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The Daily IndigoStar7 / News Ticker

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#1 Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:15pm
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The Daily IndigoStar7 / News Ticker

I started this thread to quench the thirst of anyone who needs somewhere to cruise for news and get a little bit of a global perspective from as many places as possible on a daily basis. That's my intent.

I encourage anyone of you to contribute and post here also so that all of us have a place to grab a headline that's fairly recent or "Breaking News" etc. This will start out slow but will gain momentum if you contribute as you come across certain items and include the IP addresses for others. 

Try to refrain from entire articles if they're long or thread consuming. Photos/ illustrations/charts etc. are encouraged if it's central to the subject. Give credit where credit is due in the way of author/date etc. 

The name of the game is to be informed as much as possible and although our priorities will differ at times in the content I post (or you post) the message is to stay informed of as many separate things going on all at once all over the planet. 

There's a saying about ignorance being bliss. Bliss based on ignorance isn't in a Turdite's DNA.

Post away with what seems relevant and reinforce that DNA here for other's.Wow

Edited by: ¤ on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:26am
Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:19pm
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The US army leaves Iraq

The US army leaves Iraq

Trucks carrying soldiers and weaponry finished streaming over the border into Kuwait after they had handed over the last American base to the Iraqis.

(short vid) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8963986/The-... 11:01AM GMT 18 Dec 2011 The US military handed over Camp Adder in Diwaniya city to the Iraqi military as uniforms and documents were burnt by American soliders anxious return home.

Hundreds of convoys of military vehicles and civilian trucks have gone south into Kuwait since President Barack Obama last month said troops would leave as scheduled, effectively ending the large-scale US military presence on Iraqi soil.

The US withdrawal from Iraq after nearly nine years of war is believed to be one of the largest removal jobs in history.

At the start of the year logistics experts calculated there were nearly 3 million pieces of equipment to be moved, from airplanes, helicopters and tanks to laptops and lights.

Toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is dead, executed in 2006, and the worst sectarian violence has, at least for now, passed. But Iraq still struggles with insurgents, a fragile power-sharing government and an oil-reliant economy plagued by power shortages and corruption

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:24pm
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U.S. pullout=Iraq fragile/divided / 2011 in 60 seconds/vid

U.S. pullout leaves Iraq fragile, divided

By Rania El Gamal

BAGHDAD | Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:39am EST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - "Baghdad was built by al-Mansour and cherished by Saddam," was a slogan that adorned many buildings in the Iraqi capital before the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Nearly nine years later, as the last American troops leave, a new slogan has taken its place: "Baghdad was built by al-Mansour, humiliated by Saddam and destroyed by the Americans."

Washington pulled its last remaining troops out of Iraq on Sunday.

They are leaving a nation divided across sectarian and ethnic lines and still struggling with an insurgency and political uncertainty after sectarian slaughter drove the country to the brink of civil war in 2006-7.

Nowhere illustrates the splintering of Iraq better than Baghdad, the capital built in 762 A.D. by the Abbasid Caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansour on the Tigris River and for some time the centre of the Muslim world.

One symbol of the division is the Grei'at Bridge, a steel footbridge built in 2008 to enable people to move between Shi'ite areas without having to go through the mainly Sunni Adhamiya district.

Thousands fled their homes during the worst of the sectarian strife, fearing they would be attacked in their own neighborhoods because of their faith. Many never went back.

https://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/18/us-iraq-divisions-idUSTRE7BH0...

Related News

Analysis & Opinion

VIDEO

Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Year in 60 seconds: 2011

A multimedia showcase of some of 2011's top stories, including Japan's tragic earthquake, the Arab Spring, the demise of Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi, the shooting rampage in Norway, famine in Somalia and the Royal Wedding. Video

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:26pm
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France’s AAA Outlook Cut

France’s AAA Outlook Cut; Fitch Reviews Others

By Emma Ross-Thomas - Dec 17, 2011 6:16 AM ET

France’s credit outlook was lowered by Fitch Ratings, which also put the grades of nations includingSpain and Italy on review for a downgrade, citing Europe’s failure to find a “comprehensive solution” to the debt crisis.

