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Fatster’s Roundup

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Good morning!

International Developments

? Israel is claiming “‘direct hits‘ on Syrian artillery units” in Golan following that one Syrian mortar shell that “fell near an Israeli army post” yesterday. Also, the new National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has been recognized by “Western nations, Qatar and Turkey” as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council.

? Membership in Golden Dawn, the far-right party in Greece, has dramatically increased over the past year. So, too, has violence: “What started as simple fist beatings has now escalated to assaults with metal bars, bats and knives. Another new element: ferocious dogs used to terrorize the victims.”

? “Thousands of Kurds [grandparents, women and children] have fled Syrian army attacks on the strategic town of Ras al-Ain on the Turkish border, running for their lives after their homes were shelled and the corpses of fighters left strewn in the streets.”

? “West African regional leaders have agreed to deploy 3,300 soldiers to Mali to retake the north from Islamist extremists.” Soldiers will come mainly from Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. Ecowas, the West Africa bloc, is awaiting UN approval of the plan.

? The skeleton crew that remains on the Argentine ship in Tema, Ghana pulled guns on Ghanian officials trying to board the ship last week and now the ship’s electricity and water have been shut off. The ship was seized by NML Capital (a subsidiary of Elliott Capital–Romney-related) since Argentina owes it money. Argentina will ask the International Sea Tribunal to intervene.

International Finance

? Greece’s Parliament approved their 2013 budget, thus enabling them to get funds but also imposing deeper, more painful austerity on the Greek people. Outside, people chanted “Out, out, out with the IMF” and “Hands off workers’ rights”.

? Greece Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced the government is “taking a hard look at the foreign assets of . . . 2,000 suspected tax dodgers” and about 15,000 Greeks who have sent $5 billion abroad over the past three years.

? There’s a draft document being circulated at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers which “suggests that Greece should be given two more years to meet budget goals, but that this will add [$41.4 bn] to its bailout.”

? “EU freezes foreign airline carbon charge“. They cite “progress in negotiation towards a global regime to tackle pollution by the aviation industry”, through the united opposition of the US, China, Russia, Brazil, India and several others probably had a lot to do with it.

? “Japan’s economy contracted in the July to September quarter, as a global economic slowdown and anti-Japan protests in China hurt its exports, while domestic consumption remained subdued.” GDP contracted 3.5% from last year.

Money Matters USA

? Over the past 10 years, the Defense Dept’s budget has doubled to “half a trillion dollars”–and that doesn’t include money spent in the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Even ex-Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) is eyeing the military budget for cuts while Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) is open to an additional $10 billion a year in cuts. And some old war-hawks are growing weary of war. [cont’d..]

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David Dayen

David Dayen