UN Warns Next Global Recession May Trigger Sovereign Debt Default Contagion.

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The UN Conference on Trade and Development rang the alarm on the possibility of a global debt default contagion due to international economies’ over-reliance on deficit spending, low interest rates to stimulate economies.

The next economic crash may be the last warns trade economists at the United Nations cautioning that the next global recession could quickly get out of control plunging the world into an economic depression and resulting in a post-apocalyptic failing of major governments as the world’s bond market teeters on the precipice of a full-on meltdown.

“As capital begins to flow out, there is now a real danger of entering a third phase of the financial crisis which began in the United States housing market in late 2007 before spreading to the European sovereign bond market,” said the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In the wake of the 2008 economic collapse, countries around the world forced their economies afloat by flooding the market with cheap money by artificially lowering interest rates to near zero – an unprecedented rate point at which benchmark rates have remained for nearly 8 years now. “Alarm bells have been ringing over the explosion of corporate debt levels in emerging economies, which now exceed $25 trillion. Damaging deflationary spirals cannot be ruled out,” the report remarks. In the event of an economic slowdown, the experts caution, the massive debts held by bondholders may not be redeemed forcing whole economies into default. Large emerging economies including Brazil, Russia and South Africa may be the worst hit in the event of another economic slowdown as they are the most likely to face a credit crunch from lenders who are unwilling to renew their debt or buy more pushing borrowing costs to unprecedented levels.

Nonetheless, major Western economies may also feel the squeeze in the event that international credit markets freeze up due to massive issuances of debt. In the United States the national debt is quickly nearing $20 trillion with the danger that interest payments may soon overwhelm the budget – particularly if credit is limited forcing interest rates on repayment upwards.

The pressure would most likely be felt most immediately on companies in emerging market economies who are forced to borrow money in a depressed financial sector with risk appetites festering but the decrease in national growth in countries around the world could quickly spread the contagion to the nation-state level.

Source: sputniknews

Syrian Ceasefire Failed ‘Because Some in Washington Wanted It to Fail’.

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The deal reached by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry appears to have failed to bring peace to Syria as violence resumed following a weeklong ceasefire, which was unsuccessful due to the fact that some in the US did not want it to work, independent Middle East expert Ali Rizk told Radio Sputnik.

“I think it’s clear that the ceasefire once again has failed. I think it’s also clear that it’s failed because there are certain actors in Washington who want it to fail. This is not the first time. Even before this agreement was reached you had the more hawkish voices in Washington, like Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who expressed their objections towards any kind of cooperation whatsoever with the Russian side,” the analyst observed. Rizk maintained that the Syrian ceasefire could only be rebooted if Obama “stands up” to hardliners in Washington, but doubted that the US president will do that. If the latest deal on Syria falls apart, “a more likely scenario” of more escalation, more widespread terrorism in the Middle East and beyond will unfold. “The Syrian crisis has proved that the more it continues the more terrorism will spread beyond Syria’s borders to all parts of the world,” he added.

The analyst further said that the United States does not have a single policy with regard to Syria, but rather Washington has simultaneously pursued multiple contradictory policies in the war-torn country. “You have [US President Barack] Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who in my view want to have some kind of cooperation with Russia. Obama, I’ve heard from some voices in Washington, is afraid that the US homeland might be subject to a big terrorist attack. And that’s not farfetched” considering what happened recently in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York, he said.

The Pentagon and the CIA have long advocated a more muscular approach to dealing with Damascus. Both agencies have trained and equipped Syrian rebels to create a force capable of tackling Daesh and arguably remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. These efforts, some say, have only made it harder for the Syrian government to resolve the years-long crisis.

Rizk further said that not only does the US lack a comprehensive strategy for Syria, Washington also has no influence over the radical groups it has backed since the 2011 foreign-sponsored uprising morphed into a large-scale war. “So if Washington does not have a coherent policy, you can’t expect Washington to control these extremist groups. In fact, I believe that some branches in the US government even want to use them in order to topple the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. So no, Washington can’t even control its own policy, let alone control these terrorist groups on the ground.” This has become clear in the last two weeks when Russian and American diplomats made a major effort to bring peace to the embattled Arab country. The Lavrov-Kerry deal paved the way for a large-scale ceasefire that did not hold since US-backed rebels violated the secession of hostilities more than 300 times in the week since it came into effect, according to the Russia Ministry of Defense.

Source: sputniknews

Trump vows to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after meeting Netanyahu.

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Republican nominee Donald Trump pledged to recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel if elected president as he met with Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, while Hillary Clinton told the Israeli PM she would oppose BDS and UN meddling.

READ MORE: Boxing promoter Don King uses ‘N-word’ at Trump’s African-American outreach event

Trump and Netanyahu met on Sunday at Trump’s residence behind closed doors. Trump was accompanied by his son-in-law and a campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, while Netanyahu brought Israel’s Ambassador to US, Ron Dermer. After the 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower, Netanyahu also paid a visit to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who is staying at the W New York Hotel in Union Square.

