March 26, 2013

Cyprus banks to remain closed until Thursday

Banks have been closed since March 16 to avert run on deposits as country's politicians struggled to reach bailout deal.

All Cyprus banks will remain closed until Thursday, the central bank has announced in a shock statement. Read more.

Anti-Muslim mobs rampage through Burmese towns as race riots leave 32 dead, 12,000 displaced

YANGON, Burma — Burma’s government warned Monday that religious violence could threaten democratic reforms after anti-Muslim mobs rampaged through three more towns in the country’s predominantly Buddhist heartland.

The mobs destroyed mosques and burned dozens of homes over the weekend despite attempts by the government to stem the nation’s latest outbreak of sectarian violence. Read more + video.

National Post

- ‘West eulogizes racist, genocidal Myanmar’ - PressTV
- Suu Kyi, Western proxy in Myanmar - PressTV

Activists join Guantanamo hunger strike in week of fast

In a gesture of solidarity with Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who are continuing their month-long hunger strike, activists across the world have launched a week-long fast. The campaign will also include protest rallies and vigils.

The action, organized by the Guantanamo prisoners support group Witness Against Torture (WAT), began on Sunday and is to last through March 30. Read more.


- More Join Hunger Strike at Guantánamo Prison - NY Times
Gitmo hunger strike: Timeline - RT

Detainees In Guantanamo Bay Made These Unforgettable Works Of Art - Business Insider

US hands over Bagram prison to Afghanistan

Transfer ends one of several bitter standoffs straining bilateral ties as US defence secretary meets president in Kabul.

Afghanistan has taken full control of Bagram military prison from the US, as US-led forces wind down more than a decade of war. Read more.

Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. Read more.

NY Times

Targeting Terrorists' Dens, Eliminating Scores of them in Several Areas - SANA
- Syrian Opposition Leader Quits His Post - NY Times

- UN to reduce staff in Syrian capital - Al Jazeera
- Premier Calls on All Syrians to Participate in National Dialogue - SANA

Libya emerges as global weapons bazaar

Arms ranging from handguns to anti-aircraft missiles have flooded the streets and across the border.

Libya become one of the the world's largest markets for weapons. Read more.

Guccifer emails link Tony Blair to top-secret Bohemian Grove gathering

Attending the elusive Bohemian Grove retreat should be a priority for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, News Corp executive Andrew Knight allegedly writes in an email to US Gen. Colin Powell obtained by RT.

The mysterious computer hacker known only as Guccifer has once again supplied RT with a trove of presumed personal emails in which the private correspondence between some of the world’s most influential men is put under the looking glass. Read more.


March 23, 2013

Bear & Dragon: China's new top man picks Moscow for his first foreign trip

'Catching the Chinese wind in Russia's economic sails'. That is what Russia's President Vladimir Putin says he is aiming to do. He is currently signing cooperation agreements with the new Chinese leader, after landmark talks in Moscow.

Shee Jinping picked Russia for his first trip abroad, since taking office earlier this month. Raffaello Pantucci, co-founder of the Young China Watchers professional network, talks to RT about the growing partnership between Russia and China.


China to become Russia's biggest oil client - RT
- China-Russia: a whole lot of energy deals - FT

- China en Brazilië hebben geen dollars meer nodig - Beurs

Friday sees Brotherhood offices under attack across Egypt

In Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Mahalla, and Zagazig, Muslim Brotherhood buildings were attacked, in a day of protests against the group

Protests against the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, sparked violence in a number of cities across the country on Friday. Read more.


Intense clashes at Egypt's Brotherhood HQ - Ahram
- Clashes erupt at Egypt's Brotherhood HQ amid high police presence - Aswat Masriya

Egypt opposition condemns attacks on protesters at Brotherhood HQ - Ahram

Obama, Jordan's Abdullah offer united front on Syria

AMMAN (Reuters) -- US President Barack Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah presented a united front against Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday as Jordan grapples with a refugee crisis caused by Syria's civil war.

Obama, in Jordan following a visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank,.. Read more.


- Syria accuses al-Qaida of being behind Damascus' mosque blast - Xinhua
Russia, Iran, Algeria, Hezbollah, Lebanese President Condemn Assassination of Scholar al-Bouti  - SANA

Death toll from clashes in N Lebanon reaches 6 - PressTV
Moscow: Russia and China See Eye to Eye on Syria - SANA

- 'Chemical weapons use in Syria is lose-lose for Assad' (video) - RT
Russia Welcomes UN Decision to Launch Probe into Incident of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria - SANA

Al-Jaafari: Arab League Has Become Divided and Controlled by Arab Gulf's Petro-Dollars and Islamist Fundamentalism - SANA
Israeli Licence to Cheney-Linked Energy Firm on Golan Heights Raises Eyebrows - IPS

Israeli PM apologizes to Turkey after Obama push

Israel and Turkey turn over a new leaf as the former takes the huge step of apologizing to Ankara for the deadly 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara

Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010 on March 22 after a phone conversation between the two countries’ premiers,.. Read more.


