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29-Jan-12 World View: German Proposal for EU Control over Greece's Budget Causes Fury

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • The African Union celebrates China’s rise in Africa
  • Egypt detains son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
  • Arab League suspends its observer mission to Syria
  • Greece ‘budget commissioner’ proposal adds new vitriol to euro debate
  • An ordinary day in Pakistan

The African Union celebrates China’s rise in Africa


A traditional dancer performs during the inauguration of the new African Union headquaters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, on Saturday. (Reuters)
A traditional dancer performs during the inauguration of the new African Union headquaters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, on Saturday. (Reuters)

The African Union has inaugurated a new headquarters with tributes to China’s rise in Africa. The new $200 million Chinese-built headquarters was officially opened by China’s senior political adviser Jia Qinglin, standing in for Premier Hu Jintao. In a speech to an audience of heads of state and African diplomats in the spectacular 2500-seat Grand Hall, Jia hailed the rapid growth of China-Africa relations. China’s trade with African countries reached $150 billion last year, he said, a 13 fold increase in the past decade. Others at the ceremony praised China as the model for Africa’s economic growth. VOA

Egypt detains son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

A confrontation between the U.S. and Egypt is growing over the arrest last week of Sam LaHood, the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a raid by the Egyptian regime on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working for democracy in Egypt. Several other Americans have been detained as well, on charges of working for an unregistered NGO, and they may be jailed for five years. The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is blaming the recent unrest in Egypt on “foreign hands,” and has accused local NGOs of receiving money from abroad. Bikya Masr (Cairo)

Arab League suspends its observer mission to Syria

The Arab League has frozen its monitoring mission to Syria because of increasing violence, a lot of it taking place right under the noses of the Arab League observers. The decision to freeze the mission comes in the midst of a broad regime offensive that’s killed about 100 people in the past few days, many in their own homes. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby:

“Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence … it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria pending presentation of the issue to the league’s council.”

Syria accused the Arab League of ending the mission in order to pressure the U.N. Security Council:

“Syria regrets and is surprised at the Arab decision to stop the work of its monitoring mission. This will have a negative impact and put pressure on (Security Council) deliberations with the aim of calling for foreign intervention and encouraging armed groups to increase violence.

However, an analyst says, “There has been a dramatic escalation in violence in Syria and, I believe that the termination of the mission of the Arab League observers in Syria indicates that the Syrian Army is about to launch a major offensive. The regime is about to do something dramatic.” VOA and Reuters

Greece ‘budget commissioner’ proposal adds new vitriol to euro debate


IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Saturday (AP)
IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Saturday (AP)

As the days go by and the eurozone debate over the coming default on Greece debt grows more vitriolic, a new proposal has emerged that’s infuriated the Greek public. International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde said that a “fiscal compact” is set to be signed on Monday by eurozone officials, and a leaked document reveals a German proposal to force Greece to accept an external “budget commissioner” who would have the power to veto government decisions on budget, taxes and spending if they were not in line with committed targets. Reaction from the Greek government was furious. The education minister, Anna Diamantopoulou, a former EU commissioner, slammed the idea as “the product of a sick imagination.” The proposal freaked out other people as well, since it would obviously also apply to Ireland, Portugal, and other indebted countries. However, the German proposal points out:

“Given the disappointing compliance so far, Greece has to accept shifting budgetary sovereignty to the European level for a certain period of time.”

London Telegraph and Al-Jazeera

An ordinary day in Pakistan

Following are security developments in Pakistan on Saturday:

  • KARACHI – At least three people were injured when unidentified men threw a hand grenade at a hardware shop in the southern city of Karachi, police officials said.
  • KURRAM – A roadside bomb killed two Pakistani soldiers when it exploded in the Jogi area of the northwestern Kurram tribal region, near the Afghanistan border, a local security official said.

Nothing special. Just another ordinary day in the life of Pakistan. Reuters

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