This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.
Syrian troops advance to Turkey’s border in new escalation
In a new escalation of the tensions between Syria and Turkey, Syrian troops advanced on border villages with tanks, snipers and foot soldiers on Thursday, to within the sight of Turkish troops. The Syrian troops attacked refugees that had been camping on the Syrian side, forcing 15,000 more Syrian refugees to flee in panic into Turkey, forcing local officials to create a sixth refugee camp. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have already crossed over, and Turkish Red Crescent officials say that they have the capacity to provide aid to 250,000 persons if necessary. AP
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of a possible border conflict between Syrian and Turkish forces on Thursday evening:
“If true, that aggressive action will only exacerbate the already unstable refugee situation in Syria.
Unless the Syrian forces immediately end their attacks and their provocations that are not only now affecting their own citizens but (raising) the potential of border clashes, then we’re going to see an escalation of conflict in the area.
It is further example of the lengths to which President Assad’s regime will go to repress the people of Syria rather than actually working in a collaborative way to try to resolve the legitimate concerns of the Syrian people.”
Turkey denies supplying Gaddafi troops with food
Al-Jazeera has reported finding that Turkish food rations were feeding forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. If Turkey is supplying food to Gaddafi’s forces, it would be a violation of United Nations sanctions. The rations are produced by UNIFO, a Turkish company which specialises in portable rations and meals ready-to-eat. Turkey’s foreign ministry said that anyone could purchase the food rations and supply them to Libyan forces, but that it has no knowledge of any Turkish company doing that. Al-Jazeera
Netanyahu demands that Palestinians accept Israel as ‘the Jewish state’
Israel’s prime miniter Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday night that restarting peace negotiations would requlre that the Palestinian leaders accept Israel as “the Jewish state.” Netanyahu pointed out that he had accepted the idea of a Palestinian state in 2009. Jerusalem Post
Palestinians may be easing demands for settlement freeze
AP is reporting that top Palestinian official is saying that the Palestinians are ready to ease their demand for a full freeze on Israel’s settlement construction in east Jerusalem. The softened position reflects the Palestinians’ growing realization that their alternative strategies to talks — reconciling with the Hamas militant group and seeking unilateral recognition at the United Nations — are both in trouble. The reconciliation agreement is collapsing because of Fatah / Hamas disagreements over control of the unity government. AP
Washington’s debt reduction talks mirror Greece’s austerity debate
The debt reduction debate, which is Washington’s version of Greece’s debate on austerity measures, collapsed on Thursday, when the two Republican leaders walked out of the talks hosted by VP Joe Biden. The impasse was over raising taxes, which the Republicans oppose and the Democrats say are necessary. According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, “There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation.” Similar quotes have been heard in Athens. ABC News
EU and IMF approve Greece’s proposed austerity measures
Austerity measures proposed by Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos meet the requirements to get the next bailout payment were endorsed by officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. It seems that every day there’s some kind of announcement like that that is virtually meaningless. The crucial test will come on Tuesday, when Greece’s legislature has to pass the austerity law, which is opposed by Greece’s powerful public sector unions. Bloomberg
New Jersey legislature approves deep cuts to public worker pensions
New Jersey’s Assembly passed a landmark overhaul of the health and pension benefits for public employees in a historic defeat for New Jersey’s powerful public sector unions. Under the law, public employees will have to pay more for their benefits. Although the vote was largely partisan, one Democrat said, “Kicking the can down the road and doing nothing will only require more sacrifice from taxpayers and public workers in the future.” New Jersey Star Ledger