Fitch affirmed France’s AAA rating and placed Spain, Italy,Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland and Cyprus on a “Rating Watch Negative” review, which it expects to complete by the end of January, according to a statement released yesterday in London. Separately, Belgium’s credit rating was cut two levels to Aa3 yesterday by Moody’s Investors Service.

The move by Fitch increases pressure on the region’s leaders to end a two-year debt crisis that has seen bailouts ofGreece, Ireland and Portugal. European Union leaders meeting this month in Brussels agreed to forge a tighter fiscal union as the thrust of their efforts, even as the European Central Bankresisted investor calls to ramp up its bond-buying program.

“Of particular concern is the absence of a credible financial backstop,” Fitch said in an e-mailed statement.“This requires more active and explicit commitment from the ECB.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-16/france-s-aaa-outlook-cut-as-fi...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:28pm
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Treasuries Gain Most in Six Weeks

Treasuries Gain Most in Six Weeks

Treasuries advanced the most since early November as optimism that a summit a week ago would spur a resolution of Europe’s debt crisis faded amid political discord, fueling investor demand for U.S. government bonds as a refuge.

The benchmark 10-year note yield touched a two-month low yesterday as Fitch Ratings reduced France’s outlook and put the grades of nations including Spain and Italy on review for a downgrade. Moody’s Investors Service said Dec. 12 it will review all EU countries’ ratings. Record demand at this week’s Treasuries offerings added to optimism investor interest will remain strong at next week’s $99 billion in note sales.

“The appetite for Treasuries remains the biggest on the planet,” said Paul Montaquila, head of fixed-income trading inSan Ramon, California, at Bank of the West. “The uncertainty about what’s going on in Europe is superseding everything else. Treasuries continue to be the No. 1 asset to have.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-17/treasuries-advance-the-most-in...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:44pm
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Egypt pipeline to Israel, Jordan attacked again

Dec. 18, 2011, 12:26 p.m. EST

Egypt pipeline to Israel, Jordan attacked again

By rdaniel[at]marketwatch[dot]com (Robert Daniel), MarketWatch

TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) – A pipeline that transports gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan was bombed for the 10th time this year, but no fire ensued because the line was disabled, Sunday reports say.

Click to Play

Shots fired in Cairo clashes

Nine are dead and hundreds more injured in Cairo after two days of bloody street battles. The prime minister calls for calm. Video courtesy of Reuters.

No group has taken responsibility for the attacks. The latest one – which officials said was perpetrated by attackers in four-wheel-drive vehicles – occurred three miles (5 km) south of al-Arish, reports say.

Gas flows have been halted since the last attack, on Nov. 28. Egypt’s government said then that it would strengthen security along the pipeline.

AFP reported that Egyptian gas accounts for 43% of Israel’s natural-gas supplies and 80% of Jordan’s power-generation requirements.

The pipeline is a key source of revenue for the Egyptian government, Bloomberg News reported.

Egyptians overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February. The country is now holding parliamentary elections, which have been marred by clashes between demonstrators and the military.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/egypt-pipeline-to-israel-jordan-attack...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:48pm
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Iran / Russia $1B Oil Field Deal

Dec. 18, 2011, 9:38 a.m. EST

Iran: Tatneft gets $1B oilfield-development accord

By Benoit Faucon

LONDON -(MarketWatch)- Iran said Monday it had signed a $1 billion oil-field development deal with Russia's OAO Tatneft , clinching a rare contract with a foreign company amid mounting sanctions.

Iran's Oil Ministry website Shana said state-owned Petroleum Engineering and Development Co. had awarded Tatneft a contract to help develop the Zagheh heavy crude field in southwest Iran.

Tatneft didn't return a request for comment.

The contract, which other Iranian outlets said was worth $700 million, is to increase the field's production capacity to 7,000 barrels a day.

The agreement comes as Iran has struggled to replace Western oil majors after they pulled out due to mounting international pressure over Iran's nuclear program...

