January 31, 2013

Egypt opposition forces gear up for more anti-govt rallies on Friday

Opposition parties, 'revolutionary' movements call for yet another round of Friday demonstrations against President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's newly-approved constitution

At a Thursday press conference held at Egyptian Popular Current headquarters, 16 political parties and movements announced plans to take part in nationwide protests on Friday. Read more.

Ahram

Related,
Renewed clashes in Kafr al-Sheikh leave 17 injured - Aswat Masriya
Mursi no different from Mubarak - top politician - Aswat Masriya

HRW: Human rights abuses continue unabated under Morsy - Egypt Independent
Armed Forces right to arrest civilians is temporary - Egypt Independent

In photos: Another face of Cairo's revolution - Egypt Independent

Cheered in Mali, Hollande still losing the war at home

President François Hollande has been bolstered by France's military intervention in Mali, but with the economy stagnating, he is in trouble with key voting constituents at home.

President François Hollande faced on Thursday the first nationwide strike by French civil servants since he took office last May. Read more.

France24

Related,
France defends ‘solvent’ economy after minister says country ‘totally bankrupt’ (video) - RT
France is Bankrupt. The 'City of Light' - will turn off lights, to save money - Catholic Online

Mali 'bloody atrocities': Exclusive footage shows army's war crimes



RT has managed to get exclusive footage of what's believed to be the atrocities committed by the Malian army in a town liberated from the Islamist rebels with the help of French forces. Information on civilian casualties in Mali has been notably scarce.

We spoke to local journalist Gonzalo Wancha, who told us of the origins of the unsettling tape.


Related,


UK prime minister holds talks in Tripoli

After Algeria, Cameron visits Libya to emphasise support for country's transition amid lingering security concerns.

The British prime minister has made a surprise visit to the Libyan capital for talks centred on security, just days after his government, which played a key role in Libya's revolution, warned of threats to its embassy. Read more.


Related,

State of Emergency Extended, Despite Previous Reports

Tunisia’s state of emergency will remain in place until March 2, 2o13, according to an announcement issued by the presidential cabinet Thursday.

After consulting with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Speaker of the National Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafer, President Moncef Marzouki decided not to let the state of emergency expire, the presidential cabinet wrote. Read more.

TunisiaLive

Related,
Tunisia extends state of emergency for a month - StarAfrica

Greek transport workers, doctors strike over austerity cuts

Greek trains and ferries ground to a halt and hospital staffing was cut to a minimum on Thursday as transport workers and doctors went on strike to protest austerity measures demanded by the country's foreign lenders.

Greece has seen a surge in protests and strikes in recent weeks as public anger simmers over wage and spending cuts that are deepening hardship in a country suffering through its sixth consecutive year of recession. Read more.

Ekathimerini

Related,
Greek retail sales slump 16.8 pct y/y in November - Ekathimerini

De Staat - Sweatshop

Analysis - Small island, big problem: how Cyprus troubles the euro zone

(Reuters) - Just when European leaders thought they were getting to grips with three years of economic turmoil, along came Cyprus, a seemingly small problem but one that cannot be ignored.

While the Cypriot economy may be worth only 18 billion euros (15.4 billion pounds), making it the third smallest in the euro zone, the problems it poses are among the most complex Europe has faced, combining elements of Greece, Spain and Ireland. Read more.

Reuters

Related,
Cyprus presents systemic threat to eurozone, Merkel ally says - Ekathimerini
Cyprus expects Russia to extend 2.5 bln euro loan to 2022 - Reuters

Deutsche Bank incurs losses amid restructuring

Germany's Deutsche Bank, the biggest lender in Europe's economic power house, has reported hefty losses for the final quarter of 2012.

The bank is in the middle of its biggest restructuring process ever. Deutsche Bank of Germany logged painful losses in the last quarter of 2012, the lender reported on Thursday. Read more + video.

DW

Related,
Deutsche Bank swallows $4 billion of charges for cleanup - Reuters
Deutsche Bank's revamp yet to convince (video) - Reuters

German unemployment rises above 3-million mark

Germany's jobless total has risen over the past four weeks in unadjusted terms, crashing through the psychologically important barrier of 3 million people seeking work. Seasonal factors helped explain the surge.

For the first time in almost two years, the number of unemployed people in Germany rose above 3 million in January,.. Read more.

German report on arms exports reveals little

Critics says the government's report on arms exports lacks transparency: exporting companies are not named, and government sales are merely summarized. Yet the government claims it's in-depth and detailed.

How is it that time and again military equipment "made in Germany".. Read more.

DW

Risks and Rewards: Deutsche Bank Returns to Commodities Speculation

Many financial institutions and multinational organizations view speculating on food commodities as a dangerous game and a contributor to global hunger. Despite its bruised reputation, Deutsche Bank is leaping back into the business.

In May 2012, shortly before ending his term as CEO of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann realized with some remorse that "no deal is worth risking the good reputation of Deutsche Bank." Read more.

