If you enjoy the video above,
that's great - as it's meant
- to inspire.
UK's Teaching, NHS Unions
Threaten Strikes Unless
They Get Pay Rise
More in Line with
June 20th, 11:57am (FNA)
With inflation reaching 40-year highs and the spiraling
cost of living crisis starting to hit an increasing
number of households, two of the largest
British trade unions --- representing
teachers and staff in the National
Health Service (NHS) --- warned
of industrial action unless
they get a pay rise.
The National Education Union (NEU), the biggest
teaching union in the country, stated that
unless it receives assurances of a pay
increase more in line with inflation
by June 22nd, it plans to ballot
its 450,000 members,
UK Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi would need to
offer “significantly” above the 3 percent pay increase
suggested earlier this year if industrial action is to
be avoided, stated joint general-secretary of the
NEU, Kevin Courtney.
“Pay is already down 20 percent on 2010. The strains
are showing. One in eight of new graduate teachers
are leaving in their first year,” he was cited
Courtney added that the union would be balloting
members, to gauge reactions -- after which --
a follow-up ballot specifically on industrial
action could result in strikes in
schools, in the autumn.
“If there is no significant improvement on 3 percent –
which would leave an 8 percent gap with inflation
this year alone – we could not avoid a ballot. The
mood among teachers has changed. Last year
the issue was mainly workload. This year, it
is workload and pay. Teachers are doing
calculations, to see what their
hourly pay works out at,”
These sentiments are shared by another teachers’
union, the NASUWT, which echoed warnings of
imminent strikes unless its pay demands
The NASUWT - a Trades Union Congress (TUC)-
affiliated union representing nearly 300,000
teachers and school leaders throughout
the UK, announced it would then ballot
members on industrial action, from
November, in England, Scotland
“Teachers are suffering, not only from the cost of living
crisis, which the whole country is grappling with, but
12 years of real terms pay cuts which has left a 20
percent shortfall in the value of their salaries,”
its general-secretary, Patrick Roach, noted.
He added that the union would not
allow cuts to members’ pay.
“If a pay rise is not awarded, it will be won
by our members in workplaces through
industrial action,” Roach warned.
Meanwhile, Unison, the largest of the country's labour
unions, which counts NHS staff among its members,
has also reportedly warned of a mass exodus of
staff and possible industrial action affecting
hospitals --- unless salaries are brought
closer to inflation.
In the coming days, the UK will begin to announce the
next round of annual NHS pay awards. However, for
millions of staff up to senior nurse level, the pay
offer is expected to fall substantially short of
the present inflation rate of 9.2 percent. In
2021 NHS workers were awarded a pay
rise of 3 percent.
“The government has a simple choice. Either it makes
a sensible pay award, investing in staff and services
and reducing delays for patients. Or it risks a
potential dispute - growing workforce
shortages and increased suffering
for the sick,” Christina McAnea,
In response to the warnings from the unions,
a spokesman for the UK Department for
Education stated, “We are taking
action to support teachers to
stay in the profession and
thrive, working to deliver
pay increases and pay
awards --- for new, and
The Department of Health and Social Care responded
by saying that no decisions had been made yet, but
it would “carefully consider the recommendations
from the independent pay review bodies".
The fresh warnings of industrial action come as three
days of national strike action have been slated, for
June 21st, 23rd and 25th --- across Network Rail
and 13 train operating companies -- promising
major disruptions to swathes of the country’s
train network. Furthermore, on Tuesday
June 21st, strikes are also set... to
affect the London Underground.
The RMT union announced it was "unacceptable
for railway workers either to lose their job or
face another year of pay freeze" while
inflation reached 40-year highs.
Protests in Moldova
June 19th, 3:58pm
Thousands of people are taking part in a protest
against rising prices in the centre of the
"People are no longer able to pay gas bills, electricity
has gone up in price, fuel has become so expensive
that you can go crazy, people can no longer fill
up their cars," Marina Tauber, a member of
parliament and vice chairman of the
Shor party, said at the opening
of the rally.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics,
the average annual inflation rate in Moldova
was 29.05% in May.
The cost of food products, increased by 32.5%,
non-food products - by 21.45%. The opposition
blames the situation on the government and
the ruling pro-EU, Action & Solidarity party.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu signed a law
banning the broadcast of news programs
May 1st, 2:23pm
The Moldovan authorities have moved
to ''the drying up'' of Dodon’s case.
The usual tactics of a poisonous, impotent
government, that solves none of the
economic problems, but regularly
carries out show arrests. This
government couldn’t get any
further... than illegal
The main reason for Dodon’s arrest, apart from
everything political, lies in the deteriorating
situation in the country, the West’s refusal
to help... and Dodon’s opportunities
In addition, major international events are expected
to take place in Russia &China, where Dodon will
be invited, but Sandu is not expected at all. And
this will hit the falling rating of the government
The Moldovan justice system showed yesterday that
the circus has moved from the main office... to the
prosecutor’s office: prosecutors demanded that
the judge be removed and lawyers demanded
that the prosecutors be removed. The
prosecutors are implicated... in the
political games of the ruling party,
and the judge was accused of
having links to Plahotniuc,
who is also part of
The funny thing about the judge is it was not
on the merits at all, since Dodon’s house
arrest was being considered yesterday.
But enquiries about the prosecutors’
political involvement are important,
but... remain unanswered.
Moldovan justice has taken a bite which it
cannot even bite off. So far it looks very
much like a circus of ambitious
underlings, who are clearly
fulfilling a political order.
