The Imperial Core


EU institutions have reached a political agreement on five laws that, for the first time, will lay down a harmonised approach to migration management for Europe, though NGOs have criticised the deal as going against basic human rights.E Basic human rights are so out of style these days anyway.

The European Parliament and the Council of EU member states reached a tentative deal on the waste shipment regulation on 17 November, and the full details of the agreement have now been made public. Under the tentative deal, exporting plastic waste to non-OECD countries will be banned within 2.5 years of the regulation’s entry into force.E

For Europe’s Left, international solidarity is more rhetoric than reality.J


Germany: Norway’s Equinor and German state energy group sign €50bn long-term gas deal.FT German business morale fell more than expected in December, adding to recent evidence that the eurozone’s largest economy could contract for the second consecutive quarter at the end of 2023.FT German multinational conglomerate Siemens has revealed it suffered losses of $650 million as a result of its decision to leave the Russian market amid Western pressure and Ukraine-related sanctions on Moscow.RT Germany’s ailing steel industry gets €2.6 billion to decarbonise.E

A candidate from Germany’s far-right AfD party won a city mayoral election for the first time on Sunday.DW Farmers from across Germany descended upon Berlin on Monday, with hundreds of tractors converging on the city’s famous Brandenburg Gate under the motto, “Too much is too much!”DW

40% of Germans expressed that they would never take up arms, even in such circumstances. Only 17% of Germans indicated they would “definitely” be prepared to defend their nation. An additional 19% stated they would “probably” do so in the event of an attack on Germany.RT

Iceland: Iceland volcano erupts after weeks of heightened earthquake activity.FT

Japan: Yen falls after Bank of Japan sticks with negative interest rates.FT

Netherlands: Record low unemployment drops further (to 3.5%) in recession-hit Netherlands.EN

Spain: Sánchez to meet opposition leader amid tension over amnesty law.E

United Kingdom: Londoners face ‘eat or heat’ Christmas crisis despite lower inflationEN The UK economy shrank slightly in the third quarter, according to revised figures that highlight the country’s struggle to shake off its low-growth performance.FT British retail sales rose far more than expected in November and at their fastest monthly pace since the start of 2023, suggesting the sector “turned a corner” with help from Black Friday discounts ahead of the key Christmas period.FT

United States: The number of homeless people in the United States has increased by 12 percent to a record high.CGTN Biden’s approval rating drops to all-time low of 34%.RT Real wages have declined under Joe Biden’s presidency.J

US Steel, a symbol of American industrialization and once the largest corporation on the planet, has agreed to a takeover by Japan’s Nippon Steel in a $14.9 billion deal that lawmakers from both of Washington’s major political parties have vowed to block.RT Five thousand workers at Anheuser-Busch in the United States voted by 99 percent on Saturday to authorize strike action against the top brewery company in the United States.WSWS Kaiser workers win big after largest healthcare strike in US history.RNN

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a report showing that California had 181,399 homeless people in January 2023, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2022.TS The home sales of California, one of the most expensive markets in the United States, plunged to the lowest level in 16 years.PD Backlash in Michigan: a township votes out officials over their support for Chinese battery plant.SCMP Immigrant rights groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Texas’s new law that makes illegal immigration a state crime.PD Is slavery back in Alabama?.PW In a major shift, Northwest tribes - not US officials - will control salmon recovery funds.PP

The Semi-Periphery


Argentina: Madman or pragmatist? Milei’s sudden transformation has Argentines puzzled.FT Libertarians are indistinguishable from fascists when they achieve power?! How could anybody have seen this coming?! Javier Milei has ordered an overhaul of the economy by eliminating or changing more than 300 rules. The deregulation measures are still subject to approval from the legislature.DW Thousands of Argentinians have taken to the streets to oppose the country’s new president Javier Milei who took office earlier this month promising drastic cuts to public spending.EN China cancels line of credit, pulling the plug on Argentina’s ‘anarcho-capitalist’ president.PW

Milei Sues Argentine Protesters for ‘Extortion and Fraud’.TS Argentines to Prepare National Strike Against Milei’s Abuses.TS Broad Repudiation of Milei’s Emergency Decree.TS No general strike yet against Milei’s decree, labor leaders announce.MP

