As protests and unrest continue to spread across Syria, Western pressure including sanctions and even open talk of military intervention is mounting against the regime of “President” Bashar Al-Assad (left).
Numerous sources report that NATO is already plotting an invasion as foreign powers covertly arm Syrian rebels. And some analysts believe military intervention against Damascus would merely serve as a prelude to an attack on Iran.
The debt crises of European Union member-states have reached critical mass. Three of the "PIIGS" nations — Portugal, Ireland, and Greece — and likely the other two — Italy and Spain — are simply too deeply in debt to pay off the principal and interest on national government bonds without massive help from other European nations, specifically Germany. And Germans are increasingly upset at how their government and that of France are attempting to solve the catastrophe.
The European Union has threatened Sweden with legal action unless it rescinds its first issuance of wolf-hunting licenses in 45 years. Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren announced that his country has no wish to engage in long legal proceedings in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, which would be the next step if the EU member-state failed to comply.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been riding the promotion circuit since his latest book, On China, was released on May 17 by Penguin Press. The release was timed to precede the 40th anniversary (July 9, 1971) of his secret trip to China that is credited with opening relations between the United States and the Communist regime of Mao Zedong (which was then assisting the Communist forces that were killing American troops in Southeast Asia).
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is being heavily criticized for civilian casualties and a series of bombings apparently targeting essential non-military infrastructure in Libya, with some observers calling the actions war crimes. The Libyan rebels being supported by coalition forces have also been accused of wanton savagery and even crimes against humanity.
The bad news from the European Union is growing almost daily. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, had almost no economic growth at all in the last quarter The entire 17-nation European Union grew at the miniscule rate of .2 percent from the prior quarter. The prior quarter’s eurozone economic growth had been .8 percent, larger than last quarter but still far short of what is required to create confidence that the sovereign debt crisis can actually be managed. That represents the slowest economic growth since late 2009. The French economy also stalled during the quarter and the Italian economy grew only .3 percent.
The Italian government revisited its plans for handling the nation’s gaping public debt problem. On Friday, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) said that tax increases and spending cuts would both be in the new austerity plan. The tax increases included a “special levy” on income above €90,000 per year as well as tax increases on income from financial investments. More specifically, there would be a surcharge of 5 percent on incomes above €90,000 and a 10-percent surcharge on incomes above €150,000. The tax rate on financial income would increase from the current level of 12.5 percent to 20 percent. The government also pledged to crack down on tax evasion.
If you thought the Central Intelligence Agency hatched a few wacky plots to get rid of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro, such as planting explosive sea shells on the sea shore, the boys at Langley had nothing on British Intelligence during World War II, a new book has disclosed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) is reportedly considering the drastic step of “pre-crime” blocking of social media sites if the violent riots in his country continue. He contends that such a move would permit authorities more time to “catch up” with arrests of suspects shown rioting on surveillance cameras. The communication platforms under particular scrutiny are Twitter, Facebook, and Blackberry Instant Messenger.
The Chinese Communist Party has exerted every effort to manage all high-tech activities within its borders. While the government has allowed the market forces more freedom, it has attempted to retain iron control over projects such as manned space travel and high-speed trains. Unfortunately for technology, the decision-making in these sorts of projects in China, critics maintain, is driven by politics, not science. Analysts note that invariably, government-controlled technology projects are inherently weak.