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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 veterans, 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.
Consequently, 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
“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,”
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, 2002, 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 to 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
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.”
FIGHT TODAY: FIGHT FOR
ASSANGE'S FREEDOM !!!
New Poll: Most US Voters
Ceasefire in Gaza
December 6th, 1:39pm (FNA)
An overwhelming majority of voters favour the US taking a
diplomatic or humanitarian response to Israel’s genocide
in Gaza rather than sending more unconditional aid to
Israel’s far right government and military, new
According to Data for Progress polling of likely US voters
--- conducted in the days surrounding the start of the
pause in the bombardment of Gaza in November,
61 percent of voters support de-escalation and
a permanent ceasefire in Gaza --- including
76 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of
independents and 49 percent of
Republicans, a plurality
------- according to
When asked what path they think US officials should take in
response to the assault, choosing all options that applied,
voters strongly supported either using diplomacy to
encourage Israel to begin a ceasefire in order to
pursue the release of hostages, at 49 percent,
and/or sending humanitarian assistance to
Palestinians in Gaza, at 31 percent.
Even though Joe Biden administration officials and
members of Congress have been insistent upon
sending billions of dollars to Israel in military
and logistical assistance, the polling finds
that voters do not favour this idea.
Only 24 percent of respondents said that they think
sending additional aid to Israel should be a priority.
Meanwhile, if the US does choose to send assistance,
the poll found that most voters say it should come
with conditions: in order to ensure that the aid
isn’t being used to commit crimes
Sixty-three percent of voters said they agreed - that the
US should only provide Israel with military aid “if they
meet our standard for human rights”, including
76 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of
independents, and 49 percent of
Republicans, again a plurality.
Conditioning aid to Israel has been a much-debated
and widely disfavoured proposal in D.C., despite its popularity among the public.
Biden administration officials have vowed not to draw
red lines in the US’s assistance to Israel - and the
White House has moved to create what experts
have said would be a “free-flowing pipeline” of
weapons to Israel amid its genocidal military
campaign in Gaza; this, is on top of the fact
that the US is already the Israeli military’s
top benefactor and has provided Israel
with many of the weapons that have
been used in its current siege
Meanwhile, extremely few members of Congress, among
them Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have called for
military aid to Israel -- to meet basic humanitarian
standards — despite the fact that foreign aid is
barred by US law from being used for human
However, the strong support for a ceasefire and Palestinian
rights among the public, appears to be steadily changing
the minds of some lawmakers. Polling has continually
affirmed that Americans support a ceasefire, while
support for Biden and Israel has been falling fast
as Israel continues its slaughter of tens of
thousands of Palestinians.
And supporters for Palestinian liberation --- have been
flooding the phone lines of Democrats in Congress
for months now.
Seemingly as a result, or perhaps just in reaction to the
utterly horrific reports coming out of Gaza each day,
more lawmakers have been joining calls for a
ceasefire each week.
As of Monday, 60 House and Senate Democrats had spoken
up in favour of a ceasefire, representing about 11 percent
of Congress, according to The Intercept’s Prem Thakker.
Though this is still a small minority of Congress, it is a
major increase from the roughly a dozen lawmakers
who supported a ceasefire seven weeks ago.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri), who originally introduced
a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the House on
October 16, has encouraged people to continue
contacting their representatives to ask them
to back the proposal ----- or thank them for
“When we introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution, only 13
members of Congress supported it. The outcry in favour of
humanity - has been overwhelming,” Bush wrote on social
media last week ------ noting the marked increase in lawmakers joining the call over the past weeks, adding, “Your calls, emails, and protests ------- are working.”
Islamic Jihad: Israel‘Taken by
Surprise’ in Gaza Battlefield,
Suffered Heavy Losses
December 6th, 1:33pm (FNA)
The Islamic Jihad resistance movement said the Palestinian
fighters have “taken Israel by surprise” on the battlefield
across the Gaza Strip, by inflicting heavy losses on the
Abu Hamza... spokesman for the Saraya Al-Quds Brigades,
the Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, said that the Palestinian
resistance is in "very good condition" and maintains readiness and strength to confront the enemy
on all fronts in Gaza, presstv reported.
He added that resistance fighters destroyed a large number
of Israeli vehicles, which were advancing East of Gaza City
as well as Khan Yunis and Al-Qarara, and managed to
inflict heavy casualties on the enemy ranks.
“Media reports about [the power of] Saraya Al-Quds forces
is only a small part of what is waiting for the enemy. Our
fighters’ operations and ambushes against the enemy
on all fronts of the conflict continue --- and are at
UK police have brutally arrested a woman of African
descent in front of her child, claiming she had not
paid for a bus ticket. Metropolitan Police
defended the police officer's actions,
despite establishing that she had
- in fact - paid!
British media reported on Sunday that passers-by on the street in Croydon, south London, had intervened in the incident --- with some asking the officers why
the woman was being arrested.
