Events


Globally


TeleSUR: 100 Mln People Displaced Globally in 2022, UN

The figure is up from some 90 million in 2021. Outbreaks of violence, or protracted conflicts, were key migration factors in many parts of the world, including Ukraine, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Syria and Myanmar.


Europe


Multipolarista: Russia dropping US dollar for Chinese yuan – and fast

In response to Western sanctions, Russia’s central bank is dropping the US dollar and will buy Chinese yuan on the foreign exchange market. The yuan’s share of Moscow’s currency trading increased from 1% to 40-45% in 2022, while dollar trade halved from 80% to 40%.

Financial Times: Putin imposes oil ban on buyers complying with G7 price cap

Decree may permit sales of crude products even if importers comply with sanctions introduced by Ukraine’s allies

TeleSUR: Russia Will Not Export Oil to Countries Imposing Cap on Prices

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning the export of oil to those countries that apply a cap on Russian crude prices.

This measure, which will apply from February 1 to July 1, 2023, is a response to the cap of US$60 per barrel imposed by Australia, the European Union (EU), and the Group of Seven (G7), which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the U.S.

The date for the start of the ban on petroleum products will be announced shortly by the Russian Government. In no case, however, the prohibition for this type of commodity will begin before February.

RT: No more ‘business as usual’ with EU – Moscow

Relations between Moscow and Brussels are now at their “lowest point,” Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told TASS in an interview published on Tuesday. The EU has declared a “hybrid war” on Moscow by unquestioningly following the US, the minister added.

TeleSUR: Right-Wing Surging in Europe, Long-Term Impact Still Uncertain

Voters across large parts of Europe have veering to the far right in their quest for changes as they have been battered by surging energy bills and record-high inflation intensified by the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Analysts are still at odds over how big an impact the recent developments will have on European Union (EU) policy making.

TeleSUR: Croatia Adopts the Euro on January 1

On Tuesday, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that Croatia will adopt the euro at an exchange rate of 1 euro for 7.53450 Croatian kunas from January 1, 2023.

Man… what a time to do it.

Reuters: Tensions rise in northern Kosovo, Serbia puts army on alert

Protesting Serbs in the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo erected new barricades on Tuesday, hours after Serbia said it had put its army on the highest combat alert following weeks of escalating tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.

TeleSUR: Serbia Accuses Kosovo of Rejecting Solutions to the Crisis

On Tuesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic described as “hysterical” the pressure for the Kosovar Serbs to lift the road blockades they set in the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo.

WSWS: Germany: Children’s clinics on the brink of collapse while the government procures nuclear bombers

Germany is currently experiencing a wave of COVID-19 deaths and other severe respiratory illnesses, pushing the country’s children’s hospitals to the brink of collapse. Just before Christmas, the German parliament decided it was better to spend taxpayers’ money on procuring nuclear bombers. The decision throws a spotlight on the criminal policies of the ruling class.

Reuters: Spain announces $10.6 bln package to ease inflation pain

Spain on Tuesday announced 10 billion euros ($10.65 billion) worth of measures to ease the pain of inflation in the third major package this year, bringing total aid to 45 billion euros since early 2022.


East Asia and Oceania


RT: Taiwan makes ‘difficult’ decision to counter Beijing

From 2024, draftees will remain in the military twice as long as they do now, President Tsai Ing-wen has said

Reuters: Japan to deploy missile defence unit in Yonaguni, near Taiwan - Jiji

Japan’s Ministry of Defence will deploy a surface-to-air missile defence unit in Yonaguni Island, the country’s westernmost island, near Taiwan, Jiji news reported on Tuesday.

Reuters: Exclusive: India plans $2 billion incentive for green hydrogen industry

SCMP: Apple contract manufacturers look to ramp up production in India, but getting more parts suppliers to join them remains difficult

Apple contractors looking to establish a robust manufacturing supply chain in India, similar to their existing operations in China, are not expected to achieve such economies of scale in the South Asian country in the near term, according to analysts.

At present, there are only a small number of electronics parts suppliers from China that have established a presence in India to support Apple’s major contract manufacturers, such as Foxconn Technology Group.

Moving out of China, where Apple has built a deep supply chain for close to two decades, will not be easy for both electronics component suppliers and the big contract manufacturers. It would take about eight years to move just 10 per cent of Apple’s production capacity out of China, where roughly 98 per cent of the company’s iPhones are being made, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence estimate.

