Category - AgonistWire

News articles

Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa breaks U.S. Trade pact…

 Ecuador has ramped up its defiance of the US over Edward Snowden by waiving preferential trade rights with Washington even as the whistleblower’s prospect of reaching Quito dimmed.

President Rafael Correa’s government said on Thursday it was renouncing the Andean Trade Preference Act to thwart US “blackmail” of Ecuador in the former NSA contractor’s asylum request. Guardian, June 27

There has been so much misinformation, propaganda and downright lies concerning Correa, I think it’s time for some factual information. First, it should be noted; Rafael Correa has a Phd. in Economics from an American university, so let’s be clear, he’s no dummy.

This from Wikipedia;  During this period, he received a Master of Arts in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium in June 1991. He later studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Master of Science in Economics in May 1999, and a PhD in Economics in October 2001.

Second, there are the issues regarding press freedom in Ecuador; misunderstood and misreported in the U.S. MSM. Bill Black is very enlightening on this with information about the press in Ecuador, which has come under vicious attack by the American press and pundits.

Read More

Tsunami warning issued for South Pacific islands

AP, February 5

Sydney — The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says a South Pacific earthquake generated a tsunami that may be destructive near the epicenter.

It says sea level readings indicate a tsunami formed after the magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit near the Solomon Islands. More distant coasts may be threatened.


Powerful quake strikes off Solomon Islands

CNN, February 5

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific early Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, sparking a tsunami warning.

[…]

Brian Shiro, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN that instruments near the Solomon Islands indicated that a tsunami was in fact generated. It is 1 meter high, he said, describing it as “significant.”

The event seems to be localized to the region, Shiro said, and authorities are still waiting to see if they want to expand the alert.

Russia Says World Is Nearing Currency War as Europe Joins

The world is on the brink of a fresh “currency war,” Russia warned, as European policy makers joined Japan in bemoaning the economic cost of rising exchange rates.

“Japan is weakening the yen and other countries may follow,” Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, said at a conference today in Moscow.

The alert from the country that chairs the Group of 20 came as Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker complained of a “dangerously high” euro and officials in Norway and Sweden expressed exchange-rate concern.

The push for weaker currencies is being driven by a need to find new sources of economic growth as monetary and fiscal policies run out of room. The risk is as each country tries to boost exports, it hurts the competitiveness of other economies and provokes retaliation.

Yesterday “will go down as the first day European policy makers fired a shot in the 2013 currency war,” said Chris Turner, head of foreign-exchange strategy at ING Groep NV in London.

Bloomberg

130 prisoners escape Mexican jail through tunnel

Authorities question prison employees as police begin massive search near US border after mass jailbreak in Piedras Negras

More than 130 inmates escaped through a tunnel from a prison in northern Mexico on Monday, setting off a massive search by police and soldiers in an area close to the US border.

Authorities in Coahuila state said the 132 inmates fled the prison in Piedras Negras, a city across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, through a tunnel that was 21ft long and 4ft in diameter, then cut their way through a chain link barrier and escaped on to a neighbouring property.
Read More

Nato Afghan strategy in disarray after joint ground operations suspended

Defence secretary called to the Commons after US general suspends joint patrols with Afghan troops

The Nato-led military strategy in Afghanistan has been thrown into disarray after joint on-the-ground operations were suspended because of a collapse in trust over the killings of Americans and other Nato soldiers by Afghan government forces.

The move came after a surge in the number of “insider attacks” by Afghan government soldiers and police officers. There have been 36 such attacks this year, which have killed 51 Nato soldiers. The suspension threatens the joint plan to train an effective Afghan army to keep the Taliban at bay after foreign troops pull out.

General John Allen, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, ordered a stop to joint combat operations and patrols “until further notice”.
Read More

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi arrives in US, milestone in her journey from prisoner to stateswoman

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, renowned for her peaceful struggle against military rule, began a marathon tour of the U.S. Monday, the latest milestone in her remarkable journey from political prisoner to globe-trotting stateswoman.

