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          International Criminal Court 'facing US threats'      Cache   Translate Page      

ICC member countries should reaffirm the court’s mandate in the face of United States threats to weaken its essential role in international justice, Human Rights Watch says.

International Criminal Court (ICC) member countries should reaffirm the court’s mandate in the face of United States threats to weaken its essential role in international justice, says Human Rights Watch. The 17th session of the court’s annual meeting, the Assembly of States Parties, will take place in The Hague from 5 to 12 December 2018.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has sought to undermine the court’s legitimacy and threatened to thwart investigations involving the US or its allies. On September 10, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, declared that the US would not cooperate with the ICC. He threatened a number of retaliatory steps if the court investigated US citizens or citizens of allied countries, including against court officials and governments cooperating with the ICC. Trump also made critical remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.

“US threats against the ICC are an affront to every victim seeking justice before this court”, said Elizabeth Evenson, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “ICC member countries should demonstrate at their annual meeting their resolve to oppose any effort to undermine the court’s investigations and prosecutions.”

The ICC prosecutor’s request to open an investigation in Afghanistan, which could include crimes committed by Taliban forces and the Afghan government, as well as US military and Central Intelligence Agency personnel, is pending before the court. An ICC investigation in Afghanistan would advance accountability and provide victims with a path to justice, while putting those responsible for serious crimes on notice that they could face prosecution, Human Rights Watch said.

ICC member countries responded to the US threats with strong statements of support for the court. Similar efforts in the past to undermine the court’s work have also been met by firm resistance from members, including a hostile US campaign by the administration of George W. Bush.

Given the broader pressure on the international rule of law, it is all the more important for ICC member countries to defend the court’s mandate with clear statements and actions, Human Rights Watch said. ICC members should seize opportunities during the meeting’s general debate in the language of resolutions adopted, in discussions on state cooperation, and at other moments to show their resolve to ensure that the court can do its job.

Members will mark the 20th anniversary of the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, during a dedicated debate at the session, capping a year of anniversary commemorations. They will also discuss victim rights. Governments and court officials should use discussions to address the court’s challenges, including improving court investigations, deepening the court’s impact in affected communities, and securing arrests based on its warrants since the court depends on member countries to make the arrests. On 17 November 2018, Alfred Yékatom, known as “Rombhot,” was surrendered to the court in a case arising out of its investigation in the Central African Republic, the second arrest in 2018 for the court. But 17 arrest warrants remain outstanding, at the expense of victims and their families.

“The ICC has struggled to deliver on expectations”, Evenson said. “It’s precisely because the court’s role is so crucial in bringing justice that court officials need to step up their performance and member governments need to increase their support.”

Human Rights Watch issued a briefing note in advance of the session, with recommendations to ICC states parties, including for the election of the court’s next prosecutor. The term of the current prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, expires in June 2021. Early preparations and a strictly merit-based approach to the election is needed, Human Rights Watch said.

Negotiations about the court’s annual budget, with funds provided by its member countries, will be part of the agenda. Some member countries have demanded 'zero growth' in the court’s budget, but other countries have increasingly insisted that the court should have the resources it needs to manage its growing workload. During 2018, the ICC prosecutor opened three new preliminary examinations – into the situations in the Philippines, Bangladesh/Myanmar, and Venezuela – and received two referrals from member countries to examine the situations in Palestine and Venezuela.

The ICC is the first permanent global court mandated to bring to justice people responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so. It is a court of last resort and has 123 member countries. In addition to the request to open an investigation in Afghanistan, the ICC prosecutor has opened investigations in Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Darfur region of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, and northern Uganda. The prosecutor is also examining allegations of crimes committed in a number of places to determine whether to open investigations. In addition to Venezuela, Bangladesh/Myanmar, and the Philippines, these include Colombia, Guinea, Nigeria, Palestine, Ukraine, and alleged abuses by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq.

“The court is a crucial yet vulnerable component of the rule-based global order, and has a vital role to play in backstopping victims’ access to justice”,  Evenson said. “Members should take every opportunity to make clear that they will provide the support it needs.”

* Read Briefing Note for the Seventeenth Session of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties here

* Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/

[Ekk/6]


          Comment on Politicians Empower Islam by Jay Wizzy      Cache   Translate Page      
Integrity is important & a result of the will for justice, truth, love, human rights, ecology, friendliness, global imperialism, English, health, beauty, cultivation of ecological best quality basics, support for self-realization & freedom from religion. Truth is there are Africans enslaved today from Saudi Arabia to UAE to Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain to north-Sudan, Libya, Algeria to Mauritania, Somalia, Niger & elsewhere in emulation of unjust Muhammad. We need to create a global government to free them.
          Migrants die in boat off Libya, Egyptian survivor says      Cache   Translate Page      
MISRATA, Libya, Dec 4 - Fifteen migrants have died in a boat off the Libyan coast after spending 12 days at sea without food or water, an Egyptian survivor said on Tuesday.Only 10 migrants from the capsized boat survived, all of whom were suffering from severe dehydration…
          Pioneering pattern recognition      Cache   Translate Page      

Dec. 4, 2018 

University Distinguished Professor Anil Jain named Fellow by The World Academy of Sciences 

Anil Jain of Michigan State University has been named a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for a lifetime of perspectives and publications that have inspired students and researchers worldwide. He was one of 46 new fellows elected at the 28th TWAS general meeting in Trieste, Italy, Nov. 27-29.University Distinguished Professor Anil Jain has been named a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for inspiring students and researchers worldwide. 

A University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Jain is being honored for his pioneering contributions to pattern recognition resulting in novel solutions for a rapidly evolving biometrics industry. 

TWAS was founded 35 years ago to increase representation by women and researchers from the world's science- and technology-lagging countries. Jain said it is not typical to have a person from a developed nation be elected a fellow by the worldwide organization. 

Jain was nominated for the honor by Tieniu Tan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), where he is a professor of computer vision and pattern recognition, CAS deputy secretary-general and director general of the CAS Bureau of International Cooperation. 

Tan called Jain an internationally renowned scholar and educator. “For the past 40 years, he has actively promoted the research topics of pattern recognition, computer vision and biometrics in developing nations through lectures, exchange programs, technical assistance and student and postdoc training. 

“Very few people get elected every year from North America,” he added. “He most certainly deserves the recognition.” 

Co-nominator Sankar Pal, distinguished scientist and former director of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, India, said Jain’s high quality pioneering research has had an enormous impact on statistical pattern recognition and computer vision. 

“It is evident from a Google scholar h-index of 179, with total citation 185,000,” Pal said. “His IEEE-PAMI publications have made him a role model scientist to many of us and to young researchers in machine learning. All these extra-ordinary achievements made his election to TWAS Foreign Fellowship successful. I am happy to be a part of this endeavor.”

Jain is known around the world for his expertise in biometric recognition, computer vision, and fingerprint-matching technology.

“It has been my honor to work on projects in countries including India, China, and Indonesia," Jain said. “I advised the world’s largest biometrics project, Aadhaar, in India that has enrolled more than 1 billion residents utilizing fingerprints and iris images for de-duplication in India’s social welfare system.” 

