems, analysis of recent satellite photos indicates.

Washington and others are bracing for the possibility that if punished for a successful long-range rocket launch on Dec. 12 that the U.N. considers a cover for a banned ballistic missile test, North Korea's next step might be its third nuclear test. Read more.

The Asahi Shimbun

Abe, Putin agree to work toward Japan-Russia peace treaty signing

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped up efforts Friday to bolster ties with world leaders, agreeing with Russian President Vladimir Putin to accelerate work toward signing a peace treaty, a government official said.

The premier also agreed with Putin to make arrangements to visit Russia in 2013,.. Read more.

Kyodo News

China 'highly vigilant' over Japanese fighters flying over disputed islands

BEIJING — China is “highly vigilant” about Japanese jet fighter flights over islands claimed by both countries and Japan must bear responsibility for any consequences, Chinese military and maritime officials said on Thursday.

The officials, speaking a day after a new Japanese prime minister took office, were responding to Japan sending jet fighters several times in the past two weeks to intercept Chinese patrol planes approaching airspace above the islands. Read more.


Related,

Russian invite rejected by Syria opposition

National Coalition chief tells Al Jazeera that opposition is open to dialogue but will not travel to Moscow for talks.

Russia, one of the few powers to maintain links with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has proposed talks with the main opposition group, but been rejected by the coalition's leader. Read more.

Al Jazeera

Related,
- Russia hopes ‘reasonable’ Syrian opposition will seek dialogue - RT
- Russia urges Syrian gov't to hold talks with opposition (video) - CNTV

Syrian opposition ready for political solution to Syrian crisis - Xinhua

Extreme poverty decreases in Bolivia: Vice President



Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said extreme poverty in the country fell to 20 percent in 2012, compared to 38 percent recorded in 2005.

2013 budget does not say anything about “free education”

WILLEMSTAD – The Advisory Council (RvA) had its remarks on the issue of “free education”. The chapter on education in the 2013 budget does not mention anything about free education, while the 2012 budget had 17 million guilders reserved for this purpose.

The Government’s policy does not elaborate more on this issue and the 2013 budget and the long term budget does not mention it at all so there are no funds set aside to cover these expenses. Read more.

Curaçao Chronicle

Venezuela’s Economy Grows by 5.5 Percent in 2012

Punto Fijo, December 28th, 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s economy grew by 5.5 percent in 2012, fuelled largely by public spending and government housing programs, according to statistics released yesterday by Venezuela’s central bank.

The 5.5 percent growth in gross domestic product makes for 9 consecutive quarters of growth, higher than the 4.8 percent growth reported for 2011, and higher than the 5 percent growth forecast by the government. Read more.

Venezuelanalysis

Economy grows 3% in October, Indec

The economy increased 3 percent in October against the volume registered during the same month last year, the Government reported today.

Compared to the previous month, the Economic Activity Monthly Estimator (EMAE) registered a 1.1 percent increase.

Buenos Aires Herald

Condemns against U.S. blockade on Cuba grew on 2012



Solidarity with Cuba and against the United States political, economic and financial blockade on Cuba grew in 2012.

One of the most relevant facts in that sense was the condemnation of most of the United Nations countries to that hostile policy.

PLTV

Uruguay: Mujica Defends Move to Legalise Marijuana

Uruguayan president, José Mujica, has defended his government’s move to legalise marijuana, saying that it is the best way to combat drug trafficking.

He said, “in recent decades, the worst scourge for Latin America has been the constant growth of drug trafficking.” He also highlighted that one in every three prisoners in the country are there for “crimes related to drugs”. Read more.

The Argentina Independent

One year of autonomous government in Cherán, Mexico



In Mexico, the municipality of Cherán, located in the state of Michoacán, conducted an uprising against the violence caused by illegal woodcutters and drug traffickers. 

After a referendum, its residents have created an autonomous government which will complete its first year in February 2013. 

'West lacks invasion power': Iran holds war drills in Strait of Hormuz



Iran is holding a fresh round of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz - one of the world's busiest oil and gas shipping routes. The week of War games involve warships, submarines, jet fighters, and aim to show Tehran is well-equipped to defend its borders.

The drills come as the West systematically builds up pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. For more on this RT talks to Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran.

RT

Saudi regime forces shoot dead a protester in Qatif

At least one protester has been shot dead by the Al Saud regime forces during a demonstration to demand the release of political prisoners in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

Local activists said on Friday that the Saudi regime forces opened fire on demonstrators in the Qatif district, east of the capital, Riyadh, killing 18-year-old Ali al-Marar. Read more.

