This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Cyprus rejects European bailout without a single supporting vote
- California businesses hit with $120 million retroactive tax
- Syria crosses a 'red line' with chemical weapons
Cyprus rejects European bailout without a single supporting vote
Protesters holds up protest signs in Nicosia, Cyprus (AP)
In a stunning rebuke to European politicians, including Cyprus's newly
elected president Nicos Anastasiades, Cyprus's parliament rejected the
terms of the proposed European bailout that would have levied a 6.7%
tax on all bank accounts with less than 100,000 euros, and 9.9% on
amounts above 100,000 euros. 36 members voted against the plan, while
18 abstained. Meanwhile, politicians have been pointing fingers at
each other, each claiming that it was somebody else's dumb idea to
confiscate the savings of widows and orphans.
Although it's still possible that the Europeans will cave and the ECB
will bail out Cyprus completely, a number of commentators are saying
that the most likely scenario now is that Cyprus will leave the euro
and -- get this -- might possibly replace it with the Russian ruble as
its official currency. The reason is that Cyprus's economy is
already overwhelmingly dominated by investments (and money
laundering) by Russian oligarchs.
The big jewel in play here is the offshore oil and gas fields
potentially worth many billions of dollars in the years to come.
Russia would like to have rights to those fields, and the Europeans
may give Cyprus a complete bailout in return for European control of
the fields. Reuters and FT Brussels Blog
California businesses hit with $120 million retroactive tax
California's tax authorities have announced that they're
re-interpreting a five-year-old tax law which gives a break for small
businesses that's given a lot of credit for promoting job growth and
investment, especially in high tech. California plans to send out tax
bills to companies that took advantage of the law, and demand $120
million in retroactive tax payments. Opponents are saying that the
re-interpretation is confiscation, like the confiscation of bank
savings accounts in Cyprus. Fox News
Syria crosses a 'red line' with chemical weapons
It is "highly probable" that chemical weapons have been used in
Syria. According to Syria's state-run news service Sana:
"Terrorists launched a missile containing chemical
products into the region of Khan al-Assal in the province of
Aleppo, killing 15 people, mainly civilians."
There are a couple of problems with this claim, according to analysts.
First, the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has lied
frequently, blaming "terrorists" for its own actions, namely firing
missiles into homes and schools, massacring innocent mothers and
children, with the full support of the Russians. So it looks
like something we've seen dozens of times since this conflict
began: al-Assad makes a bloody attack on innocent civilians,
this time using chemical weapons, and then blames it on
The second problem, according to analysts I heard, is that launching a
chemical weapons missile requires sophistication that the rebels don't
have, and that the regime does have.
The regime's use of chemical weapons comes a day after the regime's
warplanes attacked targets in Lebanon, threatening to expand the
war outside of Syria.
Initially, the Obama administration made a statement that there was no
evidence that the chemical weapons allegations were true, but the
chairman of the of the House Intelligence Committee says that there is
a "high probability" that chemical weapons were used.
The administration will now face a credibility test. President Obama
has said unequivocally in the past that the use of chemical weapons
would be a "red line" that, if crossed, would bring U.S. forces into
the war. If the chemical weapons charges are confirmed, that
statement will be tested. CNN
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