Common Dreams: Fueled by Industry Pollution, Superbugs Could Kill 10 Million People Per Year by 2050: UN
Fear not, for the West has found the ultimate vaccine - manufacturing consent for everybody around you dying. The dead can’t complain!
Common Dreams: ‘Amazing News’: EU Proposes Ban on Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’
RT: Top seismologist warns Russian region may suffer similar quake as Türkiye
The Crimean Peninsula in southwestern Russia could one day see an earthquake comparable to the natural disaster that struck Türkiye and Syria on Monday, a scientist has warned. The last time the region was struck by a major quake was nearly 100 years ago.
Reuters: Russia’s Sechin says Europe no longer sets Urals price
Europe will no longer set the reference price for Russia’s flagship Urals crude, Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s oil major Rosneft said on Monday, now Asia has emerged at the largest buyer of Russian oil since the West placed it under sanctions.
RT: EU reveals exemptions for sanctioned Russian oil products
Russian crude blended with petroleum products in a third country are exempt from a price cap, according to new guidance
Reuters: German industrial output falls more than expected in December
WSWS: Germany’s housing crisis: 700,000 more homes needed
Common Dreams: French Workers Erupt Again to Fight Macron’s Assault on Pensions
WSWS: 50,000 people protest Danish government’s planned scrapping of public holiday to pay for military spending increase
Climate Change: Denmark to put CO2 in seabed in step towards carbon negativity
Fossil fuel companies Total, Ineos and Wintershall DEA will try to store millions of tons of carbon dioxide in the sandstone of old oil and gas reservoirs in the North Sea.
People’s Daily: Food prices surge dramatically in Sweden in January
East Asia and Oceania
CNN: Asia’s richest no more? Gautam Adani’s wealth crashes as $90 billion wiped off his business
Gautam Adani looks set to cede his position as Asia’s richest man to another Indian billionaire as shares in his business empire continue to plunge following fraud allegations leveled by an American short seller.
The conglomerate, which has seven listed companies, has lost more than $90 billion in market value in the week since Hindenburg published its report.
People’s Daily: U.S. four-star general’s war speculation sparks criticism
Recent comments by a four-star general of the U.S. Air Force that the United States and China will fight a war in 2025 over Taiwan have been criticised as groundless speculation.
Central Asia and the Middle East
MEMO: Israel Ben-Gvir pushes for five-fold increase in gun permits
MEE: Turkish cement stocks surge in last two days, stoking public anger
MEE: Syria earthquake: Egypt’s Sisi calls Assad for first time offering help
MEMO: Iran unveils underground Air Force base capable of holding fighter jets
Africa News: Sub-Saharan Africa is new epicenter of extremism, with 48% of global terrorism deaths - Report
There has been a 57% decrease in the number of people joining extremist groups for religious reasons, it said.
A significant increase of 92% of new recruits to extremist groups are joining for better livelihoods compared to the motivations of those interviewed in a previous report released in 2017, according to the UNDP report released on Tuesday.
MEMO: Minister: Morocco to invest $1.95bn in renewable energy projects in disputed Western Sahara
Africa News: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov visits Mali in sign of deepening ties
RT: Russia-US trade continues to plummet
RT: China wants its balloon back
Reuters: U.S. failed to detect past Chinese spy balloons, Air Force general says
A senior U.S. general responsible for bringing down a Chinese spy balloon said on Monday the military had not detected previous spy balloons before the one that appeared on Jan. 28 over the United States and called it an “awareness gap.”
“We have failed to detect any Russian or Chinese satellites before 1957. We are putting all hands on deck to try and solve this massive, millennia-wide gap in our knowledge of enemy satellite launches."
Jacobin: The US Is Doing Far Worse Than Floating Balloons in Other Countries’ Airspace
Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that the recently shot-down Chinese balloon was indeed spying. The US doesn’t like other countries snooping on them — something the US is constantly doing all over the planet.
RT: Nearly two thirds of Americans say US headed wrong way – poll
Jacobin: Inland Empire Amazon Workers Say They’ve Forced Concessions From Bosses by Organizing
WSWS: Migrants forcibly evicted from protest encampment in New York
People’s Daily: U.S. doctors demoralized by nation’s health system: article
American physicians are now increasingly suffering from demoralization, which is not a reaction to a medical condition, but rather to the diseased systems they work for, said an article published on The New York Times website on Sunday.
