Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The world economy is projected to grow 3.2 percent in 2014, up from 2.4 percent in 2013, with growth supported by recovery from the global economic crisis in high-income countries and picking up in developing countries, the World Bank reports.
The prospect of growth from 2014 through 2016, however, is tempered by a tapering of the U.S. monetary stimulus and by structural shifts taking place in China’s economy, according to the bank’s Global Economic Prospects report, released January 14.
The bank projects that growth in high-income countries will be a modest 2.2 percent in 2014 and will increase to 2.4 percent in both 2015 and 2016.
“The performance of advanced economies is gaining momentum, and this should support stronger growth in developing countries in the months to come,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “To accelerate poverty reduction, developing nations will need to adopt structural reforms that promote job creation, strengthen financial systems and shore up social safety nets,” he added.
The report states that global growth is expected to increase slightly to 3.4 percent in 2015 and 3.5 percent in 2016. That slow rate of growth is not cause for concern, the bank says, because it “reflects a cooling off of the unsustainable turbo-charged pre-crisis growth.”
The report states that growth in developing countries is strengthening and is expected to be 5.3 percent in 2014 and edge up to 5.5 percent in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2016. By region, the bank projects growth to be strongest in East Asia and the Pacific, at 7.2 percent in 2014 and 7.1 percent in each of the following two years. Growth in South Asia is recovering and is projected to accelerate from 5.7 percent in 2014 to 6.7 percent in 2015 and 2016.
In sub-Saharan Africa, growth is expected to firm at 5.3 percent in 2014 and rise to 5.5 percent in 2016, bolstered by strong investment in the natural resources and infrastructure sectors.
In the Middle East and North Africa, growth is projected to be 2.8 percent in 2014 and 3.6 percent in 2016, held back by social and political tensions. The growth “will not be robust enough to cut significantly into underlying unemployment and spare capacity,” according to the report.
Growth in Europe and Central Asia will be 3.5 percent in 2014 and slowly rise to 3.8 percent in 2016. Latin America and the Caribbean growth is projected to be below that, at 2.9 percent in 2014, but is expected to strengthen to 3.7 percent in 2016.
In the report, the bank states that 2014 will experience a pickup in global trade, fueled largely by more investment and consumer demand in high-income countries. However, the growth in trade will be moderated by persisting lower prices of energy, metals and minerals, and food. The bank predicts that global interest rates are likely to rise slowly, reaching 3.6 percent by the middle of 2016. It states that if markets push up long-term rates more quickly, investment flows to developing countries could weaken.
However, it says that “by improving the longer-term outlook, credible reform agendas can go a long way towards boosting investor and market confidence.”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to halt the country’s violence between rival ethnic and political factions.
Speaking to reporters December 23 in a conference call from Juba, Booth said Kiir committed to begin talks with former Vice President Riek Machar without preconditions, and allowed Booth to meet with 11 senior members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) who have been detained on charges of planning a coup against Kiir’s government.
“I can report that they are secure and well taken care of. These individuals communicated to me their desire and their readiness to play a constructive role in ending the crisis through peaceful political dialogue and national reconciliation. I’ll be following up to see how the government may utilize this constructive position,” Booth said.
The ambassador said the Obama administration also welcomes the political engagement of the East African regional organization IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) in South Sudan and he urged the group to “move swiftly in engaging the government and opposition forces with a view to beginning talks and ending hostilities and their underlying political causes.”
“The United States emphasizes the urgency of the situation and stands ready to support these efforts as necessary,” Booth said.
A senior Obama administration official told reporters via teleconference that the United Nations will be requesting increased assistance for its peacekeeping forces in South Sudan. According to a U.N. spokesman in Juba, U.N. compounds in South Sudan are sheltering more than 40,000 civilians from the violence.
The official also said a statement by Machar indicating he is ready for dialogue could make talks with Kiir possible, but acknowledged there are “a lot of details” to work out ahead of any discussions.
The crisis in the country warrants a “high level of U.S. engagement,” the official said.
“We have a longstanding interest in seeing South Sudan succeed, and we will work to try to ensure that they step back from the precipice … and find a way to stop the violence, begin the political discussion that’s needed to find a way” that South Sudan’s different ethnicities and political factions “can live together,” the official said.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—US Senator John McCain, well-known for his vociferous criticism of the Russian leadership, has slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for corruption, repression and bigotry in an op-ed published on a Russian news website, Pravda.ru, in response to Putin’s piece in a US newspaper last week.
In an article titled “Russians deserve better than Putin,” McCain, who says he is not anti-Russian but “more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today,” criticizes Putin and his associates for disrespecting human dignity, punishing dissent, rigging elections, controlling media and perpetuating their power by fostering rampant corruption.
He condemns Putin for the death of whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky and for destroying Russia’s economy and global reputation by allying it with “some of the world’s most offensive and threatening tyrannies,” and supporting a Syrian regime “that is murdering tens of thousands of its own people to remain in power and by blocking the United Nations from even condemning its atrocities.”
President Putin rules “by corruption, repression and violence. He rules for himself, not you,” McCain wrote in his piece submitted to Pravda.ru following an invitation prompted by his interview with CNN last Thursday in which the senior Republican senator slammed Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times criticizing Washington’s push for military action in Syria.
McCain, who had earlier called Putin’s piece “an insult to the intelligence of every American,” joked “I would love to have a commentary in Pravda.” The original Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union, but closed down after the breakup of that state. Both Pravda.ru and a new print publication called Pravda claim to be the legitimate heirs to the original publication.
“We have to remember who Putin is. He’s a KGB colonel apparatchik, who has never abandoned the Russian ambitions for an empire and influence in the world,” McCain said on Jake Tapper’s show on CNN, “The Lead.”
