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Journalist: To end war ------
prosecute UK, US officials
who wage(d) it illegally
October 22nd, 10:12pm (PressTV)
The world must finally put an end to the impunity of war
 criminals, by holding US and UK officials responsible 
for launching the illegal war on Iraq, done without
 the approval of the UN Security Council, and 
prosecuting them --- under the Nuremberg 
principles, US journalist Don DeBar said.
DeBar made the remarks in an interview with Press TV while
commenting on a report which has revealed that the British
military inquiries into abuse against Iraqi nationals... have
been closed without a single prosecution being brought,
even though the credibility of many "shocking and 
shameful incidents" during the war in the Middle 
Eastern country, have been confirmed.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement 
this week that the Service Police Legacy Investigations, 
which was looking at claims of abuse in Iraq, had now 
"officially closed its doors."
In March 2003, the US and Britain invaded Iraq in blatant
 violation of international law and under the pretext of 
finding WMDs; but no such weapons were ever 
discovered in Iraq.
More than one million Iraqis were killed - as the result of
 the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq
--- according to the California-based investigative 
organization, Project Censored.
The US war in Iraq cost US taxpayers $1.7 trillion with
 an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war
expenses that could grow to more than
$6 trillion over the
 next four decades counting
interest, according to a study
 called Costs of
War Project  ---  by the Watson Institute for 
International Studies at Brown University.
DeBar told Press TV that the Iraq war 
was illegal from the very beginning.
"It is illegal for a nation to make war on another nation if it 
does not have the approval of the UN Security Council, if 
any of those nations are signatories to the original UN 
Charter. And it’s been adopted - that happened with 
the US, as a charter member of the UN -- and it was 
approved by the US Senate in the 1940s.

the US involvement in Iraq from
the beginning, and 
the UK involvement in Iraq
from the beginning, 
was illegal,” he said.
“And under the Nuremberg standards, which would then
 apply, each and every death consequent – intentional 
or not - to either US or UK military action there, or 
condoning of the US action there, by the media 
or public officials, or any act facilitating that, 
is an individual war crime. And, by the way,
 there’s a death penalty for that,” the 
journalist noted.
“No one will prosecute these people. That’s why I started
 with the word impunity. And we might bookend with that
 because that’s the problem. And until the world puts an
 end to that impunity, until the world sees the major 
contradiction in all international relations, is US, 
UK, and EU imperialism, then it’s going to 
continue until this eats our species,” 
he stated.
A damning White House memo had revealed details of the
 so-called “deal in blood” forged by former British Prime
 Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush
 over the Iraq war.
The document, titled “Secret... Memorandum for the
 President”, was sent by then-US Secretary of State 
Colin Powell to President Bush on March 28th,
a week before Bush’s summit with Blair
at his 
Crawford ranch in Texas.
The sensational memo, revealed that Blair had agreed to
 support the war a year before the invasion even started
 while publicly, the British prime minister was working
 find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
The document also disclosed that Blair agreed to act as a
 spin doctor for Bush and convince a skeptical public that 
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass
 Destruction, which actually did not exist.
In response, Bush would flatter Blair and give the 
impression that London was not Washington’s 
poodle but an equal partner in the
 “special relationship.”
Powell told Bush that Blair “will be with us” on the 
Iraq war, and assured the president that “"the UK 
will follow our lead in the Middle East."
Blair has always denied the claim that he and Bush 
signed a deal “in blood”, at Crawford, to launch a 
war against Iraq that began on March 20th, 2003, 
that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.
The Powell memo, however, showed how Blair and 
Bush secretly prepared the Iraq war plot behind 
closed doors at Crawford.
Powell told Bush: “He will present to you the strategic, 
tactical and public affairs lines, that he believes will 
strengthen global support for our common cause.”

 Free Assange human chain  rocks British capital


 Julian Assange wins High Court bid 
to appeal against extradition to US 
over spying charges
by Amy-Clare Martin
(May 21st, 3:42pm
(The Independent)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won a last-
ditch bid to appeal his extradition to the US 
to face espionage charges.
High Court judges on Monday granted him permission to 
appeal his removal to the US where he is being 
prosecuted over an alleged conspiracy to 
obtain and disclose national defence 
information over the publication of 
hundreds of thousands of leaked 
documents on the Afghanistan 
and Iraq wars.
The decision has granted the 52-year-old a reprieve in 
order for lawyers to challenge his extradition at a full 
appeal hearing at a later date.
It was feared he could have been put on a plane within 
days if his bid was denied. However, his legal team 
had vowed ---- to apply to the European Court of 
Human Rights for an emergency injunction to
halt his removal, if they were unsuccessful.
Members of Mr Assange’s legal team and family, including
 his wife Stella Assange and his father John Shipton, 
could be seen embracing after the ruling.
Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the Royal Courts
 of Justice for the crunch hearing on Monday, with cheers 
erupting after the judgment was handed down.
Addressing crowds Ms Assange accused the US of 
“fumbling through their arguments” and “trying to 
paint lipstick on a pig”, adding: “Today marks a 
turning point.”
“Julian must be freed. The case should be abandoned.
 He should be compensated,” she told supporters.
“He should be given the Nobel Prize and he should walk
 freely with the sand beneath his feet. He should be 
able to swim in the sea again. Free Assange.”
The victory comes after lawyers for the Australian-born 
publisher, who is being held at high security prison 
HMP Belmarsh, asked for the go-ahead to 
challenge a previous ruling over his 
extradition in a two-day hearing 
in February.
His team claim that he could face up to 175 years in prison 
if he is convicted of publishing hundreds of thousands 
of leaked documents and argue that the decision to
 prosecute him is “state retaliation” for his 
political views.
Last month Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson 
dismissed most of Mr Assange’s legal arguments but 
said that unless assurances were given by the US 
he would be able to bring an appeal on 3 grounds.


Palestinians are being slaughtered in front of your eyes

UKMTO reports: ship evacuated 
after YAF operation sparked fire
June 15th, 3:28pm
(Al Mayadeen English)
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) 
has announced that a merchant vessel's crew had been 
safely evacuated following a fire that caused the ship 
to start sinking.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) 
reported on Saturday that the crew of a merchant vessel 
had been evacuated after the ship caught fire and began 
sinking. This incident occurred 98 nautical miles east
 of Yemen’s Aden on June 13.
Earlier today,  the USCENTCOM said in a statement that a
 vessel targeted by the Yemeni Armed Forces earlier this 
week in the Red Sea was abandoned by its crew and is 
gradually sinking, It added, that one mariner 
remains missing.
The ship TUTOR was attacked by YAF with several 
unmanned surface vessels, drones, and ballistic 
missiles, spokesperson General Yahya Saree 
announced on Wednesday. This marked the
 first successful strike on a vessel ----- 
using sea drones.
CENTCOM added that the sea drones' impact resulted 
in "severe flooding and damage to the engine room," 
adding that the vessel's sailors, were picked up by
the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and partner forces.
Saree stated then that the operation came after the 
ship's owning company violated the YAF's ban on
 entry into the ports of occupied Palestine, 
confirming that the operation resulted in 
significant damage to the ship, putting 
it at risk of sinking.
On Thursday, the general announced a series of other 
operations, including a missile strike targeting the 
Verbena cargo ship in the Arabian Sea. He said 
then that the vessel was directly hit, leading 
to a fire erupting on board.
One marine was wounded, due to the operation and was 
evacuated, CENTCOM reported, adding that the fire was
 "extinguished" ...and the ship continued sailing in the
 Gulf of Aden, without specifying in which direction.
Prior to the operations this week, the United States and 
Britain launched on Wednesday a joint aggression on 
Yemen ..... targeting a governmental facility in the 
al-Gabin district and a radio station in the
 Ramyah governorate. 
It resulted in the injury of five civilians, including 
one who was critically injured, Al Mayadeen's 
correspondent in Sanaa reported. 
Heavy material damage -- was also
recorded in the targeted buildings. 
Source: Agencies
International pressure, economic 
boycotts, divided cabinet push
Israel toward truce: Analyst
by Alireza Kamandi
June 15th, 3:18pm
International pressure, economic boycotts and a split 
cabinet have pushed Israel to consider a truce deal 
with the Palestinian resistance, says Shabnam 
Palesa Mohamed, a South African human 
rights activist, journalist, and lawyer.
In an interview with the Press TV website, Mohamed said 
Israel intends to further colonize Gaza and exploit the 
besieged territory’s offshore gas. Therefore, any 
ceasefire deal - must be permanent.
Osama Hamdan, the senior Hamas representative 
in Lebanon, said on Wednesday that the Israeli 
occupation is hindering the ceasefire in Gaza 
after the Palestinian resistance movement 
submitted its response to the US-drafted
 and UN-endorsed ceasefire proposal.
He rejected US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s 
remarks ...about planning for the governance of 
post-war Gaza, asserting that Palestinians 
will decide their future.
“The Israeli proposal seeks a temporary ceasefire 
to catch its breath before resuming the war,” 
Hamdan noted in his remarks, referring to 
the Biden plan, which the US claims 
has Israel's support.
Regarding what prompted Israeli officials to consider 
ceasefire negotiations, Mohamed told the Press TV 
website that international pressure, economic 
boycotts, and a divided cabinet in Tel Aviv 
have forced the regime to submit to
 the resistance.
However, she added, the pretense of being interested
 in a ceasefire is a cover ------ to procure more deadly 
weapons from the US military-industrial complex.
Commenting on the full-scale war that Israel has waged 
against the Gaza Strip by air, sea, and ground, the
 rights activist stated that what the world is 
witnessing in Gaza is not a war, but 
genocide rooted in “geo-political 
and socio-economic factors.”
These factors include the intention to colonize more 
Gaza land, steal Gaza’s offshore gas, and expand 
the settler-colonial project across the territory 
and the rest of the occupied territories.
However, the regime leaders and their financers have 
underestimated the world’s tolerance for military 
occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing, 
Mohamed emphasized.
She highlighted that the shifting geo-political landscape 
means the US government cannot bully, blackmail, or 
brutalize people --- as they did in Iraq and Libya.
With the US approaching a pivotal election in November, 
US voters do not want more horror inflicted on
Palestinians using US taxpayer funds.
Since October 7, 2023, more than 37,000 people in Gaza 
have been killed by Israeli forces, most of them children 
and women. More than two million have been displaced 
and rendered homeless.
On the prosecution of Israeli war criminals, the 
South African lawyer and activist said the 
anti-war movement, is probably the 
strongest it has ever been.
“Horrifying breaches of international law must 
be addressed. But it is not certain that the
 International Criminal Court can achieve
 this,” she stated.
“War devastates lives, dignity, physical and mental 
health, homes, education, free speech, and other 
fundamental human rights and civil liberties. 
Peace --- through diplomacy, dialogue, and 
mediation is possible. But it is up to us 
to reject warmongering ....and 
wage peace.”
Abu Obeida Urges Hajj Pilgrims 
to Pray for Gaza’s Resistance 
Against ‘Israel’ on Behalf of 
Islamic Ummah
June 15th, 1:26pm
(al Manar)
The spokesperson for Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, Abu 
Obeida, delivered a powerful message to the Islamic 
Ummah on Saturday, as Muslims gather on Mount 
Arafat for Hajj. With the ongoing Israeli war on 
Gaza exceeding 250 days, Abu Obeida called
 on pilgrims to remember Palestinians and 
their Resistance during their 
sacred journey.
As pilgrims visit the holy sites in Mecca, Abu Obeida 
reminded them that Palestinians and Resistance 
fighters are engaged in Jihad against the 
enemies of Allah. He emphasized that
 the Resistance in Gaza is bravely 
fighting against the occupying 
Israelis, representing the 
entire Islamic Ummah.
In a message posted on his Telegram channel, Abu 
Obeida - urged pilgrims to offer sincere prayers for 
Gaza and its people during the holy rituals of Hajj. 
He emphasized the importance of standing
in solidarity with the mujahideen in 
Palestine, during these 
blessed times.
Source: Palestine Today (translated 
by Al-Manar English Website team)
June 14: ‘Axis of Resistance’ 
operations against Israeli 
June 15th, 12:57pm
by Press TV Website Staff
Amid Israel's genocidal war on Gaza, which has killed 
some 37,400 Palestinians so far, resistance groups 
in Palestine and across the region continue their 
operations against the Tel Aviv regime and its
 Western backers.
The major operations carried out by the Palestinian 
and regional resistance groups on Friday, June 14, 
are as follows:
Al-Qassam Brigades’ operations on June 14:
Blew up a previously-rigged tunnel opening on an Israeli 
infantry force, killing and wounding its members, east 
of the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in Gaza City.
Targeted an Israeli military Merkava tank with an Al-
Yassin 105 shell in the Saudi neighborhood of Tal Al-
Sultan, west of the city of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.
Targeted Israeli forces stationed south and southwest 
of the Tal Al-Sultan neighbourhood in the city of Rafah, 
southern Gaza, with mortar shells.
Targeted a gathering of Israeli forces penetrating east of
 the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in Gaza City with several 
120 mm mortar shells.
Targeted Israeli forces penetrating southwest of the 
Tal Al-Sultan neighbourhood in Rafah, southern
 Gaza, with mortar shells.
Engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli forces west of Tal 
Al-Sultan neighbourhood in Rafah city, southern Gaza, 
and targeted three Merkava tanks with Al-Yassin 
105 shells.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades’ operations on June 14:
Targeted gatherings of Israeli forces southwest of Tal 
Al-Sultan neighborhood in the city of Rafah, southern 
Gaza Strip, with a barrage of heavy mortar shells.
Targeted gatherings of Israeli forces in the vicinity of the 
"Kerem Shalom" site east of Rafah, southern Gaza, with
 a barrage of heavy mortar shells.
Bombed the headquarters of the Israeli military in the 
"Netzarim" axis south of Gaza City with a number of 
mortar shells.
Al-Quds Brigades’ operations on June 14:
Targeted "Sderot" and settlements of the Gaza 
envelope with a rocket barrage.
Targeted a group of Israeli soldiers invading 
central Gaza City with anti-personnel Barq
 explosive projectiles.
Targeted a command and control centre of the Israeli
military with 107mm rockets in the “Netzarim” axis.
Martyr Omar Al-Qasim Forces’ operations on June 14:
Detonated an explosive device on a D9 military bulldozer 
south of the Bank of Palestine in the axis of advance in 
the Tal Al-Sultan neighbourhood, west of the city of 
Rafah, southern Gaza.
Targeted Israeli military position west of the "Netzarim" 
axis south of Gaza City with mortar shells.
Mujahideen Brigades’ operations on June 14:
Targeted a building.. housing Israeli military force in
 the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood with a Saeer missile.
Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades’ operations on June 14:
Targeted Israeli regime forces stationed around the 
"Kerem Shalom" crossing, east of Rafah, southern 
Gaza, with a barrage of 107-calibre rockets.
Hezbollah’s operations on June 14:
Eastern Sector:
The Ramtha site in the occupied Lebanese 
Kfar Shuba hills was targeted with rockets.
The Samaqa site in the occupied Lebanese 
Kfar Shuba hills was targeted with rockets.
The "Metulla" site was targeted 
with appropriate weapons.
Dozens of Katyusha and Falaq missiles were 
launched at the "Kiryat Shmona" and 
"Kfar Sold" settlements in response 
to Israeli attacks on southern 
Lebanese villages.
Buildings used by Israeli soldiers in the 
"Metulla" settlement were targeted 
with appropriate weapons
The espionage systems in the "Misgav Am" site
 were targeted with appropriate weapons.
A deployment of Israeli soldiers around the Ramtha 
site in the occupied Lebanese Kfar Shuba hills 
was targeted with rockets.
A technical system in the "Metulla" site
 was targeted with an attack drone.
Buildings used by Israeli soldiers in the "Margaliot" 
settlement were targeted with Katyusha rockets.
Buildings used by Israeli soldiers in the "Misgav Am" 
settlement were targeted with Katyusha rockets.
The Ramim barracks were targeted with rockets.
Buildings used by Israeli soldiers in the
 "Metulla" settlement were targeted 
with appropriate weapons.
Western Sector:
A gathering of Israeli soldiers in Khallet 
Wardeh was targeted with rockets.
The espionage equipment in the Jal Al-Deir 
site was targeted with appropriate weapons.
A deployment of Israeli soldiers around the 
Baram forest was targeted with rockets.
A gathering of Israeli soldiers in the "Karantina" 
forest was targeted with artillery shells.
A gathering of Israeli soldiers in Khallet 
Wardeh was targeted with rockets.
Islamic Resistance in Iraq’s operations on June 14:
Targeted the port of Haifa in the occupied 
Palestinian territories with a barrage 
of drones.
Targeted the "Ramot David" Air Base in 
the occupied Palestinian territories
 with a barrage of drones.
Imam Khamenei ---- Israeli crimes in 
Gaza left no room for appeasement
June 15th, 12:13pm
(al Manar)
In a powerful message to Muslim pilgrims at the annual 
Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Supreme Leader Imam 
Sayyed Ali Khamenei condemns the atrocities 
committed by the Zionist regime in Gaza, 
stating that the crimes --- have left
 no room for appeasement.
Emphasizing the need for Muslim governments and 
people to show their disavowal of the regime and 
its allies, particularly the United States, he calls 
for tangible action to support the people of 
Gaza --- and tighten the noose around
 the oppressors.
Imam Khamenei touched on the tragedies
 in Gaza, which he said are unparalleled
 in contemporary history.
Those tragedies “along with the audacity of the ruthless 
Zionist regime, which is the embodiment of cruelty and 
villainy, and of course the declining state of Zionism, 
leave no room for any consideration or tolerance by
 any individual, party, government or Muslim 
denomination”, he said.
“This renunciation of the Zionist regime and its 
supporters, in particular, the government of
the United States of America ----- must be 
demonstrated in the words and actions 
of nations and governments, and it 
must impede the actions of 
the murderers.''
“The ironclad resistance of Palestine and the patient, 
oppressed people of Gaza – whose remarkable 
patience and resistance, have earned them 
admiration and respect globally – must be 
fully supported in every way,” Imam 
Khamenei added.
With a focus on the significance of disavowal this year, 
Khamenei urges - for continued solidarity beyond the 
pilgrimage, highlighting the importance of serving 
as a source of assurance for Muslims and a
 source of fear for enemies.
Source: Agencies (edited by 
Al-Manar English Website)
Lebanon’s Hezbollah targets 
Israeli military positions in
 fresh retaliatory strikes
June 15th, 11:33am
Hezbollah has carried out a fresh round of strikes against 
Israeli military positions in the north in response to the 
recent Israeli assassination of a top commander in 
southern Lebanon.
Sami Abdallah, better known by the nom the guerre Abu 
Taleb, was assassinated along with three other people
 in the Israeli strikes that targeted a residential 
building in the southern Lebanese town of
 Jwaya, on Tuesday.
Hezbollah said in separate statements on Saturday that 
its forces had targeted “with guided missiles” Israel’s 
spying equipment & radar systems on Mount Meron,
 as well as a gathering of the occupying regime’s 
soldiers in support of Palestinians in the 
besieged Gaza Strip - and in response
 to the killing of Abdallah.
“In support of our steadfast Palestinian people in 
the Gaza Strip and in support of their brave and 
honourable resistance, and as part of the 
response to the assassination carried 
out by the Zionist enemy in the town 
of Jwaya, the fighters of the Islamic 
Resistance targeted the HQ of the 
Air Surveillance and Operations 
Management Unit at the Meron 
base, with guided missiles, 
hitting & destroying part 
of its equipment --- and
radars” the Lebanese 
resistance movement 
Hezbollah said it also “targeted a position of Israeli 
enemy soldiers at the Hadab Yaroun site with a 
guided missile, achieving a direct hit and 
causing those among them to be killed
and wounded.”
The Israeli regime has repeatedly attacked southern 
Lebanon since October 7, 2023, when it launched a 
ferocious war on the besieged Gaza Strip that has 
so far killed about 37,300 Palestinians, most of 
them women and children.
In retaliation, Hezbollah has launched near-daily
 rocket attacks on Israeli positions in support 
of Palestinians in Gaza.
In its biggest attack since October 8, Hezbollah fired
 on Wednesday around 30 drones and 150 rockets 
at Israel ----- in reprisal for the assassination 
of Abdallah.
Hezbollah has already fought off two Israeli 
wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006. 
The resistance forced the regime 
to retreat, in both conflicts.
'Hezbollah's top achievement' 
Major General Ori Gordin, the head of the Israeli 
military’s Northern Command, on Friday said 
the evacuation of dozens of settlements in 
the north was Hezbollah's “greatest 
“Looking back... I would have prevented the evacuation of 
settlements in the north like Ya’ara, Batsat, and Lehman. 
Hezbollah’s greatest achievement, is the fact that there 
are tens of thousands of displaced people in the north,” 
Gordin said.
The Israeli media stressed, that after eight months of 
living in an area that has turned into a “security belt,” 
settlers express “feelings of anger & disappointment
- due to the long time that has passed - without their
 needs and crisis being addressed.”
Yiftah Ron-Tal, a major general reserve in Israel’s 
occupation army, said a day earlier, that 
Hezbollah had established a “security 
zone” at the northern border
 with Lebanon.
Ron-Tal added that Israel had lost control over the 
Galilee region adjacent to the Lebanese border, 
and Kiryat Shmona, a populated town in the 
north, had been evacuated by settlers.
Israel sparks outcry with X video 
saying ‘there are no innocent
 civilians’ in Gaza
June 15th, 11:27am
The Israeli regime has sparked widespread outcry 
after it posted a video on X claiming that “there 
are no innocent civilians” in the war-torn 
Gaza Strip.
An official Israeli regime X account affiliated with the 
occupying entity’s foreign ministry posted a video 
with the caption “We need to talk... about the 
elephant in the room. Many Gazan civilians 
participated in the horrific events 
of 7 October.”
“It is also reported that Gazan civilians held Israeli 
hostages captive in their homes. The world must 
condemn this in the strongest terms,” it 
further alleged.
Along with some images purportedly belonging to 
Operation Al-Aqsa Storm launched by Hamas on 
October 7, the 51-second video also used a
 portion of an interview given by released
 captive Mia Schem.
In her interview conducted in December shortly after 
she was released, the French-Israeli woman, who 
was speaking in Hebrew with her words 
translated onto the screen in English, 
claimed that - “there are no innocent 
civilians” in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Many people denounced the video as an attempt by 
the Israeli regime to justify the killing of about 
37,300 civilians in the Gaza Strip 
since October.
“This - is disgusting. It is exactly what atrocity 
perpetrators say,” Mark Kersten, a war crimes
 researcher with the Wayamo Foundation, an 
international justice organization,
wrote on X. 
Schem’s outrageous comment in the excerpt of her 
interview forced either the Tel Aviv regime or the 
X to delete the post since it is not available on 
the site. However, the post can still be seen
 on an archive site.
Almost a week after Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, 
Israeli president Isaac Herzog also claimed
 in a press conference, that there were no
 innocent civilians in Gaza,
“It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being 
aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true. They 
could have risen up. They could have fought 
against that evil regime which took over 
Gaza in a coup d’etat,” he alleged.
The Tel Aviv regime.. has accused Hamas
of committing crimes during it operation.
Israel unleashed its Gaza onslaught after the Hamas 
operation. It has killed mostly women and children
 in Gaza over the past more than eight months.
Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on the 
territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water
 to the over two million Palestinians living there.
Anti-Tank Missile Kills, Burns, 
8 Israeli Officers and Soldiers 
in Rafah
June 15th, 10:09am
(al Manar)
Eight Israeli officers and soldiers were killed in a 
missile attack on their vehicle in Rafah, South 
of Gaza, early on Saturday.
The Zionist media outlets broadcast early reports 
about a hard incident in southern Gaza, adding 
that helicopters evacuated dead and injured 
soldiers from the scene.
Hebrew website “Hedashot B’Zman” - indicated that, 
at 5 a.m., 8 “Israeli” soldiers were killed and burned
 due to the launch of an anti-tank missile towards 
an “Israeli” military vehicle in Gaza Strip.
Israeli media reported that 8 Israeli families have 
been notified of the death of their children in 
Gaza after their vehicle was hit by an 
anti-tank missile.
Al-Qassam Brigades and all the Palestinian resistance 
factions in Gaza ---- have continued confronting the 
Zionist aggression for the 253rd consecutive day.
In this regard, Al-Qassam Brigades targeted a Zionist 
“D9” bulldozer with Al-Yassin 105 shell in the Saudi 
neighbourhood of Tel Al-Sultan west of Rafah city, 
south of Gaza Strip.
Source: Al-Manar English Website
Why Is U.S. Restraining ‘Israel’ from
an All-Out War with Hezbollah? 
June 15th, 9:06am
“U.S. scrambling to prevent Israel-Hezbollah war 
amid Gaza ceasefire push” was the title of a 
report published by the US website Axios 
in the context... of following up on the 
developments on Lebanon’s border 
with occupied Palestine.
The Biden administration has grown extremely 
concerned that escalating violence between 
Israel and Hezbollah in recent days will 
deteriorate into an all-out war — and 
is scrambling to prevent it, U.S. 
officials told Axios.
“The U.S. is concerned about Israel rushing into a war 
with Hezbollah - or getting dragged into one - without 
a clear strategy or consideration of the full
 implications of a wider conflict, 
officials say.”
Axios indicated that the White House believes that 
a ceasefire in Gaza is the only thing that would
significantly de-escalate the tensions on 
the Israeli-Lebanese border.
On Tuesday evening, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin 
called his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and 
discussed the situation with Lebanon, 
Pentagon deputy spokeswoman 
Sabrina Singh told reporters.
“We are concerned about an increase in activity 
in the north. We don’t want this to escalate to 
a broad regional conflict and we urge 
de-escalation,” she said.
Source: Al-Manar English Website
Israeli Occupation Intensifies Attacks 
on Rafah and Central Gaza Strip
June 15th, 9:01am
(al Manar)
The war on the Gaza Strip escalated on Day 253 as the 
Israeli occupation forces intensified their attacks on 
the city of Rafah and central areas of Gaza, leading
 to devastating consequences for civilians.
In Rafah, located in southern Gaza, Israeli air, sea, 
and ground bombardments targeted the Saudi 
neighbourhood and Tal al-Sultan. The 
occupation forces expanded their 
ground aggression in the western 
areas of the city, while artillery 
shelling and gunfire continued 
throughout the night, causing 
chaos and destruction.
Central Rafah was not spared from the onslaught, with 
Israeli forces renewing artillery shelling on the 
Shaboura camp. In Khan Yunis, south of the 
Gaza Strip, occupation boats opened fire 
on fishing boats, and Israeli vehicles 
targeted various areas of the city, 
spreading fear and destruction.
The Israeli aggression resulted in the deaths of 19 
people, including an infant, in the Al-Tuffah and Al-
Shuja’iya neighborhoods in Gaza City. Dozens 
more were injured, with many of them being 
women and children ---- highlighting the
 indiscriminate nature of the attacks.
Warning of Catastrophic Levels 
of Hunger in Southern Gaza
As the war rages on -- concerns have been raised about 
the worsening humanitarian situation in southern Gaza. 
The United Nations World Food Program warned of 
catastrophic levels of hunger, citing the 
impossibility of delivering food aid 
due to the ongoing war. 
The organization stressed the urgent need for access 
to essential supplies like clean water, health care, 
and fuel to prevent a further deterioration of food
 security in the region.
With the death toll surpassing 36,265 martyrs and 85,100 
wounded since October 7, the Ministry of Health in the 
Gaza Strip reported that the Israeli occupation 
committed four massacres within 24 hours. 
The toll on children is particularly devastating, with 
over 15,694 children martyred and 34,000 injured 
since the start of the aggression.
Source: Al-Manar English Website 
and Palestinian media
Lebanon’s Hezbollah warns of
 ‘decisive’ response to Israeli 
expansion of war
June 15th, 8:50am
A senior official of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance 
movement has warned the Israeli regime of a 
“decisive” response --- in the case of 
expanding the scope of its war 
on Lebanese soil.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of 
Hezbollah, issued the warning in a ceremony in 
the capital Beirut on Friday as fire exchanges 
between the Lebanese resistance movement 
and Israeli troops intensified over the week 
following the targeted killing of a senior 
Hezbollah commander in the 
country’s south.
Sami Abdallah, better known by the nom the guerre Abu 
Taleb, was killed along with three other people in the 
Israeli strikes that targeted a residential building in
 the southern Lebanese town of Jwaya 
on Tuesday.
Sheikh Qassem said the Lebanese resistance had struck 
several sites in the occupied territories in retaliation for 
Abdallah’s assassination, and would also respond to 
any expansion of the Israeli aggression against 
Lebanon, no matter how limited.
The resistance movement, he said, “targeted barracks, 
military personnel, and combat sites within a distance 
of between three and five kilometres and avoided 
targeting civilians” and engaging in direct
 military action.
“With the Israeli fear of exceeding the limits that could 
lead to war, it is trying to seize opportunities and work 
on limited expansion, but we have a decision that any 
expansion, no matter how limited, will be met with a 
decisive response that will inflict great losses on 
the Israelis,” Sheikh Qassem added.
The senior Hezbollah official cautioned the Israeli regime 
against any further actions and said, “You saw how we 
responded to the assassination of Commander 
Abu Taleb and his companions.”
The Israeli regime has repeatedly attacked southern 
Lebanon since October 7, 2023, when it launched a 
ferocious war on the besieged Gaza Strip that has
 so far killed about 37,300 Palestinians, most of 
them women and children.
In retaliation, Hezbollah has launched 
near---daily rocket attacks on Israeli 
positions in support of Palestinians
 in Gaza.
In its biggest attack since October 8, Hezbollah fired 
on Wednesday around 30 drones and 150 rockets
 at Israel in reprisal for the recent killing of 
Sami Abdallah.
Hezbollah has already fought off two Israeli wars
against Lebanon ------ in 2000 and 2006. The 
resistance forced the regime to retreat 
in both conflicts.

 #BanIsrael: Campaign to ban Israel  from intl. sports competitions  ---gets impetus

Belgium’s Ghent University cuts 
academic relationship with all 
Israeli universities
June 1st, 11:05am
One of the major universities in Belgium, has broken off 
its relationship with all Israeli universities and research 
institutions which it says no longer align with its human 
rights policy.
University of Ghent (UGent) said in a statement that an 
investigation by the public research centre highlighted
 concerns regarding the connections between Israeli 
academic institutions and the Israeli administration, 
military, or security services.
UGent had 18 ongoing partnerships with 
Israeli academic institutions, it added
The investigation also referenced a recent World Court 
ruling which ordered Israel to halt its offensive in the 
southern Gaza city of Rafah - and withdraw from the 
besieged territory, in a case brought by South 
Africa saying Israel is committing genocide
 in the narrow Strip.
The development comes two weeks after UGent 
announced in a statement that it was severing 
ties ------ with three Israeli educational and 
research institutions.
The university’s rector, Rik Van de Walle, said at the 
time that ties were being cut with Holon Institute of 
Technology, MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and
 the Volcani Centre, which carries out 
agricultural research.
“We currently assess these three partners..... as (very) 
problematic according to the Ghent University human 
rights test, in contrast to the positive evaluation 
we gave these partners at the start of our 
collaboration,” Van de Walle said.
Partnerships with MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and 
the Volcani Centre “were no longer desirable” due
their affiliation with Israeli ministries, an 
investigation by the University of Ghent
 found, and collaboration with the Holon 
Institute “was problematic” because it 
provided material support to the army 
for its actions in Gaza.
A spokesperson for the university said 
the move would affect four projects.
Pro-Palestinian protesters in Ghent have been 
demonstrating and occupying parts of the 
university campus since early May 
protesting against the Israeli 
regime’s military onslaught 
in Gaza --- killing nearly 
36,400 Palestinians
 so far.
The protesters told Belgian broadcaster VRT they
 welcomed the decision --- but want to see it 
extended to include the six non-academic 
Israeli institutions that UGent currently 
partners with.
Earlier this week, two other Belgian universities 
announced changes in their partnership with
 Israeli institutions.
The University of Antwerp, said it would continue its 
ongoing research projects with Israeli educational 
institutions, but will put new projects on hold.
The Université Libre de Bruxelles announced
 that it will no longer initiate projects with
its Israeli partners.