Spiegel

10 % of Mexicans have no access to basic food



According to official statistics, about 10% of the Mexican population has no access to basic food. Indigenous people and peasants are among the most vulnerable sectors.

teleSUR

Colom against Central America - U.S. free trade agreement



During his statements during the closing ceremony of the world equilibrium council, the former President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom stated that he finds the conditions of the free trade agreement between Central America and the United States to be lamentable.

Malvinas gov't officials, UK request meeting with Timerman

Two members of the Malvinas Islands Legislative Assembly are to meet with Foreign Minster Héctor Timerman and UK Foreign Affairs Minister William Hague in London next week in order to “exchange views” over the issues concerning the long-disputed territory.

The news was reported today by a Malvina’s Islands-based newspaper, citing a press release from the Legislative Assembly the Falkland Islands Government. Read more.

Buenos Aires Herald

Argentina ‘irritated’ with Israel’s attitude towards accord with Iran to investigate 1994 bombing

Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman summoned on Wednesday Israeli ambassador to Argentina Dorit Shavit, and expressed the “surprise and irritation” of President Cristina Fernandez government after learning that Tel Aviv had demanded an explanation from Argentine ambassador to Israel with regards to the recent agreement between Argentina and Iran.

According to official ministry sources, Timerman “expressed the surprise and irritation” caused by the Israeli government’s decision.. Read more.

MercoPress

Related,
Israel summons envoy over Iran-Argentina panel - JPost
Argentina rejects Israel request for explanation on Iran deal - PressTV

Israel Rebukes Argentina for Deal With Iran to Investigate ’94 Attack - NY Times

UN: Israel must withdraw all West Bank settlers

United Nations human rights investigators called on Israel Thursday to halt settlement expansion “without preconditions” and withdraw all Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices violated international law.

"Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. Read more.

Al Akhbar

Related,
UNHRC: Israel could be sent to ICC for settlements - JPost

Russia condemns Israeli strike on Syria as attack on sovereign state



The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement expressing deep concern over Israel’s airstrike on Syria saying that it violates the UN Charter.

The Ministry website says; if this information is confirmed that would mean that we have to deal with unprovoked attacks on the territory of a sovereign state which is inadmissible, whatever objectives are declared as a justification. Read more.

RT

Related,
WSJ: Israel informed US officials of Syria strike - JPost
Analysis: Syria center long been on Israel’s radar - JPost

'Israeli air strike opens new front in Syria war' (video) - RT

Morsi Meets Merkel: Visit Dashes Hopes for Quick Aid

Right in the middle of the biggest crisis of his presidency, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has come to Germany. Morsi had been hoping Berlin would forgive hundreds of millions of euros in debt. He ended up getting something far less tangible: advice on how to run his country.

Mohammed Morsi is unlikely to be satisfied with the outcome of his visit to Berlin on Wednesday. Read more.

Spiegel

Related,
Mursi fails to secure aid for Egypt, gets only advice – German magazine - Aswat Masriya

Scuffles intensify in Simon Bolivar Square of Cairo

Scuffles intensified on Wednesday between the security forces and protesters near Simon Bolivor Square in Downtown Cairo.

The hit-and-run continues between the two sides, the security forces captured many of the protesters. Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Related,
Suez revolutionary movements protest curfew - Egypt Independent
Protesters decry Brotherhood in Giza; clashes break out downtown - Egypt Independent

Morsy endorses law granting army judicial arrest power - Egypt Independent
Political forces to march to presidential palace on Friday - Aswat Masriya

In turnaround, Baradei calls for dialogue with presidency - Ahram
Salafist Nour Party, NSF call for unity government - Ahram

Student group admits accepting US advice on pressuring government

The Students Network (HaHa) admitted to Klubrádió on Monday that it has received American assistance, but said that did not include political influence.

Activist Andrea Kóbor (pictured) told the radio station that an NGO had offered advice, as reported by Magyar Nemzet after the newspaper obtained the movement’s entire internal correspondence. Read more.

Politics.hu

Related,
Pact fails to mollify all students - Budapest Times
De revolutie-professionals (video) - Documentaire

IMF rejects flexible credit line for rebellious Hungary

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected Hungary’s request for a flexible credit line as the country’s premier prepares to brave it alone.

Hungary seeks other lenders instead of the IMF -- after it requested 15 billion euros last November -- and rejects the organizations harsh austerity measures,... Read more.

PressTV

Related,
Hungary PM Orbán confirms FX bond issuance, IMF deal is dead - Portfolio.hu
Hungary's Orbán: We had no austerity measures - Portfolio.hu

Hungary to Sell Eurobonds as IMF Aid Effort Ending, Orban Says - Bloomberg
Another round of talks between Viktor Orbán and José Manuel Barroso - Hungarian Spectrum

Hunger march begins tomorrow - HATC

Clashes in Athens as protesters break into govt. building



Austerity enraged protesters broke into a government building and threatened the labor minister, Wednesday. Riot police then intervened with tear gas, batons and pepper spray, with one person taken to hospital.