Putin has not yet read McCain’s piece, which was published in both Russian and English, but he definitely will, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding, however, that he is unlikely to respond.
“McCain is well-known for not being a fan of Putin,” Peskov said in an interview with Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio. “Entering into polemics is unlikely: It’s the opinion of a person who lives across the ocean.”
“As for what the Russians deserve, they are able to answer that question themselves, and they do just that when they go to the polls. I don’t think the opinion of anyone across the ocean will play a role in the Russian people expressing their political preferences,” Peskov said.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The United States and Russia reached agreement on Tuesday to encourage opposing sides in the Syria conflict to find a negotiated solution. Visiting Moscow, US Secretary of State John Kerry held more than five hours of talks in total with President Vladimir Putin and then with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in an effort to find common ground on the issue.
The two powers have repeatedly taken opposing sides on the matter, with Russia—a long-standing arms supplier to Syria—maintaining close links with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow claims Washington has worsened the situation by seeking regime change and siding with the rebels. Meanwhile Western nations have accused Russia of failing to use its influence with Damascus and scuppering efforts to take action against him through the UN Security Council.
However, both sides downplayed their differences in a press conference after the talks.
“We agreed that Russia and the United States will encourage both the Syria government and opposition groups to find a political solution,” Lavrov said at a concluding news conference that ended just after midnight.
Lavrov maintained that Russia did not believe the removal of Assad from office should be a precondition for talks, but insisted that Moscow was not propping up the Syrian leader.
“We are not concerned by the fate of any individual. We are concerned by the fate of the Syrian people.”
There was agreement on the need to implement a plan for a transitional government set out in the Geneva accord, agreed by world powers last June, as soon as possible.
“The alternative is that there is even more violence,” said Kerry. The alternative is that Syria heads closer to an abyss, if not over the abyss and into chaos.”
Kerry also said there had been a “very productive, very warm and friendly discussion” with Putin in the earlier meeting, which he added “has contributed significantly to our ability to map a road ahead.”
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—After a deadly attack by rebels on top Syrian officials, there was much speculation about the whereabouts of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Several rumors suggested that Assad might have left the capital, but the president disproved those rumors by appearing on TV with newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
One of the victims killed in the blast was the president’s brother-in-law. The location of the killings took place in one of the most tightly secured neighborhoods in the city. The National Security headquarters is located in Rawda, in the upscale Abu Rumaneh neighborhood. It lies in a square that contains the Turkish, US, Iraqi, and several EU embassies.
President Assad with his newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij
According to Al-Akbar, the ambush which targeted the commanders of the security unit was claimed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). But there were several accounts. One spoke about a suicide bomber inside the building. Another said an explosive device had been installed inside the meeting room. Others claimed a number of FSA brigades penetrated the security structure and planted an explosive device in the meeting room.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — A group of the Palestinian wing of the hackers who identify themselves as Anonymous, claimed responsibility for taking down Israel’s Haaretz Hebrew-language site, in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, as a cyber war between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian hackers continued.
In a Twitter message, Anonymous Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack:
“haaretz.co.il Tango Down : )”. The hackers promised to continue the attack on Israeli websites and in fact, several hours later, the website of Israel Hayom newspaper was also paralyzed, with the hackers tweeting a similar message, “israelhayom.co.il tango down!”
Also on Wednesday, the website of the Israel Festival was brought down. Pro-Palestinian hackers wrote “Free Palestine” in several parts of the site, and featured an image of the Israeli and American flag burning.
Israeli hackers have launched some counter attacks, though the Israeli government has asked them to show restraint. http://www.newscastmedia.com/haaretz.html
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas –After four months military conflict in Libya between Gaddafi’s forces and the pro-democracy movement, Libya’s embattled leader says he is ready to make his exit once and for all. On Monday, Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the Libyan regime was in talks with the French
“The truth is that we are negotiating with France and not with the rebels,” the Algerian El Khabar newspaper quoted Saif al-Islam as saying from Tripoli. Gaddafi’s Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi told French daily, Le Figaro , that the embattled regime was ready to begin talks with Paris and the rebels without the interference of the “Guide”.
“We are ready to negotiate unconditionally. We simply want a stop to the bombardments. We cannot talk as bombs rain down,” he said.
Mahmud Shamman, spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council said they would only respond to serious initiatives concerning the departure of Gaddafi from power. The military situation in Libya has stabilized with much of the country in rebel hands, but Gaddafi’s forces still control Tripoli and most western towns.
On March 17, a U.N. Security Council resolution was approved allowing outside forces to use all measures necessary to protect civilians in Libya, including a no-fly zone that banned all flights in the country’s airspace.
Newscast Media –After an extensive investigation into the illegal kidney trafficking business, five Five doctors from South Africa’s health group Netcare have been charged for allegedly participating in an international kidney trading cartel.
Over 100 operations between 2001-2003 were conducted in Durban, in which poor Brazilians and Romanians were paid to donate kidneys to wealthy Israelites. In addition to the five doctors who were charged, two transplant unit staff, Netcare group, Netcare’s CEO and the Durban hospital where the operations are alleged to have taken place, South Africa’s Mercury and Times newspapers reported. In addition, an Israeli interpreter was also charged.
Despite the charges that include fraud, forgery, serious assault, Netcare has denied any wrongdoing. The trafficking cartel was initially uncovered in 2003. An Israeli organ broker who became a state witness and is expected to testify about his role in the alleged syndicate. More doctors are expected to be charged in the coming days. http://newscastmedia.com/southafricakidney.htm