Posted: July 3, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Economics, Global | Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Athens, Brussels, Christine Lagarde, Euro Group, EUROPE, European Central Bank, European Commission, European Union, Global Panic, Greece, Greek language, International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister of Greece
ATHENS – Kerin Hope reports: IGreek banks are preparing contingency plans for a possible “bail-in” of depositors amid fears the country is heading for financial collapse, bankers and businesspeople with knowledge of the measures said on Friday.
The plans, which call for a “haircut” of at least 30 per cent on deposits above €8,000, sketch out an increasingly likely scenario for at least one bank, the sources said.
A Greek bail-in could resemble the rescue plan agreed by Cyprus in 2013, when customers’ funds were seized to shore up the banks, with a haircut imposed on uninsured deposits over €100,000.
It would be implemented as part of a recapitalisation of Greek banks that would be agreed with the country’s creditors — the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.
“It [the haircut] would take place in the context of an overall restructuring of the bank sector once Greece is back in a bailout programme,” said one person following the issue. “This is not something that is going to happen immediately.”
Eurozone officials said no decision had been taken to wind up any Greek banks or initiate a bail-in of depositors, a process that would be started by the ECB declaring the banks insolvent or pulling emergency loans.
Greece’s banks have been closed since Monday, when capital controls were imposed to prevent a bank run following the leftwing Syriza-led government’s call for a referendum on a bailout plan it had earlier rejected. Greece’s highest court rejected an appeal by two citizens on Friday who had asked for the referendum to be declared unconstitutional.
Depositors can withdraw only €60 a day from bank ATM cash machines, while requests to transfer funds abroad have to be approved by a special finance ministry committee in co-operation with the Greek central bank. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 29, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Economics, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Athens, EUROPE, Greece, LeBron James, Newspaper of record, Paul Krugman, Stockmarkets, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal
This NYT take on Greece’s financial trouble is jaw-dropping
Posted: June 29, 2015 Filed under: Global, War Room | Tags: Cairo, Capital punishment, Egypt, Heliopolis (Cairo suburb), Islamism, Khairat El-Shater, Life imprisonment, Mohamed Morsi, Mohammed Badie, Muslim Brotherhood, President of Egypt, Prosecutor
Mary Chastain reports: An explosion has killed Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and injured at least seven more people on Monday morning in Cairo.
Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, a spokesman for the health ministry, said Barakat passed away after surgeries. Ghaffar had previously stated he did not believe the prosecutor had suffered life-threatening injuries.
A witness spoke to Daily News Egypt:
A Heliopolis resident told Daily News Egypt they heard the explosion early Monday, and stepped onto their balcony to see a damaged motorcycle.
The witness also said there was an exploded vehicle, which according to the testimony, was Barakat’s security vehicle. The witness added that surrounding vehicles were in flames.
The damages on the attack scene included seven other injuries from Barakat’s staff and passengers, in addition to damages to 35 cars and nine houses in the area of the explosion.
[Read more at Breitbart and Daily News Egypt]
No group has yet to take responsibility for the attack. A group called Giza Popular Resistance claimed it first, but someone removed it from their Facebook page and the Twitter account denounced the post. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 29, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Global, War Room | Tags: Boston Business Journal, Defense Department, Dion Nissenbaum, Futurist, Gabourey Sidibe, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Peter Singer
World War III scenarios could become a reality, says Peter Singer, Author of ‘Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War‘
WASHINGTON— Dion Nissenbaum writes: Peter Singer, one of Washington’s pre-eminent futurists, is walking the Pentagon halls with an ominous warning for America’s military leaders: World War III with China is coming.
In meeting after meeting with anyone who will listen, this modern-day soothsayer wearing a skinny tie says America’s most advanced fighter jets might be blown from the sky by their Chinese-made microchips and Chinese hackers easily could worm their way into the military’s secretive intelligence service, and the Chinese Army may one day occupy Hawaii.
“It may not be politic, but it is, in my belief, no longer useful to avoid talking about the great power rivalries of the 21st century and the real dangers of them getting out of control.”
