Archive | August 14, 2014

Eurozone Grinding to a Halt*

Eurozone Grinding to a Halt*

By Finbarr Bermingham

The eurozone has been plunged once more into uncertainty after it was confirmed that Germany, which is its largest economy, contracted last quarter, with second largest France reporting growth of just 0.1%.

Germany’s economy contracted by 0.2% from April to June. After earlier figures showed that Italy was pushed into recession after contracting at the same level over the quarter, analysts are speculating as to whether the year-long relative recovery in the Eurozone has come to an end.

“Overall, the numbers reinforce our view that the eurozone economy remains too weak either to tackle the periphery’s debt problems or to eliminate the dangers of deflation. As such, we still believe that the European Central Bank needs to implement further policy action – probably in the form of full-scale quantitative easing – to try to bring the euro down and re-ignite the recovery,” said Capital Economics chief European economist Jonathan Loynes in a note.

France is now likely to miss its budget deficit target, set by Brussels, in 2014. The country had been working towards a reduction to 3.8% of GDP. Annual GDP growth has been forecast at 0.5%, a climbdown from the earlier prediction of 1%, the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin wrote in Le Monde.

French consumption fell by 0.3% in July, with unemployment languishing at a record high of 11%.

This week, the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) think-tank said that France was the biggest threat to the eurozone economy.

A report authored by CEBR economist Danae Kyriakopoulou said:

“Whilst too much noise has been made about the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) and their slow progress in enacting reforms, there is also a French elephant in the eurozone room that no one dares to speak about. Huge challenges lie ahead for France in terms of consolidating its public finances, improving damaged competitiveness, and reducing high structural unemployment.”

The German contraction – the first since the end of 2012 – is further cause for concern. Unusually for Europe’s powerhouse trade economy, net trade was a drag on German GDP, with imports outstripping exports.

Germany’s central stats authority Destatis has suggested that, as with the US economy earlier in the year, weather effects may have contributed to the weakness.

Across the single-currency bloc, growth is either anaemic, or non-existent. Austria grew at 0.2%, the Netherlands at 0.5% and Spain and Slovakia both grew at 0.6%. Romania contracted by 1%, with the Czech Republic stagnating at zero growth.

The overall growth picture (a Eurostat due to be announced later today – August 14) is bleak.

“This suggests that overall eurozone GDP either stagnated or even fell. The consensus forecast was for a 0.1% expansion,” Loynes said.


Related Topics:

Germany on the Verge of Bankruptcy*

After not Returning Most of Germany’s Gold, Federal Reserve Refuses Again not to be Audited*

Silent Protests Making the German Government Nervous*

France is Broke, but Still Reaping from the Colonial Tax!*

Spain to Tax Bank Deposits*

Protesting has Gone Flamenco, in Spain at Least*

IMF and EU Taking Ireland for Everything it’s Got*

Russian Food Embargo Incurs Losses for E.U.*


Rothschild’s Rio Reap a $2mn Red Diamond While Aussie Miners Suffer Depression, Illness, and Exhaustion*

Rothschild’s Rio Reap a $2mn Red Diamond While Aussie Miners Suffer Depression, Illness, and Exhaustion*

By Cecilia Jamasmie

A suitably named hero diamond, the “Argyle Cardinal,” is the main piece of Rio Tinto’s annual tender of ­Argyle’s rare coloured diamonds being held in Sydney, Australia, between Tuesday and Friday.

The 1.21-carat radiant cut rock, expected to fetch over US$2 million, is one of the only 13 Fancy red diamonds included in the annual display in the last 30 years.  It was named after a small red northern American bird.

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

“These are all one-of-a-kind gems that will take their place in the history of great collectible diamonds,” Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said in a statement.

Last year a precious rock like this one set a record at auction at Christies’ in New York of $1.6 million per carat.

Increasingly rare

Diamonds are becoming an increasingly rare item as fewer mines remain in operation and new discoveries dwindle.

Polished diamond prices increased 4.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a study published Tuesday by EY, and further upside is expected for the second half of the year, driven mainly by rising demand, recent transactions and availability of financing.

Since the 1870’s, when the first kimberlite was found, another 6,800 kimberlites have been discovered worldwide. Of those, only about 1,000 contained diamonds, and of those only 60 actually contained diamonds on an economic level.

Rio Tinto controls the market for pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. Around 65% of the world’s diamond supplies come from the Cullinan mine in South Africa.