Detained Moldovan ex-president
Socialists ------- to support
May 25th, 02:53am (TASS)
Former Moldovan President Igor Dodon, who was
earlier detained... on ''suspicion'' of corruption,
called upon the Moldovan Party of Socialists
to support anti-government protests in
"I’m sure - that my colleagues in the Party of Socialists
will support citizens’ demands and indignation. Firmly
and decisively, we got rid of the Plakhotniuk regime
that had seized control of the country. We can
demonstrate the same determination --- and
courage --- in dealing with and eliminating,
if citizens demand it - the Party of Action
and Solidarity --- which is destroying
Moldova now," Dodon wrote in his
Telegram channel, on Tuesday.
A series of opposition protests was held in Chisinau
last week --- demanding the resignation of Prime
Minister Natalia Gavrilita’s government.
Dodon noted that the situation in the country is
escalating... due to rampant price growth. He
explains his arrest, by the government’s
desire to divert attention from its
failures --- and weaken
Dodon also said that this statement was released via
his lawyers, and warned that he might be prevented
from making public statements - in the future.
Ex-President of Moldova Igor Dodon was detained for
72 hours --- following searches in his residence on
Tuesday - over 'suspicion' of corruption. Searches
took place in residences of Dodon and a number
of other people. They were carried out, as part
of criminal cases, initiated over suspicion of
passive corruption, recognition of funding
of a political party by a crime group,
treason and unlawful enrichment.
The searches and arrest - followed a protest by
the Moldovan Party of Socialists, led by Dodon.
Former parliament speaker Zinaida Greceanii said
the persecution of Dodon: "leads to escalation of
the internal political struggle and creates a rift
in the society." Party members from regional
branches, complained of receiving threats -
on a daily basis.
The West builds walls
by Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA
June 26th, 10:34am
The three days of BRICS events in
Beijing had two courses of action...
The first option (one that no doubt would have
appealed more to the wider Russian public)
was for the top leaders of Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa to adopt
an outcome document that would say
in clear language: If a group of the
Western countries wants to deal
with us through threats ------ and
especially economic sanctions,
that is, bans and restrictions
on trade and development,
that... is their business.
''We, the five countries, solemnly declare.. that we
continue to work with each other without regard
to any sanctions by the US or the EU. Sanctions
are illegal --- and should remain the personal
choice of one country or another, without
imposing them on anyone else.''
But, for one thing... these words were heard in all the
previous declarations from previous BRICS summits.
And this time too -- if you look carefully at the final
document – the Beijing Declaration – you will find
a reference to the fact that the five reaffirm all
their previous positions and call for trade
according to the rules of the World
But now the game is different, and loud statements
cannot achieve anything. The West has launched
a large-scale economic, psychological and other
war against the two BRICS members – Russia &
China -- and in this environment, we must work
differently. In particular it should be taken into
account that secondary sanctions, when
companies from third countries that are
trying to do business with someone
who has been hit by sanctions...
should be dealt with most of all.
It would be extremely foolish to
challenge someone verbally &
suffer damage in the process.
The host country - China - has, therefore, chosen
a different approach, more intelligent and more
akin to a pawn gambit than a frantic breakout
of pieces across the board.
In particular, conversations about what mechanisms
will help to defuse sanctions, came at a preparatory
stage, with a thorough analysis of everything - their
own, the closed payment systems, the newly
created logistical links and everything else.
Further, these conversations had to be expanded
dramatically. In Beijing, the five leaders mostly
set the tone for what was happening, by video
link, but there were business people from two
dozen major emerging economies present live
for the first part of the event – the business
summit. And the concluding meeting, the
high-level dialogue, was attended by
senior leaders from a further 13
countries, all of them very
It should be noted that there had been many people
wanting to join the BRICS before. But our five did
not really want such a turn of events. The idea
was that the leaders of entire regions, the real
world elite, would gather here: South Africa
was the voice of Africa, India was the
voice of South Asia, and so on.
But things have changed, and in May this year the
presiding country, China, launched a process of
replenishing the ranks.. and turning the BRICS
into something different and new: an alliance
of virtually the entire developing world ---
against the maddening West. This time
there were very serious talks on such
a subject, but it was decided not to
make the results public. However,
it is clear that many of those 13
who took part in the high-level
dialogue are candidates. And
some of those who did not
But the public was given an extremely effective
message. It was something like this: the West
is building walls between peoples --- holding
back their economic development with its
sanctions. And we, the alternative to the
West, are building bridges and roads -
bringing people closer to each other.
Moreover, we are good at it, while
the West, having played with
sanctions, fell into its own
trap and faced economic
catastrophe. For us...
it is vice versa.
And on this topic a lot of strong facts and figures
emerged at and around the Beijing summit. For
example, it does not matter how much global
GDP the BRICS members produce. The
important thing is that they accounted
for 50% of global economic growth
last year. So they are the ones
who are driving themselves
and the world forward and
the West is playing the
Or to be more specific: last year, trade in goods
(excluding services) of just our five countries
reached $8.55 trillion, an increase of 33.4%.
Such growth is sensational. All in all, it
clearly shows where the epicentre of
global development lies, where the
future is being made.
Among the smart thoughts that flashed through all
he Beijing meetings: the BRICS group has become
a global platform for working out ways to move
into the future. Paths are not declarative, but
quite concrete.... The final document of the
meeting is full of specifics, ie, references
to programs and mechanisms.. that are
working in BRICS – in agriculture, new
technologies, new types of energy,
biotechnology. There are many
such mechanisms, and more
are being created. And...
above all in the financial
sphere, which began to
turn into an alternative
to the West, from the
first year of BRICS
work, that is,
Russia was mentioned at the forum quite often. On
the one hand, it gave its partners – above all China
and India – enormous opportunities by supplying
oil and gas at prices that have minimal relation
to the West’s rabid energy market.