According to Israeli sources cited by Haaretz, by agreeing to go to several locations, the Israeli PM took into consideration the stringent schedule of the nominees who are preparing for the first presidential debate scheduled for Monday.

While the media was not allowed in to the Trump-Netanyahu meeting, the Republican’s campaign issued a statement, saying that Trump pledged to develop “extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries” if elected president.

READ MORE: Netanyahu blocks toilet: Israeli PM needs 20 agents to go to bathroom

Apparently, to cement the “unbreakable bond” and “special relationship” that Israel and US enjoy, Trump said he would seek to revise the US official stance on the status of Jerusalem.

“Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3,000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel,” the statement reads.

In a Jerusalem Embassy Act (JEA) passed by the Congress on October 23, 1995, the legislators call Jerusalem “undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected,” urging the executive branch to recognize Jerusalem as “the capital of the State of Israel” and to move the US embassy there.

The congressmen used the premise that Israel, as well as any other nation, “may designate its own capital,” calling Jerusalem “the spiritual center of Judaism”.

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The law, however, has never come into effect, with The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel saying that the Congress overstepped its authority by meddling in a foreign policy matter. Since its introduction, White House administrations repeatedly issued presidential waivers on relocation citing security concerns.

The majority of countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with the foreign missions preeminently located in Tel Aviv. Israel seized control of the East Jerusalem after a Six Day War of 1967. Palestinians long to make East Jerusalem their own capital.

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Apart from the Israeli-Arab conflict, Trump and Netanyahu also discussed “at length” Israel’s “successful” experience in building a border fence, a 708-kilometer long security barrier in the West Bank along the Green Line, which Palestine criticized as an “apartheid wall.”  The Republic nominee is eying to build a similar kind of wall at the border with Mexico, the construction of which he says would be financed by Mexico.

The Israeli PM’s meeting with Clinton, who was also attended by her advisor Jake Sullivan and Israel’s Dermer, lasted about 50 minutes.

READ MORE: ‘Non-negotiable’: Clinton attacks Trump at AIPAC for ‘neutrality’ remarks about Israel

“Secretary Clinton stressed that a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism,” says a campaign statement, released after the meeting by her campaign.

The Palestinian-Israeli should be resolved through direct negations, she stated, adding that she would oppose “any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN Security Council.” 

Clinton also reinforced her “commitment to countering attempt to delegitimize Israel, including through the BDS movement.”

The former secretary of state is said to back the two-state solution to the conflict, which has for years been stalled because of Israel’s illegal settlement policy in the West Bank and Palestinian-Jewish violence.

Source: RT

Ahrar Al-Sham plans to launch chemical attack on civilians, blame it on Syria govt – Syrian UN envoy.

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Militants from Ahrar Al-Sham, a hardline Islamist group, are planning to use white phosphorus in an attack on civilians to later blame it on Syrian armed forces, UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari told a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Sunday.

READ MORE: US troops use white phosphorus in Iraq to ‘obscure’ Kurdish forces – newspaper

“I have information that Ahrar Al-Sham terrorists intend to mount attacks on civilian population using white phosphorus for the sake of fabricating accusations against the Syrian state and its army,” the diplomat said at the meeting as cited by TASS.

To falsify the evidence and make their claims sound more credible, the militants plan to pose as Syrian army troops as they deploy the banned substance, Ja’afari said, adding that imposters are going to put on Syrian army uniforms and film the whole incident on camera. He did not elaborate on the source of the intelligence.

White phosphorus is an extremely poisonous toxic agent able to inflict severe burn injuries and is banned from use in civilian areas, according to international law. It is only legitimate to deploy the chemical to create a smokescreen, make signals, or markings for friendly troops. The US has repeatedly used this loophole to use white phosphorus during Middle Eastern campaigns while claiming the indiscriminate weapon is only used as a smokescreen for advancing troops. Most recently, US military deployed white phosphorus shells in Iraq, saying they were used to “obscure” Kurdish fighters’ offensive against Islamists.

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Speaking of the alleged upcoming provocation, Ja’afari mentioned the suspicious activity by American experts, who, he claimed, had visited one of the chemical munitions depots in the rebel-held town of Saraqib in the northwestern Idlib province. Upon examining the site, the experts departed Syria for Turkey, he claimed.

READ MORE: Lavrov: Russia hopes no one in US trying to shield terrorists in Syria

For its part, Syria has been acting in full compliance with the UN Charter and international law on warfare, Ja’afari said, repelling accusations of alleged use of incendiary weapons by the Syrian forces.

“We condemn the statements of several UN representatives that we are using banned weapons or targeting the civilian population,” he said, pointing to the fact that the UN, at the same time, is turning a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons by rebels.

In March, Islamist militants of the Ahrar Al group along with a string of other armed opposition groups were accused by shelling the predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood of Aleppo with yellow phosphorus by Kurdish YPG fighters.

Ahrar Al-Sham also committed a bulk of violations that contributed the ceasefire failure in Syria, according to the Russian military. The group, which is believed to be allied with Al-Nusra Front, has rejected the latest ceasefire, but is still not officially recognized as terrorist by US-led coalition despite Russia’s repeated requests.

