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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

UK Says World “Should Not Stand By” on Syria

The UK’s National Security Council met on Wednesday and agreed that “the world should not stand by” after an “unacceptable use” of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, according to Prime Minister David Cameron. The meeting came as the country proposed a draft resolution at the UN authorising “necessary measures” to protect Syrian civilians from further attacks. Meanwhile, UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said that a chemical “substance” had indeed been used, but said any military action should be first approved by the Security Council. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pleaded for more time for the organisation’s chemical weapons inspectors to complete their mission in the country and file their report, saying it could be ready in four days, though analysts said the US considered it had more than enough evidence to order retaliatory strikes in the coming days.

UK Recovery Will Not be Rapid, Says Carney

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney used his first speech on the job to try to convince doubters that he will keep interest rates at record low levels, a repeat of the forward guidance that became his hallmark while running the Bank of Canada. He told a meeting of business leaders in Nottingham that a “renewed recovery” was taking hold, but that its pace would be “more measured than rapid”. Also, he said that ” thinking unemployment will come down faster than the Bank expects isn’t enough to believe interest rates will rise soon. The 7% threshold is a staging post to assess the economy. Nobody should assume that it’s a trigger for raising interest rates”. In a note of warning, he added that “productivity growth has been anaemic and, remarkably, the UK is no more productive than it was back in 2005″.

Legal High-Related Deaths Increase in England and Wales

Deaths related to “legal highs” such as spice and mephedrone increased sharply in 2012 in England and Wales, from 29 to 52 deaths, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It also revealed deaths related to the abuse of Tramadol, a prescription painkiller, rose to a record 175 cases. Heroin and morphine are still the most common drugs involved in deaths, but figures for heroin use have been decreasing dramatically since 2009, a decline which public health authorities say was caused by a wide offer of treatment programmes. The ONS also highlighted a rise in deaths involving amphetamines, including ecstasy, from 62 in 2011 to 97 in 2012.

Iran Could Sue US Over Role in 1953 Coup

The Iranian parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill that could lead to legal action taken against the US because of its role in toppling the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. The bill was first drafted after newly-declassified documents revealed details about the CIA’s involvement in the coup, called “Operation TPAJAX”, which also involved British intelligence services and eventually led to the restoration of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the Iranian throne. A panel will be set up by the Iranian parliament to discuss “financial and spiritual damages and losses to the country” as well as possible reparations. “Pursuing this bill has no benefits for our country. It will waste the parliament’s time”, said Mohammad Mahdi Rahbari, a lawmaker.

Chinese Leaders Fear Bo Comeback If He is Not Executed or Dies in Captivity

Senior figures in the Chinese Communist Party fear ousted politician Bo Xilai could stage a political comeback if he is not executed or dies of illness after almost certainly being found guilty in his trial for corruption, embezzlement and abuse of his standing as party leader in Chongqing. Bo was once seen as a potential rival for President Xi Jinping as leader of the party. “The possibility of Bo staging a comeback one day cannot be ruled out”, said a senior party source. China’s biggest example of such a comeback was Deng Xiaoping, who was ejected from the central government during the Cultural Revolution but came back to become the country’s leader and architect of market reforms that transformed the Chinese economy.

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