Footage of the shocking incident shows the Black woman
being manhandled by two White officers, as her child son
hysterically cries in desperation.
In the footage a female police officer can be seen holding
the crying son, who had been separated from his mother.
Meanwhile, earlier investigations in the UK
have confirmed that the country's police
is institutionally racist and misogynist.*
After the video of the arrest became viral, Metropolitan Police
Service defended the officers' actions, stating that the
woman was thought to have not paid her bus fare.
This was later proved wrong --- and she was
''allowed'' to walk away.
"We are aware of a video circulating showing a female being
handcuffed by police," the Metropolitan Police said, in a
statement, adding, "Officers from the Roads and
Transport Policing Command were conducting
a joint revenue protection operation with
Transport for London inspectors in
Whitehorse Road, Croydon, on
Friday July 21.
"One woman left the bus after not complying with a revenue
inspector's request to check that she has paid her fare.
When asked to stop by police she attempted to walk
off and became abusive. As a result she was
arrested on suspicion of fare evasion
"When it was later established that the woman had paid
she was de-arrested (sic) and allowed to go on her way.
"The woman was with her child and we appreciate that the
video and circumstances look concerning. However, it is
a snapshot of a wider incident. The video from this
incident and the officers' body worn video, which
was active for a longer period than the social
media clip, had been reviewed.
"Our officers regularly liaise with local community groups
and forums, and we will be discussing the matter with
them... and listening to their views."
The recent incident involving a young black woman, who
was riding a city bus with her son, resounds to earlier
scandals that have damaged the ''image'' of the
Just last week, the British Home Office said that police chiefs
were being given additional tools to "root out officers unfit toserve the public", as it released an update to the
College of Policing's Vetting Code of Practice.
The need to update the police screening system came after
a number of highly-damaging scandals rocked the British
forces, particularly London's Metropolitan Police
Service, which is the UK's biggest.
UK government official Louise Casey, in her 363-page report
in March, described the country's law enforcement agency
as an institutionally homophobic, misogynistic, racist, and
sexist force ----- in charge of policing the nation.
The report revealed that the organization hasn't treated
violence against women and girls as seriously as
other forms of violence.
"The de-prioritization and de-specialization of public
protection has put women and children at greater
risk than necessary," the review said. "Despite
some outstanding experienced senior officers,
an overworked inexperienced workforce
polices child protection, rape and
serious sexual offenses."
The report also cited widespread bullying and discrimination
in the department. It also highlighted the fact that the
department is still disproportionately White.
The report was commissioned after a serving officer raped
and killed Sarah Everard, a young marketing executive in
March 2021, sparking a national outcry. The case was
one of a series of scandals tarnishing the UK
* None of this applies to the Rhondda police,
who, as a rule, are kind, generous and fair.
New UK Police Powers --- to Crack
Down on Protests Come into Force
July 2nd, 1pm (FNA)
New measures to crack down on environmental activists
come into force from Sunday, including an expansion of
police powers and a new criminal offence of tunnelling.
The British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence
Police will now have powers to move static protests, a
common tactic of campaigners, Sky News reported.
The Home Office said the move would free up officers,
as Suella Braverman hit out at "mayhem" being
caused on the streets.
Environmental campaigners like Just Stop Oil and
Extinction Rebellion have continued to hold
demonstrations and protests.
Ministers have sought to use enhanced public
order powers to target the tactics often used
by those groups.
From July 2, being found guilty of tunnelling or
"being present in a tunnel to cause serious
disruption" could see people jailed for up
to three years.
Being found guilty of taking equipment to tunnel
will carry a maximum penalty of six months in
prison, while anyone guilty of obstructing a
major transport works could face the
The Home Office has said that tunnelling at locations
such as HS2 construction sites was costing the
taxpayer money and that - from Sunday -
obstructing the building or maintenance
of future transport networks is illegal.
However critics of the law argue that
it is a threat to the right to protest.
"Hard-working people want to be able to go about
their daily lives without disruption from a
selfish minority," Braverman said.
"The Public Order Act is delivering on our commitment
to allow people to get on with their daily business.
We will keep our roads and those hard-working
people moving," she said, adding, "The public
have had enough of their lives being
disrupted by selfish protesters.
The mayhem we've seen on
our streets has been
"That is why I've given our police officers the powers
they need to act fast and clamp down on these
protesters determined to disrupt people's
lives," Braverman added.
She said that the changes that have come into force
would also ensure "the protection of journalists
reporting on protests - so they can carry out
their important role without fear of arrest".
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
ROGER WATERS TO MUSICIANS:- "BOYCOTT ISRAEL"
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 the 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 and 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, especially the right of self-determination.
AT THE FACTORY
browse venues in Wales
Cash tickets from:
The Factory, Porth Instrumental Music, Penygraig Spillers Records, Cardiff
Indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea while enjoying music and sing-along songs from fantastic Welsh musicians.
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.
