Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

January 21, 2009

Asked about the prospects of the world with a President of the United States Barack Obama, Russin Preident Vladimir Putin said, “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations.”

Other world leaders were more upbeat…

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AFP

Obama-fever swept the globe Tuesday (20 Jan) carrying widespread public hopes that the incoming US president would lead the world into a new crisis-free era.

In the hours before Barack Obama took the oath of office in Washington, foreign governments and new polls all showed huge support for the Democratic president even though many analysts have warned that expectations for his rule are unrealistic.

Pictures of Obama dominated front pages and television news programmes around the world. Spain’s El Pais newspaper published a photo of Obama and his wife Michelle above the headline: “The American Dream Comes to Power”

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said an “Obama effect” could shorten the global recession.

“In my opinion, the economic crisis could be shorter than expected if the new administration of Barack Obama generates confidence,” said Zapatero.

“We could see a rebound faster than expected, it is a question of confidence because the fundamentals of the global economy are good enough,” added the socialist premier.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was looking forward to working closely with Obama, a spokesman for the German leader said.

Obama will make two visits to Europe in April for an international summit on the economic crisis and a NATO alliance meeting.

“In general, we are looking forward to co-operating with the new US president and are expecting to tackle the many questions which concern us both,” spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already said the Middle East should be Obama’s top foreign priority and other leaders have also pressed the case for issues ranging from climate change to helping the world’s poor.

Hopes that Obama can improve US ties with the rest of the world have grown in the run-up to his inauguration, according to a poll of people in 17 countries for the BBC World Service radio.

An average of 67% of people believe Obama will strengthen America’s relations abroad, with more than 50% thinking so in all but two — Japan and Russia — of the countries polled.

The global financial crisis should be Obama’s top priority, followed by pulling US troops out of Iraq, tackling climate change, and brokering peace in the Middle East, the survey said.

Ghanaians are most positive, on 87%, followed by Italy (79%), Germany and Spain (78% each), and France (76%), followed by Mexico and Nigeria (74% each).

Polls in Canada suggest more than 80% of people there approve of the new US president. Obama could visit Canada in Feb and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the trip as “a wonderful gesture and a great sign of re-establishing the strong Canadian-American relations.”

But Harper was also among leaders to douse hopes that Obama could fix all problems ranging from wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan to the economic crisis and global warming.

“None of us are under any illusions about the great challenges that face President Obama,” commented Harper, who said Obama should concentrate on the economy.

Other warnings have already come from Germany where Merkel said last week that there would be “very serious discussions” if the United States gave what Europe considers unfair help to its ailing auto industry.

Russia has expressed hope that Obama will make concessions on US plans to build a missile shield in central Europe and on NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, which Russia considers its sphere of influence.

But Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed scepticism while on a trip to Berlin on Saturday (17 Jan). “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations,” he said of Obama’s inauguration.

“Familiarity with Obama seems to be breeding hope,” said Steven Kull of the University of Maryland in the United States, which compiled the BBC survey with polling firm GlobeScan.

Read the rest:
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/20349?tid=14

Gaza: Israeli Troops Out By Obama Inauguration

January 19, 2009

Israeli officials say their troops will leave the Gaza Strip before President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated on Tuesday.

This is the first official indication that Israel plans a rapid withdrawal of its forces after announcing a unilateral cease-fire Saturday in its devastating three-week offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
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Israel made this plan known at a dinner Sunday with European leaders who were in the region in an effort to  secure the fragile cease-fire that Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers declared on Sunday.  The cease fire follows  a three-week Israeli offensive.

Israeli leaders said the pullout could only be possible if militants continue to halt their fire.

Thousands of Israeli troops have already started to leave Gaza. Hamas declared a weeklong truce on Sunday.

At the dinner, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his guests that his country had no desire to stay in Gaza.

“We didn’t set out to conquer Gaza. We didn’t set out to control Gaza. We don’t want to remain in Gaza and we intend on leaving Gaza as fast as possible,” Olmert told the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said that if Gaza remains quiet, Israel’s departure will be “almost immediate.”
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 The head of the Hamas administration claimed a “popular victory” against Israel.

“The enemy has failed to achieve its goals,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech.

Hamas’s truce decision, conditioned on Israel withdrawing within a week, was “wise and responsible,” he said.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

From Associated Press, Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/m
east/01/19/gaza.pullout.israel/index.html

 Gaza: Both Sides Claim “Victory” But All Looks Destroyed

Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

America Must Rebuild To Thrive; Obama Must Deliver Real, Lasting Goodies

December 25, 2008

America needs to reboot and re-invent itself.

Internationally, Israel wants a smackdown on Iran.  Medvedev and Putin want U.S. Missile Defense out of Europe.  And others are lining up too.

Americans want prosperity and jobs.  GM and Chryler want all the auto bailout they can get and the UAW wants a raise.

President-elect Obama, blissfully in the Hawaiian nirvana as we write, faces a long line of seekers looking for goodies this Christmas and next year.

Can he possibly deliver? 

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From Thomas Friedman
The New York Times

We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

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America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.

John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.

Read it all:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24
/opinion/24friedman.html?em

Art Below by Steve Broder in the New York Times

No Peace and Joy at Christmas: World Boiling With War, Terror, Violence

December 25, 2008

Peace may not come on Christmas for many.  And the days ahead may be even rougher.  Israel is fed up with rocket attacks in Gaza.  The U.S. Army is looking for more troops for Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pirates seem to rule the Gulf of Aden.  Pakistan eyes India and India glares back….and on and on….

