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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Spain is not Uganda
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Again, I think it highly unlikely that Mas agrees to hold an illegal referendum (meaning all this discussion is moot), but the article you reference refers to members of the Cortes, not regional parliaments.

Arrests aside, it would provide a basis to ban ERC and CiU, which would lock them out of future parliaments, and start up the sort of "change the name" game that Batasuna got very good at in the last decade.

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
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US elites beginning to realize there's a problem

And why do the central banks have to issue debt to do this? Why not just create money out of thin air? That's what central banks do. That's what they're supposed to do. That's pretty much where much of the $12.6 trillion came from.

This is why any talk about how we need to return to Keynes and Keynesianism makes me start to pull my hair out. While Keynes' idea that government has to step in to take up the slack in aggregate demand during a depression or recession is mostly correct, the fact is, other people had the idea before him. Most notably the Mormon banker Marriner Eccles, who Franklin Roosevelt appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve system.

But the really bad thing about Keynes is that he does not argue that the programs and projects the government funds must contribute to the general welfare. We do NOT want to simply hire people to dig holes and fill them back up again. Nor do we want to just hand everybody 40,000 bucks and wish them luck at the slots or lottery machines. Keynes does not understand or appreciate the importance of republicanism as an organizing principle of political economy. So far as Keynes is concerned, it does not matter whether or not the American Revolution ever occurred. (Much the same critique is applicable to Adam Smith, also). For Keynes, a country ruled by the people, has no intrinsic value over a country ruled by oligarchs. But there are profound implications for economic policy making here: Are you trying to sustain, uplift, and better a country of citizens? Or are you trying to buy off and placate a rabble?

This failure of Keynes is a reflection of his being a British economist, and his natural inclination to oppose and/or ignore the nineteenth century American System of political economy, in which the general welfare is the standard by which economic policies and results are measured.



by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
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Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan | Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People | Foreign Affairs

In the decades following World War II, Japan's economy grew so quickly and for so long that experts came to describe it as nothing short of miraculous. During the country's last big boom, between 1986 and 1991, its economy expanded by nearly $1 trillion. But then, in a story with clear parallels for today, Japan's asset bubble burst, and its markets went into a deep dive. Government debt ballooned, and annual growth slowed to less than one percent. By 1998, the economy was shrinking.

That December, a Princeton economics professor named Ben Bernanke argued that central bankers could still turn the country around. Japan was essentially suffering from a deficiency of demand: interest rates were already low, but consumers were not buying, firms were not borrowing, and investors were not betting. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy: pessimism about the economy was preventing a recovery. Bernanke argued that the Bank of Japan needed to act more aggressively and suggested it consider an unconventional approach: give Japanese households cash directly. Consumers could use the new windfalls to spend their way out of the recession, driving up demand and raising prices.



by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: The Week Starts Here

Re: The Week Starts Here
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Guardian - Aditya Chakraobortti - For real politics, don't look to parliament but to an empty London housing estate

This weekend, while commentators yawped on about local democracy, and Ed Miliband vowed he'd close the chasm between the rich and the rest of us by a whole couple of centimetres, a bunch of young women in east London just got on and did it.
[....]
She points out that they are all renting privately, paying nearly £1,000 a month to live in grim conditions. When Middleton moved in with her baby, she found the skeleton of a mouse. Pulling away the drawers she saw a three-inch gap between the floor and the walls. During the thunderstorms of the past week the roof has begun leaking. Yet she doesn't want to complain for fear of not having her tenancy renewed.

For more and more people in London, this is what winning in the housing market now means: the right to spend a few more months in a flat that may be damp and strewn with rodent carcasses. As Focus E15 argue, the ultimate answer is more public housing. Yet Newham mayor Robin Wales wants instead to bring in 3,000 more private rental homes. Meanwhile, the Carpenters estate lies practically empty, a ghost town where people should be living.
[....]
Perhaps, like me, you look at the party conferences and despair at the minute positioning that passes as politics. In which case, turn your gaze to a flat on an abandoned council estate in east London. Thanks to a group of self-taught, radicalised women, real political action is happening there. We should support it.

