Monthly Review: Climate change: Co-extinction will cause loss of a quarter of species by 2100, says study

Another worrisome situation of climate change and pattern of land usage has been predicted by scientists where Earth may see a loss of its biodiversity by over a quarter by 2100. In a recent study published in Science, scientists analysed how the co-extinction of species accelerates the overall loss of biodiversity and predicted possible loss.


TeleSUR: Record Inflation Prompts Strike Action Across Europe

USNews: Russia’s Lavrov: EU Not Conducting Proper Investigation of Nord Stream Explosions

Worth noting that WaPo has a new article on how Russia might not be responsible for the explosions! Brought to my attention by user cynesthesia in the megathread.

Counterpunch: “How To Stay Warm Without Turning The Heating On”: UK Poverty And Its “Moron Premium”

Lots of horror stories inside about the violence that the UK government inflicts on its people.

WSWS: Workers speak from the picket lines of largest nurses strike in UK history

Guardian: Energy bills support pushes UK borrowing to November record of £22bn

Government support for households and businesses with energy bills, and higher interest payments pushed UK public borrowing to a record £22bn in November, the highest level for the month since records began.

TeleSUR: Italy Expects Higher Inflation and Slower GDP Growth for 2023

Italy’s post-pandemic economic recovery is likely to grind to a halt in 2023 due in large part to high inflation, the country’s business sector association Confcommercio said on Tuesday

East Asia and Oceania

Reuters: Russia’s Medvedev meets China’s Xi in Beijing, says Ukraine conflict discussed

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has undertaken a surprise trip to Beijing and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which he said they discussed the Ukraine conflict.

Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, posted a video on his Telegram channel showing him meeting Xi, smiling for photos and a meeting between Chinese and Russian officials.

Medvedev said he and Xi had discussed the two countries' “no limits” strategic partnership, as well as Ukraine. He did not provide further details.

RT: Russia becomes top crude supplier to China

Russia boosted oil deliveries to China by 17% in November from one year earlier, overtaking Saudi Arabia to become the country’s top supplier, Chinese customs announced on Tuesday.

Reuters: Exclusive: China to unveil new rules to rein in fund ‘greenwashing’

China plans to tighten rules to regulate environmentally friendly, or so-called green funds, as part of its efforts to rein in ‘greenwashing’ in the world’s second-largest climate fund market, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The new rules, which could be in place in the first half of 2023, will mark a major change in a rapidly growing corner of the funds industry in China, where asset managers currently have the leeway to determine the scope of green investments on their own.

FT: Japanese bonds sustain fresh blow in test of central bank’s low-rate resolve

Japanese government bond prices have lurched lower for the second straight day as markets forcefully challenged the central bank’s assertion that it was not planning to raise interest rates.

Central Asia and the Middle East

Al Jazeera: Saudi Arabia wants dialogue after Jordan meeting: Iran minister

Saudi Arabia is open to more dialogue with Iran, according to comments made by the Iranian foreign minister after he met his Saudi counterpart in Jordan.

In an Arabic tweet published on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said he spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in addition to other counterparts from the region and from France on the sidelines of an Iraq-focused conference in Jordan on Tuesday.

MEMO: Sisi: Egypt calls for building Iraq’s capabilities

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has affirmed Egypt’s categorical rejection of any foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs, highlighting the need to continue joint efforts to raise the capabilities of Iraqi institutions in various fields.

MEMO: Iran suggests holding referendum on creation of independent Palestinian state

TeleSUR: Afghan Government Bans Women From Studying in Universities

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban movement (under UN sanctions for terrorist activities) has banned young women from completing university studies, the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education said Tuesday.

North America

FT: US companies turn to contract workers in face of recession fears

US businesses are increasingly hiring workers on temporary contracts as recession fears discourage companies from adding more permanent staff.

Employers posted 26 per cent more openings for contract positions between May and November than in the same period last year, according to data from LinkedIn. Postings for full-time roles were up only 6 per cent over the same period, and Department of Labor data show that new job vacancies fell in October.

TeleSUR: US Pharmacies Limit Sales of Children’s Meds Amid “Tripledemic”

CVS said it is restricting both in-person and online purchases of two children’s pain relief products. Walgreens has also limited online purchases of six over-the-counter fever reducers per transaction.

Common Dreams: Experts Welcome New Biden Policy to Facilitate Humanitarian Aid in Sanctioned Nations

Proponents of lifting U.S. sanctions on countries including Iran welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by the Biden administration that the United States will take steps to make it easier for humanitarian aid to reach people who need it in sanctioned countries.

“I mean, we OBVIOUSLY still need sanctions on everybody. Removing them? That’s crazy talk. But we can maybe offer a few crumbs here and there, as these countries are getting a little uppity about… what was it? Multipolarity?"

Common Dreams: Warren, Jacobs Accuse Pentagon of Vastly Undercounting Civilians Killed by US Military

As U.S. military forces continue to kill and wound civilians in multiple countries during the ongoing 21-year War on Terror while chronically undercounting such casualties, a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked the Pentagon to explain discrepancies in noncombatant casualty reporting and detail steps being taken to address the issue.

South America

TeleSUR: Lula and Putin Discuss Brazil-Russia Strategic Partnership

In his official Twitter account, Lula said Putin “congratulated me on the electoral victory, wished a good government and the strengthening of the relationship between our countries.”

The Kremlin said that both sides were willing to further strengthen the Brazil-Russia strategic partnership. Lula and Putin expressed their confidence in consolidating “cooperation on the international scene, including within the framework of the BRICS group” (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Worth noting for those unaware that the BRICS group came into existence under Lula.

Merco Press: Chile and EU agree on a new trade association which eliminates most tariffs and promotes investment

The European Union and Chile reached an understanding to modernize their successful twenty years old trade association agreement, which is part of the EU strategy to diversify its suppliers of critical commodities for the green transition and at the same time cut its dependence from China.