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/iran-tatneft-gets-1b-oilfield-developm...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:50pm
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Ouch! EU demands £25bn lifeline from the UK

EU demands £25bn lifeline from the UK

David Cameron will come under pressure today to resist demands to contribute more than £25 billion to a new eurozone bail-out.

Photo: Reuters By Tim Ross and Bruno Waterfield 9:51PM GMT 18 Dec 2011 European finance ministers will aim to agree a new €200 billion (£167.7 billion) loan to the International Monetary Fund as part of a deal to save the single currency.

Three quarters of the money is expected to come from eurozone members, but Britain will also be asked to provide funds.

Figures suggest European Union officials expect British taxpayers to be the second largest contributor. The Prime Minister has repeatedly promised not to provide any extra funding for the IMF for the specific purpose of saving the euro and Britain is already liable for £12 billion of loans and guarantees to Ireland, Greece and Portugal.

Earlier this month, EU countries set today as the deadline to raise up to €200 billion in new loans for the IMF to deal with the eurozone crisis.

Finance ministers will hold a conference call in an attempt to reach agreement on the war chest.

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:52pm
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Britain should quit the EU and say good riddance

If the euro is saved then Britain should quit the EU and say good riddance

The season of good cheer may be upon us but in this, my last column of the year, I want to discuss the attractions of good riddance. My subject is Britain’s relations with the EU.

Euro coins are seen in this photo illustration taken in Rome The crisis will play out in one of two ways. One is that the euro collapses and the second is that some sort of fiscal and political union is cobbled together to save the currency union. Photo: Reuters By Roger Bootle, managing director of Capital Economics

8:39PM GMT 18 Dec 2011

Why did we join the EU in the first place? We didn’t; we joined the Common Market, which evolved into the EU. But this disguises a more fundamental truth. In the first couple of decades after the Second World War, the UK was in sharp relative decline. Meanwhile, from a state of devastation, the countries of continental Europe advanced rapidly. By contrast, the non–European world, in which we had played out so much of our history, seemed like a backwater. Add in a dose of Britain’s imagined cultural inferiority and a smidgeon of Vorsprung Durch Technik and you have the explanation.

Whatever was true then, the economic reality now is very different. Many of those backwater countries, including several members of the Commonwealth, are booming. Meanwhile, the countries of the EU have been growing relatively slowly – which looks set to continue.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/8964332/If-the-euro-is-saved...

An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:56pm
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Thanks DPH

Just marking my spot here, so I'll be moved to check in every day. yes

Here's my "bona fides" in the form of an article, the subject of which could be a market mover tomorrow.

Markets are on alert as EU bosses face big decisions

Traders are braced for a volatile day tomorrow ahead of European talks on fresh austerity measures, eurozone bail-out mechanisms and a looming deadline to approve $200bn (£167bn) of bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/8964691/Markets-are-on-alert...

This isn't a metals blog anymore. It's a right wing circle jerk, masquerading as a metals blog.
Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 5:59pm
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Markets are on alert as EU bosses face big decisions

Markets are on alert as EU bosses face big decisions

Traders are braced for a volatile day tomorrow ahead of European talks on fresh austerity measures, eurozone bail-out mechanisms and a looming deadline to approve $200bn (£167bn) of bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

President of the Eurogroup, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker during a news conference at the end of an European Euro group Finance Ministers meeting at the European council headquaters in Brussels, Belgium Jean Claude Juncker said all 27 EU finance ministers would talk to approve or reject extending the funds to the IMF. Photo: EPA By Louise Armitstead

9:03PM GMT 18 Dec 2011

Jean Claude Juncker, the head of the Eurogroup, said all 27 European Union finance ministers, including George Osborne, would talk together tomorrow afternoon to approve or reject extending the funds to the IMF as agreed in Brussels by December 19. The loans would be used by the IMF to support struggling eurozone countries.

The finance ministers are also tasked with devising a voting system to govern the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) after the Brussels decision to replace unanimity sparked a revolt. The ministers are under pressure to have a deal ready for approval by EU leaders when they convene on Tuesday.

