Reuters: EU coal rebound smaller than feared in 2022 energy crunch
European coal-fuelled power generation climbed last year as countries scrambled to replace Russian gas, but the increase was smaller than feared as renewable energy helped to plug the gap, researchers said on Tuesday.
RT: Oil price cap will not make a dent in Russia’s revenues – IMF
“It is expected that with the current oil price cap set by the G7, Russian crude oil exports will not be significantly affected, as Russian trade is redirected from countries that have adopted sanctions to countries that have not imposed them,” the IMF said.
Reuters: Ukraine tells Hungary ‘anti-Ukrainian rhetoric’ must stop
Ukraine protested to Hungary’s ambassador on Tuesday over “disparaging” comments made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and urged Budapest to stop what it called anti-Ukrainian rhetoric.
WSWS: Firefighters in UK vote massively to strike, FBU leadership delays action
WSWS: London bus drivers urge united action as Unite tries to close down Abellio strike
RT: UK economy to perform worse than Russia’s – IMF
Jacobin: Austerity Is to Blame for the UK’s Coming Recession
Much of the world is likely to have a recession this year, and Britain is expected to be especially hard hit. We can thank years of stagnant wages for workers — made worse by the Tories’ return to cruel austerity policies.
Open Democracy: openDemocracy’s corruption revelations see UK plunge in global ranking
Britain scored 73 this year, down from 78 in 2022, on a scale where zero means a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. The NGO cited several pieces of journalism by openDemocracy as partial explanation for the slump, which saw the UK tumble in the global rankings from 11th to 18th.
This is the most made-up scale I’ve ever seen in my life. Holy shit.
TeleSUR: French Streets Flooded With Over 800,000 Protesters
MEMO: Does Denmark have an Islamophobia problem that it does not like to admit?
RT: Norway’s wealth fund posts heavy losses
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Government Pension Fund Global, posted a record loss of 1.64 trillion kroner ($164.4 billion) in 2022, according to data published on the fund’s website on Tuesday.
Reuters: Nordic unions to quit global journalists' body IFJ, citing ‘corruptive activity’
Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic unions will quit a global media federation on Tuesday in protest at “corruptive activity”, including allowing Russian state media journalists in Ukraine to stay as members, the Finnish union said.
East Asia and Oceania
Climate Change News: Taiwan’s failure to clean up industry endangers its net zero pledge
Taiwan’s industry is responsible for more than half of its emissions but the government’s new climate policies have no specific plan to tackle them.
TeleSUR: China’s Economic Growth to Reach 5.2 Pct in 2023: IMF
People’s Daily: Chairing ASEAN, Indonesia pushes for more concrete cooperation: FM
Reuters: Samsung to keep up chip investment, undeterred by 8-year-low profit
WSWS: Unprecedented flooding in Auckland, New Zealand
Large parts of Auckland have been flooded after New Zealand’s biggest city, home to 1.6 million people, was hit with the equivalent of nearly a full summer’s worth of rain in just 15 hours last Friday. More than 25 suburbs have been impacted. Parts of the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Northland and Coromandel regions have also experienced flooding, slips and damage to roads and infrastructure.
Central Asia and the Middle East
inside Climate News: The Red Sea Could be a Climate Refuge for Coral Reefs
A large new marine protected area could help some of the world’s most heat-tolerant corals survive the century, if the pressures from resorts, industry and other development ease.
Responsible Statecraft: Congress will block F-16 sale if Turkey blocks Sweden’s NATO bid: Van Hollen
MEMO: Israel to revoke citizenship, residency of Palestinian prisoners
“The bill proposes to stipulate that when a person has been convicted of committing an act of terrorism and has been sentenced to prison, he shall be considered to have relinquished his citizenship or permanent residency license … if it is proved to the satisfaction of the Minister of Interior that he has received payment from the Palestinian Authority, directly or indirectly, for committing the act,” the Knesset statement reads.
Bloomberg: Lebanon to Devalue Currency 90%, Central Banker Says: Reuters
Lebanon will adopt a new official exchange rate of 15,000 pounds per US dollar on Feb. 1, central bank Governor Riad Salameh said, according to Reuters.
MEMO: US curbs exports to Iran firms for producing drones for Russia
The United States, on Tuesday, added seven Iranian entities to its trade blacklist for producing drones that Russia has used to attack Ukraine, according a posting by the US Department of Commerce, Reuters reports.
“I’ll have a uhh… maybe a… sanctions on Iran. On their military production.” Daring today, aren’t we?