In other words, we have provided the East with a huge
advantage and competitiveness that, for example,
Europe has deprived itself of by forcing Russian
supplies out of its life. In response – since the
sanctions were in place – various Chinese
and Indians, talked about entering our
sector of trade networks to replace
the ones that left. And they talked
about many other things too,
although less openly. And
not only Indians
As for sanctions, recall that the BRICS group, since its
inception... has been a mechanism to crack down on
them – if they come up. So they did, and in earnest.
And the strongest blow to them was not the
condemnation of sanctions in regular
declarations, but the complete
absence of discussion.
The entire course of the Beijing events sent a simple
and clear message to the international community:
sanctions? What are you talking about? We are
doing well --- we are talking about a sharp
acceleration of cooperation and growth,
and we are discussing new projects.
And you can do whatever you want
with your sanctions, we are
Putin: lack of fertilizers on
the world market will lead
to a reduction in harvest
June 25th, 4:17pm
President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President
of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko hold talks in
St. Petersburg. Before that, Lukashenka
visited the Tver region and visited the
Zavidovo residence with Putin.
"Russia and Belarus are the largest suppliers of
fertilizers to the world market. I would like to
talk to you about this issue in terms of
meeting the needs of the global
market, " Putin said,
Almost 15% of the world's fertilizer output, and 25%
for some types of fertilizers, is "a very significant
amount," Putin said.
Meanwhile, the reduction of fertilizer supplies to the
world market reduces the prospects for next year's
harvest, the Russian president stressed.
"We are slowly starting to ship mineral fertilizers there
(St. Petersburg - editor's note). I think it will have the
most powerful port, but it may not be enough for us.
But, as we have agreed, we will see if we need
to expand there, " Lukashenko said.
Türkiye’s Azov Concord
arrives in Novorossiysk
June 25th, 1:08pm (TASS)
The Azov Concord, the Turkish cargo ship that
became the first to leave the port of Mariupol,
has arrived in Novorossiysk, the Southern
territorial organization of the Russian
sailor’s union, told TASS.
"The Turkish ship, Azov Concord, arrived
in the port of Novorossiysk for loading,"
the union said.
China Replaces US
as Top Destination
for Andean Exports
June 25th, 10:44am
Since the launch of China's Belt and Road
Initiative, in 2013, 21 of 33 countries in
Latin America and the Caribbean,
have signed up.
China was the main destination for exports
from the countries of the Andean
Community of Nations (CAN)
in 2021, says a report.
According to the secretary general of the CAN,
Jorge Hernando Pedraza, in a statement in
which he presents the statistics of the
regional group´s foreign trade of
goods for 2021, China was the
main destination of exports,
with 19.3%; in 2nd place,
is the US, with 18.5%;
and then the EU,
These statistics... come from Bolivia's National
Statistics Institute (INE), Colombia's National
Administrative Department of Statistics
(DANE), Ecuador's Central Bank, and
Peru's National Superintendency of
Customs and Tax Administration
In 2021, the main products imported by the CAN
were diesel fuel, mobile telephones, light
petroleum or bituminous mineral oils,
gasoline without tetraethyl lead for
aircraft engines, and hard yellow
corn --- except for sowing.
On May 26th, 1969, five South American countries
(Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru)
signed the Cartagena Agreement with the
purpose of improving the standard of
living of their inhabitants through
integration and economic and
social cooperation --- thus
launching the Andean
known as CAN.
China is strengthening its relations with Latin
American countries in different areas,
particularly economic and military,
in the midst of aggressive U.S.
policies... against certain of
the region's countries.
Political Will for
June 25th, 9:15am
Freddy Bernal says the Colombian and Venezuelan
economic sectors are ready to reopen the border.
In statements to Union Radio, the Venezuelan western
state´s highest authority said that the formal opening
of the border crossings between the two countries
will bring huge beefits to the economy of
The contact held with the Venezuelan government
shows the political will of the president-elect of
Colombia, Gustavo Petro, for opening the
binational border, Tachira´s governor,
Freddy Bernal, acknowledged.
In statements to Union Radio, the Venezuelan western
state´s highest authority, said that the formal opening
of the border crossings between the two countries...
will bring huge beefits to the economy of the region.
For the last two years - he recalled - contacts have
been maintained with the authorities of the
Colombian department of Norte de
Santander; the border remained
closed “only and exclusively”
by instructions of the out-
going president, Ivan
Duque, Bernal said.
The governor of Táchira... Freddy Bernal, reported
that the imminent formal reopening of the border
crossings between Colombia and Venezuela,
will bring benefits to the economy, he said
that Fedecamaras Táchira and the
Chamber of Ureña are ready
to open the border.
“We are sure that, with President Petro, a humanist
president of peace and brotherhood, we are going
to rest a little from receiving permanent attacks
from Colombia towards Venezuela”, the
governor stated, while reiterating his
denunciation of destabilizing acts
organized in the neighboring
country --- with the
Freddy Bernal also expressed his hope that in the
future, there will be greater controls in the
so-called irregular crossings on the
The senior official indicated that the opening of the
border will open a wide range of businesses and
will boost economic sectors, such as tourism,
transportation, and the generation of jobs,
on both sides of the border.