- Obama: Time right for Israel, Turkey reconciliation - JPost
Netanyahu phones Erdogan to apologize for deaths of Turkish citizens on Gaza flotilla - Haaretz

- Turkey, Israel make US-brokered peace after Mavi Marmara apology - Today's Zaman
- Israel PM apologises for flotilla incident (video) - Al Jazeera

'This is just the beginning,’ says Obama about Israel's apology - Hürriyet

March 22, 2013

Abbas to Obama: Israel talks only in exchange for settlement freeze, release of prisoners

U.S. President Obama supports resuming negotiations without prior conditions at Ramallah meeting on Thursday; PLO and Fatah protest that his position on the settlements issue is too weak.

A fundamental disagreement broke out on Thursday in the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and President of the United States Barack Obama, regarding the resumption of negotiations with Israel, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz. Read more.


- Obama reiterates calls for two-state solution in Ramallah - IMEMC
UN urges Israel to withdraw settlers from West Bank - PressTV

- Kerry: Peace is possible, but it's up to the people - JPost
O-blah-blah-ma: 'US offers endless talks' to kill clock for Israel against Palestine? (video) - RT

- Palestinians install protest village to greet US President Barack Obama - IMEMC
'Time to place sanctions on Israel' - RT

March 20, 2013

French police raid home of IMF boss Christine Lagarde

French authorities searched the Paris apartment of IMF director Christine Lagarde on Wednesday as part of their investigation into her handling of a settlement paid out to Bernard Tapie in 2008 while she was French finance minister, her lawyer said.

French police searched the Paris apartment of IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday.. Read more.


- IMF chief's home searched in corruption probe (video) - Al Jazeera

Cyprus vs Bankocracy: 'Mattress better place to keep cash than banks'

Thousands of Cypriots are celebrating, after the country's Parliament gave a resounding no vote to the EU-IMF bailout package.

The move could have seen the government take up to 10% of people's savings, from private bank accounts - as a precondition to securing the much needed 10 billion euro loan. Now that it's been rejected, the ailing Eurozone member will have to work out another plan to avoid bankruptcy. Read more.


Banks on the Brink: ECB May Cut Emergency Funding to Cyprus

After rejecting a euro-zone bailout deal on Tuesday night, Cyprus is now desperately searching for funding. Should aid not be found soon, the country's banks might remain closed until next week.

Meanwhile, criticism of Germany's role in the fiasco is mounting in Nicosia and Berlin. Read more.


Chaos rolls over the eurozone - again - DW
- Cyprus No to Bailout Deal is a Danger to the Euro Zone - Spiegel

Cyprus vs Bankocracy: 'Mattress better place to keep cash than banks' (video) - RT

Dead Broke: Cyprus turns to Russia after EU terms rejected, Merkel furious

Scenes of relief and celebration greeted the Cyprus Parliament's rejection of a tax on bank deposits. The one-off levy linked to an EU bailout deal would have seen millions of account holders lose up to a tenth of their savings, and had been condemned by officials and the public alike.

But the country now finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy and having rejected the EU's terms, it may have to turn to Russia for assistance. RT's Egor Piskunov reports.


- Cyprus Turns to Moscow: Scenarios for a Russian Role in the Bailout - Spiegel

March 19, 2013

US won’t hinder Europeans’ arm supply to Syria militants: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington will not ‘stand in the way’ of Europeans if they decide to arm the militants fighting against the Syrian government.

"President (Barack) Obama has made it clear that the United States does not stand in the way of other countries that have made a decision to provide arms, whether it's France or Britain or others," top US diplomat John Kerry said Monday. Read more.


- US Does Not Oppose Britain, France Arming Syrian Opposition (video) - VOA
Kerry: Syria civil war becoming 'a global catastrophe' (video) - The Washington Post

- Syrian opposition appoints provisional PM - Al Jazeera
- VS: wapens mogen naar Syrië - NOS

UN chief urges approval of arms trade treaty

Diplomats from over 150 countries gather to discuss treaty aimed at limiting trade of illegal conventional weapons.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has urged the world's nations to agree on a strong international treaty to regulate the multi-billion-dollar global arms trade in the next two weeks, saying it will save lives and make it more difficult for warlords and organised criminals to obtain weapons. Read more + video.

Al Jazeera

Putin: Cyprus bailout deposit grab unprofessional & dangerous

The Russian leadership has lashed out at Cyprus' plan to tax bank deposits. 

President Vladimir Putin called the initiative 'unfair', while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev drew comparisons with illegal forfeit. Read more.


Euro zone urges Cyprus to spare smaller savers from bank levy - Reuters
- Cyprus closes banks to stop run amid fury over bailout - The Guardian

- Resistance in Cyprus Grows to Europe’s Bailout Plan - NY Times
Poetin kraakt plan Cyprus af - NOS

March 14, 2013

Xi elected Chinese president, chairman of PRC Central Military Commission

BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was elected president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission (CMC) on Thursday.

The plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) also elected Zhang Dejiang chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. Read more.


Argentina's Bergoglio elected as new Pope Francis

(Reuters) - Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the troubled Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, taking the name Francis I and becoming the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1,300 years.

Pope Francis, 76, appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica just over an hour after white smoke poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel to signal 115 cardinal electors had chosen him to lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Read more.


- Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis I: White smoke from Sistine Chapel heralds shock decision to elect first Latin American, first Jesuit and first Francis to lead world's Catholics - The Independent

Pope Francis’ Economic Philosophy - Bloomberg
- Everything you need to know about Pope Francis’s macroeconomic views - The Washington Post

- Pope calls for new economic model, more ethical markets - Reuters

The Dragon Stirs: China's Role in the New World Order

Beijing's been rapidly growing over the last two decades - at a speed which has brought it close to the traditionally major economies - including the US and even allowed it to surpass Europe's powerhouse, Germany.

That's slowed down a bit recently but, China's still expected to overtake the US as the world's biggest economy in 2016. The economic rivalry comes amid the battle for influence in Asia between the two. James Corbett joins RT to discuss the situation.


Xi elected Chinese president, chairman of PRC Central Military Commission - Xinhua

Break in talks between Greece and troika to delay bailout tranche

Troika representatives are due to leave Athens on Thursday with no final agreement having been reached with the coalition on a range of structural reforms but with the Greek side insisting that the pause in the talks will not lead to complications in the disbursal of its next loan tranche from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.

Talks between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and officials from the IMF,.. Read more.


- Greece, Troika Talks Break Down, Loan Put Off - Greek Reporter
Anti-austerity protest in Greece as govt. holds talks with lenders - PressTV

Anti-austerity protest in Greece as govt. holds talks with lenders

Civil servants here in Athens say it is ironic how Greece's debt inspectors are describing a grim picture when they say the country has not yet fulfilled its commitment to austerity reforms.

It is the result if the policies both they and the government have agreed upon to supposedly bring Greece out of the crisis loop. Read more.


NOFX - Perfect Government

The Dead Class - Be Afraid

Dreigingsniveau terrorisme omhoog

Het dreigingsniveau voor terrorisme is verhoogd van 'beperkt' naar 'substantieel', de op een na hoogste alarmfase.

Dat heeft de Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (NCTV) Dick Schoof besloten. Lees meer + video.


-'Nederlanders kunnen radicaliseren door strijd in Syrië' (video) - NOS

Moody's somber over banken NL

Kredietbeoordelaar Moody's heeft de verwachting voor de kredietwaardigheid van drie Nederlandse banken gewijzigd van stabiel naar negatief. Het gaat om de Rabobank, ABN Amro en NIBC Bank.

De negatieve verwachting voor ING blijft staan. Lees meer.


March 11, 2013

Curacao heavily criticizes the Netherlands

WILLEMSTAD – On the second day of the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation, the delegation from Curacao strongly criticized the Netherlands.

According to Alex Rosaria of the political party PAIS, the Netherlands has no practical foreign policy and the country thinks only of himself. Read more.

Curaçao Chronicle

- Martina: Relations between Curacao and the Netherlands improved - Curaçao Chronicle

Gül says time for PKK to take steps to show sincerity in peace process

President Abdullah Gül on Sunday said the government is taking well-intentioned steps and the majority of the public supports it during the ongoing peace talks with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), adding that it is now up to the PKK to take steps to show its sincerity about achieving peace.

Prior to his departure to Sweden from Ankara Esenboğa Airport, Gül responded to questions from reporters about ongoing peace talks and the prospects of the PKK's laying down arms. Read more.

Today's Zaman

- Avoid propaganda in Kurdish peace bid: Turkish President - Hürriyet
- Erdogan asks PKK to lay down arms, “solve problems in parliament” - KURDpress

BDP to reveal source of Kurdish talks leak - KURDpress
- Could a Kurdish PM of Turkey lead the Movement to redraw the Boundaries of the Middle East? - Foreign Policy Journal

March 10, 2013

Congress suspends full sessions following attack

The General National Congress is to temporarily suspend its official meetings. 

The decision follows Tuesday’s assault when hundreds of armed gunmen threatened members and held them hostage for several hours in an attempt to force them to immediately pass the controversial Political Isolation Law banning Qaddafi era officials from office for 10 years. Read more.

Libya Herald

- Interior Ministry to provide security to Congress - Libya Herald
- Libya: TV Channel Resumes Broadcasting Amid Public Protest against Militiamen - Tripoli Post

Libya: TV Channel Owner, Director Freed in Tripoli - Tripoli Post
Thousands in Libya Need Help Following Tribal Clashes, ICRC Says - Tripoli Post

Humanitarian Catastrophe in Syria

Omar Dahi: Western Powers and GCC countries fail to provide aid at levels needed, inspite of professed interest in the Syrian people


- UN High Commissioner for Refugees Guterres in Ankara - AA
Foreign Ministry: UN Has to Condemn Terrorists' Attacks on Civilians, UN Forces - SANA

Rebels in 'surprise attack' on Homs district - Al Jazeera
Army Units Continue Operations against Terrorists, Inflict Heavy Losses Upon Them - SANA

- Syrian groups, individuals sue Turkish govt. - PressTV
- West training Syrian rebels in Jordan - The Guardian

Israel official warns of ‘Somalization’ of Syria - Hürriyet
Syria strife leaves rebel-held town divided (video) - Al Jazeera

Kurds disagree interim government in Syria: PYD official tells Kurdpress - KURDpress
Syria Kurds decline controlling Raqqa oil field - KURDpress

- New Syria Kurdish women battalion formed - KURDpress
Syrian Kurdistan: The Kurds Are for the Kurds - Kurd Net

Thousands of Spaniards stage nationwide protests against austerity

Tens of thousands of Spaniards have staged nationwide protests against the government’s inefficient handling of the economy and cuts within public services.