Armenia: Amidst strained relations between Armenia and Russia, Russia’s state atomic energy company will modernize Armenia’s nuclear power plant and presumably build a new unit.EN

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan is on target to double its gas exports to Europe by 2027, according to President Ilham Aliyev.EN I had totally forgotten about this. Explains why the Western media was pretty much okay with them taking Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s two most prominent opposition parties are boycotting the snap presidential election scheduled for February 7, making it the sixth election in a row that they will be sitting out.EN

China: China should make an “orderly” cut of its US Treasury holdings and maintain a “balance” of trade with the rest of the world, according to a prominent Chinese economist.SCMP Chinese currency goes international in first yuan-based cross-border commercial loan.CGTN 2023 in review: China’s chip industry made new breakthroughs.CGTN China pushes technological innovation for agricultural modernization.CGTN

Tesla secures a site in Shanghai to build its Megapack energy-storage battery plant.SCMP Nooo! You’re meant to be decoupl– I mean, derisking!

At least 110 killed after M6.2 earthquake jolts northwest China.CGTN

China starts construction of its new Antarctic base’s main structure.CGTN In China’s deep-sea mining, the Dream is ready to raise methane-rich gas hydrate from the ocean’s depths.SCMP

Beijing is moving to curb excessive spending on video games across the country, according to a new draft regulation, dealing another blow to the world’s largest video gaming market that is still recovering from the government’s previous industry crackdown. Online games must not offer rewards that entice people to excessively play and spend, including those for daily logins, first top-ups and consecutive top-ups, according to draft rules published on Friday by industry regulator the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA). All video games must put a cap on how much players can top up their accounts and alert users about “irrational consumption behaviour” via a pop-up window, according to the NPPA.SCMP

A really annoying thing about gamers online is seeing how most people state that they really dislike the pay-to-win, lootbox-oriented playstyle that is meant to get you addicted and spending thousands of dollars on it, but whenever anybody tries to do anything about it, it’s authoritarianism. And like, it IS authoritarianism by the strict definition of the word, but how else is it going to change if you don’t use authority to change behaviors, either of the companies or of the players? Will the video game companies suddenly take a less profitable approach just to be “better people”? By definition that is impossible if your society is structured on the profit-motive. However, anti-China propaganda does seem to play a big role here too. I think if the US government did the exact same thing but packaged it in a way that was “sticking it to the big corporations” and “protecting the little guy” then it might even have significant support.

DPRK: North Korea vows to work with China to ‘safeguard common interests’ as Pyongyang launches fifth ICBM this year.SCMP

Mexico: Mexican president to challenge U.S. new anti-immigrant law.PD

Poland: Tusk takes state broadcaster off air in effort to depoliticise public media.E Polish nationalists occupy state TV offices in protest against media freedom reforms.EN

Romania: On Thursday, the Romanian government approved a bill to make it easier to harness the Black Sea’s abundant offshore wind energy.E

Russia: Putin opens longest Trans-Siberian tunnel.RT

Serbia: Serbian Progressive Party, led by Vucic, sweeps to new election victory.BNE Vučić declares victory in Serbia election, opposition cries foul.E

Slovakia: Slovakia’s streets were again sites of protest on Tuesday, with thousands of people mobilising across major cities to oppose plans by populist Prime Minister Robert Fico’s new government to amend the country’s penal code.EN

Slovenia: After months of tough talks, the Slovenian government and trade unions in the public sector have reached an agreement under which wages in the public sector will be adjusted to 80% of this year’s inflation rate next year, a deal that would temporarily avert a looming showdown with the country’s powerful unions.E

The Periphery


What Abandoning Fossil Fuels Could Look Like in the Arab World.DS


Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s poppy supply on the global market has plummeted 95% since last year’s cultivation ban, data shows.RT

Algeria: Algeria joins Guided Trade Initiative to boost pan-Africa tradeB

Bamako summoned the Algerian ambassador “to voice a strong protest” from Mali “following the recent unfriendly acts by the Algerian authorities, under the guise of the peace process”, according to an official Malian press release.AN