The ideas might seem outlandish, but Pentagon officials are listening to the 40-year-old senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.
In hours of briefings, Mr. Singer has outlined his grim vision for intelligence officials, Air Force officers and Navy commanders. What makes his scenarios more remarkable is that they are based on a work of fiction: Mr. Singer’s soon-to-be-released, 400-page techno thriller, “Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.”
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“World War III may seem like something that was either a fear in the distant past or a risk in the distant future,” Mr. Singer told a dozen Air Force officers during a Pentagon briefing last week. “But, as the Rolling Stones put it in ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘It’s just a shot away.’ ”
Pentagon officials typically don’t listen to the doom-and-gloom predictions of fiction writers. But Mr. Singer comes to the table with an unusual track record. He has written authoritative books on America’s reliance on private military contractors, cybersecurity and the Defense Department’s growing dependence on robots, drones and technology.
[Order Peter Singer’s book “Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War” from Amazon.com]
The Army, Navy and Air Force already have included two of his books on their official reading lists. And he often briefs military leaders on his research.
“Ghost Fleet,” co-written with former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole is based on interviews, military research and years of experience working with the Defense Department.
“He’s the premier futurist in the national-security environment,” said Mark Jacobson, a special assistant to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who made sure his boss read the book. “Peter’s always where the ball is going to be. And people in the Pentagon listen to what he has to say.”
Release of the book by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Tuesday comes during a new period of soul-searching for the U.S. military. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 29, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Global | Tags: Wall Street, Reuters, François Hollande, Goldman Sachs, Berlin, International Monetary Fund, Athens, Greece, Alexis Tsipras, Investment banking, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Greeks, Prime Minister of Greece, Private equity
Matt Purple writes: The stock market is getting walloped today and the reason is grave: Greece, dogged by enormous debt and an anemic economy, may be about to walk away
from its German creditors.
“Thanks to Greece’s socialist policies, its economy has long been creaking under the weight of crushing debt. It only endured in the debt-averse European Union because, with the help of Wall Street honchos like Goldman Sachs, it cunningly concealed its red ink for over a decade.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum over the latest concessions demanded by Germany and the European Commission. Votes will be cast on Sunday and Tspiras is actively campaigning against Greek cooperation. Four days earlier comes Tuesday, which is the deadline for Greece forking over an additional 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund. It’s now unknown whether Tspiras intends to default.
What is known is that the uncertainty is causing Greeks to party like it’s 1930. NBC News reports:
Greece imposed restrictions on money withdrawals and banking transactions to keep its financial system from collapsing due to a run on the banks.
Anxious Greeks rushed to ATMs to withdraw cash after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called late Friday for a referendum on the creditors’ reform proposals. …
Meanwhile, retirees lined up just after dawn at bank branches hoping they would be able to receive their pensions, which were due to be paid Monday. The finance ministry said the manner in which pensions would be disbursed would be announced later in the afternoon.
The president of the European Commission has declared that Greece’s departure from the euro is not an option, but even the most impenetrable of Eurocrats must comprehend that their little science project is falling apart.
[Read the full text here, at Rare]
This weekend’s referendum isn’t just about the current bailout package; a “no” vote will effectively jettison Greece from the euro and resurrect their old drachma currency. A “Grexit,” the prospect of which has long triggered dramatic sting music in the minds of European financial ministers, is looming over the Continent.
“That debt is often attributed to the fact that ‘Greeks don’t pay their taxes,’ which has now reached near-aphorism status among economic writers. But rarely does anyone explore the reasons for all this tax dodging.”
