RT: World’s largest cement maker leaving Russia
Swiss cement giant Holcim is leaving Russia, the company announced in a statement on its Telegram channel on Wednesday. Its Russian unit will be transferred to a local management team.
Guardian: Germany’s Scholz backs more Balkan states joining EU
The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said it is in the interests of Germany and Europe for the remaining Balkan states to become EU members, and welcomed the decision to grant Bosnia candidate status.
“More for us to harvest! I mean, uh, if you don’t join, the Putler under the bed will getcha!"
Climate Change News: EU strikes internal deal to tax carbon at its borders
After all-night negotiations, the European Union struck a political deal on Tuesday to impose a carbon tax on imports of polluting goods such as steel and cement, a world-first scheme aiming to support European industries as they decarbonise.
Companies importing those goods into the EU will be required to buy certificates to cover their embedded CO2 emissions. The scheme is designed to apply the same CO2 cost to overseas firms and domestic EU industries – the latter of which are already required to buy permits from the EU carbon market when they pollute.
Brussels has said countries could be exempted if they have equivalent climate change policies to the EU, and suggested the United States could dodge the levy on this basis.
Emerging economies have criticised the concept. Last April, China, India, Brazil and South Africa jointly “expressed grave concern” about the “trade barriers”.
RT: EU and UK load up on Russian diesel ahead of embargo – Bloomberg
Western Europe is continuing to stock up on Russian diesel-type fuel despite the looming embargo on the country’s petroleum products, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing data provided by Vortexa.
According to the outlet’s calculations, based on the data, close to half of waterborne diesel imports to the European Union and the United Kingdom in the first 10 days of December came from Russian shipping facilities. Data shows that imports of Russian fuel have been growing for three straight months.
Reuters: UK inflation falls from 41-year high giving some relief to BoE
British inflation fell more sharply than expected in November to 10.7% from October’s 41-year high of 11.1%, according to official consumer prices data that may offer some comfort to the Bank of England and hard-squeezed households.
TeleSUR: Over 40,000 Rail Workers Go on Strike in the United Kingdom
TeleSUR: Hungary Extends Price Caps on Staple Food
The Hungarian government has extended the price caps on staple food until the end of next April, the Ministry of Agriculture said here on Tuesday. In a statement released late at night, Minister of Agriculture Istvan Nagy underlined that the price caps work, because “customers buy more of the products that they can get at a more affordable price.”
TeleSUR: Athens to Turn Refugee Camp Into Public Park
Eleonas was built in a former industrial zone in the autumn of 2015 to accommodate 2,000 people. The last group of its residents was transferred to other facilities this November.
East Asia and Oceania
SCMP: Taipei, Beijing trade barbs over latest import bans as Taiwan plans WTO case
Thousands of Taiwanese food and drink products – from seafood to alcohol – have been blocked from mainland China. Taipei calls it unfair and another move to pressure the island, while Beijing says accusations are an act of ‘political manipulation’.
RT: US to blacklist more Chinese firms – Bloomberg
The administration of US President Joe Biden plans to place major chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) and over 30 other Chinese firms on a trade blacklist that would prevent them from buying certain American components, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
RT: China reaps profits from record LNG tanker orders – Reuters
According to the report, Chinese LNG tanker contracts have tripled so far this year to 45 orders, for a total of 66 vessels as of late November. This brings China’s share to 30% of global LNG carrier-building contracts against only 9% last year. The bookings are worth an estimated $9.8 billion, which is around one fifth of this year’s total LNG tanker order value.
TeleSUR: Chinese Vice Premier Hu Meets With Iranian President Raisi
China views its ties with Iran from a strategic perspective and will not waver in its determination to develop their comprehensive strategic partnership, Hu said. The Chinese leader also pointed out that his country firmly supports Iran in opposing external interference and safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national dignity.
WSWS: Chinese hospitals face deluge of patients with end of Zero COVID
Although the confirmed seven-day average of new COVID cases in China has been sharply declining recently, the press in Asia is reporting that public hospitals in major cosmopolitan centers are being swamped with COVID patients presenting with fevers and respiratory symptoms. All this takes place but a matter of days after the complete abandonment of Zero COVID.
Reuters: India’s December wheat stocks fall to 6-year low, lifts prices
Indian wheat stocks held in government warehouses for December fell to the lowest in six years, government data showed on Tuesday, as prices jumped to a record high on rising demand and falling inventories.
Iraqi News: Vietnam factory workers laid off as West cuts imports
Almost half a million others have been forced to work fewer hours as orders fall in the Southeast Asian country, one of the world’s largest exporters of clothing, footwear and furniture.
WSWS: Thousands of garment workers laid off in the Philippines
In the largest retrenchment this year in the Philippines, 4,485 workers at the Mactan Export Processing Zone and the Cebu Light Industrial Park, both located in the central Philippine city of Lapu-Lapu, were laid off in October.