MEE: Saudi Arabia tops India as world’s fastest growing major economy
MEMO: UK Court considers legality of resuming arms sales to Saudi Arabia
MEE: Saudi Arabia: Execution rate almost doubled since Mohammed Bin Salman’s rise to power, says report
According to data studied by legal charity Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), from 2010-2014 there was an average of 70.8 executions per year carried out in the kingdom.
From 2015 - the year the crown prince became the de facto ruler of the kingdom under his father King Salman - until 2022, there was an average of 129.5 executions per year, a rise of 82 percent.
MEMO: Putin speaks to Algeria President, Armenia Premier
Africa News: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home
MEMO: Thousands of factory workers go on strike in Egypt protesting poor pay amid soaring food costs
MEMO: Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti hold talks on joint anti-terrorism efforts
Responsible Statecraft: Ethiopia is dangerously adrift after Tigray war
For decades, Ethiopians were accustomed to their politics moving at a glacial pace, punctuated by rare but decisive regime turnover. Citizens didn’t know what their rulers were up to, but they were confident conspiracies hatched in the palace and party headquarters would be executed efficiently.
Today, however, the Ethiopian political arena is marked by an unsettling air of drift. Coalitions seem to shift every week while the pattern of survival politics continues. It’s implausible that this turbulence is the product of intricate conspiracies. More likely, there’s a vacuum at the heart of power.
Africa News: Jihadi violence intesifies in Burkina as militants kill nearly 30 in 2 days
Violence linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group has killed thousands of people and forced around two million more to flee their homes.
More than a third of the country lies beyond the control of the government, according to the ECOWAS envoy to the nation.
Africa News: Zimbabwe: Belarus Alexander Lukashenko arrives for 3-day visit
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday arrived in Zimbabwe for talks with his counterpart in what analysts said was an attempt by the two leaders to “diversify” their diplomatic ties.
Africa News: Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy
It is the first time that a pope has visited the DRC since 1985, a country with a population close to 100 million people, 40 percent of whom are Catholic.
Climate Change News: DR Congo delays rainforest oil auctions
The government had planned to announce which companies were bidding to drill for oil in 27 areas of the DRC on Monday January 30.
But, on the Saturday before the deadline, hydrocarbons minister Didier Budimbu tweeted that the cut-off points had been pushed back to various dates between April and October 2023.
People’s Daily: U.S. plans to end COVID emergency declarations in May
The COVID-19 national emergency and PHE were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively.
The Biden Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date, according to a statement of the White House.
Common Dreams: How US Policy Devastated Small Dairy Farms and Boosted Corporate Monopolies
Food & Water Watch on Tuesday released an analysis of the U.S. dairy farming industry—the climate and food justice group’s third in-depth report on the economic costs of food monopolies—revealing how corporate consolidation has helped push small family farms out of business over the past two decades, while worsening the climate emergency.
Jacobin: Restaurant Industry Execs Are Very Worried About Food Service Workers Unionizing
At the October 2022 summit of the National Restaurant Association’s legal wing, union-busting lawyers shared their latest strategies for shutting down workplace democracy. Recent food service union successes, it seems, have worried industry executives.
Reuters: Exxon smashes Western oil majors' earnings record with $56 billion profit for 2022
People’s Daily: Canada confirms more than 50,000 COVID-19 deaths
TeleSUR: Mercosur & EU To Sign Trade Agreement Before June: Lula
On Monday, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that they will promote the signing of the trade agreement between the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the European Union (EU).
TeleSUR: Peruvian Congress Postpones Debate on Early Elections
For the second time in less than 48 hours, Peruvian lawmakers postponed the debate on a bill that proposes advancing the general elections to October.
Through social networks, authorities indicated that the plenary session had been postponed from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time. This decision, however, was harshly criticized by those who fear a prolongation of the serious crisis in this South American country.
The Ukraine Proxy Conflict
Moon of Alabama: NATO Continues Its Disarmament
TeleSUR: France and Australia to Manufacture Howitzers for Ukraine
On Tuesday, France and Australia announced that they would jointly produce 155mm artillery shells for shipment to Ukraine.
RT: Lavrov reveals message from Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has conveyed a fresh message to Moscow on the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, although the statement offered nothing of value, according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Russia’s top diplomat made the remarks on Tuesday following talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.
While Moscow has been always ready to hear a “serious proposal” from Washington “aimed at resolving the current situation,” the message from Blinken contained no such information, Lavrov stated.
Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology
Monthly Review: The Conformist Rebellion: Marxist Critiques of the Contemporary Left
Anti War: The Real Disinformation Was the ‘Russia Disinformation’ Hoax
Thanks to the latest release of the “Twitter Files,” we now know without a doubt that the entire “Russia disinformation” racket was a massive disinformation campaign to undermine US elections and perhaps even push “regime change” inside the United States after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
WSWS: Auschwitz commemoration dominated by war propaganda, right-wing historical falsification
The commemoration of this year’s 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27 took place amidst NATO’s escalation of the war against Russia in Ukraine and was dominated completely by imperialist war propaganda and right-wing historical falsification.
