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EURO CURRENCY TURNS 10; SEEN FULFILLING PROMISE – TEN YEARS AGO, EUROPE LAUNCHED ITS GRAND EXPERIMENT WITH A SHARED CURRENCY – AND WATCHED IT PLUNGE IN VALUE BEFORE RECOVERING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM

by Matt Moore and George Frey – Associated Press Business Writers

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

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Posted in AUSTRIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BELGIUM, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, CYPRUS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EURO, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, RECESSION, SLOVAKIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

U.S. ARMS SALES UNDERMINE HUMAN RIGHTS, GROUP SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Dec. 10, 2008, 1:31PM

by Barry Schweid – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE’ (USA)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. arms trade is booming — sales reached $32 billion last year — and more than half of the purchasers in the developing world are either undemocratic governments or regimes that engaged in human rights abuses, a private think tank reported today.

Timed to the 60th anniversary of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the report by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan policy institute, named 13 of the top 25 arms purchasers in the developing world as either undemocratic or engaged in major human rights abuses.

The 13 listed in the report were Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Colombia, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Yemen and Tunisia.

Sales to these countries totaled more than $16.2 billion over 2006 and 2007.

The total “contrasts sharply with the Bush administration’s pro-democracy rhetoric,” the report said.

Also, the report said that 20 of the 27 nations engaged in major armed conflicts were receiving weapons and training from the United States.

“U.S. arms transfers are undermining human rights, weakening democracy and fueling conflict around the world,” the report said.

William D. Hartung, the lead author of the report, said, “The United States cannot demand respect for human rights and arm human rights abusers at the same time.”

U.S. arms sales grew to $32 billion in 2007, more than three times the level when President Bush took office in 2001, the report said.

The United States is the world’s largest arms supplier. U.S. exports range from combat aircraft to Pakistan, Morocco, Greece, Romania and Chile to small arms and light weapons to the Philippines, Egypt and Georgia.

In 2006 and 2007, the United States sold weapons to more than 174 states and territories.At the beginning of the Bush administration there were 123 arms clients, the report said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE’ (USA)

Posted in BAHRAIN, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EGYPT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FORMOSA - TAIWAN, GEORGIA, GREECE, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAQ, ISLAMIC BANKS, ISRAEL, JORDAN, KUWAIT, MILITARY CONTRACTS, MOROCCO, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, ROMANIA, SAUDI ARABIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE LEBANESE CIVIL STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE UNITED NATIONS, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS, YEMEN | Leave a Comment »

CHINA SIGNS GREEK PORT DEAL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

Nov 26, 2008 6:38 AM

Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed to increase maritime investment in GREEK PROTESTERS - ReutersGreece after the signing of a 3.4 billion euro deal to run the country’s largest port, despite protests from dockers.

Hu and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis witnessed the signing of the contract by state-controlled China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) to operate the container port of Piraeus (OLP) for 35 years, part of Greece’s privatisation agenda.

“Our priorities are to widen our economic cooperation … to strengthen maritime cooperation and investments,” the Chinese leader told journalists, during a three-day state visit.

Greece controls one fifth of the world’s merchant fleet. Its ship owners have profited from a huge boom in demand for iron ore, oil and grain from China in recent years, and they are the largest clients for Chinese shipbuilding yards.

Until a collapse in freight rates earlier this year, the boom helped Greece’s economy grow by 4% a year for a decade.

“The agreement between OLP and Cosco signals a new important chapter,” said Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. “Greek ports can become transit points for Chinese goods to the EU and southeast Europe, as well as the Mediterranean.”

Several hundred dockworkers, carrying a banner reading “Cosco Go Home” and waving black flags, marched past the Greek parliament before the signing, saying the deal would mean job losses and tougher labour conditions.

“They must not sell the ports. OLP is a profitable business … it doesn’t make sense,” said Manolis Gemeliaris, 54, an engineer at the port. “When Cosco comes, we will lose our jobs.”

The Chinese company has insisted that it will create 1,000 new jobs at the port for Greek workers and more than double its capacity by 2015.

Hu, who toured the ancient temples of the Acropolis in central Athens with his wife, has insisted during his visit that China’s economy is still experiencing “significant growth” and he would cooperate with international efforts to tackle the global economic downturn.

However, the World Bank said in a report published Tuesday that China’s economic growth would slow to 7.5% next year, its lowest rate since 1990, despite a 4 trillion yuan ($US586 billion) stimulus package.

Despite the opposition of Greece’s restive unions, the conservative government is pressing ahead with privatisations and has put loss-making Olympic Airlines on the block.

