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Hollande: We won’t allow a nuclear-armed Iran – Middle East – Al Jazeera English
Hollande: We won’t allow a nuclear-armed Iran – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.
French president tells Israeli MPs that such a situation would be a threat to Israel and a threat to the region.
Last updated: 19 Nov 2013 10:15
Hollande reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution despite Israeli settlement building [AFP]
|Francois Hollande, the French president, has told Israeli MPs that his country would not allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapon, saying that such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region.
To loud applause inside the Israeli parliament, Hollande said: “We have nothing against Iran, or its people, but we cannot allow Iran to get nuclear arms as it is a threat to Israel and the region.”
“We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military programme.”
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said Hollande’s “words were music to Israeli ears”.
On a future state of Palestine, Hollande told the Israeli parliament that Jerusalem must be the future capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
“France’s position is known: a negotiated settlement, with the state of Israel and the state of Palestine both having Jerusalem as capital, coexisting in peace and security,” he said.
Israel seized and occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later illegally annexed it. It views the entire city as its “eternal and indivisible capital”.
He had earlier called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegally building settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, Hollande said that settlement construction was problematic for peace negotiations, which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.
“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity,” he said in Ramallah in a joint news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.
“Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution,” Hollande said.
Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has made several announcements of thousands of new settler homes, angering the Palestinian negotiators. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has recently said those activities were to be suspended.
Israel Working With Saudi Arabia On Iran “Contingency” Attack | Zero Hedge
Israel Working With Saudi Arabia On Iran “Contingency” Attack | Zero Hedge.
When last week’s Iran nuclear talks were blocked by France, it provided a useful glimpse into just who it was that would benefit politically from a continuation of the regional confrontation. But while the French sabotage was an amusing distraction, it revealed a curious shift in middle-east alliances, namely old “enemies” Israel and Saudi Arabia, both feeling shunned by Big Brother, suddenly becoming the best of buddies. It was only a matter of time before this novel alliance moved beyond just paper and tested how far it could go in real life. Said test may come far sooner than expected: according to the Sunday Times, Israel’s Mossad and Saudi Arabia are planning an attack against Iran if negotiations and talks don’t come to an agreement, and that Saudia Arabia will permit Israel to use their air space for an attack on Iran including full technical support.
According to the Sunday Times, the Saudis would assist an Israeli attack by cooperating with the use of drones, rescue helicopters, and tanker planes. “Once the Geneva agreement is signed, the military option will be back on the table. The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs,” said the paper citing an unnamed official.
The flipside is that by pursuing an outright attack of Iran, the new Israel-Saudi axis would implicitly go against the wishes of not only Russia but, if John Kerry’s detente posture is to be believed, that of the US itself.
Israel’s PM Natanyahu naturally knows this, so instead he is merely lobbying for even more political support starting in the one country, France, which has aligned itself with the new Middle East axis, even as Israel’s old allies appear to have foresaken it. Jerusalem Post reports:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro on Saturday that there is a “meeting of the minds” between Israel and the “leading states in the Arab world” on the Iran issue – “one of the few cases in memory, if not the first case in modern times.”
“We all think that Iran should not be allowed to have the capacities to make nuclear weapons,” he said. “We all think that a tougher stance should be taken by the international community. We all believe that if Iran were to have nuclear weapons, this could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, making the Middle East a nuclear tinderbox.”
Saying that an Iran with nuclear arms would be the most dangerous development for the world since the mid-20th century, and stressing that the “stakes are amazing,” Netanyahu urged the world’s leaders to pay attention “when Israel and the Arabs see eye-to-eye.”
“We live here,” he said. “We know something about this region. We know a great deal about Iran and its plans. It’s worthwhile to pay attention to what we say.”
Netanyahu made the comments as French President Francois Hollande was set to arrive in Israel for talks on Iran on Sunday.
In the meantime, Iran which suddenly finds itself the creme of the international diplomatic circle and is in full compliance with what the US demands, is explaining – via RT – just why a joint attack on its by supposedly former enemies will not happen:
Iranian political analyst Seyed Mohammad Marandi told RT that an imminent joint attack on Iran was unlikely given the serious ramifications it could provoke for the region.
