Tag Archives: foreign-policy

Britain, Germany, France Urge De-Escalation in Ukraine

By Dow Jones Business News, April 14, 2014, 12:25:00 PM EDT LONDON–The leaders of Britain, Germany, and France agree that the occupation of government buildings in eastern Ukraine is illegal and have called on all parties, particularly Russia, to de-escalate the situation, the British government said Monday. Over the weekend, pro-Russia protests spread in eastern Ukraine as armed men, some in unmarked, military-style uniforms, moved to occupy more government buildings–a dramatic escalation that the Ukrainian government and Washington tied to Moscow.

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Occupy Bilderberg | Bilderberg 2013 The Grove Hotel …

Published time: June 04, 2013 23:12 Edited time: June 05, 2013 14:17 (Source)

During the worlds most secretive gathering the Bilderberg Group is set to discuss topics including cyber warfare, US foreign policy, developments in the Middle East and Africas challenges despite the glaring absence of regional representatives.

The Bilderberg Group, long criticized for a lack of transparency, has revealed details of its upcoming meeting. This year 138 politicians, bank bosses, billionaires, chief executives and European royalty have confirmed their attendance to the invitation-only event, set to take place in Watford, England. The list notably includes only 14 women.

The group is comprised largely of individuals from financial and business backgrounds there will be nearly three dozen CEOs and more than two dozen Chairmen of banks and petroleum giants. Twenty-three financial institutions will be represented at the five-star Grove Hotel near Watford, Hertfordshire, including Goldman Sachs.

As the list was released, critics could not help but point fingers at problems some of the attendees are currently facing in their respective fields.

Special attention has been placed on Amazons founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Googles Eric Schmidt, as the two are currently facing unprecedented political pressure over their tax avoidance strategies. Google, for its part, has faced scrutiny amid reports that it paid just 10 million in corporation tax in Britain between 2006 and 2011, despite revenues of 11.9 billion.

Chancellor George Osborne and his Labour shadow Ed Balls, who have been making headlines with their spending and tax offers for the UK, will also rub shoulders with other participants of the Bilderberg Conference.

One of the guests is group chairman of HSBC Holdings plc, which faced a stringent investigation in 2012 for allegedly assisting in the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria for terrorist networks and drugs cartels.

Among guests there are also the 75th and 70th US Treasury Secretaries, Tim Geithner and Robert Rubin, respectively.

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Occupy Bilderberg | Bilderberg 2013 The Grove Hotel …

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European Leaders Lash Out at Russia Over Ukraine

By Stacy Meichtry PARIS–European leaders lashed out at Russia on Saturday, as Moscow moved to deploy troops in Ukraine’s pro-Russian region of Crimea, but they struggled to articulate what action, if any, they are prepared to take in response. The chorus of European officials–from the U.K. and Finland to Germany, France and Spain–expressed alarm over Moscow’s military plans, yet the outcry only underscored how badly the bloc has been caught flat-footed by a swift- moving President Vladimir Putin

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Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile

The Associated Press Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and his wife Akie wave as they depart for Africa, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Abe is heading to Africa, keeping up a busy overseas travel schedule designed to boost Japan’s global profile in the face of China’s rise. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

By KEN MORITSUGU/Associated Press/January 9, 2014

TOKYO (AP) Japans leader departed for a weeklong African tour Thursday, keeping up a busy travel schedule designed to restore Japans global influence in the face of Chinas rise, as well as help Japanese companies win business overseas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will make a short visit to the Mideast state of Oman before heading to the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, is taking a different approach to foreign policy than his immediate predecessors, visiting a wider range of countries to try to broaden Japans diplomatic reach.

Publicly, Japanese officials deny that Abes travels have anything to do with China. Wherever he goes, Prime Minister Abe is asked if he is there to compete against China, but thats not our intention at all, Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, said in an interview Thursday. As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.

But the unofficial backdrop is Chinas rise, and the relative decline of a once ascendant Japan during two decades of economic stagnation. Abe wants to restore confidence in Japan, both at home and abroad. He often gives speeches and high-profile media interviews when he travels, for example promoting his Abenomics growth policies to bankers in London and New York.

Its partly about outflanking China, but also about gaining more global respect for Japan and renewing ties with natural allies in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, said Kent Calder, the director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

A series of revolving-door prime ministers who served brief terms have hurt Japans diplomacy, and Seko said Abe feels responsible because it started with him during an earlier stint as leader in 2006-07. What Prime Minister Abe is trying to do is to regain what Japan has lost over the past few years, he said.