Guardian: Indian police investigate Russian politician’s hotel death

Indian police are investigating the sudden deaths at a luxury hotel of a wealthy Russian politician who reportedly criticised the Ukraine war, and his travelling companion.

The body of Pavel Antov, 65, was found on Saturday in a pool of blood outside his lodgings in eastern Odisha state, where he was on holiday with three other Russian nationals.

His death came two days after another member of the travel party, Vladimir Bidenov, was found unconscious after an apparent heart attack at the same hotel and could not be revived.

Once again advertising my Jeffrey Epstein Mental Health Fund, so we can prevent these politicians and oligarchs tragically taking their own lives.

WSWS: Malaysian parliament endorses unstable new government

The heterogeneous nature of the cabinet that Anwar has cobbled together is a product and reflection of a deep crisis of capitalist rule in Malaysia. Its “unity” is based on the political quicksand of a temporary truce of rival bourgeois factions with conflicting economic perspectives and entrenched interests.

WSWS: South Korean pseudo-lefts cover up union sell-out of striking truck drivers

The recent 16-day strike by thousands of truck drivers in South Korea demonstrated the serious political challenges the working class faces. Workers not only confront big business and the government but the trade unions, which isolate and routinely sell out workers’ struggles. The strike has also exposed the role of the pseudo-left organisations, which serve as apologists for the unions and block the development of an independent movement of the working class.

RT: South Korea explains major drone scare – media

Seoul deployed military aircraft and attack helicopters to chase a flock of birds that was mistaken for an intruding North Korean drone, local media reported on Tuesday, citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). This incident occurred a day after five North Korean UAVs reportedly crossed into its neighbor’s territory.

According to the South Korean media, the military notified the fire department and local authorities in Ganghwa County, west of Seoul, that a drone was spotted in the area. The county officials then warned locals via text message around 3pm local time, urging them to take precautions.

The disturbance, however, was eventually “assessed as a flock of birds, not North Korean drones,” an official at the JCS was quoted by Korean media as saying. Nevertheless, the Air Force had been tracking the flock for around three hours and scrambled jet fighters and helicopters.

WSWS: Fragile Fiji coalition government installed amid ongoing turmoil

In a hastily-arranged closed session the day before Christmas, Fiji’s parliament voted by a narrow 28-27 margin to install a three-way coalition government led by the People’s Alliance Party (PAP) of former coup leader and ex-Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.


Central Asia and the Middle East


RT: Iran reveals plans to enter Russia-led free trade zone

Iran will sign a free-trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on January 18, a spokesman for the country’s Industry Ministry, Omid Ghalibaf, announced on Tuesday.

TeleSUR: Erdogan Confirms Turkey’s Aspiration To Be an Energy Supply Hub

Erdogan had commented that Ankara could supply Russian and Turkmen gas to Europe. The Russian and Turkish presidents ordered to study in detail the possibility of creating such a facility (gas hub) in Turkey. For example, it could serve to redistribute Russian gas supplies from the damaged Nord Stream pipelines.

Meanwhile, Turkey is still working on creating the gas hub on its territory; the final decision could be made in 2023, Russian Vice-President Alexander Novak said. Unlike the Dutch benchmark (TTF), the market would determine the price of gas in such a hub.

WSWS: Turkey’s new minimum wage accelerates collapse in living standards

The Erdoğan government claims the 54.7 percent increase in the official minimum wage protects workers from inflation. In reality, it is well below even the official annual inflation rate (84 percent), which itself is well below the real inflation rate affecting millions of workers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG), annual inflation had reached 170 percent as of November.

Iraqi News: Armenia leader questions role of Russia peacekeepers in Karabakh

The leader of Armenia on Tuesday questioned the role of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh as he discussed a blockade of the breakaway region with President Vladimir Putin.

Since mid-December Azerbaijani activists have been blocking the Lachin corridor, the only land link between Armenia and Karabakh, to protest what they claim is illegal mining. As a result of the blockade, the mountainous region of some 120,000 people is running short of food, medicines and fuel.

Baku claims the protests are spontaneous but Yerevan accuses Azerbaijan of orchestrating the demonstrations in order to push Armenians to abandon the disputed territory.

Meeting Putin on the sidelines of a regional summit in Saint Petersburg, Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan said he wanted to discus the “crisis” and possible ways to solve it.

“This is a zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan said.

But contrary to the agreement, “the Lachin corridor is not under control of the Russian peacekeepers.”

