- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Chile 5.3 !More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to: Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Israel evacuates embassy in Jordan ahead of protests.(JPost).Israel evacuated its embassy in Jordan Wednesday evening, hours before a Facebook organized march under the banner (in Arabic) of “No Zionist embassy on Jordanian territory.”Unlike in Egypt, where diplomats lived with their families, in Amman the Israeli delegation serves without their families, and comes home for weekends. The decision came just days after the 13-hour rampage at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, during which six security guards locked themselves behind a steel door while mobs ransacked the embassy.Egyptian commandos rescued those six security guards from the Cairo embassy, as protesters broke into archives and threw documents from the building’s windows into the street below where demonstrators were celebrating.The government has said that Israel would respect the peace treaty with Egypt, and was determined to return its envoy as soon as possible.Read the full story here.
- Erdogan’s beloved IHH Delivers Aid to Somali Terrorist Group.(IP).Two Turkish aid workers were arrested Monday near the Somalia capital of Mogadishu after meeting with a U.S.-designated terrorist organization during a humanitarian aid mission to the region.”The Turkish aid workers were arrested because they did not coordinate with our national security. They met with al Shabaab without clearance or approval from government security,” a government humanitarian coordinator told Reuters.The pair was released following talks between Turkey’s ambassador to Somalia, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the Horn of Africa country’s chief of intelligence. One of the workers is an emergency aid official working with the Hamas-tied Turkish charity IHH.An IHH official who declined to be named dismissed the incident as “normal, because of the security situation there.”The Turks were arrested after delivering food and supplies to an area outside Mogadishu known as KM 50, where thousands of Somalis are living in refugee camps. KM 50 is controlled by al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group tied to al-Qaida and fighting to overthrow the Somali government.This was the first aid group to visit the region controlled by al-Shabaab, which has banned aid agencies from operating in areas they control. The group arrived at the refugee camp on Monday, and a Turkish delegate said they were warmly welcomed by al-Shabaab officials in the region. The official added that the group will deliver aid to other regions controlled by the terrorist group.Sheikh Hassan Abu Ayman, a member of al-Shabaab’s committee for drought, said the Turkish men reached them to deliver humanitarian aid and food to the famine-hit Somalis.An IHH-sponsored humanitarian aid ship named “Gazze” arrived in Mogadishu on Monday, and was welcomed by the IHH aid teams in the region. IHH also intends to dispatch the Mavi Marmara ship, the site of the controversial May 2010 Gaza flotilla clash, on a humanitarian mission to Somalia.Hmmmmm…….”By their fruits you will know them”?Read the full story here.
- Palestinians back off UN Security Council statehood bid.(Debka).The tempest which Israel had tensely anticipated for September in the wake of a Palestinian bid for unilateral UN recognition of their state looks like fizzling out before it begins as a result of a massive US campaign to avert it, backed by Saudi Arabia, Europe and Egypt.Early Wednesday, Sept. 14, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided crucially not to submit his application to the UN Security Council. He also notified Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and European Union foreign executive Catherine Ashton in Cairo that he was considering watering down his application to the UN General Assembly – possibly by dropping the “state within 1967 borders” provision from the text.Abbas said he would make his final decision known in a public address from Ramallah Friday, Sept 16 before flying to New York to join world leaders at the UN General Assembly’s 66th session which began Tuesday.But first, he meets Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair in Amman for a conversation which debkafile’s exclusive sources term critical, because Blair will hand him a document termed by senior Washington sources “an outline” of a new format designed to oil Palestinian wheels into unlocking the long-stalled Palestinian dialogue with Israel.This outline has been endorsed by Washington, the EU and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It is now subject to acceptance by Israel and the Palestinians. Moscow has not yet indicated whether it approves the document or wants changes.By Wednesday morning, the Israeli government had not yet received a copy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no doubt that he will be called upon for concessions extreme enough to lure the Palestinian leader back to the table. Blair is expected to deliver the document to Netanyahu some time Thursday after Abbas has seen it. To tie up the ends, senior White House envoys, Dennis Ross and David Hale, are due back in Jerusalem and Ramallah Wednesday.During his visit to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas was sternly warned by Saud al Faisal, Ashton and Egyptian leaders of the grave consequences awaiting the Palestinians if he forced the UN to exercise its veto against their statehood at the UN Security Council. US President Barack Obama Tuesday made it crystal clear that he “objects very strongly” to the Palestinian statehood motion as “counterproductive” and “a distraction from solving problems that can only be addressed through negotiations.”US sources report that the US President has refused to talk to Abbas for the past eight months owing to his refusal to join Israel for direct peace talks. He was advised by the Europeans, the Saudis and Egyptians this week that the US presidential boycott would almost certainly extend to fellow Palestinian leaders and US financial aid. The Palestinian Authority would thus be placed under American sanctions. However, if he withdrew his statehood bid from the Security Council and accepted the new position paper, Obama would consider restoring communications.Tuesday, Sept. 13, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “The path to creating an independent Palestinian state lies through direct talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem – not New York,” she said. Early Wednesday, the General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar reported that the Palestinians had not yet submitted their request to the General Assembly. It would therefore not come up for debate before October.debkafile’s sources report that while Mahmoud Abbas appears to have been hassled into a partial climb-down from his original plan to bypass talks with Israel by gaining UN approval of Palestinian statehood, he may not have caved in completely. Neither is it clear whether Netanyahu will swallow the new blueprint Tony Blair is about to dish up.Hmmmm…..Considering the source is Debka there’s a possibility that the ‘news’ is not completely trustworthy, still i posted it seeing that the independent posted it also.Read the full story here.