Jain also worked on a prototype fingerprint system to recognize infants and toddlers for vaccination tracking in Benin and India. The World Food Program is utilizing the prototype child ID system in field trials in Somalia in an effort to eliminate fraud in food distribution to children.

Anil Jain advised the world's largest biometrics project, Aadhaar, in India that has enrolled more than 1 billion residents utilizing fingerprints and iris images for India's medical system.

He holds one of 17 inaugural appointments to the U.S. Forensic Science Standards Board, a newly developed organization dedicated to identifying and fostering standards and guidelines for the nation’s forensic science community. 

Jain has previously served as a member of the Defense Science Board and the National Academies panels on Whither Biometrics and Improvised Explosive Devices. 

His list of honors is extensive. In 2016, he was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering (among engineering’s highest honors) and as a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. In 2015, he was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Jain is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Association of Computing Machinery (ACM); American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); International Society for Optics and Photonics Society (SPIE); and International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR).

He is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Humboldt Research Award, Fulbright Scholarship, King-Sun Fu Prize, and W. Wallace McDowell Award. 

Jain is regularly invited to speak at national and internal forums, including the Third Annual ID4AFRICA Conference in Namibia in 2017; the 103rd Indian Science Congress, Information & Communication Science and Technology in India in 2016; the Royal Society meeting on United Kingdom forensics in London, 2015, and the keynote address at the Microsoft Computing in the 21st Century Conference in Beijing, 2014.

TWAS
TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy. It was founded in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the developing world who shared a belief that building strength in science and engineering could build the knowledge and skill to address the challenges of hunger, disease and poverty. 

The newest 46 fellows increase the academy's total to 1,267 Fellows from 104 countries – the most countries represented since TWAS’s creation. The academy elected its first fellows ever from Bolivia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Libya, Nicaragua, and Zambia. In addition, members were elected from Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Thirteen of the new fellows are women, who now account for 13 percent of the total membership.


          Libyan T-54 Mod 1949      Cache   Translate Page      
Georg Eyerman shares some pictures of his Libyan National Liberation Army T-54 Mod 1949 in 1/35.
          December 5: 2 Chronicles 5–6:11; 1 John 4; Nahum 3; Luke 19       Cache   Translate Page      

With family: 2 Chronicles 5–6:11; 1 John 4

2 Chronicles 5–6:11 (Listen)

Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, and stored the silver, the gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of the house of God.

The Ark Brought to the Temple

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled before the king at the feast that is in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. And the poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the Holy Place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from outside. And they are1 there to this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, 12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; 13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,

  “For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

Solomon Blesses the People

Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’ 10 Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 11 And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel.”

Footnotes

[1] 5:9 Hebrew it is

(ESV)

1 John 4 (Listen)

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot1 love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Footnotes

[1] 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he

(ESV)

In private: Nahum 3; Luke 19

Nahum 3 (Listen)

Woe to Nineveh

  Woe to the bloody city,
    all full of lies and plunder—
    no end to the prey!
  The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel,
    galloping horse and bounding chariot!
  Horsemen charging,
    flashing sword and glittering spear,
  hosts of slain,
    heaps of corpses,
  dead bodies without end—
    they stumble over the bodies!
  And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
    graceful and of deadly charms,
  who betrays nations with her whorings,
    and peoples with her charms.
  Behold, I am against you,
    declares the LORD of hosts,
    and will lift up your skirts over your face;
  and I will make nations look at your nakedness
    and kingdoms at your shame.
  I will throw filth at you
    and treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
  And all who look at you will shrink from you and say,
  “Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?”
    Where shall I seek comforters for you?
  Are you better than Thebes1
    that sat by the Nile,
  with water around her,
    her rampart a sea,
    and water her wall?
  Cush was her strength;
    Egypt too, and that without limit;
    Put and the Libyans were her2 helpers.
10   Yet she became an exile;
    she went into captivity;
  her infants were dashed in pieces
    at the head of every street;
  for her honored men lots were cast,
    and all her great men were bound in chains.
11   You also will be drunken;
    you will go into hiding;
  you will seek a refuge from the enemy.
12   All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with first-ripe figs—
  if shaken they fall
    into the mouth of the eater.
13   Behold, your troops
    are women in your midst.
  The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has devoured your bars.
14   Draw water for the siege;
    strengthen your forts;
  go into the clay;
    tread the mortar;
    take hold of the brick mold!
15   There will the fire devour you;
    the sword will cut you off.
    It will devour you like the locust.
  Multiply yourselves like the locust;
    multiply like the grasshopper!
16   You increased your merchants
    more than the stars of the heavens.
    The locust spreads its wings and flies away.
17   Your princes are like grasshoppers,
    your scribes3 like clouds of locusts
  settling on the fences
    in a day of cold—
  when the sun rises, they fly away;
    no one knows where they are.
18   Your shepherds are asleep,
    O king of Assyria;
    your nobles slumber.
  Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with none to gather them.
19   There is no easing your hurt;
    your wound is grievous.
  All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands over you.
  For upon whom has not come
    your unceasing evil?

Footnotes

[1] 3:8 Hebrew No-amon
[2] 3:9 Hebrew your
[3] 3:17 Or marshals

(ESV)

Luke 19 (Listen)

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants,1 he gave them ten minas,2 and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant!3 Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Footnotes

[1] 19:13 Or bondservants; also verse 15
[2] 19:13 A mina was about three months' wages for a laborer
[3] 19:17 Or bondservant; also verse 22

(ESV)


          G20: You can smell tear gas in the streets as the oil industry squabbles      Cache   Translate Page      
What the G20 and OPEC meetings mean for the political relations, economies, and people of the world.

Last week, two important meetings took place—one, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, and two, in Vienna, Austria, of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers. The two meetings did not produce any resolution to the major economic challenges in the world. But they did soothe the nerves of financial markets. At the G20, the United States and China dialed down the temperature over trade but did not settle the long-term grievances each side has of the other. At the OPEC+ meeting, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut production and raise the price of oil despite pressure from the United States and others to keep oil prices low.

At neither meeting did the major powers find solutions to their problems. They are all caught in mazes from which there are no easy exits. But what calmed the world of finance was that the geopolitical tension between the major powers seemed to have lessened. What impact this reduced tension has for the world’s people, however, is not clear.

Trade

The “trade war” engineered by U.S. President Donald Trump against China began with tariffs and ended with a damp squib. At the G20, Trump told China’s Xi Jinping that the U.S. tariffs that would have gone up to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will no longer be applied. China, for its part, said that it would import more goods from the United States. No specifics were announced, which is why the tensions over even this agreement spilled over onto Twitter (courtesy of Trump’s hyperbole) and into more sober statements from the Chinese government.