No thanks to Israeli goods App

The "No Thanks" application's logo
Google reinstates app that 
helps boycott Israel-linked
December 5th, 9:15pm
Google has reinstated a mobile phone application that helps
 people identify and potentially avoid the products that
 have been made by companies that are linked to the 
Israeli regime.
The application, named "No Thanks," was made available 
again on Google's Play Store on Sunday, days after it 
was removed.
The app was launched last month amid a genocidal and
 yet-ongoing war by the Israeli regime against the Gaza
 Strip, which has so far killed more than 16,000 people.
The developer, named as Ahmad Bashbash, is a Hungary-
based Palestinian from Gaza, who has lost his siblings
the regime's campaign of bloodletting against the 
coastal sliver and its crippling siege.
"I made it (the app) on behalf of my brother and my sister 
who I lost, because of this brutal occupation, and my 
goal is to try to prevent what happened to me from
 happening to another Palestinian," he told 
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
"No Thanks" allows customers to scan products'
 barcodes and be notified if they have been 
made by Israeli-linked companies.
It was taken off the Play Store on November 30th owing to 
its description that read, "Welcome to No Thanks, here 
you can see if the product in your hand supports 
killing children in Palestine or not."
Before being removed ------ it was 
downloaded over 100,000 times.
The new version's description says, "Our app simplifies 
the process of scanning barcodes and searching for 
products that are listed for the boycott movement."
A version designed for Apple products has reportedly 
been developed ----- and is currently under review.

Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov's Birth Day

Today, June 15th, in 1914,
Yuri Andropov, 
leader of the Soviet Union,
is born.
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was the sixth paramount 
leader of the Soviet Union and the fourth General 
Secretary of the Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union. 
Following the 18-year rule of Leonid Brezhnev, Andropov 
served in the post from November 1982 until his death 
in February 1984. 
During his short tenure, Andropov sought to eliminate 
corruption and inefficiency within the Soviet system 
by investigating longtime officials for violations of 
party discipline and by criminalizing truancy in 
the workplace. 
However, upon suffering kidney failure in February 
1983, Andropov's health began to deteriorate 
and a year later, on February 9th, 1984, 
he died after leading the country 
for just 15 months.
''Our foreign policy is also a class policy, because our
Party follows a steady, persistent and honest peace 
policy, which simultaneously, stands unstakeably 
on the principles of proletarian internationalism 
and solidarity with the struggle of the peoples
for freedom, and social progress. There is no 
contradiction in this. We do not expect that 
the monopolistic bourgeoisie ---- and the 
governments which are executing 
their will ---- will endorse under
conditions of detente the 
revolutionary struggle of
the proletariat, or the 
national liberation 
struggle of the 
''Washington and its NATO partners, more and more often,
resort in international relations to the policy of blackmail 
and crude pressure. They try to - impudently - force their 
will on other countries and nations. Imperialist bigwigs 
put forward adventurist doctrines of either a "limited"
nuclear war ------ or a war with the use of only
conventional, non-nuclear weapons.''
''As it is --- we are living in too brittle a world. That 
is why, responsible statesmen must evaluate the 
developments - and adopt a rational decision. It 
is human reason alone that can and must save 
mankind - from this grave danger. We call on 
those who are pushing the world along the 
road of the ever more dangerous arms 
race --- to give up their unrealizable 
hopes of thus achieving military 
superiority in order to dictate 
their will to other peoples 
and states.'' 

the NHS 
--- Taking 

Since 2022 - OAPs and you
have to have ear-syringing
done ''privately'' and this
is just one example.


Police in Britain need ‘significant 
overhaul,’ inquiry says, amid
 run of scandals
February 29th, 3:31pm
Police in Britain need “a significant overhaul,” an inquiry 
says, against the backdrop of the case of an officer 
who committed rape and murder in 2021.
Officer Wayne Couzens was off duty in March that 
year when he forced Sarah Everard, in her 30s,
 from London, into his car, using his police 
credentials. Couzens raped and 
murdered her, later.
Attorney Elish Angiolini, who led the two-stage inquiry, 
said on Thursday the investigation had found a total 
of eight similar incidents reported before the
tragic death of Everard. She was a 
marketing professional.
The police department, the inquiry said, had failed 
on multiple occasions to recognize indicators 
of Couzens’ unsuitability for the role of 
an officer.
“Wayne Couzens was never fit to be a police officer,”
 Angiolini said. “And without a significant overhaul 
----- there is nothing to stop another Couzens 
operating in plain sight.”
Couzens, the inquiry showed, had allegedly
 a very serious sexual assault
against a child ---- 
before his policing
career began.
“Now is the time for change,” Attorney Angiolini said. 
The lawyer urged -- “all those in authority in every 
police force in the country to read this report 
and take immediate action.”
“Given the known under-reporting of sexual offences,
 I believe --- there may be even more victims of 
Couzens’ offending.”
In a statement released on Thursday, Everard’s parents 
and siblings said they hope the “significant findings”
 announced in the first part of the inquiry could
 lead to changes to keep other women safe.
“We believe that Sarah died because he was a 
police officer --- she would never have got
a stranger’s car.”
“As a family, the inquiry has helped us, not just 
because of its significant findings, but 
because its implementation, made 
us feel Sarah’s life was valued 
and her memory honoured.”
The investigation into Couzens generated a major 
purge... which led to more findings in the police 
force, including a cop who had committed 
24 rapes.
Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of Police of the 
Metropolis, initiated the purge. “The scale of
 the change that is needed inevitably 
means.. it will take time,” the
 London police chief said.
In December 2023, over 1,100 police officers 
across England and Wales were under 
investigation for sexual or 
domestic abuse. 
Those serving with the Metropolitan police had the
bleakest record, with 657 individuals accused 
of sexual or domestic abuse --- or both.


United Nations Universal Declaration on Bioethics and 
Human Rights, Article 6 - Consent: Any preventive, 
diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention 
is only to be carried out with the prior, free and 
informed consent of the person concerned. 

Article 3 - Human dignity and human rights: 
The interests and the welfare of the 
individual should have priority over 
the sole interest of science 
or society.



Roger Waters formerly of Pink Floyd, in an open letter,
 calls on his fellow musicians --- to boycott the Zionist
Israeli regime and follow the example of the cultural
boycott against the ex S. African Apartheid regime.

“Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments
 [to act] …. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters …
 to ask you to join with me, & thousands of other artists
 around the world, to declare a cultural boycott
on Israel,” 
Roger Waters says in his letter.

Waters says the Zionist regime has been found guilty of
 major breaches of human rights and international law
 by international organizations, UN officials and the
International Court of Justice.

He touches on two such cases, saying the regime has been
 identified as perpetrating the “crime of Apartheid”, including
 in a statement on March 9th, 2012 by the UN Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the “crime of
ethnic cleansing” including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Waters adds that he has been a member of the Boycott,
 Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the
 Israeli regime’s occupation of the Palestinian lands and
 Tel Aviv’s violations of Palestinian human rights for 7
 years, and now wants other musicians to also join
anti-Israeli front.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global
 civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in
 Israel & occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform
 or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from
 any institution linked to the government of Israel, until
 such time as Israel complies with international law
universal principles of human rights.” 

The former Pink Floyd Musician also says he has recently
 faced a boycott by the US media after his November 29th,
 2012 address at the UN on behalf of the Russell Tribunal.

In the address, he sought accountability for the Zionist
 regime’s violations of the international law and the lack
 of United Nations resolve that prevents the Palestinian
 people from achieving their inalienable rights,
the right of self-determination.



Tickets from



browse venues in Wales


02920 230130

Cash tickets from:

The Factory, Porth
Instrumental Music, Penygraig
Spillers Records, Cardiff

For more details visit

Twitter @TheFactoryPorth
01443 687080


Daytime Delights...

Starts at 1pm
The Parc & Dare, Treorchy

Lunchtime Concerts in the Lounge Bar.

Indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea
while enjoying music and sing-along songs
from fantastic Welsh musicians.

Ticket information:
The Cultural Services Booking & Information Line:
08000 147 111
or book online at


Mid Rhondda Modelling Club...

7pm - 9pm

Tonyrefail Comprehensive School
Mid Rhondda Modelling Club
has been running for over 30 years.

We meet on a regular basis
& enjoy making models for display.

We encourage both Gentlemen
and Ladies to attend,
and also young people aged 12+.
However, Young people under 16,
must be accompanied by an adult.

Ticket information
£1 contribution every week. Under 16's free

Telephone Mr. Davies on 01443 686658


 Comedy In The Laughter Lounge

The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.


Join us once a month in the intimate setting
of the Laughter Lounge for some
top notch comedy with some of the
biggest and brightest

rising comedians on the circuit.

Laugh? You'll snort like a pig!

Hilarious - TimeOut.


Rhondda Records exists to express the Rhondda's
vision --- when it was confident, powerful, caring,
and socialist.

A Rhondda very aware
of the media's poisonous
tricks -- how they con working class people into
attacking each other, or racial groups, or, often,
even their best allies and friends... instead of
seeing their real enemies:--- an elite who hate
the very idea that working people can think,
create, or achieve a fairer society.

Thatcher said her proudest achievement was
Blair and New Labour - who parachuted in
careerists and expenses fiddlers - to stop
local Labour members having a say, and
who made genuine socialist MPs leave
the Labour party in disgust and many
members and voters to despair...
and the young to stop voting.

Jeremy Corbyn was always attacked because
he was trying to reverse all that New Labour
corruption --- that's why membership was
flooding in all over the UK.


Get Involved!

– If you feel you’ve been ‘purged’,
take this online survey:


or this one:


– Request all your own data that
the Labour Party holds on you:


– Sign the petition in support of
Jeremy Corbyn, if you agree:




“Any member who is suspended & intends
to appeal the decision should throw in a
 ‘Subject Access Request in accordance
with the Data Protection Act’ --- for ALL
 data that the Labour Party hold on them.

The Labour Party are Data Controllers and
 therefore have to, by law, provide you with
 all material/information they hold on you.”

If anyone is in contact with anyone who
was barred from voting --- please can
you pass this info on:

The Labour leadership election was under the
jurisdiction of the electoral reform services.

If you were unfairly deprived of your vote you
can call them on 0208 365 8909 and lodge
 your complaint, and inform them of your
Data Protection request.


The notification letters barring new members
did not give a clear reason, or information on
how to appeal, so Vox Political suggests that
 anyone in this situation, could also contact
 Liz Davies here: http://www.whycantivote.com

She is a barrister --- who can
advise members on what to do.



1)  "Military action was not a last resort".

2) UK government "undermined the
of the UN security council.

3) Weapons of Mass Destruction presented
 "with a certainty that was not justified".

4) UK forces were "ill-prepared".

5a) "The government failed to
achieve its stated objectives."

5b) Post-war planning: Blair "should
 have known what might happen".

6) Chilcot says Blair also "overlooked the
 threat the invasion would pose to Britain."


Blair to Face Law

The former prime minister has been put on notice
 by families of dead servicemen, that he will face
 legal action, for his part in the illegal Iraq war.

They are being crowd-funded now, and
have raised so much money, that Blair
probably heading for a big fall...

Shadow Commons leader Paul Flynn:
the Iraq Inquiry's findings are an "utter
 condemnation" of his terrible decision
 --- and his prosecution should now be
given "serious consideration".

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond:
"I would like to see Blair investigated by
International Criminal Court (ICC),
the crime of a war of aggression,
face parliamentary action to
him holding public office
ever again."

A former British ambassador to the UN:
 "The UK was pushed into entering
military action, too early."

Stop the War Coalition Convener Ms German:
“This is an incredibly damning report for Tony Blair.
It will not call for legal sanctions, but it says that
Blair is culpable for the war, in many ways.

“He needs to be driven out of public life. He is
still part of the Labour Party. We need to make
 sure that truth & justice prevails. There must
 be legal action against Blair, & he should no
 longer be considered fit for any office.”

CND general secretary Kate Hudson:
 “The report shows that Tony Blair had
no respect for cabinet procedure, no
respect for Parliament, & no respect
for international law.

“Chilcot reveals the evidence that must now be
 used to bring Tony Blair to justice. This is our
 demand. Only when justice is served, can we
prevent disasters like the Iraq war from ever
happening again.”

 Iraqi journalist Juma al-Quraishi:
"Everyone who took part in the war against Iraq
should be condemned, either Britain, or others."

Baghdad resident Ali al-Saraji:
"Ex-UK prime minister, Tony Blair, destroyed
 our country. From 2003, to now, our country
has been the scene of destruction, killing,
massacres, explosions and sectarianism."

A defiant Blair refuses to accept accusations
 from service families that he was wrong and
reckless, and he insists that he would make
 the decision again, 'come what may'.

 Families of some of the 179 military personnel
 killed in Iraq, say the former PM is "a terrorist".



A huge drop in working-class Labour MPs,
caused a massive drop in support among
 voters with similar backgrounds, reveals
 research seeking to explain why support
has dwindled in the party’s heartlands.

The study says past leaders like Kinnock
 and Blair made a concerted effort to pick
 “more and more middle-class candidates
to run for office, during the 80s and 90s,
 as part of an effort to rebrand” -- which
had initial successes at the ballot box.

But this “conscious electoral strategy”
stored up problems, as working-class
 voters who initially, just didn’t vote in
response, now seek an alternative.

The solution? Trust each constituency to put
forward its own candidates, and don't impose
 ‘party-approved’ choices who can't do the job.

Now, unfortunately, there are "entryist"  MPs who, for
decades, have been groomed by CIA cold war relic
organisations -- like the Atlantic Council -- and are
now trying to misdirect the Labour Party towards
cuts, a militarised police, and a US war agenda...

- and their anti-Corbyn slant is hobbling Labour.

‘How Can I Deselect My Labour MP?’ A Short Guide
to Reselection and Democratic Accountability
by Eric Sim, excellent free advice here:




Chris Bryant, the Rhondda's dodgy MP,
was on TV -- as soon as the PLP coup
started -- telling us that Jeremy MUST
go, because it was the ONLY way to
act in the Labour Party's interest...

Chris Bryant's voting record:
from TheyWorkForYou.com

On Tuition Fees:

On 27 Jan 2004:
Chris Bryant voted in favour of university tuition
fees increasing from £1,125 per year, to up to
£3,000 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
 to increase from £1,125 per year, to up to £3,000
 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted for the introduction of variable
university tuition fees (top-up fees) of up to £3,000
per year in place of the previous fixed fee of £1,250
per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
to increase from £1,125 per year to up to £3,000
per year, and to make other changes to higher
education funding and regulation arrangements.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted against: the immediate abolition
 of all tuition fees, the re-introduction of maintenance
grants of up to £2,000 for students from low-income
homes, and changes to the country's higher
education system.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to reject the Liberal
Democrat policy of abolition of tuition fees.

On 25 May 2016:
Chris Bryant was absent for a vote on Queen's
Speech - Forcing Schools to Become Academies
- Further Rises in University Tuition Fees

On Human Rights:

Consistently voted for introducing ID cards

Almost always voted for requiring the mass
retention of information about communications

Generally voted for mass surveillance of
people’s communications and activities

On the Environment:

Generally voted against greater regulation
 of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract
 shale gas

On Special Interests:

Almost always voted against limits
 on success fees paid to lawyers in
no-win no fee cases

Generally voted against a
statutory register of lobbyists

On War or Peace:

Generally voted for use of UK military
 forces in combat operations overseas

Consistently voted for the Iraq war

Consistently voted against an
 investigation into the Iraq war

Generally voted for replacing Trident
 with a new nuclear weapons system

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]

On Independence:

Generally voted for more EU integration


Chris Bryant Labour MP
From Wikipedia

(aka 1962-1986: Mr Christopher John Bryant
1986-1991: The Reverend Christopher John
Bryant, 1991-2001: Mr Christopher John
Bryant, 2001-: Mr Christopher John
Bryant MP.)

Born in Cardiff, to a Scottish mother & a Welsh
 father, Bryant grew up in Cardiff, Wales (where
 his father worked for 5 years), and Cheltenham.

He was educated at Cheltenham College, an
independent school for boys in the spa town
of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, where he
was captain of the school swimming team,
and Mansfield College at the University of
Oxford, where he graduated in 1983, with
 a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English.
 This was later promoted to a Master of
Arts degree (MA (Oxon)), as per tradition.

After completing his first degree, Bryant began
 training to be a priest in the Church of England
at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, in Oxfordshire.
There, he obtained a degree in theology.

Although a member of the Conservative
 Party, and an elected office-holder in the
 Oxford University Conservative Association,
he joined the Labour Party in 1986, after
leaving Oxford.

He was ordained deacon in 1986 and priest in
1987. He served as a Curate at the Church of
 All Saints, High Wycombe, from 1986 to 1989;
then as a Youth Chaplain in Peterborough,
as well as travelling in Latin America.

In 1991 Bryant left the ordained ministry, after
deciding that being gay and being a priest,
were incompatible. Statements made by
 Richard Harries, then Bishop of Oxford,
 also influenced his decision.

After leaving the priesthood in 1991, Bryant
worked as the election agent to the Holborn
 and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party,
 where he helped Frank Dobson hold his seat
 in the 1992 general election.

From 1993, he was Local Government officer
for the Labour Party; he lived in Hackney and
 was elected to Hackney Borough Council in
1993, serving until 1998. He became Chair of
the Christian Socialist Movement.

 He is both a member of the Labour Friends
 of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine &
 the Middle East. From 1994 to 1996 he was
 London manager of the leader-grooming
 "charity", Common Purpose.

 He was Labour candidate for Wycombe, in the
 1997 general election (he lost by 2,370 votes),
and Head of European Affairs for the BBC,
from 1998.

His selection for the very safe Labour seat of
Rhondda, South Wales in 2000, shocked many
 people given Bryant's background – gay, an ex-
Anglican vicar, and someone who was a Tory,
while studying at Oxford, and a member now,
of the Henry Jackson Society 'think tank' ---
 described by The Guardian newspaper as
 'neoconservative'. It is pro-US, pro-NATO
and pro-military intervention, as well as
being fundamentally anti-socialist.

 Fifty-two people applied for the candidature
and a local councillor was hot favourite to
 win, before Bryant was parachuted in.

In 2004, a photograph of Mr Bryant in his
 underpants, which he had posted to a gay
 dating website, was published in 'papers.

When an interviewer suggested he was
 a 'disgrace to the Rhondda', he replied:
"They can't get rid of me."

His pay, allowances and some expenses:

The basic annual salary for an MP, from
April 1st, 2016 is £74,962.  MPs also get
 expenses: to cover the costs of running
 an office, employing staff, having some-
where to live in London, plus, in their
constituency and travelling between
 Parliament and their constituency.

His MP's expenses story:

Chris Bryant changed second home
 twice to claim £20,000: the deputy
leader of the House of Commons,
 "flipped" his second home twice,
 in 2 years, allowing him to claim
 almost £20,000 for renovations
 and fees.

Chris Bryant, MP for the Rhondda, split over
 £92,000 of expenses between 3 properties
 in Wales and London --- within five years.

In 2004, he attempted to claim £58,000 to
 overhaul his second home in Wales, after
allegedly complaining that properties in
his constituency were "terrace or mine
 owners' houses".

Mr Bryant, a former Church of England clergyman,
wanted the money for a new bathroom & kitchen,
 and to demolish his conservatory. He'd bought the
 detached house for £97,500, under a year earlier.

 He submitted a claim to the Commons fees office for
 £58,493.26 --- almost 3 times the annual maximum.
 He noted that the claim exceeded his allowance.

His alleged justification was disclosed... in
 correspondence between Commons officials.
 By email, an official wrote: "He had problems
finding a suitable property because in the
Rhondda there is a choice mainly of terraced
 property or mine owners' houses." When
approached by the Daily Telegraph,
Mr Bryant said: "I have never said
 or thought anything of the sort".

 In all, he successfully claimed over £13,000
 for renovations, repairs & appliances, in 2004.
Along with other bills, his annual claim was

In April 2005, he flipped his expenses to his flat in
 west London, which he bought for £400,000 in April
 2002. He also claimed £630 a month for mortgage
 interest, along with other bills. After claiming over
 £3,600 over 3 months, he sold the flat in July 2005
 for £477,000.

Mr Bryant used his profits to buy a more expensive
 flat in west London, which was valued at £670,000.
 He immediately flipped his second home expenses
 there, claiming almost £6,400 in stamp duty, legal
fees and mortgage fees, incurred in the purchase.

He then began claiming interest of £1,000 a month
on the mortgage. He also claimed a further £6,000
 a year for the flat's service charge and ground rent.

In all, he claimed £92, 415 in second
home expenses, from 2004 to 2009.

Mr Bryant said at the time: "I moved flat in
 London, so as to be closer to Parliament."

Research by Channel 4 News in 2015 found that
at least 46 MPs had this kind of system in place
– a move one Labour backbencher described as
“a new fiddle”. Channel 4 reported then:

“Our investigation found that many of the MPs
 bought their London properties with the help of
the taxpayer, when a previous expenses system
 allowed them to claim back mortgage payments.
But when those claims were banned, following
 the expenses scandal, they switched to letting
out their properties, in some cases for up to
 £3,000 a month. They then started claiming
 expenses for rent and hotels in the capital.”

Among those identified was Chris Bryant, shadow
leader of the House of Commons. He had already
 bought a penthouse in London back in 2005 and
 claimed around £1,000 a month in mortgage
claims under the old system.

But after the expenses scandal, he started renting
the property out. It’s since been advertised by estate
 agents as having a private lift and a porter, with rent
 at about £3,000 a month. Meanwhile, Bryant moved
 into a new flat;- claiming his own rent on expenses.

Figures released by The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reveal that UK pensioners are 4th worst off....
out of all of the countries in the European Union.


Survey Finds UK
Failing on Childcare
September 13th, 11:13am (FNA)

Tens of thousands of working parents said the government
 is failing them with inadequate childcare policies that leave
 them financially crippled, stymied in their careers and 
desperate for radical change, according to a 
major survey.
The survey of more than 20,000 working parents, which was 
shared with the Guardian and involved more than a dozen 
organisations, found that 96% believed ministers were 
not doing enough to support parents with the cost 
and availability of childcare while 97% said 
childcare in the UK was too expensive.
One-third of parents said they paid more for childcare than 
their rent or mortgage. This proportion rose to 38% for 
both those in full-time work or were single parents, 
and to 47% of respondents from a black ethnic 
The survey comes before a debate on childcare in parliament 
on Monday that was triggered after over 100,000 parents 
signed a petition calling for an independent review of 
childcare funding and affordability.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development, the UK has the third most 
expensive childcare system in the world, behind only 
Slovakia and Switzerland; a full-time place costs 
£12,376 a year on average.
Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that 
between 2008 and 2016 the cost of a one-year-old child’s 
nursery provision grew four times faster than wages in 
England. In London, it was more than 7 times faster.
Warnings that the early years sector is at risk of collapse have 
been largely ignored and morale is low: research by Nursery 
World, found that one in 10 childcare workers, is living
 in poverty.
Justine Roberts, the chief executive of the online forum Mumsnet, 
said, “This is a problem that’s been hiding in plain sight for years,
 and parents know exactly how badly they’re being failed. The 
government must not ignore the misery and stress this 
issue causes for parents across the whole country.”
The survey found that people who were struggling the most were 
on the lowest incomes, on universal credit, were single parents,
 had disabilities or had a black ethnic background. One in three 
parents with a household income of less than £20,000 has had 
to cut back on essential food or housing as a direct result of 
childcare bills, while four in 10 single parents have had to
 use credit cards to pay for essential items.
Ninety-two percent of parents said the cost of childcare had 
affected their standard of living, while 50% said the cost was 
completely unaffordable or had resulted in a substantial 
impact. Ninety-four percent of parents who changed their 
working patterns after having children... said childcare 
costs were a factor in the decision.
The survey also revealed how heavily parents relied on family 
for childcare – while 75% used private nurseries for childcare,
 56% of parents said they relied on grandparents for help. 
Overall, the survey found 99% of all respondents agreed 
that childcare should be recognised as a vital part of the
 UK’s economic and social infrastructure.
Joeli Brearley, the founder of the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, 
said, “All we want from the government is transparency. The cost 
of childcare continues to increase, forcing more parents out of 
their jobs, and the quality of our early years settings decrease, 
which will have serious long-term consequences for all of us.
 We don’t believe the government has a grasp of how big the 
issue is... and the impact it is having on families and
 the economy.”
The survey was produced and distributed by.. Mumsnet, Pregnant 
Then Screwed, the TUC, the Fawcett Society, the Women’s Budget 
Group, Gingerbread, Working Families, the Fatherhood Institute, 
Maternity Action, Music Football Fatherhood, Mother Pukka, 
Tova Leigh, Black Mums Upfront, the Young Women’s Trust 
and Cathy Reay (That Single Mum).
The data, which was not weighted, was collected from 20,046 parents
 in the UK with at least one child aged 18 or under, carried out 
between 20 July and 31 August 2021 – with 97% of the
respondents being women.
It presented compelling evidence, that lack of access to childcare 
was preventing progress on gender equality. Only 16% of women 
said childcare had not affected their seniority or income at work, 
compared with 42% of men. Of the female respondents, 83% 
said childcare costs and availability affected mothers more 
than fathers; 41% of male respondents said it affected 
parents equally. Two-thirds of female respondents 
reduced their hours after having a baby,
 compared with 26% of men.
Felicia Willow, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said, 
“Our government cannot drop the ball on this – it’s clear that 
a lack of access to childcare is stopping women both going 
to work and progressing at work.”
The survey also suggested the government’s flagship shared 
parental leave policy was a particular failure; only 17% of 
respondents said it was useful for their family.
Ros Bragg, the director of Maternity Action, said, “The deeply 
flawed shared parental leave has been about as helpful to 
working parents as a chocolate teapot. Take-up rate 
among eligible families is now less than 4% in its 
fifth year of operation. It’s clear that we need to 
start again.”
Elliott Rae, the founder of Music Football Fatherhood, said...
“Extortionate childcare costs reinforce traditional gendered
parenting roles and make it difficult for dads to have 
flexibility in their work and be fully active and 
engaged fathers.”
The survey suggested that respondents wanted to see a radical
 overhaul of the childcare system: 90% of all parents supported 
at least three months of “use-it-or-lose-it” parental leave for 
fathers, paid at at least minimum wage level, while 94% 
believed subsidised childcare should start from the 
end of paid maternity leave.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC secretary general, said, “We don’t 
want tinkering around the edges. Our broken parental leave 
system is in need of a complete overhaul.”
The Department for Education said parents’ ability to claim 30
 “free” hours a week during term time for three- and four-year
-olds could save them up to £5,000 a year and the number of
 childcare places offered by providers was stable.
A spokesperson said early years providers had been given 
financial support during the pandemic, and the government 
had invested £3.5bln yearly in childcare since 2018, adding,
 “We’re making millions more available through our 
recovery fund to level up children’s early 
outcomes, raising the quality of early 
education even further.”

Watchdog Finds UK Police 
Tasering Children and
Mentally ill People
August 25th, 1:37pm (FNA)
Police must be trained to use Tasers only when “absolutely 
necessary”, a watchdog said, after a review found the
weapons were being used against children and
mentally ill people.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) reviewed 
around 100 of the most serious cases involving Tasers in 
England and Wales, including 16 where people died, The 
Independent reported.
Inquests found that the use of Taser contributed to four 
of those deaths, and inquiries are ongoing in others, 
including the killing of former footballer, Dalian 
Atkinson, by PC Benjamin Monk.
Last year, a coroner who examined the death of 30-year-old 
father Marc Cole, warned that “future deaths will occur,
unless action is taken”, but the Home Office rejected 
his call for a review of the physical effects of Tasers.
The IOPC said they had been used on people with underlying 
health problems, including epilepsy and heart conditions, 
and that, in some cases – including three where people 
died – officers had suspected they were “feigning 
being unwell”.
A report published on Wednesday also raised concerns about 
the “increasing use of Tasers on children and vulnerable 
people with mental health, drug and alcohol issues”.
The review warned that police had used the weapons in 
unsafe locations, and had not always considered the 
“risk of injury”, properly.
In a quarter of the cases examined, Tasers had been wrongly 
used to make people “comply with instructions”, and in a
third, officers had missed opportunities to de-escalate 
The IOPC said that current Taser use was threatening public 
trust in the police, especially over the disproportionate use 
against Black men.
IOPC director general Michael Lockwood stated, “Tasers are 
available to more officers than ever before, but engagement 
with communities has highlighted a stark difference 
between their expectations about when a Taser 
should be used, and the situations in which a
Taser can be used, under current national 
guidance, particularly on those who 
are vulnerable.
“Police forces must be able to explain this clearly, or risk
further eroding public confidence,” Lockwood added.
Lockwood said that although Tasers were a valuable tool 
for protecting both the public and police officers... 
independent scrutiny must ensure that they
used appropriately.
“Clearer national guidance on the circumstances in which Tasers
should and should not be used - and better training - will improve 
officer safety, as well as give the public reassurance that Tasers
are being used, only when absolutely necessary,” he added.
“Police forces must be able to justify to the public the 
circumstances in which a Taser is deployed, 
particularly when children and vulnerable 
people are involved. Forces must also 
respond to the disproportionate use 
of Tasers against Black people,” 
he said.
The IOPC made 17 recommendations, including improvements 
to police guidance and training, the scrutiny and monitoring 
of Taser use and data and research.
The Inquest charity said they do not go far enough and called for
“systemic change”, saying Tasers were dangerous weapons, 
that had resulted in serious injury and death.
“They are increasingly used, as a first, not last resort,” added 
Director Deborah Coles, adding, “Ultimately to prevent further 
deaths and harm, we must look beyond policing and redirect 
resources into community, health, welfare and 
specialist services.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of 
Policing announced research on racial disproportionality in 
police use of Tasers last year.
A National Taser Stakeholder Advisory Group in this area has 
also been set up, and there are new conflict management 
guidelines and training proposals.
The NPCC said the IOPC’s review only covered 0.1 percent of
all Taser use, because so few cases had been referred to 
the watchdog.
Home Office figures record Taser use if the weapons are 
drawn, used to plant a red target dot on a suspect, or 
fired. In 86 percent of recorded Taser incidents, 
they are not fired.
Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi, the national police lead on 
Tasers, said work was already underway... to make
“Focusing on these smaller number of cases missed an 
opportunity to consider Taser use more broadly and, 
unfortunately, has resulted in recommendations 
which are mostly out of date and not based
 the realities of policing,” she added.
“Policing is not easy and in many violent situations I believe 
Taser is a viable, less lethal option for officers, between 
using a baton and the lethal force of a gun. Taser has 
a critical place in protecting the public and our 
officers,” she said.
The IOPC said it could only investigate “the most serious 
and sensitive cases” because of its remit, and aimed to 
contribute to the growing evidence base around 
Taser use.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said
would act as a bridge between police forces and the
to ensure concerns were addressed.
The watchdog also uncovered evidence that some officers made
inappropriate comments, including derogatory remarks, during 
these incidents, in an analysis of 101 investigations involving 
Tasers, between 2015 and 2020.
Some 60 percent of Black people involved in Taser discharges 
were subjected to continuous discharges of more than five 
seconds, compared with 29 percent of White people.
The longest length of continuous use, was 67 seconds.


