TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 24th, 2012
- Signs Suggest Iran Speeding Up Nuclear Program
- China Confronts Mounting Piles of Unsold Goods
- Athens and Berlin in spat over funds
- Allies: Afghan Troop Attacks on Colleagues Are Rising
- Norway Killer Deemed Sane, Given 21 Years
More top stories and excerpts below:
IRAN: Signs Suggest Iran Is Speeding Up Work on Nuclear Program – NYT
International nuclear inspectors will soon report that Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges in recent months and may also be speeding up production of nuclear fuel.
IRAN: Iran Politician Suffers Heart Attack – WSJ
Iran’s opposition Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, under house arrest for 18 months, suffered a heart attack and was taken to a heart hospital, his official website reported.
IRAN: An Ultimatum for Iran - WP, OP-ED
Charles Krauthammer on U.S./Israeli options in Iran based on the advice by Anthony Cordesman.
IRAN: Gathering Hope in Tehran – NYT, OP-ED
Although the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting has been mocked as a “bacchanal of nonsense,” it is likely to have significant implications.
CHINA: China Confronts Mounting Piles of Unsold Goods - NYT
The severity of the country’s inventory surplus has been masked by the blocking or adjusting of economic data by the government.
CHINA: Doubts raised over China’s stimulus plans – FT
Plans by local and central governments to invest hundreds of billions of dollars do not appear to contain much substance when examined closely
CHINA: China Banks Cut Foreign Deposit Rates - WSJ
Some of China’s major state-run banks lowered interest rates on onshore foreign-currency deposits, a move aimed at alleviating the growing depreciation pressures on the yuan.
CHINA/JAPAN: Why China Resents Japan, and Us - NYT, OP-ED
Chinese rage is primarily aimed at Japan – but it is also directed at the United States.
CHINA/USA: The Great Sino-American Divorce - REUTERS, OPINION
Mark Leonard on renegotiating China- and America’s relationship.
CHINA: China’s 1% Problem - BLOOMBERG, OP-ED
Murder case illuminates China’s communist problem.
CHINA/MYANMAR: Ethnic Tensions in China - Kachin News, via CFR
Chinese authorities are evicting mostly ethnic Kachin refugees who fled to China in 2011 when a cease-fire collapsed between Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Army.
EUROZONE: Athens and Berlin in spat over funds – FT
Dispute erupts into public disagreement just as closely watched PMI data show the eurozone will almost certainly slip back into recession
EUROZONE: Europeans to Debate Further Aid for Greece - NYT
Vacation is over early this year in the euro zone, with Greece and its shaky future back on the table and Spain waiting in the wings to ask for help from European bailout funds.
EUROZONE: SPAIN: Spain’s Crisis Reignites an Old Social Conflict - NYT
In Andalusia, unemployment and austerity fuel farmworkers’ resentment of wealthy landowners and their farm subsidies.
EUROZONE: Merkel Reiterates Greek Stance -WSJ
Germany’s Angela Merkel said she wants Greece to stay in the euro zone, but made no commitment on granting further leeway on austerity measures until completion of a review of Greece’s progress in implementing reforms.
EUROZONE: SPAIN: Spanish Bank Investors Share Pain - WSJ
Spain may impose losses on preferred shareholders and junior bondholders at banks that receive assistance from the government.
EUROZONE: SPAIN: Madrid to get power to close troubled banks – FT
Spain is working on legislation to toughen the powers of its central bank to comply with Brussels’ demands over its €100bn bailout package
AFGHANISTAN: Attacks on Afghan Troops by Colleagues Are Rising, Allies Say - NYT
Afghan soldiers or police officers have killed 53 of their comrades and wounded at least 22 others in 35 separate attacks this year, according to NATO data.
AFGHANISTAN: Dulce Et Decorum Est - Roger Cohen, NYT, OP-ED
The war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and a reproach to us all.
AFGHANISTAN: ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attacks Show Need for Smaller Afghan Army - BLOOMBERG
The surprising thing about the “insider attacks” by Afghans against U.S. and coalition forces is not their sudden increase. It’s that the coalition’s military leadership didn’t anticipate the surge in the first place.
NORWAY: Norway Killer Deemed Sane, Given 21 Years – WSJ
Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his twin terror attacks in Norway last year that killed 77 people. The sentence means he is regarded to have been sane when he committed the brutal actions.
SYRIA/LEBANON: Lebanon Clashes Spark Fears of Widening Conflict – Daily Star, via CFR
Supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad clashed in Tripoli after a Salafist sheikh was killed by a sniper, ending a two-day-old cease-fire and sparking fears that Syria’s conflict will spill over into the region.
SYRIA: Gruesome killings mark surge of violence in Damascus - WP
Videos and residents’ accounts point to a pattern of summary executions taking place in Syrian capital on a new scale.
SYRIA: Family, editors express concern for U.S. journalist in Syria - WP
Austin Tice has not been heard from in more than a week.
SYRIA/FRANCE: France could help enforce no-fly zone in Syria – France24, via CFR
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian signaled France would be prepared to take part in an enforcing a partial no-fly zone over Syria with a coalition of the international community.