The more fundamental questions of intellectual property and currency valuation remain unsolved. The United States accuses China of theft of the intellectual property of U.S. firms, but the Chinese counter—as they have in the arbitration panels of the World Trade Organization—that they merely draw from technology transferred as a result of commercial agreements freely made by firms eager to use Chinese labor. It will be impossible to resolve these two problems, since neither side sees the issues in the same way. Their worldviews regarding intellectual property and currency valuation are utterly alien to each other. If the United States believes that China is unfairly valuing its currency, the Chinese point to the unfair advantage that the dollar has over every currency in the world since it is used as one of the major global currencies for facilitation of trade and for the storage of wealth.

Oil

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman offered each other a friendly hand slap at the G20. Everyone seemed happy to see Mohammed bin Salman, despite the clear evidence of his role in the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But the real agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia were not directly made in Buenos Aires. They were made more quietly in Vienna at the OPEC+ meeting. At Buenos Aires, Putin said, “yes, we have an agreement to prolong our accords.” He was referring to the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia since 2016 to manage oil prices to their mutual benefit. The deal notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has continued to pump itself into trouble—flooding the market with oil, driving prices down and depleting its own treasury as a result. Now Russia is eager to see oil production cuts and oil prices rise. Trapped by sanctions and by low oil prices, Russia has plunged into internal economic difficulties. The real issue was how much each country inside and outside OPEC should pump. That is why Putin said, “there is no final deal on volumes.” In fact, even after the deal has begun to emerge, there is no final deal. Saudi Arabia has not been a good partner here. It has pumped outside the numbers over the course of the past few years, largely under pressure from the United States.

There are two reasons why the United States wants low oil prices, despite the fact that the U.S. is now one of the world’s largest oil producers. First, low oil prices mean an immediate subsidy for the U.S. consumer and for U.S. manufacturing firms. There is no economic incentive to move to renewable energy when oil prices are low. Second, low oil prices hit adversaries of the U.S.-led world order that—as it happens—are major oil producers. The list includes Iran and Venezuela, two countries that have been sent into internal turmoil as oil prices have plummeted. But the United States has sufficient tools to hurt these countries without forcing oil prices down. For instance, even if oil prices rise, U.S. sanctions can be harsh enough to cut Iranian and Venezuelan oil out of the market. The lack of Iranian and Venezuelan oil operates as an effective cut in oil production, which will itself raise oil prices.

Saudi Arabia has already begun to pressure Libya and Nigeria to reduce oil exports, although both these African countries are reliant upon oil revenues. Saudi Arabia has succeeded in pushing Qatar out of OPEC on political grounds, but since Qatar only produces 2 percent of OPEC’s crude oil the departure, Qatexit is not meaningful. Inside the world of oil, there are those who are always pushed aside so that others can benefit.

Oil Buyers’ Club

In 2005, Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar assembled his counterparts from across Asia to start a discussion on a buyers’ club. The precise issue on the table was the “Asian Premium” charged by Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to Asian countries. The “Asian Premium” is substantial—close to $10 billion per year for the Asian consumers of Gulf oil. It is what bothered Aiyar and the other oil ministers. But they did not come to any agreement.

Asia is the largest importer of oil in the world. India and China, with the United States, are the three largest importers of oil. Right behind them are Japan and South Korea. If you add the oil imports by China, India, Japan and South Korea, then these four Asian countries import a full third of world oil imports. They are both reliant upon the oil exporters, but they also have power as a bloc of consumers.

In 2012, China’s premier Wen Jiabao said that there needed to be a counter-cartel to OPEC that should include Europe and the United States. Interest in his proposal was minimal. Oil had reached $100 per barrel. It stifled economic growth and did not move any of these industrial giants toward non-carbon renewable fuel.

The issue of a buyers’ cartel came back on the table in April this year at the International Energy Forum. The chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Sanjiv Singh and the chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Wang Yilin then met in Beijing to go deeper into the possibility. By June, China and India—which import 17 percent of the world’s oil—had begun to openly talk about a buyers’ cartel to help create “stable and moderate” oil prices, as India’s current Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan put it.

China and India have been upset by the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They have felt that these produce an adverse impact on Asian economies. They are joined by Japan and the European Union, who are also not pleased with these sanctions. It is now being said that if China and India establish a buyers’ club, Japan and Europe will join in.

Smell of Tear Gas

From the air-conditioned rooms of the oligarchy, we go to the tear gas of the streets.

Protests in Paris, France, have been the most violent in decades. The yellow vests (gilets jaunes) appeared as if out of nowhere to demonstrate against the French government’s hike in fuel prices. They make the case that the violence of the economy has destroyed their ability to function. Any violence on the streets is a reflection of the violence that structures their lives. The streets of Paris smelled of tear gas.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, labor unions and political groups of one kind or another planned massive protests against the G20. They wanted to scream at their leaders, who have been deaf to their pleas. But the Argentinian government held the G20 meeting at the Costa Salguero convention center, on the magnificent Rio de La Plata. Police cordoned off the area, while the coast guard boats sailed up and down the river. No one could get near the site. None of the leaders were interrupted by the chants.

There were no protests in Vienna. The OPEC building was nonetheless surrounded by the elite WEGA units. No one knew that the meeting was being held. There is so little democracy in the institutions that structure our lives.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

 

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          G20: You can smell tear gas in the streets as the oil industry squabbles      Cache   Translate Page      
What the G20 and OPEC meetings mean for the political relations, economies, and people of the world.

Last week, two important meetings took place—one, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, and two, in Vienna, Austria, of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers. The two meetings did not produce any resolution to the major economic challenges in the world. But they did soothe the nerves of financial markets. At the G20, the United States and China dialed down the temperature over trade but did not settle the long-term grievances each side has of the other. At the OPEC+ meeting, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut production and raise the price of oil despite pressure from the United States and others to keep oil prices low.

At neither meeting did the major powers find solutions to their problems. They are all caught in mazes from which there are no easy exits. But what calmed the world of finance was that the geopolitical tension between the major powers seemed to have lessened. What impact this reduced tension has for the world’s people, however, is not clear.

Trade

The “trade war” engineered by U.S. President Donald Trump against China began with tariffs and ended with a damp squib. At the G20, Trump told China’s Xi Jinping that the U.S. tariffs that would have gone up to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will no longer be applied. China, for its part, said that it would import more goods from the United States. No specifics were announced, which is why the tensions over even this agreement spilled over onto Twitter (courtesy of Trump’s hyperbole) and into more sober statements from the Chinese government.

The more fundamental questions of intellectual property and currency valuation remain unsolved. The United States accuses China of theft of the intellectual property of U.S. firms, but the Chinese counter—as they have in the arbitration panels of the World Trade Organization—that they merely draw from technology transferred as a result of commercial agreements freely made by firms eager to use Chinese labor. It will be impossible to resolve these two problems, since neither side sees the issues in the same way. Their worldviews regarding intellectual property and currency valuation are utterly alien to each other. If the United States believes that China is unfairly valuing its currency, the Chinese point to the unfair advantage that the dollar has over every currency in the world since it is used as one of the major global currencies for facilitation of trade and for the storage of wealth.