RT: Biden pledged to end the war in Yemen, but is doing the opposite

Wha… WHAT?! HUH?!?!? Biden… lied?!


Africa


TeleSUR: Egypt Strives to Keep Economic Stability Amid High Inflation

As the most populous Arab country and one of the world’s largest importers of wheat, Egypt’s economy has been particularly overshadowed by soaring global commodity prices since the conflict’s breakout in February 2022.

Under pressure, Egypt decided in October to sharply devalue its currency the Egyptian pound, sending the annual urban consumer inflation rate surging to 18.7 percent in November from 16.2 percent in October, marking a near-five-year high.

Counterpunch: Suing Meta in Kenya

Africa has been a continent exploited since the European scramble carved it out in lines of a draughtsman’s crude design. Its resources have been pilfered; its peoples enslaved for reasons of trade and profit; its political conditions manipulated to favour predatory companies.

A similar pattern is detectable in the digital world. The slavers have replaced their human product with data and information. The ubiquitous sharing of information on social media platforms has brought with it a fair share of dangerous ills. A $2 billion lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta, which was filed in Kenya’s High Court this month, is a case in point.


North America


Monthly Review: Nuclear Bomb connection in United States fusion breakthrough

Talking to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Prof Richard Rosner of the University of Chicago, a former director of the Argonne National Laboratory, explained that the experiment’s primary purpose was to test the health of the nuclear weapons stockpile without conducting an actual explosion. The controlled fusion experiment was a real-life test of a laser system. It showed it is possible to ignite hydrogen (in this experiment, a mixture of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium) using lasers to produce a little more energy—therefore, a net gain—than the lasers supplied. However, if we take into account the energy required to produce the 192 laser beams, then, alas, the experiment is still very far away from a net gain. The possibility of viable fusion energy production using lasers is at least a few decades away. It is as good as saying we do not know when—or if at all—the production of fusion energy will be viable.

WSWS: Death toll continues to mount as extreme winter weather inundates Buffalo and freezes much of United States

Freezing temperatures and massive snowfall are blamed for at least 57 deaths across the US as of Monday evening, with many more expected as temperatures remain below freezing and people are trapped in their cars.

Since Friday, more than 200 million people have been affected by a massive winter storm stretching from Maine in the Northeast down to the Gulf of Mexico and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. Over 1.7 million people have lost power.

Al Jazeera: ‘Heartbreaking’: New York surveys damage after historic blizzard

Emergency crews are ramping up snow-clearing and rescue operations after what has been called the “blizzard of the century” blanketed western New York state, where local officials say an already “heartbreaking” death toll is expected to rise.

Inside Climate News: Study: Higher Concentrations Of Arsenic, Uranium In Drinking Water In Black, Latino, Indigenous Communities

Researchers attributed the water quality disparity to multiple factors, including utility systems that are unevenly regulated or that have fallen into disrepair as a byproduct of structural racism that typically leads to a poorer quality of life in communities of color.

WSWS: New York state nurses vote overwhelmingly to strike

More than 17,000 members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) have voted by nearly 99 percent to authorize a strike. The nurses, who work at 12 hospitals such as Montefiore, Mount Sinai and NewYork-Presbyterian, have contracts that expire on December 31 and no new agreement for 2023.

WSWS: Six-week strike of 48,000 University of California academic workers betrayed by the UAW

Academic workers at the University of California (UC) voted to accept new tentative agreements Friday, ending a six-week-long strike of 48,000 workers. The strike, fought primarily against the soaring cost of living, gave voice to large sections of the American and international working class who face high rates of inflation and wage stagnation.

Reuters: Tesla used car price bubble pops, weighs on new car demand

Tesla buyers who waited months for their new car have had an unusual choice for much of the past two years: keep the new electric vehicle, or sell it at a profit to someone with less patience.

But the days of the Tesla flip are numbered - a potential threat to new car prices that are already getting cut. Prices of used Teslas are falling faster than those of other carmakers and the clean-energy status symbols are languishing in dealer lots longer, industry data provided to Reuters showed.


South America


TeleSUR: Colombia: 8,287 Victims of Paramilitaries to Be Compensated

From December 29 to January 27, Colombia’s Victim Reparation Fund will provide US$5.7 in compensation to 8,287 victims of the Central Bolivar, Mineros, and Libertadores del Sur paramilitary groups.

TeleSUR: Lula To Implement Measures Against Coup Plotters in Brazil

At his inauguration on January 1, Brazil’s President-elect Lula da Silva will announce measures to neutralize groups that promote a coup and reject his electoral victory.