And why not? The referendum is likely a leverage tactic by Tspiras—who’s resorted to such risibly desperate measures in the past as calling on Germany to pay Greece Nazi war reparations—but it intersects with one of the seminal themes of his election campaign last year: giving the Greek people a choice. Why should Athens, fuzzily remembered as the “birthplace of democracy,” have its finances determined in the back room of a foreign accounting office? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 28, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Global, Mediasphere, Politics
Greece crisis live: banks to close on Monday and capital controls imposed after ECB caps funding at current levels
The Telegraph‘s Elizabeth Anderson: Live Updating blog here
Posted: June 27, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Economics, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Associated Press, Athens, Bailout, Central bank, Creditor, Euro Group, EUROPE, Global Panic, Greece, Hellenic Parliament
“…Bank runs are expected on Monday, and a friend in Athens reports almost all the ATM machines have already run out of cash. Obviously, even those who work at the Greek parliament don’t have confidence in the system…”
via John Fund
Photo via , Twitter
National Review Online
Posted: June 26, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, Global | Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Athens, AUSTERITY, Bailout, Bank of Greece, Belize, EUROPE, European Union, Greece, International Monetary Fund
Happening in Greece right now-almost 3am-people withdrawing as much cash as they can.
via Andrew Bayer,Twitter
Posted: June 23, 2015 Filed under: China, Global, War Room, White House | Tags: Background check, Bill Gates, Chinese Hackers, CIA, Edward Snowden, exclusionary analysis, Federal Personnel Files, Global Panic, Hack, Handgun, Job Growth, Obama administration, Office of Personnel Management, OPM
When the Administration disclosed the OPM hack in early June, they said Chinese hackers had stolen the personal information of up to four million current and former federal employees. The suspicion was that this was another case of hackers (presumably sanctioned by China’s government) stealing data to use in identity theft and financial fraud. Which is bad enough.
Yet in recent days Obama officials have quietly acknowledged to Congress that the hack was far bigger, and far more devastating. It appears OPM was subject to two breaches of its system in mid-to-late 2014, and the hackers appear to have made off with millions of security-clearance background check files.
These include reports on Americans who work for, did work for, or attempted to work for the Administration, the military and intelligence agencies. They even include Congressional staffers who left government—since their files are also sent to OPM.
This means the Chinese now possess sensitive information on everyone from current cabinet officials to U.S. spies. Background checks are specifically done to report personal histories that might put federal employees at risk for blackmail. The Chinese now hold a blackmail instruction manual for millions of targets.
These background checks are also a treasure trove of names, containing sensitive information on an applicant’s spouse, children, extended family, friends, neighbors, employers, landlords. Each of those people is also now a target, and in ways they may not contemplate. In many instances the files contain reports on applicants compiled by federal investigators, and thus may contain information that the applicant isn’t aware of.
Of particular concern are federal contractors and subcontractors, who rarely get the same security training as federal employees, and in some scenarios don’t even know for what agency they are working. These employees are particularly ripe targets for highly sophisticated phishing emails that attempt to elicit sensitive corporate or government information. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 22, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Baghdad, Big Brother, Bret Stephens, Eason Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Jason Rezaian, journalism, North Korea, propaganda, WSJ
Journalism from places like North Korea and Iran should be prefaced with a disclaimer: Big Brother Is Reading This, Too
Bret Stephens writes: The New York Times recently featured a photo and video essay by the celebrated photojournalist David Guttenfelder titled “Illuminating North Korea.” It’s a potent reminder that nothing is so blinding as the illusion of seeing.
I don’t mean to disparage Mr. Guttenfelder’s photographic skills or his sincerity. But what are we to make of a photo essay heavy on pictures of modern-looking factories and well-fed children being fussed over in a physical rehabilitation center? Or—from his Instagram account (“Everyday DPRK”)—of theme-park water slides, Christian church interiors, well-stocked clothing stores and rollerblading Pyongyang teens—all suggesting an ordinariness to North Korean life that, as we know from so many sources, is a travesty of the terrifying truth?
I’ve been thinking about Mr. Guttenfelder’s photos, and of the prominence the Times gave them, while considering the trade-offs between access and propaganda. In April 2003, Eason Jordan, then CNN’s news chief, wrote a revealing op-ed in the Times about his network’s coverage of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders,” Mr. Jordan wrote. “Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard—awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.”