Oil

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman offered each other a friendly hand slap at the G20. Everyone seemed happy to see Mohammed bin Salman, despite the clear evidence of his role in the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But the real agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia were not directly made in Buenos Aires. They were made more quietly in Vienna at the OPEC+ meeting. At Buenos Aires, Putin said, “yes, we have an agreement to prolong our accords.” He was referring to the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia since 2016 to manage oil prices to their mutual benefit. The deal notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has continued to pump itself into trouble—flooding the market with oil, driving prices down and depleting its own treasury as a result. Now Russia is eager to see oil production cuts and oil prices rise. Trapped by sanctions and by low oil prices, Russia has plunged into internal economic difficulties. The real issue was how much each country inside and outside OPEC should pump. That is why Putin said, “there is no final deal on volumes.” In fact, even after the deal has begun to emerge, there is no final deal. Saudi Arabia has not been a good partner here. It has pumped outside the numbers over the course of the past few years, largely under pressure from the United States.

There are two reasons why the United States wants low oil prices, despite the fact that the U.S. is now one of the world’s largest oil producers. First, low oil prices mean an immediate subsidy for the U.S. consumer and for U.S. manufacturing firms. There is no economic incentive to move to renewable energy when oil prices are low. Second, low oil prices hit adversaries of the U.S.-led world order that—as it happens—are major oil producers. The list includes Iran and Venezuela, two countries that have been sent into internal turmoil as oil prices have plummeted. But the United States has sufficient tools to hurt these countries without forcing oil prices down. For instance, even if oil prices rise, U.S. sanctions can be harsh enough to cut Iranian and Venezuelan oil out of the market. The lack of Iranian and Venezuelan oil operates as an effective cut in oil production, which will itself raise oil prices.

Saudi Arabia has already begun to pressure Libya and Nigeria to reduce oil exports, although both these African countries are reliant upon oil revenues. Saudi Arabia has succeeded in pushing Qatar out of OPEC on political grounds, but since Qatar only produces 2 percent of OPEC’s crude oil the departure, Qatexit is not meaningful. Inside the world of oil, there are those who are always pushed aside so that others can benefit.

Oil Buyers’ Club

In 2005, Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar assembled his counterparts from across Asia to start a discussion on a buyers’ club. The precise issue on the table was the “Asian Premium” charged by Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to Asian countries. The “Asian Premium” is substantial—close to $10 billion per year for the Asian consumers of Gulf oil. It is what bothered Aiyar and the other oil ministers. But they did not come to any agreement.

Asia is the largest importer of oil in the world. India and China, with the United States, are the three largest importers of oil. Right behind them are Japan and South Korea. If you add the oil imports by China, India, Japan and South Korea, then these four Asian countries import a full third of world oil imports. They are both reliant upon the oil exporters, but they also have power as a bloc of consumers.

In 2012, China’s premier Wen Jiabao said that there needed to be a counter-cartel to OPEC that should include Europe and the United States. Interest in his proposal was minimal. Oil had reached $100 per barrel. It stifled economic growth and did not move any of these industrial giants toward non-carbon renewable fuel.

The issue of a buyers’ cartel came back on the table in April this year at the International Energy Forum. The chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Sanjiv Singh and the chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Wang Yilin then met in Beijing to go deeper into the possibility. By June, China and India—which import 17 percent of the world’s oil—had begun to openly talk about a buyers’ cartel to help create “stable and moderate” oil prices, as India’s current Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan put it.

China and India have been upset by the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They have felt that these produce an adverse impact on Asian economies. They are joined by Japan and the European Union, who are also not pleased with these sanctions. It is now being said that if China and India establish a buyers’ club, Japan and Europe will join in.

Smell of Tear Gas

From the air-conditioned rooms of the oligarchy, we go to the tear gas of the streets.

Protests in Paris, France, have been the most violent in decades. The yellow vests (gilets jaunes) appeared as if out of nowhere to demonstrate against the French government’s hike in fuel prices. They make the case that the violence of the economy has destroyed their ability to function. Any violence on the streets is a reflection of the violence that structures their lives. The streets of Paris smelled of tear gas.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, labor unions and political groups of one kind or another planned massive protests against the G20. They wanted to scream at their leaders, who have been deaf to their pleas. But the Argentinian government held the G20 meeting at the Costa Salguero convention center, on the magnificent Rio de La Plata. Police cordoned off the area, while the coast guard boats sailed up and down the river. No one could get near the site. None of the leaders were interrupted by the chants.

There were no protests in Vienna. The OPEC building was nonetheless surrounded by the elite WEGA units. No one knew that the meeting was being held. There is so little democracy in the institutions that structure our lives.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.


          G20: You can smell tear gas in the streets as the oil industry squabbles      Cache   Translate Page      
What the G20 and OPEC meetings mean for the political relations, economies, and people of the world.

Last week, two important meetings took place—one, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, and two, in Vienna, Austria, of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers. The two meetings did not produce any resolution to the major economic challenges in the world. But they did soothe the nerves of financial markets. At the G20, the United States and China dialed down the temperature over trade but did not settle the long-term grievances each side has of the other. At the OPEC+ meeting, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut production and raise the price of oil despite pressure from the United States and others to keep oil prices low.

At neither meeting did the major powers find solutions to their problems. They are all caught in mazes from which there are no easy exits. But what calmed the world of finance was that the geopolitical tension between the major powers seemed to have lessened. What impact this reduced tension has for the world’s people, however, is not clear.

Trade

The “trade war” engineered by U.S. President Donald Trump against China began with tariffs and ended with a damp squib. At the G20, Trump told China’s Xi Jinping that the U.S. tariffs that would have gone up to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will no longer be applied. China, for its part, said that it would import more goods from the United States. No specifics were announced, which is why the tensions over even this agreement spilled over onto Twitter (courtesy of Trump’s hyperbole) and into more sober statements from the Chinese government.

The more fundamental questions of intellectual property and currency valuation remain unsolved. The United States accuses China of theft of the intellectual property of U.S. firms, but the Chinese counter—as they have in the arbitration panels of the World Trade Organization—that they merely draw from technology transferred as a result of commercial agreements freely made by firms eager to use Chinese labor. It will be impossible to resolve these two problems, since neither side sees the issues in the same way. Their worldviews regarding intellectual property and currency valuation are utterly alien to each other. If the United States believes that China is unfairly valuing its currency, the Chinese point to the unfair advantage that the dollar has over every currency in the world since it is used as one of the major global currencies for facilitation of trade and for the storage of wealth.

Oil

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman offered each other a friendly hand slap at the G20. Everyone seemed happy to see Mohammed bin Salman, despite the clear evidence of his role in the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But the real agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia were not directly made in Buenos Aires. They were made more quietly in Vienna at the OPEC+ meeting. At Buenos Aires, Putin said, “yes, we have an agreement to prolong our accords.” He was referring to the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia since 2016 to manage oil prices to their mutual benefit. The deal notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has continued to pump itself into trouble—flooding the market with oil, driving prices down and depleting its own treasury as a result. Now Russia is eager to see oil production cuts and oil prices rise. Trapped by sanctions and by low oil prices, Russia has plunged into internal economic difficulties. The real issue was how much each country inside and outside OPEC should pump. That is why Putin said, “there is no final deal on volumes.” In fact, even after the deal has begun to emerge, there is no final deal. Saudi Arabia has not been a good partner here. It has pumped outside the numbers over the course of the past few years, largely under pressure from the United States.