There are fears that a failure to reach an agreement on either the IMF loans or the ESM would rattle markets which already have to digest the mass credit rating downgrade warnings on eurozone sovereigns that were announced on Friday night.

Fitch placed six countries, including Spain and Italy, on “negative watch”, while Moody’s downgraded Belgium. Standard & Poor’s has said 15 eurozone states face a downgrade, including France and Germany...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/8964691/Markets-are-on-alert...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 6:02pm
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"Workers of Europe unite, you've only euro chains to lose"

Workers of Europe unite, you've only euro chains to lose

Europe's Left has suffered a calamitous six months. Socialist governments have met historic defeats in Portugal and Spain. Greece’s Pasok party was toppled by an EU technocrat Putsch. Ireland’s soft-Left Fianna Foil lost every seat in Dublin.

Markets fall as EU unity on treaty changes starts to splinter The question for today’s Left is whether it is in their interests to keep apologising for an EU monetary regime that has pushed the jobless rate for youth upwards. Photo: Reuters By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

8:33PM GMT 18 Dec 2011

Almost 97pc of the European Union’s population is now governed by conservative or Right-leaning coalitions, or EU-imposed mandarins. All that is left to social democrats is Austria (8.4m), Denmark (5.5m), and Slovenia (2.1m).

The whole machinery of the European Union (EU) system is under the control of the Right, with variants of Rhenish corporatism in the Council, and pre-modern Hayekians at the European Central Bank (ECB). Whether you regard this Hegelian ascendancy as good or bad, it certainly has profound consequences.

For just as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher protested at Bruges that “we have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level”, the Left might equally protest that they have not fought the long, hard struggle for worker rights in their own democracies to see social welfare rolled back by Brussels and Frankfurt.

In Italy, EU viceroy Mario Monti has more or less been ordered to reform the labour code, to break union power by shifting to “firm-level” wage deals and rewrite Article 18 that protects workers against sacking for economic reasons – the issue that led to the assassination of two labour reformers by the Red Brigades since 1998..

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/89641...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 6:23pm
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The Moscow Times

Wait for WTO Membership Is Over By Irina Filatova The World Trade Organization officially welcomed Russia as a member Friday, bringing the curtain down on the country's 18-year accession process. Siluanov Confirmed As Finance Minister By Roland Oliphant President Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed Anton Siluanov as finance minister — a sign, some analysts say, that the career economist will remain in the Cabinet after presidential elections and that the former minister, Alexei Kudrin, will not return.

4 Dead, 49 Missing After Far East Oil Rig Sinks

By Khristina Narizhnaya At least four people died when the floating Kolskaya oil rig overturned and sank with 67 people on board in the stormy Sea of Okhotsk as it was being towed to shore, 200 kilometers off Sakhalin Island. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/index.php#ixzz1gvol2Fsg
The Moscow Times

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 7:32pm
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WikiLeaks Spy Trial?/Julian Assange could be handed over to US

Julian Assange could be handed over to US, supporters claim

Julian Assange faces being extradited to the US if British authorities agree to Swedish extradition, his supporters have claimed in a letter to the Daily Telegraph.

Julian Assange could face rape and sexual assault charges in Sweden Photo: REUTERS By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent 11:30PM GMT 18 Dec 2011 Signatories including Prof Noam Chomsky, the academic, and film director Ken Loach said that once in Sweden Mr Assange could be handed over to America without the "appropriate legal processes that accompany normal extradition cases."

The WikiLeaks founder was this month given permission by the Supreme Court to appeal against his extradition to Sweden where he could face rape and sexual assault charges.

But his supporters claim that sending him to Sweden would place him under "temporary surrender", putting him at threat of a fast-track extradition to the US, where prosecutors are considering charging him over the release of confidential documents.

In the letter published in the Daily Telegraph

74 prominent supporters write: "The chances of Mr Assange receiving a fair trial in the United States appear remote.

"A number of prominent political figures have called for him to be assassinated, and Joe Biden, the Vice-President, has called him a 'high-tech terrorist'. Given this atmosphere of hostility, we hold serious concerns about his safety once in American custody."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8964279/Julian-Assange-could-b...