£1 contribution every week. Under 16's free
Telephone Mr. Davies on 01443 686658
Comedy In The Laughter Lounge
The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.
COMEDY IN THE LAUGHTER LOUNGE
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.
– If you feel you’ve been ‘purged’, take this online survey:
“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.
CHILCOT REPORT: SOME MAIN POINTS:
1) "Military action was not a last resort".
2) UK government "undermined the authority" 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 is 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 the International Criminal Court (ICC), for the crime of a war of aggression, and face parliamentary action to stop him holding public office ever again."
A former British ambassador to the UN: "The UK was pushed into entering this 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".
PONCY LABOUR MPS PROBLEM?
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:
http://novaramedia.com/2016/07/13/how-can-i- deselect-my-labour-mp-a-short-guide-to- reselection-and-democratic-accountability/ CHRIS BRYANT - SUPPORT THE MEMBERS' LEADERSHIP CHOICE & POLICIES - OR GO!
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]
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 £20,902.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
“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 are 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,”
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
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
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 on 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
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said it would act as a bridge between police forces and the public, 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 or 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 in cases involving violence against women and 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 a 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-
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,"
“More than ever, we need a consistent approach to
stopping appalling crimes of violence against
women and girls, from occurring in the first 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?”
“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
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 few 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 to cut family planning aid from £154 million to £23m
April 29th, 2:39pm (PressTV)
The UK faces criticism from a UN agency, over the 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 to cut family planning aid from £154 million to
£23m this year, warning that women and
girls around the world, will suffer as
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
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
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
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
“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,
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 properly 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
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
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
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
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 independence
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 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
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 ...PeterMandelsonisback
advising Labour, why not
just go the whole hog & bring back TonyBlair?
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 @Writes_Sweeney
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
Another yacht trip got him in hot water, this time, with oligarch Oleg Deripaska, as Mandelson had been part of a decision to cut aluminium tariffs. At the time, Deripaska owned United Company Rusal, 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
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
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
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
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 up 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 know, Adam Lambert, is no substitute for
Step up or step aside, don’t be a down- market copy of your predecessor.
Think your friends would be interested?
Share this story!
Boris Defends Bully Patel but Not Pensioners –His 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
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
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 Results
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 those 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
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 things 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
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
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
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
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
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, “C’mon 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 belittles 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
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
But he has since admitted action would be delayed and
the coronavirus crisis has made immediate reform a
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
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
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
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 measures.
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.
AND WHERE IS WALES' BLOSSOMING...?
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/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 communication systems for secure data exchange.
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, at 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 cryptography:
"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 US 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-space Science &Technology Corporation.
Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets are used 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 half of 2017, according to Wang Zhaoyao, director of China Manned Space Engineering Office.
Tianzhou-1 docked with Tiangong-2 space lab conducting experiments on propellant supplements.
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 the use of toxic rocket fuels.
China released several white papers on its space activities, announcing plans to soft land Chang' e-5 on the moon, by the end of 2017, and launch its 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 27/8/2017
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 member.
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 stressed.
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.
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.
EU trying to solve its problems by targeting Iran and others' steel 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 ofthe 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 government.
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 humanities.
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 documents.
(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 reads," 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)
HughesMetallurgical 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)
WEALTHY GAZPROM TELLS IT LIKE IT IS
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... A 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 Pravda.Ru
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 recovery.
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 problems.
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 economy.
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 to 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.
WESTERN BANKS CRACKING
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 of 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 such as climate change, peacekeeping and marine protection.
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 history.
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.”
GOOD "POST BREXIT" NEWS !?!
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, and 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.
A CRISIS WORSE THAN ISIS? BAIL-INS BEGIN
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.”
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 politicians.
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 both 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, to 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, reveals.
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 law," 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.
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 "Difficulties"
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 development.
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 SIDE-STEPS DOLLAR -- AGAIN
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.
WEST's MONOPOLY WEAKENING FASTER
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.
US SEES EUROPE SHIFT TO CHINA
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 economy.
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 people.
"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 settlements 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 bilateral currency agreements with several countries on the use of other currencies. The agreements favour 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 below 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," said 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 Rosselkhoznadzor.
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, as 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.
US TREASURY BONDS SCAM HIDES PRECIPICE
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.
GERMANY CAN SEE US POWER PLAY 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 the 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 Examiner.
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 TO AVOID FED's "TAPERING"
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'.
BANKRUPT US & EU RUSH INTO TRADE DEAL
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 service members, to fight in Europe and the Pacific.
AFRICA CAUGHT BY UK BANKING CON
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.”
“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.”
DEFEND THE CO-OP --- 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."
LONDON BOOMS AS WALES ROTS
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.
SPY AGENCIES STEAL WORLD's COMMERCIAL SECRETS
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.
ANTI-IRAN SANCTIONS CRIPPLED FRENCH CARMAKERS
French carmaker Renault, said its profits plunged, 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 249 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 accounted 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