“It is highly unlikely that the Saudis and Israelis would want to attack Iran because at the end of the day both countries would be losers, they would be seen as aggressors and obviously the Iranians would retaliate,” Marandi told RT.
Although he consented that the Saudis and Israelis have been moving closer together lately,neither of them stood to gain from attacking Iran.
“It would create an economic catastrophe for the world and only the Saudis and the Israelis would be to blame,” said Marandi.
Then again, considering a GDP-boosting economic catastrophe (recall the main reason the US wanted war with Syria is to boost the defense spending budget which lately has been in freefall) is precisely what the Fed and the Congressional muppetmasters want, we wouldn’t sleep too soundly if we were in the Ayatollah’s shoes. Especially now that thanks to Reuters the entire world, and certainly the NSA, know just where all his rainy day funds are located. Because while it is true that neither Israel nor Saudi would gain from attacking Iran, the US most certainly would. And now it has not one but two proxy countries in the region doing its bidding.
Water under pressure – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English
Water under pressure – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English.
|Water is under pressure, and disputes over the precious resource are fuelling tensions in regions across the world.
“We never know the worth of water until the well is dry,” a 17th century scholar once said. Those words strike a chord in the modern world, raising concerns about the risks and challenges of potential conflicts.
An international conference is taking place at The Hague in the Netherlands to discuss issues around water security and peace.
The two-day event, which began on Thursday, sees analysts, negotiators and scientists gathered to discuss ways to avoid future conflicts over water.
Delegates there are promoting a new catchphrase: water diplomacy.
They are emphasising the need for cooperation, negotiation and arbitration to address recurring conflicts, and to head off the risks of potential wars over water.
The United Nations estimates that 783 million people, or 11 percent of the world’s population, do not have access to clean water.
And what fresh water there is, is coming under increasing pressure from population growth, pollution and global warming.
Conflicts over water generally fall into two categories.
The first is simply a fight between two groups over water itself for consumption, sanitation and commerce.
The second conflict is that which arises from the way we deal with water scarcity, for instance, the impact a new dam might have on a community downstream, or the privatisation of water – a trend that has taken root in some South American countries – where it is being sold as a commodity, like oil.
Disputes over water are common around the world.
Already, the construction of the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, expected to be the world’s third-largest, has angered indigenous people in the Amazon Basin.
And a series of dams have reduced water flow from the Tigris and the Euphrates, causing tension between Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Syria and Iraq have previously fought minor skirmishes over the Euphrates River.
Five regions in central Asia are also competing for water from two sources, the Syr Daria and Amu Daria Rivers.
Some 95 percent of Egypt’s population depends on the Nile River for its water supply, but the Nile runs through 10 countries, and those in the Nile basin want a greater share of the river’s water supply.
Ethiopia is also building a dam on the Blue Nile, one of the main sources of the Nile River, and the biggest dam construction project in Africa, which has become a cause for concern.
Water rights are a major part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the only water resource for the Palestinians is completely controlled by Israel.
So, why has water, the source of life, become a source of tension?
And as populations grow and supplies decline, what can be done to safeguard the world’s most precious resource?
To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Sue Turton, is joined by: Patrick Huntjens, the head of Water Diplomacy at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, which organised this week’s conference; Hakan Tropp, the managing director of the Knowledge Services department at the Stockholm International Water Institute; and Aaron Wolf, the director of the Water Conflict Management Programme at Oregon State University.
Brazil Amazon destruction rises 28 per cent – Americas – Al Jazeera English
Brazil Amazon destruction rises 28 per cent – Americas – Al Jazeera English.
|Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region has risen 28 percent over the past year, the country’s environment minister says.
Making the announcement in the capital Brasilia on Thursday, Izabella Teixeira said she was calling an emergency meeting to try to remedy the situation.
“We confirm a 28 percent increase in the rate of deforestation, reaching 5,843sq km,” she said quoting provisional statistics for August 2012 through July this year.