The Rio Tinto Group

A British-Australian multinational metals and mining corporation with headquarters in London, United Kingdom, and a management office in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1873 as a mine complex on the Rio Tinto river, in Huelva, Spain, from the Spanish government by foreign financiers, including the Rothschilds.

The company exploits aluminium, iron ore, copper, uranium, coal, and diamonds natural resources as well as the refining of bauxite and iron ore. Following the Rothschild schematic, the company has operations on six continents.

In 1984, Rothschild financed Rio Tinto’s bid to take control of the Thatcher government’s oil “privatisation flagship”. By 1905, Rothschilds’ London and Paris houses held over 30% of Rio Tinto shares.

In 2008, Norway’s $375 billion Government Pension Fund-Global divested on ethical grounds (environmental practices).

Rio Tinto is now the 4th largest mining company in the world.

The recent deaths of nine West Australian fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers who took their own lives has put the issue of living conditions and depression in the mining industry back in the spotlight.

According to The Australian, suicide is the single largest killer of people aged 15 to 44 years old, while the average age of a FIFO worker is 38.

Experts point to a male-dominated culture, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a low emotional capacity to work through problems as key reasons why these workers are at risk.

Experts point to a male-dominated culture, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a low emotional capacity to work through problems as key reasons why these workers are at risk.

Add to this the social dynamics of life in a mining camp, where hundreds of workers usually live side-by-side in identical quarters and work 12-hour shifts away from family and friends for weeks at a time, and you begin to understand how mental health problems can develop.

A study published in June by University of South Australia’s researcher Wes McTernan found that mining workers and their partners are more prone to depression.

In a survey of 150 people over a 12-month period, the academic also found workers, as well as their partners, were likely to be more prone to depression.

The initial findings of the research, by the University of South Australia, also found conflict between working and home lives was associated with sleep problems, headaches, and an increase in anxiety.

Study “flawed’

But the Chamber of Minerals and Energy was quick to say the findings were flawed.

“Current mental health problems associated with fly-in fly-out workers in Western Australia compared to other employment types were statistically significantly lower,” a spokesman said in an interview with ABC.

Mental Health Commissioner Tim Marney told a public hearing on Wednesday that the apparent increase in FIFO suicides over the past 12 months was tragically not surprising.

“You visit any mine site, the emphasis on physical health is extreme (…) “If they put that sort of effort into awareness and support for mental health we’d be far better off,” he was quoted as saying by The Australian.

He added a senior mental health clinician was already looking into the recent deaths of the FIFO workers.


Related Topics:

A Reminder Why South African Mineworkers have a Right to Strike*

Rothschild’s Summit Fine-tuning Capitalism into Global Economic Tyranny*

Hoarding Gold: Deutsche Bank Takes up Rothschild’s Offer*

Rothschild’s Rio Tinto Signs $20bn African Iron Ore Deal*

Rothschild, Morgan and Stanley in Bitter Takeover Battle for Giant US Copper Mine*

South Africa’s Platinum Miners Resume Rothschild’s Work*

More Reason to Hold onto Scotland: Cameron Follows Black Gold to the Shetlands*

Yuvan Shankar Raja: I Converted to Islam because of my Mother*

Yuvan Shankar Raja: I Converted to Islam because of my Mother*

Chennai: Popular music composer Yuvan Shankar Raja has finally broken his silence over his conversion to the Islam religion.

Last year, Yuvan revealed on his Twitter page that he has embraced Islam religion. The revelation surprised many, while others supported the composer’s decision.

Following some unwarranted messages about his decision to Islam conversion, He admits that the sudden demise of his mother forced him turn spiritual and eventually find the faith in Islam.

Yuvan said his friend came from Mecca after Hajj gave me the prayer mat and asked me to use it when I was feeling heavy in the heart. He started practising the prayer in 2012. He decided to convert by January 2014.He has not changed his name officially but he could convert to Islam in the future.

Yuvan says he found solace when he started reading the Qur’an. Recalling the incident where he had his first encounter with his spiritual side. He said that it is because of his mother that he embraced his Islam.

There were rumours that Yuvan, who was married twice, was now going to marry a Muslim woman.

However, he has denied the rumours.

“I’m not married for the third time. The news is false, and yes, I follow Islam and I’m proud of it,” India Today quoted him as saying.

Yuvan also tweeted: “My family supports my decision and there is no misunderstanding between me and my dad”.

Yuvan, 34, has composed music for 100 films to date. His 100th was a Tamil movie, Biriyani.

Sources close to Yuvan say he first informed his father about his decision to change his religion.

Main Source*

Related Topics:

What February 14 Meant to Film-Director Sean, Oliver Stone’s Son!