Watchdog Finds UK Police
 Failing to Impose Orders 
on Men Accused of Abuse
August 24th, 12:05pm (FNA)
Police are failing to impose restraining orders
bail conditions on men accused of rape,
domestic abuse, harassment and 
stalking, a watchdog found --- 
placing women and girls at
 increased risk of harm.
A police super-complaint, submitted by the Centre
 for Women’s Justice (CWJ), raised concerns that 
police were failing to use protective measures
cases involving violence against women
girls, The Guardian reported.
A joint investigation between HM Inspectorate of 
Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, the 
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), 
and the College of Policing found there was
lack of understanding in police forces of 
how and/or when to use such protective 
measures, which could lead to women
and girls being 
harmed, or victims 
being less likely to report crime 
in the future.
However, the CWJ expressed disappointment that 
the recommendations did not go far enough.
Nogah Ofer, a solicitor at the CWJ, stated, “The super-
complaint recommendations are welcome. However, 
they do not get to grips with the severity of the 
problem, or go far enough to ensure that 
police forces make real changes 
in practice."
 “Some recommendations, require improved data-gathering,
 and tell chief constables in general terms to prioritise and 
monitor use of orders, but there is a lack of specifics and 
no discussion of under-resourcing, which is the elephant 
in the room. We fear that in five years’ time the situation 
will not be much different to today,” Ofer added.
The report made several recommendations, including that 
chief constables should ensure their officers understand 
all the protective measures available & the Home Office 
and Ministry of Justice should intensify and accelerate 
their consideration of creating a bespoke offence, of 
breaching pre-charge bail.
The director general of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, said: 
“Police have a key role in protecting vulnerable people 
and this super-complaint has highlighted clear gaps 
where improvements must be made in protecting 
vulnerable women and girls."
“The right training, support, guidance... and leadership, is 
critical to police using protective measures to help keep 
women and girls safe from harm," Lockwood added.
“However, this is a community-wide issue and one that 
needs not just a policing response, but a response 
from the whole criminal justice sector, non-
government organisations and others," 
he said.
“More than ever, we need a consistent approach to 
stopping appalling crimes of violence against 
women and girls, from occurring in the
place,” Lockwood added.
[Rhondda Records adds:
 Damned if you do, and damned if you
don't... think, change, and improve!!!]


UK head teacher prompts outrage, 
heated debate -- after revealing her 
school ban on ‘sexist’ expressions
 like ‘boys and girls’
April 29th, (RT)
UK head teacher prompts outrage, heated debate 
after revealing her school ban on ‘sexist’ 
expressions like ‘boys and girls’.
A UK primary school headmistress has kicked off a storm 
after revealing that she has instructed her teachers not to
 use a number of “sexist” phrases, including ‘let’s go, 
guys’ and ‘boys and girls’.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, who heads the Anderton Park 
primary school in Birmingham, told the Good Morning 
Britain show on Thursday that students as young as 
three are taught to reject the use of the banned
 expressions by holding up posters.
The program – which has stoked fierce debate among 
parents – rewards the two students who flag the ‘best’
 instances of such usage with certificates at the end 
of the week.
“If our boys and girls grow up and in school we don’t 
challenge this sexist language and boys are told, 
‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’ and ‘boys don’t cry’, it’s 
very damaging for them...abusers later on 
potentially, or bullies, will also use this 
fear,” Hewitt-Clarkson said.
“Fear is the biggest weapon that abusers have and if 
boys are told, ‘boys don't get scared’, ‘boys don’t talk 
about their feelings’, then where are they going to go 
when they are afraid and they are frightened?” 
she added.
“Fast forward a little bit to when the children are older
 just to see why this is so important because it’s a tiny
 part of a huge jigsaw,” said Hewitt-Clarkson, who had 
previously said that there was a thread tying tragic 
outcomes like the murder of Sarah Everard to 
casual ‘banter’ and the examples adults set.
When asked how the school handled the resulting issues
 in addressing students in a classroom setting, Hewitt-
Clarkson said that the preferred greeting should be 
“good morning everyone” since that does not 
create a gender divide and includes people 
who might not identify as either sex.
Journalist Nana Akua, who was also part of the show, 
called the move “absolutely ridiculous” and warned
 that “we’re creating a generation of wallflower kids 
who are listening for an offence.”
Noting that the “context of language” was important, 
Akua told Hewitt-Clarkson her “energy is in the 
wrong place.”
Social media users were divided on the school’s emphasis
 on gender identity and inclusion with as many supporters
 defending the program as important as there were critics
 who called it unnecessary.
Describing it as “absolutely ridiculous”, one person, a p
rimary school teacher, tweeted, “Let kids be kids. They 
grow up too fast as it is.”
Another user, identifying herself as an academic, said 
Hewitt-Clarkson was right since “we do segment” 
others based on lessons learned early on.
A number of users suggested she stick to teaching 
students “reading, writing, arithmetic and also how 
to be kind” instead of “any of this other stuff.”
The majority of users agreed with the need to “phase 
out” some phrases like ‘man up’ and ‘grow a pair’ but 
called for “balance and some common sense”. Some
 also expressed concern about the long-term effects 
of the program.
But some denounced the program as evidence 
of “brainwashing” and “stifling freedom of 
speech” in schools, while others said the 
problem lay with the English language,
which doesn't use gender.
Tweeter: The problem is English Language. 
Only English and Turkish do not assign 
gendered pronoun & cases in discourse.
English denotes 
everything as Male with
satisfactory gender neutral alternatives,
Learning non-gendered language early is 
the best solution and avoids confusion
If you like this story, share it with a friend!

UN hits out at UK decision
cut family planning aid
£154 million to £23m
April 29th, 2:39pm (PressTV)
The UK faces criticism from a UN agency, over
government's decision to cut aid for family 
planning by 85 percent.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has 
launched a scathing attack on the UK’s decision
cut family planning aid from £154 million to 
£23m this year, warning that women and 
girls around the world, will suffer as
 a result.
The aid cut, which indicates a reduction by 85% 
could have helped prevent “250,000 maternal 
and child deaths.”
Prior to this decision, Britain was the biggest 
donor to the initiative, run by the UNFPA.
UNFPA provides contraception and maternal health 
medicine to millions of women in some of the world's
 poorest nations, as well as training maternal health 
staff and promoting efforts to prevent child 
marriage, unintended pregnancies and 
unsafe abortions.
Natalia Kanem, UNFPA executive director, accused 
Britain of “stepping away from its commitments at 
a time when inequalities are deepening and 
international solidarity is needed more 
than ever.”
She branded UK government’s decision as “devastating” 
& said that "with the now-withdrawn £130m, the UNFPA
 Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around
 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million
 unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million 
unsafe abortions.”
Kanem said the UN agency “deeply regrets” the UK’s 
decision, before adding that - upon slashing funds -
“women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those 
living in remote, underserved communities and 
those living through humanitarian crises.”
In response to a UN statement on Thursday, Liz Sugg, 
the former Foreign Office minister, who resigned in 
protest of the cuts, said that Britain's withdrawal 
of financial funding for the women's health 
organization was a "double hit on the 
world's poorest."
“This is money the UK committed to in the UN chamber, 
signed an agreement and now we’re walking away from 
it – it’s pretty unheard of," Sugg told the BBC Radio 4 
Today program on Thursday.
The UK declared this year that it would reduce its total 
foreign aid budget from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of 
national income, a £4 billion cut.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he did
 not recognize the figures, but admitted no area was
 immune to cuts.
The move has triggered an outcry from charities and aid
organizations that argue it will harm poor communities 
already reeling from COVID-19 and could also hamper
efforts to curb climate change.
UKAid has long been a cover for the government’s foreign
policy deployment in the poorer countries and its drastic
aid cuts happen, even as the British military and 
intelligence services step up their activities in
the subject countries.
The UK’s retreatment from its financial commitments 
comes after other world powers’ increase their aid 
spending to the poorest, because their need is 
increasing, given the global health crisis.


UK: Domestic Abuse Victims 
‘Forced to Sell Homes or Rack
 Up Debt to Get Justice’
April 28th 5:08pm (FNA)

Domestic abuse victims who can’t get legal aid
 are being forced to sell their homes or rack up 
debts, to bring perpetrators to justice,
 campaigners warned.
New legislation introduced in January eradicated 
the cap -- previously used -- when determining 
eligibility, but charities say domestic abuse 
survivors are still being refused help, due 
to owning their home, The Independent 
Experts say victims who cannot afford legal representation 
are being forced to face their abusive former partners 
alone in court, due to the changes not being
rolled out.
The warning flies in the face of a December 2020 High Court 
ruling that stopped a legal loophole that blocked a domestic 
abuse survivor who was a single mother from obtaining 
legal aid, despite her only having £28 in her bank 
account. Legal aid helps people pay for legal 
advice and representation in court.
Lola, a domestic abuse survivor, said she reapplied for legal 
aid twice after learning the law had changed but has been
 rejected both times, due to owning her home.
The 36-year-old, who is unemployed and struggling for money, 
added, “I was also rejected before the law change. I meet all 
the criteria, except for the fact I own my house."
“They asked: ‘Why haven’t you got a loan out? and ‘Why haven’t
 you asked friends and family?’ The process is re-traumatising.
 But my ex has got full legal aid," she added.
“He manipulated a professional by saying he had suffered 
domestic abuse from me and got them to write this down 
in a letter, which he then used to apply for legal aid. You 
don’t need any proof for this. He’s taking me to court 
for nothing,” she said.
Lola, who has had two restraining orders against her ex-
partner, said she qualifies for free school meal vouchers.
“I have to represent myself alone in court,” she said, adding, 
“I’m not legally trained. It's the most triggering, traumatising
 experience. He has a barrister. They talk to me like I’m the 
lowest form of humanity. Like I’m scum. He’s got an 
endless pit of my money to keep taking me to 
court. It’s like I’m his plaything.”
Lola criticised the legal aid agency which gave her ex money 
for not even checking if there were legal proceedings or a 
restraining order against him - adding it should be 
standard practice.
She warned the “injustice” of the situation was “so huge” it 
means she is “consumed by anger” every day, and warned
an individual as dangerous as her ex-partner, who refuses 
to pay child maintenance, should not be granted “all that 
power” in the courts.
Lola, who is being supported by domestic abuse charity 
Women’s Aid, recalled the abuse suffered during her
“It was never physical,” she said, adding, “But it was getting 
to that point. It was emotional and financial abuse. He 
starting reading up on conspiracy theories and 
taking an interest in flat earth theories. He 
completely lost his grip on reality.”
Lola said he would regularly scream at her in front of their son 
for trivial issues such as leaving lights on and constantly 
ringing her when she was at home due to his 
“possessive nature”.
She said her son is keen to do school activities but she has 
had to request grants from charities to afford them — 
adding she is terrified she won’t be able to “afford 
to let him pursue his passions”. Money set aside
 for her son’s future is being spent on solicitors 
and barristers, she said.
“I’m in a horror film,” Lola said, adding, “This man has got all 
his support. He is hunting me down. I’m going from room to 
room and there is no escape. He was bad enough but now
 the legal aid is abetting him to do this to me.”
Refuge found 1,780 women seeking help – more than a third of 
the total – had faced economic abuse from their partner. On 
average, the mistreatment, which includes being denied 
access to money or a bank account, as well as having 
debt placed in their name, lasted more than six years.
Charlotte Proudman, a family law barrister, told The Independent 
she had referred domestic abuse survivors to solicitors since
 the changes were in introduced but they had nevertheless 
not been eligible for legal aid.
Dr Proudman added, “Solicitors have said it hasn't come into 
force. On the ground, it is not happening. The legal aid 
agency might be refusing because they own 
properties, which defies logic and law."
“There is one woman in particular, who because she owns half 
of the family home, they have said she is not eligible for legal 
aid even though she is on benefits. She is a domestic abuse 
victim. It is awful," Dr Proudman said.
“If victims haven't got any money to seek protection through 
courts, it leaves them in a vulnerable situation, unable to 
escape abusive partners and seek court protection. 
Such as, orders which block the abusers 
contacting them or approaching them 
in person,” she said.
Dr Proudman warned women who are not legally trained do 
not know how to “navigate” the legal system - with victims 
of domestic abuse being particularly scared to face their 
abuser in court alone.
“It is a process of them being re-traumatised without the 
protection of a lawyer to speak on their behalf,” she said, 
adding, “An abuser can continue abuse by taking them 
back to court as a way of continuing harassment and
 stalking them.”
Legal aid for domestic abuse victims needs to be non-means
 tested and universally available for all irrespective of their
 finances with no delays, she added.
“Sometimes it can take weeks to get a legal aid agency to 
decide if they are going to get funding,” Proudman said, 
adding, “In that time serious physical or psychological 
harm could have been caused.”
Olive Craig, senior legal officer at Rights of Women, a 
leading women’s legal rights charity, told The 
Independent recent changes to legal aid are 
“applied inconsistently and do not go far 
enough to address the many problems
 presented by the legal aid means test”.
She added, “We expect the government’s long overdue review 
of the means test to address those deficiencies and ensure 
access to justice for all.”
While Lucy Hadley, of Women's Aid, said they have been 
“disappointed” to learn domestic abuse victims who 
own their own homes are still being blocked from 
getting legal aid, in spite of the High Court’s
 key ruling.
She demanded the legal aid means test to be completely 
axed for domestic abuse survivors to make sure “no 
woman who needs to access legal advice and 
representation when escaping an abuser 
is barred from justice“.
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

UK breakup? Welsh
 more popular
than ever
April 8th, 8:56pm  (Press TV)
New polls suggest that support for Welsh independence 
from the UK is at an all time high. This has created fear 
in Downing Street, over the real threat of a Kingdom 
breakup, with the Welsh parliament elections on 
the way. 
The idea of a Welsh breakaway from the United 
Kingdom is high on the agenda, ahead of this 
year's Welsh elections.
With the country’s biggest pro-independence party 
Plaid Cymru, pledging to secure a vote on Welsh 
independence within the next five years.
The idea of Wales going alone has traditionally been 
an obscure viewpoint, however, since Brexit, public 
support for an independence vote has skyrocketed.
One poll conducted this year actually suggested that 
Welsh support for independence, could be as high 
as 39 percent, that would be the highest level 
ever recorded.
No.10 has reportedly become very aware of the growing 
anti-Westminster sentiment outside of England, and are
 drawing up plans to counter the trend.
The Welsh elections are taking place in May. Plaid Cymru 
have been recording great successes in past votes, and
 hopes are high of major gains.
Although support for independence is not yet near a 
majority view, Westminster’s poor handling of the 
coronavirus crisis, and the negative effects 
Brexit has had for Wales, appears to have 
created greater belief in the virtues of 
self-government. With Scotland also 
pushing hard for a UK divorce... 
No.10’s concerns are growing
 as fast as Welsh patriotism.

Hello darkness my old friend
...Peter Mandelson is back 
advising Labour, why not 
just go the whole hog & 
bring back Tony Blair?
by Chris Sweeney
February 15th (RT)
Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written 
for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The 
Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-
selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter
Keir Starmer is so devoid of original ideas he is bringing back 
the Prince of Darkness to help him crowbar his way into 
Number 10, but if the plan is Blair 2.0, why settle for an 
impersonator when the original is still available?
Lord Peter Mandelson is not a name that will resonate beyond
 the UK, but he is one of Britain’s most infamous spin doctors. 
The type of character who has seemingly exerted an extended
 sphere of influence without it ever being clear exactly what he 
does. He arrived into the Labour Party in 1985 and it’s now 
been revealed he is still pulling strings today, 36 years later.
Tony Blair adored his style but some of the left-wing union 
devotees had no time for the man who became known as 
‘The Prince of Darkness’. So, to appease them, and to 
keep his involvement in Blair’s leadership campaign 
secret, he was issued a code name – 'Bobby'. 
Since then, he’s inhabited a range of roles; minister without 
portfolio, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, European
 commissioner, business secretary --- and then Baron 
Mandelson as he entered the House of Lords. After 
Blair left - and was replaced by Gordon Brown - 
Mandelson retained an iron-grip on the levers 
of power. In that period, he was a member of 
35 cabinet committees, and some referred 
to him as the “unelected prime minister.”
Mandelson likes a frontman, a lead singer to shield him while 
he writes the lyrics. So it’s business as usual now that’s he 
back in alongside current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. 
There is only a decade or so in age between the two, but
 the level of experience in the dark arts of politics, is 
heavily tipped in Mandelson’s favour. The notoriety
 is why he chooses to remain in the shadows, as a 
lot of voters detest him. He represents the back-
room dealmaking and media manipulation that
 turns so many off politics.
Mandelson is like a lightning rod, he takes the surge and 
allows his ‘stooge’ to carry on. He ended up in the public 
court of shame, for spending a New Year’s Eve, on Paul 
Allen’s yacht, while Microsoft was at the centre of an 
EU investigation.
Another yacht trip got him in hot water, this time,
oligarch Oleg Deripaska, as Mandelson had
part of a decision to cut aluminium tariffs.
At the 
time, Deripaska owned United Company
one of the world’s biggest producers of
the metal.
Mandelson was also friendly with Jeffery Epstein,
 and has been pictured with the disgraced financier. 
So for Keir Starmer to bring in a man with that amount of 
baggage, proves how desperate he must be. Starmer 
replaced Jeremy Corbyn - the most socialist main-
stream figure seen in British politics for decades - 
but has as yet done nothing of substance. He's a 
more centrist figure, but Boris has that sewn up:
 he won the last election, with an affirming 80-
seat majority. The so-called Red Wall, fell to 
the Conservatives, proving that the working 
class heartlands, no longer had faith in 
their old ally Labour. And still there’s 
no spark or idea from Labour, to 
turn that around.
Since Blair left office, the party hasn’t won an election. Their
 last victory was in 2005 and before Blair led them to victory
 in 1997 they hadn’t won an election since 1974. Blair is the 
only person who has led the Labour Party to victory in the 
last 47 years, and it seems they’ve simply decided to 
revert to what worked then and hope it does now.
So welcome back Mandelson, who is right in his sweet spot, 
without an official position but is there to “broaden the party’s
 appeal.” It seems a redundant mission, as you’re asking 
Mandelson to recreate the old magic. For that, he needs 
his protege and the man who brought those ideas to life
 – Blair. Why bother trying to copy him, when he is still 
out there, sitting around not doing very much? Blair 
has been quite vocal and made quite a few public 
interjections into the Covid-19 effort. It was his 
idea to stagger the two vaccine doses, which 
Britain and other countries are now 
actually doing. 
If Labour's desperation is so great they need to face facts. 
Starmer is keen to paint himself as a paragon of the good 
and just. He created a big spectacle over the investigation
 into anti-Semitism within Labour and also fired a member 
of his shadow cabinet for making a remark that was
 judged to slight the Jewish faith.  
Starmer’s previous profession was as a barrister where he 
worked on human rights cases before becoming a QC and 
the Director of Public Prosecutions. He also spoke out 
and protested against the Iraq war. 
Yes, the same war that Blair led Britain into, after years of 
working with Mandelson. So if Starmer is so willing to 
embrace Mandelson, is he really as principled and 
motivated by integrity as he’d like to have us think?
All of this also reflects an extremely depressing facet to 
British politics. The country has suffered the most 
deaths in Europe due to incompetent leadership.
The list of ludicrous decisions has been recounted many
 times and if the opposition cannot muster up a feasible 
counter after all these months, they really are 
beyond hope.
The vaccination rollout is the only thing Boris has handled 
well, but it won’t erase the number of families left to rue the 
unnecessary loss of loved ones. There is also the much-
covered resurgence in support for independence in 
Scotland and a growing movement in Wales. Brexit 
was another shambles, with a deal agreed days 
before everything went into meltdown. How is it 
possible that an allegedly well-run, professional, 
perceptive political party ,can’t muster up a 
credible opposition?
Winding the clock back 20 years and hoping that the same 
things will work is, in my view, a fantasy. Society and 
attitudes have changed, there was no social media 
in 1997 and simply looking plausible and playing
 'Things Can Only Get Better' on a loop isn’t 
going to win you 80+ seats. But let us 
suppose, for a minute, that it might, 
if the Labour party & it’s leadership 
really believe that’s their greatest 
hope and the best plan they have 
for the British people is New 
Labour 2.0, then why isn’t 
Blair involved?
Starmer talks a bit like him, has a similar presence, they were 
even both barristers before entering politics, but trying to 
‘out Blair’ Blair is futile. If Starmer isn't able to lead and 
create his own vision, then why did he put himself
for the job? Trying to get Peter Mandelson to 
Svengali you into some sort of Blair tribute act
is never going to work. As Queen fans
Adam Lambert, is no substitute for 
Freddie Mercury.
Step up or step aside, don’t be a down-
copy of your predecessor.
Think your friends would be interested? 
Share this story!

Boris Defends Bully Patel
but Not Pensioners –
Govt is Morally Repugnant
by Tommy Sheridan
22/11/2020  (Source - Sputnik)

Anyone surprised by BoJo’s decision to condone shameful bullying at
 the heart of his government and order a “square” of defence be formed
 “around the prittster” after he decided to keep Priti Patel in his cabinet
 despite her being found guilty of breaching the Ministerial Code and
 bullying, has plainly been sleeping over the past eleven months.

That period has exposed the rancid hypocrisy, corruption, cronyism, 
and lack of integrity which characterises Johnson and the Tories 
under his leadership.

Priti Patel was accused of disgraceful conduct and bullying while an 
employment Minister under Theresa May in 2015, behaviour which 
drove a female civil servant to attempt suicide on at least two 
occasions and ended with a Department of Work & Pensions
 pay-out of £25,000 in April 2017 to avoid the scrutiny of an 
Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, harassment, 
discrimination, and victimisation.

Patel the Bully Became Patel the Liar

Patel was then moved to the role of International Secretary only to be
 found out as a devious liar whom May had to sack after her deliberate
 misleading of the PM and Parliament over secret meetings with Israeli 
officials, business representatives and lobbyists was exposed. She
 lied and was caught. She had to go.

Being a dishonest bully presented no barrier to Boris Johnson’s 
cabinet however and he appointed Patel as his Home Secretary 
in July 2019 after he became Tory leader.

Within weeks the top civil servant in the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, 
felt compelled to warn her about her conduct and lack of respect for 
staff before eventually resigning from his post at the end of February
 this year in a move which caused shock waves in the civil service 
and government. He accused Patel of lying about a “vicious” 
campaign orchestrated against him and creating a climate 
of fear in her department.

Patel Investigation Handicapped from the Outset

A high-level investigation was reluctantly ordered into the allegations
 made by Rutnam, and he vowed to pursue a constructive dismissal 
claim against the government which is yet to be concluded. It is 
increasingly clear that the investigation has been less than 
rigorous as the senior civil servant appointed to conduct 
it was refused access to Rutnman despite him being the 
best equipped to inform the investigation. 

However the report that was compiled was laid on Johnson’s desk 
in April and he refused to act on it for months before recently 
contacting the author, Sir Alex Allan, and leaning on him to 
water down the conclusions. Despite the limited access to 
witnesses the investigation still found Priti Patel "shouted 
and swore" at staff in actions "that can be described 
as bullying" and that she had indeed breached the 
Ministerial Code which is normally an automatic 
resignation offence.

The fact Sir Alex Allan, former chair of the prestigious Joint 
Intelligence Committee, chose to resign rather than alter his
 report to save Patel’s reputation is admirable, but the full 
report is being kept secret. It must be revealed in full and 
the fact it was severely handicapped by the barring of 
access to Rutman’s input must also be highlighted.

Johnson Willing to Protect Patel
but not Pensioners in Care Homes

Patel was ordered to issue an apology on camera on Friday but all
 it did was rub salt in the wounds of the campaign against bullying
 as she smugly smirked and smiled when she claimed to have no
 knowledge of bullying but apologised anyway. Please watch and
 remember - her conduct drove a lowly paid civil servant to 
attempt suicide on two occasions and compelled a very 
senior civil servant to resign. The lack of contrition for 
her actions and empathy for her victims is truly

If Johnson and his Tory gang of millionaires and spivs showed an iota 
of the concern and commitment to defend elderly care residents as
they have shown to defend lying bully Patel at least 20,000 lives 
could have been saved. A shocking report compiled by Amnesty
 International last month received very little media attention but 
condemned the Tory Covid19 response as a dereliction of duty 
and care towards elderly citizens.

Read the document and understand just how complicit this Tory
 government is in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens. It 
presents evidence that the government’s policy of herd immunity
 was responsible for mass murder. The government was entirely 
aware of the probable outcome of their policy and went ahead
 regardless of the risk to thousands of lives.

The report, “As if expendable: The UK government’s failure to protect 
older people in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic”, details 
how, between March 2 and June 12, 18,562 residents of care homes
 in England died with COVID-19. The vast majority (18,168) were 
aged 65 and over, representing almost 40 percent of all deaths 
involving the virus in England during this time frame. Of these, 
76 percent (13,844 deaths) occurred within care homes for
 the elderly.

During this brief period, 28,186 “excess deaths” were recorded
 in English care homes, a 46 percent increase in comparison 
with the same period over previous years.

Amnesty conclude that the Tory government together with its 
agencies at national and local level have “taken decisions and 
adopted policies during the Covid-19 pandemic that have directly
 violated the human rights of older residents of care homes in
 England—notably their right to life, their right to health, and 
their right to non-discrimination”.

The report argues that the decisions and policies of the Tory
 government “impacted the rights of care home residents to 
private and family life, and may have violated their right not 
to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment”.

Johnson was determined to “form a square around the prittster”
 to defend his lying bully Patel at the Home Office but didn’t lift a 
finger to defend thousands of pensioners in care homes. That is
 the warped and putrid priorities which define this government.

A Litany of Government Failures but No Resignations
Their top advisor broke lockdown rules but there was no resignation.

They have been caught awarding contracts worth over £20 billion of 
public money without proper scrutiny or tendering processes to
 friends of senior Tories and companies known to donate to the 
Tory party and no one has resigned.

The UK government’s late response to Covid-19 and failure to 
impose lockdown measures caused the unnecessary deaths 
of 20,000 --- but no one resigned from government.
International law will be broken because of the government’s
 Internal Market Bill --- but no one resigns.

The Johnson government backs bullies, liars, public contract 
cheats and international law breaking. It is morally repugnant 
and thoroughly incompetent. No wonder Scotland is so keen 
to break away as soon as possible.


Report: Patients Discharged from 
UK Hospitals without COVID Test
October 28th, 2020 (FNA)

Almost half of hospital patients have been discharged 
without receiving the results of their coronavirus test 
– including some patients who were sent to care 
homes, new research revealed.

Independent national patient body Healthwatch England 
said it had learned many patients were discharged from 
hospitals between March and August this year without 
proper assessments with many vulnerable people sent 
home without medication, equipment or the care they 
needed, The Independent reported.

At the start of the pandemic thousands of patients were 
discharged to care homes as NHS England instructed 
hospitals to free up 15,000 beds ahead of the first 
wave of coronavirus.

Approximately 25,000 patients were sent to care homes 
with some not tested, sparking fears this helped seed 
care homes with the virus. There have been around 
16,000 care home deaths linked to COVID-19.

According to a survey of almost 600 discharged patients 
and interviews with 60 NHS staff, Healthwatch England 
said it had found serious flaws with the way hospitals 
had followed NHS England’s instructions.

In joint research with the British Red Cross, shared with 
The Independent, it found that 44 percent of patients were 
discharged without knowing the result of their corona-
virus test - including some to care homes.

It said, “Despite the policy stating that all patients 
discharged to a care home should be tested for 
COVID-19, we found that 26 percent of our 
survey respondents who were discharged 
to a care home were not tested.”

While the numbers involved were small, only 13 out of 50 
patients, the report added that this was “still a significant 
proportion of people who were required to be tested 
but did not receive one”.

Healthwatch added that while patients going to care homes 
must have the results available and shared with the home
it was still not national policy to test everyone being 
discharged. It argued this should now be an 
''ambition'' for the government.

Its report also raises concerns about the wider care 
of vulnerable patients sent home from hospital.

88 percent of patients reported having care needs 
after being discharged that have still not been met.  

82 per cent did not receive a visit or any
assessment from a health professional

Almost one in five of those who did not 
receive a visit, reported unmet needs.

In total 45 percent of people with a disability and 
20 percent of people with a long-term condition 
had support needs that were not being met, 
following their discharge.  

Healthwatch England criticised the national discharge 
policy put in place by NHS bosses, as “confusing” in 
places which it said may have contributed to some 
patients missing out on the care they needed.

Robert Francis QC, chair of Healthwatch England, said, 
“In March, hospitals were asked to discharge patients 
with little or no notice and the speed with which this 
took place was important, but led to mistakes."

“We do not want to detract from the heroic efforts of
hose on the frontline, who often put themselves at 
great risk to care for their patients, but services 
and system leaders have now had more time 
to prepare," he said.

“It’s essential that we learn from what people have 
shared with us about the impact that a poorly 
handled discharge can have on them and 
their loved ones. Taking action now will 
not only reduce the risk to patients but 
will also help improve the way people 
leave hospital in the future,” he added.

The British Red Cross and Healthwatch England said 
assessments for patients needed to be prioritised.

They also called for discharge checklists to make 
sure patients were asked if they needed help with 
transport and equipment.

Other recommendations included making sure carers 
and patients had a single contact for support, which 
was already national policy but still not fully adopted.

The report also said community services needed 
to be boosted, to cope with increased demands.

British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said, 
“We’ve seen first-hand the huge efforts made to 
improve the discharge process for patients and 
their families. However, we also know, despite 
good intentions and hard work, there are still 
barriers to making the ideals of discharge 
policy a reality."

“The Red Cross has been bearing witness to these 
issues for years, and we hope that the increased 
urgency of the situation will bring lasting change. 
Many of the people we support are older or more 
vulnerable, & fall into the higher-risk categories
 for COVID-19," Adamson said.

“Simple interventions, like getting equipment and 
medicine delivered, or follow-up visits, can make 
the difference between a good recovery or some-
one regressing to the point of readmission - 
precisely at the time we want people to 
stay well, and stay at home,” he said.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, 
said, “There has long been a wide consensus about the 
benefits for patients of being able to return home as 
soon as their specialist hospital care is complete, 
and it is good that delays have been reduced in 
recent times. While this is a very small snap-
shot survey, local hospitals will want* (sic) 
to take account of the points it makes.”

 (*No they won't!)


By backing housing charity’s
‘Jewish only’ rule, 
UK court drops
the ball. Aren’t we all equal in Britain?
by Chris Sweeney October 17th, 2020 (Source: RT)

A small legal challenge has turned into a precedent-
setting case about whether someone in today’s 
Britain can be prioritised or denied housing on 
the basis of their religion.The law isn’t always 
right and it’s not just people who can be 
taken hostage.

