Tag Archives: Brussels

World leaders condemn Brussels attacks, landmarks lit up in Belgium’s colours

BRUSSELS: World leaders united on Tuesday in condemning the carnage in Brussels and vowed to combat terrorism after the strike by Islamic State jihadists on the symbolic heart of Europe.

As Belgians mourned, several global landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, were lit up in the black, yellow and red of the national flag.

The European Union vowed to defend democracy and combat terrorism “with all necessary means” after the attacks on Brussels airport and as well as train at a metro station only a short walk from the EU’s core institutions.

Read more » The Times of India
See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Europe/World-condemns-Brussels-attacks-Eiffel-tower-lit-up-in-Belgiums-colours/articleshow/51520721.cms

‘No deal’ with Greece as talks in Brussels fail

The latest round of talks between Greek and EU officials in Brussels has failed to reach an agreement.

A European Commission spokesman said while that progress was made on Sunday, “significant gaps” remained.

Europe wants Greece to make spending cuts worth €2bn (£1.44bn), to secure a deal that will unlock bailout funds.

Greek deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis said that Athens was still ready to negotiate with its lenders.

He said Greek government proposals submitted on Sunday had fully covered the fiscal deficit as demanded.

However, Mr Dragasakis added that the EU and IMF still wanted Greece to cut pensions – something Athens has said it would never accept.

The cash-strapped nation is trying to agree a funding deal with the European Union and IMF before the end of June to avoid a default.

Eurozone finance ministers will discuss Greece when they meet on Thursday. The gathering is regarded as Greece’s last chance to strike a deal.

The Commission spokesman said: “President [Jean-Claude] Juncker remains convinced that with stronger reform efforts on the Greek side and political will on all sides, a solution can still be found before the end of the month.”

‘Losing patience’

The talks come as Germany ramps up pressure on Greece. Vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that European nations were losing patience with Greece.

Germany wanted to keep Greece in the eurozone, but writing in Bild he warned that “not only is time running out, but so too is patience across Europe”.

Mr Sigmar is also economy minister and head of junior coalition partners the Social Democrats.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33125801

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat

By 

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment in progressive democracy currently underway in grave danger.

Greece is on the verge of leaving the Eurozone rather than accept a continuation of the reduced government spending measures imposed on it by the union’s other 18 members in exchange for a credit package that expires at the end of February; talks in Brussels broke down on Monday after the Syriza negotiators refused to break the party’s promises to the Greek people by accepting more punishing austerity. The German government, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) all seem intent on bringing the new government to heel, regardless of the people for whom German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble claims to feel sorry.

The real concern, apparently, is that democracy may go too far for austerity advocates to continue imposing their economic ideology from a distance: in Spain, Portugal, Finland and elsewhere, the patience of citizens is wearing thin as a growing number of them awaken to the stark reality that, while the very rich get much richer, the austerity programs their governments dutifully implemented are the cause rather than the cure for what ails their economies.

If Syriza succeeds in rolling back the EU-mandated measures, it could encourage dissident political movements in other parts of Europe; the right-wing governments in Europe’s periphery are terrified of a Greek success at the negotiating table.

Syriza’s recent electoral success was a clear indictment of the budget-strangling policies that left Greece mired in a depression for the last five years. Back at the beginning, money that should have been used to protect Greek families and rebuild Greek communities was instead used to protect the holders of Greek government debt – mainly French and German banks.

Read more » The Guardian
Learn more » http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/17/the-pro-worker-pro-growth-experiment-in-greece-is-under-threat

 

Italy hit by wave of Pitchfork protests as austerity unites disparate groups

Demonstrations point to frustration with traditional politics, with minister warning parliament of a country in ‘spiral of rebellion’

by in Rome, theguardian.com

They blocked roads and stopped trains,occupied piazzas, clashed with police and closed shops. From Turin and Milan in the north to Puglia and Sicily in the south, Italy was hit this week by a wave of protests that brought together disparate groups and traditional foes in an angry show of opposition to austerity policies and the government.