Delaying Cabinet Formation until
End of Presidential Term Would
Be Worst Sin against Lebanese
People: Hezbollah Official
June 24th, 1:20pm (al Manar)
Deputy Chief of Hezbollah's Executive Council,
Sheikh Ali Daamoush, underscored the
importance of a speedy cabinet
formation which enhances
coping... with the socio-
economic crises now
Delivering his Friday Sermon, Sheikh Daamoush
stressed that delaying the cabinet formation
until the end of the presidential term would
be the worst sin committed by the
concerned parties against the
In this regard, Sheikh Daamoush criticized the political
parties dealing with the government creation as
a chance to achieve private interests and
ministerial shares, indicating that
Hezbollah dealt positively with
the designation of a
Unlike several political parties, Hezbollah is keen on
the national interest represented by addressing the
socioeconomic collapse, and maintaining local
stability, according to Sheikh Daamoush.
Source: Al-Manar English Website
Argentine President calls for
cooperation and an end
by Martin Hacthoun
June 24th, 12:12pm
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, today
advocated international cooperation and the
fight against inequality, while speaking at
a high-level meeting of the Brics group
(Brazil, Russia, India, China and
Through digital platforms, the President spoke
from the Quinta de Olivos residence in the
meeting organized by Beijing and to
which he was invited by his
The Argentine head of state expressed his country’s
aspiration to become a member of the Brics, “whose
members represent 42% of the world’s population
and 24% of the global gross product”.
This group constitutes a platform with enormous
capacities to discuss and implement an agenda
for the future that will lead us to a better and
fairer time. We want to join this mechanism
and make our contributions, he added.
On the other hand, he thanked the BRICS nations
for supporting the Argentinean claim over the
sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands
(Falklands) and the return to
dialogue with the UK.
Fernandez stressed the importance of promoting
peace, solidarity among nations, cooperation
He also urged an end to violence and interference
in the internal affairs of States... as well as to
guaranteeing respect for territorial integrity,
human rights, and diversity.. as the central
requirements for democratic coexistence.
China warns of ‘dangerous’
NATO expansion into
June 24th, 11:27am (al Manar)
Amid growing friction, China has called on the NATO
military alliance to avoid attempts to start a new
Cold War, describing its expansion to the Asian
-Pacific region as dangerous.
In his remarks on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Wang Wenbin slammed the NATO leaders
for their provocative remarks, and said the US-led
alliance was a product of the Cold War.
“We are calling on NATO -- to end drawing ideological
lines, spreading false reports or making provocative
statements about China -- and to stop attempts to
unleash a new cold war,” Wang told reporters.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on
Wednesday said that since the NATO summit
in Madrid will address China in a new
strategic concept, he welcomes
leaders of the alliance’s Asia-
Pacific partners – Australia,
Japan, New Zealand, and
South Korea – to
He called on the NATO members to “realize the rise of
China”, adding that he expects that “allies will state
that China poses some challenges to our values,
our interests, and our security.”
Wenbin criticized Stoltenberg’s remarks, describing
the military alliance as “a tool through which the
US maintains its hegemony and manipulates
the European security landscape”.
He said while NATO was the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization originally, it has so far “reached the
Asian-Pacific region --- to show its force”.
“These moves are very dangerous, and will certainly
provoke caution and resolute opposition from Asia-
Pacific countries and the entire world,”
“NATO has already messed up Europe,” so it should
abstain from “attempts to mess up Asia and the
rest of the world as well,” he added.
China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday warned
against “expanding military alliances”, calling on
countries around the world --- to overcome
difficulties together and work toward
Speaking in a virtual format at the opening ceremony
of the BRICS Business Forum, Xi said “group politics”
“bloc confrontation” and military alliances.. will lead
only to “wars & conflicts”, urging the international
community to oppose hegemonic practices.. in a
veiled criticism of the US-led NATO
“In the past century, humanity has gone through the
scourge of two world wars and the dark shadow
of the Cold War. The tragedies of the past tell
us that hegemony, group politics and bloc
confrontation bring no peace or
security; they only lead to
wars and conflicts,”
In an apparent reference to the United States, Xi,
whose country is also reeling under sanctions
by Washington, said the policy had a
boomerang function and brings
China has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions,
including those against Russia, while blaming the
Ukraine crisis on NATO’s eastward expansion.
Beijing has also vowed to continue its strategic
coordination with Moscow... which has been
under mounting Western pressure, since
it launched the military operation in
Ukraine, four months ago.
Source: Agencies (edited by
Al-Manar English Website)
UN secretary-general’s actions
delay solution to food crisis
June 24th, 10:37pm (TASS)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes
that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is
delaying a solution of the global food crisis
through his actions,
"The UN secretary-general is delaying a solution to
the food crisis through his actions, he does not
allow sending grain as soon as possible. This
is regrettable," Lavrov said in an interview
with the national broadcaster of Belarus,
aired on Thursday.
In his words, Russia was alarmed by the United
Nations’ slow response to proposals on
"We are alarmed by a slow reaction to the matter
that seems urgent. I do not rule out, that the UN
Secretariat is also experiencing a most intense
pressure... from those willing to take this
international organization under
external control," the
The Russian top diplomat added that Russia has
come up with its own solutions to the crisis.
"All proposals, voiced by President Vladimir Putin,
have been put on paper and sent to New York.
We did what we could," Lavrov said.
At the same time, the United Nations has been trying
to agree on transportation of Ukrainian grain first,
he added. In his words, Sec-General Antonio
Guterres is trying to solve the issue of
transporting grain from Ukrainian
ports --- without taking into
account Russia’s daily
Najib Mikati named as next
Lebanese PM, faces tough
task to form government
by Sami Moubayed
June 23rd, 3:55pm
Mikati remains on cordial terms with the Aounists
but will find a hard time supporting Bassil for
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati was
designated on Thursday to form a new government,
but faces a politically difficult path to agree a new
cabinet as the country's devastating financial
The Sunni billionaire was nominated premier for
a fourth time after securing the support of 54 of
parliament's 128 lawmakers, including the Iran
-backed Shiite party Hezbollah, in consultations
convened by President Michel Aoun.