The rallies took place in the capital Madrid and 60 other cities on Sunday by 150 organizations including trade unions representing construction, car industries, police and health services. Read more.


Hundreds take to the streets in protest of Tunisia’s ruling Islamists

AFP, Tunis - Hundreds of people protested in Tunis on Saturday against the Islamist-dominated regime, in a rally that was originally planned in support of women’s rights, witnesses said.

“The people demand the fall of the regime!” protesters shouted as they carried placards criticizing the composition of a new cabinet announced on Friday in the latest attempt to pull Tunisia out of its worst political crisis since the revolution two years ago. Read more.

Al Arabiya

Saudi Arabia jails two prominent activists

Founding members of the banned Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association are sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced two prominent political and human rights activists to at least 10 years in prison for offences that included sedition and giving inaccurate information to foreign media. Read more.

Al Jazeera

Three die in clashes in Cairo following Port Said verdict

Three people, including an eight-year-old, die during clashes in Cairo following verdict in Port Said trial; fighting continues near Qasr El-Nil bridge; Police Club and football association HQ torched; Port Said relatively quiet

 That brings Ahram Online's live coverage of events in Cairo and Port Said to an end. Read more.


- Egypt Court confirms death sentences in flashpoint soccer riot case - Aswat Masriya

Egypt protesters torch buildings, target Suez Canal - Aswat Mariya
- Protesters untie speedboats on Suez Canal, block ferries - Aswat Mariya

- Interior Ministry warns of 'strict measures' - Egypt Independent
- Police stations closed in Alexandria until demands are met - Aswat Masriya

Police stations closed in Alexandria until demands are met

Egyptian police officers closed on Saturday all the police stations in Alexandria and reduced the presence of the Central Security Forces in front of Alexandria's Security Directorate, in an escalation of their protest against the policies of the Interior Ministry for not responding to their demands.

Deputy of Alexandria Investigations Office, Mohamed Hendi, said that it is only a partial shut down of the police stations, explaining that they continue to write memos and receive complaints. Read more.

Employment survey shows enduring cost of 2011 disaster

The fishing industries of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures employ 60 percent fewer workers today than five years ago, a decline largely attributed to the quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster two years ago.

Across all industries combined, more than 40 percent of workers reported having suffered in some way. Read more.

The Asahi Shimbun

44 economies still ban, limit Japan food imports over radiation fears

A total of 44 economies still ban or restrict imports of Japanese foods due to concerns over residual radiation ahead of Monday, the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, according to Japanese officials.

The Japanese government fears the economies could continue to impose the measures and that they could be a drag on Japan's food export business, they said. Read more.

Kyodo News

- Employment survey shows enduring cost of 2011 disaster - The Asahi Shimbun

Thousands gather for Tokyo anti-nuclear protest 2 yrs post-Fukushima

Thousands of protesters demonstrated in the Japanese capital on Saturday, rallying against the continued usage of nuclear power in the country. Nearly two years after the Fukushima disaster, people seek to change the pro-atomic agenda of the new PM.

Around 13,000 people gathered, waving signs that read “Let's save the children” and “No nukes.” Read more + photos.


Protesters in Japan demand end to nukes - The Asahi Shimbun

68,000 stage antinuclear protests in Taiwan

More than 68,000 people took to the streets across Taiwan on Saturday to oppose nuclear energy in the run-up to the second anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in northern Japan triggered by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Protesters staged marches in northern, central, southern and eastern Taiwan,.. Read more.

"All-Slovenian Uprising" With the Lack of Protesters

Just few thousands of protesters gathered in Ljubljana's Congress Square on Saturday for what is the fourth "All-Slovenian Uprising", the latest in a string of anti-establishment rallies to demand the resignation of "incompetent and corrupt political elites" and call for changes to give ordinary people more say in politics.

At an open microphone set up in the square, protesters voiced disappointment with capitalism, the theft of state property and inequality before law. Read more.

Slovenia Times

- Slovenians take to streets against corruption - Al Jazeera

March 9, 2013

Greece: Chalkidiki villagers suffer police tear gas attacks

On Thursday, units from the Greek riot police (MAT) and its anti-terrorism special forces (EKAM) clashed with residents from the town of Iessios and the nearby Skouries mine in north-eastern Grece.

Security forces were searching for suspects from an arson attack that took place at the mine on Feb. 17, when around 40 masked individuals raided the facility, torching machinery, vehicles and containers used as offices.

Clouds of chemical smoke forced the locals to retreat into the town, where demonstrators say tear gas was fired into a school building, affecting a number of children. The police say that any health problems are more likely to be related to burning tires used in temporary barricades. Police blocked the streets around the school, but allowed a party of doctors through to ensure the children's safety.