There are two reasons why the United States wants low oil prices, despite the fact that the U.S. is now one of the world’s largest oil producers. First, low oil prices mean an immediate subsidy for the U.S. consumer and for U.S. manufacturing firms. There is no economic incentive to move to renewable energy when oil prices are low. Second, low oil prices hit adversaries of the U.S.-led world order that—as it happens—are major oil producers. The list includes Iran and Venezuela, two countries that have been sent into internal turmoil as oil prices have plummeted. But the United States has sufficient tools to hurt these countries without forcing oil prices down. For instance, even if oil prices rise, U.S. sanctions can be harsh enough to cut Iranian and Venezuelan oil out of the market. The lack of Iranian and Venezuelan oil operates as an effective cut in oil production, which will itself raise oil prices.

Saudi Arabia has already begun to pressure Libya and Nigeria to reduce oil exports, although both these African countries are reliant upon oil revenues. Saudi Arabia has succeeded in pushing Qatar out of OPEC on political grounds, but since Qatar only produces 2 percent of OPEC’s crude oil the departure, Qatexit is not meaningful. Inside the world of oil, there are those who are always pushed aside so that others can benefit.

Oil Buyers’ Club

In 2005, Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar assembled his counterparts from across Asia to start a discussion on a buyers’ club. The precise issue on the table was the “Asian Premium” charged by Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to Asian countries. The “Asian Premium” is substantial—close to $10 billion per year for the Asian consumers of Gulf oil. It is what bothered Aiyar and the other oil ministers. But they did not come to any agreement.

Asia is the largest importer of oil in the world. India and China, with the United States, are the three largest importers of oil. Right behind them are Japan and South Korea. If you add the oil imports by China, India, Japan and South Korea, then these four Asian countries import a full third of world oil imports. They are both reliant upon the oil exporters, but they also have power as a bloc of consumers.

In 2012, China’s premier Wen Jiabao said that there needed to be a counter-cartel to OPEC that should include Europe and the United States. Interest in his proposal was minimal. Oil had reached $100 per barrel. It stifled economic growth and did not move any of these industrial giants toward non-carbon renewable fuel.

The issue of a buyers’ cartel came back on the table in April this year at the International Energy Forum. The chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Sanjiv Singh and the chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Wang Yilin then met in Beijing to go deeper into the possibility. By June, China and India—which import 17 percent of the world’s oil—had begun to openly talk about a buyers’ cartel to help create “stable and moderate” oil prices, as India’s current Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan put it.

China and India have been upset by the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They have felt that these produce an adverse impact on Asian economies. They are joined by Japan and the European Union, who are also not pleased with these sanctions. It is now being said that if China and India establish a buyers’ club, Japan and Europe will join in.

Smell of Tear Gas

From the air-conditioned rooms of the oligarchy, we go to the tear gas of the streets.

Protests in Paris, France, have been the most violent in decades. The yellow vests (gilets jaunes) appeared as if out of nowhere to demonstrate against the French government’s hike in fuel prices. They make the case that the violence of the economy has destroyed their ability to function. Any violence on the streets is a reflection of the violence that structures their lives. The streets of Paris smelled of tear gas.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, labor unions and political groups of one kind or another planned massive protests against the G20. They wanted to scream at their leaders, who have been deaf to their pleas. But the Argentinian government held the G20 meeting at the Costa Salguero convention center, on the magnificent Rio de La Plata. Police cordoned off the area, while the coast guard boats sailed up and down the river. No one could get near the site. None of the leaders were interrupted by the chants.

There were no protests in Vienna. The OPEC building was nonetheless surrounded by the elite WEGA units. No one knew that the meeting was being held. There is so little democracy in the institutions that structure our lives.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

 

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Per questo è fondamentale finanziare il governo di Tripoli e collaborare in questi rimpatri. Bloccati mentre volevano venire in Italia, tutti sappiamo a fare cosa, e ora rimandati in volo a casa: #Libya 04.12.18 – 105 stranded #migrants incl. 23 women & 13 children from Zuwara ImmDC set to return safely home via Mitiga Int. … Continua la lettura di Volevano venire in Italia: 105 clandestini africani in volo verso casa
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A lot of confusion here between what is the EU and what is Europe, that's a bit like confusing the UK with the Tory party ! I love my country (and Europe) but I certainly don't have any affection for the UK Government ... Plus we are 'only' talking about a global positioning capability here. We appear to have managed quite nicely to invade and destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. without Galileo. I'm convinced we will still have the capability to invade and destroy in the future so I would suggest the security issues are a bit of hyperbole.
          Libya has gone full circle      Cache   Translate Page      
Some compare militia-dominated Tripoli with Al Capone’s Chicago, but the comparison is false, because Al Capone didn’t have artillery: Seven years after Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in the Arab spring revolution, Libya has gone full circle from dictatorship through revolution, democracy, chaos and back to a new kind of tyranny. Except this time […]
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          12/5/2018: DIVERSIONS: CANADIAN CRISSCROSS      Cache   Translate Page      
ACROSS 1. One of the five senses 6. 19th-century couple dance 11. Exercise for strengthening arm muscles 12. Video game persona 14. Capital of Libya 15. Dishonest dealings 17. Very warm 18. Think no more of 20. Wood sorrel 21. Lamb’s pen...
          إيطاليا تهب ليبيا مواد طبية بقيمة 200 ألف يورو لدعم سكان "الخمس"      Cache   Translate Page      

الإيطالية نيوز ـ في إطار جسر التضامن وهبت إيطاليا، يوم أمس الأحد، شحنة تتكون من معدات ومواد طبية لدعم سكان "الخمس" في مكافحة الاتجار بالبشر.

وقالت سفارة إيطاليا في طرابلس أن قيمة هذه الشحنة تبلغ قيمتها 200 ألف يورو.


          Titulares de 2018-12-05      Cache   Translate Page      
Senators Say Crown Prince Is Guilty in Khashoggi Murder After CIA Briefing, Mueller Not Seeking Jail Time for Flynn, Cites "Substantial Assistance", Politico: NRCC Emails Hacked in 2018 Midterms, Georgia Voters Elect Republican Secretary of State, Congressmembers Call for Labor Sec. Acosta Probe over Epstein Plea Deal, DOJ Senior Official Allowed to Get Away with Sexual Assault, Federal Gov. Shuts Down for Nat'l Day of Mourning, Somalia: U.S. Reopens Permanent Diplomatic Presence, Pompeo Gives Russia 60 Days to Comply with Nuclear Treaty, West Bank: Israeli Forces Kill Disabled Palestinian in Overnight Raid, Morocco Begins U.N.-Brokered Talks over Occupation of Western Sahara, Libya: 15 Migrants Die After Boat Goes Adrift, Trump Organization Subpoenaed in Emoluments Clause Lawsuit, Missouri: Springfield Police Chief Apologizes to Rape Survivors, NYPD to Deploy Fleet of Drones, CBS Board Member Knew of Les Moonves Sexual Assault Allegations, Texas: Asylum Seeker and 4-Year-Old Child Reunited After 8 Months, UNC Students Protest Plan to House Confederate Statue in $5 Million Building
          80% Of French Citizens Reject Macron’s Immigration Policy, New Poll Shows      Cache   Translate Page      
80 percent of french citizens reject Macron's immigration policy
Around 80 per cent of French citizens believe Macron’s relaxed immigration policy is destroying France and leading to poorer work conditions, according to a new opinion poll conducted by Ifop. 