Angola: Angola on Thursday said it was leaving the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over a disagreement about oil production quotas.DW

Benin: Benin wishes to re-establish ties with its core business partners in western Africa which have undergone unconstitutional regime changes.AN

Chile: Chile rejects second attempt to renew constitution. A previous draft that was written up by a left-wing-dominated committee was rejected in 2022. The new draft, penned by the far-right opposition, was also voted down.DW

Colombia: Colombia’s drug war returns as peace deal sputters. As the 2016 peace deal struggles to deliver lasting changes, many young Colombians are faced with two options: a life of crime, or the life of an armed revolutionary.RNN

DPRK: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found that a new nuclear reactor is apparently operational at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex, sparking concern about an additional potential source of plutonium for nuclear weapons.DW

Egypt: Egypt’s Sisi wins presidential election with 89.6 pct of votePD Ethiopia, Egypt say no agreement in latest talks over contentious dam on the Nile.AN

Ethiopia: China tests diplomatic prowess in Ethiopia as it rebuilds after Tigray war.SCMP

Russian supplier of Bitcoin mining solutions BitСluster is building a 120-megawatt (MW) data center in Ethiopia, the company has announced on its website.RT Using energy from the GERD, which has a capacity of 5150 MW apparently. I suppose it could be worse, they could be using fossil fuels to power it.

Ghana: Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, is facing increasing risks to its bean crop from illegal miners and smugglers, according to industry officials, farmers and environmentalists.AN

Ghana’s Parliament has marked a historic milestone by legalizing cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial purposes, aligning with the global momentum embracing the multifaceted benefits of cannabis.AN

Guinea: Deadly fuel depot explosion leaves scores injured.DW

Haiti: It took the U.S. government one year to push through the United Nations Security Council its project for a fourth foreign military invasion of Haiti, but even now it is not a sure thing.HL

Although, on Oct. 2, the UN body blessed the “Multinational Security Support” mission (MSS) which 1,000 Kenyan police will supposedly lead, the Kenyan Supreme Court has given itself until Jan. 26, 2024 to decide on whether the Kenyan police can constitutionally be deployed abroad. Many Kenyan lawyers and opposition leaders say they cannot.

Whatever the court decides, it is uncertain that Kenyan President William Ruto will respect it. He has been promised a lot of money from Washington, with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveling to Nairobi on Sep. 25 to sign a new five-year security deal. Frantz Elbé, chief of the Haitian National Police (PNH), just traveled with a delegation to Nairobi, and some 200 Kenyan officers were reportedly sent to Haiti to do “reconnaissance.” So the fix may be in, as far as U.S. planners are concerned.

Iraq: Iraq holds first provincial election in a decade.DW

Kazakhstan: Employees of an oil services company in western Kazakhstan are pushing ahead with industrial action in their demand for improved working conditions despite waves of firings.EN China explores developing infrastructure at Caspian ports.EN

Nicaragua: Nicaragua and China agree on a strategic partnership.TS

Niger: France has decided to close its embassy in Niger, where “it is no longer able to function normally or carry out its missions,” according to diplomatic sources, definitively confirming a split between the two countries.AN

Rwanda: BioNTech inaugurates first manufacturing plant for mRNA vaccines in Rwanda.PD

Sri Lanka: According to the DMC, 8,196 people belonging to 2,394 families have been affected by disasters such as flash floods, high wind, heavy rain and lightning.PD

Tunisia: Russia was ready to supply more grain to Tunisia, Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday during a visit to the North African country grappling with shortages fuelled by drought.AN

Venezuela: On Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Yvan Gil strongly criticized the arrival of the United Kingdom Minister for the Americas, David Rutley, to Guyana.TS Alex Saab was freed from US captivity in what Venezuelan Prof. Maria Victor Paez described as “a triumph of Venezuelan diplomacy.” The diplomat had been imprisoned for trying to bring humanitarian supplies to Venezuela in legal international trade but in circumvention of Washington’s illegal economic coercive measures, also known as sanctions.R

Zambia: Zambia, already facing its worst anthrax epidemic in more than a decade, has recorded new deaths caused by cholera, health authorities in the southern African country reported on Tuesday.AN

Zimbabwe: China gives Zimbabwe military equipment worth US$28 million to boost security and modernise defence forces.SCMP

Global Institutions

BRICS+ and the future of the international order.GPE

The World Bank has found that developing countries spent $443.5 billion last year to service their public debt—almost half a trillion dollars—financed by draining resources from critical health, education and other social needs, such as combating the effects of climate change.WSWS

The Second Cold War



European Bank for Reconstruction and Development shareholders have agreed a €4bn capital increase that will allow it to double lending to Ukraine, boosting the war-torn country’s economic revival plans.FT

West’s Russian diamond sanctions unworkable, says CEO of De Beers.RT South Korean auto giant Hyundai has announced plans to sell its plant in Russia as the carmaker completes its exit from the country. The facility will reportedly be sold for a nominal fee of just 7,000 rubles ($77.20).RT

Biden, Democrats offer virtual destruction of asylum rights in return for Ukraine war funding.WSWS


Denmark will join Sweden in tank donation to Ukraine for over 240 million euros.EN Ukraine considers proposal by army to mobilise another 500,000 for war.E Ukrainian men of fighting age who fled the country amid the conflict with Russia should be forced to return, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, has said.RT

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says Kiev has lost more than 383,000 troops, either killed or wounded, since February 2022.RT

Putin said that the southern part of Ukraine has “always been Russian territory… Neither Crimea nor the Black Sea has any connection to Ukraine. Odessa is a Russian city.”IP As Russia Signals It Can Achieve Maximalist Aims in Ukraine, How Would Russia Manage Kiev and Western Ukraine?NC The Total Defeat Of Ukraine Is Coming Into Sight.MoA

U.S., Finland sign defense cooperation agreement.PD Ukraine joins NATO’s Arctic projects against Russia.IP Denmark Allows Permanent Presence of US Troops at 3 Air Bases.TS



Senior military officials from China and the U.S. held a virtual meeting on Thursday, following an agreement between the two heads of state in November to resume military communication.CGTN


Iranian and Chinese duo charged by US with exporting drone components to Iran.SCMP

China bans export of rare earth processing technologies.FT


To shoot or not to shoot: Chinese-developed ‘golden veil’ could make deadly missiles look like passenger planes.SCMP

Japan approves record $56 billion military spending.DW Japanese gov’t relaxes ban on arms exports amid criticism.PD



I used to think the term ’Judeo-Nazis’ was excessive. I don’t any longer.MR

The on-going ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians in 2023, marks the end of the façade of the peaceful Western liberal order. At least 940,000 people have been killed by direct war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. While these countries were subject to the different ebbs and flows of US imperial violence. Palestinians have paid the heaviest price. The historical occupation of Palestine has always been a socio-economic precondition for the cohesion of the G-7 but the current ethnic cleansing can no longer be contained through the usual narrative control tools and an ever intensifying climate of fear promulgated to the ends of silencing and chilling legitimate support for Palestine internationally.DE

Media research shows BBC is very far from ‘biased against Israel’.OD

Over half of US adults from ages 18 to 24 believe the ongoing crisis in Gaza should be resolved by abolishing the state of Israel and turning it over to Hamas and the Palestinian people, a new poll has found.RT Half of young Americans think Israel intentionally kills civilians, survey says.MEE Survey finds that 96 percent of Saudis oppose ties with Israel and that Hamas has gained popularity since Israel launched assault on Gaza.MEE

Despite Biden’s claims, Gaza health ministry death toll is accurate, say peer-reviewed scientific studies.GPE

Pope condemns attacks on civilians in Gaza: ‘It is war; it is terrorism’.MR

Anti-war protests explode in Israel after military shoots escaped hostages.PW Teacher Unions Push for a Ceasefire, With Education, Agitation, and Resolutions.LN


Shipping companies abandon Red Sea routes over Houthi attacks.EN More oil shippers halt passage via Red Sea due to rebel attacks.RT BP to pause Red Sea shipping transits over security concerns.DW Red Sea becoming a no-go area for international shipping.MP Red Sea attacks send China-Europe container shipping rates soaring, push firms to skip Suez Canal.SCMP Shipping firms cease deliveries to “Israel” or reroutes around Africa.MR

The Houthis have refrained from targeting vessels carrying Saudi, Russian and Qatari energy, potentially keeping oil markets subdued.MEE

Malaysia will not allow Israeli-flagged ships or vessels headed for Israel to dock or load cargo at its ports, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced on Wednesday. The ban was implemented in protest against Israeli “atrocities and massacres” in Gaza, he added.RT

We need to act fast to stop the situation in Gaza from triggering a wider war in the Middle East.MR A little late for that, I think.