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We are today in one of the world’s most violent and unstable periods since perhaps World War II.

In the past seven years the world has seen major terror attacks in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Africa, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India, horrific genocidal slaughter in Darfur and outright war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of citizens, soldiers, insurgents, men, women, children, the innocent, the guilty and the in-between have been killed, wounded, maimed, blown apart, beheaded, executed and otherwise dispatched from the land of the living. Tensions are heating to the boiling point and could explode into major war between India and Pakistan; the Kurds and Iraq/Turkey/Iran/Syria; Iran and the United States/Israel; Hezbollah and Israel; and Russia and Georgia – among others. War and rumors of war dominate our lives.

A U.S. soldier looks at a skateboard during a routine patrol ...
Looking for explosive devices.  This may not be a toy.  A U.S. soldier looks at a skateboard during a routine patrol in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Somehow the spirit of joy and happiness that normally characterizes this time of year seems strangely out of place. Far more than presents this Christmas, we are in desperate need of the gift of peace.

By Daniel L. Davis
Washington Times

The editorial pages of the nation’s leading newspapers are stocked full of pundits explaining how we can “win the war on terror” by using strong-armed tactics, co-opting the weak and employing intimidation to attain our ends. Many recommend we threaten military action against Iran if it doesn’t bend to our will. Others argue that the new president ought to hold to a tough and aggressive policy regarding Russian “aggression.”

Still more enthusiastically endorse a deepening and widening of the war in Afghanistan, perhaps even to Pakistan – whether the government in Islamabad agrees to it or not. What is consistent about all these efforts is that they posit that to achieve peace, we must employ ever greater amounts of violence and force. The result seems only to be a festering of the violence, an increase in the amount of terrorism and more antagonistic relations between nation states.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
dec/25/another-war-on-the-horizon/

SKorea deploys its 1st Aegis-equipped Navy destroyer

December 22, 2008

South Korea deployed its first Aegis-equipped destroyer Monday as part of a program to boost its naval forces, the navy said.

The 7,600-ton-class ship is armed with the U.S. Aegis radar and combat system enabling it to detect and trace 1,000 targets and strike 20 of them simultaneously, the navy said in a statement.

Associated Press

The warship is the first of three Aegis-equipped destroyers that South Korea plans to deploy in coming years, according to the navy.

“Our navy … can completely protect our forces from threats by enemy missiles and jets and has obtained precision striking capability,” Jung Ok-keun, the navy chief of staff, said in comments on the deployment, according to the statement.

South Korea shares the world’s most heavily fortified border with North Korea, and naval skirmishes sometimes occur along their disputed maritime frontier.

South Korea launched the Aegis ship in May last year and has been testing its capability before its actual deployment, the navy said. South Korea was the world’s fifth nation to commission an Aegis destroyer after the United States, Japan, Spain and Norway.

The divided states are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Tensions on the peninsula have been running high since a pro-U.S., conservative government took office in Seoul in February with a pledge to take a tough line on the North.

U.S. In For More Global Anger Over $50 Billion Fraud

December 15, 2008

Big and small, he “took” them all. Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is another blow to America’s reputation, integrity….

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The list of investors who say they were duped in one of Wall Street‘s biggest Ponzi schemes is growing, snaring some of the world’s biggest banking institutions and hedge funds, the super rich and the famous, pensioners and charities.

The alleged victims who sunk cash into veteran Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff’s investment pool include real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman, the foundation of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and a charity of movie director Steven Spielberg, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Above: Steven Spielberg

By JOE BEL BRUNO and JANE WARDELL, AP Business Writers

Among the world’s biggest banking institutions, Britain’s HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Man Group PLC, Spain’s Grupo Santander SA, France‘s BNP Paribas and Japan’s Nomura Holdings all reported that they had fallen victim to Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The 70-year-old Madoff (MAY-doff), well respected in the investment community after serving as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested Thursday in what prosecutors say was a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors. Some investors claim they’ve been wiped out, while others are still likely to come forward.

“There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you’ve had somebody decide to be unscrupulous,” said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a regulator in charge of monitoring investment funds like the one Madoff operated.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081215/
ap_on_bi_ge/wall_street_arrest

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Some of the world’s biggest banks have revealed that they are victims of a fraud which has lost $50bn (£33bn).

Bernard Madoff has been charged with fraud in what is being described as one of the biggest-ever such cases.

Bernard Madoff in 1999 - AP Photo/The New York Times, Ruby Washington
Above: Mr Madoff is the former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange

Among the banks which have been affected are Britain’s RBS, Spain’s Santander and France’s BNP Paribas.

One of the City’s best-known fund managers has criticised US financial regulators for failing to detect the alleged fraud.
Nicola Horlick, boss of Bramdean investments, said US regulators had “fallen down on the job”.

Mrs Horlick told the BBC: “I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job.”

FROM THE TODAY PROGRAMME

“This is the biggest financial scandal, probably in the history of the markets – $50bn is a huge amount of money,” she said.

Banks and financial institutions across the world had investments with Bernard Madoff:

Read the rest from the BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7783236.stm

Wall Street sign