15-Dec-11 World View — Egypt's Seculars Try To Beat Islamists In Today's Voting

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Wukan village in southeast China under siege, running out of food
  • Euro, gold, copper, oil all fall on worries about Europe’s economy
  • IMF demands that Greece break the ‘taboo’ of dismissing civil servants
  • Palestinians ask Europeans to support U.N. membership bid
  • Egypt’s seculars try to beat Islamists in today’s voting

Wukan village in southeast China under siege, running out of food

Demonstration in center of Wukan village (Telegraph)

Demonstration in center of Wukan village (Telegraph)

The village of Wukan in Guangdong province in southeastern China is under siege by Chinese security forces. With all roads blocked, no food or water is allowed in, and the 20,000 residents have enough supplies to last just another 10 more days. With tens of thousands of “mass incidents” each year, China’s security forces are well trained to crush protests as quickly as they start. However, an attack last week by 1,000 armed police failed to capture the village. As is the case with many of these armed incidents, the protests are against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) élite officials who take the peasants’ land, sell it to real estate developers, and pocket the money. However, the protests exploded when one of the villagers died while in police custody. The police say he had a had a heart attack, but his family points to evidence that he was beaten to death by the police. China has a long history of massive, bloody rebellions, such as the Taiping Rebellion of 1852-64, and the Communist Revolution of 1934-49, each slaughtering tens of millions of people. China is due for its next massive rebellion, which is why the Wukan rebellion is so worrying to the paranoid government in Beijing. Telegraph

Euro, gold, copper, oil all fall on worries about Europe’s economy

The euro currency and commodities across the board fell sharply on Wednesday, as more and more analysts come to realize that last Friday’s eurozone deal accomplished nothing. Investors are apparently leaving stocks and commodities, including gold, for the safe haven of the U.S. dollar. The euro fell below $1.30 for the first time since January, gold fell to a five month low at $1,586 per ounce, oil fell to a two-month low, and natural gas fell to a 27 month low. Copper, aluminum, nickel, grains, oilseeds and livestock all fell, on increasing concern over the European debt crisis. Analysts are attributing the collapse to forced sales resulting from margin calls on overextended investors. (Forced sales from margin calls were the immediate cause of the 1929 crash.) Bloomberg


IMF demands that Greece break the ‘taboo’ of dismissing civil servants

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning Greece that it must break its “taboos” against dismissing civil servants, if it’s going to reduce its budget deficit enough to qualify for further bailouts. Greece’s economy will contract by at least 6% this year, making it almost impossible that previously announced deficit reduction targets for 2011 or 2012 will be met. IMF official Poul Thomsen said, “There is no more room for across-the-board expenditure cuts in wages and pensions. Greece needs to move more aggressively in closing down redundant state enterprises and may have to accept redundancies [layoffs]. I cannot see how Greece can tackle fiscal problems without addressing these taboos.” Kathimerini (Athens)

Palestinians ask Europeans to support U.N. membership bid

Abbas and EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy (AFP)

Abbas and EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy (AFP)

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas asked EU officials to support the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership at a meeting on Wednesday, a day after the Palestinian flag was raised to signify Palestinian membership of UNESCO (U.N. education, science and culture agency). However, European Union members are split on the issue. In the vote over Palestinian membership in UNESCO, 11 EU nations voted in favor — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Spain. Eleven others abstained — Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia — and five voted against. They were the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden. AFP

Egypt’s seculars try to beat Islamists in today’s voting

In Egypt’s parliamentary elections on Nov 28-29, the two Islamist parties — the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour party — together won 70% of the seats. Now, in the second round of voting, Egypt’s young secularists hope to reverse that result, but are given little chance of doing so. A group of women were interviewed on al-Jazeera today, and they said that they were voting for an Islamist party because it gave them a sense of identity. Other interviews of Egyptian women in the past indicate that they reject Western concerns about women’s rights, because they view the West’s high divorce rate and single-parent families as proof that the Islamist system is better. The Egyptian Bloc, a grouping of liberal and socialist parties, got just 9% of the seats in the first round of the elections. One of their new TV ads says, “If you don’t want Egypt to become like Afghanistan or turn into an America, choose the Egyptian Bloc.” However, they’re not expected to do much better today than last time. Associated Press

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