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Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 7:43pm
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Violent New Clashes Erupt in Cairo

New clash erupts in Cairo

Updated: 2011-12-17 08:07

CAIRO - At least two people were killed and 222 others injured in the latest clashes between protestors and security forces Friday in Cairo, said the Egyptian health ministry.

The clashes began early Friday morning and continued late Friday. The violence was triggered by rumors that one protester was arrested and beaten by the police, said Islam Khalid, one of the protesters in front of the cabinet building.

New clash erupts in Cairo

A protester throws stones at army soldiers inside a cabinet building near a burning police booth during clashes in Cairo Dec 16, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

But there were different versions of the causes. The ruling military council said the cause of the clashes was that an officer was attacked by protestors.

Unidentified people hurled stones at protestors from the top of several nearby buildings. Protestors believed these people belonged to the security forces and fought back.

Several vehicles and the office building of the Roads and Bridges Authority were set ablaze. Hundreds of protestors threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the building attached to the Transport Ministry late Friday. A Xinhua reporter saw at the scene that firefighters were still struggling to put out the huge fire.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said in a statement that security personnel were not trying to break up the sit-in and were practicing uttermost self-restraint in handling the situation.

The council said those who hurled stones from rooftops were not members of the security forces.

The army will stop any attempt to attack any state buildings, it said. The military council denied the security forces used any real bullets or tear gas canisters in the clashes. Peaceful demonstrations are allowed to all but they should not harm public interests, it said.

The official news agency MENA earlier quoted an official as saying that the clashes were "designed" to drag the country into a state of chaos. One officer was injured by gunshots and transferred to a military hospital, the official said..

https://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2011-12/17/content_14281397.htm

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China trims US debt holdings by Billion$ in October

China trims US debt holdings again

Updated: 2011-12-17 09:55

By Li Xiang (China Daily

BEIJING - China trimmed its holdings of US Treasury debt by $14.2 billion in October, driving its holdings to the lowest level this year.

The move came against a backdrop of recent yuan weakness and on the declining positions of Chinese banks for foreign exchange purchases, an indicator of capital outflows.

Analysts said that the move to cut the US debt holdings indicated an attempt by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) to increase its cash holdings of dollars in order to shore up the value of the yuan.

The yuan has been faced with increasing downward pressure as investors sold the currency and sought a safe haven in the dollar amid a grim outlook for the global economy.

"The low level of China's holding of US debt indicates the huge pressure of capital outflow that the country has been faced with," said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with Industrial Bank Co Ltd.

"The central bank is increasing its holdings of dollars in cash, preparing to sell them in the market if necessary to offset the impact of liquidity outflows," he said.

The yuan traded higher on Friday after touching the low end of its permitted daily trading range for 12 consecutive sessions, the longest run of trading days in which the yuan had weakened.

China held a total of $1.13 trillion of US Treasury debt as of October 2011, roughly accounting for 24 percent of total foreign holdings of US debt, according to the US Treasury Department. Despite the latest cut, China remains the largest foreign holder of US treasuries.

Analysts said that China should continue to accelerate the diversification of its $3.2 trillion foreign-exchange reserves, amid growing global financial uncertainty. Currently, about one-third of China's foreign-exchange reserves is invested in US Treasury bonds.

It was reported that the PBOC plans to create a fund worth $300 billion to invest the country's foreign-exchange reserves in the US and European markets. The fund will reportedly seek to invest in real assets and company shares, rather than government securities.

Gao Xiqing, vice-chairman of China Investment Corp, the country's sovereign wealth fund, said recently that the fund is actively looking for investment opportunities in infrastructure projects in countries including Britain, the US, and Brazil.

https://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2011-12/17/content_14281107.htm

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Pak-Iran border re-opens after three months

TOP STORIES

President Asif Ali Zardari. —AFP Photo

President Zardari expected to return to Pakistan tonight

President Asif Ali Zardari, in Dubai for nearly two weeks for medical treatment, may return to Pakistan on Sunday night, two sources familiar with the president's travel plans said. 10 hours ago

