Catalonia vote: Pro-independence parties win elections

Pro-independence parties in Spain’s Catalonia region have won an absolute majority in regional elections, near complete results show.

With nearly 100% of the votes counted, the main separatist alliance and a smaller party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament.

They said earlier a majority would allow them to declare independence from Spain unilaterally within 18 months.

The central government in Madrid has pledged to block such moves in court.

With 99,67% of the votes counted, the “Junts per Si” (“Together for Yes”) won 62 seats, while the far-left separatist CUP party is expected to secure 10 mandates.

“We have won,” Catalan regional President Artus Mas told his cheering supporters late on Sunday.

After a celebration rally, the pro-independence camp’s leaders told the BBC’s Tom Burridge that they would now proceed towards the creation of an independent Catalan state.

But the road ahead is controversial and anything but clear, our correspondent adds.

The pro-independence parties said ahead of the vote that they considered it a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

They argue that the Spanish government has consistently refused to allow a legally recognised referendum to take place, ignoring an unofficial vote backing independence in November 2014.

Opinion polls suggest a majority of Catalans favour a referendum on independence but are evenly divided over whether they want to secede.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34372548

US On The Ropes: China To Join Russian Military In Syria While Iraq Strikes Intel Deal With Moscow, Tehran

by Tyler Durden

Last Thursday, we asked if China was set to join Russia and Iran in support of the Assad regime in Syria.

Our interest was piqued when the pro-Assad Al-Masdar (citing an unnamed SAA “senior officer”), said Chinese “personnel and aerial assets” are set to arrive within weeks. To the uninitiated, this may seem to have come out of left field, so to speak. However, anyone who has followed the conflict and who knows a bit about the global balance of power is aware that Beijing has for some time expressed its support for Damascus, most notably by voting with Russia to veto a Security Council resolution that would have seen the conflict in Syria referred to the Hague. Here’s what China had to say at the May 22, 2014 meeting:

 For some time now, the Security Council has maintained unity and coordination on the question of Syria, thanks to efforts by Council members, including China, to accommodate the major concerns of all parties. At a time when seriously diverging views exist among the parties concerning the draft resolution, we believe that the Council should continue holding consultations, rather than forcing a vote on the draft resolution, in order to avoid undermining Council unity or obstructing coordination and cooperation on questions such as Syria and other major serious issues. Regrettably, China’s approach has not been taken on board; China therefore voted against the draft resolution.

In other words, China could see the writing on the wall and it, like Russia, was not pleased with where things seemed to be headed. A little more than a year later and Moscow has effectively called time on the strategy of using Sunni extremist groups to destabilize Assad and given what we know about Beijing’s efforts to project China’s growing military might, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising to see the PLA turn up at Latakia as well.

Sure enough, Russian media now says that according to Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has decided to join the fight. Here’s Pravda (translated):

According to the Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.

Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs claimed about the beginning of the military operation by China against the IS terrorists. “It is known, that China has joined our military operation in Syria, the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, aircraft carrier follows it,” Morozov said.

According to him, Iran may soon join the operation carried out by Russia against the IS terrorists, via Hezbollah. Thus, the Russian coalition in the region gains ground, and most reasonable step of the US would be to join it. Although the stance of Moscow and Washington on the ways of settlement of the Syrian conflict differs, nonetheless, low efficiency of the US coalition acts against terrorists is obvious. Islamists have just strengthened their positions.

As Leonid Krutakov told Pravda.Ru in an interview, the most serious conflict is currently taking place namely between China and the US. Moscow may support any party, the expert believes, and that is what will change the world order for many years.

Clearly, one has to consider the source here, but as noted above, if Beijing is indeed set to enter the fray, it would be entirely consistent with China’s position on Syria and also with the PLA’s desire to take a more assertive role in international affairs.

Meanwhile, it now looks as though the very same Russian-Iran “nexus” that’s playing spoiler in Syria is also set to take over the fight against ISIS in Iraq, as Baghdad has now struck a deal to officially share intelligence with Moscow and Tehran. Here’s CNN:

Iraq says it has reached a deal to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIS militants.

The announcement on Saturday from the Iraqi military cited “the increasing concern from Russia about thousands of Russian terrorists committing criminal acts within ISIS.”

The news comes amid U.S. concerns about Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria and would appear to confirm American suspicions of some kind of cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow.

