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28-Dec-11 World View — Thousands of Israelis Protest Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Extremists


This morning’s key headlines from

  • Thousands of Israelis protest ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists
  • Afghan Taliban set up embassy office in Doha, Qatar
  • Last week’s ECB euro liquidity flood is failing badly
  • Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz
  • Why This Kolaveri Di?

Thousands of Israelis protest ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists

Thousands of Israelis gathered on Tuesday evening in the West Bank town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, to protest against ultra-Orthodox extremists whose campaign for gender segregation has erupted into verbal and physical abuse against women. Police said about 3,000 people showed up, with several hundred police supervising. No incidents were reported. Since Israel’s creation, orthodox, reform, secular and conservative Jews have sometimes had difficulty getting along with one another, but some accommodation could always be found. It remains to be seen whether this young ultra-orthodox generation grows or fizzles. AFP

Afghan Taliban set up embassy office in Doha, Qatar

Qatar has apparently scored a major diplomatic coup in the Mideast by becoming the host of an Afghan Taliban embassy liaison office in its capital city, Doha, where peace talks will be held with the U.S. and Europeans. Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai had opposed the Doha office because he was afraid of being shut out of the peace talk, but finally acquiesced. The advantage of holding peace talks in Doha rather than Kabul Afghanistan is that Doha is safer than Kabul from terrorist attacks. The National (UAE)

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, peace talks with the Taliban are problematic. The Taliban are Sunni Islamists from the Pashtun ethnic group that spans southern Afghanistan and northeastern Pakistan, including Pakistan’s tribal region. The Afghan Taliban are in a generational Recovery era, which is a time that peace talks are a real possibility. The Pakistan Taliban are in a generational Crisis era, when peace talks are out of the question. So, it’s possible that peace talks with the Afghan Taliban might go forward, though this might require a split among the Pashtuns. But no peace talks will stop the Pakistan Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, from crossing the border from Pakistan and perpetrating terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Last week’s ECB euro liquidity flood is failing badly

Italy 10-year bond yield at 6.998% on Dec 27, 2011
Italy 10-year bond yield at 6.998% on Dec 27, 2011

Just before Christmas, the European Central Bank (ECB) tried a new approach to ending the euro crisis: It flooded hundreds of eurozone banks with with half a trillion euros of liquidity, in the form of unlimited 3-year loans at 0.75% interest, as we reported last week. It looked like a great idea on paper. The banks would lend money to other banks at higher interest rates, and make money, and would even purchase toxic Italian bonds, in order to bring down interest rates. This would end a threatened euro credit crunch and collapse of the euro interbank market.

Well, it’s all falling apart. Instead of lending the money to other banks, some €410 billion — almost all the amount borrowed last week — is being returned to the ECB, earning only 0.25% interest, meaning that the banks are losing 0.5% interest net. And yields (interest rates) on Italy’s 10-year bonds surged to the ultra-astronomical 7.13% on Monday, before settling at the merely astronomcal rate of 6.998% at the end of the day. Guardian

Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz if the West attempts to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. This threat comes in the midst of ten days of live-fire war games by Iran’s navy in a large region around the Strait. The West has discussed an oil embargo against Iran since early November, when a U.N. nuclear watchdog report said that the country is developing nuclear weapons. According to Dr Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran:

“[such an embargo would create a very difficult situation globally] because that would mean the halt of oil exports from the Middle East and that would have a devastating effect on the global economy.

“The best [strategy for the West] is to quit threatening Iran and trying to punish ordinary Iranians and to try to behave more reasonably in a more respectable manner, and tensions in the region would decrease.

The American behavior is creating a dangerous situation not only for Iran but for the whole globe. The United States is basically pushing things into the direction in which everyone is going to pay a heavy price.”


Why This Kolaveri Di?

For today’s musical entertainment, we have Why This Kolaveri Di, a song that’s surprised everyone by becoming a viral hit throughout Asia and the world, since it was released on November 18. Sung by Tamil star Dhanush, the song is in both Tamil and English. The lyrics are somewhat controversial, as the word “Kolaveri” means “murderous rage,” but it’s a slang word used by young people to shut someone up. The song’s lyrics depict the anguish of a man who was just dumped by his girlfriend. It’s a very catchy song.

[youtube YR12Z8f1Dh8 nolink]

Hindustan Times


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