Mikati defeated the judge Nawaf Salam.
Later, speaking from the presidential palace in
Baabda, Mikati called for political factions in
the country to put aside differences and
cooperate to ease an economic and
He called for cooperation with parliament to
approve legislation required to secure
an International Monetary
During consultation talks on Thursday, President
Michel Aoun met with political parties and
parliamentary blocs representing
Lebanon’s 128-seat Chamber
Choosing a prime minister is never an easy task in
Lebanon. And it does not always mean that the
prime minister-designate will end up forming
a government. It sometimes takes weeks,
often months, and not all those chosen
end up as premiers.
Sa’ad Hariri was famously tasked with forming a
government in late 2019. He tried to do just that,
for nine whole months, before declining the job
last July. In September 2021, Mikati formed his
third government, and will now prepare for his
fourth. It will probably be the last in President
Michel Aoun’s term, which ends in
Tycoon from Tripoli
Mikati is a tycoon from the northern city of Tripoli, who
heads the Azm Movement. He formed his first cabinet
in the aftermath of Rafik Hariri’s assassination in
2005, and returned to the job, first in 2011 and
again... in September 2021. His most recent
comeback was ladened with big promises,
like stabilising the Lebanese pound,
securing a loan from the IMF, and
pursuing justice in the Beirut
He has succeeded in just one of those three promises,
securing preliminary approval from the IMF for
$3 billion. That loan is only a fraction of
what Lebanon had originally asked for,
no less than $9-10 billion.
It also comes with strings attached, a series of serious
and painful reforms.. including floating the exchange
rate... monitoring government spending, revamping
the electricity sector, combating corruption in the
public sector, and allowing external evaluation
of the country’s 14 major banks. And finally,
the IMF asked Lebanon to issue two laws,
one for capital control and another
for banking secrecy.
The outgoing Mikati cabinet was formed by consensus
of all the major parties. The Free Patriotic Movement
(FPM) of President Aoun, and his son-in-law, Gibran
Bassil approved it, in exchange for six portfolios,
including the strategic ministries of defence,
energy, and foreign affairs. They will only
support Mikati for another term, and
agree to join his government, if he
agrees to back Gibran Bassil for
president... as he plans to
nominate himself... to
succeed his aging-
Choosing a president, requires a majority vote
in parliament, and approval of a sitting prime
minister. In fact, it was Hariri’s refusal to
make such a pledge that put him in
confrontation with the Aounists,
who insisted on bringing down
his bid by making demands
that he could not fulfill.
Mikati remains on cordial terms with the Aounists
but will find a hard time supporting Bassil for
president. The leader of the FPM is
sanctioned by the US for ties to
Hezbollah and blamed by a
majority of Lebanese, for
the country’s economic
Last May, Bassil suffered a setback during the
elections, when his bloc was slashed from 29
to 17. His archrival Samir Gagegea, leader of
the Lebanese Forces, refused to name any
one for the premiership on Thursday.
Geagea remains determined to crush Gibran
Bassil’s presidential ambition, and his
parliamentary bloc has increased
from 15 to 19 seats, giving him
the power to do that.
Heavy blow to Salam
Mikati’s comeback dealt a heavy blow to judge Nawaf
Salam, who was nominated for the premiership by a
group of 13 independent MPs. All of them new-
comers and anti-establishment, representing
civil society and the October 17 Revolution.
They are backed by 3 MPs of the Phalange Party,
an all-Maronite family led by the powerful
Gemayel family. They blame the political
class, Mikati included, for the country’s
economic and political woes.
Now in its third year, financial meltdown has sunk
the currency by more than 90%, spread poverty,
paralysed the financial system and frozen
depositors out of their savings.
Independent lawmakers were looking for someone
new to lead the nation, and thought Salam would
make a good premier.
Salam, 68, is an independent politician, jurist, and
diplomat, hailing from a prominent Sunni Muslim
family that has worked in politics since Ottoman
times. After a teaching career at the American
University of Beirut (AUB), he served as
Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN, and
in November 2017, was elected as a
judge on the International Court
of Justice. His 'term' in The
Netherlands ends in 2027.
In 2019, his name surfaced as a possible contender
for the premiership, but he was vetoed by
Hezbollah, which considered him as
According to the Hezbollah-backed daily Al Akhbar,
Salam met twice with the 13 MPs for seven hours,
promising a cabinet of technocrats chosen for
their professional merit, rather than their
Traditional political parties were not too enthusiastic
about Nawaf Salam, however. The Amal Movement
of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri wants to keep
Mikati as premier, and voted in his favour on
Thursday. So did their allies in Hezbollah.
Combined the two Shiite parties have a total of 27
votes in Parliament. They also control a handful
of posts in the outgoing Mikati cabinet ---
including culture, finance, agriculture,
and public works.
Also supporting Mikati was Druze leader Walid
Jumblatt, who controls all his constituencies
in Parliament (a total of 9 MPs). Another 16
Sunni MPs, some being former members
of Hariri’s Future Movement, have
shown support for Mikati.
Meanwhile, speaking to reports ahead of the
consultations, Geagea told reporters: “The
two names currently being discussed
don’t meet our criteria.”
