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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Turkey to Partner with Kurdistan in Search for Oil

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicated that an energy deal with Iraq’s Kurdish-led north was in the works. Turkey’s state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) will partner with the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and ExxonMobile to begin exploiting oil fields in northern Iraq. “Our oil company already has an agreement with ExxonMobil in place. This is a step with the KRG on exploration work,” Erdoğan told reporters. This deal is likely to rile the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, as it believes the Iraqi constitution affords Baghdad the exclusive ability to make international trade deals. Faisal Abdullah, spokesman for Iraq’s deputy prime minister of energy Hussein al-Shahristani, said yesterday, “the deal is illegal and is not in line with the Iraqi constitution.” Yesterday’s comments come as the first wave of Kurdish Militants (PKK) withdraw from Turkey into Iraq as part of a landmark peace agreement between the PKK and Ankara. The Iraqi Cabinet also criticized this peace plan, saying it “represents a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.”

State of Emergency in Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the country’s northeastern provinces yesterday, after admitting that Islamic separatists have gained control of several villages and towns in the area. Jonathan pledged to send more troops to fight what has become an open revolt against the Nigerian state. In a televised speech, the President said the actions of the militant groups in provinces of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, “amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten territorial integrity.” The effect that this state of emergency will have on the conflict remains unclear; more than a year ago, Jonathan declared a similar state of emergency in the northeast and extremist attacks continued unabated.

Anti-Chavez Venezuelan TV Channel Sold

The Venezuelan TV channel Globovision has been been sold. The channel floundered under the government scrutiny brought on by its opposition to the administration of the late Hugo Chavez. In a letter to the station’s staff, outgoing director of Globovision Guillermo Zuloaga said, “unfortunately, the authoritarian government led by Hugo Chavez never liked our attitude and our mission to tell the truth and … made it impossible for me to continue at the helm of Globovision.” While the station enjoyed nearly 5 percent of the nation’s broadcast audience, it was also fined repeatedly for tax evasion and sedition. Its directors were repeatedly arrested and driven from the country. The new owners, Juan Domingo Cordero, Raul Gorrin, and Gustavo Perdomo, are expected to bring the station’s editorial line “toward the centre.” Despite this, analysts suggest that fears over the sudden loss of opposition voices in the venezuelan media are overwrought. Globovision’s most vociferous anti-Chavez anchor, Leopoldo Castillo said, “we will continue our opinion shows just as they are now. At no time have we discussed canceling any shows.”

Taiwan Rejects Apology from the People of the Philippines

Taiwan has recalled its ambassador from the Philippines today after the Filipino Coast Guard shot and killed a Taiwanese fisherman. The government in Taipei also announced a hiring freeze of any Filipino workers in Taiwan. The Philippines, like many countries, does not recognize the independence of Taiwan from Mainland China but maintains a de facto diplomatic office in Taipei. Yesterday, Antonio Basilio, the de facto Filipino ambassador, offered an “apology from the people of the Philippines” for the death of the 65-year-old fisherman who was killed when his vessel strayed into territorial waters. But according to Taiwanese government spokesperson Lee Chia-fei, “President Ma Ying-jeou expressed his strong dissatisfaction over the Philippines’ lack of sufficient sincerity and its shifting attitude.” Taiwanese Premier Jiang Yi-huah explained that the apology from the “people of the Philippines” is unacceptable because the coast guard, as an agent of the Filipino government, caused the death, so the government in Manila must apologize. “Philippine civil servants killed a person and damaged the boat, the Philippine government cannot avoid responsibility,” he said.

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