Portugal: “A great leap forward”

Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, Portuguese Finance Minister

We take a great leap forward in strengthening our relations at all levels, trade and investment, and also in terms of funding.

Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, Portuguese Minister of Finance, when asked about Chinese Govt buying Portuguese bonds. Does he know about Mao?

Thanks he didn’t add: “and in Human Rights“.

Found here.

Kyrgyzstan riots: opposition protesters seize power

National emblem of Kyrgyzstan

Image via Wikipedia

Activists seized the parliament building and laid siege to the government headquarters. The deputy prime minister was taken hostage and there were reports from police that the interior minister had been killed. The main state television station was overrun and by early afternoon the president had declared a state of emergency.

Reports suggested about 100 people were killed and hundreds more wounded, although the death toll was expected to rise with witnesses describing piles of dead bodies in the streets.

Last night a Kyrgyz opposition leader announced on state radio that Daniyar Usenov, the prime minister, had signed a letter of resignation. It was also announced that a provisional government had been formed with a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva, at its head.

…The US State Department later said it had no information that the government had fallen and for the moment they believed Mr Bakiyev was still in power. Last night a US military official said flights had been suspended from the airbase amid the riots.

…“Russia and the United States have been competing for influence for a long time and have airbases just a few miles apart, so it is an active centre of the Great Game right now between the powers of Russia, China and the US,” said Chris Weafer, the chief strategist at Uralsib bank in Moscow.

He said living standards in Kyrgyzstan, where many families depended on money sent back from relatives working in Russia, had fallen sharply because of the economic crisis and that had probably triggered the unrest.

via Kyrgyzstan riots: opposition protesters seize power – Telegraph.

Russia has had to deny that they have triggered the unrest. Speaking about meddling in foreign affairs… More about this in TIME:

The struggle (between US and Russia) came to a head in February of last year, when the Kyrgyz handed the U.S. military base an eviction notice just weeks after Russia provided the impoverished country with a $2 billion loan and $150 million in aid. Russia denied any link between the two events, but U.S. officials saw it differently. Washington soon reached a deal with Kyrgyz leaders to keep the base open — in exchange for a tripling of the yearly rental to $60 million, among other conditions.

… Putin vehemently denied the allegation at a press conference in the Russian city of Smolensk on Wednesday, saying the events in Kyrgyzstan had caught him by surprise. He added, however, that Kyrgyz President Bakiev had made many mistakes since coming to power in what is known as the Tulip Revolution five years ago. “When President Bakiev came to power, he very harshly criticized the deposed President, [Askar] Akayev, for his family values, for the fact that his relatives had positions throughout the Kyrgyz economy. I have the impression that Mr. Bakiev has been stepping on the same rakes,” he said, alluding to the fact that Bakiev appointed his family members, including his son, to top government posts. A Kremlin source told Russia’s Interfax news agency on Wednesday that Bakiev “would not be welcome in Moscow.”

The U.S. State Department was quick to issue a statement saying its air base in Kyrgyzstan was “functioning normally.” “We are continuing to monitor the circumstances. We continue to think the government remains in power,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement on Wednesday. But that view is beginning to seem untenable: Bakiev has already fled the country, and the opposition says it is forming a new government. How amenable that government would be to the U.S. presence in Kyrgyzstan remains to be seen. What is certain is that the struggle for influence between Russia and the U.S. may again heat up in Central Asia.

NYT worries about the fate that awaits to the US military base.

Also this can have some effects on the drug trafficking route thoughout Central Asia.

EUReferendum says that the protests were “largely spontaneous” and were caused by the high prices of energy:

“The violent rolling protests appeared to be largely spontaneous rather than a premeditated coup,” it says, eventually telling us that a “leading expert” has said the government had triggered the protests by imposing punitive increases on tariffs for water and gas. “In the last few months there has been growing anger over this non-political issue,” said Paul Quinn-Judge, central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group.

So has Russia meddle here or not? It’s difficult to tell by now, we’ll see the future developments in this country.