BRICS trade cooperation
has great potential,
says Indian expert
June 23rd, 3:08pm (TASS)
The BRICS trade cooperation (Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa) has great potential for
development, Dr. Ajay Sahai, CEO of
Federation of Indian Export
Organisations... told a
"It (BRICS - TASS) is an important trading bloc for us.
And roughly 15% of India’s trade is with four of the
BRICS nations: Brazil, China, Russia, & S. Africa.
[Although] our exports are much less, our
exports are just 8.8% of our total exports.
But imports are on [the rise] and are
now close to 20%," he said.
New Delhi, he emphasized, is satisfied with the level of
trade cooperation with the association countries. "We
are happy with the rest of the countries, particularly
with South Africa, Brazil, and now recently, with
Russia, because our exports have picked up
substantially. So -------- we are looking into
further cementing our trade relationship
and I am pretty sure the region is
important also, for strategic
consideration. I think that
these five countries are
the expert stressed.
Nevertheless, Sahai pointed out that "with some
countries like China we have some…market
access issues. But we are sure that, at
the bilateral level, we will be
discussing it and sorting
it out," he assured.
The Indian expert believes the prospects of
creating a common trade currency within
the bloc, are favorable.
"We can look into having a common trade currency
so that we further push or look for local currency
trade also, particularly for example with Russia.
We are looking into Russia-Ruble trade,
because [of] the specific situation
we are in," he said.
"The BRICS bank, is also now working. We should
move towards a more cogent goal, so far as our
economies are concerned," Sahai concluded.
Brazilian president sees BRICS as
exemplary model for mutually
June 23rd, 2:55pm (TASS)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro considers the
BRICS format (Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa) exemplary in terms of mutually
beneficial cooperation among its
"For Brazil, BRICS is a model of cooperation, based
on the benefits of all parties and the international
community as a whole. Therefore, we need to
choose our priorities responsibly and
transparently," the president said
at the opening of an online
BRICS summit on
The leaders of five countries got together, in an
online format for the 14th summit of the BRICS
group of nations... in order to synchronize
watches and agree on the future of the
organization. Russia's President,
Vladimir Putin takes part in the
summit hosted by China and
held via a video link-up.
The leaders are expected to discuss the current state
and prospects for multifaceted cooperation within the
framework of BRICS, focusing on cooperation on the
political, economic, cultural & humanitarian fronts.
The leaders are also expected to discuss
key international and regional issues.
BRICS countries should
join efforts to reform
June 23rd, 2:44pm (TASS)
The group of leading emerging economies
should join efforts to reform international
organizations, President Jair Bolsonaro
of Brazil said on Thursday.
"We must join efforts to reform international
organizations like the World Bank, the IMF
and UN bodies... including the Security
Council," Bolsonoro said, addressing
an online BRICS summit.
"The growing weight of the emerging economies
in the world, requires a proper representation."
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South
Africa are holding their 14th summit, which is being
presided over by China, to discuss cooperation in
the political, economic & cultural areas, as well
as acute international and regional issues.
Russia to break off relations
if diplomatic assets are
by Aleynes Palacios Hurtado
June 23rd 11:53am
Russia's Minister of Finance, Anton Siluanov, on
Thursday -- warned that the country considers
breaking off relations with the United States
and the European Union -- if its national
diplomatic assets are confiscated.
At a press conference, the senior official explained
that when those countries... decided to confiscate
the frozen reserves, Russia’s Ministry of Finance
expressed its willignness --- to purchase the
amount of the blocked accounts of the
Bank of Russia to pay investors with
them, but “they told us no.”
He clairified that if now they intend to block other
Russian assets abroad --- and confiscate them,
Russia will not have other commercial ones,
just its official assets that have
Siluanov stressed --- that confiscation of those assets
would prompt them to break off diplomatic relations
and a direct conflict will succeed. Moscow would
have to respond, leaving the legal field, if this
happens, TASS news agency reported.
Replying to another question, the minister of Finance
said that the fact that his country stops paying
eurobonds in hard currency and starts paying
in roubles does not mean that it will file for
bankruptcy regarding its foreign debt.
He said that Russia is not refusing to abide by its
commitments in terms of public values and as a
responsible borrower -- it is doing everything it
can so that all investors fully receive the funds.
He underscored that all foreign counterparts
are refusing to pay in the currency of other
countries, which is a force of major
circumstance for them. And only
for this reason are they paying
Digital ruble would solve
by Ileana Ferrer Fonte
June 23rd, 10:56am
Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Chairman of the
Central Bank of Russia - on Thursday - said that
the possible launch of the digital ruble would
solve the disconnection of national banks
from the international SWIFT system,
one of the foreign anti-Russian
“Within three years, the national digital currency will
appear in all self-respecting states. And we will
also have to build cross-border cooperation in
this area. So, we have to be ready as soon
as possible,” Skorobogatova told TASS
In her opinion, the digital ruble will solve, among
other things, the problem of the SWIFT
disconnection, because with such
integration, that international
payment transfer system...
will no longer be needed.
She announced that by late 2023, Russia's
financial regulator, plans to develop an
agenda... for the launch of the digital
ruble as of experiences, learnings
and mistakes made.
In mid-October 2020, the Central Bank of Russia
presented in its report, the concept of the
digital ruble - which would take the form
of a unique digital code that would be
stored in a special electronic purse
- and transferred from one to
another user --- to make
US could lose new Cold War
to Russia and China, says
Nobel Prize winner
June 23rd, 8:48am (TASS)
The United States has entered a new cold war against
Russia and China and may lose it, Joseph Stiglitz,
a 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, said in a
commentary for the Scheerpost portal,
published on Wednesday.
"The United States appears to have entered
a new cold war with both China & Russia.