I totally agree with him that v soon the council will send in the heavies to throw them out on the streets again and lock and render the house unusable.

But this is real politics. the vapid inanities spouted by the corporate mouthpieces who masquerade as our representatives in Parliament are increasingly irrelevant.

The head of Transport for London warned of riots if fares increase much more given ho the poor are being priced away from "public" transport, but housing will cripple the capital long before that.

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Spain is not Uganda
( / )
Rajoy and the PP are trying to take the legalistic high road in this case. That would be defeated by arresting sitting parliamentarians.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Spain is not Uganda
( / )
The Political Parties Law may allow the arrest of members of political parties, but it doesn't allow the arrest of sitting parliamentarians which would be unconstitutional (section 71) or contrary to the Catalan statute of Autonomy (which is a law of the Spanish Parliament of equal rank to the Law on Political Parties).

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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There is obviously no connection with events in Ukraine.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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Shocked, I tell you! I'm shocked!

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Spain is not Uganda
( / )
I'm not endorsing it, just saying that I think that it's something that Rajoy and the PP are capable of. In their eyes, and I don't think that there has been an effective challenge to the law yet, and they just may view an illegal referendum, one which is treated as binding rather than consultative, as a crime.

I don't think that it will come to this, because there is no way that Mas allows an illegal vote.  In the unlikely case he does, this is the equally unbalanced response Rajoy can take. Will the rest of the EU/NATO really speak up for an illegal referendum?  Or does illegal referendum sound a shade to close to Crimea for comfort?

 

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
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Well, there could possibly be a leak of the document at its present state.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Catalan scenarios
( / )
My suspicion is that this would all take a sort of kabuki theater form with each party acting out their role with little actual passion.  It's about sticking to character.

I don't think that there would be an issue with the Guardia doing the leg work rather than Mossos, but that may not be the case.  I just don't see active resistance.

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
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France's latest calls for TTIP transparency fall on deaf ears | EurActiv

Matthias Fekl, the new French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, has joined his predecessors in calling for the publication of the trade negotiation mandate between the EU and the United States. The continued lack of transparency in the negotiations could lead to the failure of TTIP.

At a meeting of representatives from the French parliament's Economic Affairs, Environment and Territory commissions, the Secretary of State announced that he had sent an official letter to the European Commissioner for Commerce, Karel de Gucht.

In his letter, Fekl called for the negotiation mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which remains confidential after one and a half years of negotiations, to be made public.

"One of my very first decisions following my nomination was to write to the European Commission and ask them, in the name of France, to implement total transparency on trade negotiation mandates, particularly with the United States," the secretary of state said. "Secret negotiations can no longer be allowed to take place," he added.

Sources close to the minister say that "having received no response from the European Commission, Matthias Fekl will renew his efforts with the new European Commissioner".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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`Revolving doors' rules need revamping, says EU Ombudsman | EurActiv

Rules governing European Commission officials joining the private sector need to be revamped, the European Ombudsman said today, before warning she would summon any public servant or commissioner suspected of a conflict of interest.

Emily O'Reilly today (23 September) issued a series of draft recommendations to combat the "systemic maladministration" in the EU executive's procedure to fight the "revolving doors" phenomenon.

"Revolving doors" refers to influential officials, commissioners and MEPs, who leave their jobs to join, for example, multinational companies or lobbying firms.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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EUobserver / Ombudsman vows 'robust' action against EU secrecy
BRUSSELS - EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly wants more transparency from EU institutions on letting officials switch to the private sector, negotiating trade agreements, and allowing medicines onto the European market.

"Even if I don't have powers of a judge, I do have very strong investigatory powers, I can summon officials to question them about their actions," O'Reilly said Tuesday (23 September) in a press conference reporting on her first year in office.

Providing she gets re-elected in January by the European Parliament, O'Reilly said she wants to use her powers "in a more robust way" and pursue a more "strategic" way of investigating transparency and integrity issues with EU institutions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Spain is not Uganda
( / )
(with apologies to Uganda)

You can't arrest sitting members of a regional parliament except if caught red handed in the commission of a crime, and this would be stretching very thin the definition of crime.