‘Fitna’ Movie Producer Converted to Islam and Performs Hajj*

Jewish Odysseys to Islam

Musician and Bollywood Actress Convert to Islam

French Football Coach Embraces Islam*

Former Playboy Model Converts to Islam*

Muslimah Takes Down Leading Islamaphobe*

The Inner Technology of Islam

Islamic Wills Become Legal in the U.K.*

Robin Williams Raised 50,000K for a Food Bank and Nobody Knew*

Robin Williams Raised 50,000K for a Food Bank and Nobody Knew*

By Eric Wilkinson

As they filled bags and boxes with truckloads of groceries at the West Seattle Food Bank Tuesday, volunteers couldn’t help but feel a bit empty.

“It’s three fold, actually,” said volunteer Mike Cervino.

“One because he was a great comedian. Two, because he donated here, and three because people really rely on that here.”

In 2004, Robin Williams performed stand-up at the Showbox nightclub in Seattle, and without telling anyone, donated all of the proceeds to the food bank.

“I was just astounded,” said Executive Director Fran Yeatts.

Yeatts had no idea about the comedian’s plan until someone called her asking for tickets to the show. Confused, she began calling around and found out that Williams would indeed be making people smile in ways that transcended comedy. He performed more shows in 2007 and 2008, raising nearly $50,000 for the organization, just as the economy was collapsing and need was skyrocketing. Never once did Williams ask for any recognition.

“Robin Williams is the type of person who really understands there are a lot of people who are really, really struggling,” said Yeatts.

It’s an inspiring story, especially to food bank volunteers like Bill Bacon who struggles with bipolar disorder and understands the darkness that can come with depression. For him, it isn’t how Williams ended his life, but how he lived it that continues to inspire.

“In spite of the problems that some people have, they can still do great things,” he said. “I think Robin Williams is a classic example of that.”

Aaron Ellis was volunteering at the food bank when Williams first came to town in 2004, and got to meet the comic legend backstage at the Showbox nightclub. He had no idea the two would have so much in common.

“He was this real guy, this regular Joe that had the same issues,” said Ellis.

Like Williams, Ellis suffered from depression and addiction. Ellis said it was Williams’ humanity, his willingness to openly admit his shortcomings and relate to a regular guy from West Seattle that made those few minutes so inspiring.

“He said it was an honour for him to be able to do these things, to give back,” said Ellis. “That meant the world to me. It solidified my sobriety to this day.”

A decade after his meeting with Robin Williams, Ellis is still sober. He hopes to return to volunteer at the food bank, and he prays that others suffering silently with the deadly demon of depression get help. He also hopes society will try harder to understand instead of judge.

“I realize it makes no sense, but it’s what happens,” he said. “This is our reality.”


Related Topics:

Robin Williams a Blessed Soul Whose Acting was Full of Wonderful Life Lessons*

Organic Food and Meat Shortages Hit a Morally Unstable Drought-Ridden America*

The American Food Hoax*

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

UK: Food Banks under Pressure During School Holidays*

Big Bank Food Speculation: U.K. Blocks Move to End Rising Prices*

TPP: Controlling the Worlds Food Supply*

US Still Funding Repression in Egypt*

US Still Funding Repression in Egypt*

By Medea Benjamin

It has been one year since the August 14, 2013 Rab’a Square massacre in Egypt, when the Egyptian police and army opened fire on demonstrators opposed to the military’s July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Using tanks, bulldozers, ground forces, helicopters and snipers, police and army personnel mercilessly attacked the makeshift protest encampment, where demonstrators, including women and children, had been camped out for over 45 days. The result was the worst mass killing in Egypt’s modern history.

The government’s systematic effort to obscure what took place, beginning with sealing off the square the next day, has made it difficult to come up with an accurate death toll. But a just-released Human Rights Watch report, based on a meticulous year-long investigation, found that at least 817 and likely well over 1,000 people were killed in Rab’a Square on August 14.

The report contains horrific first-hand accounts. One protester recalled carrying the dead, piles of them.

“We found limbs that were totally crushed. There were dead people with no arms, obviously a tank ran over them. Imagine you are carrying piles of bodies; it is something you can’t imagine. Even the bodies that you are carrying, you carry an arm of a person, alongside the leg of another person.”

A student from Cairo University recounted that the ground was a “sea of blood” and how she watched the bleeding protesters in horror, “knowing that I was not able to do anything besides watch them die.”