The Skouries mine is owned by Hellas Gold, a company 95 percent controlled by the Eldorado Gold Corporation, a Canadian firm which is the world's ninth largest gold producer.


Pachtas Scandal (video) - Short documentary

Pachtas Scandal

This story concerns the beautiful forest land “Skouries” that was sold by the Greek state to the Canadian mining company “Eldorado Gold” in order to exploit its precious subsoil and therefore be enormously profited from it.

The forest though has been assigned for the symbolic price of one euro without an open tender and this how the scandal was implemented. A Greek mayor, Christos Pachtas, has facilitated the trade – off of the forest asking from “Eldorado Gold” to hire “his own people” but when he was asked by the journalist of the reportage to answer the accusations made against him by local people, he just flew off the handle and asked her to leave his office!

Fukushima nuclear plant flooded daily by 400 tons of groundwater

Groundwater flooding has become a major problem for Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), with hundreds of tons of water seeping daily into the damaged reactor buildings. Experts predict overall clean-up works at the site could take up to 40 years.

Stopping the groundwater is crucial, says Tepco's general manager for research and development of Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning, Shunichi Suzuki, adding that "Every day we have approximately 400 metric tons of groundwater." Read more.


Water is both the savior and the bane at Fukushima No. 1 - The Japan Times

Residents concerned on effects of thyroid doses in Fukushima

Although studies have shown that most local residents were likely not exposed to cancer-causing doses of radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the great fear remains the long-term effects of exposure to radioactive iodine.

Little is known about the health effects of their exposure to radioactive iodine, which can cause cancer in thyroid glands, because the short half-life of iodine is only eight days. Read more.

The Asahi Shimbun

- Ministry: Rate of Fukushima thyroid abnormalities roughly normal - The Asahi Shimbun

Fukushima residents hold anti-nuclear demonstration

FUKUSHIMA--A citizens group held its 31st anti-nuclear demonstration in a busy shopping district here on March 8, three days before the second anniversary of the triple disaster in the Tohoku region.

“We want to appeal to the people that dangerous nuclear reactors should be decommissioned,” said Taiga Sato, a 27-year-old part-time worker who joined the demonstration. Read more.

The Asahi Shimbun

- 2 years after Fukushima, Japan's nuclear lobby bounces back - Japan Today

Italian cities account for half of EU's 30 most-polluted

OECD report says overall emissions down from 1990

(ANSA) - Rome, MARCH 8 - A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development presented in Rome on Friday shows that Italian cities make up more than 50% of the 30 European Union cities with the worst air quality. Read more.


Germany's New Anti-Euro Party

Anti-euro political parties in Europe in recent years have so far tended to be either well to the right of center or, as evidenced by the recent vote in Italy, anything but staid.

But in Germany, change may be afoot. A new party is forming this spring, intent on abandoning European efforts to prop up the common currency. And its founders are a collection of some of the country's top economists and academics. Read more.


Government files legal challenge to Catalonia’s sovereignty declaration

The Solicitor General’s Office on Friday filed a challenge with the Constitutional Court to the Catalonia’s sovereignty declaration passed last January by the regional parliament, according to judicial sources.

On March 1, the Cabinet agreed to ask the top court to rule unconstitutional the declaration that the Catalonia nationalist CiU bloc government of Artur Mas is using as preamble to an enabling law aimed at holding a vote on the region’s status within Spain next year. Read more.

El País

Catalan parties join forces to defy Madrid on sovereignty question - El País

Robin Hood mayor probed over squatting protest

An Andalusian provincial court on Thursday subpoenaed Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, the mayor of the Seville town of Marinaleda, to answer charges filed by local prosecutors for squatting on military-owned land for 18 days as part of a protest last summer.

Sánchez Gordillo, a member of the United Left (IU) coalition, will have to appear in court next month along with 53 other protestors from the Andalusian Workers Union (SAT) who invaded the state-owned ranch Las Turquillas de Osuna in Seville. Read more.

El País

Judge handling Nóos case wants more information about Princess Cristina’s role

The judge investigating the alleged embezzlement of public money at the Nóos Institute has decided to look further into what decisions, if any, Princess Cristina made at her husband’s non-profit entity, where she served on the board.

Judge José Castro of the Balearics Islands has not subpoenaed Cristina but has called in 36 more witnesses to testify before him, including José Manuel Romero, the legal advisor to King Juan Carlos, and Esteban González Pons, the Popular Party’s deputy secretary general and deputy representing Valencia. Read more.


Tsochatzopoulos and 18 others to appear in court over bribery, money laundering

Ex-Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, his wife Viki Stamati and another 17 people are to stand trial, possibly next month, in connection with the alleged acceptance and laundering of bribes from military procurements when the PASOK politician held office in the late 1990s and early part of the last decade.

A council of appeals court judges ruled that 19 out of a total of 21 suspects should be tried. Read more.


Greece Charges 3 Ex-Ministers For Hiding Wealth - Greek Reporter

Hungary posts HUF 337 bn budget deficit in February

Hungary posted a HUF 337 billion budget deficit in February (on a cash flow basis, excluding local governments), the Economy Ministry has reported on Thursday.