PressTV

Bahrainis hold mass anti-regime protests

Bahrainis have staged mass anti-regime demonstrations across the Persian Gulf country despite the ongoing violent crackdown on protests.

Witnesses say a number of protesters were injured after regime forces opened fire to disperse the crowd on Friday. Read more.

Iraqi Sunnis stage big anti-government rallies

(Reuters) - Thousands of protesters from Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority poured onto the streets after Friday prayers in a show of force against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, keeping up a week-long blockade of a major highway.

Around 60,000 people blocked the main road through Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital,.. Read more.

Reuters

Inside Story Americas - Which stories did the media ignore this year?



There are stories that have enormous consequences on the lives of Americans but are regularly under-reported or misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Project Censored, the US media watchdog group, has released their annual report examining the shortcomings of reporting in 2012.


Related,

Yemenis rally against US meddling in internal affairs

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets in the northern city of Sa’ada to protest against US interference in their country’s internal affairs.

The demonstrators accused the US of hijacking their revolution by keeping in power some of the loyalists to the ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and granting the former ruler immunity under a power transition deal. Read more.


Related,

US assassination drone attack kills four in Pakistan

Four people have been killed in yet another US assassination drone attack in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border.

The strike occurred on Thursday when missiles fired from US drones hit a house in the town of Gurbuz, which lies southwest of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district. Read more.

PressTV

Related,
US drone strikes go down in Pakistan, up in Yemen - Dawn.com

US drone strikes go down in Pakistan, up in Yemen

WASHINGTON: US drone strikes against militants decreased in Pakistan’s tribal regions for the second year in a row but intensified in Yemen, according to figures compiled by a Washington think tank.

In Pakistan, 46 strikes were carried out in 2012, compared to 72 in 2011 and 122 in 2010, the New America Foundation said, based on its compilation of reports in international media. Read more.

Israel arrests 900 Palestinian children in 2012

The Palestinian Authority is currently looking into the possibility of filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel for arresting 900 Palestinian children in 2012.

In taking such an action, Palestine will be using its newly-acquired rights as an observer state at the United Nations, said Eissa Karakea, Palestinian Minister of Detainees’ Affairs. Read more.

Al Arabiya

Pro-Palestinian protesters in London decry Israeli crimes

Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters have held a rally outside the Israeli embassy in London to condemn the regime’s crimes on the fourth anniversary of the 22-day Gaza War.

Protesters called for lifting of Tel Aviv’s blockade on Gaza, which has hit 1.6 million residents of the impoverished coastal strip since eight years ago. Read more.

PressTV

More than half a million Syrian refugees in Jordan



Every day, thousands of Syrian citizens are crossing the border with Jordan, fleeing the violence being caused by armed groups in Syria. 

According to U.N. figures, at least half a million people have been registered in refugee camps there.

teleSUR

French jobless claims hit nearly 15-year high in November

(Reuters) - The number of people out of work in France rose by 0.9 percent in November, the 19th consecutive monthly rise, to hit a nearly 15-year high, piling pressure on Socialist President Francois Hollande to encourage job creation.

Labour ministry data released on Thursday showed the number of registered job seekers in mainland France rose by 29,300 to 3.13 million, the highest level since January 1998. Read more.

Economic outlook to remain weak in 2013 warns bank report

(ANSA) - Milan, December 27 - The Italian economy is facing another tough year in 2013, with the current recession lingering, warns a new economic study released Thursday.

The country's gross domestic product won't do quite as badly next year as this year, but GDP will slide by about 1% in 2013 compared with an average loss of 2.1% in 2012, says Intesa Sanpaolo. Read more.

ANSA

Related,
Purchasing power of Italian families dropped by 4% in 2012 - ANSA
Monti to appear on electoral list of party that backs agenda - ANSA

Bankia shares tumble due to 10.4-billion-euro hole

Shares of troubled lender Bankia plummeted on Thursday by as much as 14 percent on the Madrid stock exchange after three independent audits showed that bank, and its holding company BFA, have a negative value of 10.4 billion euros.

Stocks were trading at 0.58 euros per share, a significant drop from the 3.75 euros investors paid in July 2011 when Bankia made its debut on the blue-chip Ibex 35. Bankia collapsed in May of this year when a hole of some 19 billion euros was uncovered. Read more.

El País

Related,
Brussels approves 1.865 billion in funding for four Spanish banks - El País

Privatizing healthcare law passed in Madrid assembly

The Madrid assembly on Thursday approved the Fiscal and Administrative Measures Law, which paves the way for the privatization of healthcare in the region. As of January 1, tenders can be submitted for healthcare services at six hospitals and 27 clinics.