The ruling New Democracy party, whose parliamentary majority was cut to one seat this month by the expulsion of a rebel deputy, has fallen behind in opinion polls for the first time since winning power in 2004 amid discontent at its economic policies. Many analysts expect an early election next year, ahead of a 2011 deadline.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TVNZ’ (New Zealand)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GRAINS, GREECE, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRON ORE, MARITIME, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PETROL, SHIPYARD INDUSTRIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

CYPRIOTS VIEW RENEWED EFFORTS TO REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH CAUTION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

by Jean Christou

ONLY 18 per cent of Greek Cypriots and 13 per cent of Turkish Cypriots are hopeful for a Cyprus solution through the current peace process, a study by the Centre for European Policy Studies said yesterday.

The Brussels-based organisation worked with analysts Alexandros Lordos, Erol Kaymak and Nathalie Tocci to compile the 90-page report, which was presented yesterday.

“Beyond their perceptions and (mis)trust of each other, both communities are pessimistic regarding the peace process,” said the report.

This pessimism is particularly acute amongst Turkish Cypriots, who following the Annan Plan precedent have little faith in the peace process and Greek Cypriot willingness to deliver a compromise solution. Greek Cypriots, emboldened by their new president, appear somewhat more hopeful of the ongoing negotiations.”

It said that after decades of failed negotiations and the ultimate failure of the Annan Plan, Cypriots viewed renewed efforts to reach an agreement with some caution.

Lack of trust was a major factor according to the findings.

Two out of three Greek Cypriots, “possibly influenced by their long-standing political narrative that ‘our problem is not with the Turkish Cypriots but with Turkey’, say they trust ordinary Turkish Cypriots, while 99 per cent do not trust the Turkish Cypriot leadership nor Turkey.

However nearly three out of four Turkish Cypriots say they mistrust Greek Cypriots, and 74 per cent say they mistrusted President Demetris Christofias and political party leaders.

Still, while differences are large Cypriots were open to compromise, ready to revisit their official historical narratives and abhor a resort to violence, the report said.

“This sets Cyprus apart from other conflicts in the European neighbourhood,” it added.

“Cypriots are not fundamentally hostile towards each other and both communities have reached a level of political maturity necessary to re-evaluate their conflict-ridden pasts.”

It said 85 per cent off Greek Cypriots and 50 per cent of Turkish Cypriots were able to acknowledge the mistakes committed by their own community in the conflict.

Nearly 90 per cent on each side are “absolutely opposed to the idea of ‘solving’ the conflict through armed struggle”.

Only 15 per cent on the Greek Cypriot side say they are satisfied with the status quo, and even fewer Turkish Cypriots, less than ten per cent.

“A possible explanation of these differences may be that whereas 51 per cent of Greek Cypriots are on the whole satisfied with their personal lives, only 29 per cent of Turkish Cypriots are, not least because they are more directly affected by the consequences of the conflict,” said the report, adding that they blamed Greek Cypriots and the EU for their current situation due to the ban on direct flights to the north, and the lack of direct trade for the ‘TRNC’.

“It is of paramount importance for these issues to be debated openly and creatively in the south and for political and official actors to diffuse and repackage the divisive and polarising language used to discuss these issues in recent years,” said the report.

On the positive side, large majorities of each community view themselves as being both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot rather than merely Greek or Turkish.

“In other words, Greek and Turkish Cypriots tend not to identify themselves as Greeks or Turks exclusively, and both communities share an affinity to Cyprus,” the report said.

It suggests a number of confidence building measures to run parallel to the new negotiating process “to engender public confidence” and to ensure that when an agreement is reached, Cypriots will go along with it.

A list of ‘easily-agreed measures’ could include jointly fighting organised crime, joint participation in international sporting events, joint protection of cultural heritage, supporting Turkish-Cypriot-EU harmonisation and renovating and making joint use of buildings in the Green Line.

Other confidence-building steps could be taken to facilitate negotiations on the more contested issues such as conducting an analysis of threats and threat perceptions and producing an economic development plan for post-settlement.

These fact-finding activities would both increase public confidence in the peace process – which will be viewed as a result of such efforts as more participatory, inclusive and grounded on the needs of the people – and at the same time may help bridge the gaps dividing the two communities on some of the most contested dossiers of the conflict settlement agenda,” said the CEPS report.

It also listed a number of more contentious proposals such as including the north in the EU customs union and including Turkish Cypriot higher education institutions in the European higher education system, direct trade and direct flights, and the resolution of the Varosha issue.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CYPRUS MAIL’

Posted in CYPRUS, EUROPE, GREECE, INTERNATIONAL, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »