World View - Norway Mass Murderer: Prison Violating His 'Human Rights'

This morning's key headlines from
  • EU budget talks collapse in acrimony
  • Greece's bailout payment unlikely to be approved by Monday
  • Norwegian mass murderer says prison 'violates his human rights'
  • Syrian refugee crisis explodes with new flood of refugees

EU budget talks collapse in acrimony

The European Union's 2013 budget talks, which were supposed to approve a budget on Friday, collapsed. In fact, the talks never really go the 2013 budget, as an acrimonious debate over how to plug an 8.9 billion euro shortfall in the 2012 budget ended without resolution. At the talks, eight nations -- Austria, Britain, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden -- demanded that the EU's executive branch, known as the European Commission, use 15 billion euros of non-spent monies to plug the hole, but the Commission said those monies had already been spent. If the 2012 shortfall is not made up, then a wide range of social programs will have to end. Net contributor countries (countries that pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits), led by Britain, want to sharply cut spending, to match austerity policies of most countries. France, Finland and Germany want to cut the budget. But net beneficiary countries, led by Poland, urged everyone to do everything possible to get the increased budget passed. Talks will resume on Tuesday, with a November 20 deadline that appears unlikely to be met. 

On Friday, I watched President Obama's speech live, where he talked about the deficit and "fiscal cliff," and said that since he won the election on Tuesday, he did not have to compromise, while his opponents did have to compromise. It appears that the next few months in America will be just as acrimonious as in Europe -- and in China, for that matter. AFP

Greece's bailout payment unlikely to be approved by Monday

Greece's officials had hoped that the leaders of the EU "troika" of organizations bailing out Greece -- the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- would have approved a 31.5 billion euro bailout payment by Monday, in time to allow Greece to repay 5 billion euros of debt next week, and avoid bankruptcy. There is sharp disagreement among the troika members over whether Greece should be required to meet its austerity commitments, in view of the fact that Greece's economy continues to spiral down the drain. It looks like the next few days are going to be very tense. Guardian (London)

Norwegian mass murderer says prison 'violates his human rights'

33-year-old mass murderer Anders Breivik, who was convicted of killing 77 children in Norway, mostly children, and who repeatedly said he was glad he did it, wrote a letter to prison authorities whining about conditions in his maximum security prison. After a newspaper exposed his correspondence with high-ranking neo-Nazi extremists, he no longer is permitted to use a computer, and all letters he sends and receives are censored to omit any mention of politics. Needless to say, the families of his victims are not sympathetic. Daily Mail (London)

Syrian refugee crisis explodes with new flood of refugees

Some 9,000 refugees fled from Syria to Turkey in a single day on Thursday, while another 2,000 went to Jordan and Lebanon. This brings the number of Syria refugees registered with the United Nations to more than 408,000. Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the United Nations: 

It is very strange. There are currently atrocities being committed in Syria, and these atrocities are being directed by a state leader. While these atrocities are continuing ... there is a United Nations that is remaining silent towards it.

How far will this go? When will the permanent members of the UN Security Council take responsibility? We are obliged to act together to counter this, otherwise we cannot refer to this world body as being democratic.

Among the 9,000 Syrians crossing over into Turkey, there were many army officers, including two generals, 11 colonels, two lieutenant colonels, two majors, four captains and five sergeants. Today's Zaman (Istanbul) 

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