Asian shares continue global downward trend

Asian stocks saw sharp falls on Friday as mounting concerns over China’s slowing economy continued to affect global markets.

It follows big falls in US and European markets on Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74 points.

Data released on Friday morning showed Chinese factory activity falling to its lowest level in more than six years.

The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 47.1 from 47.8 in July. A figure below 50 shows contraction in the sector and one above means growth.

As domestic and export demand dwindle, Friday’s data is likely to add to global worries that the Chinese economy is set for a continued slowdown.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index followed the mainland’s trend and was 1.53% lower at 22,409.62 points.

Global market woes

Asia’s largest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, dropped sharply, finishing 2.98% down at 19,435.83 points.

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Syriza split as elections loom

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Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

Continue reading Syriza split as elections loom

US Set to Suspend Military Aid to Pakistan

The U.S. government will withhold certification of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations against the Haqqani network.

By Ankit Panda

The United States government will not certify Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations in North Waziristan over recent months as adequately damaging to the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terror group. The U.S. Department of Defense has reportedly notified the Pakistani embassy in Washington of the development, according to a report by Dawn. The non-certification of the Pakistani counter-terror campaign, known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb, will block the release of a new tranche of U.S. financial assistance for the Pakistani military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). CSF support had been extended for a year with a specific stipulation that the U.S. Department of Defense would certify the effectiveness of Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan against the Haqqani network.

The development would drive a major wedge between the United States and Pakistan, two allies who have grown apart over their divergent interests and priorities in stabilizing the broader Afghan-Pakistan border. Beyond the financial implications of the blocked CSF tranche, the development will deal Islamabad a politically damaging blow. As the Dawn report notes, given the recent deterioration in ties with Kabul amid allegations from the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, that Pakistani has inadequately reigned in cross-border terrorists, including militants affiliated with the Haqqani network, the U.S. government’s decision to withhold certification vindicate Afghan perceptions.

Read more » The | Diplomat
See more » http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/us-set-to-suspend-military-aid-to-pakistan/