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5 Most Popular Recent Articles

Global youth unemployment reaches record levels PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jordan Shilton   
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00

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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report documenting the severe impact of the global economic crisis on employment prospects for the world’s youth. The report, “Global Employment Trends for Youth”, presents detailed statistics on the growing number of 15-to-24-year-olds who find themselves out of work.

The most striking findings are those showing the rapid rise of youth unemployment from the eruption of the financial crisis in 2008 onwards. At the end of 2009, according to the report’s introduction, global youth unemployment stood at 81 million. This was an increase of 7.8 million, or nearly 10 percent, from the end of 2007.

In percentage terms, global youth unemployment rose from 11.9 percent to 13 percent during this period, an increase described as “sharper than ever before”.

In 2009 alone, the number of young people out of work globally rose by a staggering 6.6 million. As the report noted, “To put this in perspective, over the course of the ten-year period prior to the current crisis (1996-1997 to 2006-2007), the number of unemployed youth increased, on average, by 192,000 per year”.

Wikileaks CIA Release - Say What? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Collins   
Saturday, 28 August 2010 00:00

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Wikileaks offered its first release since the controversial distribution of documents related to the United States effort in Afghanistan.

The current leak was posted to their web site on August 25. It is titled CIA Red Cell Memorandum on United States "exporting terrorism", 2 Feb 2010.

The leak describes Red Cell as a CIA unit created by the Director to develop "out-of-the-box" analysis offering "alternative viewpoints" on key intelligence issues.

This document doesn't disappoint in being out-of-the-box.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:16
US to spend $1.3 billion on Afghanistan bases PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Van Auken   
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 00:00

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Got Contract?The Pentagon is embarking on a major base construction effort in Afghanistan even as Obama administration and military officials are making it clear that the US “surge” will last well past the July 11 deadline for beginning a drawdown of US troops.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the US Congress is preparing to pass legislation providing “$1.3 billion in additional fiscal 2011 funds for multiyear construction of military facilities in Afghanistan”. These funds would cover, in part, $100 million expansions for each of three major US air bases in different parts of the country.

These projects, the Post stated, are indicative of plans “to support increased US military operations well into the future.”

A notice seeking contractor bids placed on a US government web site last week maps out plans for the expansion of one of these US bases in Shindand, an airfield in western Afghanistan that had been used by the Soviet Army during its occupation of Afghanistan more than two decades ago.

The project is to include new runways, hangars, barracks, storage areas, a “weapons arming area” and other facilities. They are being built to accommodate the Special Operations troops used by Washington to carry out “targeted killings,” i.e., assassinations, which have become a key component of the US war. They will also house a unit operating pilotless drone aircraft for purposes of “Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance” as well as missile attacks.

The request for bids states that the contract will not be issued until January of next year and that the job itself will not be completed until at least a full year after that, i.e., January 2012, six months after the deadline set by President Barack Obama for the beginning of the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan.

Europe's Disoriented Right PDF Print E-mail
Written by Yascha Mounk   
Friday, 20 August 2010 16:05

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AT NO time since the Second World War has Europe been so firmly in the grip of right-wing leaders. From old hands like Angela Merkel in Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy in France, and Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, to the recently elected David Cameron in the UK, the center Right now governs the biggest European countries. Even the figureheads of the EU—including the presidents of the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament—have an impeccable conservative political pedigree. The only notable left-wing holdout, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, will likely be defeated at the polls when he stands for reelection in less than two years.

With such unprecedented power, it would seem that the Right has a rare opportunity to reshape Europe in its own image. Left-wingers might fear that their adversaries will roll back the achievements of the last decades. What major political reforms, they might ask with terror in their voices, is the Right implementing? In what fundamental ways will it change Europe over the next five to ten years?

The hegemony of the Right is cause for serious concern. Even so, scared questions about the transformative political vision of Europe’s current leaders smack of hyperbole. In reality, they are strangely toothless. Their policies barely deviate from those of their left-wing predecessors. The question is: why?