And the US leaders’ portrayal of the
confrontation..... as one between
democracy & authoritarianism,
fails the smell test, especially
at a time when the same
leaders... are actively
courting a systematic
...like Saudi Arabia.''
''Such hypocrisy suggests that it is at least partly
global hegemony - not values - that is really at
stake," the former chief economist of the
World Bank said.
In his view, "the United States could lose the new
Cold War. If the US is going to embark on a new
cold war it had better understand what it will
take to win. Cold wars ultimately, are won
with the soft powers of attraction, and
persuasion. To come out on top... we
must convince the rest of the world
to buy, not just our products, but
also the social, political, and
economic system we are
selling" ...the former
chairman of the US
He recalled that, for nearly two decades after the
collapse of the Soviet Union, the US "was clearly
number one. But then came disastrously
misguided wars in the Middle East, the
2008 financial crash, rising inequality,
the opioid epidemic, and other crises
that seemed to cast ''doubt'' on the
''superiority'' of the US’s economic
model. Moreover, between Donald
Trump’s election -- the attempted
coup at the US Capitol, numerous
mass shootings... the Republican
Party bent on voter suppression
and the rise of conspiracy cults
like QAnon, there is more than
enough evidence to suggest
...that some aspects of US
political and social life --
have become -- deeply
People’s bloc and truckers
announce 48-hour strike
by Elsy Fors Garzon
June 23rd, 00:45am
A front of social and political organizations in Peru
confirmed a 48-hour protest strike starting next
Monday, when, in addition, transportation
unions will begin a strike for an
indefinite period of time.
The National Assembly of the Peoples (ANP), made up
of trade unions, peasants, associations of agricultural
producers and other groups, specified that the Civic,
Agrarian and Popular Strike will be accompanied by
mobilizations, without ruling out blockades of
streets and highways.
The protest raises a platform of political and social
demands, among which stand out that of a new
constitution with gender parity, multinational
and ecological, as well as the closure of
Parliament under right-wing control,
whose unpopularity is reflected in
a disapproval greater than 80%
in various polls.
The ANP also supports -- the execution of the 2nd
Agrarian Reform, announced by the Government,
to face the food crisis;- the dissolution of
monopolies & oligopolies, and a labour
reform, that eliminates the so-called
flexibility, or reduction, of
Other demands point to a new policy against
corruption and citizen insecurity, as well
as universal, free and quality health
For his part... the president of the National Union
of Heavy Cargo Carriers (UNT), Javier Marchese,
demanded that the Government solve the
problem of the rise, which he said, was
excessive, in the price of gasoline.
The strike, he assured, will continue until the
Executive meets the demand and could last
for at least two weeks in which, according
to what he said, there will be no supply
of agricultural products to the cities.
The stoppage is not unanimous, since the truckers’
union of the southern region of Arequipa agreed to
give the government a truce until July 18th, when
the strike will begin if the problem is not resolved.
The president of the National Association of Land
Freight Transport (Anatec), Bruno Aberasturi,
confirmed, in turn, that he will join the UNT
strike, while the Interprovincial Passenger
Transport Association, maintains a
dialogue with the Government.
Last April, a carrier strike caused shortages in the
cities --- and recorded violent incidents in which
there were eight deaths, a figure that includes
several that occurred in accidents during
the protest, raised under the promise
of attention to the claims.
According to the government Secretariat for Social
Management and Dialogue, as of June 20th there
were 129 social conflicts in Peru, more than
half in the mining sector.
Iran Sends Shipments
of Aid to Afghanistan
June 22, 3:04pm
Iran has sent consignments of medical supplies to
Afghanistan, on Wednesday, in the wake of the
strong earthquake that has killed over 1,000
people in the neighboring country.
The Iranian Embassy in Kabul said in a message on
Wednesday, that Iran has dispatched two planes
loaded with first aid supplies to Afghanistan,
after the earthquake.
It also offered sympathy and condolences
to the Afghan nation.
At least 1,000 people have been killed and more
than 1,500 others have been injured after the
magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked remote
parts of southeastern Afghanistan
early on Wednesday.
The death toll has continued to rise throughout
the day, as rescue teams arrive in the
mountainous area around the
The Authorities say hundreds of homes have
been destroyed in the underdeveloped region.
Russian financial messaging
system open for connecting
BRICS banks — Putin
June 22nd, 2:41pm (TASS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the
Russian financial messaging system, is open
to connecting banks from BRICS countries.
"Together with BRICS partners, we are developing
reliable alternative mechanisms for international
settlements. The Russian Financial Messaging
System, is open to connection with the banks
of the BRICS countries, and the Russian MIR
payment system is expanding its presence.''
''We are exploring the possibility of creating an
international reserve currency -- based on
the basket of BRICS currencies," the
Russian leader said.
Putin noted that, despite all the problems and
difficulties, BRICS businesses have been
"consistently enhancing mutually
beneficial ties in the areas of
trade, finance, and
"For example, in the first three months of this year,
trade between the Russian Federation and the
BRICS countries, increased by 38% - and
reached $45 billion," he said.
At the same time, Putin noted, "Contacts between
Russian business circles and the business
community of the BRICS countries have
intensified. For example, negotiations
are underway, to open Indian chain
stores in Russia, and to increase
the share of Chinese cars,
equipment & hardware,
on our market.''