The protest, by a few hundred people, was organized by a Communist backed labor union, and took place in front of the Labor Ministry building. Read more.

RT

Related,
Labor unions ratchet up pressure on Greek government - Ekathimerini
Protest of Greece’s media syndicators, professional journalists (video) - PressTV

Households slashed consumer spending by 15 pct in three years - Ekathimerini
Moody’s says default not yet averted - Ekathimerini

January 30, 2013

Greece: How Long Until Junta?

By Bill FrezzaIt is often said that to get a glimpse of our future we should study the lessons of the past. Or we can observe the fate of those marching a few steps ahead of us down a road we seem determined to travel.

Take Greece. Long hailed as the birthplace of democracy, it is now a poster child for excessive government spending, bloated public sector unions, unfunded entitlements, and stultifying regulations. What happens when the politicians frantically trying to stave off economic collapse finally run out of other people’s money. Read more.

Greek Reporter

Are the royals still relevant?

As Netherlands' Queen Beatrix plans to step down, we examine the pros and cons of maintaining the modern monarchy. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is to step down after more than 30 years on the throne.

Her son will take over as the country's first king in more than a hundred years. Read more + video.

Al Jazeera

Gerelateerd,
Weinig aandacht voor Beatrix in Suriname - NoSpang

Ingezonden: Curaçao en het koningshuis - Versgeperst
Queen Beatrix, masha danki for 33 years - Curaçao Chronicle

Shell to pay damages over Nigeria oil spill



A Dutch court upholds one out of five allegations by Niger Delta farmers against oil company

Energy giant Shell has been found partly responsible for oil leaks that caused environmental damage in the Niger Delta region. Read more.

Al Jazeera

Related,
Dutch court dismisses most of Shell pollution case - DW
Dutch court has Shell ‘off the hook’ in four of five pollution claims in Nigeria - MercoPress

Nigerians angry at ruling over Shell oil spills (video) - PressTV

Syrian Opposition Leader Softens Position on Talks with Assad

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria’s top political opposition leader on Wednesday expressed willingness for the first time to talk with representatives of President Bashar al-Assad, softening what had been an absolute refusal to negotiate with the government in an increasingly chaotic civil war.

The opposition leader, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, coupled his offer with two demands:.. Read more.

The Washington Post

Related,
Lavrov: Russia's Priority Is Achieving Comprehensive Solution in Syria Not Regime Change - SANA

Syria: Israeli planes attacked military research center

Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon.

Syrian army command denies earlier reports that IAF planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon; claims 2 people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya. Read more + video.

JPost

Related,
U.S. official confirms Israel behind attack on Syria-Lebanon border - Haaretz
Syrian Opposition Leader Softens Position on Talks with Assad - The Washington Post

Agreements on Syria Still Valid, Says Russia - Prensa Latina
Lavrov: Russia's Priority Is Achieving Comprehensive Solution in Syria Not Regime Change - SANA

International leaders meet $1.5 bn Syrian refugee aid target - DW

Bricking the Wall: Israel builds barriers to Jihad



Israel has reportedly attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border after giving repeated warnings that Damascus' chemical and conventional weapons could be falling into the wrong hands.

This comes amid a growing feeling of Isolation in Tel Aviv, with the country planning to build more defensive walls - including in the disputed Golan Heights.

RT

Bruce Riedel: Recent geopolitical changes leaving Saudi royal family vulnerable



Saudi Arabia’s monarchy has been holding strong for nearly three centuries. But according to former aide to the White House Bruce Riedel, recent geopolitical changes are leaving the royal family vulnerable.

Riedel is a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Read more.

PressTV

U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank in 4Q

The U.S. economy contracted slightly in the final months of 2012, as defense spending plummeted and businesses depleted their inventories, in a surprising development that could give hints of the economic challenges to come.

Wednesday afternoon, after completing their first policy meeting of the year, Federal Reserve leaders signaled that they saw the decline not as indicative of some bigger downturn in the economy. Read more.

The Washington Post

PMQs: David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over UK's economic recovery


During Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, David Cameron and Ed Miliband come to blows over the speed and progress of Britain's economic recovery.

David Cameron was accused of pushing up the national debt to pay for his Government's economic failure by Labour leader Ed Miliband. Read more.

The Telegraph

Related,
Benefits time bomb ticking for Conservatives - Reuters
UK inflation expectations rise to 2.8 percent in January - Reuters

Obama Admin. Fails to Prosecute Banking Fraud to 'Save the System'



James S. Henry commenting on PBS documentary "The Untouchables": If one of these institutions was indicted and made an example of, it would have a profound affect on the whole industry - but Obama raises money on Wall St.