Tens of thousands rally against US in Lahore

Tens of thousands gathered in one of the biggest-ever protests in Lahore on Sunday to condemn Nato and United States over the killing of 24 soldiers along the Afghan border. 7 hours ago

Nawaz vows to fight dictatorship

PML-N President Nawaz Sharif on Sunday vowed that any move to establish dictatorship in the country will be resisted tooth and nail. 7 hours ago

Czech revolution icon Vaclav Havel dies at 75

Former Czech president and hero of the Velvet Revolution Vaclav Havel, who steered his country to independence from Soviet rule in 1989, died on Sunday at the age of 75. 10 hours ago

Pakistan PM rules out military intervention

“There is no room for a martial law in Pakistan,” Gilani said in a brief televised interaction with the media in Lahore. 12 hours ago

Pakistan wants friendly relations with other countries: Khar

Khar also said that next time any decision on foreign policy is made, it will be after taking the parliament into confidence. 13 hours ago

MORE TOP STORIES

Railways schedule disturbed despite sufficient supply of fuel Zardari recovering, will return soon: Malik Pak-Iran border re-opens after three months Last US troops pull out of Iraq Umar steadies Pakistan in Bangladesh Test Gilani upbeat after talks with Kayani

https://www.dawn.com/

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Turkeys Erdogan very ill/ effects on Syria & Iran come into play

Erdogan's illness impacts events around Syria and Iran

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2011, 10:48 PM (GMT+02:00)

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

Extreme concern was quietly voiced Sunday, Dec. 18, by American and European official circles over the state of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's health – and especially its impact on present and impending events in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, including Iran, debkafile's Western intelligence sources report. Those sources say Erdogan is suffering from Rectosigmoid cancer, but were not sure if it had reached the advanced Stage TIII (spread out of the colon to regional lymph nodes).

They also said they did not know what treatment he had received at the Istanbul hospital where he was first admitted and latterly at the Hacettepe Hospital in Ankara.

Sunday, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag, talking to local journalists, told them not to pay attention to the "gossip" that the hospital had prepared a special room for the prime minister to conduct affairs of state, but did not deny it. No denials were issued either of Turkish news reports about Erdogan undergoing "abdominal surgery " on Nov. 26. They also reported that, since he was released, an air force ambulance helicopter had been standing outside his home.

According to reports flying around Ankara Sunday, which were neither confirmed nor denied, the Turkish prime minister is back in hospital.

debkafile's sources would only admit they are worried because the lengthy medical treatment he needs has already had an effect on the state of Middle East decision-making, especially in relation to the urgent Syrian crisis.

Thursday night, Dec. 15, Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul led a top military command council meeting in Ankara to review preparations for war on two possible fronts - Syria and Iran, if Tehran decides to come to Bashar Assad's aid.

On Friday, the Turkish prime minister met US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who flew in from Baghdad.

When Turkish journalists asked after his health, Erdogan replied: "I'm fine and I will be better."

Our sources point out that whatever decisions were made at the Turkish military council conference and the consultations between Turkish and American security chiefs, Erdogan's ill health was clearly uppermost in every mind in Ankara – and not only there.

In Washington, there is considerable anxiety. US President Barack Obama regards Erdogan as a personal friend and his senior ally in the execution of administration Middle East policies, especially with regard to Iran and Syria. The two leaders were recently described by insiders as having developed "intimate relations of trust." According to some sources, they had at least 14 phone conversations in recent months.

The question asked in Washington is this: Is the Turkish leader in fit condition to continue to help the Obama administration carry forward their agreed plans in the region?

They were not encouraged by the comment heard from Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc while Erdogan was away from Ankara.

He chastised the ruling Justice and Development Party –AKP for "divisions… in Edrogan's absence…" over a bill for regulating the nomination of party candidates.

Turkish pundits saw those "divisions" as symptoms of a power struggle already afoot over the Erdogan legacy.