Abe touched down in 25 countries in 2013, his first year in office. He was the first Japanese leader to go to the Philippines since he visited in 2006, and made it a point to hit all 10 Southeast Asian countries. Other stops ranged from major Persian Gulf oil producers to Turkey, Poland and Mongolia.

Abe told reporters before his departure that Africa can be seen as a frontier for Japans diplomacy. Japan is a longtime aid donor to Africa, and it has stepped up its assistance over the past five years. In June, Japan hosted a meeting attended by nearly 40 heads-of-state of African nations, and pledged another $14 billion over the next five years, as well as promises of billions more in private investment.

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Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

By KEN MORITSUGU Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s leader departed for a weeklong African tour Thursday, keeping up a busy travel schedule designed to restore Japan’s global influence in the face of China’s rise, as well as help Japanese companies win business overseas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will make a short visit to the Mideast state of Oman before heading to the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, is taking a different approach to foreign policy than his immediate predecessors, visiting a wider range of countries to try to broaden Japan’s diplomatic reach.

Publicly, Japanese officials deny that Abe’s travels have anything to do with China. “Wherever he goes, Prime Minister Abe is asked if he is there to compete against China, but that’s not our intention at all,” Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, said in an interview Thursday. “As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.”

But the unofficial backdrop is China’s rise, and the relative decline of a once ascendant Japan during two decades of economic stagnation. Abe wants to restore confidence in Japan, both at home and abroad. He often gives speeches and high-profile media interviews when he travels, for example promoting his “Abenomics” growth policies to bankers in London and New York.

It’s partly about outflanking China, but also about gaining more global respect for Japan and renewing ties with natural allies in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, said Kent Calder, the director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

A series of revolving-door prime ministers who served brief terms have hurt Japan’s diplomacy, and Seko said Abe feels responsible because it started with him during an earlier stint as leader in 2006-07. “What Prime Minister Abe is trying to do is to regain what Japan has lost over the past few years,” he said.

Abe touched down in 25 countries in 2013, his first year in office. He was the first Japanese leader to go to the Philippines since he visited in 2006, and made it a point to hit all 10 Southeast Asian countries. Other stops ranged from major Persian Gulf oil producers to Turkey, Poland and Mongolia.

Abe told reporters before his departure that Africa can be seen as “a frontier for Japan’s diplomacy.” Japan is a longtime aid donor to Africa, and it has stepped up its assistance over the past five years. In June, Japan hosted a meeting attended by nearly 40 heads-of-state of African nations, and pledged another $14 billion over the next five years, as well as promises of billions more in private investment.

Those efforts have been overshadowed by China’s imports of raw materials, massive infrastructure projects and exports of affordable consumer goods that are widely credited with helping lift African economies in the 21st century.

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Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

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Thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Dec. 25 (UPI) — Thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Christian worshipers celebrated Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, officials said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah were among the dozens of dignitaries at the Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, Israel Radio and the Ma’an news agency reported.

Choirs from all over the world gathered in Manger Square Tuesday night and sung Christmas carols, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Hotels in the city boasted full occupancy, Israel Radio reported.

An estimated 30,000 Palestinian Christians live in Bethlehem and the surrounding vicinity, the radio said.

During the holiday season that started on Dec.19 and will end on Jan.20, the Israeli army said it would allow an unlimited number of Christian Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Israel and celebrate with their relatives and families. In addition, Israel issued 200 entry permits to Palestinians living abroad that will enable them to celebrate with their families during the holiday season. In addition 500 Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip under the age of 16 and over the age of 35, were allowed to enter Israel and the West Bank to participate in the festivities, the army said.

The BBC said the number of visitors to Bethlehem has steadily increased in recent years.

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Crowds throng Bethlehem for Christmas

By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH Associated Press

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) – Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations on Tuesday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the biblical birthplace of Jesus on a cool, clear night.

The heavy turnout, its highest in years, helped lift spirits in Bethlehem as leaders expressed hope that the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own.

“The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, as he arrived in town.

Excited tourists milled about the town’s Manger Square, stopping in restaurants and souvenir shops and admiring a large, illuminated Christmas Tree. Marching bands and scout troops performed for the visitors in the streets, and on a stage next to the tree.

Will Green of New York City, along with his wife, Debbie, and their 2-year-old daughter Daphne were among the crowds of people who greeted Twal’s motorcade as he entered town from nearby Jerusalem.

