Archive for September, 2010

Ecuador declares state of emergency amid ‘coup attempt’

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Rafael Correa, current President Pro tempore o...

Image via Wikipedia

30 September 2010 Last updated at 15:27 ET

Mr Correa was forced to flee a protest at a barracks when tear gas was fired by angry troops A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador after President Rafael Correa accused the opposition and security forces of a coup attempt.

Mr Correa was earlier forced to flee a protest in the capital, Quito, after tear gas was fired. Troops took over the main airport, forcing it to close.

Unrest was reported in several towns, as Peru closed its border with Ecuador.

The protesters are angry at a new law passed on Wednesday that ends bonuses and other benefits for public servants.

“If you want to kill the president, here he is. Kill him, if you want to. Kill him if you are brave enough”

On Thursday morning, members of the armed forces and police angry at the austerity measures occupied several barracks and set up road blocks across Ecuador to demand they be abandoned by the government.

Television stations showed images of police setting tyres on fire in the streets of Quito, Guayaquil and other cities. The National Assembly building was also occupied.

In a speech to soldiers from Quito’s main barracks, President Correa said: “If you want to kill the president, here he is. Kill him, if you want to. Kill him if you are brave enough.

“If you want to seize the barracks, if you want to leave citizens undefended, if you want to betray the mission of the police force, go ahead. But this government will do what has to be done. This president will not take a step back.”

However, Mr Correa was forced to flee the barracks wearing a gas mask shortly afterwards when tear gas was fired by the protesters.

Ecuador has a history of political instability The president was later treated for the effects of the gas at a police hospital, from where he told local media that he had been “attacked”.

“They threw tear gas at us. One exploded near my face. It stunned me and my wife for a few seconds, probably minutes,” he said. “I had to put on a gas mask and some cowards took it off me so I would suffocate.

“I mean they shot at the president – it’s incredible – our security forces, our national police.”

“We live in a state which is governed by laws, and we are subordinate to the highest authority which is the president of the republic”

“It is a coup attempt led by the opposition and certain sections of the armed forces and the police,” he added. “Whatever happens to me I want to express my love for my family and my homeland.”

Meanwhile, about 300 air force personnel and soldiers took control of the runway at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, causing flights to be grounded.

The protesters carried signs demanding the government give more respect to the military over benefits, witnesses told the Reuters news agency.

The US embassy said Guayaquil’s airport was also closed and warned US citizens to “stay in their homes or current location, if safe”.

Despite the unrest, the head of Armed Forces Joint Command, Gen Luis Ernesto Gonzalez Villarreal, said the troops remained loyal.

“We live in a state which is governed by laws, and we are subordinate to the highest authority which is the president of the republic,” he said.

“We will take whatever appropriate action the government decides on.”

The country’s central bank chief, Diego Borja, meanwhile urged its citizens not to withdraw money from the country’s banks amid reports of looting. Many schools and business were also closed because of the unrest.

One BBC News website reader in Guayaquil said three of the city’s banks had been robbed, and described Ecuador as a “disaster zone”.

“We don’t know what will happen,” he said. “There are no law enforcement agencies working. You can’t go out in the streets.”

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez appealed to the people of South America to defend his fellow leader, while Peruvian President Alan Garcia ordered his nation’s border with Ecuador closed until Mr Correa’s “democratic authority” was re-established.

The US state department said it was “closely monitoring” the situation.

Members of Mr Correa’s left-wing party have threatened to block proposals to shrink the country’s bureaucracy, prompting him to consider disbanding Congress and ruling by decree until new elections.

Such a move would have to be approved by the Constitutional Court.

Ecuador has a history of political instability. Protests toppled three presidents during economic turmoil in the decade before Mr Correa, a 47-year-old US-trained economist, took power in 2007.


Categories: Americas

China to be punished over currency

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Thursday 30th September, 2010

Big News     Thursday 30th September, 2010

The US House of Representatives has approved a measure by 348-to-79 votes to punish China and other countries that undervalue their currencies.

The US House of Representatives has approved a measure by 348-to-79 votes to punish China and other countries that undervalue their currencies.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said because the US/China trade deficit had become dramatically imbalanced, the legislation would strengthen the Obama administration and future US governments in negotiations with the Chinese.

US House members have long been worried that currency manipulation by the Chinese government means Chinese exports to the US are being artificially subsidised.

Pelosi said the subsidies translate into low-priced goods from China that hurt the US economy.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama expressed concern about Chinese practices related to the yuan.

Speaking in Iowa, he said: “The reason that I’m pushing China about their currency is because their currency is undervalued.”


Categories: Uncategorized

‘Anti-Establishment Rage Is Fuelling Populism Everywhere’

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

09/29/2010 02:36 PM

The World from Berlin

After 111 days of talks, the Netherlands might finally have a coalition government — with the support of Geert Wilders‘ Islamophobic PVV party. The German press takes a look at the Dutch developments, with some arguing that the minority government is unlikely to last.

