RT: Energy giant warns of tight market in 2023

“The winter is quite mild, the storages are full, Europe needs to import less liquefied natural gas (LNG). But the fundamentals remain there: in 2023, Europe will receive less Russian gas than it received in 2022. It will again have to massively re-import LNG, even though it has not yet settled its re-gasification capacity problems… And as Europe will need to import more than in 2022 when it received Russian gas for about half the year, the situation will become tense again,” he warned.

The global LNG market already experienced a “violent shock” last year, as one eighth of it, nearly 50 million tons, had to be diverted to Europe to make up for the lost Russian supplies, Pouyanne said.

“It’s a shock, Europe did it, but it paid more. The entire LNG market is now constrained by supply. And it will not loosen up before 2025-2026, because when you look at the new projects announced, in the United States and in Qatar, they will only go into production in a few years,” the TotalEnergies СEO said, adding that in order to replace all the gas that the EU once received from Russia (100 million tons per year), it needs to double the amount of LNG it imported last year.


RT: Price cap range for Russian diesel agreed – Bloomberg

The Group of Seven has accepted the EU’s proposal to set a price ceiling for Russian diesel exports between $100 and $110 a barrel, Bloomberg reported on Friday citing a G-7 official.

It is so baffling that this is still going on. I’m actually getting second hand embarrassment at this point. Dozens of people utterly divorced from reality, getting into fistfights over how the deckchairs on the Titanic SHOULD have been arranged, but it’s already at the bottom of the sea and they’re just sitting on bits of wreckage. America comes along in a ship without rescuing them and charges them $50 for a banana and a pint of water.

I like to imagine this is how the end of the British Empire felt, with people who were previously extremely important unable to realize that they aren’t in charge of much of anything anymore. Incredibly embarrassing watching the lack of humility and willingness to admit you’ve been beat, you’ve been had, and that continuing to flail about is just making you look more and more pathetic to everybody else around the world.

Open Democracy: Strikes, sleaze and huge wealth gaps could hinder Tory neoliberal agenda

Market fundamentalism survived the fall of Truss, but could a changing public mood bring about its demise?

Probably not.

RT: Belgium won’t back EU ban on Russian diamonds – official

Belgium will never support a ban on Russian diamond imports to the European Union, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Friday, adding that measures of this kind would only be effective if they were introduced globally.

Reuters: Strikes will disrupt public transport in France on Tuesday, minister says

Reuters: Rheinmetall moving towards order backlog of 30 billion euros, CEO says

German arms maker Rheinmetall had a record year in 2022 and is approaching an order backlog of 30 billion euros, CEO Armin Papperger told Reuters in an interview.

Africa News: Italy’s Eni signs $8 billion gas deal as Meloni visits Libya

RT: Ex-NATO commander wins Czech presidential election

Former NATO commander Petr Pavel won a second-round runoff election to become president of the Czech Republic on Saturday, beating former Prime Minister Andrej Babis with 58% of the vote to the latter’s 42%, according to the Czech Statistical Office. The ballots from 99% of nearly 15,000 polling stations have been already counted.

Representing the poll as a “clash of two worlds,” Pavel’s campaign declared he opposed “the one represented by Babis and [incumbent president Milos] Zeman,” which he described as “a world of chaos, failure to solve problems, personal gain, and behind-the-scenes influences.”

Pavel thanked voters for their support, declaring that “values such as truth, dignity, respect and humility have won in this election.” He will take office in March.

“Now, with democracy and liberty once more coming to this country, it’s time for unimaginable horrors."

East Asia and Oceania

TeleSUR: Netherlands Limits Sale of Chip Making Machines to China

The news comes a week after the Dutch Trade Minister announced her attachment to the principle of “free trade” and that she would not give in to U.S pressure.

lmao. Well, Dutch chips haven’t been officially allowed to enter Russia due to sanctions and yet they’re flooding the country by the millions anyway, so why not the same with chip-making machines?

Reuters: China approves two domestically developed COVID drugs

China has approved two domestically developed oral medicines for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, the National Medical Products Administration said on Sunday.