Green said that being in Bethlehem for Christmas was a dream come true. “All the stories that we grew up with. It’s here. It’s part of our life. We heard them in the family, school and church. This is the birthplace,” he said.

Green slowly pushed a stroller and his wife held their daughter as they followed a crowd toward the Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Palestinian dignitaries greeted Twal at the entrance of Bethlehem. His motorcade crawled through the town’s narrow streets as he stopped to shake hands and greet the throngs of visitors. It took him nearly 90 minutes to make the short trip to celebrate Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity compound.

Hundreds of people packed the compound for the service. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh were among the dignitaries in attendance.

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Oh, little town of Bethlehem – for real

BETHLEHEM, West Bank – If there is a heart of the Christmas celebration, it’s here.

Thousands have gathered in the cradle of Christianity on the site where Jesus is believed to have been born – the West Bank city of Bethlehem. They’re here to kick off Christmas celebrations.

“I’m not Christian; I am not a religious person, but I came today to experience Christmas in Bethlehem,” said Vaclav Dostal of the Czech Republic. “It’s good to see the coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Bethlehem.”

Tourists, Christian pilgrims and residents packed Manger Square to watch choral groups, performers, clowns, giant Santas and marching bands from across the West Bank. Children wearing Santa outfits and Christmas-themed costumes held balloons as they crowded outside the Church of Nativity to see the arrival of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal.

Palestinian police snipers flanked the rooftops, and police heavily guarded the crowd as Twal arrived.

The erection of Israel’s separation barrier with the West Bank, a high concrete wall around the town, did not stop the procession today, which began in south Jerusalem at Mar Elias Monastery.

Three gates in the concrete wall were opened for Christmas to allow the procession from Jerusalem to enter Bethlehem. Twal was welcomed by Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun.

Twal gave a message spreading peace and love to all the nations of the world. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh arrived later on Christmas Eve to participate in the celebrations and attend the annual midnight mass.

Among the spectators was Angela Freeland from Seattle, who said that as a Christian, visiting Bethlehem has long been a priority for her.

Elisabeth von Trapp performed on stage at Manger Square. The Sound of Music film was based on her father and grandfather.

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Oh, little town of Bethlehem – for real

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China Reacts: Sen. Max Baucus To Be Nominated As Ambassador To China

Chinas most vocal demographic, the microbloggers of social media platform Weibo, have already done a bit of research on the six-term Democrat from Montana, and they are already welcoming him to Beijing even though Baucus has yet to officially accept the position.

“Welcome to Beijing, dont forget to get a good [pollution] mask! one blogger wrote in response to the announcement. Many people expressed concern over how the 72-year-old would deal with the capital citys hazardous air pollution, something the Helena, Mont., native likely hasnt experienced — not for extended periods of time. Its kind of inhumane to make a 72-year-old suffer in Beijing air, one blogger said before offering some useful advice. Dont worry, Phillips offers a great indoor air purifier, so you no longer have to worry about that.

Is this going to be his last assignment? another asked.

Obamas decision to appoint Baucus is seen as a move to focus attention on trade issues — which Baucus has dealt with extensively as a senator — a key point on Beijing and Washingtons agenda. Many also see the uncontroversial and unsexy Baucus nomination, as described by Foreign Policy,as a fresh take on leadership in Beijing.

“Someone without a focus on security, and more on trade, is something that will keep Beijing calm, one user wrote, noting Chinas ongoing territorial disputes with U.S. ally Japan. Its an interesting [pick] in the sense that security competition with China is heating up and he doesnt have much of a record [on security issues], Dan Blumenthal, director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said in the Foreign Policy piece.

The past two ambassadors, Jon Huntsman and Locke, have had a lot of experience dealing with China specifically. Huntsman spoke Mandarin and adopted a daughter from China, and he served as ambassador and in other diplomatic posts all over Asia prior to his Beijing stint. Locke, who is of Chinese heritage, made a splash when he arrived in Beijing and photos of him paying with coupons at Starbucks and refusing seat upgrades on local flights went viral. Baucus, whom Foreign Policy called an introvert rather than a showman, will likely keep a lower profile than his predecessors.

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China Reacts: Sen. Max Baucus To Be Nominated As Ambassador To China

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Student protest has been quietly sweeping the nation. Now, it’s getting louder

The Occupy Sussex movement has acted as the spark for a new wave of protest against the marketisation of higher education.

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Student protest has been quietly sweeping the nation. Now, it’s getting louder

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