Extensive farming and soya-bean production in the northern state of Para and the central-western state of Mato Grosso were key factors behind the rise, Teixeira said, citing increases for the two states of 37 and 52 percent respectively.
Teixeira said she would meet Amazon regional environment secretaries of state next week to demand explanations and measures to deal with the situation on her return from a UN climate change summit in Warsaw.
Teixeira also criticised the apparent ineffectiveness of monitoring by federal state authorities.
“The Brazilian government does not tolerate and does not accept any rise in illegal deforestation,” she said, insisting that the country was firmly committed to drastically reducing deforestation.
Although large in percentage terms, the rise in absolute terms is the second smallest in recent years as 2012 saw 4,571sq km of deforestation, following an even more disturbing 6,418sq km in 2011.
The worst year on record was 2004, when 27,000sq km of forest was lost.
Environmentalists blame the increase on a loosening of Brazil’s environmental laws. They also say that the government’s push for big infrastructure projects like dams, roads and railways is pushing deforestation.
Paulo Adario, coordinator of Greenpeace’s Amazon campaign, said it was scandalous that there was such an increase in the destruction.
“The government can’t be surprised by this increase in deforestation, given that their own action is what’s pushing it,” he said.
“The change in the Forest Code and the resulting amnesty for those who illegally felled the forest sent the message that such crimes have no consequences.”
Brazil, a major global agricultural producer, is caught between environmental pressures and the interests of large-scale farmers.
The country’s forestry code requires landowners in the Amazon to devote 80 percent to native forests. But enforcement has been lax.
EU leaders vow to tackle youth unemployment – Europe – Al Jazeera English
EU leaders vow to tackle youth unemployment – Europe – Al Jazeera English.
Over seven million European people aged between 15-24 are neither in work, education or training [Reuters]
|Heads of state of 24 European nations have met to discuss rising unemployment among European youths, insisting that the situation will improve over the next two years.
The leaders, who met in Paris on Tuesday, announced no new programmes but pledged to push plans already in place to reverse the rising joblessness for the under 25’s.
With budgets still tight and austerity measures in place, Europe’s youth unemployment rate stands at 23.5 percent, up from 23.1 percent a year ago.
A total of 7.5 million aged 15 to 24 are neither in work, education or training.
Europe has 45 billion euros ($60b) between 2013 and 2015 to tackle youth unemployment.
French President Francois Hollande said the meeting had set a strategy to ensure that by 2015, no youth will spend more than four months unemployed without being offered a job, an apprenticeship, training or education.
“We must act quickly because it is urgent, we cannot abandon a generation,” Hollande said at a news conference.
Hollande said the leaders agreed that European Union nations which have action plans to combat youth unemployment by the end of the year will begin drawing upon the 6 billion euro ($8bn) Youth Employment Initiative that the EU has set aside beginning on January 1.
As of 2011, only 34 percent of 15-29 year-olds in Europe were employed, the lowest figure ever recorded.
However, the EU employment figure masks huge disparities. Germany’s youth unemployment rate stands at 7.7 percent whilst Greece’s is 57.3 percent.
Seven EU countries had a youth jobless rate over 30 percent, fueling concern that a generation of people will be locked out of the job market, hurting long-term growth prospects for their nations.
One EU think-tank estimated that the cost to Europe of employing so few of its young people reached 153 billion euros annually as of 2011.
You won’t believe what the French are taxing now…
Simon Black-Sovereign Man (source/link)
At our workshop in Chile some months ago, European MEP Nigel Farage blasted French President Francois Hollande as leading the pack “in the modern day Pantheon of idiots who are running countries around the world…”
You can see Nigel’s scathing remarks below, about 35 seconds in to the clip: (see link above)
Of course, the French president had recently introduced a ‘hate tax’ on its countries most successful people, driving out whatever few productive people remain in France.
But this hate tax was just the tip of le iceberg.
Just look at what they’ve done or announced just in the last month:
Double the corporate surtax
It’s not enough that France has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. On top of this, they have a corporate ‘surtax’, or a tax on top of the tax.