RT: China enters top three in global vehicle exports – Bloomberg

Shipments of automobiles from China to international markets topped 2.5 million units in 2022, making it the world’s third biggest exporter of cars, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing data from the China Passenger Car Association.

RT: Washington ‘destroying world peace’ – North Korea

North Korea has condemned the US and other Western powers for providing main battle tanks to Ukrainian forces, saying Washington’s “proxy war” against Russia poses a dire threat to world peace.

In comments carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, senior Workers’ Party official Kim Yo-jong – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister – claimed US involvement in Ukraine has “exposed the entire continent of Europe to the grave danger of war.”

Washington and its allies “are destroying world peace and regional security by handing over an astronomical amount of military equipment to Ukraine, completely ignoring Russia’s safety concerns,” she said, adding that the decision to supply tanks poses “a major threat and challenge to the strategic security of Russia.”

WSWS: Protests erupt across Sri Lanka against IMF-dictated tax hikes

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan workers have taken strike action and protested in recent weeks over increased taxes, slashed allowances, higher bank loan interest rates and other social attacks by the Wickremesinghe government in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands.

US News: Sri Lanka Economy Could Shrink by -3.5% to -4%, President Says

Central Asia and the Middle East

MEMO: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait demand European action on Quran burning

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned the Quran burning as “a new provocation of the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide.”

“These acts have been repeated in a number of European capitals recently, under the pretext of freedom of expression, without a clear reaction towards stopping these practices,” the ministry said.

The ministry called on “all European governments where these extremist violations took place to urgently confront all these practices.”

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also denounced the Quran burning.

People’s Daily: Syria dismisses report on Syrian military’s involvement in alleged 2018 chemical attack

The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Saturday slammed as “lacking credibility” a recent report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) accusing the Syrian air force of being behind a 2018 alleged chemical attack near the capital Damascus.

In a statement, the ministry listed Syria’s own accusations and condemnations in response to the OPCW report, pointing at the possible role of the United States in politicizing and fabricating reports about incidents in Syria.

“The report lacks any scientific and objective evidence, and no sane person or specialist can reach the misleading conclusions of its authors, who neglected the objective observations raised by state parties, experts, academics, and former inspectors from the organization who are known for their experience and knowledge,” the ministry said.

It urged the OPCW and the UN to assume their responsibilities to preserve the independence, credibility, and future of the OPCW, and not to allow the U.S.-led Western countries to dominate its work and role, or to politicize its tasks and use it as a tool to achieve their political goals.

MEMO: US Treasury official tells 3 Middle East countries to adhere to sanctions or lose US market

The US Treasury Department’s senior sanctions official, Brian Nelson, will be warning countries and businesses during a trip to the Middle East next week that they could lose access to the US market if they do business with entities subject to US sanctions and restrictions. This comes in addition to Washington cracking down on attempts by Russia to avoid sanctions imposed on it due to its war in Ukraine.

MEMO: Israel: Ben Gvir to propose law allowing death penalty for ‘terrorists’


Africa News: Nairobi River sewage and industrial pollution seeps into food and water

“Farming has been challenging. The main challenge is water. Sometimes the water is good and other times it’s not. Mainly the water is good when it is raining because the river will be cleaned but when the rains stop, the water is salty and has chemicals. When you apply fertilizers, sometimes the yields perform well and other times it does not perform well,” he says.

As well as killing plants, the Nairobi River pollution is affecting the way of life for families in the rapidly growing downstream suburb of Athi River.

The river and its tributaries pass through Kibera, known as Africa’s largest slum, and dozens of factories that manufacture textiles, liquor and building materials. All have been accused by environmentalists of discharging raw sewage and other pollutants into the waters.

People’s Daily: Angola, Russia to improve cooperation mechanisms

Monthly Review: “Assassination of Thulani Maseko has killed prospects of peaceful struggle in Swaziland”

Africa News: Ivory Coast raises awareness about leprosy as victims suffer in silence

Africa News: Tanzania squeezes Maasai by seizing livestock, report warns

The Tanzanian government is seizing livestock from Indigenous Maasai herders in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in its latest attempt to clear way for tourism and trophy hunting, a report released Thursday (Jan. 26) said.