Iran, Tajikistan And Afghanistan: Diplomacy Of Brotherhood PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kourosh Ziabari   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 12:31

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The trilateral summit of the presidents of three Persian-speaking countries of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan wrapped up on August 5 in Tehran and recorded another unforgettable event in the memory of the three brother nations. With innumerable cultural, religious, social, lingual and strategic commonalities, the three countries of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have demonstrated their potentiality to build one of the strongest diplomatic partnerships in the region and benefit the world nations through a unique, fruitful and constructive cooperation.

The people of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, whose countries were parts of the Greater Persia in ancient times, consider Iran as their cultural homeland and believe that the Iranian nation is the inheritor of their paternal legacy, the Persian civilization.

A fraudulent “coalition of resistance” in Britain PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ann Talbot   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 00:00

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Tony BennVeteran British Labourite Tony Benn has launched a call for “a broad movement of active resistance” to the UK Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition government’s austerity measures.

He announced his “coalition of resistance” in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” section on August 4. His call was backed by 73 signatories: just two Labour MPs, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, the solitary Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, a handful of trade union leaders, including Mark Serwotka of the PCS civil service union and Bob Crow of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, as well as prominent figures from the media, such as Ken Loach, and academics and campaigners who have the reputation of being “on the left”. A variety of pseudo-left groups then endorsed his call and began campaigning on his behalf.

Benn’s campaign is fraudulent and should be rejected as a diversion by everyone genuinely seeking to oppose the savage cuts to the welfare state and public sector jobs. Benn revealed its bogus nature when he compared the movement he has in mind to that organised by the Greek trade unions.

The Greek unions have called a series of 24-hour stoppages that have not halted the government’s programme of austerity measures, but which were expressly designed to let off steam without threatening the PASOK government’s ability to impose the cuts demanded by the global markets. When the Greek truck drivers went on strike threatening to bring the economy to a standstill, the government responded by conscripting the drivers and bringing in the army to smash the strike. The response of their union, which had been trying to cut a deal with the government all along, was to capitulate. The presence of the army on the streets in a country that was living under a military junta from 1967 to 1974 is a stark warning of how sharp class antagonisms have become. European governments are attempting to dismantle welfare states that were built up in the post-war period. Such a wholesale destruction of social conditions demands a decisive shift in class relations and cannot be carried out within the framework of parliamentary democracy.

‘The Great Game’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by William Bowles • 31 December 2004   
Friday, 13 August 2010 16:02

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Book Review: A Century of War – Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order by William Engdahl

A Century of WarMany years ago I read the autobiography of R Buckminster Fuller (one of my heroes whilst at art school), who before becoming a visionary architect/engineer/designer and philosopher trained as a naval architect, a profession he later credited with equipping him with his holistic vision of the world. Not surprisingly therefore, Fuller had an abiding interest in the Royal Navy’s strategic role in maintaining the British Empire. Fuller referred to the fact that in the closing decades of the 19th century the British and US governments made a pact, a pact that saw an alliance between the imperial Royal Navy’s unassailable (at that time) control of the world’s trade coupled to the rising industrial and financial might of the US, an alliance that would rule the planet for the next century. And this was no megalomaniac vision but a reality built upon centuries of colonial rule and the wealth looted literally from one quarter of the planet. Those guys had a plan. Making it all possible of course, was the Royal Navy and its fleet of planet-spanning ‘ships of the line’, the mightiest navy the world had ever seen, with which it was able to protect its trade routes, engage in its euphemistically named ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in order to keep the ‘natives’ in line and to make sure that its imperialist competitors didn’t steal a reach on its ill-gotten gains.

But by the 1870s the Empire had reached its high point and England began the longest economic depression in its history, one that it was not to recover from until the 1890s. And in the meantime its European competitors, chiefly Germany, now outstripping Britain in industrial production and technological innovation, by the 1890s also had a navy to rival that of Britain’s. And it is here, at the shooting end of the British Empire that we see the role of oil take centre stage when the advantages of oil-fired turbines revolutionised naval warfare (this in spite of the Navy’s rejection of the idea some years earlier), extending the reach and speed of its biggest battleships.

This is the point at which Engdahl’s story effectively begins by examining the economic competition between England and Germany largely over Germany’s expansion East toward Turkey and South into Africa. East where the oil was (then in Iran) and South to the riches of Africa and onwards…dangerously close to the ‘jewel’ in the empire’s crown, India.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 August 2010 19:55
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