Also included in the legislation is a new and controversial supplementary charge of one euro per prescription. Read more.

El País

Greek Prosecutor Probes Medicine Shortage

Greece’s Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes has ordered an investigation into whether pharmaceutical companies or pharmacists have deliberately created a shortage of medicines to capitalize on the country’s crushing economic crisis.

Tentes has asked all of Greece’s appeals court prosecutors to probe the allegations after Panayiotis Kouroublis, a Member of Parliament from the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) raised the question in the body. Read more.

Greek Reporter

Credit sector losses seen at 46.8 bln

Lenders will need a total of 40.5 billion euros for their recapitalization, says Bank of Greece

The combined losses of domestic banks due to bad loans in Greece and abroad add up to a staggering 46.8 billion euros, while the recapitalization needs of the local credit sector are estimated at over 40 billion, the Bank of Greece announced on Thursday. Read more.

Ekathimerini

Related,
PM focuses on task ahead as Parliament waits for Lagarde list - Ekathimerini
Social security database starts operating from January - Ekathimerini

EU Summit Reveals a Paralyzed Continent

Behind the Scenes in Brussels | What happens behind closed doors at an EU summit, when European leaders are among themselves?

SPIEGEL has reconstructed the negotiations at the most recent meeting in Brussels in December based on documents and accounts given by numerous sources. It was a summit of hopelessness. Read more.

Tegenlicht: Het brein van de bankier - Trailer



Joris Luyendijk duikt onder in het financiële brein van de Londense City en daalt af in de hoofden van de meester-bankiers. Een onderzoek naar adrenaline, testosteron, verslaving en de magie van het grote geld.

Uitzending: dinsdag 1 januari, 21u Ned 2. Lees meer.

Tegenlicht

December 27, 2012

Mali PM calls for swift African military action

Mali’s new Prime Minister Diango Cissoko called Thursday for military intervention by an African force to help take back the Islamist-controlled north “as quickly as possible”. “We have confidence in this intervention,”

Cissoko told journalists in Abidjan after meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, the current head of the West African bloc ECOWAS which is preparing the intervention force. Read more.

StarAfrica

Central African rebels advance on capital



Leader of Central African Republic appeals for help securing city of Bangui, as UN pulls out non-essential staff.

Francois Bozize, the embattled Central African Republic president, has urged the United States and France to help push back rebel forces are advancing towards the capital Bangui. Read more.

Al Jazeera

Related,
France Refuses to Help CAR Against Rebels - allAfrica
‘West abandoned Africa, manipulates it’ - RT

‘West abandoned Africa, manipulates it’



As the Central African Republic is rolling into unrest with rebel forces advancing on its capital, Africa expert Lawrence Freeman says that the West has abandoned the continent and is interested only in its resources.

The United Nations said on Wednesday that it is temporarily relocating nonessential staff and families of other workers over security concerns. Read more.

RT

US consumers lose confidence as fiscal cliff nears

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers peering over the "fiscal cliff" don't like what they see. Fears of sharp tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect next week sent consumer confidence tumbling in December to its lowest level since August.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its consumer confidence index fell for the second straight month in December to 65.1, down from 71.5 in November. Read more.

Huff Post

Related,
Obama reaches out to congressional leaders on ‘fiscal cliff’ talks (video) - The Washington Post
Black: Too Big to Prosecute and It's Obama's Fiscal Cliff (video) - TRNN

Why the "Fiscal Cliff" is a Scam (video) - TRNN

Congress Delays Aid Bill As Sandy Victims Suffer



Joel Kuperfman: Increased funding and accountability needed for government's response to Superstorm Sandy

TRNN  

The Music They Made



A sound collage featuring a sampling of the musicians who died in 2012.

NY Times

Abe administration to overhaul nuclear, monetary policies

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will drastically shift the direction Japan takes in monetary and fiscal affairs, and will likely overturn a pledge by the outgoing administration to pull the plug on nuclear power.

In addition, Abe is expected to strengthen Japan's alliance with the United States and try to repair ties with China. Read more.

The Ashai Shimbun

Related,
New Japanese government to reconsider zero-nuclear policy - RT
Antinuclear Tomorrow Party decides to split by year-end - Kyodo News

Okinawa demands investigation into 318 illegal Osprey flights

NAHA — The Okinawan government has formally requested an investigation into the legality of 318 flights made by the U.S. military in Osprey tilt-rotor MV-22 transport aircraft over Okinawa.