In a disgraceful decision deemed legitimate by the UK’s
 highest court, a single mother with four children was 
refused social housing – because she wasn’t a Jew.

It’s that simple. 

The charity Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) 
owns 470 houses in the London borough of Hackney.
 Local authorities promised, in October 2017, the 
next available home to the woman and her kids, 
two of whom are autistic.

AIHA refused to hand over the keys to any 
of its SIX four-bedroom, unoccupied flats.

Their argument was it makes offers “only to members 
of the Orthodox Jewish community.” As Britain is a 
secular nation, the woman’s legal team found this 
claim astonishing and argued it had the same 
sentiment as the ‘No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish’ 
signs that were once displayed in some pubs. 

Lord Sales stated the charity’s use of positive discrimination 
was lawful, under the Equality Act 2010, in order to correct 
the disadvantage faced by the community. The issue 
apparently was not racism, but discrimination on 
the grounds of religious observance. The court 
considered the “widespread and increasing 
overt antisemitism in our society.”

Intolerance or hate speech of any form is unacceptable. 
But it’s hard to believe the courts and public reaction 
would have been the same, if this had been Islam or 
a group of Pashtuns from the Iranian border region.

Jewish affairs are treated differently. There's a 'kid gloves' 
approach and they’re deemed to be culturally valuable, 
while other communities are sometimes dismissed as 
interlopers. AIHA’s founder Ita Cymerman-Symons, 
speaking last year about the legal action, offered 
the view: “Which non-Jewish person, honestly 
speaking, wants to live in the midst of a 
building full of Haredi men with all the 
beards, and all the chanting on a 
Friday night and all the children?”

A homeless single mother with four children 
for one, along with many others.

Plenty of people in social housing endure noisy neighbours, 
potent cooking smells and screaming kids. But isn’t that 
wonderful? Diversity and living cheek by jowl with 
people who see, think and believe different
to you.

That’s a rich learning experience for anyone.

The fallacy of the AIHA’s superiority complex of viewing 
Orthodox Jews above others is, every public service is 
available to their members. And, of the charity’s 2019 
income of £105,710, the sum of £39,716 came from 
British government grants. They won’t be stone-
walled at hospital or refused entry on a bus, so 
why should they be allowed to create their 
small-minded kingdom with impunity?

These Jewish community leaders seem to be shutting out 
anyone who doesn’t align with their beliefs. It’s unhealthy 
and depressing, especially in a multicultural metropolis 
like London.

The judgement also referenced issues that Orthodox Jews 
don’t like to live outside of the Stamford Hill area and they 
tend to be poorer than the wider Jewish community. Many 
of us would prefer not to live outside of the millionaire’s 
playgrounds of Kensington, Knightsbridge and Mayfair – 
but we tend to be poorer, so can’t afford it. That doesn’t 
mean the courts would support us founding the 
Republic of Poverty Housing Association, and 
letting us administer who can move in.

Even if we concede that Orthodox Jews appear to support 
AIHA’s ghetto-isation, aren’t the courts supposed to rule 
for the greater good? It makes no sense to encourage 
people to live in self-imposed enclaves. How are they 
going to progress in life, or do they never plan to 
leave the streets around their homes?

There’s also a wider impact of the judgement. It raises the 
hackles of the population. It hacks away at the concept of 
respecting every other citizen. The far-right will jump on 
this and sadly there’s no defence. It will birth more 
discontentment and raise tensions. 

The law lords have dropped the ball, because they are the 
highest court in the land, they had the chance to set a 
precedent. They seem to have been influenced by 
Jewish sensitivity, that labels anyone who 
disagrees with the faith an anti-Semite.
 It’s hard to see how justice, fairness, 
compassion and understanding are 
applicable. But superiority, tokenism 
and favouritism have been advanced.


Well one of the court’s final points was AIHA was "a small 
housing provider, but similar discrimination by a larger one 
might not be allowed.”

We’re all equal, right?

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has 
written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily 
Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with 
several international-selling magazines. Follow 
him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney


Brits should be ashamed of the casual cruelty 
we show towards over-60s, and shrugging it 
off as ‘banter’, does nothing to excuse it.
by Damian Wilson
9th October, 2020

Two-thirds of UK over-60s say they have been abused in 
public because of their age, with a fifth saying insults 
come from within their own families. It seems the 
idea that we should ‘respect our elders’, is no 
longer in fashion.

We live in a society where everyone just loves to talk 
about ‘respect.’  Even primary school children are 
indoctrinated with the concept, told they are due 
it by right and can demand it from others, if it’s 
not forthcoming. It’s all one-way traffic.

That’s why, as they grow older, and insist on enforcing 
their entitlement, it becomes increasingly evident that 
while they assume that right is a given for them, they 
actually don’t give a toss about it applying to 
anyone else.

Every now and then, research will put this into sharp relief, 
as is shown in the results of a survey undertaken by the 
University of the Third Age (u3a). The study found that 
the more senior members of society, basically those 
aged 60 and over, are frequently insulted by younger 
people, and they don’t like it.

Clueless Millennials, Zoomers and even Gen X’ers told the 
u3a pollsters that they don’t mean anything by slinging 
ageist insults, they were simply being “friendly” and 
the name-calling was just “banter.” Everyone 
does it.

The growing tendency of young people to airily dismiss their 
elders as over the hill old fogeys, and to even insult them in 
public because of their age, is not ‘banter,’ it’s insulting 
and rude.

The misuse of ‘bants’ as a term is one of modern life’s 
great irritations, because while young people have 
co-opted the word to (mis)represent the sort of 
behaviour that borders on bullying, with a thin 
coating of vicious humour, they are 
deeply mistaken.

Banter, in its traditional form, is an exchange between 
two people, a battle of wits, a game of intellectual 
ping-pong, like those nerdy folk on Channel 4 panel 
shows. Usually, those engaging in banter finish 
their jousting with a smug, self-congratulatory 
smile. It’s showing off, it’s proving how clever
you are. It’s not calling someone an old fart 
and shoving them out of the way.

Where’s the give and take, or clever verbal sparring, in 
a teenager shouting at an elderly woman in the street, 
“You dozy old biddy, move it!”. Or standing behind a 
chap of a certain age at a shop checkout, as he 
searches for his wallet and complaining,
grandpa, hurry up!”?

That’s not banter. That’s something completely different. 

A new sort of passive-aggressive behaviour combined 
with name-calling, is increasingly common among 
young Brits these days, thinking that getting one 
over another person is some sort of achievement 
proving their superiority, particularly if it
their victim as a result.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent of over 60s said they 
had been verbally abused in public, with an ageist 
insult, while others had also noticed an increase 
in insults on television (65 per cent) social media
(33 per cent) and even from their own family 
(21 per cent).

My 11-year-old  thinks it’s funny to call me a ”boomer” 
when I can’t find the TV remote. She has a very clear 
idea of what the insult suggests, even if she’s 
actually out of range by a few years. I’m 56 -- 
so borderline Gen X’er, thank you very much.

Unfortunately for me, British families in general 
are not the sort of multi-generational dynasties, 
such as in Italy or India,  in which patriarchs 
& matriarchs, are given lifelong roles at the 
head of their family and afforded a respect 
that other members ignore at their peril.

Break the rules in one of these families, cause offence 
to an elder, and you will bring down the wrath of 
generations upon your head, face humiliation 
and even ostracisation. There is a sense of 
honour woven into the fabric of the family. 
These families are, sadly, not common 
amongst the British.

So most kids and young adults have no hesitation 
in freely hurling abuse at someone they consider 
a geriatric, past it, a fuddy duddy, over the hill, a 
fogey, a crone, an old dear, a codger, a biddy or 
a fossil, which by the way, are those insults 
most frequently employed, according to u3a.

This sort of casual cruelty, and the disregard 
it displays towards our seniors, is hugely 
disrespectful & we should be ashamed 
that it’s so widely accepted as nothing 
out of the ordinary.

We’re all guilty here. Causing offence like this should 
provoke more concern than it does, because it is an 
unwelcome sign of a breakdown in social and family 
hierarchies. Ignoring the concepts of seniority and 
wisdom --- we treat human beings like any other 
consumable, in our consumer-driven world ---
with a finite shelf-life & built-in obsolescence.

Many people feel no qualms about calling out an older 
person, in public, to remind them their time is up as a 
useful contributor to society and they need to shift 
it or risk being steamrolled by those behind them. 
While maybe not articulated quite like that as a 
traffic queue forms behind an elderly motorist 
showing excessive caution at a road junction, 
that, sadly, is often the underlying sentiment 
and we should be ashamed.

But most often, we’re not. We’re just annoyed at 
the inconvenience that someone older than us,
is causing to ourselves. Nearly 10 years ago, 
Age UK made a study of ageism & identified
it as the most widely experienced form of 
discrimination across Europe, affecting 
164 million senior citizens at that time.

Nothing much has changed in the UK in this regard 
since 2011, it seems. And if the latest study is 
anything to go by, things have become 
even worse. 

Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street 
editor, financial industry consultant and political 
communications special advisor in the UK & EU.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in 
this column are solely those of the author and do 
not necessarily represent those of RT.


 Figures Reveal 17,000 Elderly People in UK 
Forced to Sell Home to Pay for Care Costs 
in Just One Year
October 5th, 2020 (Fars news agency)

More than 17,000 pensioners were forced to sell their homes 
to pay for social care last year, research by Money Mail reveals.

The shocking figure means that 330 elderly residents each 
week are taking the desperate step despite Prime Minister 
Boris Johnson’s promise to fix the social care funding crisis.

The calculations reveal the scale of the emergency, showing 
that the numbers forced to sell their hard-won homes have 
soared 45 percent since 2000.

Last night campaigners called for urgent action and 
demanded a "national fund" to pay for social care.

Morgan Vine, of charity Independent Age, said, "The 
pandemic is not a reason not to act – it is the reason 
why action has never been more vital."

On his first day in No 10 in July 2019, Johnson vowed to 
make social care a priority and end the crisis "once and 
for all".

But he has since admitted action would be delayed and 
the coronavirus crisis has made immediate reform a 
remote possibility.

The cost of residential care has risen dramatically 
and now stands at more than £33,000 a year.

Anyone with more than £23,250 in funds, including their 
house value, is denied state help, leaving thousands 
having to sell their homes to pay soaring care bills.

The Daily Mail has campaigned to end this injustice 
for the families of those with dementia, as well as 
other patients.

MoneyMail’s calculations, verified by Independent Age, 
are based on Department of Health data indicating that 
30 percent of those who pay for their residential care 
have to sell their homes.

The total was produced by comparing the numbers of 
self-funders in care provided by analysts Laing Buisson.

The research assumes the average stay is two-and-a-half 
years, as concluded in a study by the Personal Social 
Services Research Unit and Bupa.

It means around 350,000 elderly people are estimated to 
have sold their homes to pay for residential care since 1999.

Caroline Abrahams, director at charity Age UK, said, "When 
the threat from coronavirus finally recedes, Age UK will 
certainly be holding the Government to account on its 
promise to fix social care. The obvious solution is for 
us all to pay into a national fund, like we do with 
the NHS."

She added" |Most people dread the idea of having to sell 
the family home to pay their care bills and the fact that 
this is the reality for substantial numbers is very sad."

Vine, head of policy at Independent Age, said, "These latest 
figures are a timely reminder of the need to fix the funding 
crisis that has plagued the social care system for decades, 
long before COVID-19.

"When taking office, the Prime Minister promised to solve 
the crisis, including preventing people from having to sell 
their homes to pay for care," Vine said, adding, ‘Although 
he couldn’t have predicted the challenges we now face, 
we can all predict the long-term consequences of failing 
to keep his promise."

Liz Kendall, Labour’s social care spokesman, said, "The 
Prime Minister said, on the steps to Downing Street, that 
he has a plan to fix the crisis in social care and that no 
one should have to sell their homes to pay for their care."

"Yet we have seen neither sight nor sound of 
any long-term plan for reform," Kendall said.

"This must be an absolute top priority for the Government. 
People who have worked hard and saved all their life have 
seen their savings wiped out," Kendall added.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said, 
"We have committed to end the injustice that some people
have to sell their homes to finance care whilst others don’t. 
We know there is a need for a long-term solution and are 
looking at proposals."


UK’s chief scientific adviser has
 of shares in vaccine
maker contracted by govt
– reports
UK Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly 
holds a bonus of tens of thousands of shares in a pharma 
giant developing a Covid-19 vaccine for the government. 
Yet, London says there is no conflict of interest.

Vallance, who also chairs the government’s expert advisory 
panel on vaccines, appears to have retained over 43,000 
shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – a UK-based 
multinational pharmaceutical company – 
worth £600,000, The Telegraph reports.

The shareholding appears to be the legacy of his previous 
job as the head of research and development at the very 
same company. Over his tenure from 2012 to 2018, 
Vallance accumulated a total of 404,201 GSK 
shares worth a whopping £6.1 million in his 
hands, according to the British media.

However, he sold more than £5 million worth of shares 
after being appointed to the government. GSK, mean-
while, has entered the global race to provide the world 
with a vaccine against coronavirus – alongside some 
20 other drug manufacturers and research centres. 
The endeavour might prove quite lucrative, should 
the company succeed.

The pharma giant working together with another drug 
manufacturer – Sanofi – has already struck deals with 
the UK and the US governments to supply them with 
a Covid-19 vaccine in case its efforts are fruitful. 
The contract would see GSK providing as many 
as 60 million doses to the UK and 100 million 
doses to the US. Washington has already 
reportedly paid the two companies 
£1.65 million to accelerate 
their efforts.

Since it received the government contracts, GSK’s 
share price rose by some two percent. Vallance 
has meanwhile been busy ensuring that the UK 
would get enough vaccine doses - if GSK is 
successful and contributing to the vaccine 
development efforts.

Earlier this week, he said that the first doses could 
be ready as early as by the end of this year, 
warning, however, that the first half of 2021
 would be a more realistic prospect.The 
revelations sparked suspicions of a 
potential conflict of interest.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied the 
possibility of this. “No, there are rules around these 
kinds of things and I'm sure that Sir Patrick has 
been fully advised by them,” he told LBC Radio. 
“If you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any 
suggestion that he is doing anything other 
than his level best to try and tackle this 
virus is wrong,” he added.

A government spokesman confirmed that Vallance holds 
a deferred share bonus that would mature in April 2021 
without revealing its exact value. The spokesman also 
said that “appropriate steps were taken to manage the 
government chief scientific adviser’s (GCSA) interests 
in line with advice provided at the time.”

He added that the chief scientific adviser also has “no input”
 into the commercial decisions on vaccine procurement, 
which are taken by the government following a “robust” 
approval regime.

The developments come as the UK braces for a second wave 
of coronavirus. The number of new cases is on the rise once 
again and some places in the UK witness it increasing at a 
pace not seen since the peak of the epidemic in spring.

More than 6,100 people were confirmed to have contracted 
the disease overnight and Hancock said that up to 10,000 
people might get ill a day. The situation prompted London 
to introduce a new set of restrictions, which according to 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson might stay in place for up
six months.

Some companies, including the British-Swedish AstraZeneca 
are, meanwhile, seeking emergency approval for their 
vaccines from the relevant regulators.

(originally appeared in RT.)


UN probes UK's
disabled rights violations

The UN is to send a delegation to the UK
as part of an inquiry into the “grave and
systematic violations” of the rights of
disabled people --- allegedly taking
place under London’s austerity

 A visit of the UN Committee Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is taking place at
the request of the campaign group, 'Disabled
People Against Cuts' using a legal mechanism
 known as the Optional Protocol. The request
was made at the start of 2012. Britain is the
first country to face a high-level inquiry by
 the UN committee.

“This is the first time any country has been
investigated by the UN using the Optional
 Protocol so it will be, if nothing else, a very
 historic event,” Linda Burnip, co-founder of
 Disabled People Against Cuts says, adding
that the process is “long and arduous,”
with strict rules for proof of any claims.

News of the investigation was leaked
back in September. UN inquiries are
usually "confidential", but UNCRPD
confirmed it would be visiting the
UK, after the revelation.

“The inquiry follows a string of scandals
involving disabled people in the UK,
including a rise in hate crimes, which
have been overlooked by police and
 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),”
 former director of prosecutions, Lord
 Kenneth MacDonald, says.

Disabled people have been affected
by cuts, nine times more than most
other citizens, according to a report
by the Centre for Welfare Reform,
 in 2013.



Imagine the Rhondda using wind and sun energy
to create new rate and rent free business units,
  that encourage new enterprising companies,
which pay well and market under a "brand"
with a superb reputation for quality.

Everything to help hitting the ground running,
with hot-desking, science, and agriculture,
  to employ our youth.

Russian scientists and Scottish ones

Russian/Scottish scientists hail long-range
secure quantum communication system.

A group of scientists from ITMO University
 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has developed
a new
approach to constructing quantum
systems for secure data

 The experimental device based on the results of the
 research is capable of transmitting single-photon
 quantum signals across distances of 250 klmtrs
 or more, which is on par with its cutting edge
analogues, the ITMO press-service says.

"Now researchers are on a mission -- to create
 a fully-fledged quantum cryptographic system,
that will generate & distribute quantum keys
 and transmit useful data simultaneously",
 ITMO says.

Information security is becoming more and more
 of a critical issue not only for large companies,
banks and defense enterprises but even for
small businesses and individual users.

But the data encryption algorithms we currently
 use for protecting our data are imperfect - in the
 long-term, their logic can be cracked. Regardless
 of how complex and intricate the algorithm is,
 getting around it, is just a matter of time.

Unlike algorithm-based encryption, systems
 that protect information, by making use of
 fundamental laws of quantum physics, can
make data transmission totally immune to
 hacker attacks, in the future.

Information in a quantum channel is carried
by single photons that change irreversibly
 if an eavesdropper tries to intercept them.
The legitimate users will instantly know
 about any kind of intervention.

Researchers at the Quantum Information Centre
 of the International Institute of Photonics and
 Optical Information Technology at ITMO Uni.,
Russia, along with their colleagues from the
Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, have
 devised a new way to generate and
 distribute, quantum bits.

This makes it possible to share quantum signals
--- via optical fibres --- 250 kilometres in distance.

"To transmit quantum signals, we use the so-
called side frequencies," says Artur Gleim,
head of the Quantum Information Centre, 
 ITMO University,

 "This unique approach gives us a number
 of advantages -- such as a considerable
simplification of the device architecture
 and the large pass-through capacity of
the quantum channel. In terms of bit rate
 and operating distances, our system is
comparable to absolute champions in
the field of quantum communications."

According to Robert Collins, research associate
 at the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences
 at Heriot-Watt University, and one of the authors
of the study, this may become a pivotal point for
 the whole field of quantum communication and

 "Down the track, this new approach can enable
 smooth coexistence of numerous data streams
 with different wavelengths in one single optical
 cable. On top of it, these quantum streams can
 be fed into the already existing fibre optic lines
 --- along with conventional communications."

The research paper is published
in the Optics Express journal.

Scottish universities are to be
congratulated for their strong
& growing links with Chinese
and Russian universities....

What a shame, that Wales is
lying low --- with academics
too scared to break from
military research.

China sent 30 missions
 into space in 2017
- a record!

January 4th, 2017 !!!

China conducted 30 space launch missions in 2017 
--- a record-breaking number in
 the country's
space history, said China Aero-
Science &Technology Corporation.

Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets are
to carry out most space missions,
the China News Service reported.

Long March-5 is China's largest carrier rocket. The
successful test launch of the vehicle in November,
 in S. China's Hainan Province, has paved the way
for space station construction, analysts said.

Wang Yu, the general director of the Long March-5
 program, said 2017 was a critical year for China's
 new generation of carrier rockets - and Long
March-5 rockets carried Chang'e-5 probe to
space. The probe has landed on the moon,

 collected samples and returned to Earth.

On the other hand, Long March-7, the more powerful
 version of Long March-2, sent China's 1st cargo
 spacecraft Tianzhou-1 into space, in the first
of 2017, according to Wang Zhaoyao,
director of
China Manned Space
Engineering Office.

docked with Tiangong-2 space lab
conducting experiments on propellant

China conducted 22 launch missions in 2016 and 19
 in 2015. The country successfully tested its Long
 March-7 rocket in June 2016, and has gradually
 shifted to new generation rockets that reduce
use of toxic rocket fuels.

China released several white papers on its space
 activities, announcing plans to soft land Chang'
on the moon, by the end of 2017, and launch
first Mars probe, by 2020.

After Chang'e-5, China would launch Chang'e-4
 lunar probe in about 2018 to achieve mankind's
 first soft landing on the far side of the moon - 
and conduct in situ and roving detection and
 relay communications at Earth-moon L2 point.

The white paper also said that iover the next 5
years, China would provide space & aviation
related services to countries involved in the

One Belt and One Road initiative -- such as
satellite communications, navigation and
weather forecasting analysis.

It has now, in 2021, done so.


US expert views BRICS as testbed
for new kind of global governance

Xinhua - The BRICS bloc grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa serves as "a testbed" for a "sharing governance" of
 global affairs, a leading US expert said.

"BRICS makes that kind of contribution to the world governance
by providing diversity," said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chair of the
Kuhn Foundation, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"I think it would be a mistake, given the nature of humanity, to
have only one organization like the United Nations... " he said,
 adding that a diversity of structures seems to be what makes
 the most sense over time in global governance, since there is
 no perfection.

"It engages them (BRICS nations) to be a sort of hub for broader
 global interaction," Kuhn said, "So Brazil is in South America.
 South Africa is obviously in southern Africa. These become
vehicles to engage more of the world, so that's all positive."

The longtime China observer noted that a greater participation
of the five major emerging economies with "very different
 characteristics" also strengthens momentum for a multi-
polar world, which is crucial for promoting world stability.

"I am all for the key countries, whether judged economically,
 or through other mechanisms, to have greater participation
 in (global) organizations," Kuhn said.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), which is intended
 to focus on infrastructure and sustainable development
projects, stands as a good example, showing "what a
new kind of world governance would look like," he said.

"Everybody has equal voting power. So that's a good sign,"
 he added, referring to the NDB'S distinctive feature -- the
absolutely just distribution of votes between members,
 different from the quota system of other international
 financial institutions, based on the role of a certain

Although with the overwhelmingly largest economy in BRICS,
 China "does not use that power in an aggressive way to take
 control" of the NDB, he noted, "I think that's a good signal.
 And China's doing it because it wants this greater
participation in international affairs."

All BRICS countries should have "a greater say" in the
international financial activity of the World Bank and
 the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said.

In the World Bank, the BRICS countries, home to 42.6 percent
 of the global population and nearly half of the world's foreign
 exchange reserves, have a total of only 13% of voting rights,
 while the United States alone, holds 15 percent.

The IMF agreed in 2010 to give emerging economies a greater
vote in decision-making, but the reform has been blocked by
 the United States, despite the fact that more than 140
countries have approved it.

"These should be adjusted... that's just not aligned
 with today's world, in the same way," he said.

Since the first foreign ministers' meeting in 2006, BRICS countries
have seen ten years of rapid expansion in trade and economies.
They currently account for nearly a quarter of the world economy
 and contributed more than half of global economic growth in 2016.

The 9th annual summit of the bloc, scheduled for Sept. 3rd-5th, in
Xiamen City of southeast China's Fujian Province, is expected to
 produce a declaration that lays out both the progress BRICS has
made so far and its vision of future cooperation.

A "BRICS Plus" mode, is expected to expand the bloc's partnership
-- especially with developing countries -- providing opportunities for
other economies and injecting impetus into economic globalization,
and will help make it a leading platform for South-South cooperation.


West shocked at success
of Russian economy
- despite sanctions
August 14th, 2017
 Fort Russ News - KtovKurse
translated by Inessa Sinchougova

Despite the sanctions and the fall in oil prices,
the Russian economy has grown at its fastest
pace since the third quarter of 2012, German
'paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung states.

According to Rosstat, the growth rate of economic
development in the second quarter of this year by
 2.5%, exceeded similar indicators in 2016. Since
the end of last year, the country's GDP has
 increased again, which wasn't observed
 for seven quarters, before.

According to analysts interviewed, monthly indicators
of economic activity, suggest a recovery of Russia's
 economy on a broad basis. "There was a sharp rise
in construction and industry," commented Rosstat's
data to Capital Economics research company.

Growth was also observed in the sphere of trade. At the
 same time, it was noted that agriculture is the only
sector of the economy that has not yet fully
recovered. This area in the 2nd quarter,
 showed a decline.

In general, however, GDP growth during the second quarter
was lower than the government's forecast (2.7%), the news-
paper stated.

Sanctions taught Russia to count "on oneself", in the
development of its own industries, small, & medium-
sized businesses.

The representative of the Institute of Contemporary
Development, Nikita Maslenikov, agrees that Russia's
economy has already adapted to the imposed external
constraints and the latest US sanctions will not have
a significant impact. In his opinion, because of these
sanctions, Russia will lose only "a few tenths" of
the annual rate of its GDP growth.


Donetsk revives local bus
 manufacturing industry
August 11th, 2017
 Fort Russ News - DNR News
 by Inessa Sinchougova

The Head of the Donetsk Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko,
paid a working visit to the state enterprise Donetskgormash,
 where the first Donbass buses have been assembled. The
plant was also visited by the Deputy Chair of the Council of
Ministers of the DPR, Alexander Timofeev, and the Acting
 President. Minister of Industry & Trade, Alexey Granovsky.

The managers of the enterprise conducted a tour of the
 plant, where Zakharchenko got acquainted with the
 technological characteristics of the "Donbass" bus
- and the stages of its assembly. The Republic's
demand for city and suburban needs for 2017,
 is about 400 units, due to a lack of transport
options because of the conflict.

Russia plans to abolish preferences
 to foreign aircraft makers from
2019 - deputy PM
August 6th

Dmitry Rogozin said that a plan of replacing all
foreign aircraft by Russian-made analogues
 has already been drafted and submitted
to President Vladimir Putin

TASS - Russia plans to begin abolishing preferences to
foreign aircraft manufacturers from 2019, to regain
control over the domestic civil aircraft market,
 Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin said
 on Sunday.

"Today, we produce 30 planes a year, which is 25 less
 than Airbus or Boeing but by 2025 we plan to already
manufacture 110 planes a year," he said in an
 interview with the Sunday evening news
 roundup on Rossiya-1 tv channel.

 "As production of domestic aircraft increases - we
will abolish the privileges foreign aircraft-makers
are enjoying, say, from 2019."

According to official statistics cited by Rogpzin, Russia
 strongly depends on foreign aircraft manufacturers.
 Thus, in his words, it has bought 367 foreign-made
  planes since 2013. Apart from that, he noted that
 big funds are spent to lease foreign planes.

 "Being dependent on foreign aircraft makers, we spend
 and pay abroad some 470 billion rubles (7.83 billion US
 dollars) a year. It is an insult to the nation, an insult to
our aviation power and we couldn't stand such a state
 of things any longer," he said, adding that it was the
 reason to encourage the development and
 production of new Russian aircraft,
 including the MC-21 and Sukhoi
Superjet 100 planes.

The deputy prime minister said that a plan of replacing
all foreign aircraft by Russian-made analogues, has
already been drafted and submitted to President
Vladimir Putin.

"We will regain this market. If we did it in the defense
 sector, we can do it in the civil sector as well," he


BRICS countries strike fatal
 blow on US dollar supremacy
August 4th 2017
The United States has declared a war of sanctions
on Russia and continues putting trade pressure on
 China. It is not ruled out that the USA will restrict
supplies of steel products from China. In return,
Moscow and Beijing intend to abolish the US
dollar in settlements within the scope of
the BRICS organization. The move will
mark the end of the era of undivided
 financial domination of the United
States of America, in the world.

As soon as the US Congress adopted a package of
 new sanctions against Russia, the Deputy Foreign
Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov
 issued a formidable warning to Washington.

"US sanctions against Russia will only encourage
 Russia to create an alternative economic system,
in which dollars will not be needed," the Russian
 diplomat said.

Interestingly, the statement was made on the eve
 of the two-day summit of BRICS trade ministers,
which opened on August 1, 2017 in Shanghai.
This organization, which includes Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa,
becomes a powerful counterweight
 to the Group of Seven.

Today, the BRICS countries account for 26% of the
Earth's territory, 42% of its population (almost
three billion people) and 27% of world GDP.

According to experts' forecasts, the share
 of BRICS countries will account for more
than 40% of world GDP, by 2050.

However, BRICS trade ministers chose
not to put the horse before the cart.

Russia's Minister for Economic Development Maxim
 Oreshkin stated that BRICS countries, in particular
 Russia and China, may switch to settlements in
national currencies already in the near future.
The minister also said that trade turnover
 between Russia and China may reach
$200 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the Shanghai summit,
the ministers discussed opportunities for creating a
 new monetary system to exclude the use of the US
dollar. In 2015, President Vladimir Putin said that
Russia was opting for settlements in national
 currencies and has created currency pools
with several countries.

Today, not only does Russia need to abjure the dollar -
 the country needs to ensure financial independence
 from the West. BRICS countries have coordinated
 basic principles of the New Development Bank's
work, which is seen as a counterbalance to the
 World Bank, in which it is the US who sets the
 rules of the game.

In addition, Russia considers the possibility of
 setting up a separate payment system similar
 to SWIFT.

More than 300 Russian banks have switched to an
alternative to SWIFT - the system known as SPFS
 (System for Transfer of Financial Messages).

Elvira Nabiullina, Chairwoman of the Central Bank of
 Russia, said: "Threats were voiced that Russia could
 be cut off from SWIFT. We have completed the work
 on our own payment system, and --- if something
happens --- all operations in SWIFT format will
work inside the country."

One of the main conditions for switching to settlements
in national currencies, is the stability of the national
currencies of the BRICS members. The Russian
ruble exchange rate may decrease due to
relatively low world oil prices (within
$52 per barrel).

The unstable exchange rates of national currencies, is
not the only obstacle to abjure the US dollar in mutual
settlements. BRICS countries account for only 10%
of global trade. Therefore, the alliance needs to
increase its indicators of mutual trade.

Moscow and Beijing have already introduced mutual
settlements in yuans. Russia's Central Bank has
opened its first foreign office in Beijing.

Thus, the war of sanctions against Russia consolidates
 and boosts relations between Russia, China and other
BRICS members.
Aydin Mehtiyev



China to continue to be key
 driver of global growth -
IMF chief economist
July 24th, 2017
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday,
 revised upwards, China's growth forecast for 2017
 and 2018...  to 6.7% and 6.4%, respectively.

China's growth will continue to be a key driver for a
 (firming) recovery of the world economy, the chief
economist of the International Monetary Fund
 (IMF) said on Monday.

The updated World Economic Outlook report published
by the IMF on Monday, which came days after China
 posted a stronger-than-expected second quarterly
 performance, Is a reflection of a solid first quarter,
 underpinned by previous policy easing and supply
-side reforms, including efforts to reduce excess
capacity in the industrial sector, according to
the IMF.

"We have seen very strong growth and, especially
beyond our update, the second quarter's figure of
6.9& is also above expectation. So clearly growth
 is proceeding at pace," Obstfeld said.

"Strong Chinese growth drives growth, particularly
in the Asia region, but also throughout the world,"
Obstfeld added, noting that China is a big
contributor to overall growth, and has
a very large spillover effect, on the
world's economy.