- Erdogan’s ‘Dangerous Macho Posturing’.EU Politicians Slam Turkey’s Anti-Israel Course.(Spiegel).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only using his tour of several Arab states for self-promotion, but for verbal attacks against Israel as well. “No one can play with Turkey or Turkish honor,” Erdogan said in Cairo on Tuesday. Israel lost Turkey as a strategic partner after the Israeli military attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010.During the Arab Spring, Erdogan has presented himself as a new power, a model leader and a “rising star” with “near pop-star status” in the region, as the New York Times has described the Turkish leader. His multi-day trip to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya is meant to strengthen his role in the region.However, Erdogan has also linked his solidarity with the Arab world to a strident anti-Israel foreign policy. Indeed, the political battle lines between Turkey and Israel have been intensifying in recent weeks:
■Erdogan expelled senior Israeli diplomats in early September. If the tension between the two countries wasn’t thick enough already, this step only served to escalate the dispute between them.
■Ankara halted its military cooperation with Israel and announced an increased Turkish military presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. All trade ties with Israel are currently frozen and Erdogan is threatening “further sanctions.”
■At the same time, Erdogan is presenting himself more and more as an advocate for the Palestinians. More than once, he has vociferously considered visiting the Gaza Strip, a move Israel would regard as an affront.
■Erdogan doesn’t shy away from verbal attacks, either. On Monday, he said Israel had behaved like a “spoiled child” and accused Israel of supporting “state terror.” He described Israel’s military action against last year’s flotilla to Gaza as a “cause for war.”
The conflict could also put Ankara’s relationship with the European Union to the test. The dispute over the deadly military raid on the Gaza flotilla, which left nine Turkish activists dead, could grow into a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the EU. Indeed, among high-profile politicians in the European Parliament, criticism of Erdogan is growing.Elmar Brok, the foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, said he is skeptical of Turkey’s efforts to establish itself as a regional power within the Arab world. He said Erdogan is seeking to transform it into a regional power similar to the status it held “earlier with the Ottoman Empire.” He said Ankara isn’t pursuing the goal of EU membership and that “it is using the conflict with Israel in order to gain credibility in the region,” Brok told SPIEGEL ONLINE.Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of the European Parliament with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) said he also viewed the shift in foreign policy course by the Turkish government as a sign that Ankara’s EU ambitions are waning. Turkey, as a secular democracy, may be a role model for the countries currently undergoing a phase of transformation, the FDP party group leader in Brussels told SPIEGEL ONLINE, “but Ankara can in no way be allowed to link the reorientation of its foreign policy with anti-Western sentiment.” Lamsbdorff has accused the Erdogan government of using “gunboat rhetoric” in its statements about Israel. The Turkish government’s aggressive policy course against Israel, he said, shows that the country currently has “no interest” in pushing forward EU accession talks. “With a strident anti-Israel course, it isn’t making any friends in Europe” right now, Lambsdorff said. Hmmmm……Keep Turkey out of the European union and get them out of NATO.Read the full story here.
- ‘Jew Or Not Jew’ I-Phone App Provokes Outrage In France.(BigPeace).The app available in France is called “Juif ou pas Juif” (Jew or not Jew) and promises to reveal who is Jewish. ”All the information is already available online,” says creator Johann Levy, who lives in Marseille and is himself, Jewish. ”I’m just compiling it all.” The app costs 79 euro cents and has provoked outrage.“I don’t know if its irresponsible, but it’s incredibly dangerous,” said Alain Jakubowicz, president of Licra, a French anti-semitism group.Hmmmm……what’s next?Tattooed numbers?Read the full story here.