The Nobel Peace laureate will be presented with Congress’ highest award during a 17-day visit that comes as the Obama administration considers easing remaining sanctions on the country, also known as Burma. In the latest step toward political opening, Myanmar announced a new round of prisoner releases, hours before Suu Kyi touched down in Washington.
Read More

Syrian rebels accused of war crimes

Human Rights Watch says it has documented more than a dozen summary executions of prisoners

Opposition groups in Syria have been accused of committing war crimes including torture and the summary execution of prisoners, and the UN has been warned of a growing number of human rights violations and the presence of foreign Islamist fighters ranged against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented more than a dozen executions by rebels in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo and the coastal region of Latakia. Three opposition leaders who were confronted with evidence of extrajudicial killings said the victims had deserved to die, HRW reported.
Read More

National Zoo welcomes baby panda

The National Zoo’s female giant panda gave birth to a cub Sunday night, stunning and delighting zoo officials and sparking a new wave of panda mania in Washington seven years after the zoo’s only other cub was born in 2005.

The new cub was born at 10:46 p.m. to Mei Xiang, the zoo said, and curator Becky Malinsky happened to be watching the 24-hour-a-day panda camera feed and heard the first squealing of the newborn.

”œI got a call … a little after 10:45” from a senior curator saying ”œthe behavior watcher just saw a birth,” said Don Moore, associate director for animal care sciences. ”œI said, ”˜Yeah, yeah, it’s not April Fool’s yet, so I’m going back to bed. ’ She said, ”˜No, no, really. There’s been a panda. Congratulations.’ ”
Read More

Israeli Leader Makes Case Against Iran on U.S. TV

Having been rebuffed privately by President Obama last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel took to the airwaves in the United States on Sunday to warn that Iran was only six or seven months from having ”œ90 percent” of what it needed to make an atomic bomb.

Mr. Netanyahu received sharp criticism at home and abroad for similar remarks last week, which were widely seen as an effort to put pressure on Mr. Obama to act more forcefully against Iran. And yet, less than two months before Election Day, he turned to the weekly platform for American politics ”” the Sunday morning political talk shows ”” to make his case more urgently and specifically than ever to a wider American audience.

He repeated his warning that the only way to stop Iran was for the United States to draw a distinct ”œred line” on that country’s nuclear activity and declare that crossing it would trigger military intervention. But he also offered his most explicit description to date of the level of nuclear development that he would regard as particularly dangerous: one bomb’s worth of medium-enriched uranium, a level that would take Iran close to a bomb but would still require additional work to make a weapon.
Read More

Obama to launch auto trade case against China: official

President Barack Obama will launch a trade complaint against China over what his administration says is Beijing’s unfair government backing of its auto industry, a White House official said on Sunday.

Obama will announce during a campaign tour of Ohio on Monday that he is initiating a case against China at the World Trade Organization over allegedly illegal subsidies for automobiles and auto parts, the official said.

The move allows Obama to take a stand on China and advance the interests of a major job-providing industry in a state that could tip the balance in a close election. His opponent,Mitt Romney, has attacked Obama for what he says is an overly cautious approach to pressuring China into observing international norms for trade, foreign exchange, and patents and trademarks.
Read More

Insight: China builds its own military-industrial complex

When China turned to Russia for supplies of advanced weapons through the 1990s, it kick-started Beijing’s military build-up with an immediate boost in firepower.

It also demonstrated the failure of its domestic defense sector which was still turning out obsolete 1950s vintage equipment for the People’s Liberation Army from a sprawling network of state-owned arms makers.

Now, after more than two decades of soaring military spending, this once backward industry has been transformed — China is creating its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector taking a leading role.
Read More

Iran confirms it has forces in Syria and will take military action if pushed

Army commander gives clear sign of Tehran’s continuing support for Assad’s regime but denies troops signify military presence.

Iran has confirmed for the first time that forces from its revolutionary guards corps (IRGC) are in Syria helping Bashar al-Assad’s government crush rebels, and warned that it would get involved militarily if its Arab ally came under attack.

In a clear public signal of Tehran’s continuing support for Assad, the commander of the Islamic republic’s elite military formation said that a number of members of the IRGC’s Qods force were in Syria, though General Mohammad Ali Jafari gave no further details and claimed this did not constitute “a military presence”.
Read More

Boy Scouts helped alleged molesters cover tracks, files show

When volunteers and employees were suspected of sexually abusing children, Boy Scout officials often didn’t tell police, files from 1970-91 reveal. In many cases they sought to hide the situation.

Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign ”” and helped many cover their tracks.
Read More