“Not long ago, the Americans at last sent us a list of organizations which they consider to be part of the ceasefire and which should not be targeted. In one of the first positions there is Ahrar al-Sham,” Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said in interview to Sputnik earlier in September, adding that it “seems the Americans are listing a part of a terrorist structure, which is recognized as such by the UN, as an organization loyal to them.”

READ MORE: Syrian FM at UN: Bombing of Syrian troops no mistake, US is ISIS accomplice

While the meeting was focused on the escalation of hostilities in Aleppo, where the Syrian armed forces are conducting a large-scale anti-terror operation in the eastern part of the embattled city, the US, UK and French representatives have demonstratively walked out from the meeting before the Syrian envoy was about to give Syria’s government prospective on the issue.

In his turn, Ja’afari slammed the countries for disrupting the peace process in Syria by carrying out airstrikes at Syrian army positions.

“Several UN member states should stop lying to themselves and to the whole world,” he said.

READ MORE: West still arming Al-Nusra in Syria, peace almost impossible – Russia’s UN envoy

Despite the repeated violations of the ceasefire by the rebels, Syria is ready to breathe life in the stalled intra-Syrian talks and renew the negotiations but only with those forces who are “genuine patriots of their country and not acting on orders from abroad and receive money there.”

The Syrian envoy pointed out that Syrian government take all possible measures to ensure the civilian population would not suffer from the offensive, asking them to keep away from terrorist positions. However, the militants “do not let the civilians leave Aleppo and use them as [human] shields,” the envoy said.

Source: RT

UK accused of blocking UN inquiry into claim of war crimes in Yemen.

Human rights groups say UK is putting arms sales to Saudi Arabia before investigations into civilian deaths from coalition bombings.

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Britain has blocked European Union efforts to establish an independent international inquiry into the war in Yemen, prompting dismay among human rights groups.

The Netherlands had hoped to garner broad support for its proposal that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva set up an inquiry to examine civilian deaths in Yemen, where the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is accused of committing war crimes.

Instead, with the UK refusing to give its backing, the Netherlands’ proposal for an international inquiry – submitted on Friday by Slovakia on behalf of the EU – was replaced with a much weaker one that the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) dispatch a mission “with assistance from relevant experts, to monitor and report on the situation … in Yemen”. This falls far short of what human rights groups and the OHCHR had wanted.

In an open letter to the HRC, Human Rights Watch and other campaign groups claim an international inquiry would help to “establish the facts, collect and preserve information related to violations and abuses with a view to ensuring that those responsible for crimes are brought to justice in fair trials”.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson last week rejected the need for such an inquiry, arguing that the UK was “using a very, very wide variety of information sources about what is happening to acquaint ourselves with the details” about Yemen.

But the revelation that the UK neutered EU attempts to bring about such an investigation is likely to raise questions about its motives. Since the conflict began, the UK has sold more than £3bn worth of weapons and military equipment to the Saudis and defence contractors hope more deals are in the pipeline.

“Blocking attempts to create an international inquiry is a betrayal of the people of Yemen who have suffered so much during this conflict,” said Polly Truscott of Amnesty International. “It’s shocking. The UK ought to be standing up for justice and accountability, not acting as a cheerleader for arms companies.”

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “For 18 months now, UK arms have been central to the destruction of Yemen. The aid that is being given amounts to a small fraction of the damage that has been caused and pales in comparison to the £3.3bn worth of arms that have been licensed. Theresa May and Boris Johnson must end the arms sales and put a stop to the uncritical support that the UK provides for the Saudi regime.”

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch claim that, since the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March 2015, 3,799 civilians have been killed and more than 6,700 wounded, including at least 1,444 civilian deaths since the HRC failed to create an international inquiry a year ago. The groups have documented more than 70 “unlawful” coalition airstrikes – on homes, hospitals, markets, civilian factories and schools – some of which, they say, may amount to war crimes, and which have killed at least 913 civilians.

An airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in August, the fourth during the war, prompted the group to withdraw its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen and declare a “loss of confidence in the coalition’s ability to avoid such fatal attacks”.

At least 30 civilians were killed when Saudi-led airstrikes attacked a civilian neighbourhood in Yemen’s central port city of Hodeida last Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch also claims that the Houthi armed group and forces allied to it, including those loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have committed numerous violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Growing disquiet about the UK’s policy on Yemen has seen more than 200 doctors and health professionals sign an open letter to the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, himself a doctor, calling for the UK to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Fox has been touring Gulf states looking to boost UK exports. He is due soon in Saudi Arabia, where there are hopes he will broker a new deal for British-made Typhoon jets.

The letter, co-ordinated by the campaign group Medact, states: “As health professionals, we have a duty to speak out against all causes of ill health in Yemen. This must include the sale and export of UK weaponry that is fuelling the conflict.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The UK is working closely with all parties to secure agreement on a resolution that will help the situation on the ground in Yemen. We remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the country, and a political solution to the conflict remains the priority.”

Source: theguardian