According to media reports, over 60% of the flights made since October were made in violation of the safety rules agreed on by Tokyo and Washington since the contentious deployment in October of 12 Osprey aircraft, NTV reported. Read more.

Japan Today

Related,
New Abe gov't to revise defense program amid China's military rise - Kyodo News
Japan to review defense guidelines for closer cooperation with U.S. - The Asahi Shimbun

Syria News: Brahimi arming terrorists by some countries is "known, overt and not secret,"



* Tunisian-Algerian borders: camps to train terrorists to be sent to Syria
* Russian Foreign Ministry : No Russian-US Plan to Settle the Situation in Syria
* 4 Martyred, 10 Injured in Explosion of Booby-Trapped Car in Damascus Countryside, Terrorists Killed in Idleb
* Brahimi: Geneva Agreement Includes Enough Ideas to Resolve Crisis in Syria, Not Need to Add Any New Points
* Authorities intercept truck loaded with 3 tonnes of explosives


Related,

Thumbs Up Terror: Iran rebels get US support



On top of international sanctions and continuous cyber attacks, Iran could now be facing another hurdle. The U.S. and Canada have removed the notorious Iranian militant group, the M.E.K., from their official terror list.

Washington claims the group hasn't committed a terrorist act in over a decade, and wants a peaceful regime change in the country. RT's Maria Finoshina explains why some Iranians are wary of the move.

RT

Have US police forces become too militarised?



From assault rifles to armoured trucks, even drones. Since the 9/11 attacks the US police have becoming increasingly militarised. But does that mean more safety for Americans? Guests: George Schulz, Norm Stamper, Radley Balko.

Al jazeera

Related,
Anaheim: A tale of two cities (video) - Al Jazeera

An ethical approach to fashion


In tough economic times many shoppers are becoming even more cost-conscious. Cheap labour in the developing world has brought prices tumbling and new styles are making it to the High Street in the blink of an eye. 

But what is the real cost of all that cheap clothing? Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports from London.

The Souljazz Orchestra - Conquering Lion

December 26, 2012

The Final Battle

By Chris Hedges | Over the past year I and other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg have pressed a lawsuit in the federal courts to nullify Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

This egregious section, which permits the government to use the military to detain U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers, could have been easily fixed by Congress. Read more.

Truthdig

Kerstmis is ook: vervolg Bush, Blair, Obama en bondgenoten voor oorlogsmisdaden

Oorlogsmisdadigers George W. Bush en “bekeerling” Tony Blair werden in april 2003 voor het leven verbannen uit de Geboortekerk in Bethlehem, geboorteplaats van Jezus Christus. 

Dit verbod moet worden uitgebreid tot andere Westerse leiders waaronder president Barack Obama, die illegale en criminele oorlogen voeren tegen de volkeren van Libië en Syrië. Lees meer.

De Wereld Morgen

Chinese ambassador urges political solution to Syria crisis

DAMASCUS, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese ambassador to Syria Zhang Xun met Wednesday with the visiting UN-AU joint envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and they stressed the urgent need for a political solution to Syria's 22-months crisis.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Brahimi Wednesday, Zhang said "we have agreed that the situation in Syria is very dangerous and there is an urgent need for political solution." Read more.


Related,

PM Erdoğan says deep state not yet eradicated

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said it is not possible to say that Turkey has managed to eliminate clandestine networks nested in various state bodies, an alliance that is often referred to as the “deep state.”

“Our fight against this [deep state] will continue. I could not possibly claim that we have rooted out or eliminated the deep state. There is a deep state in every country, and they cannot get rid of it completely. Read more.

Today's Zaman

Related,
Speculations mount over PM’s wiretapping - Hürriyet

Euro crisis hitting world like WWII: Turkish Deputy PM

The cost of the ongoing euro area crisis is at the same level with the World War II, or even surpassed it, says Turkey’s Deputy PM Ali Babacan. He warns over large debts of the developed countries

The eurozone crisis cost compares with the financial consequences of the World War II for the globe, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said. Read more.

November deficit data beat target

The primary deficit of the state budget amounted to just 1.4 billion euros in the first 11 months of the year, which is 2.1 billion euros smaller than the original target, Finance Ministry figures show.

The deficit has been contained to such a great extent due to the non-disbursement of funds for the Public Investment Program and the building up of state arrears. Read more.