A doctor described the scene at the mosque in the square:

“I have never seen anything like what I saw when I stepped inside. The entire floor was covered in bodies. To slow down the decomposition, people had put ice around the bodies. But the ice had melted and mixed with the blood, leaving us wading in blood and water.”

Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, and the director of its Middle East and North Africa division, Sarah Leah Whitson, had planned to be in Cairo this week to release the report, but were held at the airport and denied entry into Egypt.

The systematic and intentional killing of unarmed protesters is a crime against humanity and those responsible should be investigated and held accountable. At the top of the chain of command during the Rab’a massacre was then-Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who orchestrated the military overthrow of democratically-elected Morsi, but neither Sisi nor any government officials have been prosecuted for the killings. On the contrary; Sisi has managed to usurp even more power, becoming Egypt’s president via rigged elections.

Since the massacre, Sisi has overseen a year of intense government repression that has included the arrests of tens of thousands of people, including Islamists and leftist political activists. More than 65 journalists have been detained and some, like three Al Jazeera journalists, have been sentenced to 7-10 years in prison. Egypt’s criminal justice system has become a cruel joke; sentencing 1,247 people to death in trials makes a mockery of the word “justice”. In many cases defendants were not brought to their trials and lawyers have repeatedly been barred from presenting their defence or questioning witnesses.

Amnesty International has documented the sharp deterioration in human rights in Egypt in the past year, including the surge in arbitrary arrests, torture and deaths in police custody. Amnesty says torture is routinely carried out by the military and police, with members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood particularly targeted. Among the methods of torture employed are electric shocks, rape, handcuffing detainees and suspending them from open doors.

Gen. Abdel Fattah Osman, who heads the media department at the Interior Ministry, denied the accusations of torture and rape in prisons and declared that “prisons in Egypt have become like hotels.”

I had a minor taste of this regime’s “hospitality” when I attempted to enter Cairo on March 3, 2014 as part of a women’s peace delegation. I was stopped at the airport, detained for 17 hours, and then thrown to the ground and handcuffed so violently that my shoulder popped out of its socket. Instead of allowing me to go to the hospital to have my arm reset, as the doctors insisted, I had my scarf stuffed into my mouth, was dragged through the airport and deported to Turkey. I was never given any explanation as to why I was detained, attacked, arrested and deported. To this day, months later, the pain in my arm is a daily reminder of the thugs who run Egypt today.

While the global human rights community has watched in horror as the basic rights of Egyptians have been torn asunder, some regional governments, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, have embraced Sisi and are providing billions of dollars of support. Perhaps this is not surprising, given that they are autocratic regimes that want to stave off democratic change in their own countries; but what about the Western nations that pride themselves on their democratic values?

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton criticized the use of force by the military-backed government, but later assured Sisi that the EU would provide 90 million euros worth of financial assistance. And in December 2013, she even took her family on a Christmas holiday to Luxor, meeting with Egypt’s minister of tourism just a few weeks after dozens of peaceful protesters were killed.

The US case is similar. According to US law, a coup is supposed to have consequences. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who wrote the legislation, said,

“Our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup. This is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms.”

The US government refuses to even obey its own laws, which would entail cutting the $1.3 billion to the Egyptian military. Too much is at stake for powerful interests:

* The US wants Egypt to fulfil its commitment to the 1979 Camp David Accords, which ensures Egypt’s complicity in the Israeli occupation of Gaza. This complicity became clear during the latest Israeli attack, where Sisi helped squeeze the Palestinians by closing off the border between Egypt and Gaza.

* The US wants to ensure priority access for US Navy ships to the Suez Canal, as well as the flow of oil and gas through the canal.

* “Aid” to Egypt is really a subsidy for US weapons exporters. Most of the money never gets to Egypt but goes to powerful U.S. military contractors such as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin that make the tanks and fighter jets that get sent to Egypt (whether or not the Egyptian military wants the equipment).

When Secretary of State John Kerry visited Sisi on June 22, he announced that the US would release $575 million of the $1.3 billion. He told Sisi,

“I am confident that we will be able to ultimately get the full amount of aid.”

And now Kerry is strengthening Sisi’s hand by making him a key player in the ceasefire talks between Israel and Gaza, despite the fact that Sisi has been an enemy of Hamas—a group he considers too closely linked with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

On this terrible anniversary of the Rab’a massacre, Egyptians are still mourning the dead, nursing the injured and crying out for help from the prisons and torture chambers. But the “Western democracies”, dancing with the dictator, have turned a deaf ear to their cries. That’s why activists the world over are marking the occasion by showing solidarity and by calling on their governments to break ties with Sisi’s regime.