The death toll has risen to 74.

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Venezuela: Chávez ushers restrictive energy measures

Oil-rich Venezuela ushered in 2010 with new measures rationing electricity use in malls, businesses and billboards, as Hugo Chavez’s government aimed to save power amid a crippling drought.

The new regulations came into effect January 1, with businesses required to comply with reduced consumption limits and authorities warning of forced power cuts and rate hikes if the measures are not followed.

via Socialist Hugo Chavez Rations Electricity | The Lonely Conservative.

Amazing what this gal is doing to Venezuela.

Spain: Now Zapatero wants a “demanding” austerity plan

From AFP. After he has made deficit 5 times bigger. I would like to know who is going to be demanded more austerity: politicians or citizens?

Wonders of Socialism: Spanish Deficit Worsens

Till it becomes 5 times what it was last January 2009. But “Allianzator” leader Zapatero has spent €3M in “design furniture” for the Spanish Presidency of Europe’s meetings. Kumbayá, Kumbayá…. who’s going to pay this??? Because surely he is not going to… 😡

Venezuela: Chávez Warns on Toyota Plant

And “South African Communists’ Peace Price” goes on:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to expropriate Toyota Motor Corp.’s local assembly plant if it doesn’t produce more vehicles designed for rural areas and increase technology transfer.Mr. Chavez said Wednesday that Toyota needs to transfer more new technologies and manufacturing methods from headquarters to its local unit in Venezuela, adding that other foreign auto-assembly plants are also not doing enough of this.

Mr. Chavez said his socialist government is going to apply strict quotas regarding the number and types of vehicles auto makers can produce. He ordered an immediate inspection of Toyota’s facilities to see how many “rustic vehicles” they are currently producing.

“They’ll have to fulfill [the quotas], and if not, they can get out,” Mr. Chavez said during a televised address. “We’ll bring in another company.”

via Venezuela Warns on Toyota Plant | NewsBag.

Freedom… that word sooo unknown in Venezuela’s Chávez.

Economy: the problem is a growing expenditure

This video is a MUST SEE.For everyone. Even Spanish people (high expenditure is doing that rating agencies like Moody’s are lowering their ratings over Spanish debt, and of some of the Autonomous communities, specially Catalonia).

In Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, there is a character called Wilkins Micawber who says:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

More politicians should read literature, not only MSM which lauds and praises them.

Long time no see

It’s been nearly 3 months since the last post here. We have been busy so we apologize for the inconveniences caused by our long absence.

Yesterday I talked with John, my boss (He-he) over at Infidels are Cool and I told him how is going everything here. So I have decided to write something about it.

Well, the situation is bad, no need to exaggerate. But it can be even worse.

Firstly, we have the economic situation. The Economist, a magazine not well-known for being a staunch supporter of the right-wingers (they actually adored Zapatero before he was elected… you know, he was the Zapateromessiah 😛 ), considers Spain as the sick man of Europe, an expression which was used on the XIXth century specially about the Russian Czarist economy. It has only one word for the actual situation in Spain: unsustainable

Spain’s 19% unemployment rate is second only to Latvia’s in the EU. It reflects a structural hangover in a country that got drunk on bricks and mortar before its property bubble burst in 2007. Because of this, Spain entered recession in an already weakened state. As others recover slowly but predictably, Spain will need more time and extra care. Even optimists expect real recovery to come only in 2011.

Secondly, in view of the situation, any responsible (and sound) person would try to care for economy (really care). But instead of that, Zapatero’s Government is taking several astonishing measures:

1.- regarding abortion, the new Spanish law (not yet approved but in Parliament) will make possible that 16-year-old girls have one without their parents permission. Also till the 22nd week, every pregnant woman will be able to have an abortion with no special cause (now, only in one among three causes: a) rape; b) danger for mental or physical health of the mother or c) genetical malformations of the foetus and only till 12th week) and throughout all pregnancy if they are in danger. There was a demonstration (really big one) but, of course, Zapatero didn’t listen to the demonstrators’ demands (of course, Aznar was a dictator because he didn’t listen to the “streets’ demands” over Iraqi war, but Zapatero is not one even if he never listens to anybody who has a different opinion, much more if they are right-wingers).

2.- regarding religion, the Government now wants to get rid of every crucifix in the country. They say that Brussels wants them to do it, after a sentence in which European Union says that it’s against freedom of religion that Christian crucifixes are shown in public schools. Anyway, in here the far-left nationalist Catalonian Republican Left also wants that private and “concertados” (schools which receive money from State but are not public) get rid too of the crucifixes. They don’t see that as incompatible with critisizing (not directly, of course) the Swiss referendum about the minarets, even if I don’t recall any Christian politician referring to Crucifixes as “bayonets”, as Erdogan did about minarets.

3.- the last of the imbecilades of the Government is the so-called “Law of the Sustainable Economy”. Among other issues (renuevable energy sources, investment in development and technology -after cutting it dramatically from State Budget-, etc), they have tried to pass an article by which they actually will be able to take down every webpage if they think that it is infringing “intelectual property rights” (hmm, yes, Zapatero has said that no, “no web, no blog is going to be shut down“, but the Culture Minister insists the article will be maintained in the Law Project). Gizmondo writes about it clearly:

There’s a whole bunch of greedy “artists”—represented by the SGAE, the Spanish version of the RIAA, and some cinema associations—who most of the times are used by the Spanish socialist government to support their political agenda. I say greedy because, in Spain, there’s an “artist tax” on everything that can be used to record something. You buy a CD to do data backup at work? Doesn’t matter, the government’s friends assume you are a thief copying stuff, and charge you an extra for it. Maybe you want a new camera to record your newborn baby? Well, that’s more expensive too because of the “artistic” tax. Want an iPod? Pay extra. A DVD-R unit? Give them more money.

But of course, people know that we have to pay that artist tax (to millionaires like Miguel Bosé, Pedro Almodóvar or Alejandro Sanz, for instance, all of them staunch supporters of these measures) so they began buying all those things through the Internet. Greedy artist knew so… they wanted more money:

… they got it as an obvious favor, returned by the socialist government now in power. After passing the law hidden in another law, the artist associations can now close any web site they want, without a court order. They only have to argue that the site may be used to share media, and the Minister of Culture will have to the power to close the site without any judge giving the go ahead, a true “Cultural Police.” Goodbye democracy, hello National Socialism. What’s more, they also want to be able to close the Internet connection of any user who uses the internet for P2P sharing, also without any due process.

Spanish leftist blogger Ignacio Escolar has blamed US Embassy about this. In a post written yesterday, he actually writes that “some phone calls have been made to both the Government and the opposition to ask for this last reform to be maintained and to support them in being tough with Internet piracy”. Now, he must write that the Mossad, Ariel Sharon and Golda Meir are also in it to complete the picture… 🙄

Nora had a problem sometime ago when someone ordered wordpress.com to shut down her Spanish Pundit website because she had posted a photo that was copyrighted. No warning was made, just the blog disappeared. 

So, as I said, this is getting too much complicated (also the conflicts between regions are getting tougher by the minute) and it’s somewhat depressing to see these developments. Makes me angry, really. 

But, in the end, there is nothing to be done, just protest and protest and protest. Of course, most of the time we don’t get any result, but at least we have carried on with our duty as citizens. 

Thanks to you all for your kindness and I hope we are back to blogging as soon as we can. 😆

Afghanistan: MP fights for women’s integration in society

(Translation by T&P)

Afghan MP Shinkai Karokhail, speaking about the country’s general elections on Aug. 20th, maintains that women’s integration in the social and political life of the country, is fundamental for the country’s regeneration.

“The future Government of Afghanistan should take the women into account, include them in the political decisions and give importance to their decisions. It should give them education and economic and health care. They should begin fulfilling the promises they have made”, she said, one of the leading female voices in the country.