At first sight the deficit may seem awfully high, but in fact it is not when compared to the previous years' end-Feb prints. By the end of the second month of the year the shortfall reached 40% of the full-year target, but that is not unusual either. Read more.

This is how Hungary's recession looks like -

Rich EU Countries Lobby against Bulgaria

Nobody can stop the free movement of the EU citizens, Brussels ruled 

(Sofia, March 9) - The rich EU countries have formed a lobby against Bulgaria. The interior ministers of Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Austria have vowed to stop the so-called “benefit tourism,” a practice of the poor EU citizens, mostly Bulgarians and Romanians, who take advantage of the social security systems of the rich EU countries, EUobserver writes. Read more.


- Bulgaria, Romania Not to Enter Schengen in 2013, Netherlands Says - Novinite

Real Estate Locusts: Developers Cash in on Europe's Poorest

International financial investors have spent billions to gobble up cheap real estate in Berlin. But a look at Scharnweberstrasse 111 shows how they and their ruthless middlemen are exploiting immigrants from Southeastern Europe to make profits.

Their offices are in places where a lot of money is turned into even more money: in Luxembourg, the City of London and on Lake Geneva. Read more.


Grybauskaite: 'De facto we already have the euro'

Eurozone | Lituania wants to join the eurozone in 2015 - despite the crisis.

Talking to DW, President Dalia Grybauskaite explains why she's still convinced the euro is a good choice and where the southern EU states went wrong. Read more.


IMF pledges to help Ireland exit its bailout

(Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund will do what it can to help Ireland emerge from its EU/IMF bailout later this year, its chief said on Friday, praising the amount of work already done by Dublin.

As a member of Ireland's "troika" of lenders, the IMF was asked by European Union finance ministers this week to advise on how to help Ireland and fellow aid recipient Portugal return fully to international debt markets. Read more.


Ireland setting standards, says IMF's Christine Lagarde - RTE

Prime Minister-Designate Names Members of New Cabinet

Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh announced Friday afternoon the composition of his new ministerial cabinet.

The figures, who will head key ministries, are Lotfi Ben Jeddou as interior minister, Nadhir Ben Ammou as justice minister, Othman Jerandi as foreign affairs minister, and Rachid Sabbagh as defense minister. Read more.


Larayedh announces government line-up - TAP

After police withdrew, Port Said residents press demands for justice

Though army units replace police in Egypt's uneasy Port Said after days of clashes with anti-government protesters, residents remain adamant that their demands for justice be met

Mourners in Egypt's Port Said, where the Suez Canal meets the Mediterranean Sea, prayed for two protesters killed on Thursday during clashes with police near the local security directorate. Read more.


- Egypt’s riot police chief sacked amid nationwide security force protests - RT
Army 'won't perform police duties' in Port Said: Egypt military spokesman - Ahram

Fierce clashes between protesters and police in Egypt's Mahalla - Ahram
- Marches in Egypt's Port Said as verdict looms (video) - Al Jazeera

More than 30 world leaders attend Chávez funeral

More than 30 heads of state joined today's funeral of Hugo Chávez in a last farewell to the charismatic Venezuelan leader who changed the face of politics in Latin America and the world.


- The World bids Farewell with Honor to Hugo Chavez - Prensa Latina
World leaders bid farewell to Hugo Chavez (video) - PressTV

- Hugo Chavez's viewing to last seven more days (video) - teleSUR
Maduro becomes Venezuela's acting president (video) - Al Jazeera

March 8, 2013

The Bilderberg Group: “The Secret Rulers of the World"

In 1954, the most powerful men in the world met for the first time under the auspices of the Dutch royal crown and the Rockefeller family at the luxurious Hotel Bilderberg in the small Dutch town of Oosterbeek.

For an entire weekend, they debated the future of the world. 'When it was over, they decided to meet once every year to exchange ideas and analyze international affairs. 

They named themselves the Bilderberg Group. Since then, they have gathered yearly in a luxurious hotel somewhere in the world to try to decide the future of humanity. 

Obama to Jews: Peace vital but prospects bleak

US president meets with Jewish leaders ahead of Israel visit, says he will urge Israelis, Palestinians to avoid unilateral actions.

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year. Read more.


Hamas: Obama can visit Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas would not oppose a visit by US President Barack Obama to the Gaza Strip, a party leader said Wednesday.

"Hamas refuses to negotiate with Israel, but wouldn’t oppose Obama visiting Gaza with the hope that the US attitude to reality will change," said Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Read more.


'Israeli frustration with EU's pro-Palestinian tilt rising'

Official says there's “no positive agenda between Israel and Brussels, only negative”; cites Ashton's pushing of special labels for settlement products, while she refuses to push Hezbollah terror designation as example.

Even as President Shimon Peres is in Europe holding talks with top-tier EU officials trying to enhance Israel’s position on the continent, diplomatic officials in Jerusalem are increasingly frustrated by what they see as Brussels’ pro-Palestinian tilt. Read more.

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (28 Febr. 06 Mar. 2013)

The Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 11 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a paramedic, were wounded in protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities.

18 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and a photojournalist, were wounded in solidarity demonstrations supporting the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. Read more.