North America

WSWS: Outbreak of avian flu has killed more than 100 million birds and poses a serious threat of becoming a human pandemic

As disastrous as the outbreak has been to the bird population, the fear remains that the virus will learn to efficiently use a human host to transmit itself. Until now, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 2003 and March 2022, there have been only 864 cases of H5N1 in humans across 18 countries worldwide. The infection in the US was the first time for this country.

The fatality rate, however, is dangerously high with 456 deaths among the 864 cases, giving a 53 percent chance of dying if infected. Thus far, cases have remained sporadic, in small clusters, involving exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments.

But there is growing concern among scientists that a more virulently infective form of the virus could suddenly evolve and spread rapidly into the human population as a lethal airborne pathogen. Wend Blay Puryear, a molecular virologist at Tufts University, told the Guardian, “There is concern about it having pandemic potential. Before COVID was on anybody’s radar, this was the one that we were all watching closely.”

If you gave the American government the choice of a disease killing 150 million people or doing lockdowns again, then they’d start drawing up plans for mass incinerations.

WSWS: Layoffs expand in US manufacturing and retail amid deepening economic slowdown

Layoffs are mounting in economic sectors beyond the technology industry in the United States amid the Federal Reserve’s policy of deliberately slowing the economy by hiking interest rates in order to increase unemployment and undercut workers’ wage demands.

Naked Capitalism: Rural Americans Aren’t Included in Inflation Figures – and for Them, the Cost of Living May Be Rising Faster

Naked Capitalism: California’s Plan to Disappear the Homeless

Elected officials continue to turn to draconian measures to disappear homeless people. In addition to passing a wave of laws across the country criminalizing homelessness, California is moving ahead with a plan that will allow the state to force the unhoused into court-ordered treatment programs for a period of up to two years – and potentially much longer. (New York is considering a similar law.)

The California law is not designed to actually help the homeless or stop more people from becoming homeless, which would actually require resources and/or taking on powerful interests like the private equity-dominated real estate rental market, the healthcare industry that bankrupts people, major corporations that pay poverty wages, etc. Let’s remember that 40-50 percent of people experiencing homelessness are employed. Instead these laws are simply designed to remove from view the people our society has chewed up.

WSWS: US Caterpillar-UAW workers authorize strike by more than 98 percent

Jacobin: Justin Trudeau Loves Outsourcing Government Work to Neoliberal Cutthroats

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has outsourced billions of dollars’ worth of contracts, including $100 million to McKinsey. Instead of shoveling money into the private sector, the Liberals could make the novel choice of investing in state capacity.

South America

TeleSUR: Schools, Stores and Embassies Shut Down in Haiti

TeleSUR: Majority of Peruvians in Favor of Holding Elections in 2023

In a recent poll, 75% of Peruvians are in favor of the president resigning from office, and 74% agree with the closure of the current Congress.

People’s Daily: U.S. invasion of Panama left enduring scars on victims' families

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

People’s Daily: Facts about Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukrainian businesses suffer 13 billion USD losses due to conflict

Responsible Statecraft: Arab, Israeli positions on Ukraine continue to frustrate US

Washington’s partners in the Middle East have so far avoided picking sides over Moscow’s invasion. But can this position stand the test of time?

RT: Pentagon being lobbied for F-16s to Ukraine – Politico

The campaign to support Kiev with modern fighter jets is reportedly “gaining momentum”


Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology

Jacobin: The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict Is a Product of the Soviet Union’s Collapse

The war in Ukraine has overshadowed the ongoing battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But both conflicts show the Soviet Union is still unraveling — with devastating, bloody consequences.

The fall of the Soviet Union and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

The Left and the Right

Jacobin: For Workers, Hospitals Have Become the New Steel Mills — Minus the Strong Unions

Health care workplaces have replaced steel mills and auto plants as the nation’s big employers. But while industrial workers once had mighty unions, hospital workers have struggled by comparison to win representation and good contracts.