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15-Feb-12 World View: Eurogroup Cancels Bailout Meeting as Greece's Economy Collapses

15-Feb-12 World View: Eurogroup Cancels Bailout Meeting as Greece's Economy Collapses

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • China’s Xi Jinping receives reassurance on Taiwan from Barack Obama
  • Tibetans fear bloody repression by China’s security forces
  • Three bomb blasts in Bangkok, Thailand, blow Iranian’s leg off
  • Italy cancels Rome’s bid to host Summer Olympics in 2020
  • Greece reports disastrous Q4 economic results
  • Eurozone finance ministers cancel Wednesday meeting on Greece
  • Escalating sectarian violence on Arabian peninsula

 

China’s Xi Jinping receives reassurance on Taiwan from Barack Obama

China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping met US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington on Tuesday morning. Obama said it’s vital for the US to have strong relations with China and his country welcomes the peaceful rise of China. Xi reiterated Beijing’s position on the Taiwan issue, urging Washington to conform to the spirit of the three joint communiques underpinning the China-US relations. He called on the US side to safeguard, with concrete action, the peaceful development of the relations across the Taiwan Strait and the overall development of China-US relations. Xi said the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and remains, as always, the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations. Beijing appreciates Washington’s repeated declarations of its commitment to the one-China policy on various occasions, Xi said. Xi is expected to replace Hu Jintao as China’s president later this year. China Daily

 

Tibetans fear bloody repression by China’s security forces

With large Tibetan regions of China sealed off from the outside world in the last couple of weeks, the head of Tibet’s exile government is warning that there’s a major crackdown occurring away from the eyes of the world. February 22 is the Tibetan New Year, and March 10 is the anniverary of Tibet’s failed 1959 uprising, Tibetans are expected to demonstrate, and China’s response is expected to be bloody. Foreign tourists have been ordered to leave the region and Western reporters are effectively barred, making it impossible to know the reality of the situation. AP


Three bomb blasts in Bangkok, Thailand, blow Iranian’s leg off

Bystanders watch as a bomb disposal expert approaches the attack site in Bangkok

Bystanders watch as a bomb disposal expert approaches the attack site in Bangkok

A man with an Iranian passport blew his own legs off when a bomb he was carrying exploded as he was about to throw it at police. No one was killed in two other blasts that occurred around the same time, but two other suspects were arrested. Police say that the bombs were intended for “foreign nationals” in Thailand. Since the blasts came a day after terrorist bombings in India and Georgia targeted Israeli embassy personnel, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak blamed the series of explosions on Iran. Iran denies they were involved, and one analyst says that the attacks in India, Georgia and now Thailand have all been highly amateurish. “[They] lack the sophistication that would normally be expected from an operation executed by either Hezbollah or Iran’s own external operations wing, the Quds Force.” Bangkok Post

 

Italy cancels Rome’s bid to host Summer Olympics in 2020

Italy’s interim, unelected prime minister Mario Monti crushed Rome’s hope to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games when he announced that his government would not support the bid, because of the economic crisis.

“The government doesn’t think it would be responsible with the condition Italy is it to guarantee [the bid]. … Our government was called to operate in an emergency and asked for important sacrifices.”

Rome last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1960 when it was enjoying a post-World War II economic boom dubbed the Italian Economic Miracle. Adnkronos International (Italy)

 

Greece reports disastrous Q4 economic results

Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted in 2011 at the rate of 6.8%, the highest on record, and much worse than even the most pessimistic forecasts. This comes after reports that the unemployment rate is above 20% of the work force. Worse still, with the measures the government has just agreed to for the containment of public spending and the reduction of salaries in the private sector, there are hardly any grounds for anyone to claim that the economy will be able to post even a minimal rebound this year. Kathimerini

 

Eurozone finance ministers cancel Wednesday meeting on Greece

The Eurozone continued to turn the screws on Greece by canceling a Wednesday meeting of the Eurogroup finance ministers that had been expected to approve Greece’s second debt bailout deal. Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker called off the meeting, because Greece has not yet met its commitments for the bailout meeting. Juncker said that Greek politicians’ insistence on limiting cuts to auxiliary pensions has caused a shortfall of €325 million in spending cuts that have to be made up another way. Juncker said that, in addition, he hadn’t received the signed letters of commitments from Greece’s political leaders that whoever wins the April elections will implement the committed austerity measures. They include 15,000 public sector layoffs this year, and a 22% reduction in the minimum wage. Kathimerini

 

Escalating sectarian violence on Arabian peninsula

For the most part, the “Arab Spring” violence of the last year has been non-sectarian, and more generational. But the violence in Syria has been getting increasingly sectarian in the last few months, as regime of Bashar al-Assad, largely supported by Alawites, has been specifically targeting Sunni Muslims. Now, Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence is increasing in eastern Saudi Arabia as gunfights have been increasing since October. In Bahrain, protests by the Shia majority against the Sunni monarchy have been increasing, on the first anniversary of last year’s uprising. Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia face “significant political, economic, legal, social and religious discrimination condoned by the government,” according to a 2009 U.S. State Dept. report. It’s widely believed that Iran is stoking the sectarian violence. Bloomberg

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