Naftaniel weg bij het CIDI

Ronny Naftaniel vertrekt als directeur van het CIDI. Hij wordt opgevolgd door voormalig journalist Esther Voet, die hoofdredacteur was van het Nieuw Israëlietisch Weekblad.

Naftaniel was sinds 1980 het gezicht van het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israël. Lees meer.


March 7, 2013

Protests rage in Egypt's Port Said for fourth day

PORT SAID/CAIRO, Egypt, March 6 (Reuters) - Egyptian protesters demanding the release of prisoners battled police in Port Said for a fourth day on Wednesday, challenging state authority in the turbulent city at the northern end of the Suez Canal.

Violent demonstrations also broke out in Cairo,.. Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Breaking: Clashes intensify in downtown Cairo - Egypt Independent
- MOH: 57 injured in clashes on Wednesday in Port Said and Dakahlia - Aswat Masriya

- Egyptian police strike against interior ministry policies - Aswat Masriya
Egypt presidency respects court ruling, refers electoral law to constitutional court - Ahram

Egypt court throws election timetable up in the air - Aswat Masriya
- Epic failure of governance - ElBaradei on suspending elections - Aswat Masriya

March 6, 2013

The Welfare Poets - Once Again: Let It Be Known

The Welfare Poets - Let It Be Known (video) - YouTube

Poverty critics slam Merkel Cabinet's social report

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has adopted a report outlining social and income disparities in Germany after four months of delay. Critics accuse her coalition of rewriting findings to mask a widening rich-poor gap.

"Social Situations in Germany," the 548-page report released on Wednesday by the conservative-liberal government, faces widespread criticism from social welfare organizations and opposition parties. Read more + video.


PM delays troika talks as issues still unresolved

PM puts off meeting with envoys until next week as issues remain unresolved

The meeting between troika representatives and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras which was due to take place this week has been postponed until next week as a number of issues remain unresolved between the Greek government and its lenders. Read more.


Government says bailout objectives achieved

THE government said yesterday its objectives were achieved regarding the bailout, after EU finance ministers agreed to bail out Cyprus while a controversial money laundering audit will be carried out with the participation of a European committee and the Central Bank of Cyprus.

Eurozone finance ministers pledged on Monday to agree a bailout for Cyprus by the end of March, but details of how the rescue will be financed were yet to be sorted out. Read more.

Cyprus Mail

Foreign lenders negotiate finalization of Cyprus bailout - DW
- Our View: Compromises cloud results of Eurogroup meeting - Cyprus Mail

Interest rates in Italy and Spain too high, IMF says

EU needs banking union to ensure stability

(ANSA) - New York, March 6 - Interest rates in Italy and Spain remain too high in spite of European Central Bank (ECB) directives, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. Read more.


Bailout: Portugals seeks extension of up to 10 years

Minister of Finance Vítor Gaspar says that extending the maturities of Portugal’s bailout loans to 15 years would be “unthinkable” and is searching for more moderate solutions.

Major modifications to Portugal’s bailout agreement will be unwelcome by Germany’s parliament as the country holds federal elections later this year. Read more.


Corruption in State Owned Banks

Slovenia's anti-graft watchdog has criticised bank operations as being subject to lobbies and politics in its report and called for the clean-up of portfolios to be accompanied by a clean-up of management practices.

Reviewing more than 40 deals involving Slovenia's leading state-owned banks, NLB and NKBM, the Corruption Prevention Commission found numerous instances of corruptive behaviour and other violations. Read more.

Investigation: Portuguese banks suspected of cartel-involvement

The public prosecutors office says Portuguese banks are under investigation for allegedly operating a “cartel” in spreads and loan commissions.

Several Portuguese banks have been accused of allegedly operating a “cartel” in spreads and loan commissions, which could hamper central bank efforts to spark lending as the country undergoes a €78bn bailout. Read more.


- Banks searched in price-fixing investigation - The Portugal News

Libor rate-rigging: UK regulator failed to act on warnings of “low-balling”

The UK Financial Services Authority repeatedly failed to act on warnings that banks were trying to rig inter-bank lending rates (mainly Libor) at height of the financial crisis, according to an internal review published Tuesday by the regulator.

The report, commissioned by the FSA in the wake of Barclays bank £290 million settlement with regulators over attempted rate-rigging, shows the regulator either ignored or failed to follow up on a series of red flags highlighting problems with the rates. Read more.


- FSA Mostly Clears Itself on Missed Libor-Rigging Signals - Bloomberg
- FSA report clears staff of negligence in failing to spot Libor rigging - The Guardian

'LIBOR rates are the biggest bankster scam ever in history' (video) - PressTV

Isolated Britain fails to avert EU bank bonus cap

Britain was left isolated in Europe on Tuesday after it failed to secure backing to water down new EU rules limiting bankers' bonuses, a measure that could threaten London's dominance as a financial centre.

The rules, which would limit bankers' bonuses to the equivalent of their salary, or two times their salary if shareholders agree, are set to be introduced next year and would represent the toughest bonus regime anywhere in the world. Read more.