TRNN

Frontline: The Untouchables


Watch The Untouchables on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Smell of Death: Walking amongst zombie banksters



RT

Who's silencing Guantanamo court audio feed, judge asks

(Reuters) - The sound was abruptly cut in the Guantanamo war crimes court on Monday, prompting the angry judge to question whether someone outside the room was censoring pretrial hearings for five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

In all hearings for the alleged al Qaeda operatives who were previously held in secret CIA prisons,..  Read more.

Reuters

Related,
Conspiracy? 9/11 Terrorism Trial Mystery (video) - NTDTV

Timerman taking the Falklands’ dispute to London in an event with EU figures

Foreign minister Hector Timerman will be taking the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty claim to London where next week he is scheduled to meet outstanding figures from 18 European countries that have been calling for a resumption of negotiations, according to a release from the Argentine embassy in UK.

The trip coincides, according to the Argentine version of events, with the 180th anniversary of the ‘illegitimate usurpation’ of the Malvinas Islands by the British.. Read more.

MercoPress

Clinton 'optimistic' about LatAm, expects soon end of Cuban 'dictatorship'

Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said to be optimistic about the future of democracy in Latin America, and assured that she's still working with President Barack Obama in order to outline "the best proposals for the region."

 “I’m working with President Obama on some new initiatives that will show the entire world how much we care about our nearest neighbors.” Read more.

Buenos Aires Herald

Meeting against hunger and poverty to be held in Venezuela



Venezuela's foreign minister, Elias Jaua, announced that a regional meeting intended to build strategies to end hunger and poverty will be held in this country in the coming year.

teleSUR

Argentina activists rally against US Monsanto expansion in Latin America



Argentinians have said no to what they call Monsanto´s “deathly” business in Latin America.

In Buenos Aires, the action group “Millions against Monsanto” has led a protest at the House of Cordoba, a province located in the center of Argentina where the US multinational company is developing its biggest regional factory. Read more.

PressTV

Battling Big Oil: How Four Nigerian Villagers Took Shell to Court

Four Nigerian villagers from the Niger River delta have challenged mighty Shell in a Dutch court.

They complain that the oil giant has caused environmental devastation and ruined their homes. A verdict in the unprecedented case is expected on Wednesday. Read more.

Spiegel

Related,
Shell to pay damages over Nigeria oil spill (video) - Al Jazeera

Judge OKs BP’s guilty plea to manslaughter, other charges, $4 billion in oil spill penalties

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department’s criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill Tuesday, when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn’t resolve, though, is the federal government’s civil claims against BP. Read more.

The Washington Post

IAEA spokesperson: No explosion in Fordow

Vienna, Jan 30, IRNA – International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Spokesperson Gill Tudor declared on Tuesday that no explosion has occurred at Fordow nuclear installation.

She said IAEA inspectors do not confirm reports on explosion in the installation. Read more.

IRNA

Related,
IAEA backs Iran's denial of Fordow explosion - JPost

Twee jaar Arabische revolutie: een stand van zaken

Twee jaar na de val van de Egyptische dictator Moebarak kijken Sami Zemmi, Brecht De Smet en Koen Bogaert terug op twee jaar Arabische Lente. Het initiële optimisme boog snel om naar pessimisme. Is dat terecht? Een terugblik door drie kenners van het Midden-Oosten, die er ook een boek over schreven.

Reden tot pessimisme
Na de vlucht van Ben Ali uit Tunesië en het aftreden van Moebarak in Egypte heerste er zowel binnen journalistieke als academische kringen een groot optimisme over de toekomst van het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika. Lees meer.

De Wereld Morgen

Elections in Jordan: 'The System Is Corrupt'

The Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted last week's parliamentary elections in protest at what it sees as a rigged electoral system. SPIEGEL talked to party member Dima Tahboub about the country's political future.

SPIEGEL: Why did your party, the Islamic Action Front, boycott the recent parliamentary elections? 

Dima Tahboub: These elections were a farce. Read more.

Jordan King says no chance of alternative Palestinian homeland in meeting with Hamas chief

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday held talks with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mishaal, stressing his support for Palestinian reconciliation to strengthen the unity of the Palestinian people and enable them to regain their legitimate rights.

During the meeting, attended by HRH Prince Ali, the King said that the UN recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state is a major step that will help the Palestinian people regain their rights and set up an independent state on their national soil. Read more.

Al Bawaba

Related,
Arab League delegation to submit new peace proposal to US - Ma'an

January 29, 2013

UN avoids Israel showdown, delays rights review

UN Human Rights Council postpones Israel's Universal Periodic Review in response to J'lem's unprecedented refusal to cooperate.

The United Nations Human Rights Council avoided a show down with Israel Tuesday when it agreed to delay its Universal Periodic Review by no later than November of this year, after Israel became the first country to boycott its scheduled session on the matter in Geneva on Tuesday. Read more.