It was an appalling confession of a massive journalistic whitewash, all for the sake of scoring prime time with tyrants. But sometimes it takes a great fool to reveal an important truth. In this case, the truth that much of what passes for news reporting from closed societies is, if not worthless, compromised to the point that it should be prefaced with an editorial disclaimer: Big Brother Is Reading This, Too. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 22, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, War Room | Tags: Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan National Army, Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Associated Press, Kabul, Kunduz Province, Member of Parliament, National Assembly (Afghanistan), Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban suicide bomber struck the entrance to the Afghan parliament on Monday and gunmen tried to storm the heavily guarded compound, setting off a gunbattle with police that left two people dead as lawmakers were meeting inside to vote on the appointment of a new defense minister.
“Targeting innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan is a clear act of hostility against the religion of Islam,” his office said in a statement, adding that the perpetrators “are criminals who are bound by no creed or religion.”
Afghan security forces managed to repel the attack, killing all seven gunmen and ensuring that no members of parliament were harmed. But the audacious assault came as the Taliban captured two districts in as many days in the country’s north, displaying their ability to operate on multiple fronts.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the attack began with a car bomb explosion near the entrance to parliament. Gunmen then attempted to storm the compound but were pushed back by security forces and eventually corralled into a nearby building that was under construction.
Sediqqi later said all seven attackers were killed by police and that no members of parliament were harmed. “It is over now,” he said.
Sediqqi said a woman and a 10-year-old girl were killed. Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ismail Kahousi said 31 civilians were wounded in the parliament attack, including two women and two children.
Sidiqa Mubarez, a member of parliament, said the building was rocked by the large explosion and that some people were wounded by flying glass. She said the explosion happened shortly after Masoom Stanekzai had arrived to be confirmed as defense minister, a post that has been vacant for nine months. The vote was delayed by the attack.
The Taliban claimed the attack. The militant group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told The Associated Press by telephone that it targeted Stanekzai and the parliament itself. He said the assault showed the “capability of the mujahedeen, who can even attack the parliament in the capital.”
An AP reporter who witnessed part of the assault heard heavy gunfire outside parliament and saw black smoke billowing from the entrance as ambulances raced to the scene. The reporter later heard sporadic shooting from the building where the militants were said to be holed up. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 21, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, China, Food & Drink, Global | Tags: Aung San Suu Kyi, Beijing, Burma, Cat meat, China, Communist Party of China, Dog, Dog meat, Food safety, Hong Kong, Humane Society International, List of British comedians, President of the People's Republic of China, Ricky Gervais, Twitter, Xi Jinping, Xinhua News Agency
Alyssa Abkowitz writes: The dog days of summer have arrived.
As locals prepare for the annual Yulin Dog Eating Festival in China’s Guangxi region, animal rights organizations are unleashing high-profile figures and waging global social media campaigns in an effort to bring the event to heel.
“An estimated 10,000 dogs are slaughtered for the annual festival, which marks the traditional start of summer and will occur on June 22 this year. Festival participants typically pair dog meat with lychees and a bevy of grain alcohol.”
As of June 18, Animals Asia, a Hong Kong based advocacy group, said that within the past two weeks, around 70,000 people had signed a letterasking China’s dog meat traders to stay away from the festival. It’s the first year Animals Asia has run a petition, the group said.
British comedian Ricky Gervais has partnered with Humane Society International to campaign against the festival. Mr. Gervais recently tweeted out, “Please help our best friend. #StopYuLin2015.” He included a photo of a canine with lipstick rings on its face, along with the caption: “The only marks you should leave on a dog.”
Humane Society International also launched a letter-writing campaign and has bestowed the name “Ricky” (in Mr. Gervais’ honor) to a black-and-white pooch rescued from a Yulin slaughterhouse last month. According to the Humane Society, 400,000 people have used the organization’s websiteto send messages directly to Guangxi’s Communist Party secretary, Peng Qinghua. Mr. Peng could not be reached for comment, and Humane Society officials did not immediately respond to a request for further details on how the messages were delivered and whether they had successfully reached his office.