Come on, people, I know we're talking about Spain but this is not a banana republic (yet).

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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Hinkley nuclear reactor project gains EU approval, leak reveals | EurActiv

Green groups condemn commissioner Almunia's U-turn, as the EU competition czar deems Hinkley Point C subsidies to be within state aid rules.
 

British plans for a nuclear renaissance centred on a nuclear reactor in Somerset achieved a breakthrough when a nine-month European Union state aid investigation ended with a call for Brussels to approve the project.

The EU's competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, had expressed scepticism that the Hinkley Point C scheme could satisfy the EU's stringent state aid criteria after the UK government agreed to underwrite the project with a loan guarantee and a commitment on the price of the electricity generated by the power station.

But the commissioner appears to have been persuaded that the proposed £17.6bn of subsidies are legal under bloc rules, despite the lack of a competitive tendering process. Hinkley Point will be operated by EDF, the French state-owned company, while two Chinese state-owned nuclear companies have agreed to help fund the plant.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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EU's Almunia readying antitrust charges against Gazprom | EurActiv

European Union regulators are poised to charge Russian gas producer Gazprom with anti-competitive behaviour after a two-year investigation, Europe's antitrust chief said on Tuesday (23 September).

Gazprom, which is Russian state-owned, has been under regulatory fire since September 2012, for allegedly over-charging customers in Eastern Europe, blocking rival suppliers and hindering the free flow of gas across some EU countries.

The company said earlier this year that it was keen to settle the case, warding off a possible fine of as much as $13.6 billion, but discussions with the European Commission have stalled over the issue of what constitutes appropriate pricing.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia told European lawmakers that he was preparing a so-called statement of objections, or a charge sheet, which sets out suspected violations of EU rules for Gazprom.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: See It? Say It? Do Something About It?

Re: See It? Say It? Do Something About It?
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EUobserver / ECB ready to use more 'unconventional tools' to spur economy

BRUSSELS - European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi has said he is prepared to use more unconventional measures to spur growth in the eurozone.

"We stand ready to use additional unconventional instruments within our mandate, and alter the size and/or the composition of our unconventional interventions should it become necessary to further address risks of a too-prolonged period of low inflation," he told MEPs on Monday (18 September).

He said loose monetary policy will only be stopped "when we have complied with our mandate" which is to keep inflation at close to 2 percent. Currently inflation is at 0.4 percent.

The ECB has taken a series of steps since the summer to try and boost the economy and head off deflation, including interest-rate cuts and cheap loans to banks. In early September the Frankfurt-based bank cut rates further and announced it planned to buy asset backed securities (ABS).

However its lending programme was deemed to have faltered when 255 eurozone banks last week only borrowed €82 billion of the €400 billion available.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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EUobserver / ECB ready to use more 'unconventional tools' to spur economy

BRUSSELS - European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi has said he is prepared to use more unconventional measures to spur growth in the eurozone.

"We stand ready to use additional unconventional instruments within our mandate, and alter the size and/or the composition of our unconventional interventions should it become necessary to further address risks of a too-prolonged period of low inflation," he told MEPs on Monday (18 September).

He said loose monetary policy will only be stopped "when we have complied with our mandate" which is to keep inflation at close to 2 percent. Currently inflation is at 0.4 percent.

The ECB has taken a series of steps since the summer to try and boost the economy and head off deflation, including interest-rate cuts and cheap loans to banks. In early September the Frankfurt-based bank cut rates further and announced it planned to buy asset backed securities (ABS).

However its lending programme was deemed to have faltered when 255 eurozone banks last week only borrowed €82 billion of the €400 billion available.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
( / )
The Casino Coming to Your Corner Bank - Bloomberg

With interest rates barely above zero, the typical U.S. savings account has all the excitement of, well, waiting in line at the bank. But what if instead of marketing yet another CD or credit card, banks held raffles and gave millions away each month to savers? The local bank might feel less like the villain behind those big overdraft fees and more like a casino on the Vegas strip.

