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Showing posts from March 6, 2014

CUBAZUELA : What have we learned after three weeks of protests in Venezuela

New post on The Devil's Excrement

by moctavio

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail

It has been four weeks since the first San Cristobal protests that ignited the current wave of repression. 

Some people are still trying to understand what is happening, why it is happening and where it will end.

 I have no answer to where this will all go, but I do think I understand parts of what took us to where we are.

The current wave of protests began in Tachira State, as understood well by Girish Gupta in his article in The New Yorker, the people of Tachira are among those hurt the most by shortages in Venezuela, add to that a student protest, some jailed students taken to another State, which is illegal and you had the necessary sparks to get this thing going.

But this wasn't enough. You have to add to the combination that coincidentally, that same week, Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, had both call for protests under the slogan "La Salida", something which many thought …

Power Delusions: U.S.A., Russia Face Off Over Ukraine

Opening Remarks

By Romesh Ratnesar

March 06, 2014

(Clockwise from top left) Photographs by Fernando Llano/AP Images; AP Images; Yves Herman/Reuters; Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images; Achmad Ibrahim/AP Images; Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters; Allauddin Khan/AP Images; Sana/AP Images; Kyodo News/AP Images

During the Cold War, Vladimir Putin manned the KGB’s post in Dresden, East Germany, recruiting local journalists, scientists, and engineers to spy on the West. 

It was a cushy job for a while: Putin took his family on weekend trips to Saxony, ate lunch at home, and drank the finest beers East Germany had to offer, straight from the keg. 

After the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, Putin and his fellow agents in Dresden burned so many secret documents that their furnace broke. At one point, a mob of locals surrounded the office, preparing to ransack it. 

When Soviet troops stationed nearby refused to help, Putin pulled out a pistol and warned the trespassers in German that he would open fire if…

Crimea Crisis Haunted by Ghosts of Bungled World War I Diplomacy

By James G. Neuger

 Mar 4, 2014 3:10 PM PT

Photographer: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
French President Raymond Poincaré with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia during a state visit to Russia, in July 1914.

War was coming to Europe and the French president, Raymond Poincare, was literally at sea.

Poincare’s trip across the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg to shore up France’s alliance with Russia in July 1914 cut him off from outside contact for days, adding one more layer of uncertainty to the chaotic, ultimately failed diplomacy that ended in World War I.

A century later, as Russian President Vladimir Putin menaces Ukraine, the world hasn’t banished the risks of the miscommunications, clumsy judgments and botched intelligence that blindsided Europe in 1914, said Max Hastings, a British military historian.

Putin’s Ukraine Gambit Hurts Economy as Allies Lose Billions
Kerry Makes Push to Ease Ukraine Tension in Lavrov Talks

Crimea Crisis Haunted by Ghosts of Bungled WWI Diplomacy

Opinion: Puti…

5 myths about the Venezuela crisis

Hugo Chavez’s legacy polarizes left and right like few other issues. Here, GlobalPost unpacks five of the more contentious claims about Venezuela.

LIMA, Peru — Nothing quite arouses political passions like Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “Bolivarian” socialist revolution.

Hollywood progressives such as Oliver Stone and Sean Penn champion the government for its anti-poverty programs, while conservative pundits thunder that a "dictator" left Venezuela in shambles.

As Venezuela on Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez’s death, and the protests against his political disciple, President Nicolas Maduro, enter their fourth week, GlobalPost sorts the facts from the myths regarding Venezuela.

1. Latin America is wild about Chavismo

A pro-Chavez gathering in Santiago, Chile. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

Many on the left believe that Chavismo, the leftist movement launched by the late Hugo Chavez, has the backing of most Latin Americans. That’s not borne out by the research.…

ExxonMobil’s Vast Russian Prospects at Risk With Putin’s Ukraine Push


ON MARCH 5, 2014

Acreage owned by Rosneft/ExxonMobil JV, Image: ExxonMobil

March 5 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp.’s biggest international exploration opportunity may be imperiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian foray.

U.S.-based companies could face restrictions on doing business in Russia if Putin’s regime is slapped with sanctions by western governments or the United Nations for its intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Exxon, under the terms of a 2011 contract with state- controlled OAO Rosneft, owns drilling rights across 11.4 million acres of Russian land, its biggest exploration holding outside the U.S. Sanctions could stall Exxon’s plans to begin drilling in the Russian Arctic later this year in partnership with Rosneft, and threaten the lucrative Sakhalin-1 oil license off Russia’s Pacific Coast.

Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson agreed to invest billions of dollars and allow Rosneft to buy stakes in premier North American proj…

New Investment Platforms Raise Questions for China's Banking System


MARCH 3, 2014 

The headquarters of Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)


The growth of large online investment platforms has captured the attention of Chinese authorities in recent months. Non-state enterprises such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which runs the e-commerce website Taobao, and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a social media conglomerate that runs the popular WeChat online messaging program, are an emerging force in China's financial system.

The question is whether these online financing platforms could start to chip away at state-controlled banks' effective monopoly over the country's vast pool of household and corporate savings. For now, funds invested into new online financing platforms such as Alibaba's Yu'e Bao are equivalent to a little more than 1 percent of the state-controlled banking sector's roughly 74.2 trillion yuan ($12 trillion dollars) in consumer deposits. But the platforms are growing rapidly.

Their growt…