Netanyahu okays transfer of NIS 400m. tax revenues to PA

Reneging on policy of withholding money from Palestinian Authority due to its unilateral statehood bid at UN, PM agrees to one-time transfer of tax revenues to alleviate Palestinian financial crisis.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided Tuesday evening to transfer to the Palestinian Authority some NIS 400 million Israel collected last month in tax revenue for the PA but withheld in response to the Palestinian statehood upgrade move at the UN in November. Read more.

JPost

Israeli bulldozers to destroy more Palestinian homes



The Israeli military continues to destroy more Palestinian homes; the latest incident took place in the East Jerusalem Al-Quds neighborhood.

Israeli bulldozers demolished a number of buildings including residential structures in the early morning.

PressTV

Related,
166 Homes In Eli Settlement Built On Private Palestinian Land - IMEMC
- Settlers Starts Building Settlement Outpost near Qalqilia - WAFA

Iraqi Kurdistan to resume oil exports via Turkey

LONDON,— Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdistan region is planning to restart controversial exports of crude oil and condensate through Turkey next week, the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG said on Tuesday.

A long-running dispute between Baghdad and Kurdistan caused the KRG to halt exports of some 200,000 barrels a day via the Baghdad pipeline. Read more.

Kurd Net

Related,
Turkey and KRG start secret talks, deputy says - Hürriyet
Iraq’s Autonomous Kurdistan Region Becomes Regular Participant At Davos - Rudaw

Special force to protect disputed regions oil establishments - KURDpress

100 PKK militants to lay down arms: Report

Some 100 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are expected to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkish soil in the spring as part of the government’s recently launched “peace process,” daily Hürriyet reported today.

Officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and high-profile names from the PKK, including Sabri Ok, a prominent member of the European wing of the PKK, are reportedly in initial talks concerning the recent process. Read more.

Hürriyet

Related,
Turkey's Kurdish PKK rebels to declare ceasefire - Kurd Net

Ankara, Berlin to step up terror cooperation

German officials are beating a diplomatic path to Turkey’s door as they seek to alley Ankara’s concerns that Berlin is soft on PKK activities

Berlin has stepped up efforts to enhance bilateral dialogue with Ankara on curtailing the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following years of complaints from Turkish politicians that Germany does too little against militants. Read more.

Hürriyet

Erdoğan discusses Syrian crisis with Qatari emir

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a one-day working visit to Qatar on Tuesday to meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and discuss the latest developments in the region, particularly with regard to the Syrian crisis.

Prior to his meeting with the emir, Erdoğan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız, met with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani. Read more.

Today's Zaman

Related,
Dozens of bodies found 'executed' in Syria (video) - Al Jazeera
Syria's well-trained army will soon defeat US-led militants : Ala’a Ibrahim (video) - PressTV

The Army Eliminates Terrorists in Several areas, Destroy thier Equipment - SANA
More than 700,000 Syrians fled - AA

Army warns unrest pushing Egypt to the brink

CAIRO, Egypt, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Egypt's army chief said political unrest was pushing the state to the brink of collapse - a stark warning from the institution that ran the country until last year as Cairo's first freely elected leader struggles to curb bloody street violence.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a U.S.-trained general appointed by President Mohamed Mursi last year to head the armed forces,..  Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Related,
Army says political tussle taking Egypt to brink - Aswat Masriya
Kafr al-Sheikh scuffles leave more than 100 injured - Aswat Masriya

Morsy reconsiders state of emergency declaration - Egypt Independent
Morsi affirms right to protest peacefully at security meeting - Ahram

U.S. plans to add drone base in West Africa

The U.S. military is planning a new drone base in Africa that would expand its surveillance of al-Qaeda fighters and other militants in northern Mali, a development that would escalate American involvement in a fast-spreading conflict.

Two Obama administration officials said military planners are eyeing the West African country of Niger as a base for unarmed Predator drones, which would greatly boost U.S. spy missions in the region. Read more.

The Washington Post

Related,
Oil-hungry US planning drone bases across Africa: Emira Woods - PressTV
Here Come The Drones, Or The True Reason For The Mali Incursion - Zero Hedge

'UK wades into Mali war swamp as Cameron pledges troops & supplies'



Downing Street has said that the British government will dispatch 350 troops to Mali to aid French troops stationed in the country's north, as part of a UK mission to train local forces and engage in “force protection.

British representatives are attending a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the provision of troops as part of an EU mission to the African country. Read more.


Related,

Plots in guise of peace talks foiled: Karzai

KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday made it clear that only the High Peace Council was authorised to hold reconciliation talks with militants, saying that foreign plots in the guise of negotiations had been thwarted.

Addressing a conference on Afghanistan’s water resource management in Kabul, the president urged Afghan powerbrokers not to engage in such meetings if genuine government representatives were sidelined. Read more.