WSWS: Australian Labor government restricts COVID testing
The federal Labor government in Australia has launched another major attack on the public health response to the pandemic, confirming that from the beginning of next year most Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the virus will require a doctor’s referral.
Central Asia and the Middle East
Monthly Review: Over 11,000 Yemeni children have been killed or injured since 2015: UNICEF
More than 11,000 Yemeni children have been killed or injured since the escalation of fighting in Yemen in 2015, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on Sunday, December 11. 2015 is the year when the Saudi-led international coalition intervened in the conflict in Yemen.
Reuters: U.S. says to commit $55 bln to Africa ahead of summit
The United States will commit $55 billion to Africa over the next three years as President Joe Biden prepares to host the U.S.-Africa summit this week and discuss 2023 elections and democracy in the continent with a small group of leaders.
Al Jazeera: Famine averted but situation ‘catastrophic’ in Somalia: UN
Africa News: DR Congo militia takes fight to M23 rebels to stop their advances
TeleSUR: Calm Restored in South Sudan Amid Displacements
On Tuesday, South Sudan’s army restored calm to the northern state of Upper Nile following the recent displacements of thousands of civilians due to intermittent communal violence.
Iraqi News: Ghana battles economic crisis
TeleSUR: South Africa to Further Strengthen BRICS Relations
Inside Climate News: The ‘Power of Aridity’ is Bringing a Colorado River Dam to its Knees
For the millions of people who depend on Glen Canyon Dam for electricity, drinking water and irrigation of crops, two decades of drought have brought a reckoning.
Mint Press News: Two US-Supported Coups In Latin America In Two Days, with Ben Norton
Ben’s eagle eye perspective brings clarity to what he points out was “two coups in two days” on December 6 and 7, explaining the 4th generational warfare used against left-wing vice president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner and former Peruvian president, Pedro Castillo and likening them to the embattled former President of Pakistan, Imran Khan who, similar to Cristina Kirchner, also survived a recent assassination attempt
TeleSUR: Colombian President Approves Tax Reform Law
With this reform, the Government expects to raise US$4 billion annually between 2023 and 2026. These resources will be allocated, for the most part, to social spending, whereby priority will be given to the fight against hunger and poverty, education, health, environmental protection, energy transition, productive development and popular economy, as well as the sustainability of public finances.
TeleSUR: Protests Demand Closure of the Peruvian Congress
WSWS: Police killings fuel protests across Peru against newly installed US-backed Boluarte regime
Escalating demonstrations demanding the resignation of newly installed president Dina Boluarte in Peru have brought the country’s major cities largely to a standstill, as the police and military have carried out a brutal onslaught that has killed at least eight protesters.
Multipolarista: Honduras condemns coup in Peru, supports elected President Pedro Castillo
Honduras stressed its “energetic condemnation of the coup d’etat” in Peru, saying elected President Pedro Castillo represents “the sovereign will of the people.” Honduras was also the victim of a US-sponsored coup in 2009.
The Ukraine Proxy Conflict
Reuters: Ukraine’s latest need: 50 million LED light bulbs to ease power shortfalls
Moon of Alabama: U.S. To Send More Wunderwaffen To Ukraine
The Patriot battery to be deployed to Ukraine is likely one of those that the U.S. currently has in Poland. A German Patriot unit will be deployed to replace it.
The phased array radar that Patriot systems use are good but they are also a weakness. They are visible from satellites with Synthetic Aperture Radar. As researchers have found some years ago:
Amid a busy few weeks of nuclear-related news, an Israeli researcher made a very surprising OSINT discovery that flew somewhat under the radar. As explained in a Medium article, Israeli GIS analyst Harel Dan noticed that when he accidentally adjusted the noise levels of the imagery produced from the SENTINEL-1 satellite constellation, a bunch of colored Xs suddenly appeared all over the globe.
SENTINEL-1’s C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operates at a centre frequency of 5.405 GHz, which conveniently sits within the range of the military frequency used for land, airborne, and naval radar systems (5.250-5.850 GHz)—including the AN/MPQ-53/65 phased array radars that form the backbone of a Patriot battery’s command and control system. Therefore, Harel correctly hypothesized that some of the Xs that appeared in the SENTINEL-1 images could be triggered by interference from Patriot radar systems.
Using this logic, he was able to use the Xs to pinpoint the locations of Patriot batteries in several Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
Retrospectives, History, and Theory
Monthly Review: Why the Government of Venezuela has resisted while many Leftist presidents could not
Naked Capitalism: The Economic Consequences of War
Inside the Imperial Core
Counterpunch: The Twilight Zone of the UK’s Holographic Politics
Monthly Review: Hypocrisy of the rich countries and the green energy’s storage problem
THE crux of the issue is that non-fossil, or even a low fossil fuel path, will need grid-level storage costs to drop by a factor of 10 times what they are today! If they don’t, then the grid supply will become unreliable, with cascading costs for the people and the economy.