53 per cent of French men and women believe that France welcomes “far too many foreigners.” A further 27 per cent believe that France welcomes “enough,” meaning that a total of 79 per cent of French citizens believe France should halt their immigration program.
Voiceofeurope.com reports: The poll, which was published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche, also revealed that 64 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “our country already has many foreigners and welcoming additional immigrants would be undesirable”.
77 per cent said that they fear a policy that is too welcoming of immigrants, and 71 per cent believe that excessive migration will lead to a decrease in wages, due to migrants’ willingness to work for lower pay.
In response to growing unrest caused by the migration crisis, Macron’s government has taken a more conservative approach to immigration in recent months, but pressure from the country’s citizens and members of the French National Rally Party is being but on the government to slow down migration even further.
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          G20: You can smell tear gas in the streets as the oil industry squabbles      Cache   Translate Page      
What the G20 and OPEC meetings mean for the political relations, economies, and people of the world.

Last week, two important meetings took place—one, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, and two, in Vienna, Austria, of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers. The two meetings did not produce any resolution to the major economic challenges in the world. But they did soothe the nerves of financial markets. At the G20, the United States and China dialed down the temperature over trade but did not settle the long-term grievances each side has of the other. At the OPEC+ meeting, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut production and raise the price of oil despite pressure from the United States and others to keep oil prices low.

At neither meeting did the major powers find solutions to their problems. They are all caught in mazes from which there are no easy exits. But what calmed the world of finance was that the geopolitical tension between the major powers seemed to have lessened. What impact this reduced tension has for the world’s people, however, is not clear.

Trade

The “trade war” engineered by U.S. President Donald Trump against China began with tariffs and ended with a damp squib. At the G20, Trump told China’s Xi Jinping that the U.S. tariffs that would have gone up to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will no longer be applied. China, for its part, said that it would import more goods from the United States. No specifics were announced, which is why the tensions over even this agreement spilled over onto Twitter (courtesy of Trump’s hyperbole) and into more sober statements from the Chinese government.

The more fundamental questions of intellectual property and currency valuation remain unsolved. The United States accuses China of theft of the intellectual property of U.S. firms, but the Chinese counter—as they have in the arbitration panels of the World Trade Organization—that they merely draw from technology transferred as a result of commercial agreements freely made by firms eager to use Chinese labor. It will be impossible to resolve these two problems, since neither side sees the issues in the same way. Their worldviews regarding intellectual property and currency valuation are utterly alien to each other. If the United States believes that China is unfairly valuing its currency, the Chinese point to the unfair advantage that the dollar has over every currency in the world since it is used as one of the major global currencies for facilitation of trade and for the storage of wealth.

Oil

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman offered each other a friendly hand slap at the G20. Everyone seemed happy to see Mohammed bin Salman, despite the clear evidence of his role in the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But the real agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia were not directly made in Buenos Aires. They were made more quietly in Vienna at the OPEC+ meeting. At Buenos Aires, Putin said, “yes, we have an agreement to prolong our accords.” He was referring to the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia since 2016 to manage oil prices to their mutual benefit. The deal notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has continued to pump itself into trouble—flooding the market with oil, driving prices down and depleting its own treasury as a result. Now Russia is eager to see oil production cuts and oil prices rise. Trapped by sanctions and by low oil prices, Russia has plunged into internal economic difficulties. The real issue was how much each country inside and outside OPEC should pump. That is why Putin said, “there is no final deal on volumes.” In fact, even after the deal has begun to emerge, there is no final deal. Saudi Arabia has not been a good partner here. It has pumped outside the numbers over the course of the past few years, largely under pressure from the United States.

There are two reasons why the United States wants low oil prices, despite the fact that the U.S. is now one of the world’s largest oil producers. First, low oil prices mean an immediate subsidy for the U.S. consumer and for U.S. manufacturing firms. There is no economic incentive to move to renewable energy when oil prices are low. Second, low oil prices hit adversaries of the U.S.-led world order that—as it happens—are major oil producers. The list includes Iran and Venezuela, two countries that have been sent into internal turmoil as oil prices have plummeted. But the United States has sufficient tools to hurt these countries without forcing oil prices down. For instance, even if oil prices rise, U.S. sanctions can be harsh enough to cut Iranian and Venezuelan oil out of the market. The lack of Iranian and Venezuelan oil operates as an effective cut in oil production, which will itself raise oil prices.

Saudi Arabia has already begun to pressure Libya and Nigeria to reduce oil exports, although both these African countries are reliant upon oil revenues. Saudi Arabia has succeeded in pushing Qatar out of OPEC on political grounds, but since Qatar only produces 2 percent of OPEC’s crude oil the departure, Qatexit is not meaningful. Inside the world of oil, there are those who are always pushed aside so that others can benefit.

Oil Buyers’ Club

In 2005, Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar assembled his counterparts from across Asia to start a discussion on a buyers’ club. The precise issue on the table was the “Asian Premium” charged by Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to Asian countries. The “Asian Premium” is substantial—close to $10 billion per year for the Asian consumers of Gulf oil. It is what bothered Aiyar and the other oil ministers. But they did not come to any agreement.

Asia is the largest importer of oil in the world. India and China, with the United States, are the three largest importers of oil. Right behind them are Japan and South Korea. If you add the oil imports by China, India, Japan and South Korea, then these four Asian countries import a full third of world oil imports. They are both reliant upon the oil exporters, but they also have power as a bloc of consumers.

In 2012, China’s premier Wen Jiabao said that there needed to be a counter-cartel to OPEC that should include Europe and the United States. Interest in his proposal was minimal. Oil had reached $100 per barrel. It stifled economic growth and did not move any of these industrial giants toward non-carbon renewable fuel.

The issue of a buyers’ cartel came back on the table in April this year at the International Energy Forum. The chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Sanjiv Singh and the chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Wang Yilin then met in Beijing to go deeper into the possibility. By June, China and India—which import 17 percent of the world’s oil—had begun to openly talk about a buyers’ cartel to help create “stable and moderate” oil prices, as India’s current Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan put it.

China and India have been upset by the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They have felt that these produce an adverse impact on Asian economies. They are joined by Japan and the European Union, who are also not pleased with these sanctions. It is now being said that if China and India establish a buyers’ club, Japan and Europe will join in.