Related Topics:

Members of Egypt’s Elite Admit to Planning and Financing the Coup as they Conspired to Bring Down Sisi*

Jailed Egyptian Children Moved to ‘torture camp’*

Without Shame!

“Silence is Complacency”: Against the Coup in Egypt*

Four-finger ‘Rabaa sign’ – The Symbol of Protests against the Egypt Military Coup*

Why Rabaa Al-Adaweya?: The Story Behind the Mosque*

A Letter to a Martyred Daughter*

One Year of Mursi versus One Year of Al-Sisi*

Egypt: 180 More Sentenced to Death*

Egyptian TV Presenter: Israelis Control Egyptian Media*

Egypt Court Rules against Banning Porn Websites*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

The Road to World War Three

President Mursi’s Economic Achievements Slips Out of the Misinformation Campaign*

Sisi: Cleaning Up his Image*

Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Livni, Reveals Israel – Egypt Pact to Strangle Hamas*


There’s a Truce on, so Do Everything Else, but Don’t Kill Palestinians*

There’s a Truce on, so Do Everything Else, but Don’t Kill Palestinians*

Tensions have been piling up in the West Bank since Israel launched a military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip with the aim of halting rocket attacks.

Israeli police have arrested 52 Palestinians in East Jerusalem for alleged involvement in clashes with Israeli forces, a spokesman said.

“Police arrest 52 Arabs involved in recent riots in East Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

“Suspects threw stones and petrol bombs at police units and officers,” he added.

The Israeli Police also prevented all Palestinian, below the age of 30, from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city.

Soldiers also invaded Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Omar al-Hathaleen, 20.

They further invaded Roq’a area, east of Yatta, broke into a home and ransacked it after forcing the family out.

In Hebron city, soldiers kidnapped Farid Najib Zghayyar, 25, Tareq Mohammad al-Qawasmi, and Lu’ay Omran al-‘Oweiwy, after ransacking their homes.

Dozens of soldiers also invaded Safa area, in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Radwan Ekhlayyel, 36, and took him to the Gush Etzion military base.

In Bethlehem, soldiers invaded Husan town, west of the city, and kidnapped four teenagers from their homes.

Local sources said the soldiers invaded the eastern area of the town, searched and ransacked several homes, and kidnapped Haidar Eyad Hamamra, 17, Mohammad Hasan Hamamra, 16, Firas Ibrahim Hamamra, 16, and Baker Ahmad Shousha, 16.

In addition, dozens of soldiers invaded Qabatia town, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched homes and detained two Palestinians, identified as Osama Mahmoud Kamil, 27, and Ahmad Khaled Kamil, 26.

The soldiers also interrogated several families after forcing them out of their homes, and searched their property, causing excessive damage.

Several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation after the army invaded the Abu Da’if village, east of Jenin, and clashed with local youths.

Tensions have been piling up in the West Bank since Israel launched a military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip with the aim of halting rocket attacks.

At least 1951 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 10,000 others injured in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since July 7.

During the same period, at least 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in the strip and three civilians by rocket fire, according to Israeli figures.


Israeli army fires on homes in Gaza’s Khan Younis

Israeli troops stationed along the border of the southern Gaza Strip on Friday 15 August 2014 opened fire on Palestinian homes and farmland without causing injuries, eyewitnesses said.

Israeli troops sprayed Palestinian homes and farmland in eastern Khan Younis with heavy machinegun fire, witnesses added.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency that the heavy Israeli gunfire had not led to any casualties among residents.

The Gaza Strip has recently sustained more than a month of relentless Israeli attacks that have left 1962 Palestinians dead – the vast majority of them civilians – and more than 10,000 injured.

At least 67 Israelis – 64 soldiers and three civilians – have also been killed since Israel’s onslaught on the embattled coastal enclave began on July 7.

A five-day, Egypt-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Thursday to give Palestinian and Israeli negotiators a chance to hammer out a permanent truce deal.

The two sides have held indirect talks in Egyptian capital Cairo, but no breakthroughs have been reported so far.

Related Topics:

Protests and a 60k Signatures Despatches Royal Navy Hospital Ship to Gaza*

Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Livni, Reveals Israel – Egypt Pact to Strangle Hamas*

Death Ray Unleased on Gaza*

Evidence Immaterial: Netanyahu’s wants to be Added to the Bush-Blair Club of War Criminals*

192-mile March on NATO Summit*

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It*

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

Global #GazaDayofRage as Israel Resumes Destruction of Gaza*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*