A bank in South Africa tried this in 2005. The First National Bank's Million-a-Month Account promised savers a chance to win 113 prizes a month, including a grand prize of 1 million South African rand (about U.S.$150,000 at the time). Within 18 months, the bank had more prize-eligible accounts than regular ones. These new customers, many of them poor, saved an extra 1 percent of their incomes, a recent study found, and boosted their overall saving 38 percent.

The only thing preventing a big bank from doing this in the U.S.: It's completely illegal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
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Forget Millennials: Boomers Still Drive Stock-Market Bus - Bloomberg

This new flock of young adults known as the millennial generation acts in ways that are very mysterious to the rest of us who came of age in the last millennium.

For example, why on Earth do they refuse to play golf? And why do they dress like the Little Mermaid and dance in slow motion at concerts that feature no actual musicians? Most importantly: are they secretly filming us with their smartphones so they can mock us later on social networks we haven't yet heard of?

As intriguing as this generation is, you may be wasting your time trying to mine their mercurial modus operandi for investment ideas. Instead, the Baby Boomers are still the ones really driving the bus in the stock market, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists led by Savita Subramanian.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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Syrian General: `Moderate Opposition' in Syria Figment of Obama's Imagination | World | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - The "moderate opposition" that US President Barack Obama said Washington would train and equip to address the Islamic State (IS) militant threat in Iraq and Syria does not exist, Maj. Gen. Yahya Suleiman told Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency on Tuesday.

"We are accustomed to the fact that the United States is often hypocritical. The biggest hypocrisy was displayed by the American side, when the US president announced that there is a "moderate opposition" in Syria. However, this was nothing more than a figment of his [Barack Obama's] own imagination," Maj. Gen. Suleiman said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Economy and Finance
( / )
Russia Spared Western Companies From Sanctions Response to Avoid Confrontation: FAS | Business | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) could have opened dozens of cases against Western companies, but decided not to in order to avoid confrontation, FAS chief Igor Artemyev said Tuesday.

"We could have launched dozens of cases," he said. "But the Russian government's stance is to avoid using these mechanisms, at least at this stage, to prevent the ties from worsening," he said.

Artemyev named international financial services corporations Visa and Mastercard as examples. It "would not be a problem" to initiate proceedings in this case, "but our government has demonstrated tolerance here," the FAS chief said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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Russia tests 100,000 troops in `Vostok 2014', biggest-ever post-Soviet drills -- RT News

Russia has staged its biggest post-Soviet military drills in the Far East, involving 100,000 servicemen and a vast array of materiel.

During five days of exercises, troops were trained in repulsing a massive airstrike, combating an aircraft carrier, repelling a seaborne landing and many other military activities on a vast scale.

The drills, dubbed "Vostok-2014," are the largest since the Soviet era. About 100,000 servicemen, up to 1,500 tanks, 120 aircraft, 5,000 pieces of weaponry, military and special hardware, and up to 70 ships took part in the exercises.

Military observers from up to 30 countries were closely monitoring the exercises. Military attachés from Angola, China, Malaysia, North Korea, Peru, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and various other countries attended the ultimate stage of the drills at Skalisty Cape in Kamchatka, with Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu joining them. The supply units were to move 10,000 tons of munitions, fuel, food supplies and other materials over long distances, sometimes as far as thousands of kilometers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: Swedish election sadness

Re: Swedish election sadness
( / )
For the xenophobes it tends to be Nordic against non-Nordic. And even the Finns are suspect with their strange language.

by A swedish kind of death on
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U.N. High-Level Summits Ignore World's Political Crises | Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 22 2014 (IPS) - As the 69th session of the General Assembly took off with the usual political pageantry, the United Nations will be hosting as many as seven "high-level meetings", "summits" and "special sessions" compressed into a single week - the largest number in living memory.

The agenda includes a world conference on indigenous peoples; a special session on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development; a climate summit; and a Security Council meeting of world leaders on counter-terrorism presided over by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Additionally, there will be a summit meeting on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; a high-level event on the U.N.'s Global Education First Initiative's (GEFI); and a summit meeting of business leaders sponsored by the U.N.'s Global Compact.