- Beijing as the Euro’s Savior -Europe and China Bound by Mutual Fears.(Spiegel).By Stefan Schultz. A few years ago, critics from the United States and Europe gave their trading partner China a less-than-favorable name: In an insulting bit of latent racism, they dubbed the emerging superpower a “yellow peril.” They warned of an army of Chinese minimum wage laborers, who would destroy entire industries in the West — and with them millions of jobs. They also warned of growing political influence from the East, which could ultimately even lead to an erosion of human rights.In recent months, the critics have gone quiet — because they have far more important problems to worry about. Problems with many zeros on the end. At around $15.2 trillion (€11.1 trillion), the US government’s debt at the end of 2012 could be as high as the amount of money the country generates in a year.In Europe, the debt prognosis is hardly any better. Italy: €1.9 trillion (approximately 120 percent of annual economic output); Greece: €472 billion (150 percent). The debt clocks of America and the euro countries are ticking relentlessly, and the slogan “Money rules the world” is being given a new meaning. In record time, it seems the current global balance of power is shifting — in favor of China.On Monday, the US government fired an urgent warning towards Europe. The euro crisis threatens global growth, President Barack Obama said. “As long as this crisis is not solved, we will continue to see weaknesses in the global economy.” But America itself is alarmingly high in debt; Obama’s exhortation seems like cheap campaign rhetoric, a maneuver to divert attention away from his own serious problems.China currently appears in quite a different light: The country has foreign exchange reserves of $3.2 trillion. The government is holding around a quarter of that in euro securities, mostly government bonds, said Daniel Gros of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. According to the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper, China has more than tripled its financial commitment in Europe since 2007, and this trend is growing. His country was ready to “extend a helping hand” and to invest more in European countries and the US, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday. China has already bought Greek and Portuguese government bonds, and, according to a report by London’s Financial Times this week, debt-ridden Italy has recently wooed Chinese sovereign wealth fund CIC for money. America can only warn, while China promises salvation: This is the new creed of the global debt crisis. The supposed “yellow peril” has positioned itself as a “white knight” which promises not to leave its trading partners in Europe and America in the lurch.In return, however, Beijing is demanding a high price — the Chinese government wants more political prestige and more political power:
■Prime Minister Wen has called for more access to American markets, saying the US should be more open for Chinese investors. If China invests more in US companies, new jobs would also be created, he argues. As conciliatory as that sounds, however, the words are poison for President Obama given that high unemployement in the US could ultimately scupper his chances for re-election.
■Wen is also demanding that the US lift restrictions on the export of high technology products to China. This would allow America to increase exports and improve its trade deficit. So far, US companies have held back from such a policy for fear their technology would be copied by potential Chinese competiters.
■Far-reaching demands have also been made of Europe by Wen: European Union countries, he argues, should at last recognize the world’s second largest economy as a market economy. He is hoping for a “breakthrough” to happen as soon as the next EU-China Summit on Oct. 25 in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
The demands are not all new — but China is pushing them with increasing intensity. This is especially shown by the discussion about the recognition of China as a market economy. This would happen automatically in 2016, but for China that is not fast enough, as such a recognition would at a stroke reduce many barriers to trade. In particular, direct investment in Europe would become much easier.Until now, the debate has been going in just one direction: To recognize China as a market economy sooner, Europe has demanded major concessions on human rights and the protection of intellectual property. China is now turning the tables: Much-needed support during the euro crisis will be available, it says — if Europeans recognize China as having a market economy.Europe must not be intimidated, however, because it is China’s most important trading partner after the US. “The crisis in the euro zone is also hurting China,” said Eberhard Sandschneider of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). “Not only because Beijing is holding a large amount of European debt securities, but also because the country wants to expand into Europe.” In addition, Beijing has consistently stressed that the US dollar should be replaced as the key currency by a triumvirate of dollar, euro and Chinese yuan — and therefore China wants to support Europe.Thus, Europe’s negotiating position is not all that terrible; it has more political leverage than it would appear at first. Not the least of which is the fact that the continent’s ominous weaknesses act as a means of putting pressure on China; it might not be an over-exaggeration to say there is a certain balance of horror. If one fails, both fail. Nevertheless, Europe will have to get used to the fact that China will be increasingly negotiating using the methods of the industrialized Western nations; that is to say, it will use its growing economic clout more and more as a political weapon.”The behavior of the Chinese government in the euro crisis has become a whole lot more confident,” said Sandschneider. “This is the new reality with which Europe and America must deal with constructively.”Read the full story here.
- Congressional Investigator: More Solar Bankruptcies to Come.(Heritage).A top congressional investigator said on Tuesday that he believes more companies that benefitted from the stimulus bill’s renewable energy loan guarantee program will go bankrupt before all allotted funds are spent.The program, which guaranteed a $535 million loan to Solyndra before the company declared bankruptcy last week, still has $8-10 billion in authorized funding that has yet to be spent. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said he had called on the administration to hold off on awarding more loan guarantees from the program.“The question is: how many Solyndras are out there?” Stearns said. “I’m convinced based upon what I’ve seen on this kind of industry and solar panel, that there’s more that are going to go bankrupt, and I think the president’s unwise to continue this idea of funding through taxpayer money industries that are not viable.”Stearns would not reveal which companies he thought are at risk, saying he would save that information for his panel’s Wednesday hearing on the Solyndra bankruptcy. “I’ve called upon the president not to award any more money for this kind of venture, and to return the money to the Treasury rather than put it out the door,” he added.Stearns’s hearing will examine two aspects of alleged corruption in Solyndra’s loan guarantee award, he said. The panel will examine both the possibility that political factors played a p[art in the award – a major investor in the company is also a large Obama donor – and the apparent lack of oversight by the White House Office of Management and Budget and other federal officials.OMB’s director will testify at the hearing Wednesday, as will the Energy Department official who supervised the loan program. Stearns said the committee had agreed to postpone the testimony of Solyndra’s CEO and CFO in exchange for agreements that they would not “plead the fifth” and refuse to answer questions when they eventually do appear before the committee.Hmmmm…..Can we start impeachment procedures now?Read the full story here.