Naked Capitalism: Brazilian President Lula da Silva Locks Horns with Brazil’s Richest Man, Jorge Paulo Lemann
In an interview with Rede TV! last Thursday (Feb 2), Brazil’s recently reelected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, laid into Brazil’s richest man, Jorge Paulo Lemann, accusing him of engaging in fraud. Together with his partners at the Brazilian-US investment firm 3G Capital, Lemann is one of the largest shareholders of nationwide retailer Americanas, which recently declared bankruptcy following the “discovery” of 20 billion real (US$ 3.87 billion) of accounting “inconsistencies”.
The Ukraine Proxy Conflict
Monthly Review: The U.S. continues escalating in Ukraine
RT: Ukraine purges libraries of Russian-language books – official
RT: Сhechen leader predicts end of Ukraine conflict
The Russian military operation against Ukraine will be wrapped up by the end of the year, according to the head of Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. He also predicted that the West would be forced to admit its mistakes regarding relations with Moscow.
“European nations will acknowledge that their actions were wrong. The West will kneel. And, as usual, European states will have to cooperate with Russia in all spheres. There can be and will be no other outcome,” Kadyrov said in an interview on Tuesday.
Anti War: An Economist’s Solution to the War in Ukraine
Get ready for the most intelligent and incredible take on the war that you’ve ever seen in your life. Frankly, we should all be ashamed that we didn’t think of this one.
Economics provides an easy way to arrive at a solution to the conflict in Ukraine. Let the party that has the most at stake, the most “skin in the game,” determine the solution. The party with the most skin in the game is the one that has the most at risk and, therefore, is most likely to choose the option that solves the problem in the best possible way. This applies whether the issue is running a business or choosing a foreign policy.
In the Ukraine conflict the parties with the most skin in the game are the residents of the Donbas. The war is being fought right on their doorstep. Yet even though the people of the Donbas have by far the most skin in the game, they have little say in whether the war continues or not.
Elon Musk tweeted out a plan to end the war last October, writing, “[R]edo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.”
Musk had it right. He put the decision rights precisely where they belong, on those who live in the regions where the fighting is going on. They are the ones with the most skin in the game.
But perhaps a better question is this: “Should the fighting end today?” This frames the question in terms of what those in a war zone care most about: survival.
If “yes,” then Russia and Ukraine enter into an armistice agreement like the one that ended hostilities in Korea almost 70 years ago. The line of demarcation would be the current frontier between the opposing forces.
If “no,” that implies the status quo.
Some will vote “no.” Those voting “no” are likely the ones more interested in being ruled by an oligarch in Kyiv than an oligarch in Moscow, or vice versa, and maintain the hope that their side will win outright.
However, my guess is that the “yes” side would win. Those voting “yes” would be the ones who would rather get on with their lives and not see what they know and love being obliterated in the war. The “yes” side might get upward of 80 or 90 percent, a return comfortably outside of the margin of fraud and manipulation.
This is a fascinatingly bizarre and idiotic framing of the situation. The fact that the Donbass, NOT Russia, has been fighting a war for the last 8 years against Ukraine for the precise purpose of gaining sovereignty over the whole of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, is surely evidence enough that the people here would overwhelmingly vote to continue the war. Even aside from that, in what situation has the interests of the smallest party been paramount over the larger powers? Extremely strange. It’s kind of a dipshittery article, but I feel like I’m making fun of somebody who heard of the war yesterday after being thawed from a block of ice and is like “Yo, I have a GREAT idea on how to solve this one!” rather than somebody who is actively malicious like a politician or a dumbass redditor or something.
Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology
Jacobin: Eugene V. Debs: We Should Scorn the Rich and Powerful, Even in Death
Every time a member of the ruling class passes away, we’re expected to bow our heads in reverence and sing their praises. Writing in 1901, Eugene Debs offered a different approach: tell the unvarnished truth about the tyranny of the rich and powerful.