(Source - Xinhua)


EU warns US of ‘unintended
consequences’ over fresh
anti-Russia sanctions
Saturday July 22nd, at 10:34pm

The EU has warned the US over “unintended consequences”
which may result from imposing more sanctions on Russia.

The European Commission released a statement on Saturday,
warning that imposing new sanctions against Russia without
coordination with the G7 countries, may have "wide and
indiscriminate" "unintended consequences."

The statement was released after Republicans & Democrats
 in the US Congress, reached a deal which could result in
 further anti-Russia sanctions.

Germany has already announced that it may engage in
 retaliatory moves, if the US sanctions German firms
 involved in the construction of a new Baltic pipe-
line for Russian gas.

"We understand that the Russia/Iran sanctions bill is
driven primarily by domestic considerations," read
the statement, in reference to last month's bill
passed by the US Senate.

"As we have said repeatedly, it is important that any
possible new measures are coordinated between
international partners to maintain unity among
 partners on the sanctions that have been
# underpinning the efforts for a full
 implementation of the Minsk
 Agreements," it added.

The economic sanctions against Moscow were
originally introduced in March 2014, after the
 strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea
 rejoined Russia after a referendum.

Since then, the EU, the US and some other Western
countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions
against Russia over accusations that Moscow has
 been involved in the deadly crisis in Ukraine,
which has so far killed over 10,000 people.
The Kremlin has, however, strongly
 rejected the accusations.

Ukraine’s armed conflict broke out when Kiev
launched military operations to crack down
on pro-Russia anti-US coup forces in the
eastern sector of the country.

In September 2014, the government in Kiev and the
pro-Russia anti-US coup forces signed a ceasefire
 agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, in a
 bid to halt the clashes in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

The warring sides also inked another truce deal,
 dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015, under the
supervision of Russia, Germany and France.

"Sanctions are at their most effective when they are
 coordinated. Currently our sanctions regimes are
coordinated. As a result their impact on the ground
 is increased and through coordination we are able
 to avoid surprises, manage any potential impact
 on our own economic operators, and address
 collectively, efforts to circumvent such
 measures. Unilateral measures would
 undermine this," it notes.

(Source - PressTv)


Africa has potential to have e-commerce
 bigger than EU and US: stresses Jack Ma
 July 22nd 2017

Chinese billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma on Friday
advised African youth entrepreneurs to think out
of the box and create a bigger e-commerce on
 the continent.

He made the remarks while delivering his keynote
 address at the inauguration of the YouthConnekt
Africa Summit, in the Rwandan capital Kigali,
which focuses on promoting job creation
through entrepreneurship and skills
development with Africa's youth.

"Africa is the home & solution for the inclusive economy
the world needs. Think big, and think about the future.
You have great potential: the future of e-commerce
in Africa, is bigger than for Europe & the US," said
Ma, founder of China's e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

"Think big for the future. It took me 18 years to build
e-commerce, but it could take you 5 to 8 years to
build e-commerce in Africa, since the continent
has already laid a conducive environment for
 you to thrive," said the special advisor of the
 United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD).

He said that African entrepreneurs should learn from
 failure. "Africa has to get used to failure. If you can't,
then how can you succeed?"

The three-day summit is organized by the government
of Rwanda, the United Nations Conference on Trade
 and Development (UNCTAD) and UNDP. The summit,
 from July the 19th to the 21st, is dubbed:
 "Realizing Africa's Youth Potential."

It has attracted more than 3,000 participants including
top executives from multinational companies, leaders
of civil society organizations, Africa's development
partners, members of the academia, and youth
 entrepreneurs from 90 countries across Africa
 and beyond, to interact & discuss enhancing
 the potential of youth in Africa, according
 to the organizers.

At the summit, Ma announced four projects to support
 African entrepreneurs, African young people and the
efforts of conservation in Africa.

The four projects are:

 supporting 200 African entrepreneurs
over the next five years;

working with universities and governments
to develop training programs for African
young people on e-commerce and
cloud computing;

setting up a conservation award
for conservation rangers;

 and donating 10 million US dollars to establish
 a young entrepreneurs development fund.

(Source: Xinhua)


EU trying to solve its problems
by targeting Iran and others'
exports with huge
law-breaking duties
July 19th, 2017

The European Union is targeting Iran’s hot-rolled
 steel --- planning to hit imports from the country
with punitive trade tariffs. 

According to a document cited in the European
media, the European Commission is proposing
duties of up to 23 percent for steel from Iran's
Mobarakeh Steel Co.

European steel lobby group Eurofer is at the centre
 of the campaign and has forced Europe’s trade
 policy oversight European Commission,
to intervene and check imports.

Brazil, Russia & Ukraine, are the other countries
the Commission is planning to target with duties
of up to 33%.   

There is no immediate reaction to the plan from
 the countries being targeted. In June, China
reacted furiously after the European Union
set duties of up to 35.9 percent on
Chinese hot-rolled steel.

Eurofer says Iranian exports to Europe have leapt
 to more than 1 million tonnes annually, accusing
Mobarakeh of "trade distorting measures."

Mobarakeh Steel Co is Iran’s largest steel
producer with 7.2 million tonnes per year. 

Europe’s tough stance, including its more than 40
 restrictive measures, aimed at aiding European
 steel producers --- has sparked accusations of
protectionism by international steel exporters.

The bloc’s steel producers have been pressuring
the European leaders to copy the US’s draconian
 regulations, including levies of more than 500%
 on steel imports, in some cases.

Steelmakers across Europe are faced with mass
 redundancies because of their high energy costs.
Their leaders say 320,000 jobs in the European
 steel industry, are ''at risk from imports''.

Steel is the second biggest industry in the world
after oil and gas. The commodity was Iran's
 largest export item after oil, gas and petro-
chemicals last year, partly because of
 the slump in domestic construction.

The country has been boosting steel production,
targeting an output plateau of 55 million tonnes
per year by 2015.

Iran enjoys an advantage because production
costs at the majority of its steelworks are
 internationally competitive, because of
 low energy prices in the country.

It exported 4 million tonnes of steel last year,
according to director of the Iranian Mines and
 Mining Industries Development & Renovation
 Organization (IMIDRO), Mehdi Karbasian.

Currently, the nation produces 16 million tonnes,
 which is 1% of the world total. A statement on
IMIDRO’s website says exports are expected
to hit 20-25 million tonnes by 2025.

Steel is a strategic commodity for the country of
80 million, which has the Middle East’s biggest
carmaker. It is also key to Iran's massive oil
and gas industry, transportation network,
water supply, urban centres and
mammoth construction sector.

Last month, Austria said it had allocated a credit
line of 1 billion euros for a major steel production
 project in southern Iran.

(Source - PressTv)


Russia China Trade B(l)ooming
July 1st, 2017

China's General Administration of Customs states that
China-Russia trade grew 33.7% in the first five months
 of this year, to 223.1 billion yuan ($32.8 billion).

(Source - Xinhua)


AIIB approves membership of

Argentina, Madagascar, Tonga
June 17th 2017
Xinhua - The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment
 Bank (AIIB) on Friday approved the memberships of
Argentina, the Republic of Madagascar and the
Kingdom of Tonga at its second annual
meeting of governors.

The AIIB's board of governors adopted resolutions approving
the three applicants to join the bank at the second annual
meeting, which kicked off earlier in the day in South
 Korea's southern resort island of Jeju.

The first meeting was held in Beijing last year.

The approved applicants included one regional prospective
member, Tonga, and two non-regional members, Argentina
and Madagascar.

"Well-integrated infrastructure and enhanced connectivity
between Asia and the rest of the world has far-reaching
benefits for the global economy," said AIIB President
 Jin Liqun.

Tonga was well known as the friendly islands in the South
 Pacific, while Argentina and Madagascar are important
 economies in South America and Africa each, said Jin.

The AIIB chief expressed his anticipation of the role the
 3 new members will play, once they fully join the bank.

The three prospective members will officially join the AIIB
 once they complete the required domestic processes and
 deposit the first installment of capital with the bank.

Shares allocated to the new prospective members come
 from the bank's existing pool of unallocated shares.

"Since launching only 18 months ago, the bank has
welcomed 23 new members from around the
world," said Sir Danny Alexander, vice
president and corporate secretary
at the AIIB.

The vice chief said interest in the AIIB remained high and
that the bank's door remained open to the new members
that will be joining later this year.

Officially launched in January 2016, the Beijing-based AIIB
 is a multilateral development bank initiated by China and
supported by a wide range of countries and regions,
which will provide financing for infrastructure
 improvement in Asia.

The international infrastructure bank owned about 100 billion
 US dollars of subscribed capital, including some 20 billion
dollars in paid-in capital.

This year's annual meeting gathered about 2,000
participants, including delegations of founding
members and the new members, international
organizations and academia...  as well as
 businessmen, financiers and journalists.

The attendees included over 20 finance ministers
of approved AIIB members, according to South
Korea's finance ministry.

The second annual meeting was held under the theme of
"Sustainable Infrastructure," seeking strategic directions
 of the international infrastructure bank and making
major decisions on the bank's management.


Israel’s economy heading
for disaster, experts warn
May 29th, 2017

A report released by the Taub Center for Social Policy
 Studies in Israel shows the country has the highest
poverty rates among OECD countries --- and faces
 “worrisome trends” that could have disastrous
 effects on its growing population.

According to the Picture of the Nation 2017 report,
with Israel’s aging population and rising costs
 across the board, its “current sources of
 economic growth are not sustainable.”

The country ranks 22nd out of 34 of the OECD
(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development) regarding GDP and takes 24th
 spot within the market income poverty rate.

Among developed countries, Israel has the highest
 percentage of its population below the poverty line.

“The past year has seen a decline in unemployment
 and a large rise in GDP,” however, “unfortunately, it
appears that this positive trend will not continue
 and new sources of growth must be found,”
 said the report.

The Taub Center described Israel’s 4% GDP
 growth as an “outlier and not a trend.”

A separate report which was released earlier this month
 by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research
 looked at economic trends in the whole 69-year history
 of the country. It concluded the economy shows deep-
seated and long-term shortcomings that threaten to
weaken the army and constitute an “existential
threat” to the country’s future.

In terms of GDP, Israel has been falling further and further
 behind the G7 average since the mid-1970s, with a more
 than threefold increase having developed in the gap
between them. This, says the report, “reflects a
steadily widening disparity between what an
employed person living in Israel can attain
 and what that person could attain in the
 countries that are pulling away
 from Israel.”

Professor Dan Ben-David, founder and chair of the
Shoresh Institution and co-author of the report,
warned if Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu
“continues to ignore the future” the
 country could face a catastrophe
 of massive proportions.

Netanyahu has recently held some meetings with Israeli
 media outlets, claiming the reports do not reflect “what
 the public feels.”

“It's an industry of despair. Where they see unemployment,
I see full employment. Where they see an economy in ruin,
 I see a flourishing economy. Where they see traffic jams,
I see junctions, trains, and bridges. Where they see a
crumbling state nearing collapse, I see Israel as a
 rising global power,” he was cited as saying
 by the Times of Israel.

(Source - RT)


'Finance Curse'
Scheduled to Tighten
 Its Grip on UK Significantly by 2022
May 2nd 2017, at 8:01pm

The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) has published projections
 suggesting the UK economy will be highly unbalanced by 2022
– economic activity heavily skewed towards London, and the
wider economy dependent on finance. The Tax Justice
Network (TJN) has said such a development would be
a symptom of the UK's "Finance Curse."

In all, the TUC forecasts S. East England will produce 40.1 percent
 of the UK's gross domestic product by 2022, of which London will
 provide 25 percent (or 62.5 percent of the South East's total
 economic share). This represents a rise of 2.5 percentage
 points from 2015, and over seven percent from 1997.

The Congress projects the most significant falls in the share of the
 economy come in 2022 and will be suffered in Yorkshire (dropping
0.5 percentage points to just 6.1 percent), the North West (down 0.4
 to nine percent%) and Scotland (falling 0.4 to 7.2 percent).

Given the importance of the City of London's offshore financial centre
 to the region, the Tax Justice Network believes the TUC's forecasts
are a vivid demonstration of the "Finance Curse" in action —
organization directors John Christensen and Nicholas Shaxson
 argue the City of London has been a major contributing factor
to the dramatic decline in British manufacturing since the
1970s, and the impoverishment of non-South East
 regions of the country.

The emphasis on finance in the UK has, they believe, resulted in flows
of foreign capital into the UK going straight to the City, for the purpose
 of mergers and acquisitions and real estate purchases rather than
 investment. Moreover, it has produced a "brain drain" effect in
many industries, with upper tier university graduates being
 enticed by finance, and eschewing other valuable sectors
 of the economy.

The UK's bloated financial sector has also helped to disguise the
damage the industry itself has caused, by smoothing over
 declining wages and falling levels of employment, via
borrowing. When downturns and recessions occur,
 the long-term damage inflicted on other sectors
 of the economy by a myopic national focus on
 finance are revealed — but those sectors are
 harder to resuscitate than finance, and may
 end up being irrecoverable.

(source - Sputnik)


European Union demands
UK must repay Fraud cash

March 8th 2017

 The European Office of Struggle against Fraud (OLAF)
demanded today that the United Kingdom pay for two
billion euros of customs fraud.

An official report adds that the claim is due to the fact
 that London ignored, for years, this type of practice,
 above all, in the importation of textiles and Chinese
 shoes, thereby affecting the community budget.

The text says this protest is regardless of Brexit
 or a British exit from the European Union (EU),
scheduled to become a reality this month.

Research carried out from 2013 to 2016, revealed
 a customs fraud of expanded reach --- carried out
by a group of criminal gangs, who systematically
 declared lower values for the imported products.

According to OLAF, the United Kingdom was the main
 centre of that fraudulent trade. Other countries of the
 European Union fought against that problem, while
 the illegal business grew in the British isles.

In that period, that practice inflicted losses on the EU
 of one billion 987 million euros, concludes the probe.
 The customs tariffs are one of the main sources of
financing the EU budget.

OLAF launches severe accusations against the United
 Kingdom and assures that, for years, authorities were
 alerted about the losses, without doing anything to
 prevent them, or open investigations on this issue.

(source - Prensa Latina)


China Usurps US As Germany’s
 Biggest Trade Partner
25/2/2017 at 03:36

China has taken another step in global economic
 dominance: becoming Germany’s most significant
 international trading partner: a place the US had.

Germany sent and received with China, goods and
 services worth approximately $180 billion in 2016,
 according to recent Federal Statistics Office data.
France was Germany’s second-largest trade ally,
 while the US ranked third.

 In 2015, the US enjoyed a brief stint as Germany’s
 top trade partner, a spot occupied by France, for
 the previous half-century.

Optimism among exporters in China, the world’s
 third-largest economy, is “rising further,” says
Clemens Faust, of Ifo Institute for Economic
 Research, a Munich-based think tank.

(source - Sputnik)


Politician: European-style reforms
to degrade Ukraine’s economy
 January 23rd
Ukraine’s economy has been degrading as its
 dependence on commodity exports grows as
a result of "European-style reforms", leader
of the Ukrainian Choice public movement,
 Viktor Medvedchuk said Monday, in
a LiveJournal post.

"Rather than developing innovations to achieve
 a technological breakthrough, we have been
witnessing destruction of the country’s high
 tech industries. In 2013, the share of various
 machines, equipment and transport vehicles
in our exports was 16.3%, but, in 2014, it
 dropped to 13.2% and to 12.1% in 2015.
 During the first 11 months of 2016, this
share fell to 11.6%," he elaborated.

At the same time, Medvedchuk stressed that
agricultural exports had grown, reaching 41.6%
during the January to November period of 2016.

"However, there is nothing to celebrate: we
export only agricultural commodities while
 'ready-to-use' food products’ share is 6.6%.
 Where agriculture is concerned, structural
problems have been growing: it would be
enough to say that livestock population
has been decreasing, which may create
serious problems in the next few years,"
 he added.

The politician also pointed to the planned
education reforms, bound to "contribute to
 the process of turning Ukraine into a banana
republic." The country’s education ministry...
"has decided that children in 10th and 11th
 grades do not need that many physics,
 chemistry, mathematics & informatics
 classes so it is better to declare
those subjects, as optional."

"Really --- why build nuclear power plants and
produce machines? This reformed education
will be enough to grow sunflowers and
rapeseeds," Medvedchuk concluded.

(source - TASS)


Russian, Armenian PMs to discuss
integration cooperation within EAEU
January 24th, 2017
Integration cooperation between Russia & Armenia
 within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be
the focus of talks between Russian Prime Minister
 Dmitry Medvedev and his Armenian counterpart,
Karen Karapetyan, who arrives in Moscow on
 Tuesday, at the invitation of the Russian

The agenda of the talks will include issues of
 Russian-Armenian cooperation in the area of
trade-and-economic relations, and in such
 sectors as energy, transport, and the

 The 2 prime ministers will also discuss the
implementation of joint investment projects
Russia's government's press service said.

The talks are expected to yield a number
 of intergovernmental & inter-ministerial

(source - TASS)


All countries observing oil output cuts
 agreement — Russian energy minister
January 22, 17:04
TASS - All countries are observing the agreement
on cutting output, Russia's Minister of Energy
 Alexander Novak told media on Sunday.

The IMF expects oil prices to grow
 by almost 20% in 2017.

"On the agreement's fulfilment - I can
 say, we see with satisfaction, the
successful implementation of the
agreement & joint action of OPEC
 & non-cartel countries, stabilizing
 the situation on the oil market,"
he said.

"We have seen the statement made by Saudi
Arabia’s minister claiming the country cut
output by more than the agreement
he said.

"Russia observes its obligations faster - and
cuts are almost twice faster than planned.
The ministers' committee will be meeting
 every other month and, prior to the next
 (in May) OPEC summit, it will have two
meetings," the minister said.

"Today, we have noted that the situation on
the market is approaching balance, stock is
 lowering already. Most importantly", he said
 "we can see stability and lower volatility.".

"I think the statistics data for January will show
 cuts of over 1.7 million barrels a day," he said.

"The potential for price growth is exhausted.
 In general, the situation can be viewed as
 follows: oil prices are going to be from
 $50 to $60 per barrel," he said.


Goldman Sachs evacuates UK
19th of January, 2017. 

US bank Goldman Sachs will move 1,000 staff from
 London to Frankfurt as a post-Brexit reorganisation
 that will reduce its City headcount by half, German
business daily Handelsblatt reports on 19 January.

“The bank is weighing transferring up to 1,000 employees
 to Frankfurt, including traders as well as top bankers,”
the paper reports, citing financial industry sources.

In total, Goldman Sachs will cut its head-
count in London, from 6,000...  to 3,000.

(source - Katehon)


Moldova's New President Hopes to
Cancel EU Association Agreement
January 17th, 2017
Moldova’s President said on Tuesday that he
 hopes the country’s association agreement
with the European Union will be cancelled..
 if his party obtains a parliamentary majority,
 paving the way for an alliance with Moscow.

“I don’t exclude that, after the next parliament
polls, this agreement will be annulled,” if the
 socialist party wins the majority of seats in
 the next election, Igor Dodon noted on his
first foreign trip to Moscow, after meeting
with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(source - Al Manar)


Metallurgical Plant

 - relaunched in spring 2017
January 12th, 2017

One of the biggest industrial enterprises of the
Donetsk People’s Republic, founded by a Welsh
entrepeneur in the 19th century, was relaunched

 in the spring of 2017, the press-service of the
DPR's Ministry of Industry and Trade, reports.

Also, DPR's industrial enterprises, Donfrost
 and Nord, are now producing 51,000 fridges.

It's necessary to point out that the production
 of fridges in Nord factory stopped completely
 in August 2016, and the Donfrost plant was
 established at that time. Now this plant is
 working with FSR states (Former Soviet
 Republics) and in Asia, where 70% of
DPR's production, is imported.


World Economic Forum director calls
on EU: to reset relations with Russia
December 31st, 2016

"A reset in the complicated situation of the kind
could be a very important step" - Philipp Rosler

The World Economic Forum’s Managing Board
 Member and Director, Philipp Rosler, calls on
 the EU to improve relations with Russia. The
former German chancellor's statement came
in an interview with the Neuer Osnabrucker
 Zeitung newspaper, published on Saturday.

"A reset in the complicated situation of the kind
could be a very important step," he said, adding
both sides now, should offer respective signals.

"Achieving mutual understanding on the European
 continent is necessary and is, first of all, the affair
 of Europeans, not Americans," Rosler said. "Using
 these approaches, we should structure policies."

The official said the issue of how to behave with
 Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed, has not
 been cleared up, and "today, we can see what
conflicts have arisen from this negligence,"
 he added.

(Source - TASS)



TASS - Gazprom sees some risks for gas transit
 through Ukraine to Europe, and in the case of
unsanctioned gas tapping by Ukraine, it may
cut off supplies to the EU, Gazprom's CEO,
 Alexei Miller, told reporters.

"Indeed there are risks for gas transit to Europe (via
 Ukraine). In the contract, which was signed in 2009,
we clearly fix all cases of force majeure. If Ukraine
 starts gas tapping, then we can either cut supply
 by the volume of illegally taken gas, or can carry
out a disproportionate reduction. But we may
stop deliveries all together, even after a
single unauthorized tapping of gas,"
 Miller said.



IMF Data Shows China’s GDP
Outpaces US's --------- in 2016

In purchasing power parity, China’s gross domestic
 product (GDP) will exceed that of the US by some
 $2.7 trillion, in 2016.

The figures come from a recent International
 Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate, and serve to
shift the canon that the US is the world’s
 primary economic superpower.

Economists forecast that US GDP will measure
 some $18.5 trillion, while China is expected to
 net $21.2 trillion in GDP, as per IMF data.


Russia's 'Syria countersanctions' 
will hit the West below the belt

The West and Russia are entering the third year
 of a war of sanctions. Washington threatens to
  impose new sanctions against Russia, this time
 for Syria. Russia will take "painful measures" in
 response, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister,
 Sergei Ryabkov, says.

 Pravda.Ru offers a list of counter sanctions that
 we compiled on the basis of experts' opinions.

1. Russia's first answer would be the abolition of
neo-liberal economic policies and a transition to
 a new economic development strategy. This can
block Western influence channels on our country
 & thus become the most asymmetric, but tough
answer, to any new Western sanctions, noted
Ruslan Dzarasov, Doctor of Economics, head
 of the department of political economy, at
 Russia's 'Plekhanov' Economic University.

The expert noted that "we continue to adhere to the
 export growth model, taking capital to the West and
forming a budget on the basis of financial interests
 of capital rather than domestic consumers." Russia,
the expert said, should introduce a combination of
 state planning and a market sector, "similar to
 what the USSR was doing during the 1920s."

"The state should ensure the financial transparency
 of corporations, expand the rights of trade unions
 and workers, strengthen social control over big
 business, & show influence on the formation of
prices in the economy, to stop price disparities
 in favour of the mining export sector, and to
 the detriment of manufacturing industry,"
 Ruslan Dzarasov told Pravda.Ru.

2. Russia could refuse to save its reserves in US
dollars. Russia doesn't take first place in terms
 of dollar savings in the world - but it could still
give a serious blow to the Western financial
system, Dr Valentin Katasonov, Economics
 Professor at the Moscow State Institute of
 International Finance, and head of Russia's
Sharapov Economic Society, told Pravda.Ru.

"A lot of Russia's liabilities in national gold
 and currency reserves, are denominated
in US dollars. Should they be put on the
market --- the dollar will suffer greatly,"
 leading expert at the Union of Oil and
Gas Industrialists, Rustam Tankan said.

Noteworthy: some private Russian companies
have already abandoned the US dollar in their
 activities. Megafon, one of Russia's 3 leading
 cellular providers, converted about 40% of its
dollar deposits to euros & Hong Kong dollars.
The company transferred the funds to major
 Chinese bank accounts. Norilsk Nickel took
similar measures. The Hong Kong dollar is a
Chinese foreign clone of the dollar, and the
 US is unable to impose any sanctions on
 this currency.

 Russia has started abandoning the US dollar as
 a reserve currency, by opening a Raw Materials
 Exchange in St. Petersburg, where Russian
energy carriers are traded in rubles.

3. Russia could freeze US investors' assets in
the Russian economy. "Foreign citizens are
the ultimate beneficiaries of our shadow
 holdings. There are 'tricky' financial
mechanisms in the timber industry,
for instance," Igor Gerasimov, a
member of the Committee for
Business Security at the
 Chamber of Commerce,
 and security expert,
told Pravda.Ru.

The shadow mechanism works as follows...
wood-working firm does most of the work,
while most of the profit goes to a "general

contractor." The latter pays the company a
relative price for production, & a minimum
 profit. Most of the profit goes to specific
 individuals, to the accounts of foreign
 companies. Therefore, Russia could
adopt laws over the nationalization
of natural resources & city-forming
 enterprises, said Igor Gerasimov.

4. The State Duma of the Russian Federation
 has already discussed a draft law to relieve
both state-run and privately-owned Russian
companies of $700 billion of debts... which
are held by Western banks in countries
now threatening sanctions on Russia.

5. Sanctions in the field of high technology, will
be no less sensitive. "Russian titanium will stop
 arriving at European companies, and this will
 certainly be a very significant act of pressure
on our partners," Alexei Mukhin, general
 director of the Centre for Political
Information, told Pravda.Ru.

Boeing & United Technologies, as well as Europe's
 Airbus Group, purchase most of their titanium from
 Avisma, a Russian company, which happens to be
 the world's largest titanium producer. Yet this
covers only about 30% of their needs. The US,
however, is entirely dependent on Russia for
its rocket engines. RD-180 is a 6-ton liquid
 rocket engine, with a thrust of 400+ tons.
 The US has used Russian rocket engines
since 2000. The US Congress passed a
 budget which provides for the allocation
 of 100s of millions of dollars... to buy an
  "unlimited" number of RD-180 engines.

6. Russia's sanctions against Western airlines
would lead to their elimination. A great deal
of airlines fly across the territory of Russia
and save a lot of money on this, chair of
the Federation Council Committee on
International Affairs, Andrei Klimov,
told Pravda.Ru.

"If all of a sudden, the Russian authorities try
 to do something in this field, it will generate
huge profits to companies from such states
 as the United Arab Emirates, & at the same
 time, it will cause serious financial damage
 to German, French and other air carriers,"
 said the expert.

7. Many large companies in the West have strong
 lobbies in legislative authorities. Therefore, the
 input of targeted sanctions... under the pretext
of rules and regulations violations, would be a
very strong response. Starting from 1 Nov 2016
Russia banned imports of salt from the EU, the
 US, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Liechtenstein,
 Montenegro, Albania and Ukraine.

 On 15 February 2016, Russia banned imports
 of soybeans and corn from the US, including
 through third countries. Russia still imports
 various US food products, spending millions
 of US dollars a year (PepsiCo, Starbucks,
Cargill, McDonald's), pharmaceuticals
 (Pfizer), cosmetic products (Procter &
 Gamble, Johnson & Johnson), plastics,
 machinery, textiles, footwear, auto-
mobiles (Ford, General Motors), as
well as products under a "secret
code" worth $554 million --- in
 the first half of 2016, alone.

Lyuba Lulko


World Central banks get

rid of US securities
Thursday, 20th of October, 2016. 

The number of US bonds shrank dramatically
 last month (27.5 billion dollars). This decline
is the biggest this year. As a result, the
value of US securities, has fallen.

Now their total cost is about $3 trillion.
This is the lowest level in five years.

China & Saudi Arabia are the leaders among
 those countries which are selling US bonds.


IMF heralds catastrophe for

major banks of EU and US
Source: REX

The International Monetary Fund said in a report
 published on October 5th 2016, that a significant
number of major banks in the wealthiest states
of the world, are so weak, that neither growth
in the world economy, nor an increase in
interest rates, will help them solve
their problems.

The problematic credit organizations include one-
third of Europe's banks with assets totaling $8.5
 trillion and a quarter of US banks with assets
worth $3.2 trillion.

According to the IMF, financial stability now
 depends, on how well financial institutions
can adapt themselves to the new era with
tougher regulation and supervision,
restrained growth and low
interest rates.

Experts note that despite an improvement in the
 structure of bank assets and equity indices, low
 profitability remains a significant problem, that
 can not be solved through cycles of economic

The report, in particular, draws attention to the
euro-zone banks, profits of which, have halved,
since the average levels of 2003-2006.

Experts believe that Europe lags behind the US
 in terms of the disposal of bad loans. Both the
IMF and the European Central Bank see loose
 monetary policy as the main cause of bank

IMF experts also remained concerned about
the financial stability of Japan and China. At
 the same time, experts point out decreasing
 pressure on emerging markets, against the
backdrop of higher prices on raw materials
and a certain stabilization of the Chinese


Vietnam joins Russia-led
free trade zone

A free trade agreement between the Russian-led
 Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Vietnam
 takes effect now with its ratification. The
deal opens the EEU's market of 181

million people to Vietnam.

The EEU countries – Russia, Armenia, Belarus,
 Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan – get the opportunity
 to sell goods in Vietnam on a preferential basis.

The free trade deal covers more than 90 percent
 of all goods traded between the EEU & Vietnam.
It will save exporters from the EEU about $40-60
million in the first year. Vietnamese companies
can expect savings of up to $5-$10 million a year.

With the deal Hanoi expects to significantly raise
 its foreign trade. Trade with Russia is expected
more than double to $10 billion by 2020.

"Specific conditions will be created for Russia in
 order to increase the supply of its products on
the Vietnamese market. It concerns not only
high value-added products, but also agricultural
produce, consumer goods and so on," said the
Russian Trade Mission in Vietnam.

Russia’s exports to Vietnam, include, nuclear
 reactors, mineral fuels, oil and its distillation
products and fertilizers. Imports from Vietnam
include electrical machinery, boilers & knitwear.

In terms of the agreement, Russian automotive
 companies GAZ, Kamaz & Sollers will be able
 to create joint ventures to produce buses,
trucks, special vehicles, and passenger cars.
 The localization of production is expected to
 reach 40 to 50 percent over the next decade.

Vietnam signed the free trade zone agreement
 with the EEU in 2015, becoming the first non-
regional country to join the bloc.

More than 40 countries and international
organizations, including China, Indonesia,
 Israel and Iran, have expressed interest
 in a free trade deal with the bloc.

Establishment of the EEU was signed by the
 presidents of Russia, Belarus & Kazakhstan
in 2014. Armenia & Kyrgyzstan, joined later.

 The bloc was designed to ensure the free
movement of goods, services, capital and
 workforces, between member countries.



4 of the biggest banks are reported as going down:
HSBC, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Wells
 Fargo, are all reported by eminent experts as
"about to fail."


Chinese yuan becomes IMF reserve
currency, first new addition since 1999

The Chinese yuan is now added to the IMF reserve
 basket, becoming the first currency to be added to
 the list, since the emergence of the euro, in 1999.

The official entry brings to a close, at least partly,
Beijing’s years-long struggle
for international
acceptance on the sort of level
enjoyed by
the US dollar. The currency now
joins the
big four: the US dollar, the euro,

the yen, and the UK's pound.

The decision means the Chinese yuan will now be
 used as one of the International Monetary Fund’s
 lending currencies, in emergency bailouts. This
 sort of internationalization is in line with
 China’s wish for an increase in the
 legitimacy of its currency.

The move also evidences China’s growing role
as a power to challenge the global economic
 dominance of the United States.

The IMF has fixed the relative amounts of
the five main currencies in its basket for

five years, based on the exchange rate
each, over the last three months.