We’d be remiss if we failed to note the significance here. The entire narrative is falling apart for the US, as Russia and Iran are now moving to transform the half-hearted Western effort to contain ISIS into a very serious effort to eradicate the group.

Read more » Zero Hedge
Learn more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-27/us-ropes-china-join-russian-military-syria-while-iraq-strikes-intel-deal-moscow-tehr

China pledges $2B to help developing countries

Also promises to forgive debt owed by countries in greatest need

By Thomson Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Saturday that Beijing will establish an assistance fund with an initial pledge of $2 billion to help developing countries implement a global sustainable development agenda over the next 15 years.

“China will continue to increase investment in the least developed countries, aiming to increase its total to $12 billion by 2030,” Xi told a sustainable development summit of world leaders at the United Nations.

“China will exempt the debt of the outstanding intergovernmental interest-free loans due by the end of 2015 owed by the relevant least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries,” he added.

The fund would help pay for such things as health care, education and economic development.

News courtesy: CBC
Read more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-fund-poorest-countries-1.3245286

Nick Clegg: British people don’t want ‘Che Guevera Corbyn’

Former Deputy Prime Minister says Britain will never elect a Jeremy Corbyn government

By Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online

Nick Clegg says the British people will never elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and have no desire for “Che Guevara” politics.

The former Deputy Prime Minister, who led the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015, told the audience at the Hay Festival Segovia: “It was totally unsurprising, almost inevitable, that the Labour Party elected a leader from the hard left but they will never win an election under Jeremy Corbyn as leader. I have seen this frequently in my time in politics: when political parties just talk to themselves they always end up losing. There is no groundswell for Jeremy Corbyn. A couple of thousand people seeing him in a hall on a rainy Thursday in Leeds is not a revolution.”

Then, in a reference to Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary leader of Cuba, Clegg added: “The British people aren’t going to look for Che Guevara in the next election. Labour may have a politically motivated group whose voice will be ever more shrill and loud and amplified by social media but there is a whole sea of people, millions of voters, who don’t engage with politics. I think roughly only 20-25 per cent of the population are strongly engaged in politics, whether that is going to meetings with Corbyn or being foot soldiers for UKIP but the vast majority of people are broadly sceptical and bored by politics and they are the ones who count in elections. When the Labour Party realise that they can have their sanctimonious debates, throwing rocks, but that it won’t make them win, then maybe they will change again. But that could be a long time. I remember a time when the Conservatives were considered stuffed and Tony Blair was in sway but the pendulum has swung. Who knows, it might take another 15 years for it to swing back for Labour.”

Read more » The Telegraph
See more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/11893359/Nick-Clegg-British-people-dont-want-Che-Guevera-Corbyn.html

Reports: Chinese ships head to Syria

Translated by Kristina Rus

China deploys troops to help Russia in Syria

Remember the joint military exercises of Russia and China in the sea and on land? With landing on shore and fighting against terrorists?

And here is the answer to the question of why they trained together.

Rusvesna:

“An Arab news source [Al Masdar News] reports that a military contingent of the PRC is on the way to Latakia and will arrive in Syrian ports any day. Chinese transport with military cargo was spotted on Tuesday morning, passing through the Suez canal.

Information about the Chinese military experts heading to Tartus was confirmed by the commander of the Syrian army. The report concludes that Moscow will create in Syria an anti-terrorist coalition that will become the alternative version of the military alliance formed by the US  for dropping supplies to ISIS. Military entrance of China into the struggle for Syria will be an important addition to today’s statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. At a press conference with “Russia Today” deputy foreign minister of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that Iran will fight ISIS together with Russia. Notably Amir talked not just about an alliance, but a creation of a broad military coalition.

“We welcome the Russian President’s proposal on establishment of a common front in a fight against terrorism and are even ready in realizing this initiative to carry out joint operations and cooperate together,” – said deputy foreign minister of Iran.

That Russia will fight terrorists with Iran’s hands, English resources have been writing for a week. And the joining of China into the support group has exceeded all imaginable expectations. The presence of the international coalition significantly changes the balance of power in favor of Moscow, untying Russian hands for direct military action in the Middle East.”

It seems that Russia has finally returned to the Middle East.

Courtesy: Fort Russ
Read more » http://fortruss.blogspot.com.ar/2015/09/reports-chinese-ships-head-to-syria.html