Multipolarista: Latin America rejects coup in Peru, while US supports unelected regime killing protesters

At least 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have condemned the coup in Peru, backing President Pedro Castillo. The unelected regime, which has killed dozens of protesters, has the staunch support of the US and the region’s right wing.

TeleSUR: 85 Percent of Peruvians Support Early Elections

However, 62 percent of those interviewed believe that important reforms to the political system must be carried out before the authorities can call new general elections.

TeleSUR: Pedro Castillo’s Family Has Asylum in Mexican Territory - Ebrard

TeleSUR: Peruvian Government Expels Mexican Ambassador

The Government of Peru decided on Tuesday to expel from the country the Mexican ambassador in Lima, Pablo Monroy, giving him 72 hours to leave the national territory for interference in internal affairs on behalf of his country.

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

Reuters: Belarus restricts access to parts of region bordering Ukraine, Russia

Belarus issued a ruling on Wednesday temporarily restricting access to parts of the southeastern Gomel region that borders Ukraine and Russia.

Responsible Statecraft: Zelensky in Washington today to address Congress, meet with Biden

Common Dreams: During Zelenskyy Visit, Biden to Unveil $2 Billion Military Package That Includes Patriot Missiles

The U.S. is also expected to send misleadingly named “precision bomb kits” to Ukraine as Russia’s assault nears its second year with no end in sight.

Mint Press News: Journalist Targeted By Ukraine Speaks Out: Wyatt Reed with Lee Camp

Wyatt Reed was put on a dystopian kill list run by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry bearing the name Myrotvorets or Peace Maker. He was added to this list less than two weeks before his hotel was bombed by the Ukrainian military while he was in Donetsk.

Wyatt continued: “I was worried that they were going to follow up and do what is called ‘double-tap strike’ and hit the same location seconds or minutes later in an effort to take out survivors or first responders.”


Retrospectives, History, and Theory

Monthly Review: “Everything that is human is ours”: The political and cultural vanguardism of Antonio Gramsci and José Carlos Mariátegui

Monthly Review: A Lexicon for disaster

A piece by Scott Ritter on arms control agreements between Russia and the United States.

Inside the Imperial Core

Moon of Alabama: Death Of Nuclear Deal With Iran Adds To Biden’s Failures In U.S. Foreign Policy

When the Biden administration came into office it had promised to reenter into the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. Under Trump the U.S. had left the deal and had reissued sanctions against Iran. Tehran followed up by increasing its enrichment capabilities and by accumulating more enriched Uranium.

It would have been easy for Biden to immediately eliminate the sanctions and to rejoin the deal. Iran would surely have followed up by returning to the enrichment levels the deal allows for.

But Biden bungled the issue. For months nothing happened. Then he send negotiators to Iran who demanded additional concessions by Iran while offering less sanction relief. Iran rejected that. It demanded that Biden guarantees that the U.S. would stick to the deal under future administrations. The negotiations were drawn out and made little progress.

The European Union, which is part of the JCPOA deal, finally wrote a compromise draft agreement which was submitted to the Iranian negotiators in Vienna. Iran made some small changes to the draft and send it back. The EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell publicly said that Iran’s changes were “reasonable” and that he hoped for a quick U.S. agreement to the draft. But the Biden administration, which worried about the midterm elections, called the Iranian changes “not constructive” and rejected the draft agreement.

If the U.S. really wants ‘practical ways to confront Iran’ over any of those issues it will have to fight against Iran. Without the JCPOA deal there will also be more pressure on Biden and whoever follows him to go to all out war against Iran. But Iran is well protected and its missiles can hurt a lot of U.S. installations and friends in the region. A war would likely end with huge damage to Iran and a U.S. retreat from the Middle East.

Monthly Review: When is the Monroe Doctrine going to die?

Outside the Imperial Core

Responsible Statecraft: Ending the Syria war, getting US troops out, and lifting sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is behind in the polls, causing him to again look to Syria for “a splendid little war” to win votes. A new invasion could put U.S. personnel at risk and the threat has triggered an angry response in Washington. Ankara’s threats are unjustified, but America’s presence is unwarranted.

The civil war in Syria continues sporadically after nearly a dozen years, with the U.S. still occupying a corner of the country with 900 troops. Meanwhile, Washington has a death grip on Syria’s economy, consigning the Syrian population to poverty through sanctions (Caesar Act). Several other country’s armed forces, including Turkey’s, are active across Syria, creating a risk of broader conflict.

As with other adversaries, Washington believed that maximum pressure would somehow create a friendly government in Damascus. Instead, Western efforts to forge a democratic transition long ago stalled. So far the Biden administration has simply maintained the status quo. Observed the Atlantic Council’s Abdulrahman al-Masri: “The U.S. does not know what it wants in Syria and has no coherent endgame.” That isn’t likely to change, he says, “given the dramatic shift in priorities of the U.S. foreign policy agenda and acute lack of safe options for reengagement in Syria.”

However, Erdogan has proposed to meet with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. A modus vivendi among the three could end the last vestiges of the conflict and reintegrate Syria into the region. Washington should aid this process by rolling back sanctions which target the Syrian people and encouraging its Gulf partners to reengage with Damascus.

Climate Change

Climate Change News: Cost of a KitKat: Big brands leave sugar farmers at the mercy of climate extremes

Monthly Review: Ecological imperialism and the Canadian mining industry

Inside Climate News: Oil Companies Had a Problem With ExxonMobil’s Industry-Wide Carbon Capture Proposal: Exxon’s Bad Reputation

Documents show Shell initially resisted working with Exxon on the Houston project and believed Chevron had doubts, too. Both companies eventually signed on.