Pajhwok

Related,
Foreigners struggling to weaken Afghanistan: Karzai - Khaama Press
India urges sincere global support for Afghanistan - Pajhwok

Pakistani army to begin training Afghan security forces - Khaama Press
Afghanistan wants to expand defense ties with Pakistan - Afghanistan Sun

Noam Chomsky: US, a top terrorist state



American academic Noam Chomsky says the United States will be recognized as a leading terrorist state if international law is applied, Press TV reports.

“I took the official definitions of terrorism, which were very good, I took the definition that is given in US and British law, which is a fine definition but has a flaw; If you apply it, it turns out the United States is one of the leading terrorist states in the world,” Chomsky told Press TV in an interview on Tuesday. Read more.

ECB Warns of Euro-Zone Risk: Draghi Clashes with Berlin Over Aid to Cyprus

The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, warned German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week not to dismiss Cyprus as not being 'systemically relevant' and said a failure to bail out the island nation could threaten the wider euro zone. 

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi confronted German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week to criticize his stance on Cyprus and said failure to bail out the island nation could threaten the euro zone. Read more.

Spiegel

'France is totally bankrupt': French employment minister Michel Sapin embarrasses President Francois Hollande with shocking statement on state of the country's economy

Unexpected news came during a radio interview yesterday and calls into further question Hollande's controversial 'tax and spend' policies

France’s employment minister Michel Sapin has admitted the country is “totally bankrupt”. Read more.

The Independent

French court halts Peugeot Citroen job cuts

A French appeals court has suspended a Peugeot Citroen restructuring plan that calls for 8,000 job cuts in line with demands from unions at parts subsidiary Faurecia, union lawyers said on Tuesday.

A French appeal court has suspended a restructuring plan involving 8,000 job cuts.. Read more.

France24

Belgian steelworkers clash with police over factory closure

Thousands of Belgian steelworkers rally against the closure of an ArcelorMittal factory in the capital of Liege as police fire water cannons to disperse the protesters.

The steelmaking giant’s workers, many of whom were wearing respirators, threw stones at dozens of riot police in the southern city of Namur on Tuesday, sparking the provocation, as unions mark the last day of five consecutive days of strikes. Read more.

PressTV

Related,
Belgium clashes: Riot cops water-cannon striking ArcelorMittal workers (video) - RT

Tsipras backs farmers' protest, renews call for elections

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has thrown his weight behind protests by farmers after meeting with representatives from the agricultural sector in Athens on Tuesday.

“There is no other choice but to fight for just causes,” Tsipras told the farmers, whose main objection is the change in the way they are taxed. Read more.

Ekathimerini

Related,
Angry Greek Farmers Plan Road Blockade - Greek Reporter

Virtually no risk of Greek euro exit, EU's Rehn says

The chance of a Greek euro exit has virtually disappeared, the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Tuesday, according to local media reports, expressing his satisfaction that Greece was gradually restoring its competitiveness.

Speaking from Brussels, Rehn warned that the eurozone is not yet out of the woods.. Read more.

Ekathimerini

Related,
Stournaras Sees Greek Recovery in 2014 - Greek Reporter

Envelopes of Cash: Corruption Charges Put Madrid on Defensive

New revelations about the corruption scandal that is rocking Spanish politics has put conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his party on the defensive. Voters are beginning to lose patience. 

The powerful reacted the way powerful people react when they are in a tight spot. Read more.

EC drops hint of relaxation of Spain’s deficit-reduction targets

The European Union's commissioner for economic affairs, Olli Rehn, on Monday indicated he might seek to cut Spain more slack over its budget deficit goals as the government's austerity drive caused the second recession the country has faced in three years to deepen.

"If there has been a serious deterioration in the economy, we can propose an extension of a country's adjustment path," Rehn said at a joint news conference in Madrid with Economy Minister Luis de Guindos. Read more.

El País

Argentine Jewish community blast agreement on ‘truth commission” with Iran

Argentine Jewish community organizations, DAIA and AMIA strongly rejected on Monday the government of President Cristina Fernandez decision to sign an agreement with Iran for the naming of a special ‘truth’ commission referred to the 1994 attack to a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires which left 85 dead and hundreds injured.

In a strongly worded joint release the organizations said in reference to the Sunday announcement that “the conformation of a ‘truth commission’ is not contemplated in Argentine Law which regulates the penal procedures,.. Read more.

MercopPress

Hugo Chávez calls for Latin American unity



Venezuelan Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, read a letter from Hugo Chavez at the First Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Chile on Monday, Chavez urged the region's leaders to work together on a broad range of issues, from energy policies to literacy, he also criticized the U.S. embargo on Cuba and the UK militarization of the Falkland Islands. 

The Bolivarian leader also regretted being unable to attend the regional meeting "I'm sorry I can't attend this meeting in Santiago de Chile, but as you all know, since December I've been battling once again for my health," Commander Chavez said. 