Deutsche Bank to fight
US $14bn claim

Deutsche Bank says it will challenge a $14 billion
claim by the US Department of Justice on alleged
mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities during
the 2008 financial crisis.

“Deutsche Bank has no intent to settle these
potential civil claims anywhere near the number
cited. The negotiations are only just beginning.
The bank expects that they will lead to an out-
come similar to those of peer banks which
have settled at materially lower amounts,”
Deutsche Bank says in its statement.

No details on the case have been publicized.
 Yet reports say sales of mortgage securities
 before the 2008 financial crisis, lie at the
 heart of the case.

The claim against Deutsche Bank far exceeds
 its expectations that the DoJ would look for
 a figure of only up to 3 billion euros ($3.4
billion), Reuters reported.

European stocks wrapped up in negative territory
on Friday in reaction to the case against Deutsche
Bank. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays both
fell over 5%, while Credit Suisse and UBS fell
over 3%. French lenders BNP Paripas and
Societe Generale both fell over 2%.

Deutsche Bank’s shares stumbled 8.5%, wiping
 off roughly €1.5 billion from the German lenders’
 market capitalization.

Other big banks have reached deals in recent
years with US authorities over their mortgage
 activities in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Earlier in 2016, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay
 $5.1 billion to settle claims on its dealings.


Banking giants reverse predictions
 of post-Brexit ‘Brecession’, proving
 it was the Remain Camp, who lied:

Two of the City’s biggest powerhouses have
scrapped their predictions:  of a post-Brexit
recession which would see the UK economy
 collapse, following the EU referendum - and
now envisage better-than-expected results
 in the third financial quarter.

 But investor Jim Rogers warns that the US
policy of printing money will soon hurt us:

"You should be very worried. There's going to be a
serious economic crisis --- in the next year or two.

We all are going to pay a horrible price for the
artificial money coming out of America, and
 other central banks. We’re all going to have
a huge problem. Be worried, be worried."



China welcomes Canada's decision
 to apply for AIIB membership: Xi

Xinhua - Meeting Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, Xi
says China is willing to improve communication
 and coordination with Canada, protect an open
& inclusive multilateral trade system with the
 country and deepen cooperation in areas
as climate change, peacekeeping
and marine

This is the first official visit by Trudeau since
taking office in November 2015. His father,
former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, was
the first Canadian PM to visit China, after
the establishment of diplomatic relations.

After his stay in Beijing, Trudeau flew
 to Hangzhou, to attend the G20 summit.


World seeing ‘greatest monetary policy
experiment in history’ - Rothschild

 Low interest rates, negative yields on government
 debt & quantitative easing, are part of the biggest
 financial experiment in world history, and the
 consequences are as yet, unknown, says RIT
Capital Partners Chair, Lord Rothschild.

“The six months under review have seen central
 bankers continuing what is surely the greatest
experiment in monetary policy in the history of
 the world. We're therefore in uncharted waters
 and it is impossible to predict the unintended
 consequences of very low interest rates, with
 30% of global government debt --- at negative
 yields, combined with quantitative easing on
 a massive scale,” Rothschild writes, in the
company's semi-annual financial report.

The banker says this policy has led to a rapid
growth of stock markets --- US stocks have
grown 3-fold since 2008 - with investments
 growing and volatility remaining low.

However, the real sector of the economy didn’t
 enjoy such profits, as “growth remains anemic,
 with weak demand and deflation in many parts
 of the developed world,” says Rothschild.

The billionaire stresses that many risks remain
 for the global economy, with the deteriorating
geopolitical situation. Among those risks, he
includes the UK's vote to leave the EU, the
 US' presidential election & China's slowing
economic growth. Another risk is global
terrorism, which Rothschild says is a
consequence of continuing 'conflict'
 in the Middle East.

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report in June,
shows interest rates in developed countries,
 in particular America’s 0.5%, are now at
their lowest level in 5,000 years.

 In their battle with deflation, countries such
 as Sweden, Switzerland or Japan, have even
 turned to negative key lending rates.

Another woe is negative yields on government
bonds. In June, 10-year German government
bonds dipped below 0% for the first time in

Janus Capital estimates that global yields
are the lowest in 500 years, and the total
amount of such bonds, is $10 trillion.

The investment group’s lead portfolio manager,
 Bill Gross, is calling it a “supernova, that will
 explode one day.”



EU mulls abolishing "non-market economy" list

Xinhua - The European Union (EU) is mulling
abolishing its "non-market economy" list, on
which China & 14 other states are included,
to set up a new, "country-neutral" method,
 & reform its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy
 legislation, it announced, on July 29th.

The decision was made after the EU Commission
held another orientation debate on the treatment
 of China, in anti-dumping investigations, as a 15-
year-old EU "surrogate system" is set to expire,
 in December, 2016.

"Colleagues have agreed to propose changes to
 EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation --
with the introduction of a new anti-dumping
 methodology," said EU Trade Commissioner
Cecilia Malmstrom in a press briefing.

"We're eliminating the existing list of non-
market economy countries," Malmstrom
 told reporters. "This is a new method, it
will be country-neutral, and applied to
all WTO member countries, equally."

 "This new methodology, would lead to
approximately the same level of anti-
dumping duties as the EU has now"
-- the commissioner said.

EU officials say... the new method will mark
 a "huge change" to the bloc's anti-dumping
& anti-subsidy laws, & the EU Commission
 will have to shoulder the burden, & prove
 there is "market distortion" in its future
 investigations, on a case-by-case basis.

Besides China, other countries on the
 EU "non-market economies" list, are:

 Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
 Georgia, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan,
 Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia,
 Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan and, last but
not least, Vietnam.


Deficit in UK's Current Account
Remains Unaltered 
 The deficit in the current account of the United
 Kingdom -- after all this austerity -- remains at
an historic maximum.

The need to finance the country from abroad, was
high before the yes for Brexit. The British National
 Office of Statistics shows no change in its initial
 growth estimate for the first quarter -- but shows
that the economy still depends mostly on home
 expenditure and services, for any expansion.

On the other hand, the growth of foreign trade,
 investment and manufacturing, slowed down.

In global terms, the UK economy grew 0.4 %
 in the first three months of 2016, in line with
 forecasts, and was 2% higher than last year.


Americans and Europeans Divided

Over Sanctions Against Russia
Prensa Latina - Almost half of Europeans (47%)
 --- believe that sanctions against Russia should
be lifted --- according to a recent Sputnik Poll.

The poll found that 51% of Italians, 48% of Germans,
& 43% of French respondents, said they agree with
 the lifting of sanctions; according to the consultant
 firms, Ifop and UK Populus.

In contrast, when asked about the same topic, only
 29% of US people, said that they would like to see
 sanctions against Russia lifted.

The poll was conducted by the French opinion and
 marketing research company, Ifop, and UK polling
 agency Populus, for Sputnik News Agency & Radio.

The poll also found that respondents in the US,
are most likely to support extending sanctions.

When asked if sanctions against Russia should
be lifted or extended :  42% of US citizens said
they support extending them.

However, only 31% of respondents in Germany,
 29 per cent in France, and 27 per cent in Italy
agreed with extending sanctions.

The EU's economic sanctions against Russia
 were imposed in 2014.

Analists say that, since the sanctions were
 applied, the EU has had to pay 10 times
more than the US.


 “The Most Corrupt Country
in the World”.

 Journalist & world-renowned expert on the
 Italian mafia Roberto Saviano calls the UK
 “the most corrupt country in the world”.

“If I asked, what's the most corrupt place on
 Earth, you might well tell me it’s Afghanistan
 or maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy:
 and I will tell you --- it’s the UK,” Saviano told
 the audience at Wales’ Hay Literary Festival.

“It’s not the bureaucracy, it’s not the police,
 & it’s not the politics, but what is corrupt is
the financial capital. Ninety percent of the
 owners of capital in London, have their
headquarters offshore,” he added.

The UK is Europe’s “criminal capital” when it
comes to allowing corruption, the journalist
 thinks, with trust funds in Jersey and British
 Overseas Territory the Cayman Islands,
 being its “access gates.”

“That is why it is important, why it is so crucial
for me to be here today & talk to you;- because
 I want to tell you, this is about you, this is about
 your life, this is about your government,” the
36-year-old journalist told the audience.


Surprise! US Should Be Considered

 as a Tax Haven, EU Report Suggests

New research by the Green/EFA group in the
 European Parliament calls for the USA to be
 considered as a tax haven, following claims
 that it has fallen behind in tax transparency.

The research — which was published ahead
of a special visit to the US by the European
 Parliament's special committee, looking at
 tax avoidance this week, could also cast a
 shadow on the ongoing TTIP negotiations
-- which aim to secure closer trade agree-
ments between Europe and the US.

The report is critical of what it sees as inaction
 on the part of the US ---- in tackling the issue of
 transparency of company ownership and bank
 account info' between tax administrations
 --- arguing that, whilst the EU has made
progress, the US has not.

The report, 'The Role of the US as a Tax
Haven — Implications for Europe' says:

"The US is a major financial centre. It holds almost
 20% of the financial services' world market share
 for non-residents. Foreign assets amounted to
US $16,745 billion in 2013, and foreign direct
investment reached US$2.9 billion in 2014.

However, its transparency legal framework
is not consistent with the responsibility
involved in being a major financial hub."

The German Green MEP Sven Giegold comments
 on the report -- claiming the US has failed to live
 up to standards it requires of other countries:

"The US has made bold moves on the exchange of
 financial information but it is just a one-way street:
its exchange of tax information with other states,
 is more limited and full of loopholes," Giegold says.

Molly Scott Cato - a Green MEP for the UK - argues
 that the US is becoming increasingly attractive --
as a "tax haven" for the world's most wealthy.

Responding to the recent report, she argues for
 greater scrutiny of the US tax regime by the EU:

"The EU should carefully scrutinize the US, in the
 upcoming process of creating a common blacklist
 of tax havens. We should introduce a withholding
 tax on US banks not exchanging information -- as
 the US has done with European banks. We need
the US to sign up to the highest international
standards of transparency."

A fact-finding delegation visited the US between
 17-19 May, as part of the European Parliament's
 special committee investigating tax avoidance
 in the US.


Worst is Yet to Come? US Billionaire
 Warns of Crisis Worse Than 2008

The current situation in the global economy
 is similar to the situation on the eve of the
 crisis of 2008, billionaire trader Stanley
 Druckenmiller says.

According to the businessperson,
the main risk stems from actions
  by the US Federal Reserve.

He criticizes the Federal Reserve for a
 "myopic policy" of low interest rates,
which has led to fast-growing
bullish sentiments, in
the market.

"The bull market is exhausting itself,"
 he said, at the Ira Sohn Investment
Conference, in New York.

The Fed’s easy monetary policy has
 resulted in companies taking on big
debt loads... which they then use to
buy back their shares -- instead of
increasing capital spending.

By keeping interest rates low, the Fed is
 'raising the odds of an economic tail risk
 they are trying to avoid', Druckenmiller
points out.

A big concern, is the uncontrollable growth
of US debt, the investor adds. According to
 him, US corporations are "stuck in the mud,
forlorn of growth, unwilling to invest, and
 addicted to share buybacks, to gin up
 their stocks."

"The Fed has borrowed from future
 consumption more than ever before.
It is the least data-dependent Fed
 in history. This is the longest
 deviation from historical norms
 in terms of Fed dovishness that
 I have ever seen in my career,"
Druckenmiller is quoted as
saying, by CNBC.

"This kind of myopia causes
 reckless behaviour."

According to media reports, Druckenmiller -
 whose net worth is estimated at $4.4 billion
- is making long-term investments in gold...
 while holding short positions on US
companies’ shares.

At the same time, some economists believe
 that the current state of the global economy
 indicates that it may be facing a structural
adjustment - and isn't just the downward
 part of an economic cycle.

In April, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) announced that the global economy
was expecting growth at 3.2 percent, in
2016, & a further growth of 3.5% in 2017.

"Maybe it is not just an economic cycle
 we are facing, but a kind of structural
adjustment of the world economy that
we do not understand, yet: what the
consequences are, and how to deal
 with this," European Commission
 Europe-Aid head, Jose Correia
Nunes, notes.


Bankers in Prison
--- New Rule?

In October 2015, courts in Iceland handed down
 sentences against 5 bankers who helped usher
in the country’s 2008 financial crisis. Among
the convicted were 3 senior managers from
 Landsbanki Íslands and 2 senior managers
 from Kaupthing Bank. Then suddenly, with
no big hooha, sentences were pronounced
against more bankers working in Iceland.

A total of 26 have been convicted. This is
 the world’s first ruling against the bankers
 who oversaw the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Is the jig up yet?

On Jan. 11 eleven former employees of Deutsche
 Bank, Barclays, and Société Générale, appeared
in a London court, accused of manipulating the
 Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), which
sets interest rates on many financial
products, including mortgages.

The Libor and Euribor interbank rates, which
 determine the cost at which banks lend to one
 another, are used to price over $450 trillion of
financial products. Over three years since the
UK bank Barclays, admitted, in 2012, that its
traders had tried to manipulate the Libor &
Euribor rates, between 2005 and 2009,
legal proceedings have begun.

 For many bankers the start of the trial
in London --- was a genuine shock.

In the banking world, where the London law-
suit's currently a hot topic, there're those who
 point out, that only the managers of European
banks are in the dock and they hope that Wall
 Street banks are not next. Others claim that
 the trial in London...  is just the beginning.

 And, finally, a third group is suggesting that it is
 not that hard to figure out which bank managers
 and employees are responsible for misbehaving.

The long silence on the part of the banks and
 regulators, can only be explained by the well-
established bonds of corruption:-  financial
 regulators are always guided by 2 unwritten
 rules in their work. One rule applies to the
banks as legal entities: Too big to fail.

The other applies to the managers
of large banks: Too big to jail.

The lawsuits in Iceland and London are
 the first exceptions to the second rule.


62 billionaires now control
half of world’s wealth

The 44-page report, ‘An Economy for the 1%’,
 published by Oxfam GB for Oxfam International
 (ISBN 978-1-78077-993-5, Jan. 2016, Oxford,
UK) says:

“The gap between rich and poor is reaching new
 extremes: Credit Suisse has recently revealed that
the richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth
than the rest of the world put together. Meanwhile,
 the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity,
has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past 5 years.
This is just the latest evidence that today we live
 in a world with levels of inequality we may not
have seen for over a century.”

The poorest 50% of the world’s population is now
 worth an estimated $1.76 trillion --- which is also
 the estimated net worth of the richest 62 people.

In 2010, it required the richest 388 persons to
 make up the wealth of the bottom 50%. Since
then, the world’s richest 62 persons have added
 44% to their cash and assets -- while the wealth
of the bottom half has dropped by 41%, despite
the rise in the global population by 400 million.

In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62
 persons increased by $500 billion to $1.76 trillion.

 Within 5 years, the majority of the world’s wealth
 has been consolidated into the hands of less than
 one-sixth of the number of persons who used to
 control it.

Nine out of 10 World Economic Forum corporate
 partners had a presence in at least 1 tax haven.

 It's estimated that tax dodging by multinational
 corporations costs developing countries at least
 $100 billion every year. Corporate investment in
 tax havens almost quadrupled from 2000 to 2014.

The report cited estimates that billionaires have
 $7.6 trillion in offshore accounts. This amount
 is more than the joint GDP of the UK & Germany.

 It is said that, if tax were paid on the income this
 wealth generates, an extra $190 billion would be
 available to governments --- every year.


  EU Tries ending Tax
              Evasion by Multinationals  
 Prensa Latina - The European Union loses up to
 70 billion euros a year --- due to tax evasion by
 multinationals --- estimates the regional bloc,
it announces measures to contain this.

According to the Economic Affairs Commissioner,
 Pierre Moscovici, the transnationals' aggressive
 fiscal engineering, reduces the public coffers of
 the 28 member countries of the EU, by amounts
 fluctuating between 50 - 70 billion euros a year.

In remarks to journalists, Moscovici says these
practices generate a competitive disadvantage
 for local businesses -- and increase the fiscal
 burden for all other tax payers.

Moscovici says the Commission's plan needs
the approval of the 28 member countries and
 considers that the negotiations, as is usual
 over fiscal matters, will not be easy.

Under the proposal, 6 tax practices linked
to aggressive fiscal engineering, would be
 banned - including the transfer of benefits
 to subsidiaries placed in countries where
 lower taxes are paid.

The initiative also tries to prevent dividends
 or profits arriving to the EU from third states
 from enjoying tax exemption, when it hasn't
 been charged in the nations of origin.

Under the package, multinationals will 
have to give specific information to the
 fiscal authorities of the country where
 the headquarters are based and, if it is
 outside the EU, the responsibility will
 fall on the subsidiary.


Europe Bank Rout
Erases $434 Billion,
 Twice Greek Economy.

The plunge in European bank stocks over the past
six months, has wiped out about 400 billion euros
 ($434 billion) in market value --- over twice the
 annual output of Greece at current prices.

The STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index, grouping
 46 lenders, has dropped twice as much as the
 region’s benchmark share index since late July.

 Banking stocks have fallen 14% in January alone,
 heading for their worst monthly performance since
 the depths of Europe’s 2011 sovereign-debt crisis.

Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Chartered Plc
are each down by over 40 percent, since July.


US Companies Led the World in
Debt Defaults in 2015, S&P Says
More US companies defaulted on their debt in 2015
than issuers from any other country or region, S&P
 analysts say, in their December reports.

111 companies worldwide defaulted on their
 obligations, the highest tally since 2009 when
 the figure hit 242 for the same period.

 About 60 percent of last year’s global defaults
came from US borrowers, up from 55 percent in
 2014, when 33 of 60 defaulters, were US ones.

After the US, companies from emerging markets
 were the second-largest defaulters, accounting
for 23 percent of the pool, which was a smaller
share than in 2014, according to S&P's data.

Plummeting oil prices and speculation about
how the Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten
monetary policy would affect corporate
borrowing costs has made companies
 more vulnerable, expert Vazza says.

“The current crop of US speculative-grade
issuers appears fragile, and particularly
susceptible to sudden, or unanticipated
 shocks,” she wrote, on December 24th.

Arch Coal Inc. was the most recent,
 with its credit rating downgraded to
“speculative default” by Standard &
Poor’s last week -- after the coal
producer missed about $90 million
 in interest payments, & exercised
 a 30-day grace period, with the
 holders of some of its notes.

Bloomberg.com reports that shale is now
running out of survival tricks, as OPEC
ramps up the pressure.

Looking ahead, S&P expects the US corporate
 default rate to rise to 3.3 percent by September
 2016 from 2.5 percent a year earlier.

The bulk of the failures to come from companies
 in the oil and gas sector, which accounted for
about a quarter of 2015’s defaults.



While the mainstream media focus on ISIS
 extremists, a threat that has gone virtually
 unreported is that your life savings could be
 wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse.

 Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the
 infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty
also kills. At the end of November, an Italian
 pensioner hanged himself after his entire
 €100,000 savings were confiscated, in a
bank “rescue” scheme.

 He left a suicide note blaming the bank,
 where he'd been a customer for 50 years
and had invested in bank-issued bonds.

 But he might better have blamed the EU
 and the G20’s Financial Stability Board,
which imposed an “Orderly Resolution”
 regime, to keep insolvent banks afloat
--- by confiscating the savings
of investors and depositors.

 Some 130,000 shareholders and junior
 bond holders suffered losses by “rescue.”   




Obama agrees - signs IMF Reform

A special communique of the G20 on the subject
of the IMF adopted at the G20 summit in Turkey
 --- and signed by US President Obama --- urges
the US to ratify IMF reforms agreed in 2010.

This reform implies that the US will have to give
 up its blocking stake of votes in the IMF and the
 fund itself, will cease to depend on Washington


US saddled with
debts of $65 trillion:

Former US comptroller

When all the US's unfunded liabilities are added up,
 the national debt is 3 times more than the oft-cited
 figure of $18 trillion, states Dave Walker, former
US' Comptroller General.

The real US national debt is about $65 trillion,
says Mr Walker, who headed the Government
 Accountability Office (GAO) --- under former
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

“If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion -- the
 unfunded civilian & military pensions & retiree
 healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social
 Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare,
and the various commitments and contingencies
 that the federal government has, the real number
is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s
growing automatically --- absent reforms,” Walker
 tells John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable”
on New York’s AM-970.

Walker, in charge of ensuring federal spending is
 fiscally responsible, says a large national debt
hinders the US government’s ability to conduct
domestic and foreign policy initiatives.

“If you don’t keep your economy strong, and
that means to be able to generate more jobs
 and opportunities, you are not going to be
strong internationally, with regard to
 foreign policy,” he notes.

He adds that such a problem prevents
 the country from investing “in national
defense and homeland security.”

Walker goes on to say that US citizens
 have “lost touch with reality”, when
it comes to spending.

He calls on Democrats and Republicans
to set aside partisan politics in order to
band together to tackle the problem.

“You can be a Democrat or a Republican,
you can be unaffiliated, you can be what-
ever you want, but your duty of loyalty
needs to be to country, rather than to
 party, & we need to solve some of the
 large, known, and growing problems
 that we have,” he says.


IMF warns: Saudi Arabia
may go bankrupt by 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns in a
 report, that Saudi Arabia may run out of financial
 assets within 5 years, if the government keeps to
its current policies.

Saudi Arabia is expected to run a budget deficit
of 21.6% in 2015 and 19.4% in 2016, according to
the IMF’s latest regional economic outlook. The
 state needs to adjust its spending, the IMF urges.

The IMF says the region’s outlook is currently
 being shaped by several key factors ---- the
 most important of which include deepening
regional conflicts, and slumping oil prices.

The conflicts have given rise to large numbers
of displaced people and refugees, on a scale
not seen since the early 1990s, according
to the report.

“Achieving fiscal sustainability over the
medium-term will be especially challenging
 -- given the need to create jobs for the over
 10 million people anticipated to be looking
 for work by 2020 in the region’s oil exporting
 countries,” IMF Middle East and Central Asia
 Department Director, Masood Ahmed, told
media, after unveiling the report in Dubai.

“For the region’s oil exporters, the fall in
prices has led to a large fall in revenue,
amounting to a staggering $360 billion
this year alone,” Masood Ahmed said.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq,
Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Algeria and Libya
have all seen revenues drop sharply,
 as a result of a decline in oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is currently facing a
 budget deficit for the first time
since 2009.

Oil sales account for 80% of revenues.
 It has prompted the government to cut
spending, delay projects and sell bonds.

The country’s net foreign assets fell by
 about $82 billion from Jan. to August.

The government sold state bonds worth
 $15 billion (55 billion riyals) this year.

The budget deficit has caused project
 layoffs in Saudi Arabia.

Firms working on infrastructure projects
 haven’t been paid for 6 months, or more.
Payment delays increased lately, as the
government wants to cut prices on
 contracts, in order to preserve cash.


Growth momentum still huge in
 Chinese economy: People's Daily
China's economy still has huge momentum,
 "as structural readjustment will transform
 challenges into strengths in the long run,"
says a commentary in the People's Daily,
the flagship newspaper of the Communist
 Party of China.

China's GDP last year posted its weakest
annual expansion in 24 years, mainly
 resulting from a housing slowdown,
 weakening domestic demand and
unsteady exports.

Economic growth slowed further,
to 7% in the first half of this year.

A 7% rise is not an easy achievement in
 a slowing world economy, & the rate is
among the highest in major economies,
 Premier Li Keqiang says, at the Summer
Davos forum in northeast China's Dalian.

"China is the source of global growth," Li says,
 adding the country has sufficient policy tools
 to reform the macro-economy, and will keep
rolling out targeted & innovative measures
 to counter downward pressure.

China contributed roughly 30 percent of world
 economic growth, in the first half of this year.


UN Principles Against Vulture Funds,
Victory for Argentina    

It was worth the fight, said president Cristina
 Fernández on TV, after the UN voted by a big
majority, to approve a resolution with the
principles that create a legal framework
 to protect the process of exchange in
paying off debts.

The UN principles of sovereignty are:

 good faith, transparency, impartiality,
 equitable treatment, sovereign immunity,
 legitimacy, sustainability, & restructuring
 of the majority.

Cristina Fernández --- over the year it took ---
 defended the need to establish a legal frame-
work that protects restructuring of sovereign
debts --- from speculation by financial groups
known as 'vulture' funds.

The proposal was received and sponsored by the
 Group of 77 plus China, which upheld it until now.

Argentinean Minister of Economy, Axel Kicillof
said this approval not only favors his country,
 but all the rest, including developed countries
going through a process of crisis.

Although the resolution by the General Assembly
 isn't obligatory, it constitutes a fundamental step
 against the attacks of vulture funds, like those
 Argentina is suffering today and other countries
 too, affirmed Kicillof.

Cristina Fernandez thanked the 136 nations who
voted 'yes' and the 41 states which abstained,
 "as we know of the pressures they're against."
She also congratulated the diplomatic and
economic teams that made it possible.


The World Bank, using PPP calculations,
 has Russia's economy above Germany's.

 Its top five -- in order -- are:
China, the US, India, Japan
 and Russia.

 It puts BRICS GDP at 96% of the G7's.

 The world is changing.


'Largest-ever' Mediterranean
gas field discovered

Italian energy company Eni says it's discovered the
 Mediterranean Sea's "largest-ever" gas reservoir ---
off Egypt.


Justice Ministry drafts bill proposing
legalizing seizure of foreign state assets

Kommersant business daily writes that Russia's
 Justice Ministry has developed a bill, according
to which, any state’s property in Russia can be
seized, in proportion to the amount of Russian
 assets frozen in that country.  Presently, the
bill is approved by a designated committee.

"The number of lawsuits against Russia in
foreign courts is steadily rising," says the
Justice Ministry, "and no one is asking
Russia to agree to participate."

The ministry notes that in several countries
 Russian property now has "limited juridical
immunity," which is why a special law is
needed to guarantee a "balance" on the
basis of the "reciprocity principle."

"Currently, it is possible to seize foreign
government assets when there is a court
 order," says Dmitry Matveyev, executive
 partner of Dmitry Matveyev & Partners
 Law Firm.

 He does not see a special law as necessary,
 but notes that if the law is passed, it will not
 contradict international law.

"Any court or arbitration institute can ‘deprive’
 a foreign government of immunity if it is guided
 by the applicable law," says Marat Davletbayev,
partner from Nektorov, Saveliev and Partners
 Law Firm.

But Davletbayev also warns that the court of
the country whose property was deprived of
immunity, can refuse to recognize this, and
implement the decision of the Russian court.


Transit Gas Through Ukraine
Politically Motivated by EU

Sputnik – The EU is trying to maintain the transit
of Russian gas via Ukraine, for political reasons,
 Russia's Envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says.

"I think they have the ultimate goal of keeping
 Ukrainian transit, as a purely political stance.
 It doesn't have any economic basis," he says,
 answering questions in an interview with RIA
Novosti, on why Brussels is not seeking to
enhance co-operation with Russia on the
Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, via the
Black Sea and Greece, bypassing Ukraine.

The European Union won't be able to continue
 giving Kiev financial support, if Ukraine now
announces a default, due to the EU's own
legislation, Vladimir Chizhov says.

"Yes, if a default is announced, they cannot
continue financial support according to the
EU's legislation," he says, in the interview.

The EU is -- to a certain extent -- standing on
the sidelines in Ukraine's conflict settlement
 process, Russia's Envoy to the EU, says.

"Two EU members are participating in the
Normandy format negotiations on the
settlement of the situation in Ukraine,
 and they are both operating in their
national capacity.

"The European structures, as well as US
 representatives -- for obvious reasons --
are not engaged [in the talks]," he says.

The EU is supporting the Kiev authorities,
 who have repeatedly violated the Minsk
agreements, instead of putting pressure
on them, Russia's Envoy to the EU says.

“It's not the first time Kiev has violated the
Minsk agreements. I think this is obvious
 to every unbiased observer, but here [in
 the European Union] they do not even
 think about it. Instead [of imposing
sanctions on Ukraine], they just repeat
 their support for the authorities in Kiev,”
he says, in an interview with RIA Novosti.


‘No mandate or moral right tosay yes’:
Greece rejects ‘generous’ EU bailout

It’s up to the Greek people, Tsipras says,
make a fateful decision on Greece’s
sovereignty, independence and future.


If Anti-Russia Sanctions Stay...

According to WIFO’s assessment, Germany will
shoulder the main burden. 500,000 jobs now are
under the threat of liquidation in Germany. The
 German economy will lose €27 billion and its
GDP will contract by 1% in the coming years,
according to experts’ estimates.

Italy will lose over 200,000 jobs and 0.9% of GDP
 while France’s losses will amount to 150,000 jobs
 and 0.5% of GDP. Poland, Estonia and Spain will
suffer too. Germany has already lost 175,000
 working places with 290,000 more to be lost,
 if the sanctions war continues.

The unemployment rate may rise by 185,000
 in Poland, 135,000 in Italy, 115,000 in Spain,
95,000 in France, 80,000 in the UK & 75,000
 in Estonia. If we include Switzerland, the EU
 has already lost 950,000 working places.
 With the sanctions in force, unemployment
 will rise by 1,460,000.


Anti-Russian Sanctions Can Cost EU
 Up to $114 Billion - Austrian Study
Sputnik - The European Union could lose up to
 €100 billion ($114 billion) over its anti-Russian
 sanctions if things remain unchanged, a study
by Austria's Institute of Economic Research,

Die Welt newspaper reports that the research,
conducted exclusively for the Leading European
 Newspaper Alliance (LENA), considers a worst-
case scenario, if the sanctions remain in place.

“If the situation does not change fundamentally,
 our most pessimistic scenario will come true,”
one of the research authors, Oliver Fritz, is
 quoted as saying, by Die Welt.

According to their calculations, the current
 political situation could also affect over 2
 million EU jobs, through declining exports.

In contrast to the analysts’ forecast, the
European Commission says the losses of
 the European Union are “relatively small
 and manageable,” the newspaper says.

Since March 2014, the US, EU, and other
 western countries have sanctioned Russia’s
 banking, defense & energy sectors, over its
 alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow
 has repeatedly denied those allegations.

In August, Moscow imposed a year-long food
embargo on the countries that sanctioned it.

The decision on the extension of anti-Russian
 sanctions is due to be made next week at the
 meeting of EU foreign ministers. Moscow vows
new countermeasures -- if sanctions are kept.


Two Can Play This Game: Russia Warns:
 Belgium Asset Freeze Works Both Ways
Sputnik - Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned
 the Belgian ambassador, informing him that
Russia may adopt reciprocal measures --- if
 the recent asset seizures are not reversed.

A Belgian court instructed Wednesday, that
47 Belgian & Russian companies be stripped
 of assets of 1.65 billion euros ($1.87 billion),
 in connection with a settlement awarded to
 exYukos shareholders by a Dutch arbitration
 court. Russia's Justice Minister, Alexander
Konovalov, says Belgium's legal arguments
 for seizing Russian property are unclear, &
Russia has requested information on this,
through diplomatic channels.

"Belgium's ambassador was informed that
 the Russian side considers such acts by
competent authorities of the Kingdom of
Belgium, as openly unfriendly acts and
flagrant violations of the universally
recognized norms of international
the ministry statement says.

The ministry calls on Belgium to take
immediate acts to restore the property
 of Russian organizations. The seizures
 appear to be made under the auspices
 of the European Energy Charter Treaty,
which Russia signed, but did not ratify.

