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10/24/14

Middle East: IS prisoners reportedly executed by Kurds

"IS prisoners have been executed by Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq., said a Dutch citizen from Kurdish descent, Serdar Dosky, who is fighting with the Kurds against ISIS.  He told this to a Dutch TV reporter from the Nieuwsuur (Newshour) TV news station, when he thought the camera and mike had been turned off.

He said that wounded IS fighters were immediately excecuted . "A bullet costs only about about fifty cents he said. We just do not want to take any prisoners of war "

It was also reported that Kurdish fighters had completely destroyed the Arab city of Barzan.  Inhabitants of the village who escaped also reported Kurdish fighters gruesomely murdered many of the inhabitants as an act of revenge against IS..

The videos and pictures made by Nieuwsuur were submitted to Human Rights Watch and they have requested a full investigation.

Later in the day Dosky said his comments that were picked up were just a joke. "These kind of statements we often just make in anger about the horrors committed by IS," he said.

He also said that in reality there were no prisoners taken at all. .

Read more: original report in Dutch - PowNed : IS-gevangenen geëxecuteerd

The Environment: EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut

EU leaders have reached a landmark deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The binding decision came after heated discussions at a summit in Brussels, as some members had argued that their varied interests should be protected.

Correspondents say the final deal is a compromise between countries that rely heavily on coal, and those willing to instil greater emissions cuts.

Environmental groups welcomed the deal, but said it did not go far enough.
The bloc also agreed to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% in the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to at least 27%.

There were deep divisions within the EU on emissions cuts.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, fears that the costs of decarbonising its economy will slow business growth. Its concerns at the summit were echoed by other central and east European members.

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said afterwards that some poorer EU members would get help - including additional funds - in reaching the agreed targets.

The UK also had opposed nationally binding targets for renewables - mainly wind, solar and hydroelectric power. It is embracing shale gas and nuclear as alternatives to the current over-reliance on oil and gas imports.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hope, China, India and US follow suit .....

Read more: BBC News - EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut

10/23/14

CO2 Emissions: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - by Ewa Krukowska

European Union leaders are wrangling over how to spread the pain as they close in on the most-ambitious climate goals of any major economy, part of a deal that will also boost the security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Heads of government from the bloc’s 28 nations are discussing a binding target to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 at a summit in Brussels today, according to draft conclusions obtained by Bloomberg News. Meeting that goal would cost about 38 billion euros ($48 billion) a year, the EU has said. The current target is a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

“We’re aiming for the same effort in 10 years as we previously had in 30,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the gathering. “This is a formidable effort. That means the negotiations won’t be easy, because we also need to have our international competitiveness in mind.”

The question of how to share out the carbon cuts divides poorer, mostly ex-communist east European nations and richer countries in western Europe. France is also fighting calls from Spain and Portugal to build more gas and power connections across the Pyrenees while the U.K. resists German demands for binding targets on energy efficiency.

The agenda of the two-day meeting, the final one to be chaired by EU President Herman Van Rompuy, also features a debate on the European economy and on measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Read more: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - Bloomberg

Denmark: : "Give them a job": how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters - by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhenne

The rush of morning shoppers parted to make way for Talha, a lanky 21-year-old in desert camouflage and a long, religious beard. He strode through the local mall with a fighter's gait picked up on the battlefields of Syria. Streams of young Muslim men greeted him like a returning king.

n other countries, Talha - one of hundreds of young jihadists from the West who has fought in Syria and Iraq - might be barred from return or thrown in jail. But in Denmark, a country that has spawned more foreign fighters per capita than almost anywhere else, the port city of Aarhus is taking a novel approach by rolling out a welcome mat.

In Denmark, not one returned fighter has been locked up. Instead, taking the view that discrimination at home is as criminal as Islamic State recruiting, officials here are providing free psychological counselling while finding returnees jobs and spots in schools and universities. Officials credit a new effort to reach out to a radical mosque with staunching the flow of recruits.

Some progressives say Aarhus should become a model for other communities in the United States and Europe that are trying to cope with the question of what to do when the jihad generation comes back to town. In Australia, the federal government has tackled the issue by proposing laws that reverse the onus of proof for people returning from terrorism hot spots.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hear it for the Danes - after all as the saying goes - "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar"

Read more: Give them a job: how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters

Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - by George Georgiopoulous and Laura Noon

Greece's Alpha Bank has passed the European Central Bank's stress tests without requiring further capital, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One source said Alpha Bank had passed based on the 'static balance sheet', which takes no account of the bank's restructuring plan that was approved over the summer.

The other said Alpha Bank had no problems in the tests, without giving further detail. Alpha Bank declined to comment as the results are not due to be published until Sunday 1100 GMT.

Read more: Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - sources | Reuters

Britain: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - by Stephen Morris

Britain’s largest mortgage provider, will announce about 9,000 job cuts next week as its customers increasingly shift to online services from branches, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The bank will detail the cuts, a target for branch closures and the increasing automation of its services as part of a new three-year plan on Oct. 28, when it releases third-quarter results, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the strategy hasn’t been finalized.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Horta-Osorio, 50, has been seeking ways to bolster earnings to help return Lloyds to full private ownership and resume dividends. The bank, which has about 88,000 full-time employees, has eliminated more than 37,000 jobs since its government bailout in 2008, with the latest plans shaping up as the biggest round of cuts since at least 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - Bloomberg

The Netherlands: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years - by Catherine Neilan

While Dave Lewis is putting out one fire at his new employer Tesco, things back at Unilever are also looking less than rosy.

The consumer goods business, where Lewis had worked for 28 years before becoming Tesco chief executive, this morning reported its weakest rate of quarterly sales growth in five years.

