Cameron Says al-Assad’s Safe Exit from Syria ‘Could Be Arranged’
British Prime Minister David Cameron told Emirati-based news channel Al Arabiya that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could be offered a safe exit and possibly immunity from prosecution if these conditions hastened the end of the country’s civil war. “Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria”, said Cameron. “Of course I would favor him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he’s done. I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to Britain but if he wants to leave he could leave, that could be arranged,” explained the Prime Minister. He did not disclose which country would offer asylum to al-Assad or whether the idea had been discussed with other U.N. Security Council members.
Israel Will Attack Iran ‘If There Is No Other Way’, Warns Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he is ready to order a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if the country refuses to halt its nuclear programme. “I am, of course, ready to press the button if necessary”, said Netanyahu during an interview on Israel’s Channel 2. He also maintained that Israel could decide to attack the country unilaterally if it felt threatened. ”If there is no other way, Israel is ready to act”, said the Israeli Prime Minister. “When David Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the state of Israel, was it done with American approval?”, asked Netanyahu. “In the final reckoning, the responsibility lies with the Prime Minister and as long as I am Prime Minister, Iran will not have the atomic bomb”, he concluded. His comments come days after revelations that he had already asked the Israeli military to prepare for a strike in 2010. The plans were dropped after opposition from the country’s top security officials.
Greece Enters 48-Hour Strike Against Austerity Cuts
Greece has entered a 48-hour general strike one day before the country’s MPs are due to vote on austerity measures, including salary and pension cuts. The strike began at midnight and workers belonging to the country’s two biggest labour unions are expected to participate in the industrial action. Airports, school, hospitals, train stations and ports were closed. Most public sector workers joined the strike, together with lawyers, cab drivers and journalists. The passing of the austerity measures is pre-requisite for the approval of another tranche of the country’s bailout, worth €31.5 billion, by the troika overseeing the country’s finances, composed of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. A ‘no’ vote could precipitate Greece’s exit from the eurozone.
U.S. Pundits Mostly Predict an Obama Victory Ahead of Today’s Elections
U.S. political pundits have largely predicted a victory for incumbent President Barack Obama in today’s presidential election. Writing in the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver states that Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s chances “are now only about 8 percent according to the forecast model”, but that “those 8 percent chances do come up once in a while”. He concludes, however, that “the odds are that Mr. Obama will win another term”. In the Washington Post, Ezra Klein predicts an Obama victory because of recent poll numbers. “I have a simple rule when predicting presidential elections: the polls, taken together, are typically pretty accurate”, writes Klein. President Obama was also favoured by pundits in the Washington Examiner, American Prospect and by CNBC’s Jim Kramer. Dick Morris, of the Fox News channel, offers a dissenting opinion. “It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history and it will rekindle the whole question on why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact Romney’s going to win by quite a bit.”
British Businessman Killed in China Had Ties to MI6
A British businessman who was killed by the wife of a top Chinese politician had been providing information to MI6 for at least a year before he died, according to claims published by the Wall Street Journal. Neil Haywood had been passing information about Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai to a British intelligence officer until his death in November 2011. The nature of his dealings with Bo and his wife Gu Kailai was never ascertained, but was described as ‘fixer’ for the family. Gu is alleged to have killed him over a failed business deal. When asked about the veracity of the claim, a Foreign Office spokesman told the BBC that it was “a longstanding policy that we don’t comment on intelligence matters”.