The Netherlands had long been regarded as a beacon of tolerance and liberalism but that image has been tarnished in recent years as support has grown for the Islamophobic populist politician Geert Wilders and his right-wing Freedom Party (PVV). Now his party, which was only formed in 2006 but which is already the third largest in parliament, is set to play a decisive role in Dutch politics.

On Tuesday, the center-right Liberal Party (VVD) and the conservative Christian Democrats (CDA) announced that after 111 days of negotiations they were ready to form a minority government which will be “tolerated” by the PVV, in order to allow them to push through legislation in parliament.

The deal should allow the Liberal Party’s Mark Rutte to become prime minister. The two agreements, one between the two coalition parties and the other outlining the PVV support, will be presented to the parties on Wednesday. There has been considerable resistance from within both the VVD and CDA to making any deal with Wilders, with one prominent CDA politician leaving parliament rather than agree to such a formation.

The previous government fell in February when the center-left Labor Party (PvdA) left the coalition over the Dutch military presence in Afghanistan. The ensuing election in June was indecisive, and three-and-a-half months of coalition negotiations were necessary before Tuesday’s agreement.

It was not yet clear what concessions the VVD and CDA have made to Wilders, who has repeatedly attacked Islam, comparing the Koran to Adolf Hitler‘s “Mein Kampf” and calling for a halt to Muslim migration to the Netherlands. He is currently on trial on charges of incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

The new government is expected to introduce sweeping cuts of up to €18 billion ($24.5 billion) in an attempt to slash the country’s budget deficit.

The German press on Wednesday casts an eye on the Dutch political developments. Many editorialists don’t expect the new formation to last.

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“Geert Wilders has every reason to laugh. The coalition is dependent on the support of his anti-Islam party. Wilders can have a say in governing when it comes to issues that matter to him — such as integration or criminality — without having to bear any responsibility for decision-making. The right-wing populist will try to squeeze the maximum advantage out of this situation. There is, however, a corresponding reluctance on the part of the Christian Democrats, a reluctance that is so great that this weekend’s party conference could still reject the alliance. And even if Rutte’s cabinet clears that hurdle, the fact that — even when Wilders’ people are included — he only has a majority of one vote means that his government is not likely to be granted a long life.”

The conservative Die Welt writes:

“Right-wing and Islamophobic movements are making advances in many European countries. The fact that many of those countries are states that were once regarded as particularly liberal makes this change all the more apparent. … In part these parties are rightly highlighting problems that had long been neglected, in part they are making demands that collide with the West’s fundamental rights — exactly where they should be defended.”

“In Copenhagen a similar model of government with the right-wing Danish People’s Party has quietly functioned for the past three years and the party has not attracted much more support from the voters. The Dutch establishment will be now hoping for a similar effect. However, with just a one-vote majority, the new formation in The Hague is skating on very thin ice.”

The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:

“Wilders is a new kind of populist leader. He presents himself as socially engaged — at least when it comes to the indigenous Dutch. … He is not latently anti-Semitic … His ideological anchor is Islamophobia. Wilders’ method is to cloak xenophobia in the garb of criticising religion. He polemicizes against the authoritarian tendencies of Islam, thus targeting Muslim immigrants.”

“Others have copied his methods. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has just implemented a ban on burqas, which Wilders has also called for. Switzerland voted in a ban on the building of mosques, something demanded by Wilders. Wilders represents a new right-wing populist International — he is even welcomed among America’s Tea Party movement. His voters are white men from the lower middle classes. And his party has grown too rapidly to get used to the responsibility of tolerating a government so soon. Holland’s experiment could soon end. Yet Wilders’ voters will remain a challenge for politicians.”

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“The Netherlands has entered a new phase, in which the consistent reform of the budget and social system will have primacy in politics — and will have far more importance than all the Islamophobic rhetoric suggests. As Wilders is going to be the invisible third man at the cabinet table, there will be far closer international observation of Dutch politics: Will Wilders annoy the two coalition partners? Will his people prove themselves to be skilled or unskilled politicians? Will the new right-wing formation have an affect on the political climate in a country that seems to be particularly affected by anti-establishment rage? It is a rage that is fuelling populism everywhere in (Western) Europe.”

— Siobhán Dowling


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Categories: Uncategorized

What’s Ahead for the Big Four Airlines

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

ATLANTA TheStreet) — A merger pushed the price of AirTran(AAI_) shares up 61% on Monday, but most airline investors are not so lucky.

They can only hope for the best in an industry that has lost money since the Wright Brothers first flew an airplane. Some think the historic pattern may be broken, given capacity reductions over the past few years and, so far, an unprecedented level of discipline in maintaining them.

The situation has led veteran Avondale Partners analyst Bob McAdoo to issue market outperform ratings on every network airline.

But some other evaluations are more discreet. Here is a look at analyst views on the four biggest airlines that will remain following pending mergers that would unite United(UAUA_) with Continental(CAL_) and Southwest(LUV_) with AirTran.