- Isolated Britain fails to avert EU bank bonus cap - Reuters
Britain's failure in Europe over bankers' bonuses bodes ill for David Cameron's renegotiation - The Telegraph

Wilkerson: US Isolated in Latin America, Not Venezuela and Cuba

Lawrence Wilkerson, Collin Powell's former Chief of Staff says that Obama should have the courage to normalize relations with Venezuela and Cuba


- Battle for Latin America ahead? 'US to demonize Chavez post-mortem' (video) - RT

French troops to begin Mali withdrawal in April

French President François Hollande on Wednesday said that his country would begin withdrawing troops from Mali in April, a month later than planned, as an UN-backed African coalition force takes over.

President François Hollande said on Wednesday that France would begin pulling its troops out of Mali as of April,.. Read more.


- Fourth French soldier killed in Mali, Sarkozy criticises intervention - RFI

Syria rebels seize 20-person UN convoy near Golan Heights

The United Nations said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained by around 30 armed fighters in the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel on Wednesday and that it has sent a team to resolve the situation.

The United Nations confirmation came in response to YouTube videos purporting to show Syrian rebels with the seized convoy. Read more.


- UN peacekeepers held by fighters near Syria - Al Jazeera

Army Units Continue to Hunt Terrorists in Several Area, Car Bomb Explodes in Damascus Countryside - SANA
- Syrian rebel army chief sees victory 'in month' if West ships arms - Hürriyet

Exodus from war-torn Syria hits one million - Hürriyet
Structural systems to aid Syrians besides camps - AA

Turkish-Qatari food relief to Syrians - AA
Van Baalen: ingrijpen in Syrië - NOS

Libya interim leader’s car comes under fire

The attack took place as Mohammed Magarief left a chaotic session of the national assembly disrupted by protesters.

The car of Libya's interim leader has come under fire in Tripoli as he left a chaotic session of the national assembly disrupted by protesters, without causing casualties. Read more.

Al Jazeera

‘We are angry’: Quebec students return to streets for nighttime protest against tuition increases, 50 arrested

MONTREAL — People who thought they’d seen the last of the nighttime protests in Montreal streets against tuition fee increases heard the familiar drone of police helicopters over the city core Tuesday night as the noctural gnashing of teeth by students over the cost of their education was renewed, boiling over into a battle with police.

Montreal’s first nighttime tuition-fee protest in several months was almost a mirror image of the demonstrations that filled the city’s streets last year. Read more.

National Post

Battle for Latin America ahead? 'US to demonize Chavez post-mortem'

The main question now is who will become Venezuela's new leader. Some analysts suggest it will be hard for the US-backed opposition to overturn Chavez's policies.

However, Pepe Escobar, who's an investigative journalist and Asia Times Correspondent covering Latin America, says the demonization of Hugo Chavez in the US will continue after his death.


Wilkerson: US Isolated in Latin America, Not Venezuela and Cuba (video) - TRNN

Fifty wounded in Egypt Port city as police battle protesters

PORT SAID, Egypt, March 5 (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces battled stone-throwing youths in the Suez Canal city of Port Said on Tuesday while in Cairo police took to the streets to protest, reflecting a country beset by discontent over a host of grievances.

By far the most serious trouble was in Port Said, at the canal's northern entrance, where fifty people were wounded in clashes between police and hundreds of protesters in a third day of unrest. Read more.

Aswat Masriya

Egypt's capital sees 3 anti-govt protests, limited clashes - Ahram

Egyptian opposition, rejects Kerry's call

Egypt's opposition rejects 'foreign interference' as US Secretary of State called on them to reverse decision to boycott elections.

CAIRO - Egypt's main opposition group, the National Salvation Front (NSF), rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry's call on them to reverse the boycott of the parliamentary elections in April. Read more.


- Egypt has sent IMF invitation to loan talks - Minister - Aswat Masriya

Kerry says raised rights concerns in talks with Bahrain minister

DOHA (Reuters) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he had voiced concerns about human rights in Bahrain with the foreign minister of the strategically vital Gulf Arab kingdom where protesters are demanding democratic reforms.

Home to the US Fifth Fleet, the tiny state has been hit by unrest since pro-democracy protests in early 2011, becoming a front line in a region-wide tussle for influence between Shiite Muslim Iran and Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia. Read more.


Fears of Bloodbath: Uneasy Calm Reigns in Assad Stronghold

The wealthy Syrian port city of Tartus, a stronghold of the Assad regime, is an island of calm in the war-torn country -- for now. Members of Assad's Alawite clan and the Christian minority are bracing themselves for a bloodbath if the city falls to the rebels, and partying while they still can. 

A group of elegant young women are sitting around a small bistro table on the seaside corniche, laughing and clinking their glasses. Read more.


Russia needs wake-up call on Syria and Iran

Is Russia sleepwalking when it comes to defending allies Syria and Iran and ultimately its own vital long-term interests?

It seems that Russian leaders are befuddled by the conflict raging in Syria, sensing rightly on one hand that the Western powers and their Turk and Arab proxies are conducting a low-intensity war for regime change. Yet, strangely, on the other hand, Moscow appears apathetic or blasé about the West’s criminal geopolitical agenda. Read more.