In an interview with Spanish News Agency EFE, Karokhail admitted that women’s situation has changed for the better since the Taliban regime fell, but she denounced that the women continues suffering poverty, lack of education and dependence from men.

Her task is going to be truly hard… specially after the Constitution passed in Afghanistan:

describes Islam as its sacred and state religion. A system of civil law is described, but no law may contradict the beliefs and provisions of Islam. It was widely reported that Sharia law is not specifically mentioned, but in fact Hanafi jurisprudence is one of the six branches of Sharia law. Moreover, concessions are made to Shia jurisprudence in cases arising strictly between Shi’ites.

Followers of other religions are “free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites” within the limits of the law. There is no mention of freedom of conscience, and in fact apostasy from Islam is punishable by death (see below).

(…) Women are protected equally before the law; however, the tenets of Islam are given the most moral significance.

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UK: “The Shard”, Qatari-funded skyscraper will be completed in 2012

Half a mile across the River Thames from where bankers tally job losses in London’s financial district, builders sink girders to lay the foundations of what will be western Europe’s tallest skyscraper.

“The Shard,” funded by four Qatar-based companies, is due to be completed in 2012. The 1,016-foot, US$730-million tower also will be the most prominent symbol yet of how money from the Middle East is filling the void left by western banks and financiers.

“In the same way as when the Japanese came to London in the 1980s, those who have the biggest pockets and are the best capitalized will get the best locations,” said Savvas Savouri, head of strategy at London property broker Bh2. …

The biggest structure still going ahead in the City of London financial district will be the 945-foot Pinnacle office tower due to be built by 2013. That also is being funded by investors from the Middle East, Arab Investments Ltd.

via FFoF.

For more information on Shariah Finance in UK, click here.

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links for 2009-08-10

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Priorities

While Zapatero is worried about his sexual health, so much that he actually suffers lapsus linguae in the less appropriate moments, and Moratinos (Spanish FM) says that “not everything is going wrong” (thank God, we still are alive… 🙄 ), Spanish people have other kind of worries. According to the last official statistics via Twitter, 75.2% of Spanish people are worried about their jobs and the possibility of losing them, while 54.4% are worried about financial difficulties.

Speaking about the divorce between the political elites and citizens… :P

Saudi Arabia: The prophet saw the future about oil

Saudi imam has issued a fatwa or religious edict, banning the use of alcohol as a fuel substitute for petrol. “I warn Saudi students that live abroad not to use alcohol as a cheap substitute for petrol, because the prophet has cursed not only who drinks it but also those who use it for other purposes,” said the Saudi imam Mohammed al-Najimi, quoted by Saudi daily, Shams.

via Saudi Arabia: Imam forbids alcohol to be used as fuel substitute – Adnkronos Religion.

Any consideration about Saudi Arabia being one of the leading exporters of oil but inappropriate for cultivating grapes would not be well received, wouldn’t it? And Khomeini said there was no fun in Islam… well, this is truly funny. ;)

Zapatero on global economy

“There has to be a stricter regulation and international supervision, at least at the level of the European Union,” socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was quoted as saying in the newspaper, Publico.

“It is a question of in-depth reform of the financial system,” he told the daily.

“There has to be regulation and limits to everything to do with incentives and rewards” for heads of businesses, said Zapatero, describing as “scandalous” some financial benefits paid to bosses which had “removed their inhibitions in the face of risk.” (Just don’t ask them how much the

Zapatero also called for “new rules for credit rating agencies which bear major responsibility in this crisis.”

He said that overall there needed to be greater transparency in the present financial system: “there cannot be shadowy financial products which escape practically all regulation, as has greatly developed in the US.”

(…) At the political level, Zapatero said the left should “show initiative with suggestions to regulate globalisation” which if not regulated “could produce disastrous effects.” – AFP

via Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper – Finance & Business

And all of this, after learning economy “in two afternoons”, as he stated before the 2004 elections. Just take care in following his advice… 😦