[Read the full text here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]
Raise UR Paw, a non-profit in Canada, said that as of June 15 its letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the petition website change.org had received more than 340,000 signatures. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 20, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global | Tags: Austria, Graz, Kleine Zeitung, ORF (broadcaster), Siegfried Nagl, Sport utility vehicle, Styria, Vienna
Lizzie Dearden reports: A seven-year-old boy is reportedly among the three people killed in Austria by a man who ploughed his car into crowds in the country’s second-largest city and then reportedly started stabbing people.
“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”
A witness told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that dead bodies were left lying face down in the road after the vehicle sped through streets near the the historical Herrengasse in Graz.
One of the victims at the scene of the rampage in Graz, Austria
“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”
The killing only stopped when the driver parked his battered car outside a police station.
More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.
The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.
Police are not currently investigating terrorism as a motive and the suspect is believed to be suffering from mental illness.
Witnesses recounted how the man drove his vehicle into crowds apparently at random, sending pedestrians and cyclists crashing into the windscreen and rolling over the bonnet.
Blood could be seen on the pavement after people were run over in Graz earlier today
Dr Sea Rotmann, who was nearby, told Sky News: “I had a friend who was there and she saw people flying through the air. She saw bodies lying there, it was absolute chaos and mayhem.
“The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.”
“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”
Police said the stabbing happened outside a grocery shop, where a man was seriously injured and a woman wounded less severely.
Paramedics treat a person at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria
“More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.”
The incident started at around 12.15pm local time (11.15am BST), sending screaming shoppers running into shops for safety.
A statement from the city council said: “At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the centre of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken.
“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”
A spokesperson said the killing spree started in Zweiglgasse, where one person died, and the driver continued through the city and over the Schönaugasse bridge to Herrengasse, ploughing into a cafe seating area in the Hauptplatz (main square).
A witness speaking to the Wiener Zeitung compared the sound of chairs and tables being knocked over by the speeding car to a “gunfight”.
Paramedics at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria
The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, was riding his Vespa only metres away from the car as it screamed down Zweiglgasse and said he heard a “loud bang” behind him. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 19, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Religion | Tags: Bishops' Conference of France, Catholic Church, Church (building), Dalil Boubakeur, France, French Council of the Muslim Faith, Islam in France, Islamic state, Mosul, Muslim
The sale of church buildings has become commonplace in France – but a recent proposal to convert a church to a mosque has triggered a nationwide controversy. Church congregations in France are dwindling and the town of Vierzon is no exception. With a population of only 27,000, Vierzon is home to six Roman Catholic churches. To balance its books, the local diocese decided to sell one of the churches. But tempers flared after a Moroccan Muslim organization said it wanted to buy the church and convert it to a mosque.
European Journal – YouTube
Posted: June 19, 2015 Filed under: Global, Russia, War Room | Tags: Baltic states, EUROPE, European Union, Jens Stoltenberg, Moscow, NATO, RUSSIA, Russian Armed Forces, Soviet Union, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin
Zagan (Poland) (AFP) – NATO member Poland said Thursday that the post-Cold War period of peace is “now over”, as the European Union grapples with various crises including the Ukraine conflict and terrorism.
“Because there are more and more crises erupting around Europe… It’s not only the Ukrainian and Russian crisis but also ISIS and a number of different crises in northern Africa.”
Poland’s defence minister spoke alongside NATO head Jens Stoltenberg in western Poland while attending the first full exercise of the Western defence alliance’s new rapid reaction force — part of NATO’s biggest defence reinforcement since the Cold War.
“I think it’s a task for all of us to persuade the public that they should be ready to do more before it’s too late.”
— Defense Minister Tomasz Siemonia
“After tens of years of peace, that peaceful period after the Cold War is now over,” Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told reporters in Zagan.
“Because there are more and more crises erupting around Europe… It’s not only the Ukrainian and Russian crisis but also ISIS and a number of different crises in northern Africa,” he said, using an acronym to refer to the jihadist Islamic State group.