Ekathimerini

Related,
Economic crisis tarnishes Christmas in Greece (video) - teleSUR
Tax evasion scrutinized - Ekathimerini

Italians pessimistic about the country's future



After the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and the subsequent dissolution of Parliament, citizens are skeptical about a possible change of government.

teleSUR

Related,
- Holiday spending drops in Italy for 2012 - ANSA

Schäuble's Secret Austerity Plan for Germany

A Dose of Its Own Medicine | The German government and opposition are pledging higher benefits for pensioners, families and the long-term unemployed ahead of elections next year, but Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is secretly planning cutbacks to prepare for a weakening economy and possible fallout from the euro crisis.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has an inimitable way of misleading his listeners with a torrent of obfuscating words. Read more.

Spiegel

Spain sees arms exports fall 44 pct

Madrid, Dec 26 (EFE).- Spain's arms exports fell 43.7 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2011, the Industry Ministry said in a report released Wednesday.

The Iberian nation's arms and defense sector had foreign sales of 619.4 billion euros ($818.87 billion) between Jan. 1 and June 30. Read more.

EFE

Pardons for politicians

The court conviction in the Treball corruption case showed that during 1994 and 1995, with the CiU nationalist bloc in power in Catalonia, then-secretary general of the regional government's labor department, Josep Maria Servitje, embezzled 46,157 euros by ordering eight labor law studies that were found to be copies of earlier reports and of no public interest whatsoever.

In 2009, the provincial High Court of Barcelona sentenced Servitje to four-and-a-half years in prison. Read more.

El País

Life sentence for Argentine civilian minister who worked with the military dictatorship

An Argentine federal court handed down life sentences on Dec. 19 to former Buenos Aires province interior minister Jaime Smart (1976-1979), former Buenos Aires province police investigations director Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz and 14 former police and military personnel for genocide and crimes against humanity in the cases of 280 people detained during the 1976-1983 “dirty war” against suspected leftists.

Another seven police agents and civilians were given sentences of two to 25 years. Read more.

MercoPress

Argentine economy forecast to expand 4.6% in 2013, but dollar clamp remains

Argentina's economy is seen growing 4.6% next year, improving after drought and a slowdown in top trading partner Brazil took a toll in 2012, the central bank president said in an interview published on Sunday.

She also advanced that the so called ‘dollar clamp’ or strict restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency remain. Read more.

MercoPress

The magic of currencies: UK overtakes Brazil as the world’s sixth largest economy

Despite recession and the poor performance Britain has clawed back the ground it lost to Brazil in the rankings of the world's richest economies - but it is not expected to hold on to the spot for long.

Only a year after being surpassed by Brazil for the first time, Britain has edged back ahead of Latin American largest economy in 2012 thanks to the weakness of the Brazilian currency, according to estimates from the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Read more.

MercoPress

Related,
Economic situation to worsen in Britain: Expert - PressTV

“Cold Turkey” approach – Interim Government chooses to eliminate deficit at once

WILLEMSTAD – The interim Government chooses for the hard cold turkey variant for the necessary restructuring of public finances, in which the deficit in the public sector will be eliminated at once, while being supplemented by economic incentives.

This is stated in the Memorandum of Finances associated with the 2013 draft budget, as recently presented to Parliament. Read more.

Curaçao Chronicle

Related,
Fuel and utility prices down - Curaçao Chronicle
Free education is likely to become expensive joke - Curaçao Chronicle

Free education is likely to become expensive joke

WILLEMSTAD – Free education is likely to be a big flop. The Foundation for Education financing Curacao (SSC), which executes the payments, has requested additional funds at the Ministry of Education.

SSCC is still waiting for a little more than 300 million guilders. Read more.

Curaçao Chronicle

Ecuador’s Correa prepares for re-election: increases minimum salary 9%

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced a 9% increase in the minimum wage for private-sector workers for 2013, a move that may help consolidate his February re-election bid that polls broadly show him favoured to win.

The populist Correa, who has won strong popular support for a range of measures including expanding access to health care and improving roads and highways, hiked the minimum wage to 318 dollars per month from 292 per month. Read more.

MercoPress

Hugo Chavez is recovering progressively in Havana



Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced he spoke with President Hugo Chávez by telephone and that the Bolivarian Leader is up and walking, as part of his recovery treatment in Cuba.

teleSUR

A gift of diabetes this holiday season

There is no country in the world that does not bear the burden of diabetes, Suriname included. There are an estimated 371 million adults living with diabetes according to the 2012 Diabetes Atlas Update published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

Diabetes is estimated to kill 4.8 million adults in 2012 alone – one person every seven seconds. Read more.

DevSur