Smell of Tear Gas

From the air-conditioned rooms of the oligarchy, we go to the tear gas of the streets.

Protests in Paris, France, have been the most violent in decades. The yellow vests (gilets jaunes) appeared as if out of nowhere to demonstrate against the French government’s hike in fuel prices. They make the case that the violence of the economy has destroyed their ability to function. Any violence on the streets is a reflection of the violence that structures their lives. The streets of Paris smelled of tear gas.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, labor unions and political groups of one kind or another planned massive protests against the G20. They wanted to scream at their leaders, who have been deaf to their pleas. But the Argentinian government held the G20 meeting at the Costa Salguero convention center, on the magnificent Rio de La Plata. Police cordoned off the area, while the coast guard boats sailed up and down the river. No one could get near the site. None of the leaders were interrupted by the chants.

There were no protests in Vienna. The OPEC building was nonetheless surrounded by the elite WEGA units. No one knew that the meeting was being held. There is so little democracy in the institutions that structure our lives.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

 

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          Libya'nın darbeci generali Hafter Roma'da      Cache   Translate Page      

          Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Meeting With Libyan Prime Minister al-Sarraj      Cache   Translate Page      
Readout
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 4, 2018


The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert:

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj today in Brussels. The Secretary thanked the Prime Minister for the Government of National Accord’s strong partnership with the United States. The Secretary reiterated the United States’ committed support for UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salamé and his plan, as briefed to the UN Security Council, for a Libyan-led National Conference to be held in the first weeks of 2019 and the subsequent electoral process to begin in the spring of 2019. The Secretary and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of the Government of National Accord swiftly implementing comprehensive economic reforms, enhancing fiscal transparency, ensuring greater security for all Libyans, and stabilizing oil production. The Secretary and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their shared commitment to the U.S.-Libya counterterrorism partnership.


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          Press Releases: Senior State Department Official Previewing Secretary Pompeo's Trip to Brussels, Belgium      Cache   Translate Page      
Special Briefing
On Plane en route to Brussels, Belgium
December 3, 2018


SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m glad to have you guys along. I’m happy to talk about pretty much anything you want to talk about, and [Moderator], jump in, but I thought I’d give you a few top lines on why the trip is important, some of the meetings that are going to occur, and then you guys can jump in with all of your questions.

So this is the Secretary’s third trip to NATO since he became Secretary of State. I think most of you know he came over the day he was confirmed. He got on the plane. A ministerial, and then he came back for a NATO summit. This is his third trip in the last however many months, eight months or so since he became Secretary. We see this as an opportunity first and foremost to reinforce U.S. commitment to NATO allies, the alliance, Article 5, U.S. commitment to Article 5 ironclad; also engage with very close allies on areas that we agree on, some areas we disagree on, but hoping to in particular talk with some of our major allies about some of the most important international security issues that we’re tracking today.

First and foremost, I would say you can expect to see a follow-up on commitments that were made at the 2018 NATO summit, so the July summit, and I would highlight a few. We continue to press allies on following through with their Wales commitments: 2 percent of GDP on defense, 20 percent of defense budgets on major equipment. I would highlight allied Portugal, which recently came forward with a credible plan, 2 percent spending. Also Slovakia just put through major spending increases for the defense budget. Across the alliance, we have seen an historic increase in defense spending since January of 2017.

I would also highlight by way of follow-up on the summit the updated counterterrorism action plan. This is a major set of contributions from the NATO alliance. Really, it’s the first time in NATO’s history that NATO has gotten deeply into the business of counterterrorism but also developed a strategy and an agenda for the South, the Mediterranean littoral. At this ministerial, we’re going to go through a report on NATO’s southern dimension but also update the 2017 counterterrorism plan with a heavy emphasis on intelligence sharing.

And we’ll also be, by way of follow-up, going through Secretary General Stoltenberg’s heroic efforts at a functional review, so bringing the NATO civilian command structure up to speed with the changes and evolutions that we’ve had in a strategic setting but also changes in the military command structure.

The second big thing I would highlight is the discussion about the INF treaty. I’m sure all of you have been following this very closely. We intend to engage our allies in a close discussion over the next day and a half on INF. We’ve been in discussions with – for several days now with European allies on INF.

As all of you know who follow this, this is not a new problem. The U.S. calling out Russia on noncompliance is not a new phenomenon. We’ve been pressing the Russian Federation for five years now in public about the so-called screwdriver SSC-8 missile which is not INF-compliant. We will be at this ministerial building on the very strong language that came out in the summer NATO declaration and working with allies to chart a joint way forward in how we tackle the problem of Russian noncompliance with INF, and I’m happy to talk more about that in the Q&A.

And then finally, we’ll have several sessions of the NATO Atlantic – of the North Atlantic Commission, sessions on Ukraine and Georgia. In that session, we plan to build on recent U.S. statements pressing Russian leadership to release the detained crew members and ships that were taken into custody in the recent Kerch incident. We are calling on European allies to show leadership in tackling a problem that’s in Europe’s own backyard. The President and Secretary have been crystal-clear in where we stand on the matter of the Kerch incident, Ukrainian – Russian aggression against Ukraine. This administration has provided a lot of things that the previous administration did not want to provide, but we plan in this ministerial to work with allies charting a way forward on how we make progress on these crew members and ships.

We also have a session of the NAC meeting on Resolute Support Mission. The goal is to work with our allies to endorse Ambassador Khalilzad’s reconciliation efforts. We had recent elections in Afghanistan and also a donors meetings in Geneva. We want to build on the momentum from those events. Ambassador Hutchison and I will be attending the RSM session. At the last NATO summit, the allies agreed to extend the financial support through 2024 for Afghanistan’s security forces. We intend to continue to build on that as well.

I think most of you know that the Secretary is giving a major speech while he is in Brussels. I can provide you a little bit of a preview on that speech. I don’t want to get too far ahead of him. It’s a great speech. I’ve read it. This will happen at the German Marshall Fund. The symbolism was deliberate. It was important to us to evoke the memory of George C. Marshall, one of the Secretary’s predecessors who helped to create the foundation for the Atlantic alliance. The Bretton Woods system, the foundation for the international order as we know it, most of the major international institutions in the world today grew out of that immediate post World War II moment.

I think you can expect to see the Secretary walk you through a big-picture assessment of how he, how this administration, views the strategic reality in the world: rising revisionist authoritarian powers, number one; and number two, how we view international institutions and the growing gap between the international institutional order on one hand and the scale of the type of strategic challenges that we face on the other. So you can expect to see him share this administration’s vision for America’s place in the world.

So that’s a quick preview. Happy to answer any questions. If there’s anything I overlooked, let me know.

MODERATOR: Remember this is on background to a senior State Department official. Go ahead, let’s get a question.