And earlier this month, they announced plans to DOUBLE it.
Increase reporting obligations
Anyone who has ever started a business knows that a new business is like a newborn baby. It’s critical to focus on growth, not on filling out a bunch of paperwork.
The French government doesn’t care about this. So they’ve recently LOWERED the bar for reporting obligations, requiring a businesses with top-line revenue of just 80,000 euros to submit time consuming and onerous VAT reports to the tax authorities.
Increased pension tax
France has one of the most bankrupt… and unsustainably generous… pension systems in the world.
But rather than completely overhauling the system and expect people to, you know, actually work past the age of 55, they’ve just decided to raise the pension tax. Again.
Energy drink tax
Not to be outdone by Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax in New York City, the French National Assembly has recently proposed to tax energy drinks… as much as ONE EURO ($1.37) per can.
Higher property taxes
Last month, the French government announced plans to revise property value assessments across the country, which serves as the basis for a number of property taxes.
Data tax [my personal favorite]
You can’t make this stuff up.
In one of the most absurd tax propositions in history, the French government now has the idea that they should tax data transfers outside the European Union.
They actually plan on proposing this at this week’s European Summit. Strangely, though, they don’t seem to even understand what this means. They’re just so desperate to tax something… anything. They’re just monkeys throwing darts at the wall right now.
And they’re getting ready for more.
Earlier this year, the French government promised a ‘tax pause’ in 2014, suggesting that they would not raise taxes next year.
Last month, though, they revised this pledge, saying that the tax pause would take effect in 2015 instead.
Needless to say, there will be no pause in 2015.
Why? Because France is broke. Like so many other nations across the West, France has been rendered completely insolvent by decades of unsustainable spending.
France has been in this position before. In the 18th century, the French Bourbon monarchy was the pinnacle of civilization.
Yet decades of unsustainable spending took their toll on the economy. They tried everything– raising taxes, debasing the currency… yet their was no avoiding the inevitable. Revolution.
And this period of turmoil, from the time the French people stormed the Bastille, to the time when calm prevailed, took 26-years.
In the meantime, they had internal civil war, external war against both Austria and Prussia, hyperinflation, and the genocidal dictatorship of Robespierre.
Conditions are similar now, both in France and across the West. This includes the Land of the Free.
We have reached a time where it’s imperative to look abroad at different options and opportunities. Clinging to blind patriotism– staying home, doing nothing, and trusting your government– is akin to taking a toaster into the bathtub.
Wealth and power have constantly shifted throughout history. And the transitions are rarely smooth or peaceful. It’s foolish to assume that this time is any different.
via You won’t believe what the French are taxing now….
- 70 million phone calls in France recorded in one month by NSA, new report claims. French government demands immediate explanation to “shocking” revelations (12160.info)
- France to Beef Up Its Exit Tax (nationalreview.com)
- Obama calls French president amid spying concerns (wtvm.com)
- Wealthy, ambitious youth flee French taxes… (telegraph.co.uk)
Bugging row threatens EU-US trade deal – Europe – Al Jazeera English
Bugging row threatens EU-US trade deal – Europe – Al Jazeera English.
- France and Germany demand explanation for US ‘Cold War’ spying leaks (rt.com)
- NSA spying row: bugging friends is unacceptable, warn Germans (guardian.co.uk)
- New Snowden leak: US bugged dozens of foreign embassies – RT News (2012indyinfo.com)
- Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics over snooping (guardian.co.uk)
France jobless rate continues to climb – Europe – Al Jazeera English
France jobless rate continues to climb – Europe – Al Jazeera English.
- Eurozone unemployment at new record (themexicanpost.wordpress.com)
- French jobless rate climbs again (bbc.co.uk)
- Eurozone Jobless Rate Hits New High (voanews.com)
- French jobless rate hits 10.8% (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- France – Unemployment Rate Climbs To Highest Level in 15 Years (jpupdates.com)
- As unemployment threatens to tear Europe apart Germany warns of ‘revolution’ (express.co.uk)