All of this in a tightly-packed five-day political extravaganza ending Friday, which also includes an address by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama at the GEFI meeting.

At a press conference last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the upcoming events in superlatives.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: Swedish election sadness

Re: Swedish election sadness
( / )
I don't think it is about immigration. Finland, Denmark adn Norway has more succesfull ugly parties with much less immigration.

Of course we could have had an anti-immigration party in parliament much longer, had not New Democracy imploded in 1991-4. The Moderates and the Soc-dem drew the lesson from then to decrease immigration and stop discussing the issue. The harsher rules for immigrants fed a pro-immigration opinion on the left and the liberal centre while the lack of discussion fed an anti-immigration opinion on the far right (with problems for the Moderates that span from conservative right to neoliberals). So on one hand we have a rascist party with 13% of the seats, on the other they are really disliked.

But immigration is not the reason for the rise of the far right. The foundation is instead economical. With the abolishment of full employment white, straight men with low economic, cultural and educational position has seen their relative status sink against just everybody else. That feeds anger and resentment. The communist answer would be to direct that anger against the upper class and the bosses. The fascist answer is to direct that anger against swarthy people, gays and feminists.

by A swedish kind of death on
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Exclusive: Libya asks chemical weapons watchdog to remove stockpile - sources | Reuters

(Reuters) - Libya has asked the global chemical weapons watchdog to draw up plans to ship a stockpile of 850 tonnes of chemicals overseas due to deteriorating security, sources have told Reuters.

Diplomats and officials said that transporting the toxins abroad for destruction, as was recently done in Syria, is the most viable option to keep them out of the hands of battling militant groups.

Since the removal of Muammar Gaddafi three years ago, the country has descended into anarchy, with rival militias and hardline Islamic groups battling for political control and vast oil reserves.

Facilities to destroy the chemical weapons were set up and Libyans were trained to use the equipment, but fighting threatens stability and has made it impossible to safely conduct their work.

Experts at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which won the Nobel Peace prize this year, are "working on something right now," one source told Reuters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 24 September 2014

Re: Living On The Planet
( / )
Urban Population to Reach 3.9 Billion by Year End | Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 23 2014 (IPS) - People living in cities already outnumber those in rural areas and the trend does not appear to be reversing, according to UN-Habitat, the Nairobi-based agency for human settlements, which has warned that planning is crucial to achieve sustainable urban growth.

"In the hierarchy of the ideas, first comes the urban design and then all other things," Joan Clos, executive director of UN-Habitat, told IPS while he was in New York for a preparatory meeting of Habitat III, the world conference on sustainable urban development that will take place in 2016.

(...) According to the U.N. Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), urban population grew from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014 and is expected to surpass six billion by 2045. Today there are 28 mega-cities worldwide and by 2030 at least 10 million people will live in 41 mega-cities.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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Islamic State blows away Gulf qualms about joining U.S. military action | Reuters

(Reuters) - It is more than 23 years since Arab countries last made common cause to join U.S.-led military action, and it has taken the threat of Islamic State to persuade them that any public backlash in an already turbulent region is a price worth paying.

Of the five Arab states named by Washington as supporting U.S.-led strikes against the jihadist group in Syria, Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed they had actually flown sorties. Saudi Arabia said it had "participated in military operations", and Qatar was believed to have offered only logistical or political support.    

But association with the attacks, after years of U.S.-led wars that have antagonized Muslims around the world, is a risk these states are ready to run to quash a group that promises to refashion the Middle East as an Islamic caliphate.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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News and Views

 24 September 2014

by afew - Sep 23, 38 comments

Your take on today's news media

 22-23 September 2014

by afew - Sep 21, 63 comments

Your take on today's news media

 The Week Starts Here

by afew - Sep 22, 13 comments

Don't Miss It!

 Weekend Open Thread

by afew - Sep 19, 28 comments

Here beginneth the Weeke ende

Occasional Series
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