UK: U.K. GDP Less Gloomy - WSJ
The U.K. economy isn’t as deeply in recession as thought, revised official figures showed, though analysts cautioned its economy in still in dire straits.
DENMARK/CURRENCY: World watches as Danes venture below zero – FT
Copenhagen, eager to maintain its currency peg to the euro, is experimenting with negative interest rates – studied closely by other central banks
ISRAEL/IRAN: Israeli Attack on Iran Would Be Folly – Daily Telegraph via RCW
The Iranian people would probably respond to attack by rallying behind their leaders and strengthening a deeply unpopular regime.
PAKISTAN/DRONE STRIKE: U.S. Drone Strike Kills 18 in Pakistan – AP, via CFR
A U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan killed eighteen people, a day after Pakistan’s foreign office warned a senior U.S. diplomat that drone attacks in the tribal areas near Afghanistan violate the country’s sovereignty.
US MILITARY STRATEGY: Going beyond ‘Air-Sea Battle’ – WP, OPINION
Michael O’Hanlon and James Steinberg: As a military concept, Air-Sea Battle reflects some needed rethinking in response to global changes in weaponry and military strategy in the Middle East and especially East Asia.
SPAIN/PAINTING: Despite Good Intentions, a Fresco in Spain Is Ruined - NYT
A century-old fresco depicting Jesus crowned with thorns has been disfigured after an elderly parishioner took it upon herself to restore the artwork, damaged by moisture.
LIBYA: Tribal clash in western Libya – REUTERS
Fighting between two heavily armed tribes in the western Libyan town of Zlitan left at least three dead and dozens injured.
CUBA: Revolution in retreat - Economist
Under Raúl Castro, Cuba has begun the journey towards capitalism. But it will take a decade and a big political battle to complete, writes Michael Reid
RUSSIA: Russia’s rights ombudsman decries punk rocker verdict - WP
Vladimir Lukinc alled the two-year prison sentences handed down to three female punk rockers “excessive” and warned that the case was igniting dangerous social tensions.
VENEZUELA: Power Failures in Venezuela – NYT
A highly scripted TV appearance of Chávez’s goes wrong, exposing more than one crack in the system he’s created.
VENEZUELA/ ELECTIONS: The vote that counts – ECONOMIST
Would the generals accept a presidential handover?
INDIA: India Widens Internet Clampdown – WSJ
India broadened efforts to regulate the Internet, blocking prominent journalists’ Twitter accounts and content from mainstream news organizations.
INDIA: Coal Spat Clouds India’s Prospects – WSJ
An impasse between the government and opposition parties in India over allocation of coal blocks has dimmed prospects for economic changes that economists call vital to revive growth.
INDIA: How an Indian Patent Case Could Shape the Future of Generic Drugs – TIME
On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court will hear a landmark case that could limit Indian companies’ right to make inexpensive generic drugs.
S. AFRICA: Mine strike victims remembered – FT
President Zuma announces details of an inquiry into the bloody incident, as colleagues and relatives of the 44 dead gathered for a memorial service
BANGLADESH: Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife - NYT
As Bangladesh garment workers have seen their meager earnings eroded by double-digit inflation, protests and violent clashes with the police have become increasingly common.
HAITI: Haiti’s Unnatural Disaster - NYT, EDITORIAL
With a tropical storm headed in its direction, a tragic lack of safe shelter, years after the devastating earthquake, could be made worse.
S. KOREA/PATENTS: Korea Court Split in Patent Case – WSJ
A South Korea court delivered a split decision in its piece of the battle between Apple and Samsung over mobile computing patents.
ECUADOR: Ecuador Takes Stage With Asylum Offer – WSJ
President Correa casts himself as a media advocate after giving refuge to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but critics say he curbs the press.
NETHERLANDS: Dutch Socialists catch the scent of victory – FT
Disaffection with the conservative government‘s austerity policies is driving voters towards the most leftwing of the Netherlands’ mainstream parties
ANGOLA: Repression fears ahead of Angola election – FT
Human rights groups highlight crackdown on dissent as a sign of the determination of President José Eduardo dos Santos to extend his 33-year rule
MYANMAR: Thais reaffirm backing for Myanmar project – FT
Despite setbacks, Bangkok has moved to dispel doubts over its commitment to the world’s biggest port and industrial zone development at Dawei
SAUDI ARABIA: Arab Spring Comes to Saudi Arabia – NATL POST via RCW
Of all the changes brought on by the Arab Spring, it is the ongoing unrest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province – home to a large Shiite minority, and holding 90% of the country’s oil reserves – that could prove to be the most important in the long run.
N. KOREA: N. Korea’s Kim Plans China Trip – REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to visit Beijing and meet China’s new and exiting leaders next month, in what would be his first state trip.
FRANCE: The Toulouse Terrorist: Was He or Was He Not a Lone Wolf? – TIME
Report in le Monde detailing declassified intelligence reports suggest Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah had far more contacts with presumed radical allies than previously known–but security officials contend it doesn’t undermine evidence the jihadist was a lone wolf.