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Showing posts from August, 2015

US considering sanctions over Chinese cyber theft, says Washington Post

From Reuters)

The White House is considering applying sanctions against companies and individuals in China it believes have benefited from Chinese hacking of United States trade secrets, the Washington Postreported Sunday (Aug 30).


The White House is considering applying sanctions against companies and individuals in China over cyber theft

The newspaper, citing several unidentified Obama administration officials, said a final determination on whether to issue the sanctions was expected soon, possibly as early as the next two weeks.

Suspicions that Chinese hackers were behind a series of data breaches in the United States have been an irritant in relations between the world’s two largest economies as President Xi Jinping prepares to make his first visit to the United States next month.

Obama administration officials have said China is the top suspect in the massive hacking of a US government agency that compromised the personnel records of at least 4.2 million current and former government …

Welcome To The Trade Deal Wars

By Pepe Escobar

BANGKOK — China continues to grow at a not too shabby 7%. And yet, because of the yuan devaluation and the sharp drop in the stock market, in most Western capitals the narrative switched to Armageddon descended over an economic model that generated, over the years, six-fold growth in Chinese GDP.

Few are aware that Beijing, simultaneously, is engaged in a thrice titanic task; to shift its growth vector from exports and massive investment to services; to tackle the negative and/or self-satisfied role of state-owned enterprises; and to deflate at least three bubbles — debt, real estate speculation and the stock market — in the context of a virtual global economic stagnation.

All this while there is virtually no Western coverage of the China-led Eurasian trade integration push, which will help to eventually consolidate the Middle Kingdom as the largest economy in the world.

And that brings us to a crucial subplot in the Big Picture: Southeast Asia.

Four months from now, the 10…

Opinion: Misinformation Hides Real Dimension of Greek “Bailout”

By Roberto SavioReprint

In this column, Roberto Savio, founder and president emeritus of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and publisher of Other News, writes that the purpose of Greece’s third bailout is clear – all but seven percent of the 86 billion euros will go to pay debt with the other European governments, recapitalize Greek banks, pay interest on Greece’s debt and pay the debt of the state with Greek enterprises, while the country’s citizens will see none of it.

SAN SALVADOR, Aug 20 2015 (IPS) - The long saga on Greece is apparently over – European institutions have given Athens a third bailout of 86 billion euros which, combined with the previous two, makes a grand total of 240 billion euros.


Roberto Savio

There is no doubt that the large majority of European citizens are convinced that this is a great example of solidarity, and that if Greece is not now able to walk on its own feet, the responsibility will lie solely with Greek citizens and their government.

But this is …

NYT Urges Cautious Response by S. Korea, US

The New York Times has called on South Korea and the United States to cautiously respond in dealing with the crisis on the Korean Peninsula with an emphasis on restraint.

The U.S. daily said in its editorial “A Perilous Moment at the Korean Border,” that given North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal and its erratic leader, Kim Jong-un, any inter-Korean confrontation must be taken seriously and managed carefully.

The report said that the recent inter-Korean exchange of artillery firing is another reminder that the world’s major powers have failed to find a durable solution to one of the world’s most durable security threats, the nuclear-armed North. The daily urged the United States and China to play key roles in urging restraint.

It added that it is an encouraging sign that the two Koreas held high-level talks, easing tensions at least temporarily.

S. Korea, US Raise WATCHCON to Level 2

South Korea and the United States stepped up their intelligence and surveillance status for North Korea’s possible provocation although the two Koreas started inter-Korean high-level talks on Saturday.

The South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command on Sunday raised their five-level Watch Condition alert system, or WATCHCON, from level three to level two.

The South Korean military is closely watching the movements of North Korean troops and mobilizing all available reconnaissance assets.

The South Korean military and U.S. troops also remain ready to immediately respond in case the North attacks South Korea’s loudspeakers on the border.

The South Korean military is said to have detected 72-point-two millimeter field guns, which were used for the North’s artillery provocation on Thursday, being deployed at some parts of the front-line areas. Some North Korean soldiers were also observed conducting a firing drill.

Daesh close to controlling city containing largest oil refinery in Iraq

Daesh is close to taking control of the largest oil refinery in Iraq after clashes with the army in Baiji on Sunday, Anadolu has reported. The city is in the north of Salahuddin Province. "Daesh has tightened its grip on the Abu-Jra'a area which links the city and the refinery," Captain Ghazwan Al-Jubouri told the Turkish news agency.

According to Al-Jubouri, the militants wounded at least four civilians in an attack on the village of Albu Tohme. "They are now attacking Aharijah neighbourhood, in the centre of the area, and fighting continues in other districts," he added.

The Iraqi army said that the security forces have stopped an attack by Daesh militants with a number of bombed cars in Baiji. "But battles continue in the region." The army's statement did not give further details.

The Popular Mobilisation Forces are holding the Joint Operations Room responsible for allowing the militants to advance towards Baiji, claiming that the Iraqi air force …