They [politicians] have brought us to hunger; have destroyed the identity of a country; have annihilated the future of entire generations,” read one poster from the “December 9 Committee”, an umbrella organisation urging Italians to rise up against the euro, Brussels, globalisation and, primarily, Enrico Letta’s government. “To rebel is a duty.”

In a loosely formed movement which has gone largely by the name of I Forconi (the Pitchforks), lorry drivers, farmers, small business owners, students and unemployed people staged protests venting their fury at a political class which they blame for Italy’s longest post-war recession and want to “send home”.

But they were not alone. Alongside them were anti-globalisation groups, members of the Veneto Independence movement, elements of the far right and – for good measure – football “ultras”. Among the sights “rarely seen before”, reported the Turin-based daily La Stampa, were supporters of arch-rivals Juventus and Torino standing “side by side”.

Although the protests had been publicised, especially on the internet, their scale and occasionally violent nature – particularly in Turin, a historic city of protest – appeared to take many by surprise.

In a country struggling to exit a two-year long recession, in which unemployment is at a record high of 12.5% and one in 10 children is thought to be living in absolute poverty, the causes of the unrest are hardly unfathomable.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/13/italy-pitchfork-protests-austerity-unites-groups

US Congressman backs Balochistan’s right of self determination.

BRUSSELS: A member the U.S. House of Representatives has called upon the Pakistan government to stop its authoritarian measures in Balochistan and to respect the right to self-determination of the Baloch people.

In a message to an event organized at the European Parliament in Brussels titled Balochistan: Destiny Denied, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who is member of the House Judiciary Committee and member of the Crime, Terror and Homeland Security Sub-Commitee, called on the Pakistan government to “cease its authoritarian operations” in Balochistan. He said, “Americans empathize with Balochistan’s call for self-determination.”

The congressman from Wisconsin added, “The Baloch people have passed for nearly seven decades to throw the yoke of Pakistani rule … Baloch activism had been met by Pakistani armor, artillery and air strikes.”

Rep. Sessenbrenner said in his statement, “I support … freedom and liberty for the Baloch people. It is their right to determine their future and how best to protect the rights of Balochistan’s citizens.”

Read more » http://tarekfatah.com/us-congressman-backs-balochistans-right-of-self-determination/

BBC – Burma riots: Video shows police standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims

Burma riots: Video shows police failing to stop attack

To watch video click HERE

The BBC has obtained police video showing officers standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims in the town of Meiktila.

The footage shows a mob destroying a Muslim gold shop and then setting fire to houses. A man thought to be a Muslim is seen on fire.

It was filmed last month, when at least 43 people were killed in Meiktila.

Meanwhile the EU is expected to decide whether to lift sanctions imposed on Burma, in response to recent reforms.

It is thought likely that despite concerns about the treatment of minorities, Brussels will confirm that the sanctions, which were suspended a year ago, are now permanently lifted.

The sanctions include the freezing of assets of more than 1,000 Burmese companies, travel restrictions on officials, and a ban on EU investment in many areas. However, an arms embargo is expected to remain in place.

Continue reading BBC – Burma riots: Video shows police standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims

The Nation of Sindh & Sindh diaspora of USA, Canada, UK, Belgium and UAE, reject apartheid SPLG law

Washington-USA, Toronto-Canada, Brussels-Belgium, London-U.K., Middle East+ Sharjah+ Abu Dhabi, UAE, *Sindh*-Pakistan.

13th October 2012 – We, the undersigned Sindh Diaspora Organizations, Sindh Civil Society Organizations and Sindh Nationalist Parties unequivocally and resoundingly reject the controversial and apartheid Bill passed by the Sindh Assembly, to give a legal facade to the SPLG ordinance 2012.