Inside the Imperial Core
RT: Warning issued for petrodollar
The US is facing serious economic risks as more countries around the globe move away from the dollar in energy trade, according to former White House official Paul Craig Roberts.
Roberts, who served as US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Reagan administration, cautioned in an article published on Monday that the end of the petrodollar would have severe adverse effects on the value of the dollar, as well as on US inflation and interest rates.
He pointed to Saudi Arabia’s recent announcement that it was open to accepting payment for oil in currencies other than the dollar. According to Roberts, if that happens the demand for dollars and the currency’s value will fall. By billing for oil in dollars, the Saudis guaranteed worldwide demand for the greenback, he explained. “This is a major threat to Washington’s power and to the financial power of American banks,” the economist added.
Roberts noted that for half a century the petrodollar has supported the value of the US dollar and ensured financing for America’s large budget and trade deficits. “The petrodollar supported the continuing role of the dollar as world currency after President Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, in effect ending the Bretton Woods system following WWII that gave the US dollar the reserve currency role.”
However, according to Roberts, in recent years Washington has so abused the dollar’s reserve currency role with sanctions and asset seizes that many countries desire to settle trade imbalances in their own currencies, “in order to escape Washington’s ability to threaten and punish them for serving their own interests rather than Washington’s.”
Outside the Imperial Core
Naked Capitalism: Russia’s “Sanction-Proof” Trade Corridor to India Frustrates the Neocons
Russia, Iran, and India are speeding up efforts to complete a new transport corridor that would largely cut Europe, its sanctions, and any other threats out of the picture. The International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is a land-and sea-based 7,200-km long network comprising rail, road and water routes that are aimed at reducing costs and travel time for freight transport in a bid to boost trade between Russia, Iran, Central Asia, India.
For Russia, the “sanction-proof” corridor provides a major export channel to South Asia without needing to go through Europe. But Brussels and Washington, frustrated by their losing in Ukraine and inability to put much of a dent in the Russian economy, could lead them to take more desperate measures.
Lately, Estonia, which has a population smaller than Russia’s armed forces, has been making noise about causing problems in the Gulf of Finland, Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur is talking about how Helsinki and Tallinn will integrate their coastal missile defense, which he says would allow the countries to close the Gulf of Finland to Russian warships if necessary. Estonia is also floating the possibility of trying to inspect Russian ships.
Valdai Club: Arabs and the Silent Support for Russia
The Arab attitude toward the Russian special military operation in Ukraine is considered a departure from the trends that usually govern Arab politics, which have generally been supportive of the United States. This is due to the fact that a number of Arab countries are historically US strategic allies. It is also one of the unique situations which have witnessed an Arab consensus, without pre-coordination in this regard among Arab countries. Disagreements have always plagued efforts to formulate unified Arab policies. In the case of the Russian operation, every Arab country has taken its attitude in accordance with its national interests, and so it all has led to a common Arab position which is underscored by an understanding of Russian motives.
Arab countries realize that there is an American proxy war in Ukraine to drain Russia and curtail its international and regional influence. It is quite obvious who is pouring fuel on the fire and escalating the conflict’s intensity, through the huge supply of weapons, logistic and intelligence support, and the direct participation of experts and fighters. In fact, Russia stands up not only Ukraine but the US, all NATO countries and their partners, including Australia, Canada and Japan.
While Syria is the only Arab nation to have openly declared its support for Russia amid the on-going crisis, many other Arab nations have indicated support without announcing it publicly. However, Arab policies have been the most eloquent expression of it. The UAE’s decision to abstain from a US-led resolution to condemn Russia’s operation in Ukraine at the UN Security Council on February 26 was considered tacit support for Russia. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have played an important role in the exchange of prisoners between Russia and both Ukraine and the United States, including that related to the Russian citizen Victor Bout, who spent ten years in a US maximum-security prison.
Despite intense American pressure on the Arab countries, like the rest of the world, the Arab countries have not engaged in Western sanctions. They have maintained a “positive neutrality” that allows them to develop their cooperation with Russia. All the Arab-Russian cooperation programmes as well as trade have continued according to predetermined timetables. For instance, Egypt and Russia have poured the concrete for the first and second units of the Egyptian nuclear power plant in Dabaa, in July and November, respectively. The Egyptian and Russian navies carried out the joint naval exercise “Friendship Bridge-5” in the Mediterranean in December.