Mint Press News: Openly Pro-Israel Tech Group Now Has Control over UK’s Most Sensitive National Security Data
Current Affairs: What Noise Pollution Is Doing To Us
Africa News: Secrets of 2,300-year-old golden boy mummy revealed by CT scans
Developing Economics: A Multilateral International Monetary System
The world economy has a Dollar problem. Reliance on the currency of a single country as the world’s chief way to organise trade, carry out financial settlements, and store value creates a series of inequitable economic imbalances and policy tensions—both within the US and across the global economy. It bestows disproportionate economic and political power on the US government and financial institutions; exposes world trade and finance to instability and disruptions originating in the Dollar zone; imposes huge costs on the world’s small and even middle-sized nations; and fuels disproportionate growth in the US financial sector, bolstering its influence in that country’s political economy.
The establishment of a Multilateral Clearing Union (MCU) opens the way towards a radically different and more equitable institutional solution to the problems of international monetary functioning—one that could help address some of the critical issues of global economic governance, including poverty alleviation; timely convergence in incomes, living standards, and productivity; and the rapid decarbonisation of the planet’s industrial infrastructure. The inspiration for a multilateral clearing union comes from John Maynard Keynes’ proposals to the Bretton Woods conference in the 1940s. Unlike Keynes’ proposals, however, we can develop a genuinely multilateral institutional solution, designed for a world economy with inconvertible currencies and significant measures of capital-account openness, cross-border investment, and exchange-rate flexibility.
The proposal for an MCU is grounded in the understanding that, in a world of interdependent national economies and polities, an equitable international monetary system must seek to maximise the space available to all national authorities to pursue macroeconomic objectives in line with their domestic policy preferences—particularly authorities in poorer or externally vulnerable economies. This cannot be accomplished by using a national currency as the basis for international monetary functioning, as the experience with Dollar standards has shown. Nor can it be accomplished by using a multi-national or bloc currency as the domestic monetary form, as the painful experience of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy during the Eurozone crisis has shown.
What is needed is a system that as much as possible decouples domestic and international monetary functioning.
That goal can be pursued with a system where all international trade and investment is denominated not in any national or bloc currency but in a new monetary unit issued and supported by an international organisation tasked exclusively with the multilateral governance of international trade and investment: A Multilateral Clearing Union.
A genuinely multilateral clearing union would use a weighted average of national currencies as its unit of account. That choice would fundamentally transform the nature of exchange-rate risks associated with international liabilities arising from international trade and financing. Instead of facing risks of any appreciation in the Dollar relative to the domestic currency, economies where a large number of agents face payments denominated in a basket of world currencies would face only the risk that the domestic currency would depreciate relative to all other currencies. That would ensure that domestic exchange-rate risks would come to reflect more closely developments not in the US or other regions of the world economy, but in the domestic economy. Those are developments over which national policy makers have direct influence, and for which they bear direct responsibility. Lower measures of exchange-rate risk in turn would leave national authorities with greater scopes for pursuing a variety of macroeconomic, social, or industrial-policy objectives.
Inside the Imperial Core
Responsible Statecraft: The tedious China scare in Latin America
In a January article for Foreign Affairs, former Peruvian presidential candidate Julio Armando Guzmán depicts increased Chinese investment in Latin America as an existential threat to the region’s democracies.
The piece reflects an emerging bipartisan consensus in Washington that Chinese influence (ill-defined as that term may be) will undermine the sovereignty of Latin American and Caribbean countries in ways designed to pry them loose from Washington’s sphere of influence.
But as seductive as it may be, the Cold War thinking implicit in pieces like this one is rife with unresolved contradictions and misconceptions about China’s role in the region. Policies based on this inflation of China’s security challenges to U.S. regional interests serve only to alienate the region’s vibrant non-aligned movement, stall progress on issues of common interest, and erode the democratic progress they claim to defend.
RT: US Congress’ anti-socialism resolution is both meaningless and ironic
The resolution itself is totally symbolic. It doesn’t actually do anything to take action against “socialism.” What it probably is, underneath all the frills, is bait by Republicans for Democrats. Democrats that voted against it (and there were many) will probably face a slew of attack ads in the future from Republican challengers in their respective elections.
But the text of the resolution itself is a complete joke. It denounces the tens of godzillions of Chinese deaths that supposedly happened during Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. It lists a host of communist leaders that committed similar atrocities. And it says that nations like Cuba and Venezuela were once prosperous before succumbing to communist ideology.
What’s ironic is that many of the nations listed, such as North Korea, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, have actually suffered far more from American imperialism than from “socialism.” For instance, the Americans slaughtered millions in their military campaign in Korea and leveled virtually every building in the North higher than a story. They committed atrocious war crimes and mulled over using tactical nuclear weapons to block Soviet and Chinese supply lines.
Naked Capitalism: The US and the Philippines’ Military Agreement Sends a Warning to China – 5 Key Things to Know
The main thing is the foreword from Yves.
Below is a an example of narrative control, China flavored. The article starts by depicting Taiwan as independent, when only 13 countries recognize Taiwan and the US is not among them. Hence the entire framing of China “threatening” Taiwan is dubious. Then consider that prior to Nancy Pelosi’s visit and other US actions, China stance had been a vague aspiration for integration by 2049. A lot can happen in two plus decades.
The US officialdom has taken recently to claiming that China intends to invade Taiwan by 2027. As Brian Berletic pointed out, even if China intended to go maximalist, all it would need to do is blockade Taiwan. The island depends on imports for food and fuel.
Some who contend that China sent the infamous balloon to the US in order to troll us point out that China was not at all keen to have Tony Blinken visit (scheduled for February 5 and 6) particularly in light of the US-Philippines base deal. That made it clear than any Biden promises about reducing US-China dealings were empty.
Note that all three authors have received funding from the Minerva Research Initiative, the Department of Defense, and the Army Research Office for “part of the work mentioned in here,” yet piously claim their views are their own. That is likely true because only those ideologically aligned with the party line would get backing.
Naked Capitalism: Scarring, Hysteresis, and Investment in Europe
Major economic downturns have left important scars in the path of economic expansion, despite forceful and regular attempts to support aggregate demand. This column summarises discussions at a recent workshop on scarring effects and strategies to avert or minimise them. Fiscal policy can play an important role in limiting hysteresis – a term coined in the 1980s – particularly by promoting government and private investment. However, the political economy of fiscal policymaking typically trades off long-term benefits for short-term gains.
Outside the Imperial Core
People’s Daily: Key facts U.S. deliberately ignores about African debt
According to the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics, multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors hold nearly three-quarters of Africa’s total external debt.
A report published last July by the British NGO Debt Justice showed that 12 percent of the external debt of African countries is owed to Chinese lenders, compared to 35 percent to Western private lenders. The average interest rate of these private loans is 5 percent, compared with 2.7 percent for loans from Chinese public and private lenders.
“Western leaders blame China for debt crises in Africa, but this is a distraction. The truth is their own banks, asset managers and oil traders are far more responsible, but the G7 (the Group of Seven) are letting them off the hook,” said Tim Jones, head of policy at Debt Justice.
MEMO: Egypt is a ticking time bomb
I wanna know more about the situation in Egypt before I say the following analysis is accurate or not, but even at a glance, the situation doesn’t seem all that great.
Last October, Al-Sisi spoke about the reluctance of “friendly and brotherly countries” to provide more financial and economic support to Egypt, stressing that these countries “have become convinced that Egypt is unable to stand again after the aid they had been providing it with for years in order to resolve crises and problems”. The magnitude of Egypt’s total public debt is about $400 billion, which is a frightening number, not only in itself, but also in light of the regime continuing to follow the same approach that caused it, especially during the last decade. The army’s control of all aspects of the economy and the world of finance and business, in addition to its seizure of billions of dollars from the people’s money, aid money and external support, and transferring them to accounts that serve the well-being of its senior officials, as well as senior officials in the presidency and intelligence, poses the biggest challenge for the country.
Although most of the Egyptian regime’s financiers know that the situation cannot continue indefinitely, and that their money may not be returned to them, they continued to support the regime during the past decade for several reasons, including their fear of the establishment of a democratic regime in the region and the rise of Islamists to power.
It is strange that, despite the miserable situation in Egypt, the International Monetary Fund still provides billions of dollars in support to the regime without real restrictions or conditions regarding reform or freeing the economy. As an explanation for this strange situation, there are those who believe that the Egyptian regime’s relationship with the US and the importance of the Sisi regime to Israel and Israel’s security allow Cairo to always obtain exceptional facilitations for fear of the worst happening in the region.
Inside Climate News: Twice as Much Land in Developing Nations Will be Swamped by Rising Seas than Previously Projected, New Research Shows