"Otherwise, the Russian side will be
 forced to consider adopting appropriate
 response measures, regarding assets
 of the Kingdom of Belgium," it adds.

French authorities also began seizing
Russian state-owned property earlier
 on Thursday. France seized the bank
 accounts of Rossiya Segodnya news
 agency, of which, Sputnik is a part.

The organization's real estate wasn't seized,
as the organization does not own any real
 estate in France, & employees continue to
 access rented buildings without hindrance.

French economist and professor at Moscow
 School of Economics, Jacques Sapir, says
the French government's decision threatens
 to create a "cold war" climate between the
 two countries, and the attacks show how
the West intends to deal with the rise in
influence of Russia's alternative media.


India confirms bid to
join Russia-led bloc

India has confirmed that it will sign a free trade
 agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union
(EEU) -- a Russia-led bloc which is attracting
more emerging powers. 

TASS news agency quotes a senior diplomat at
 the Indian embassy in Russia, saying that New
Delhi will be “definitely signing this agreement".

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and
Kyrgyzstan are members of the EEU which
started operation on January 1st, with the
 aim of regional economic integration.

China, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt & Israel, have
 also indicated their interest in joining the
 EEU free trade zone which guarantees the
free transit of goods, services, capital and
 workers, among its members.

Last month, the union gave the initial go-
ahead to signing a free trade agreement
with Iran, a senior EEU official says.

Russia's representative on the Eurasian
Economic Commission board, Andrey
Slepnev, says the Iran proposal was
 approved by all the panel members, 
at an expert-level meeting, held
 in Armenia's capital, Yerevan.

He adds that discussions with China
on joining the union will begin soon,
Xinhua news agency says.

Currently the EEU has a combined population
 of 170 million people, and a gross domestic
 product of $2.7 trillion, and is being tipped
 as a major economic force to challenge the
 might of the European Union and the US.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is also
 calling for a regional currency union, as
it will make it "easier to react to external
 financial & economic threats, & protect
 our joint market".


Australia, China sign landmark
 free trade agreement

Xinhua - The Australian & Chinese governments
 signed a long-awaited, "monumental" free trade
 agreement in Canberra, last month, lifting most
 of the import tariffs between the two countries.
The landmark signing by Australia's Trade Minister
 Andrew Robb and China's Commerce Minister Gao
 Hucheng finalized negotiations that began 10 years
 ago and follows the Declaration of Intent signed in
 November by the countries' leaders, Tony Abbott
 and Xi Jinping.
PM Abbott says the "unprecedented" and
 "monumental" pact is the "next chapter"
in strong relations between the countries.
On full implementation of the wide-ranging
 agreement, tariffs are to be lifted on 95%
of Australian exports, hurdles for Chinese
businesses to invest in Australia will be
 lowered, and more visas for Chinese
holidaymakers will be granted.
China is Australia's largest trading partner,
with trade in goods and services last year
exceeding 135 billion U.S. dollars - almost
a quarter of Australia's total world trade. 

Australia FTA to spur more regional deals

 China and Australia's landmark free trade
 agreement, with a recent deal with South
Korea, is expected to serve as a positive
example --- and help advance economic
 integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the deal, 85.4% of bilateral exports will
be tariff-free immediately after it takes effect.

When ChAFTA is fully implemented, 97%
 of Australian products to China and all
Chinese products to Australia, will
enjoy tariff-free entry. 

China has been Australia's largest trade
partner since 2010, and Australia was
China's eighth largest trade partner in
2014, says MOFCOM's statement.

Compared with other free trade agreements
 with China, ChAFTA has a broader tariff-free
 coverage, Tu Xinquan, executive director of
 the China Institute of WTO Studies, tells the
 Global Times.

China & South Korea signed a free trade
agreement on June 1 which will remove
 tariffs on about 90% of products traded
 between the two countries, in 20 years.

Australia & China have complementary
industries, so removing tariffs won't put
 undue pressure on China's enterprises,
 Chen Fengying, research fellow, China
Institute of Contemporary International
Relations, tells the Global Times.

China mainly imports minerals, such as iron
 ore, from Australia & exports manufacturing
 products like clothing & telecommunications
 equipment to the country, according to the
 website of the Australian Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade.

As for agriculture, Tu says Australian products
 can meet the needs of China's growing middle
class and spur domestic producers to improve.

China's dairy industry, for example, is expected
to work harder for survival as it faces Australian
 competition, when tariffs gradually reduce.

Australia first country to open service
sector to China.

In addition to the removal of tariffs, Australia is
the first country in the world to open its service
sector to China, with a negative list.

The two countries have mutually granted most-
favored-nation status, and reduced the review
 threshold for corporate investments.

"ChAFTA is a comprehensive and high-level
free trade agreement," Chen says.

Most free trade agreements mainly focus on goods
 and services, yet ChAFTA includes lowering review
 thresholds for investments, & in some other areas
 such as e-commerce, & government procurement,
 she says.

China's FTAs with Australia & South Korea, are
 expected to persuade more in the Asia-Pacific
region to join the trend, observers say.

China, South Korea and Japan have discussed
a trilateral free trade agreement since 2013...
 but have not reached a final agreement.

If bilateral ties between China and Japan can
 be improved, it is possible to have a trilateral
 free trade zone, Chen says, noting that the
China-South Korea FTA, has placed some
 pressure on Japan.

Also on Wednesday, the Japanese Chamber
 of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) released its
 2015 Japanese Business in China White Paper,
which says the JCCI expects China, Japan &
S. Korea to OK a free trade agreement 'soon'.

Japan has been involved in talks on the US-led
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), but
 this trade initiative has not progressed much,
 in recent years.


NZ to invest $87m in
Asian infrastructure bank

New Zealand's government announces that
the country will invest NZ$125 million ($87.27
million) in the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), over five years.


Hungary becomes 1st EU country
to join China’s Silk Road project
Hungary has become the first European country
 to join the Chinese 'Silk Road’ project, aimed at
 strengthening ties between Asia and Europe &
 developing trade & infrastructure in the region.

The foreign ministers of China and Hungary
have signed a memorandum of understanding
on the New Silk Road, also known as the"One
Belt, One Road" project in Budapest, the
Chinese Foreign Ministry states on its
web-site, Reuters reports.

In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping said
trade among the project’s participants would
he hoped, exceed $2.5 trillion in one decade.

Hungary hopes to intensify cooperation with
 China that can speed up the construction of
 the Hungarian-Serbia railway & other projects,
says the country’s President Janos Ader, as
 quoted by the Chinese foreign ministry.

China is financing and constructing a rail-
way between Hungary and Serbia.

The Chinese government is to inject dozens of
 billions of dollars to support the project via the
building of railways, highways, power grids, oil
& gas pipelines, maritime & infrastructure links
 across Central, West and South Asia to Europe,
increasing the connection between the East
 and the West.


US to Lose Its Ground
Under BRICS Pressure

 © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin

Blind adherence to US policies & introducing
 anti-Russia sanctions, was fatal for Europe,
as the Russia-China-BRICS axis is about to
overturn the global economic system, and
prevail over US' hegemony, states the chief
 economist of Germany's Bremer Landesbank.

The real damage to EU countries caused by
 the launch of anti-Russian sanctions is much
 more comprehensive than that estimated by
 statistics, Folker Hellmeyer, chief economist
of Germany's Bremer Landesbank says, in
an interview with the German publication,
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten.

“The slump in German export volumes of 18% in
 2014 and by 34% for the first two months of 2015
 is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “There are
many more side-effects.”

“European countries, like Finland and Austria,
with strong developing businesses in Russia,
are placing fewer orders within Germany.
 Moreover, Europe's corporations are evading
 these sanctions and creating high-efficiency
 production facilities in Russia. We, therefore,
 lose this potential capital stock -- the basis
 of our prosperity -- and Russia wins.”

The relationship of trust between Russia and
 Germany and the EU is somewhat broken. And
 it will take years to rebuild it. As a result, such
 companies as Siemens and Alstom have lost
 major Russian projects, he says. The potential
 damage -- not only for Germany but the whole
 EU -- therefore, is much more comprehensive
 than what's being shown by current figures.

Meanwhile, Moscow, Beijing and other BRICS
 countries, are looking forward to building the
largest project in modern history: construction
 of new Eurasian infrastructure, from Moscow
 to Vladivostok, in South China, and in India.

Participation by Western countries in these
 mega-projects looks quite uncertain, he says.

“For me, the conflict has already been set,” he says.

“The Moscow-Beijing-BRICS axis, has won......
 The West has had enough. In 1990, the BRICS
countries were 25% of the world's economic
 output. Now, they are 56% of world economic
output, and 85% of the world's population.

 They control about 70% of the world's foreign
 exchange reserves. They grow annually, by
 an average of 4% to 5%. Since the US hasn't
 been prepared to share power, worldwide,
nor build the emerging market sector on
its own financial system --- it has lost.”

Neither problem in the world, now,
can be solved, without Moscow
or Beijing, says the economist.

The lack of its own agenda, makes
the EU & Germany look like losers.

“The longer we pursue this policy in the EU,
 the higher the price and the less anyone will
take us seriously as interlocutors,” he adds.



The rating agencies, like Moodys and S&P, are very
 powerful, because practically all lawmakers around
 the world have made it a national law -- that certain
 investment groups must follow the agencies' ratings.

Example: Life Insurance (huge investors) in the EU
 must, by law, invest in Class A Investments (those
with the lowest risk). This requires a rating of no
 lower than AA+, otherwise money from such funds
 can't be invested by law. If an insurance company
 does it, it will be fined and the whole Board sacked.

The Rating Agencies are all US controlled. They're
 a typical power multiplier. There's no need for the
 US Government to come out into the open. They
 just tell their Rating Agency Puppets what to do,
 and a large part of the investment world will act
 as per the law, fully automatically and without a
single brain cell as to why, being set in motion.

It's for this reason that each country needs to de-link
 the legal link between US controlled Rating Agencies
 and its own legal structure regulating the investment
 companies. This would be way more important than
 a separate currency or a separate investment bank.

 China has done it and Russia is preparing for it. The
 EU has been talking about it, but has not acted on it.


Japanese and US

China  will always welcome the US & Japan
 joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), and has kept them informed on
 all relevant information, China's Finance
 Minister Lou Jiwei says.

"The United States and Japan have not been
 able to join AIIB due to their own difficulties,"
 Lou tells Xinhua on the sidelines of the World
 Bank-IMF Spring Meeting, without elaborating.

The United States and Japan decided to stay
out of China's initiative by the March 31 dead-
line, as both countries worry that the AIIB may
 challenge the Japan-led Asian Development
Bank (ADB) & the US-dominated World Bank.

However, China has underlined that the AIIB
 will take an open and inclusive attitude and,
as complementary to existing development
banks, able to strengthen the whole region's
 communications plus its social & economic


German Media Reveals
             Mass Layoffs by the World Bank               

German media say now that over 3.4 million people
 worldwide, have been displaced over the last years,
 or lost their livelihoods, due to World Bank policies.

According to research by public TV networks NDR
 and WDR, and the journal Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
 many of the people affected by 972 World Bank
 projects, were laid off, or suffered other kinds of
 human rights violations.

The media analyzed over 6,000 documents of
the WB, in collaboration with the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation
 and Development, reacts with "great concern"
to the reports and demands a change in policy
by the international financial institution.

However, the media also finds that the German
 government, through its development policy, is
 involved in some of the controversial projects.

Since the end of 2013, German representatives
on the top Board of Directors at the World Bank
 have voted just once against a project, out of
 its 600 initiatives each year.


The new Chinese rating agency set up
to counter US agencies' obvious bias:

They give Russia - an A rating = stable.

But the US gets - an A rating negative
(because of its gigantic debt and deficit)



China's central bank signs a currency swap
 agreement -- valued at 30 billion yuan ($4.9
 billion) -- with South Africa's central bank.

The agreement lasts for three years and can
 be extended upon agreement, by both sides,
 says a spokesperson for the People's Bank
of China (PBOC).

The deal aims to facilitate bilateral trade and
 investment and to maintain regional financial
stability, Xinhua news agency reports.

South Africa's Reserve Bank (SARB) states
 the agreement's purpose is to support trade
 and investment between South Africa and
China, and act as a mitigating resource for
short term balance of payment pressures.

The PBOC also signed swap agreements
 with Armenia & the Republic of Suriname
 in March.

To promote international use of the yuan,
China has currency swap agreements now
with over 20 countries & regions since the
 start of a global financial crisis in late 2008.


AIIB having tremendous influence

 on shift of power from West to East.

The popularity of the China-proposed Asian
 Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) shows
 that Asia in general, and China in particular,
are leading the world in another -- and more
 relevant -- direction, a Dutch expert says.

Rien T. Segers, a Dutch expert on the political
 economy of east Asia, believes that the world
 is undergoing a transition from "the financial,
 economic and political dominance of the US,
 towards the dominance of a number of Asian
 countries, led by China."

"If dominance is a politically incorrect word,
leadership is not nice either. I would prefer
'cooperative influence'", says Segers.

"The rich and old economies have no other
choice, but to go for a development which
 is a reflection of the cooperative influence
 of Asian countries on the West - and vice
versa", he adds.

Over 40 countries, so far, have shown an
interest in becoming members of the AIIB.

 European countries, including France, Italy,
the UK, Germany, Spain & the Netherlands,
 have all stated that they want to become
founding members of the new bank.

The Netherlands has now applied to join
 the AIIB as a founding member.



Russia, Australia, the Netherlands and Brazil
have all announced that they plan to join the
 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).   

Despite US criticism, more countries from
the heart of Washington’s camp, say they
too, are considering joining. They include
 diehard allies like Turkey & South Korea.

China says it has already accepted the
application of Brazil, its largest trading
 partner, to the AIIB, adding that Austria
has also applied to join.

The AIIB is a multinational lender. It has
30 founding members with applications
still coming in.

Other nations will still be able to join
 the bank, but as common members.



France, Germany and Italy have all joined
the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
 - and the UK joined it the week before.

Their choice is a vote of confidence in China,
which has achieved 3 decades of economic
 success and readied itself to make greater
 contributions to world development. How-
ever, what makes the AIIB so popular,
does not end there...

Unlike existing world lending bodies like
the World Bank, in which the US has the
dominant role and a veto, the AIIB gives
China no such privileges.

Instead, all members participate in the
decision-making process, in order to
 achieve win-win results.

The AIIB doesn't seek to weaken present
 institutions, but to strengthen them, and
 vigorously push forward the global

The World Bank welcomes the AIIB, says
 World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani
Indrawati, adding: "the WB will cooperate
closely" with the AIIB.

The US may be embarrassed that so many
 allies braved its warnings, and embraced
 the AIIB, but as a NYT editorial says: "this
 is a problem of America's own making."

The US has been too sluggish in reforming
 global financial institutions it controls, as
 their power distribution no longer reflects
 reality in the global economic landscape.

Decision-makers in the United States truly
do have to be reminded - that if they don't
 jump on the bandwagon of change in time,
they'll soon be overrun by the bandwagon.

 Meanwhile, South Korea and Australia
are also applying for membership, but
Japan, wishing to keep its relationship
exclusively with the US, has said 'no'.

AIIB --- launched last year --- is a China-led
 international development bank, targeting
 investment in Asian infrastructure such as
transport, energy and telecommunications.

 Analysts consider the new institution as a
 rival to the Western-controlled World Bank
 and the (US-led) Asian Development Bank.


Money Pouring into Russia
despite Sanctions

The net inflow of money into funds investing in
 Russian shares continued its six-week streak,
 $40.7 million between 26 February – 4 March,
the Emerging Portfolio Fund Research shows.

The leader among BRICS countries is India,
whose inflows totaled .55% ($678.1 million)
over the course of the week (the 12 month
 total was 7.4%, or $7.4 billion).

China had comparatively weak results—
an outflow of .12% ($341.1 million) in the
week, or 3.8% ($11.1 billion) over the year.

Investors continued to withdraw assets
 from Latin America--.75% ($216.3 million)
 in the week, reports Vesti Ekonomika.

Russia is in 2nd place among the BRICS.
Its total capital influx over the year
reached 1.1% ($525.2 million).

Therefore Russia is continuing to outpace
 developing markets, concludes Sberbank
 Investment Research.

Most are funds oriented toward Russia
 (inflow of .11%, $34.3 million). Passive
 funds attracted .47% ($54.2 million),
active funds lost .02% of assets ($4.6
million). In the week ending March 4th,
RTS index increased by .1% and Brent
crude rose by 3.2%.


'To put it in plain English, Russia is
considered to have an attractive
investment climate, no mean feat
after a decade of sanctions, credit
 rating downgrades, threats of more
 sanctions, even threats of military
 action and provocative NATO
exercises on its border.'

'All of these measures were intended,
 not to hurt Russia’s economy directly,
 but to create the impression Russia
 is surrounded, isolated, starved of
 capital, and with its economy “in
tatters”, to quote Barack Obama.

 International investors know
 when they see a winner.


US Frenzy at Chinese ad of yuan
 as new world reserve currency
In Thailand, China has recently erected a
curious billboard. The words on the billboard
 announce a new "world currency" called the
 Renminbi. The US dollar is nearing the end
 of its global power and dominance.

Renminbi's trading hubs have appeared all
over the world, from Singapore to London
 to Luxembourg to Frankfurt and Toronto.

Transnational corporations like McDonald's
 issue bonds in renminbi. Sovereign states,
including the UK, issue debt in renminbi.

The renminbi is the official currency of the
 People's Republic of China. Renminbi literally
 means "people's currency." The yuan is the
 basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used
to refer to the Chinese currency generally,
 especially in international contexts.

A historic look at dominant reserve currencies
 shows that reserve currencies run in cycles
 that last somewhere between 80 and 110
 years per cycle.

The US Dollar has held its status as a reserve
 currency since 1921, bringing it to a 94 year
long streak, indicating that the US Dollar has
almost run its course.

The US prints money in an attempt to postpone
 the crisis, creating currency wars with nearly
 all major central banks in the world. As history
 shows, money printing will only aggravate the
 problem, making the transition more painful
 and costly.

Many international experts in finance believe
that the US Dollar is on its last legs. Central
banks simply manipulate events to help the
dollar maintain its status for a little longer.
However, the time when the US Dollar
crashes is not too far away.

China and other countries, including Russia,
 have been calling for the US Dollar to be
 replaced by another world reserve currency.

More and more countries are deciding to
do without the dollar in their settlements.


Rothschild warns of 'chaos, extremism'
 and 'horrendous' problems in Europe

Jacob Rothschild, 78-year-old banker & chair of
RIT Capital Partners, warns of global instability
 and the fragility of any hope for future incomes,
Richard Dyson writes, in The Telegraph.

In his statement on the economic year 2014,
 Rothschild expresses his concern about the
complicated economic background investors
 will face in the future.

According to Jacob Rothschild, the current
 geopolitical situation is perhaps even more
 dangerous than it was during the Second
World War, Pravda.Ru reports.

He stresses that the current state of affairs
 exists, as a result of the rampant chaos and
 extremism in the Middle East, the crisis in
 Ukraine and a general weakening of Europe
 -- which faces horrendous unemployment --
 against the backdrop of the EU's inability
 to conduct necessary reforms.


The US is Completely Bankrupt.

Some time ago, a summary of a report by the
 authoritative Washington-based Cato Institute
 was published. According to this institute, US
 government debt in 2014, was not USD 18
 trillion, but was in fact, USD 91 trillion.

The huge difference arises from the fact that
 official estimates do not include “unfunded
 liabilities of programs like Social Security
 and Medicare.”

“While those liabilities don’t show up on official
 balance sheets, they nonetheless, represent
the legal obligations of the US government.”

 “The expected shortfall from these programs
 brings the true debt to an unfathomable
USD 90.6 trillion,” notes the Cato Institute’s
 brief summary. The full version of the report
-- including all calculations -- was in March.


US Investment Advisor, Ron Holland:

"Americans should take advantage of the
recent dollar strength to diversify into gold,
 investments, real estate and safe havens
outside the US dollar & the United States.

"Better to be early than too late, because
 eventually the consequences of aggressive
 military actions, central bank manipulation,
 uncontrolled government debt & unfunded
 liabilities, will come home to the American

"Neither the guilt of our political and banking
 leadership nor the innocence of our citizenry
 will protect you, your assets or your family."


China outstrips
US foreign investment

More foreign direct investment flowed into
 China than the US in 2014, bumping the US
off its top spot for investment in the world,
 a position it has held since 2003.

China's $127.6 billion in foreign investment
 in 2014, was far more than the $86 billion
flowing into the US, according to figures
published by the UN Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD).

The difference between 2013 is staggering,
 when $123.9 billion poured into China and
 $230.8 billion into the US.

The US saw foreign direct investment (FDI)
falling to its lowest since 2009, when the
market was wiped out by a financial crisis.

 The US ‘lost’ so much investment because
 of Verizon’s $130 billion purchase of Voda-
fone in the UK, which counted against it in
 the UNCTAD tally.

China, the 2nd largest economy, has been
 steadily gaining ground in FDI, which has
accelerated since the yuan's exchange
rate became flexible, and other reforms
made it easier for Western businesses
to operate in main-land China.

“There were structural changes in inflows
 to China, from manufacturing, to services,
& from labour-intensive to tech-intensive,”
according to the Director of Investment
 and Enterprise at UNCTAD, James Zahn.

After China, Hong Kong too, passed the US
--- into second spot, followed by Singapore
 and Brazil. The US is the only developed,
 and not developing, nation in the top five.

The UN survey notes a major shift favoring
 investment in the developing economies ---
which saw investment rise 4% in 2014 ---
while developed economies fell by 14%.

The biggest losers are the EU --- and the
former Soviet bloc.

 (Russia lost 70% of its foreign investment,
 and Ukraine lost out on $200 million. Both
 as a result of the conflict in E. Ukraine.)

Another title China took from the US in
October 2014, was the world’s biggest
economy in terms of purchasing power.

“China's been steady with modest growth
over the past few years -- & it's expected
to continue,” Zhan tells the WSJ.


Iran stops using dollar
in international settlements

Iran is stopping the use of the US dollar in
with foreign countries, Iran's
Central Bank said, on
Saturday (24th of
January, 2015).

“In foreign trade from now on, we'll be
using other
currencies, including the
yan, euro, Turkish lira,
Russian rouble
and South Korean won,” the Central

 Bank’s deputy head, Gholam Ali
Kamyab, tells
Tasnim News Agency.

He says Iran is presently considering
currency agreements with
several countries on
the use of other
currencies. The agreements
trade and economic operations, he

 says, and are planned for in the
"near future".



Economists say the Ukrainian conflict and
Western sanctions imposed against Russia
 have contributed to the geopolitical crisis,
 limiting growth.


S&P cuts Ukraine’s rating to
 triple C-, spurring default fears

Standard & Poor (S&P) has lowered Ukraine’s
 credit rating from CCC to CCC-, 9 rungs
investment grade.

S&P warns that Ukraine, which is in dire need of
 international financial assistance, may be on the
 brink of default, as Central Bank reserves shrink
and bailout funds are delayed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that
- despite productive talks with Kiev - the parties
failed to reach an agreement.

Though the country has received billions in aid
from the IMF, the US and the EU, a tumultuous
year has left Ukraine’s economy in ruins.

The IMF estimates that Ukraine would need
$15 billion in the short term to avoid a full-
blown financial crisis.


UNASUR Rejects IMF Criticism
          of Regional Pro-Integration Processes               
The Secretary General of the Union of South
American Nations (Unasur), ex Colombian
president Ernesto Samper, says that the
 International Monetary Fund lacks the
moral authority to make recommendations
 about regional pro-integration processes.

"The IMF has no moral authority to come and
give us
any recommendations, after we were
- for many years -
subjected to its terms that
hindered any possibility
of progress. It is
like Dracula running a blood bank,"
Samper, at a press conference in Quito.

In remarks in Santiago de Chile, the IMF's
 Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, said
 pro-integration mechanisms like Unasur,
the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of
Our America (ALBA), the Southern Common
Market (Mercosur)  & the Central American
Integration System (SICA) --- should be
rejuvenated, and compared them to
a big plate of spaghetti.

Mrs. Lagarde should rather worry about what is
happening in Europe, says Samper, who, in turn,
compared the current economic crisis in Europe
 to a lasagne: with only two countries eating the
 cheese and meat and leaving pasta to the rest.

Samper recalls that all the difficulties Unasur
 countries, and Latin America in general, have
 suffered, to curb poverty and have economic
growth, have all been caused by the IMF's
"poisonous demands" which have hindered
 any chance of progress in the region.

It's like Methuselah giving lessons on youth,
 says the secretary general of the regional
 bloc which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
 Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay,
 Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


Greece: All Time High
Long term Unemployment 
 Long term unemployment grew over the last year
 in Greece reaching an all-time high, the quarterly
 report on employment issued by the EC shows.

Data shows that during the second quarter of
2014, unemployed people seeking jobs for one
 year or more, reached 19.6% of the financially
 active population , that is, over two thirds of
the total number unemployed in the country.

The report confirmed that despite the relative
 stability of the unemployment rate, about 27%
 for over a year, the rate of unemployed people
 still shows a long term an upward trend, with
 an increase of 1.9% during the last year.

The CE also reports a decreasing Gross Domestic
 Product, now back at its 2000 rate, plus increased
 inequality among the population, due to the total
 elimination of social assistance and the collapse
 of household incomes.


Russia's MDM Bank
joins China’s Union Pay

MDM Bank, one of Russia’s top 30 banks,
has joined the Chinese payment system,
Union Pay, the bank says.

“After the project’s technical implementation,
 the owners of Union Pay cards will be able to
receive cash in MDM Bank’s ATMs and pay in
 those stores and malls serviced by the bank,”
the bank says.

Union Pay’s representative in Russia, Fan
Zhiguang, says the number of the system’s
 cards in Russia will be 2 million within 3 yrs.

The Chinese system and Japan’s JCB will work on
 co-branding with the operator of Russia's national
payment system - whose founding was ordered by
President Vladimir Putin, when Visa/MasterCard
 stopped processing cards by some Russian banks
 --- due to sanctions imposed on Russia by the US.


Russia bans all US agricultural products,
EU fruit & vegetable imports - watchdog

Moscow bans all US agricultural products,
 including poultry, plus EU fruit & vegetable
imports, in response to Western sanctions
imposed on Russia over Ukraine's crisis,
says Russia’s agricultural watchdog.

EU fruit & vegetables fall under the ban,
 Alekseyenko says, adding that all dairy
products from the EU,
are on the list.

“The list includes milk powder, butter & cheese,”
 a source says, adding that this also includes all
mass production cheeses.

Russia's sanctions on US and EU food imports
 will be “quite substantial,” Alekseyenko says.

The restrictions are to affect those countries
 which initiated sanctions against Russia.

By the end of 2013, the major importers of dairy
 products to Russia were:-  Finland, with 17,8000
tons worth US$19.6 million dollars; Estonia, with
8,300 tons worth $19.4 million; Poland, with 3.8
tons worth $8 million; and Lithuania, with 3 tons
worth $7.3 million, according to Russia’s Federal
Customs Service.

Alekseyenko states that many countries that
 didn't sanction Moscow, are ready to increase
 their exports of similar products to Russia.

Russian officials have already held
 consultations with representatives from
Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, on
expanding food imports from them, says

Russia’s agricultural watchdog is permitting
 imports from over 90 Brazilian suppliers of
animal origin products.

The list comprises 31 suppliers of beef
by-products, 27 suppliers of poultry, 27
suppliers of beef, 4 suppliers of pork and
pork by-products, and 3 suppliers of milk
 and dairy products.

This is a retaliatory measure for the several
rounds of sanctions imposed by the US and
 EU on Moscow, over the crisis in Ukraine.

The month before, the EU chose the harshest
 restrictions ever, targeting the finance, energy
 and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

They hit 5 Russian banks, including the biggest,
 Sberbank. The EU also introduced an embargo
 on the import and export of arms and related
 material, to and from Russia.


Sanctions against Russia already
 taking toll on Western businesses — FT

According to the Financial Times, shares in Adidas,
the world’s 2nd largest sportswear group, fell 15%
after the company issued a profit warning & said it
would accelerate a closure of its stores in Russia.

“These warnings come as the EU directs its toughest
 sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold
war, targeting Russia’s energy, financial & defense
 sectors,” the newspaper’s online article says.

According to the newspaper, shares in Adidas, the
 world’s second-largest sportswear group, dropped
 15% after the company issued a profit warning and
 said it would accelerate the closure of stores in
 Russia because of increasing risks to consumer
spending in the region.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of Siemens, warns
 that geopolitical tensions, including those in
 Ukraine, pose “serious risks” for Europe's
growth, both this year, and the next.

Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, Ben van
Beurden, says that, along with other western
 oil majors, he is assessing the impact of the
tighter sanctions on Russia’s energy sector
imposed by the US and EU.

 “It’s a bit early to say how it will play out, what
the consequences might be or how we'll react,”
he says. Last month the oil company suspended
 operations in the Yuzivska field in east Ukraine,
 amid mounting clashes between separatist and
 government forces, the newspaper says.

Erste Group, the third-largest lender in emerging
 Europe, warns the turmoil could impact banks in
 Eastern Europe:

 “I can’t exclude any nasty surprises in the region
 due to political decisions or developments,” says
 Erste chief executive, Andreas Treichl. “If the
crisis accelerates, of course, we will have to
 revise our forecast for all of Europe in 2015
 and in 2016,” he adds.


"Inclusive growth and
 sustainable solutions."

The day after 2014's World Cup final in Brazil,
 the 6th BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India,
China and S. Africa) Summit started there.

Fortaleza and Brasilia were the host cities from
 June 14 -16, to finally establish a new financial
 framework under the title, "Inclusive growth
 and sustainable solutions."

The countries of the BRICS group are
setting the foundations for a new
 global financial framework.

A monetary stabilization fund - the Contingency
 Reserve Agreement (CRA) & a development bank,
 known as BRICS Bank, are going to operate as a
multilateral support mechanism for balance of
payments, and a fund to finance investments.

 BRICS is to distance itself from the IMF and the
World Bank, institutions created 70 years ago,
by the US Treasury Department.

 This financial cooperation in the face of
the dollar's volatility, offers alternatives
 without 'structural adjustment programs'
 or "economic restructuring".

As a consequence of the growing global
economic slow down, it has become more
difficult for the BRICS countries to attain
 growth rates above 5%.

 The continued fall in prices of primary materials
 for industrial use, due to a reduced demand from
 Asia and the return of short-term capital flows to
 Wall Street, has negatively impacted most foreign
 trade and exchange rates.

With the exception of the slight improvement of
the yuan, the currencies of the BRICS countries
 have fallen from 8.80 percentage points (Indian
 ruppee) to 16 (South African rand), compared to
 the dollar, between May 2013 and June 2014.

The CRA will reduce volatility in trade and
 investment, between BRICS members.

The CRA won't need the support of the IMF
 to make its own loans, affording it greater
 political autonomy from Washington.

 The currency war of the central economies
 against the economies of the capitalist
 periphery, demands the implementation
of the CRA --- as soon as possible.

 The Contingency Reserve Agreement and
the BRICS Bank will be valuable financial
instruments beyond the reach of the US,
the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank.

The BRICS Bank begins with 50 billion dollars
 of capital, rising to 100 billion in 2 years and
 200 billion in five years.