TeleSUR: Dina Boluarte Dismisses Local Authorities in Peru

The Ministry said that “after receiving intelligence information on the actions of these district sub-prefects appointed by former President Castillo, as organizers, instigators or participants in the violent protests, the situation of these officials was evaluated and the termination of their services was ordered.” 

Reuters: Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning


The Ukraine Proxy Conflict


Reuters: Italy’s Meloni reaffirms support for Ukraine in call with Zelenskiy

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday reaffirmed her government’s “full support” for Ukraine in a call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, her office said in a statement.

RT: Russia’s iconic arms maker boosts production

The major Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Group says it has fulfilled its latest state defense order in full and is now looking to ramp up production in 2023, the concern’s president, Alan Lushnikov, announced on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel, Lushnikov said that 2022 turned out to be a difficult and challenging year, but was successful nonetheless. He added that next year, aside from focusing on the next defense order, the company plans to expand production of the new Chukavin SVCh sniper rifle – a replacement for the Dragunov SVD – and to develop a new line of tactical-level drones.

“Everything that isn’t launched from an airfield is our niche,” Lushnikov said. “This includes everything from small drones – both reconnaissance and combat ones – to ammunition.”


Analysis


The Left and the Right


Jacobin: The European Union Has Been Shaken by Its Crises — but the Left Needs a Plan to Change It

The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shaken many of the European Union’s dogmas. Yet the EU has repeatedly defied predictions of imminent collapse — posing the need for a serious left-wing program to reform it.


Inside the Imperial Core


Jacobin: Australia’s Mental Health Care System Is at a Breaking Point — and Labor Is Making It Worse

Despite growing need and out-of-pocket costs, Anthony Albanese’s Labor government is halving the number of Medicare-subsidized psychology sessions Australians can access each year. It’s an austerity measure that will harm those who need support the most.


Outside the Imperial Core


Naked Capitalism: Russia Says Europe Will Struggle To Replace Its Oil Products

In 2008, it was possible to make an accurate call that oil prices were excessive. Here, there are too many factors in play to make a highly confident call. A huge wild card is demand from China. Western pressure for China to drop zero Covid was based on the belief that ending Covid restrictions would reduce supply chain interruptions. The upsurge in Covid and possibility of continuing high infections and/or long Covid-induced labor force reductions may prove this assumption to be false.

Another big wild card are the various Russia oil-related sanctions. The EU is supposedly barring all Russian oil as of February 5. Yet the G-7 and friends want to have it both ways by imposing an oil price cap. Russian oil is OK as long as purchased below the cap pursuant to the cap.

Russia is not playing ball. Even if its price to a particular buyer is below the oil price cap, Russia has said it will not sell oil to any country that seeks to impose non-market prices. The Kremilin is expected to announce its response this week.

Based on current information, if those countries need Russian oil, it will wind up being laundered through intermediaries who will get a markup.

We’ll know better in coming weeks how this dynamic plays out. But it appear that demand destruction, as in business closures and reduced activity, are making the oil price situation look less bad than it would be otherwise.

Canadian Dimension: Peru’s oligarchy overthrows President Castillo

June 6, 2021, was a day which shocked many in Peru’s oligarchy. Pedro Castillo Terrones, a rural schoolteacher who had never before been elected to office, won the second round of the presidential election with just over 50.13 percent of the vote. More than 8.8 million people voted for Castillo’s program of profound social reforms and the promise of a new constitution against the far-right’s candidate, Keiko Fujimori. In a dramatic turn of events, the historical agenda of neoliberalism and repression, passed down by former Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori to his daughter Keiko, was rejected at the polls.

From that day on, still in disbelief, the Peruvian oligarchy declared war on Castillo. They made the next 18 months for the new president a period of great hostility as they sought to destabilize his government with a multi-pronged attack that included significant use of lawfare. With a call to “throw out communism,” plans were made by the oligarchy’s leading business group, the National Society of Industries, to make the country ungovernable under Castillo.

In October 2021, recordings were released that revealed that since June 2021, this group of industrialists, along with other members of Peru’s elite and leaders of the right-wing opposition parties, had been planning a series of actions including financing protests and strikes. Groups of former military personnel, allied with far-right politicians like Fujimori, began to openly call for the violent overthrow of Castillo, threatening government officials and left-leaning journalists.


Climate Change


Common Dreams: This Year’s Top 10 Global Climate Disasters Each Cost Over $3 Billion