And so the next day, Arinc admitted "he had made a very big mistake" in bringing the argument out in the open.
There were no comments in Israel on the Turkish prime minister's medical condition.

https://debka.com/

An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 8:05pm
Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 8:13pm
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The Pitfalls of the Merkozy Fiscal Pact

More Problems than Answers

The Pitfalls of the Merkozy Fiscal Pact

By dt[at]spiegel[dot]de" rel="nofollow">Thomas Darnstädt

Flags in Berlin's government district: New plans for a European fiscal compact could cause headaches for the German government.Zoom AP

Flags in Berlin's government district: New plans for a European fiscal compact could cause headaches for the German government.

The new fiscal compact that was agreed to at last week's EU summit is supposed to help Europe out of the debt crisis. But it represents a briar patch of thorny legal and political questions. Until now, Chancellor Merkel's government has adopted a take-it-or-leave-it approach with its euro rescue efforts. With the new pact, that is likely to change.

Last week's European Union summit has created more problems than it has solved. By agreeing to enter into a fiscal compact that would tighten control over national budgets and enact automatic sanctions against deficit offenders, the heads of state and government who make up the European Council have left the solid ground of EU law and entered into uncharted legal territory.

With British Prime Minister David Cameron unwilling to join the other EU member states in modifying the Lisbon Treaty to allow Brussels greater influence over member states' budgets, the rest of the summit participants agreed to enter into a new treaty entirely, one without the United Kingdom. The negotiations over this "17-plus treaty," which will include all countries within the euro zone as well as other willing EU members, are supposed to be completed by March.

Those who sign the treaty will pledge to keep their own budgets in order, with a maximum structural deficit of 0.5 percent of gross domestic product per year and so-called "debt brakes" anchored in national constitutions to automatically correct any violations of that limit. Those who sign up will also agree to subject themselves to a tough sanctions mechanism if their budgets get out of control, with the European Commission required to impose harsh penalties on states that violate the terms of the pact -- unless a qualified majority of EU members supports making an exception in a particular case. In return, crisis-stricken countries that apply for an EU bailout will be obliged to submit their national budgets to Brussels for approval.

But is that all even possible? Can a majority of EU states simply bow out of a common EU treaty and agree on something new instead? David Cameron, no longer part of the new club, has stated that he doesn't accept the other member states' decision to go it alone, but those on the Continent seem unperturbed. This is not the first time that EU member states have agreed on special treaties that are not signed by all members. The Schengen Agreement, for example, which removed border controls among most but not all EU states, was another case in which London declined to participate. And the example of the European Social Charter offers proof that a decision to opt out doesn't need to be permanent. This treaty, too, was originally adopted without British participation, but would later be signed by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Not the Optimal Solution

In the opinion of Christian Calliess, a professor of European law at Berlin's Free University, such "additions" to the EU treaties may not be "the optimal solution," but they are "a viable way" to move the European project forward. The problem is that such additions don't rest on a firm legal foundation, a fact that could come dramatically to light if disagreements should arise. What will happen, for example, if one country refuses to accept the Commission's deficit penalties on the grounds that such measures aren't stipulated in the Lisbon Treaty? Would that country's signature on the stricter 17-plus treaty be sufficient to enforce the penalties?

Such a conflict touches on a problem that has dogged the EU for years: Which is more powerful, EU law or international law?

https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,803923,00.html

Graphic: The euro zoneZoom

An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - 8:25pm
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Iran airs CIA spy's confession / Iranian News

Iran airs CIA spy's confession

A CIA spy recently detained in the Islamic Republic confesses to having been on an anti-Iran mission. 1 hr ago

Gazans celebrate release of prisoners

Thousands of Gazans celebrate Israel's release of 550 Palestinian prisoners. 56 mins ago

Twelve biggest US lies of 2011

A US magazine has selected 12 of the most blatant lies Washington offered the world in 2011. 7 hrs ago

Kazakhstan violence death toll hits 13

Clashes between Kazakhstan police and oil field workers have left 13 dead. 6 hrs ago

Egyptian troops savagely attack women

Egyptian forces brutalize female protesters in the country's capital. 1 hr ago

Report: Ex-Mexican officials US spies

More than 80 ex-Mexican officials are reportedly working as spies for the US. -2 mins ago

https://www.presstv.ir/

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