History shows Israel may never win a ‘war of occupation’.RS

“Palestinian Terror Operative” Means Anyone Still Alive.MoA

Israel’s intense bombardment continues with al-Shifa hospital a ‘bloodbath’MEE

Escalating conflict between Iraqi armed groups, U.S. forces worsens shaky Mideast stability. According to the U.S. Pentagon, as of Dec. 12, U.S. troops have been targeted over 90 times in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17.PD

U.S. and UK shoot down 15 drones launched by Yemen from Red Sea.CGTN US announces naval operation targeting Yemen and Iran.WSWS Houthi fighters vow to strike US warships if ‘Americans attack’ Yemen.RT The Australian government announced on Thursday that it will not send a warship to the Red Sea, but will deploy additional troops to the region.TS

The US has said Iran has been “deeply involved” in planning Houthi attacks on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea and warned Tehran of a possible response amid the increased threat to shipping through a sea lane critical to global trade.FT


At the recent Cop28 climate talks in Dubai, hordes of Sudanese workers in blue jackets and lanyards helped guide lost delegates around the sprawling venue. But, while protests about the war in Gaza echoed all over the venue, survivors of the ongoing Sudanese conflict told Climate Home they felt voiceless about their struggle.CCN

Panic as the RSF sweeps into el-Gezira, sending thousands fleeing.MEE Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have declared the capture of a new town and military base in Gezira state, marking a significant advancement for the paramilitary group.AN

US lawmakers urge UAE to end support for RSF in Sudan.MEE Tensions rise between Sudan army, United Arab Emirates.AN

Various Analyses

We fight with our eyes. We plant seeds with our hands. We will watch the wheat fill the valley: The Fiftieth Newsletter (2023).MR

Transnational corporations provoke a single scream of horror that runs through the vertebrae of the world: The Fifty-First Newsletter (2023).MR

‘You burn with us’.E

The fourth issue of the international edition of Wenhua Zongheng (文化纵横) traces the historical evolution of socialism and identifies new forms that are emerging today. The issue features two articles that examine China’s socialist market economy, assessing its impact on the global socialist movement and how it could surpass capitalism.TC

The transcript of the latest Geopolitical Economy Hour.

Vaccines reduce the risk of long COVID in children.N

Loneliness Results from an Isolating Society, Not Individual Failures to Pursue Connection.CA


US and EU trade barriers not only hurt China, they also derail climate action.SCMP

The Price of Water and the Ongoing Colonization of Nature: Australian Cases in Global Context.MR

Surge in extreme forest fires fuels global emissions.N

Humans might have driven 1,500 bird species to extinction — twice previous estimates.N

‘Narratives of Delay’: How the Animal Pharma Industry Resists Moves to Curb the Overuse of Antibiotics on Farms.DS

Using Hydrogen for heating is a red herring. The future remains electric.E

Properties within a mile of a proposed wind farm experience an average decrease in value of 11 percent following the announcement of the project, compared to properties located three to five miles away. The decrease in property value begins after the wind farm is announced and continues during construction. But the difference fades away a few years after the project is operational to the point that properties within a mile of a project have values that are indistinguishable from those three to five miles from a project.ICN


Three Wall Street Mega Banks Hold $157.3 Trillion in Derivatives – That’s $56.7 Trillion More than the Entire World’s GDP Last Year.WSoP

From 2010 through 2014, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Focused on Crime on Wall Street; Since Then – Head in the Sand.WSoP

These Are the Bank Bailout Charts the Fed Hopes You’ll Never See in One Place.WSoP


Content Warning - this is usually not good news.

The Pope Offers (Mixed) Blessing to Gay Marriage.SP

I Love My Trans Comrades!