It may be remembered that this same forum had twice rejected this and a previous ordinance emanating from the Governor House, which had the same purpose: Administrative, Fiscal and eventual Political Division of Sindh.

This forum view these repeated onslaughts on the fundamental rights of the nation of Sindh on their own land as an act of aggression against humanity.

The Sindhi Nation is not only cognizant of the contents and intentions of this so called “Bill”, but has resolved to struggle for its reversal.

The obscure and back room circumstances and haste surrounding the promulgation of first, the SPLGO and second its passage into “law” by the Sindh Assembly on 1st October 2012, further and finally confirmed to the Sindhi Nation that the intentions of the current coalition partners in the ruling Sindh Government, the PPPP and MQM, are malafide. This coalition stands rejected by the nation of nation, and has lost their confidence.

The SPLGO has been designed to further dis-empower and disenfranchise the nation of Sindh in their own historic homeland.

It is aimed to divide Sindh administratively with a view to its eventual political division in the future.

Further, the SPLGO privileges urban areas dominated and controlled by the MQM and expands their writ into adjoining areas where their vote base is non existent. The SPLGO has given the MQM a license to eradicate or render marginal, the vast Sindhi speaking population that lives in Sindh’s urban areas particularly in and around Karachi and its historical districts and coastal areas. The cooperation and compliance of PPPP leaders in delivering to the demands of the MQM, shows that the PPPP is not in a position to safeguard the interests of Sindh.

Sindh’s entire civil society, Nationalist Political Parties and Sindhi Diaspora Organizations stand united in their opposition to the apartheid SPLG Bill. The SPLG Bill stands rejected.

Sindhi Association of North America, SANA, World Sindhi Institute, WSI, Canada, USA+Europe, World Sindhi Congress, WSC, USA+Eurooe, Sindhi Sangat Middle East, Dubai+Sharjah+Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sindh Bachayo Commitee, Awami Tehreek, Sindh, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Awami Jamhoori Party, Sindh National Movement, Sindh Univerity Teachers Association,  Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Women’s Action Forum, Sindh.

NATO head calls on China, talks to Russia about expanding supply route

NATO head calls on China, Russia to help fund Afghan forces

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The head of NATO called on China and Russia on Thursday to help fund Afghan security after 2014, as the alliance tries to rally contributions from a wider range of sources before most foreign combat troops pull out of Afghanistan.

NATO estimates that the annual cost of maintaining Afghan security forces will be some $4 billion, and the United States is hoping for contributions worth 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from other NATO allies and partners. [ID:nL2E8FHCG3] But so far only Britain has publicly pledged an actual amount of cash, $110 million a year. [ID:nL6E8FI96J]

“We would welcome financial contributions from Russia, China and other countries to ensure a strong sustainable Afghan security force beyond 2014,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference in Brussels, where NATO foreign and defense ministers were meeting to prepare for a summit next month in Chicago.

The United States and NATO, keen to douse fears Afghanistan could face renewed civil war when foreign troops pull out, want to use the summit to demonstrate a long-term commitment to Afghan stability that will endure well after 2014. …

Read more » Yahoo News

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

BRUSSELS — In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year. ….

Read more » The New York Times

Twelfth International Communist Seminar

Twelfth International Communist Seminar
“The Marxist-Leninist Party and the anti-imperialist front facing the war”
Brussels, May 2-4, 2003
http://www.icsbrussels.org , ics[at]icsbrussels.org
General Resolution of the International Communist Seminar
Peoples of the world, let us unite against US preparations of a Third World War!
Brussels, 4 May 2003
The war of aggression on
Iraq perpetrated by the US and British imperialists, which began on 20 March 2003, marks a turning point in history. It follows the counter-revolutionary process completed in Soviet Union by Gorbachev in 1990. This counter-revolution has indeed changed the world balance of powers to the advantage of imperialism and mainly of US imperialism.

Continue reading Twelfth International Communist Seminar