 It will be able to finance up to 350 billion dollars
for infrastructure, education, health, science,
technology and environmental projects.

In South America, the BRICS Bank could reduce
 financing costs and strengthen the Development
 Bank of Latin America's role in smoothing trade
 cycle instability, by increasing credits in times
 of crisis, and thus rule out loans from both the
 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB),
and the World Bank.

On the other hand, as a credit provider, the
BRICS Bank will compete with other financial
entities which hold considerable influence in
 the region, such as the Brazilian National
Bank of Economic and Social Development
 (BNDES), CAF, China Development Bank and
 Exim Bank of China – the Chinese banks
with the greatest number of credits.

  If BRICS Bank loans are issued in yuans,
 the currency's internationalization will
gradually strengthen its position as a
 means of payment & reserve currency,
 to the detriment of other currencies.

Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, the five
 most dynamic emerging economies on the planet,
 make up the BRICS group, a powerful association
 which represents 43% of the world's population,
 30% of the earth’s surface, 18% of the world's
GDP and 35% of the world's currency reserves.

BRICS members’ industries produced over 50%
of global economic growth over the last decade.

 Goldman Sachs states that by 2035 the BRICS
 could become an economic bloc greater than
 G-7, composed of the major industrial powers.

Goldman Sachs also argues that Brazil, Russia,
India and China’s economic potential is such,
 that they could become the world’s dominant
4 economies --- by 2050.

 They constitute an enormous territory (39.7
million square kilometers), which gives them
 strategic continental dimensions and a huge
 quantity of natural resources.


US appetite for European market
 responsible for Ukrainian crisis
- experts

The Ukrainian crisis broke out, because of USA 
wishes to devour European markets, by ousting
 its competitors --- Russia and China --- says the
President of Neokon consultants, Mikhail Khazin.

The European Union market is optimal for the US,
 and the US won't yield it to Russia or China, or to
the EU's powerhouse, Germany, the economist
told the 'Free Thought' intellectual club.

“It's no accident that the US proposal to the
EU, makes Europe a free trade zone. Then,
the EU countries will be deindustrialized,
production costs are higher in
Europe, than

 “Over time, the European market, according
to Washington’s designs, should become a
market for US goods.”

The US “has revised its energy strategy and is
 going to export shale gas to Europe,” the expert
 added. “Since it is more expensive than Russian
 natural gas, the US seeks to limit or completely
 stop, Russian gas supplies to Europe,” he said.

 This, Khazin believes, is the reason for Kiev’s
 stubbornness in the gas conflict with Russia,
-- forcing Gazprom to cut supplies to Ukraine
 on June 16th, until Ukraine pays for already
supplied gas.

US shale gas plans also explain the interference
of certain US politicians, including Ambassador
 to Bulgaria Marcie Ries & Senator John McCain,
into talks on the South Stream pipeline's future,
 between Russia and the EU, he added.

“Washington’s global economic aim is to destroy
 & devour the European Union consumer market
 to harm Russia and China, as the latter is set to
 become world leader this year, and challenge
the US,” Khazin said.

The economist recalls ex Ukrainian President
 Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Beijing --- straight
 after his trip to Vilnius for the EU Association
 Agreement signing last November...

 Yanukovych had agreed with China on a deep-
water port construction in Crimea in advance.
The project would attract about $12 billion of
investment & about 2 million Chinese workers.

 This was Beijing’s plan on how to lay a new Silk
Road to Europe, and it has faced persistent US
 resistance, Khazin says.

“Washington does not want to see China taking
the EU sales market, or Russia’s strengthening
 position as energy supplier to Europe, via the
South Stream pipeline.

 Hence the US politicians’ eagerness in Kiev &
 their numerous visits to the Maidan at the time
 of protests by EU integration supporters.

 It's the US that deprived Yanukovych of the
 presidential post, to sweep into power pro-
American politicians,” the expert believes.

The US is keen to take a tight grip on Ukraine's
 energy sector, & the new government in Kiev
 is eager to help it. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseniy Yatsenyuk has already announced
 that the country’s gas transportation system
is being handed over to its US & EU partners.

 Moreover, US Vice-President Joe Biden’s son
is now a board director of Ukraine's private
oil and gas company, Burisma.

Professor Daisuke Kotegawa, former executive
Japan director at the IMF, shares Khazin’s view:

 “As a specialist in the settlement of major
 financial crises, I can say that the political
crisis in Ukraine is hugely influenced by
global financial instability & uncertainty
 about the US establishment patronizing
 Ukraine over its position in the world.”

Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute
 for Globalization Problems, says “the US
purposefully destabilized the situation in
 the Middle East during the Arab Spring”.

“This time, the US has provoked a political
 crisis in Ukraine. Russia could be its next
target. The chief US strategic goal in the
context of these destructive actions, is
to instill fear and drive global financial
speculators’ money into US securities,
to keep the US's national economy
 afloat,” the expert says.



From November 2013 to January 2014, Belgium,
 with a GDP of $480 billion, bought $141.2 billion
of US Treasury bonds.

Somehow, Belgium came up with enough money
to allocate during a 3-month period, 29% of its
 annual GDP, to purchase US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus
 of $141.2 billion.  Was Belgium running a trade
 surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 %
 of Belgium's GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are
 in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion
worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system.
Its central bank can't increase money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source.  The money came
from the US Federal Reserve, & the purchase
was laundered, through Belgium, in order to
hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond
purchases during November 2013, through to
January 2014, were $112 billion per month.



Economic sanctions against Russia, demanded
 by the US, will hurt the economy of Germany's
 eastern states first, says Herman Winkler, a
German European Parliament deputy, from
centre-right Christian Democratic Union.

“Sanctions will only damage ourselves and
 affect, first of all, the economy of eastern
Germany,” Winkler says.

US' calls for more rigorous sanctions against
 Moscow suggest that Washington is pursuing
 its own economic objectives, he states.

“After the fracking boom, the United States
is on its way to becoming the largest gas
exporter in the world,” Winkler says, “and
Russia is now an unwelcome competitor.”

“We should stop being the Americans' servants,”
 he says, adding that the Ukrainian crisis can be
settled, only by co-operating with Moscow.

A policy of confrontation is “blind to history
and deaf to the other side,” Winkler says.



In a leaked memo to clients, financial expert
David John Marotta, calculates the actual
number of Americans out of work to be
an astronomic 37.2%, as opposed to
the 6.7%, claimed by the
Federal Reserve.

“The unemployment rate only describes people
 who are currently working or looking for work,”
 he says.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning
 the portion of people who do not have any job,
 is 37.2 percent.

This number obviously includes some people who
 are not or never plan to seek employment. But it
 does describe how many people are not able to,
do not want to, or cannot find, a way to work,”
 he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their
client report --- leaked to the Washington

Contrary to expectations, a drop in the
unemployment rate, Marotta argues, is
 presently a sign -- that the unemployed
are just dropping out of the job market.

“Officially-reported unemployment numbers
 shrink as time passes, as the unemployed
become discouraged enough to stop look-
ing for work,” say Marotta and Russel.

 “A decrease is not necessarily beneficial;
 an increase is clearly detrimental.”

They also criticise the so-called Misery Index,
 based on official unemployment and inflation.

 The Wall Street advisers say the Index is 14
 plus and not the 8 advertised by Washington,
 as it totally ignores how the US economy is
being hugely subsidized by Q.I. schemes ---

including monthly bond purchases by the
Federal Reserve.

“Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54, using
official numbers,” analysts write.... But, if the
true unemployment picture, including workers
 who've given up the job search, is placed with
 the historical method of calculating inflation,
  ‘the current misery index is closer to 14.7.”


Youth Unemployment Marks Opening
 of World Economic Forum

Persistent labour difficulties in the world,
especially high youth unemployment levels,
 started the discussions on the first day of
the World Economic Forum, in Davos.

According to experts and executives attending
the meeting --- high youth unemployment is the
 main obstacle to economic recovery in Europe.

That situation is one of the main problems on
 the continent where an entire generation with
 neither present nor future, will be wasted.

In addition to that, is what experts describe
 as a rampant aging population, high energy
 costs and high debt levels.

Axel Weber, president of Germany's Central Bank
(Bundesbank), says that optimism about Europe's
recovery is not entirely justified, as a 1% average
 growth rate isn't enough to create jobs and
attract investment.

Financial markets have improved, but not
the real economy, he says.

Data from the International Labour Organization
shows that the youth sector is still one of the
 most affected, with over 74 million men and
women under 24, unemployed.

The 44th World Economic Forum, gathers
economic, political and global top figures
and is attended by 2,500 top people,
including heads of state and Government.

Specialists draw attention to many criticisms of
the meeting including "the lack of humility and
 unselfishness of the richest" who talk annually
 but don't generate concrete actions in a world
 of growing inequalities.



Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings agency
 has downgraded the Netherlands’ credit
 rating from AAA to AA+, citing growing
 concerns over its "performance".

The Netherlands has been following
"austerity" cuts for several years, and
now has inflated house prices, mass
unemployment, rising inequality and
 an ever-increasing national debt.

The Netherlands is the latest eurozone
 country to be downgraded, leaving only
 Germany, Luxembourg and Finland with
 AAA+ from all 3 main credit agencies;
 that is, S&P, Fitch and, Moody’s.



China’s central bank says that it no longer sees
any benefit at all, in increasing its $3.66 trillion
foreign currency reserves, the world's largest.
China will cap its purchases of US dollars, in
 an effort to limit the depreciation of the yuan.

“It’s no longer in China’s favour to accumulate
 foreign-exchange reserves,” Bloomberg quotes
 Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank.

Decreasing the influence of the dollar and
 other currencies is a step closer to reaching
 China’s 2015 goal to “float” its currency and,
says the People’s Bank of China, it will help
the everyday Chinese citizen.

Between July and September 2013, China
 increased its foreign currency holdings by
 $166 billion, making it the world’s highest,
 at $3.66 trillion. This is more than the GDP
 of Germany – Europe’s biggest economy,
 Bloomberg reports.

This cap will “basically” end the interference
 of foreign currency in the Chinese market,
and widen the yuan’s daily trading range.

The move also provides a buffer to China from
 future US Federal Reserve stimulus "tapering",
which is a sneaky way of exporting US deficit
 problems, and has already had severe ripple
 effects on emerging market currencies in
 Brazil and India.



The Maltese House of Representatives announces
 now, that it will grant citizenship to people born
 outside the European Union -- for 650,000 euros.

Labour Party PM Joseph Muscat, states that
this will generate cash and attract important
 investment to the Mediterranean island.

Muscat asserts that the plan will generate
around 30 million euros in the first year, with
 an initial naturalization of 45 people, who
 will be able to work and obtain residence in
any of the EU's 28 member countries.

The above figure will increase to 200 or more
 individuals annually, say Henley and Partners
group, which will administer the project.

About 50 residents organized a demonstration
 outside government headquarters, while
 the vote for the measure was taking place.

Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil criticizes the
decision to sell national citizenship, saying
he fears that Malta will become a 'tax haven'.



The "biggest free market in the world" attracts
EU and US officials, despite the spy row... just
as the two face a massive bad debt implosion.

Slovenian PM Alenka Bratusek's government is
 now to face a vote of confidence, as it struggles
to avoid being the next eurozone state to take
 an international "bailout".

Slovenia, an economic star among EU newcomers
when it joined in 2004 and adopted the euro as its
 currency in 2007, was badly hit by the global crisis
 and fell back into recession in the third quarter of
 2012, amid lower export demand and budget cuts.

The coalition government is struggling to tackle
  7.9 billion euros of "bad loans" at mainly state
-owned banks.

Avoiding an international bailout will mean
 raising taxes - particularly on real estate -
spending cuts and privatization, says
the centre-left government.

The EU warns that eleven other EU countries,
 including the United Kingdom, France, Italy,
 the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark,
 Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Malta, are all
"experiencing macroeconomic imbalances."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-
partisan federal data agency, forecasts that
US debt will grow to levels not seen since

World War II, when the US took on the huge
 cost of arming and sending 16 million
members, to fight in Europe
and the Pacific.



The UK is “by far the most important” player
in the global financial secrecy market. Its
web of jurisdictions around the world
makes the UK the top router of
global financial secrets.

John Christensen, director of Tax Justice Network
 states: “Our index reveals that Britain plays a key
 role in the global market for financial secrecy.”

This, despite David Cameron’s recent G20 drive
 to crack down on tax avoidance and to promote
 tax transparency.

“The City of London uses a web of satellite
secrecy jurisdictions based on UK crown
dependencies and overseas territories,
to channel huge illicit flows, which feed
London’s mad property boom,” he says.

The findings by the non-aligned network of
 researchers and activists, were presented
to Queen Elizabeth II, before release.

“Britain, taken together with its Overseas
 Territories and Crown Dependencies, is by
 far the most important part of the global
offshore system of tax havens or secrecy
jurisdictions,” the letter read.

The note to the Queen also mentioned that
 PM David Cameron, is doing little to deliver
on his pledge to provide more transparency.

“Our findings show that these jurisdictions
 fall woefully short of acceptable standards
of transparency, having made only modest
reforms since 2009, when the G20 led by your
government committed itself ‘to take action
 against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including
 tax havens,’” the message to the Queen read.

“The crown dependencies and overseas
territories have long been considered among
the worst offenders of world tax havens",
Salman Shaheen, editor for International
Tax Review magazine tells RT.

“What is surprising is that the UK government
is not doing very much about it. I mean, it has
introduced certain legislation to clean up its
own companies onshore, but it really needs to
 get its work on tax havens offshore in order.”

Of the 82 global financial jurisdictions ranked,
 10 are directly connected to UK, whose head
 of state is the British queen. They include the
Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British
Virgin Islands. 

According to the financial secrecy watchdog,
up to US$32 trillion is sitting in offshore zones
 where it is either untaxed or slightly taxed.

“Rolling back the secrecy that shrouds up to
 $32 trillion in offshore financial assets remains
 one of the great challenges of the 21st century,”
 Christensen says in a statement .

The report believes that offshore zones have
cost African countries over $1 trillion since
 the 1970s, of which, $640 billion came from
 16 Commonwealth countries.

“These losses dwarf the external debts of
 $190 billion for the 33 countries, meaning
 that Africa is a major net creditor to the
world, contrary to what is widely
believed,” the letter said.

“The European Union’s decision to curb one
 important aspect of banking secrecy from
 2015 – masks waning momentum for the
other urgent changes elsewhere,” Markus
Meinzer, lead researcher for the Financial
 Secrecy Index says.

The three highest ranking countries are
 Switzerland, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. 

Switzerland, the “grandfather of the world’s
 tax havens”, accounts for less than 5% of
 the world's offshore financial services. 

Yet last year the country managed one quarter
of the world’s total assets (approx $2.8 trillion),
according to the Swiss Bankers’ Association. 

“Switzerland has also been playing the spoiler,
 striving to block or derail emerging international
transparency initiatives,” the watchdog says. 

Luxemburg was placed second on the index. 

“Outside what might traditionally be regarded
 as the financial sector, it also runs a lucrative
 line hosting holding companies of transnational
 corporations, principally to help them avoid (&
 evade) tax.

 It's also strenuously seeking to build an
 industry based on Islamic finance, and in
 October 2012 achieved a boost when a
group of major Chinese banks said they
 were leaving the (very lightly regulated)
 London markets in favor of the even less
 regulated Luxembourg one. 

Hong Kong, though, is the “fastest growing
secrecy jurisdiction, or tax haven, today.” 

Moran Harari, researcher, Financial Secrecy Index:

“Without public disclosure of the owners of
 these assets, and the automatic exchange
 of information between jurisdictions to
provide information the law enforcement &
tax authorities need, it will be impossible
 to tackle some of the world’s most
pressing problems.” 


--- IF YOU CAN !!!

Nick Matthews, vice-chair of Co-operatives UK:

First, "we should have no confidence in the advice
 from group chair Len Wardle or ex-CEO Peter Marks
--- about what to do next. We should have stopped
listening to them a long time ago," he stresses,
adding "it is inconceivable to me that Wardle
could contemplate retaining his chairmanship
until May — he should have already gone."

Secondly, he says that "a co-operative bank with
 a minority member’s stake might be “ethical” in
 intent, but it is evidently not.. a co-operative, and
if it persists in using the name it should be asked
 to desist — just as the brand Co-operative Travel,
which the group sold to Thomas Cook, has to
disappear, after a certain period."
He adds that current CEO of the group, Euan
Sutherland, "has handled the situation well,
despite the dreadful hand he has been dealt,"
and ends by hoping that "this amputation of
the Co-op’s crippled banking arm stops the
bleeding and protects the body of the Co-
operative Group from any further liabilities."



China and the UK have agreed to continue building
 London into a major offshore market for yuan trading.

Both sides welcome the strong growth of London's
RMB markets, making London the most active RMB
 centre in the world outside China, according to the
 joint statement after the fifth China-UK Economic
 and Financial Dialogue held in Beijing.

"China recognizes London's major role in increasing
 the international use of the RMB, and both sides
agree to continued collaborating to support
London's offshore market," the statement says.

To boost London's market status, China will give
investors based in the city a right to buy 80 billion
 yuan worth of stocks, bonds and money market
instruments issued by financial institutions in China.

China allows foreign institutional buyers to trade
 yuan-denominated financial products through a
regime called RQFII, or Renminbi Qualified Foreign
 Institutional Investor.

To encourage foreign investors to hold the yuan,
 the RQFII now has a global quota of 350 billion yuan.

The extension of RQFII will deepen China's financial
 markets, & strengthen RMB activity in the offshore
 market, the statement says.

"China has agreed to further develop capital inflow and
 outflow channels for the RMB, including for RMB trapped
 onshore, overseas direct investment and the development
 of Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) quotas
 to support liquidity in the offshore market," it says.

Both sides agree to support further RMB bond issuances
 in the UK by Chinese as well as international firms, and
 develop London as an offshore RMB debt issuance centre.

Numerous cities are competing for China's permission
 to be allocated as centres for clearing yuan trading
offshore, to provide these lucrative financial services.

The talks were co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier
Ma Kai
and the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer,
 George Osborne.

Where is the economic investment in Wales?
In a "dole queue" for unsustainable "grants"!


Iran to exclude dollar, euro
from foreign transactions

Iranian Economy Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini 
 announces that Tehran plans to exclude some Western
currencies, specifically the US dollar and euro, from its
foreign trade transactions, Fars news agency reports.

"According to the decision made by the cabinet
workgroup, the dollar and euro will be gradually
put aside from Iran's trade with other countries,"

Hosseini says.

He states that Iran has already changed its
trade partners and redirected its trade
away from the UK and Germany, to
Middle-Eastern states.

In 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
the first to propose a switch in transactions
from the dollar to the euro as a counter-measure
to the US stance on Iran's civilian nuclear program.

The last two countries to announce a similar
decision - Iraq and Libya - were subsequently
invaded and torn to pieces by the US and EU.



Brazil may reject US fighter jet deal
over NSA spying scandal

Brazilian officials have expressed reluctance to purchase
dozens of military planes from the US, after it is revealed
that the NSA not only closely monitored Brazilian energy
& military affairs, but also mined for commercial secrets.




French carmaker Renault, said its profits
as US-engineered sanctions on
Tehran led to a halt in
its activities in Iran.

The auto group says that resulted in a loss of
million euros from a profit of 519 million,
the previous year year.

In February 2012, Europe’s second largest automaker,
 PSA Peugeot Citroën, also stopped its trade with Iran
 after the enforcement of US-led financial sanctions
 against the Islamic Republic.

Peugeot stopped exporting vehicles to Iran, which
for around 13% of the firm’s global
deliveries in 2011.

The French company posted a record 6.7 billion dollar
loss in
2012. Iran was the carmaker’s second-biggest
market in 2011,
in terms of trade volume.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions against the Islamic
 Republic have been imposed based on the unfounded
 accusation that Iran may be pursuing non-civilian
 objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that, as a committed
 signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of
 the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to
 use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.



The European commission says European companies
 will probably stop using the services of US Internet
 providers, due to reports of US spying on the EU.

US providers of cloud services, which allow users to
 store & access data on remote servers, could suffer
 major business losses, if their customers fear the
 privacy of their data is under threat, Neelie Kroes,
the commission’s vice-president who speaks on
digital affairs, warns now.

"If businesses or governments think they might be
 spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud,
 & it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out.

 "Why would you pay someone else to hold your
 commercial or other secrets if you suspect or
know they're being shared against all your
wishes?" Kroes says.

On June 29th, Der Spiegel reported that secret
 documents provided by former NSA contractor
 Edward Snowden showed that the US had spied on
EU offices in Washington, New York, and Brussels.

Members of the European Parliament are asking for
 “immediate clarification” from the US government,
warning of a “potential impact” on US-EU relations.

"It is often US providers that will miss out, as
they are often the leaders in cloud services. If
European cloud customers can't trust the US
 government, then maybe they won't trust US
 cloud providers either. If I am right, there are
 multibillion-euro consequences for these US

 "If I were a US cloud provider, I would be quite
 frustrated with my government right now," she adds.



The Syrian government has weathered its worst
 economic crisis, thanks to the help of friendly
 countries, Syria's top economist says, but he
 adds that the economy still falls short of true
 recovery, at least in the foreseeable future.

Iran, Russia and other friendly countries, have
 been supporting the Syrian government politically,
 militarily and economically, Qadri Jamil, the Syrian
 deputy prime minister for economic affairs and the
 minister of domestic trade & consumer protection,
 tells the Financial Times, noting how transactions
 in Syria now use the Iranian rial, or Russian ruble,
 to get around the West's sanctions.

The deputy prime minister says allies are supporting
 Syria with around 500 million US dollars a month for
financial dealings, including oil and open insurance
lines, which will definitely support the country in its
 counter-attack against what he calls a "foreign
conspiracy to drown the Syrian pound."

He says Syria has an unlimited credit line with Tehran
 to import oil and food --- and Damascus has replaced
dollars and Euros with Iran and Russia's currencies.

He says the economic situation is "very complicated
 & difficult, but hasn't reached the point of no return."

Syria's oil production dipped from 380,000 barrels a day
 before the crisis to about 20,000 barrels, after repetitive
 attacks on oil and gas wells in the country.

His reassurance came as Syrian people meet the
 expenses of Ramadan, seeing a further projected
fall in the cost of living, due to the Syrian pound's
fall in value, and rises in consumer prices.

Since mid June, the pound has sharply depreciated
 against the dollar and dropped from 170 pounds per
 dollar to around 205 pounds within 2 weeks, which
inflated the prices of all goods in Syria's markets.

Jamil accuses Saudi Arabia, the US & the UK,
of attempts to undermine the Syrian currency.

"Riyadh, Washington and London manage a conspiracy
 to undermine the Syrian currency by flooding Lebanon
 and Jordan with Syrian pounds," he says.

He accuses his government's opponents of launching
 "a military campaign and a financial war against Syria
 through Western sanctions - ranging from a ban on
 Syrian oil to the prohibition of remittances through
 banks and credit cards."

Ammar Youssef, a local economist says that,
without the intervention of the Central Bank
of Syria, the pound would have been sold at
2,000 per dollar.

He says the pound will recover once the conflict
 in the country has drawn to an end, & the wheel
of Syria's economy will move again through new
 investments --- which will eventually lead to the
dollar's return to lower than its pre-crisis price.

The Prime Minister, Wael al-Halqi, says the economy
 is balanced and adapting itself to the developments
 and complexities of the crisis, now in its 4th year,
through a package of measures the government
is taking, in line with present variables.



 The UK was stripped of its top rating by Fitch
 after a downgrade by Moody’s in February.

Fitch not only cut its growth projection, but
 also forecast, that UK debt will hit 101% of
gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015-2016.

“The fiscal space to absorb further adverse
 economic and financial shocks is no longer
 consistent with an AAA rating,” Fitch says.

 Moody’s cut the UK’s top AAA ranking to AA1
because of "rising debt" & slowing "growth".

The downgrade came as another damaging
 blow to the UK Chancellor, who is already
under pressure from the IMF
- to reverse
his damaging austerity cuts.

The head of the IMF Christine Lagarde urges
 the Chancellor to ease his so-called deficit
 reduction strategy - as it is increasing debt
and inhibiting any chance of a recovery.



As Germany and France move to close down
EEC countries hiding behind tax "havens",
and unsustainable debt, eg, Cyprus,
Luxemburg and Malta start to squirm...
and the UK's "City" starts to shiver.



After Cypriots withdrew their cash en masse
to avoid losing a percentage of their savings
--- as part of the EEC's "restructure" plan ---
Cyprus turned to Russia but talks collapsed.

Will New Zealand end up asking China for similar help?

New Zealand depositors face a Cyprus-style tax on
their bank accounts, as the government is planning
to impose a similar strategy on its banks. warns
the country's Green Party.

New Zealand is facing a similar bank failure to Cyprus,
and seems likely to adopt open bank resolution (OBR),
which will see small depositors lose part their savings,
in favour of a big bank bailout, Green Party co-leader
Russel Norman says. The country’s Finance Minister,
Bill English, supports the open bank resolution. 

"Bill English is proposing a Cyprus-style solution
for managing bank failure here in New Zealand,"

says Norman, adding that the Reserve Bank is in
the "final stages" of implementing an OBR system.

New Zealand's bank depositors will have their savings
cut by a certain percentage, to keep their bank afloat.

The Green Party however has major doubts, that OBR
tactics are appropriate here. Norman underlines that
few depositors can reasonably evaluate the reliability
of their bank. "Not even sophisticated investors like
Merrill Lynch saw the global financial crisis coming

Norman believes that the OBR policy is too radical,
and few OECD countries use it, preferring instead,
deposit insurance schemes. 

"A deposit insurance scheme is a much simpler,
well-tested alternative to open bank resolution.
It rewards safe banks with lower premiums and
limits the cost to taxpayers of a bank failure…
[They] protect people's deposits up to a maximum,
ranging from $100,000 to $250,000,"
he says.

Cyprus has announced that it plans to impose a
10% tax on bank accounts as part of a 10 billion
euro bailout by the European Union. The news
caused panic across the island, as many people
rushed to cash machines to withdraw savings.



Switzerland is to assist international tax authorities
in disclosing information on bank accounts held by
foreigners who avoid taxation at home.

Joint efforts by the EU, the US and a number of other
countries, have led to Switzerland introducing new
banking laws.

The new regulation now allows foreign tax services to
send group requests for bank account information of
their citizens. Banks, nominal account holders, agents
or trust managers, are obliged to provide information.

These requests can take a number of forms.
A tax authority can request data on a group
of people united by common criteria, but
still has to be seen how it will work –
"fishing" requests will be strictly



Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank has
withdrawn its entire
374-ton gold bullion store
from the Bank of France in Paris, and 300 tons
of the 1,500 tons held by the New York
Federal Reserve.

The move follows an audit criticizing the Bundesbank
for mismanagement, stating that the gold had never
been “verified physically.

Germany has the world’s 2nd-largest bullion reserves
270,000 gold bars ($177.5 billion), second to the US.

From now on, the bank will keep small amounts of
gold abroad
for trading purposes. About 30% of
Germany’s gold reserves are
currently held at
facilities of the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank.

 Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele
says gold is
an important resource "to create
confidence in the currency and in the
economic power of our country."

Veteran gold dealer Jim Sinclair:

"This sends a message about storing gold near you
and taking delivery no matter who is holding it,

Sinclair tells the UK's Telegraph. "When France
did this years ago, it sent panic amongst the US's
financial leadership. History will look back on this
salvo as being the beginning of the end of the
US dollar as the reserve currency of choice."



President Obama abolished the Jackson-Vanik amendment
giving Russia “permanent normal trade relations” status.

­“The Russian Federation has been found to be in full
compliance with the freedom of emigration requirement,”
Obama proclaimed, adding that the articles of the 1974
law, were no longer applicable to Russia.

The US wants its companies to take more
advantage of... Russia’s growing market.

The decision allows US business to enjoy the benefits
of trade with Russia, now it's a member of the World
Trade Organization. 

Russia will provide more access to its 140 million
consumers and US firms can benefit from lower
import tariffs, intellectual property protection
and greater legal transparency.

US economists estimate that US exports to Russia
could now double in five years, to $22 billion.


Eurozone finance ministers agreed on
formation of a banking union, bringing
  European banks under its supervision.

"Piece by piece, brick by brick, the banking union
will be built on this first fundamental step," EU
Commissioner Michel Barnier said in Brussels.

In the Single Supervisory Mechanism agreement,
banks with over 30 billion euros in assets are now
supervised -- by the European Central Bank (ECB).

The deal also authorizes the ECB to close down
those EU banks that do not abide by its rules.

The agreement is possibly one of the most significant

transfers of authority from national governments to
regional authorities since the creation of the euro.


"Avarice is a vice, the exaction
of usury is a misdemeanour,
and the love of money is

-  John Maynard Keynes

Poised on the brink of economic meltdown as we are,
governments all over the world are baying frantically
for growth. But growth isn't the answer to our problems.

Way back in the 1700’s Adam Smith recognized a limit
to economic growth. He predicted that in the long run,
population growth would push wages down, and
natural resources would become increasingly

Consider a steady state economy - an economy of
stable or mildly fluctuating size --- minimal chance
of the boom and bust cycle, less opportunity for
outright greed. The term can apply equally to a
national economy, a local, regional, or global
economy. To be sustainable, a steady state
economy mustn't exceed ecological limits,
and that, is its most important attribute.

Our recent, unprecedented growth in economic
activity, has significantly shifted the balance of
nature with potentially disastrous consequences
for the
planet's ecology, for our own well-being
- but particularly for that of the next generation.

It is a mistake to believe that more growth will
diminish our problems. In the long term more
growth will be a disaster, as continuous growth
is completely incompatible with sustainability.

A steady state economy does not imply a stationary
state of human improvement. There would be as much
scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, & moral
and social progress; as much room for improving the
Art of Living (a bigger likelihood of it being improved),
when minds cease to be engrossed by the shallow art
of obtaining more money.

The human economy is embedded in nature, completely.
Without the natural world to draw upon, there is
nothing to make money from. But we've been perverse.
We have exploited nature to its very limits, maybe
beyond its ability to absorb our delinquency.

Economic processes are actually
biological, physical,
& chemical processes
. Humans don’t create anything,
they transform it into something else – plastics, cars,
toxic waste.

Economic growth cannot be relied upon to alleviate
poverty either. On the contrary, economic growth
has polarized wealth into the hands of the few.

If the pie isn’t getting any bigger, we need to cut
and distribute the pieces in a fair way.

Poor people who have trouble meeting basic needs
tend not to care about sustainability - how can they
-- when the priority is finding the next meal.

At the other end of the scale, excessively rich

people tend to consume unsustainable quantities
of resources. Fair distribution of wealth, therefore,
is a critical part of sustainability and the steady
state economy.

60 years ago, John Maynard Keynes said:

“The day is not far off when the economic problem
will take the back seat where it belongs, and the
arena of the heart and the head will be occupied
or reoccupied, by our real problems – problems
of life and of human relations, of creation and
behaviour and religion.”

Economic collapse is extremely painful. But
environmental collapse - the collapse of the
planet's support systems which sustain life on

earth as we know it - that is truly unbearable.

Governments have their heads stuck in the past.
They can only think of recreating what has been
– growth. But the future will be different. The
future needs the fairness and sustainability
only steady state economics can bring.

More here at http://steadystate.org and



Moody’s US based 'Investors Service' has
cut its credit ratings for nine Danish banks,