08 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


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New York City mayor Bill de Blasio

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the podium during a press conference on Thursday to discuss the retraining of police. Photograph: UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media

New York mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to endorse Eric Garner grand jury decision

  • Mayor says he ‘respects the process’ of grand jury

  • NYPD to conduct its own inquiry into death of Eric Garner

New York mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday refused to endorse a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer over the choking death of a man in the city last summer. De Blasio also doubled down on controversial comments he made about the risks faced by children of colour, such as his son Dante, when they encounter police officers.

Appearing on ABC, de Blasio three times refused to respond to the question of whether he respected the decision by a grand jury not to bring charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who put Staten Island resident Eric Garner in a chokehold during an arrest attempt. The decision led to large-scale protests in the city and across the country, which on Sunday continued into a fifth day. On Saturday night, violence broke out at one such demonstration, in California.

After de Blasio had deflected the question, saying “as an executive in public service” he respected “the judicial process, but …” host George Stephanopoulos interrupted to ask: “So you respect the grand jury’s decision?”

De Blasio replied, with emphasis on the last word: “I respect the process.” He went on to talk about initiating a “systemic” retraining of police officers in New York, in order to “fix the relationship between the police and the community”……………….


Syrian Kurdish refugee children

A refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border. Most of those who have fled Syria have been hosted by Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Take in Syrian refugees, aid agencies tell rich countries

Organisations including Oxfam and Amnesty International call on rich countries to resettle tens of thousands of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes

A coalition of 36 international organisations is calling on rich countries to resettle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees within their borders, saying the immediate neighbours of the war-ravaged country can no longer bear the burden of one of the worst crises of displaced people since the second world war.

By the end of 2015, other countries should admit at least 5% of around 3.6 million people who have been forced to flee their homes in Syria as a result of the civil war, say the humanitarian and human rights organisations. Their call comes in advance of a UN conference in Geneva on Tuesdayaimed at getting states to pledge to take more Syrian refugees.

Among the organisations making the demand are Oxfam, Amnesty International, ActionAid, Save the Children and Islamic Relief………………….


Andrew Luck, Johnson Bademosi

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, left, talks with Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi. Photograph: Tony Dejak/AP

Reggie Bush and other NFL players wear Eric Garner protesters’ ‘I can’t breathe’ slogan on clothing

  • Actions come a week after Rams players made ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ gestures

  • NBA’s Derrick Rose wore the same message on warmup T-shirt Saturday night

A week after five St Louis Rams players courted controversy by making politically charged gestures before a game, three NFL players wore “I can’t breathe” messages on their clothing on Sunday.

The players followed the example of a basketball star, after the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose wore the “I can’t breathe” message on his t-shirt during warmups before Saturday night’s home NBA game against the Golden State Warriors.

On Sunday, the Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush and Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi warmed up in shirts bearing the message. The Rams offensive lineman Davin Joseph wore the message on his cleats.

The “I can’t breathe” slogan has been widely used to protest a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who was put in a chokehold during an attempted arrest. Garner’s arrest was filmed by a bystander……………….


The board game Risk … is the world turning into an empire-building game?

The board game Risk … is the world turning into an empire-building game? Photograph: Andy Drysdale/REX

Why the world is like a real-life game of global domination

Five mighty empires across the globe are gearing up for an economic wargame where there could be no winners

Putin gives a speech and the rouble falls. Europe’s central bank boss gives a speech and the stock markets fall. Opec meets in Vienna and the oil price plummets. Japan’s prime minister calls a snap election and the yen’s slide against the dollar accelerates. All these things in the last six weeks of an already fractious year.

There are suddenly multiple conflicts being played out in the global markets, conflicts the global game’s usual rules are not built to handle.

The first concerns a clear game of beggar thy neighbour between China and Japan. Since 2012 Japan has printed money hand over fist, with the aim of kickstarting economic growth. With growth stalling for a third time in the final quarter of 2014 its premier Shinzo Abe printed more. China perceives this as unfair competition, and with its own growth slowing, it responded in late November with a surprise interest-rate cut.

Many see this as the outbreak of a classic currency war, along 1930s lines, where rival economic giants engage in a pointless game of devaluing their own currency – boosting exports but hitting the spending power of their people – to their mutual detriment. By hitting each other’s capacity to export, they edge the region towards deglobalisation…………………


Al Jazerra


We don't need more public service from Wall Street bankers

We don’t need more public service from Wall Street bankers


Critics rightly question ties between Treasury nominees and the financial industry

Senator Elizabeth Warren kicked off a firestorm last month when she said that she would not support Antonio Weiss, President Obama’s nominee to be undersecretary of the Treasury. Her reason was that Weiss had made his career at Lazard, an asset management company that has taken the lead in structuring corporate inversions, the practice of relocating a corporation’s headquarters to escape U.S. taxes.

In addition, Lazard planned to give Weiss $20 million in deferred compensation, that he was not actually owed, as a parting gift. This practice of promoting public service with large payments of deferred compensation to those taking on government positions is apparently common among Wall Street banks. But Senator Warren, the AFL-CIO and others have criticized it: Being awarded large amounts of money before becoming public servants could make these bankers more positively disposed towards their former employers in the same way as an outright bribe.

Not everyone is so skeptical. Foremost among those defending the practice was New York Times columnist and DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who characterized Warren’s objections as “misplaced rage.” He later wrote a second piece in which he praised the willingness of Lazard and other Wall Street firms to reward public service and bemoaned the fact that not all businesses followed the same practice.

If we had not just witnessed the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression — a setback from which we have yet to recover — Sorkin and his allies might be granted a sympathetic hearing. However given the current reality, the real scandal is that any serious person would be making Sorkin’s arguments.

Is there any question that we have a very serious problem of financial regulators who serve Wall Street and not the general public? Our financial regulators sat on their hands as a housing bubble grew ever more out of line with the fundamentals of the market, as anyone with open eyes could see………………..



Wall Street

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