Underlying sales grew just 2.1 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the 3.7 per cent growth experienced during the first half of the year – well below analyst expectations.

Unilever's share price dropped as much as 4.8 per cent this morning on the back of the news.

Paul Polman said market growth slowed in emerging countries “particularly in China”, while price deflation and a poor summer in Europe also hampered performance, despite an improvement in North America.
 
Read more: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years | City A.M.

10/22/14

Russia's First Arctic Base Opens for Business

Russia's plans to militarize its Arctic territories gained pace on Wednesday with the opening of a new military base on Wrangel Island, Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesperson for the Eastern Military District told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Six weeks ago, Gordeyev announced that Russia had begun laying down prefabricated modular structures on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt — located far into the Arctic Circle, near Alaska in the Chukchi Sea. The bases are the first in a series of military installations that will pepper Russia's northern frontier.

These defenses, which will include revitalized Soviet bases as well as new facilities built from scratch, are part of a broader plan initiated under President Vladimir Putin to lay claim to the vast natural resources locked beneath the Arctic shelf.

Russia's claims on the Arctic — and the oil, gas and rare metals tucked below — compete with the ambitions of Canada, Denmark, Norway and the U.S., leading many observers to point to the region as potentially one of the world's most volatile regions.

Wrangel Island, classified as a nature reserve, is the first of these installations to come online, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday. However, work on a Soviet-era radar installation on the island continues.

Last week, Putin responded to environmental concerns about using the island, which one activist described as “the polar bear's maternity ward” by promising to protect the local wildlife.

The announcement of the base's opening came on the same day that the Russian military announced it would clean up the Arctic from an accumulation of debris such as discarded Soviet-era aircraft and old fuel barrels.

"The president of our country, commander-in-chief Vladimir Putin, has initiated a large-scale program on clearing the Arctic from all the heritage of past decades or, to be more precise, centuries," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as telling a meeting at his ministry Tuesday.

"The garbage is mostly discarded aircraft that were produced in the 1960s," along with "thousands of tons of old, expired oil products, tens of thousands of barrels," he said.

Shoigu said cargo ships delivering supplies to military bases on Arctic islands would carry trash on their return trips.

Read more: Russia's First Arctic Base Opens for Business | Business | The Moscow Times

US Aircraft Industry: Why Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Remains a Financial Mess - by Justin Bachman

Amid all the fine financial news Boeing (BA) can tout—a record order backlog, robust profit margins, a higher profit outlook—one of the airplane maker’s dreariest performers continues to be its highest-tech, most fuel-efficient product: the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing continues to lose money on each Dreamliner it builds. The company expects to reach the break-even point on some models turned out by its 787 program in 2015. In the most recent quarter, production costs rose again for the 787, which has become one of Boeing’s most popular models due to its lightweight carbon composite airframe and the resulting lower fuel burn. The program’s deferred production cost, an accounting measure of how efficient an assembly program becomes over time, rose 4 percent, to $25.2 billion, in the third quarter, topping the $25 billion cap Boeing had forecast for the 787 program.

Of course, Boeing officials insist the 787′s assembly costs will continue to drop over time as workers improve the efficiencies of the line and the rate at which they can build new planes. But the airplane—which suffered several delays before its 2011 introduction and then a grounding due to battery fires—remains a critical drag to the commercial airplane division’s financial performance. Wall Street analysts are ready to see black ink in the program and pressed Boeing officials repeatedly on Wednesday, Oct. 22, about how quickly the 787 can stop bleeding cash.

Read more: Why Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Remains a Financial Mess - Businessweek

Global Economy: Global shares falter as Wall Street tumbles; bond prices fall - by Herbert Lash

Global equity markets fell on Wednesday, reversing earlier gains driven by solid corporate earnings and mild U.S. inflation data that may let the Federal Reserve keep interest rates lower for longer, as U.S. stocks retreated after some big corporate names sold off.

Wall Street fell as Boeing Co (BA.N) and Biogen Idec (BIIB.O) tumbled after their results disappointed investors, the two biggest drags on the S&P 500.

A shooting at the Canadian parliament in Ottawa also unnerved investors.

Boeing lost 4.5 percent as analysts raised concern about the costs of its 787 Dreamliner jet. Biogen slid 5.4 percent after reporting that sales of its big-selling new multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera, fell short of Wall Street's lofty expectations. 


Read more: Global shares falter as Wall Street tumbles; bond prices fall | Reuters

Canada - Ierrorism: Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown after parliament shooting – live updates - by Alan Yuhas

Canadian police have given the name of the dead gunman to the FBI, the New York Times reports:
The Canadian authorities provided FBI agents with the name of the dead Parliament assailant, law enforcement officials in Washington said. A search of FBI databases has so far not come up with anything, they said. They declined to reveal the gunman’s name.
 Read more: Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown after parliament shooting – live updates | World news | The Guardian

Britain - Terrorism: Police in UK arrest two over possible links to jihad in Syria - by - by Vikram Dodd

Counter-terrorism officers trying to staunch the flow of recruits travelling to Syria have made two arrests they say may be linked to the war zone.

A woman aged 25 was arrested in Kempston, Bedfordshire by detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command investigating whether she had travelled to Syria, and if so, whether that trip was linked to violent jihad.

Hours later officers made a second arrest in London, detaining a 32-year-old man “on suspicion of attending a place used for terrorist training”, which they believe was in Syria.

The two operations that led to the arrests are not believed to be linked.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said five Britons a week were travelling to Syria to join up with Islamic State (Isis) extremists.

Counter-terror officials say there has been a large increase this year in operations related to Syria, amid fears that returning Britons may be so radicalised they attempt to carry out attacks here.

Read more: Police in UK arrest two over possible links to jihad in Syria | UK news | The Guardian