CELAC Summit opens in Santiago de Chile



The second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) officially opened Sunday in Santiago de Chile. As part of this event, the presidency pro tempore, which is currently in the hand of Chile, will be granted to the President of Cuba, Raul Castro.

The guidelines of action for 2013, as well as the evaluation of the progress made in the fulfillment of the agreements signed in the first summit are on the agenda.

teleSUR

Related,
Cuba Assumes CELAC Presidency to Promote Integration - Prensa Latina
Hugo Chávez calls for Latin American unity (video) - teleSUR

Iceland president: Let banks go bankrupt



Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson tells Al Jazeera's Stephen Cole that Europe should let banks that are ran "irresponsibly" go bankrupt.

Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Grimsson also held his country as a model of economic recovery after its near-collapse four years ago.

'We're trying to build capitalism without capitalists' - Russian tycoon



The World Economic Forum in Davos has ended, with three scenarios of Russia's development presented during the event - energy sector review, institutional reforms and social cohesion. ­

RT spoke with Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who is mostly pessimistic about Russia's economic development.

Beilin: PM said he'd agree to provisional Palestinian state

Former deputy foreign minister says Netanyahu unwilling to sign comprehensive peace deal, but could settle for interim Palestinian state without final agreement; Dayan: Israel west of Jordan River, Palestine east.

While not ready to sign a comprehensive peace deal, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is willing to establish an interim Palestinian state without a final agreement, former deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin said on Monday. Read more.

JPost

Hamas chief holds talks with Jordan king

AMMAN (Ma'an) -- Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal on Monday rejected talks on confederation with Jordan before the establishment of a Palestinian state, official Jordanian media reported.

"Talking about the confederation with Jordan before the establishment of a Palestinian state is unacceptable," Mashaal told reporters after a meeting in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah, Petra news agency said. Read more.

Ma'an

Related,
Beilin: PM said he'd agree to provisional Palestinian state - JPost
Haniyeh orders release of journalists from Gaza jails - Ma'an

Israeli forces destroy protest village in Jenin



Israeli forces storm and destroy a protest village in Jenin just north of the West Bank. The camp was located next to the separation wall.

Palestinian activists set up the camp in the village of Anin and called it Asra
meaning prisoners. Read more.

PressTV

Related,
Settlers Install An Illegal Outpost Near Qalqilia - IMEMC
Court Order Stops East Jerusalem House Demolition - WAFA

Watchdog: Israel using deadly force on unarmed protesters - Ma'an

Thousands march to defy curfew in Suez

Around 3,000 protesters in Suez organised on Monday night a protest to march from al-Arba'een Square to al-Geish Street to demand ending the 30-day curfew President Mohamed Mursi has imposed on three Suez Canal cities.

Mursi on Sunday declared a state of emergency on Port Said, Suez, and Ismailia for 30-days. Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Related,
Armed Forces abort attempt to storm Port Said prison - Aswat Masriya
Shura-bound protesters torch police vehicles in clashes in downtown Cairo - Ahram

Port Said: Funerals and clashes continue in besieged city - Aswat Masriya
Mosry starts national dialogue at presidential palace - Egypt Independent

Iran Puts monkey into space and brings it back to earth alive



Iran takes an important leap forward in its space technology. It has sent a monkey into space and returned it to earth alive.

Iran successfully puts a monkey into space and returns it to earth alive. Kavoshgar Pishgam which in English translates to Pioneer Discoverer, was successfully launched and took a monkey with it to the elevation of 120 Kilometers away from the spot where it was launched. Read more.

Buffy Sainte-Marie - God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot

Johnny Cash Reads the Bible


Mark Chapters 1 and 2

Johnny Cash - King Of The Hill


Lyric

January 28, 2013

Dutch Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix, who has reigned for 33 years, has abdicated her throne in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander.

In her televised address Beatrix, the oldest ever Dutch monarch, explained that she was stepping down because she felt her son was ready to take her place on the throne. Read more.

RT

Related,
An Argentine queen for the House of Orange; Beatrix steps down April 30 - MercoPress

Sinead O'Connor - 33


Lyric

Chumbawamba - Her Majesty


The Beatles - Her Majesty

Alicia Keys - Not Even The King

The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock


Lyric

Idle No More protesters to gather in more than 30 Canadian cities to mark day of action

OTTAWA — Idle No More protesters are set to gather in at least 30 Canadian cities and will be joined by solidarity protests around the world as the indigenous grassroots movement marks a global day of action on Monday.

The day of action, which comes as Canada’s MPs return to the House of Commons, is to include everything from a rally in Vancouver and a peace march in Calgary,.. Read more.

Canada.com

Related,
House returns as Idle No More protesters gather - CBC News
Resistance is Idle No More: a victory for the movement in Canada - CounterFire

Buffy Sainte-Marie expected at Winnipeg Idle No More protest - Global News

Buffy Sainte Marie - No No Keshagesh


Lyric

Japan faces nuclear shutdown for second time since Fukushima

TOKYO — Japan may face a total nuclear shutdown in the summer for the second time since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster as the country’s two operating reactors close for maintenance and tough new safety checks keep the rest of the fleet offline.