Categories: Business/Markets

US losing competitive edge to India, China, fears Obama

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...

President Barak Obama

Big News (IANS)     Thursday 30th September, 2010

With countries like India, China and Brazil focusing hard on education, research and development and exports, the US is losing its competitive edge, fears US President Barack Obama.

Middle-class families in America were generally having a very difficult time even before the global financial crisis hit, he said during a discussion on the economy in Richmond, Virginia.

‘And obviously the crisis just made things worse. And this is all at a time when we’ve got increased global competition,’ he said.

‘You’ve got countries like China and India and Brazil that are really moving. They’re educating their kids much more aggressively than they ever were. They are exporting much more than they ever were,’ Obama said.

‘And so we’re having to compete at levels that we didn’t have to compete before,’ he said seeking more investment in research and development on clean energy lest the US is overtaken by others.

‘Sooner or later, the world passes you by. China, India, Japan – all these countries are all thinking about new ways to find clean energy,’ Obama said.

‘And if we’re not the ones who get there first in terms of figuring this stuff out, then they’re the ones who are going to get the jobs of the future. And I don’t want them to get those jobs. I want us to have those jobs right here in the United States.’

People were anxious about the future of the country, he said, ‘because if you don’t have confidence that the country can pull together and you know that the problems are hard to solve and you know that we’ve got competition from China and India and Brazil and Europe, then you start thinking, well, maybe we’re not going to be the same land of opportunity 20 years from now or 30 years from now as we were.’

Earlier, making a similar pitch at a public meeting in Iowa, Obama said: ‘You saw countries like China, India and Brazil investing heavily in their education systems and in infrastructure…And where we used to be ranked number one, for example, in the proportion of college graduates, we now rank number 12.’

‘So slowly all the things that had made us the most productive country on earth were starting to slip away. And we were losing that competitive position,’ he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at


Categories: US News

Feds Radiating Americans At Internal Checkpoints

September 29, 2010 1 comment

While illegals and hardcore drugs flood into the country from across the border, authorities target truck drivers in Atlanta

Federal authorities do not concern themselves about the flood of illegal immigrants and drugs crossing the border every day, they’re more worried about radiating American truck drivers at internal checkpoints with mobile scanners that shoot dangerous x-rays through both vehicles and passengers.

As we reported last month, the federal government has acquired hundreds of backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that they are now using to randomly scan vehicles, passengers and homes in complete violation of the 4th amendment and with wanton disregard for any health consequences.

An example of their expanding use was reported by WSBTV yesterday, after federal agents from several agencies, including Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the TSA, set up an internal checkpoint on Interstate 20 just west of Atlanta and detained truck drivers for half an hour or more at a “state-owned inspection station” while they were scanned with a bomb detection device.

Officials admitted there was no specific threat that justified the checkpoint, and although it was labeled a “counter-terror operation,” the scans were also being conducted in the name of “safety”.

Watch the video here.

Backscatter x-ray vision devices mounted on trucks are already being deployed inside the United States to scan passing individuals and vehicles in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment. Similar to naked airport body scanners, the devices fire x-rays outwards which are then absorbed by dense objects or the human body. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can cause cancer and birth defects, according to a report by the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety.

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold many of the devices to U.S. law enforcement agencies, who are already using them on the streets for “security” purposes.

“Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,” points out Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “Even airport scans are typically used only as a secondary security measure. If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.”

As we have warned from the very beginning, everything you see being rolled out in the airports is eventually designed to hit the streets as Americans become prisoners in their own communities, constantly harassed, scanned and surveilled by an oppressive state.

Mobile scanners for crowds that would be used at football matches and other public events have already been announced, as have proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”.

Body and vehicle scanners are just one tool authorities plan to implement on a widespread basis as part of our deepening decline into a hi-tech militarized police state.

Homeland Security is already implementing technology to be enforced at “security events” which purportedly reads “malintent” on behalf of an individual who passes through a checkpoint. The video below explains how “Future Attribute Screening Technology” (FAST) checkpoints will conduct “physiological” and “behavioral” tests in order to weed out suspected terrorists and criminals.

The clip shows individuals who attend “security events” being led into trailers before they are interrogated as to whether they are terrorists while lie detector-style computer programs analyze their physiological responses. The subjects are asked about their whereabouts, and if they are attempting to smuggle bombs or recording devices into the “expo,” proving that the technology is intended to be used at public events and not just airports. Individuals who do not satisfy the first lie detector-style test are then asked “additional questions”.



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Tropical Storm Nicole threatens Cuba, Bahamas

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

MIAMI, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Nicole formed in the northwest Caribbean Sea on Wednesday and could bring flooding rain to the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Florida and the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.The storm was centered 120 miles (195 km) east-southeast of Havana and was moving northeast. It had top sustained winds of 40 miles (65 km) per hour.

Tropical storm warnings for Florida were dropped but there was still a chance for flooding rain, the center said. (Reporting by Jane Sutton and Kevin Gray)

29 Sep 2010 15:04:15 GMT
Source: Reuters