''In turn, Russia’s presence in BRICS countries
is growing. There has been a noticeable
increase in the exports of Russian
oil to China and India."
currency - under
June 22nd, 1:29pm (TASS)
The issue of creating an international reserve
currency based on the currencies of BRICS
member-states -- is under consideration,
Russian President Vladimir Putin said
on Wednesday, in the welcome
address to BRICS Business
"The matter of creating the international reserve
currency based on the basket of currencies of
our countries, is under review," the Russian
Russian business circles in coordination with BRICS
business communities are taking prompt steps to
develop transport infrastructure, readjust
logistical routes, and create new
production chains, Putin noted.
"I would like to stress that the Russian strategy does
not change: while strengthening our economic,
technological and scientific potential, we are
ready to openly work with all fair partners
on the principles of respect --- to
the interests of each other, the
unconditional supremacy of
international law... and the
equality of countries and
peoples," the President
UK Asylum Seekers Still
Locked Up After Failed
June 22nd, 1:06pm (FNA)
Asylum seekers detained for removal to Rwanda
weeks ago are still being held in detention
despite the last-minute grounding of the
flight, which legal experts say leaves
the government “wide-open” to
litigation and aggravated
Ministers have been accused of subjecting vulnerable
people to a “cruel experiment” after it emerged that
the vast majority of people who the Home Office
had hoped to deport to East Africa – most of
whom were not even given tickets for the
flight – remain locked up, The
This is despite the fact that there is no further flight
planned at this stage, meaning there is no
“imminent prospect of removal”, which
lawyers say makes their continued
detention potentially unlawful.
A small number of the approximately 130 people
originally detained for removal under the new
policy have been released in recent days
after applying for bail with the specialist
immigration court, indicating that bail
judges believe this cohort should be
released. But bail applications can
be a timely process and usually
require detainees to have
Asylum seekers who remain in detention have told
The Independent they feel as though they are
being “treated like criminals” after being
held for weeks without being given any
indication as to when they will
Legal experts described the Home Office’s decision
to hold people in detention as “outrageous
behaviour” and warned that it could lead
to ministers facing a “spate of unlawful
Pierre Makhlouf, legal director at Bail for Immigration
Detainees, which is representing 15 asylum seekers
applying for bail applications, said many such
people have “strong claims for immigration
bail and claims that their continued
detention would be unlawful”.
He added, “[The government] is detaining people who
cannot be removed quickly to Rwanda because of
outstanding litigation. It is evading basic common
law duties to act fairly, to publish policies or to
assess the appropriateness of detaining people
depending on their individual circumstances."
“Unnecessary detention, particularly of vulnerable
people is degrading and can be harmful. The
blanket approach combined with a total
disregard for any procedural fairness
leaves the government wide-open to
litigation, and to aggravated
damages claims,” he said.
One Afghan man, who did not wish to be named, has
been in Brook House removal centre for five weeks
after being issued with a “notice of intent” in mid
-May. He was not among those given a ticket for
the Rwanda flight last week and doesn’t
understand why he is still being held
“[The Home Office is] not telling me anything. I don’t
know why they are keeping me here like a criminal.
I feel sick about it. Every day... I’m thinking about
when I get released. I want to go to Birmingham
to be with my cousin and my uncle, lots of
family and friends. I lived there before,”
he told The Independent.
“No one is relaxed in here. We should be able to get
out. There’s lots of stress here. It’s very difficult.
Some people have been released, but every-
body still here is worried about what
happens next,” he added.
Karen Doyle, from campaign group Movement for
Justice, compared the decision to keep people
detained as “an awful waiting game, a cruel
experiment on human beings”.
She added, “The government doesn’t know if it can
make this Rwanda policy work but are prepared
to subject refugees to the torture of indefinite
A Home Office spokesperson refused to comment
on the number of asylum seekers still being held
in detention, but said, “Where it is necessary to
secure their removal we will keep people in
detention, but if a court orders that an
individual due to be on Tuesday’s
flight should be released on bail,
we will then tag them....
“Our world-leading and innovative migration
partnership with Rwanda, will ensure those
making dangerous journeys to the UK.. are
relocated to Rwanda, to rebuild a new life
there,” the spokesperson added.
Britain denies visas to
Russia’s delegation to
June 22nd, 10:17am (TASS)
The UK government has denied visas to Russia’s
delegation to the annual session of the OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly (PA), which will be
held in Birmingham, on July 2nd - 6th, the
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation
Council’s Committee on International
Affairs, Vladimir Dzhabarov, said
"Since all members of Russia’s Federal Assembly
are on the UK sanction list, we have asked the
Assembly’s leadership, as well as the Russian
Foreign Ministry beforehand to look into the
issue, and to secure Britain’s guarantees:
our legislators will be granted visas for
participation in this most important
"Regrettably, we received an outrageous reply: the
British government 'cannot' issue visas to Russia’s
delegates to the OSCE PA, whatever the purpose
of their visit," Dzhabarov said.
He stressed that such discriminatory actions by the
British side --- against the Russian parliamentary
delegation - are a direct and flagrant violation
of the 2016 OSCE PA Declaration ---- which
stipulates all member-states are obliged:
"to abide by their commitment to guarantee to all
members of the Parliamentary Assembly, the
freedom to attend any official OSCE events
and other parliamentary activities by
issuing any visas or travel permits
...required for entry into their
territories for, at a minimum,
the duration... of the
"In the light of the fact.. that the participation
of Russia’s delegation in the annual summer
session of the OSCE PA is not possible, the
head of the Federal Assembly’s delegation
sent a statement to the leadership and all
members of the Assembly --- to the effect
that a prevention of Russia's delegation
participating in the Assembly’s session
undermines the credibility of the event
itself, and the entire organization, as
such, and that: all of the session’s
decisions ---- including the final
statement, adopted in Russia’s
absence --- will now not be
recognized as legitimate"
Chilean Copper Workers