That could force Japan to import even more fossil fuels for power generation, adding to an onerous energy bill that helped push the country into a record trade deficit in 2012. Read more.

Okinawans stage anti-U.S. military rally in Tokyo

TOKYO — Political leaders from Okinawa and their supporters staged a protest Sunday in Tokyo against the heavy U.S. military presence in their southern prefecture.

Organizers said some 4,000 people marched through the glitzy Ginza shopping district holding banners reading “Firmly against Osprey,” Read more.

Japan Today

ELN could ‘grow to 6K members’: NGO

Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, could grow from 2,500 to 6,000 armed members if not allowed to participate in the ongoing FARC-government peace talks, said conflict-monitoring NGO Indepaz on Friday.

According to Indepaz president, Camilo Gonzalez Posso, the Colombian government has made the mistake of ignoring the rebels during the ongoing FARC-government peace talks. Read more.

Colombia Reports

January 27, 2013

Renewed FARC violence exceeds pre-peace talks levels

Colombia rebel group FARC has stepped up its attacks against security forces and infrastructure to a level that exceeded the level of violence preceding the announcement of peace talks with the government in August.

Colombia Reports' conflict monitor has registered the attacks reported in Colombia's national, regional and local media and found that.. Read more.

Colombia Reports

Nederland praat weer met Suriname

Voor het eerst in twee jaar hebben Nederlandse en Surinaamse ministers weer met elkaar gesproken.

Minister Timmermans van Buitenlandse Zaken heeft in Chili een ontmoeting gehad met zijn Surinaamse collega Lackin. Ze waren beiden op de top van de Europese Unie en Latijns-Amerika in Santiago de Chile. Lees meer.

NOS

‘People’s Summit’ seeks alternative to CELAC-EU, starts in conflict

Police and protesters clash at opening of international summit against the presidential meetings.

As presidents and business leaders across Europe and South America gather in Santiago’s upscale districts for this weekend’s CELAC-EU Summit, a very different scene was playing out on the city’s streets Friday night. Read more.

The Santiago Times

Related,
People's Summit opens in Chile (video) - teleSUR

More clashes, teargas and violence as Egypt street protests enter 4th day

The death toll has risen to 47 as violence on the streets of Egypt continues for the fourth day in a row. Sunday saw clashes renew in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Gunfire was reported in the city of Port Said at the funeral of people killed earlier.

Thousands of people turned out for the funerals of 35 rioters who were killed in Port Said in recent days. Read more + video.

RT

Related,
Port Said funeral attacked by security forces, enflaming anger - Ahram
Military denies live ammunition used against Port Said protesters - Egypt Independent

'West feeds Egypt unrest to make govt follow its course' (video) - RT

Protesters stage anti-austerity rallies in Italy, Portugal

Thousands of people have held demonstrations across Portugal and Italy in protest against the new round of austerity measures.

In the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, teachers staged rallies in the downtown area against the government’s new plans to privatize a number of public schools and cut around 50,000 jobs in the education sector. Read more.

PressTV

Chávez asks Maduro to seek rapproachment with the private sector

Vice-President Nicolás Maduro said Hugo Chávez signed decisions concerning the issue of gold reserves, which would be explained in detail later by Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramírez. As to Chávez's health, Maduro said an update would be released on Saturday

Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro returned early on Saturday to Venezuela from Cuba and said he talked to President Hugo Chávez about various issues, adding that Chávez asked him to "send a message of encouragement to private entrepreneurs." Read more.

El Universal

Timmermans wil toenadering Cuba

Op een top in Santiago de Chile heeft minister Timmermans een gesprek gevoerd met de Cubaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Rodriguez. De ministers spraken af binnenkort verder te praten om de banden tussen hun landen aan te halen. 

"In het land vinden hervormingen plaats, en ook de EU-Cuba-relatie is in beweging. Lees meer.

NOS

Interior Minister: Facilitations and Assurances to All Opposition Forces Willing to Return Home

DAMASCUS, (SANA) - Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar said that the border crossing centers will provide all facilitations and assurances to all the opposition forces to enter the country as to participate in the national dialogue.

During his meeting with heads of directorates and central offices at the Ministry on Saturday, Minister al-Shaar added that the executive directions in this regard are to be issued soon. Read more.

SANA

Related,
First Patriot missiles to defend Turkey against Syria go active - Today's Zaman
Syrian troops and militia push to take Sunni Homs areas - Reuters

Syria conflict: Britain to provide extra £21m in humanitarian aid - BBC
US officials:Turkey should not be left alone in helping Syrian refugees - AA

Turkish FM calls for ‘big’ Syria effort but West unsure - Hürriyet
Jamil: There Are Sides Trying to Hinder Political Solution - SANA