He added that Europe had to do more to defend itself, saying “I think it’s a task for all of us to persuade the public that they should be ready to do more before it’s too late.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 17, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Global, Law & Justice | Tags: Alan Leong, Beijing, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, China, CY Leung, Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Mainland China, Pan-democracy camp, Pro-Beijing camp
For the Chinese government, the defeat was a blow to its effort to integrate Hong Kong into the mainland. And it was a rare defeat for the country’s Communist Party
HONG KONG — Isabella Steger
reports: Hong Kong’s legislature rejected a Beijing
-backed election-reform plan, ending a year of turmoil in the city and dealing a setback to the former British colony’s relationship with mainland China.
The outcome was expected, but the vote was called abruptly amid the second day of debate for the package, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to vote for their leader for the first time but required that candidates be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee.
“After about 20 months of intense political wrangling, many people feel fatigued. No matter what the result today, society needs some time to calm down and reflect on what has happened over these past 20 months, and think about the future direction of Hong Kong.”
— Carrie Lam, the city’s No. 2 official who has spearheaded the effort to sell the electoral overhaul plan
Pro-government lawmakers walked out of the legislature before the vote, leaving the chamber filled with mostly opposition lawmakers, who had vowed to reject the plan. The vote was 28 against and eight in favor, with 34 not voting. The vote would have required a two-thirds majority to pass.
“After about 20 months of intense political wrangling, many people feel fatigued,” said Carrie Lam, the city’s No. 2 official who has spearheaded the effort to sell the electoral overhaul plan, in concluding remarks in the legislature just before the vote. “No matter what the result today, society needs some time to calm down and reflect on what has happened over these past 20 months, and think about the future direction of Hong Kong.”
Pro-democracy lawmaker Charles Mok is surrounded by veto signs during his speech in Hong Kong’s legislature on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
“We used our sacred vote today to veto a fake universal suffrage proposal. We helped Hong Kong people send a clear message to Beijing that we want real choice. This isn’t the end of the democracy movement in Hong Kong. A new chapter starts today.”
— Alan Leong, a pro-democracy legislator, told reporters after the vote
The vote on Thursday marks probably the most critical event in Hong Kong’s political development since pro-democracy activists started angling for greater democracy in the territory in the 1980s. Ms. Lam said Thursday that she couldn’t predict at what point Hong Kong’s democratic development would resume.
The rejection of the reform proposal was a victory for pro-democracy legislators who stuck to their pledge to reject the plan. The group had come under pressure from Beijing, which said they could be held to account for their votes. It was a serious defeat for Hong Kong’s government, which was forced to promote Beijing’s plan despite opposition in Hong Kong.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“We used our sacred vote today to veto a fake universal suffrage proposal,” Alan Leong, a pro-democracy legislator, told reporters after the vote. “We helped Hong Kong people send a clear message to Beijing that we want real choice. This isn’t the end of the democracy movement in Hong Kong. A new chapter starts today”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 16, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, War Room | Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza Strip, Gaza War, Hamas, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Palestinian people, Sami Abu Zuhri, United Nations, United Nations Human Rights Council
Hamas violently took control of Gaza in 2007. What have they been doing since? Oppressing the Gazan population and investing billions in terrorism against Israel’s civilian population. Some people choose to close their eyes to the reality on the ground. What about you?
Posted: June 14, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Russia, War Room | Tags: Associated Press, China, Cold War, Crimea, EUROPE, Moscow, Obama administration, RUSSIA, Ukraine, United States
The tiny Polish town of Swietoszow did not officially exist during the Cold War; as home to a massive but secret Soviet tank force ready to strike at the West, it was removed from all public maps and records.
Last week Nato used the base for the first big deployment of a new special force to defend eastern Europe from an increasingly expansionist Russia.
American Black Hawk helicopters thundered in the skies as German tanks rolled from across the nearby border, along with troops and hardware from seven other nations that make up Nato’s Spearhead Force, which was set up last year in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »