Open Democracy: EU concerned by Ukraine’s controversial labour reforms

RT: Russian allies facing ‘unprecedented pressure’ from US – security chief

RT: Russia’s oil output hits pre-sanctions high – Kommersant

RT: Russia finds answer to IKEA exit – media

Belarusian furniture maker Swed House is planning to fill the void left by IKEA in the Russian market, the head of the Union of Shopping Centers Bulat Shakirov said on Monday, as quoted by TASS.

MEMO: Empty shelves expose Britain’s reliance on North Africa for food security

In recent years, Britain has been increasingly reliant on North Africa, and specifically Morocco, for its fresh food produce. The reasons are varied, ranging from Brexit-related trade disruptions to changing weather patterns in traditional European food-producing regions. Brexit has had a significant impact on British food supply chains, particularly when it comes to fresh produce. Prior to Brexit, the UK was part of the EU’s single market and customs union, which allowed for the free movement of goods between member states.

However, with Britain’s departure from the EU, new trade barriers have been put in place, including customs checks, tariffs and regulations, which have made it more difficult and expensive for British businesses to import fresh produce from Europe. As a result, many companies have turned to North Africa, especially Morocco, as an alternative source of fresh produce. Britain has now replaced Russia as the kingdom’s second-largest market, accounting for 10 per cent of its fruit exports.

RT: Food costs in Britain jump 17%

TeleSUR: Sweden’s Q4 GDP Shrinks 0.9 Pct Ahead of Expected Recession

WSWS: Child and youth poverty in Germany rises sharply

TeleSUR: Italy’s Purchasing Power Halved Since Start of Ukrainian Crisis

On Monday, think-tank Nomisma published a report showing that Italian purchasing power fell by 54 percent over the last year, as high inflation, reduced trade and slower growth took their toll on the daily life of Italians.

People’s Daily: Death toll from train collision in central Greece rises to 26

East Asia and Oceania

RT: Minsk and Beijing never intend to work against third nations – Lukashenko

“We see the situation on the international stage. And we praise you for the thoughtful progress you make. You go your way, don’t undermine anyone, and don’t get triggered by the barbs that people all over direct at China,” Lukashenko added. “This is absolutely in line with the spirit and character of the Chinese people.”

People’s Daily: Filipinos concerned over expanding military cooperation with U.S.

WSWS: The international significance of the developing revolutionary confrontation in Sri Lanka

Eight months after a mass uprising chased Sri Lanka’s hated President Gotabhaya Rajapakse from power, the working class is coming into headlong confrontation with his successor, the notorious IMF-enforcer and pro-US imperialist stooge, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Today half a million workers, including petroleum, electricity, water supply and health care workers, will join a one-day general strike to protest the Wickremesinghe government’s savage austerity program and sweeping attacks on democratic rights. In addition, hundreds of thousands of teachers and other government employees and public sector workers will voice their opposition to IMF austerity by joining lunch-time pickets and other protests.

Central Asia and the Middle East

RT: Pentagon makes Iran nuclear prediction

Iran would need just 12 days to make enough uranium for an atomic bomb, the Pentagon’s top policy official told Congress on Tuesday. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl was asked about the defunct nuclear deal with Iran while testifying at a House Armed Services Committee hearing about arming Ukraine.

While US officials and media claim Iran may be on the cusp of producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, the Pentagon reportedly doesn’t believe Tehran has the technology to actually build one.


RT: Neighbor of Russia assesses mutual ties

Kazakhstan sees no risks or threats coming from Russia, the Foreign Minister of the Republic Mukhtar Tileuberdi proclaimed during a joint press conference with US secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

MEE: UN still billions short of Yemen funding goal despite $444m US pledge

MEMO: UN: Syria facing ‘very high number’ of cholera outbreaks after quakes

TeleSUR: Türkiye: Half Million Homeless in Kahramanmaras After Quakes

TeleSUR: 1.5 Million Quake-Risky Buildings to Be Replaced in Istanbul

WSWS: Zionist settlers carry out murderous pogrom on Palestinian town

In the most violent settler attack on Palestinians in decades, 400 Israeli vigilantes went on the rampage in Huwara, a town close to the northern city of Nablus in the West Bank, Sunday evening. At least one Palestinian was killed and more than 100 were injured on the pogrom-style attack.

There were horrific scenes of settlers, some masked and carrying guns and other weapons, setting fire to scores of homes and shops, destroying 35 and damaging at least 40 more. They torched more than 400 cars and destroyed agricultural property, leaving the town aflame for hours afterwards. Nine Palestinian families had to be rescued from their homes, according to Israel’s public broadcaster, Channel 12 news.

MEMO: German FM condemns Israel’s expansion of settlement


MEE: German human rights official ‘not welcome’ to visit Egypt

“Against the backdrop of the problematic human rights situation in Egypt, it was right that the German government highlighted these issues during the UNFCCC COP in November,” Amtsberg told MEE.

Usually I would tell the Germans to get fucked but Egypt’s human rights situation is genuinely not great and it’s not just exaggerated Western propaganda, so…

Africa News: Macron plans ‘noticeable reduction’ of French troops in Africa

Can you noticeably reduce it to 0?

Africa News: Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu declared winner of presidential vote

Tinubu received 37% of the vote, or nearly 8.8 million, while main opposition candidate Abubakar won 29% with almost 7 million. Third-place finisher Obi took 25% with about 6.1 million, according to the results announced on live television by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has never overturned a presidential election, though court challenges are common, including by outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, who doggedly fought his past election losses for months in vain.

Africa News: Opposition parties demand fresh elections in Nigerian amid allegations of irregularities

Nigeria’s two main opposition parties have called for the annulment of what they have described as a “sham” election, denouncing the “massive manipulation” of the results.

Africa News: Uganda appears to be planning a new anti-gay law

Africa News: Algeria and Russia to strengthen their military cooperation

Africa News: Kenyan traders protest against Chinese competitors

The demo comes in the wake of controversy elicited by the coming of China Square retail outlet of general merchandise whose prices are on average 45 percent lower than those prevailing in locally owned enterprises, local media reports.

Dang. Fair enough.

North America

People’s Daily: About 15.5 million children in U.S. infected with COVID-19

WSWS: US demands for “existential struggle” threaten war with China

In his opening remarks to the hearing, committee Chairman Mike Gallagher said the United States’ “competition” with China will not be “polite,” calling the US conflict with China an “existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century.”

Common Dreams: Florida Derailment Strengthens Case for Urgently Needed Railway Safety Proposal

People’s Daily: Train with propane tankers derails in U.S. Florida, no injuries or leaks reported

Naked Capitalism: All Presidents Avoid Reporters, but Biden May Achieve a Record in His Press Avoidance

Yves here. The speed with which Biden’s all too frequent gaffes become memes on Twitter appears to have obscured the degree to which he has steered clear of the press. If he had better surrogates in the form of his wife and Kamala Harris, he might be able to better maintain appearances. For instance, Biden clearly should have gone to East Palestine. If he wasn’t willing to face citizens seeking answers, why didn’t he send someone able to feign sympathy and not make serious commitments?

Aside from Biden’s senior moments, a second reason for his minders to keep him under wraps is that Biden has too often made dangerously bellicose remarks that the White House quickly walked back.

It will be instructive, in not a good way, to see how his 2024 campaign goes. Then again, he won despite embarrassing stumbles in the debates and on the campaign trail. So his record, as opposed to his presentation, is what is set to put Biden’s candidacy to rest.

South America

TeleSUR: Ecuador’s University Students Demand Lasso’s Resignation

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

MEMO: Israel is gradually taking Ukraine’s side in the war against Russia

This is actually quite interesting, as I think it might have been Bhadrakumar who speculated that Putin was quite happy with Netanyahu returning to power, and his reasons seemed plausible enough. Even so, the article implies that Israel is treading very carefully given Russia’s ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and perhaps western coercion of Israel would have pitted them against Russia sooner or later anyway.

RT: Berlin left unprotected as air defense systems sent to Ukraine – arms maker

“We had two whole systems that could certainly have defended Berlin,” Papperger said, as quoted by RIA Novosti. According to the CEO, four of the systems would be enough to protect Berlin, but now their number will be inadequate.

RT: Reason for air traffic halt over St. Petersburg revealed

Russian air defense forces held drills aimed at enhancing cooperation with civilian authorities in the country’s western military district on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry has announced.

Earlier in the day, the airspace over St. Petersburg, the country’s second-largest city, was closed for around an hour before flights fully resumed. The local authorities confirmed that Pulkovo International Airport had stopped receiving aircraft but did not reveal the reason behind the move.

Meanwhile, reports in the media claimed the restrictions had been introduced after an unidentified flying object was spotted near the city.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement a short time later, saying on-duty air defense units attached to the western military district had been training to identify and intercept a simulated aerial intruder as part of drills in the area.

It was definitely a real aerial intruder, this is the worst excuse I’ve ever heard.


Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology

Valdai Club: Logistics of the 21st Century & New Economic Order: Prospects for a New North-South Transport Corridor

The emergence of “New Economic Order” would transform the way logistics and transport in global market is being carried out. The North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) member countries must contribute effectively for the overall development of corridor i.e., the improvement of inland waterways, security of container and general cargo terminals in Caspian ports, the modernization of border crossing points and the construction of logistics hubs and roadside service facilities, writes Muhammad Athar Javed, founder, CEO of Pakistan House, especially for the 12th Valdai Club Middle East conference

Michael Roberts: EEA 2: Long waves, profit curves, imperialism and socialist planning

Geopolitical Economy: The Arctic is the next frontier in the new cold war

This is actually a fascinating article from a resource perspective - oil and rare earths and such. I’ll probably put this as its own thing in the megathread.

Naked Capitalism: Why News of Population Decline and Economic Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

The western reaction to China’s latest slight population decrease (has anybody blamed that on the Ughyur genocide yet?) has definitely been strange to watch. I feel like the same people who talk about the need for human population to stabilize at a lower number for countries to do better socially and economically are also the people to write long screeds on how this is an extremely bad and worrying trend for China and portends an imminent collapse or something. That is, it really is purely opportunist - there’s no real overarching theory there. Will controlled population decline like that advocated by Malthusians help or hurt countries in the long term? It depends whether population decline is happening to Good or Bad countries.

The Left and the Right

Current Affairs: When Will Congress Vote to Condemn The Horrors of Capitalism?

When we get a majority of demsocs in Congress, so… approximately 250 years from now.

Jacobin: Canada’s Paper of Record Is Ignoring Ottawa’s Backing of Right-Wing Coups

The Globe and Mail’s new revelations about socialist poet Pablo Neruda’s death after the 1973 coup in Chile carefully omitted any reference to Ottawa’s complicity in the repression. But in Chile and around the world, Canada has long helped undermine democracy.

Outside the Imperial Core

Canadian Dimension: Don’t despair: the world order is changing, but it is not collapsing

Valdai Club: The End of US Hegemony and the Russian-Algerian Relations

The end of US hegemony and the rise of a multipolar world has led to significant changes in the international system, with countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Algeria, playing a crucial role in shaping the future. Algeria’s strong ties to Russia are helping to counterbalance US dominance and promote a more stable and equitable world order, where multiple actors have the ability to shape global events and influence the future, writes Algerian political journalist Akram Kharief. This article was prepared for the 12th Middle East conference of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Valdai Club: The Middle East and Security Crisis in Europe

Every crisis carries with it an opportunity for a solution. This current US crisis in managing the world we live in today, with the chaos it has generated in Europe and the Middle East, has presented a clear opportunity. This opportunity has manifested in the distancing of all the main forces from US dominance and the emergence of a new trend to reshape their regional system in a more independent and balanced way, writes Amal Abu Zeid, Lebanese presidential adviser, especially for the 12th Middle East conference of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Climate Change

Common Dreams: Sales of SUVs—Responsible for More Carbon Pollution Than All But 5 Countries—Still Rising

“A strong increase in sales of electric models was not enough to prevent CO2 emissions from SUVs worldwide reaching almost 1 billion tonnes in 2022”

Inside Climate News: To Reduce Mortality From High Heat in Cities, a New Study Recommends Trees

Nearly 40 percent of the thousands of deaths that can be attributed to high heat levels in cities could have been avoided through increased tree coverage, a recent study from Barcelona’s Institute of Global Health found.