QUESTION: Can I ask, do you support Ukraine’s call to (inaudible) which you said (inaudible) to the Sea of Azov?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t want to get ahead of process. We support Ukraine wholeheartedly in its defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and I think our actions have been very clear in that regard. We’re looking at a lot of measures both on the U.S. side, coordination with allies, and you’ll be seeing more in the days ahead of how we and our allies will jointly message and where appropriate take action. We really want to see European allies do more. The United States I think has been – I think the administration has been forceful and clear up to an including providing a lot of lethal aid to Ukrainians. We want to see European allies take greater responsibility for a security problem that’s just 200 miles from Germany’s border, and we’ll be right there with them every step of the way.

QUESTION: And is this the forum for official (inaudible) six months on INF? There was a lot of speculation in Brussels last week that that’s what the speech was going to be used for, but then Stoltenberg said today that no, it’s still not time yet.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Look, I don’t want to get ahead of process. I want to stay focused on our goal right now, which is to be in sync with allies. We want to keep the burden squarely where it belongs – the onus, and that is on Russia for noncompliance. We are determined to stay in sync with our allies in our response to this problem. So the discussions over the next day will be about that, and you can expect to see a decision in due course.

QUESTION: In what?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: In due course.

QUESTION: Okay. The speech is at 11:00 (inaudible) so --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The Secretary’s speech?

QUESTION: Yeah.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. I’ll let the Secretary’s speech speak for itself. As I said, it’s big-picture. It’s looking at America’s role in the world. On INF I don’t want to – I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here. We really want to roll up our sleeves and work with our allies on a joint position, and that’s what we’re focused on right now.

QUESTION: Follow-up on Nike’s question. Can you give any more specifics on what you’ll be asking for from Europe as far as Ukraine?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: As far as Ukraine is concerned. So we have some ideas in the United States. I think we’ve messaged very clearly that it’s unacceptable that Russia took this latest step, this act of aggression. We’ve coordinated very closely over the last several days with European allies both in the NATO format and in the EU format, and right now we’re focused on sizing an allied alliance-wide response, having the right size response to what happened at the Kerch. There is a humanitarian dimension to this with the sailors involved. There is an international legal dimension to this with freedom of navigation. And we want our allies to show leadership. It’s a problem a lot closer to home for them than it is to us. There’s a lot of things that the United States has done and will continue to do for the Ukrainians, but we want to make sure that we come out of this week with a unified position where we’re working with allies to have a holistic response.

QUESTION: As you look at the risk metrics there in the Sea of Azov, what’s the likelihood or – that you see of Russia trying to repeat in Mariupol some of the operations they had at Donbas?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t want to speculate on the military situation. I think the facts on the ground are very clear as they stand right now. Russian forces and Russian-backed so-called separatists are waging daily aggression in violations of ceasefire. It’s one of the things that we will be addressing at OSCE in a couple of days. We’re very watchful. The situation on the ground there is very dangerous. Ambassador Volker is very engaged, as you know, with the Russians, trying to find a clear way – a peaceful way forward. But I think Azov marked – I should say, it was on the Black Sea side – let’s say the Kerch Strait act of aggression marked an unmistakable escalation on the part of the Russians, because it was the first time that they were openly using their own forces and being very unapologetic about it.

QUESTION: [Senior State Department Official], there’s a sense in Europe that you’re backing out of the INF because of concerns about China, not so much about Europe, and that the Europeans feel that you are – that that policy shows that American attention is increasingly diverted from Europe to China. What’s your response to that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, look, I think if you read the Nuclear Posture Review, it was crystal-clear. Number one, we’re committed to arms control, but number two, we have growing concerns about the actions of a lot of American rivals. There’s Russia, there’s China, there’s Iran. I’m not sure it’s helpful to disaggregate those when we’re talking about the future of INF, because the central problem is that Russia – which is a party to INF – is in flagrant noncompliance. We’re talking about five years of repeated U.S. efforts. We’ve tried on 30 different occasions at very high levels to share with the Russians the information that we have about their systems, to call them into – back into compliance. We’ve also shared a lot of intelligence with European allies.

I think at this point we have been so engaged with European allies, the one thing I don’t question is whether the allies understand where we’re coming from. They’ve seen the material. If you saw the NATO declaration, I think it’s crystal-clear. Our central focus is Russia. And there is a China problem; a big portion of the Chinese ballistic arsenal is not in compliance with INF. But I would not say from a U.S. perspective we look at INF to look at the way forward. I wouldn’t look at that and say the United States has made a determination on the basis of what Russia has done to do X, Y, or Z. Right now our focus is on sharing what we have with allies, making sure as I said a minute ago that we’re on the same page with a clear way forward. And once we’ve had those conversations with allies, we’ll make a decision and communicate those decisions in concert with our allies.

MODERATOR: Just a couple questions left.

QUESTION: One more, do one more. This is going to be the 70th anniversary of NATO coming up in – it’ll be the first major anniversary of NATO where there is not going to be a leaders summit. Europeans are saying that they’re not going to have a leaders summit because they don’t want Trump to be part of such a big summit because the last summit with Trump was such a disaster. What’s your response to that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So we take the – as the Secretary has said on more than one occasion, we take the NATO alliance seriously and the 70th anniversary very seriously. We’ve been looking very closely with allies at some plans for next year. I don’t think we’re at a stage where we’re sharing those publicly, but we take it seriously. You’ll learn more in due course, but it’s – we are cognizant of the symbolic value of next year, and you’ll hear more about that in the days to come.

QUESTION: Can you talk about the agenda for tonight’s meeting with Netanyahu?

MODERATOR: [Senior State Department Official] handles EUR, so not NEA issues. There’ll be something more on that later. But we can confirm that the Secretary’s meeting with the prime minister.

QUESTION: So you can’t speak to the priorities of the pull-aside with the Libyan prime minister either?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m not deeply involved in that, unfortunately. I follow it closely, but it’s not – I wouldn’t want to step on my NEA colleagues.

MODERATOR: And [Senior State Department Official] will still – even though we’ll be headed back to Washington for President Bush’s funeral, [Senior State Department Official] will still be heading to Milan, where he’ll be doing some of the OSCE meetings that the Secretary had planned.

QUESTION: Can you tell us about the agenda for Italy, what you’re looking to get out of that part of the trip?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: For OSCE?

QUESTION: What you’re looking to get out of the Italy portion of the trip.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. So OSCE – we want to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the OSCE as a significant platform for security in Europe but also for human rights dialogue in Europe and Eurasia. I think a couple of the agenda items that you will see – number-one agenda item will be Ukraine and Kerch Strait. We are determined to hold Russia accountable for those actions, and OSCE is a great venue for European nations showing leadership. So you’ll see the U.S. focused on SMM, you’ll see us focused on ceasefire violations.

And then secondly, as you know, the United States continues to call on Russia to come back into compliance with a family of treaties and obligations under OSCE – Open Skies, conventional forces in Europe. We’re in the process of trying to work through a modernization of the Vienna document. The Vienna document is the instrument of OSCE. It provides transparency for military exercises. And those will be the two big focal points.

MODERATOR: Okay. [Senior State Department Official] has to get back to the other part of his job.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks, everybody.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.


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