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Thursday, October 10, 2013

GOP Will Raise Debt Ceiling for 6 Weeks, Won’t Fund Government

House Republicans will offer to increase the debt ceiling until November 22nd, but have no intention of re-opening the government during that time. In exchange for temporarily allowing America to pay its debts, they are insisting that the White House negotiate a deal that would almost certainly involve cuts to Social Security and/or Medicare. Unsurprisingly, the Republican party has taken a major hit in its popularity.

The shutdown has already cost $2 billion in lost economic output. Another six weeks of could cost as much as $6.7 billion. Claims for unemployment climbed to their highest level since March last week, welfare hasn’t received federal money since October 1st and the expanded spending on food stamps will expire October 31st.

The IMF told the US it is “needlessly putting at risk the stability and growth not only of the US but also the world economy” and warned that it could plunge the west into another recession.

Azerbaijan Released Election Results Before Voting Started

International election observers sharply criticized Azerbaijan’s Wednesday presidential election, saying that, in addition to President Ilham Aliyev’s domination of the state-controlled media and suppression of the opposition, they had documented widespread ballot-box stuffing and fraudulent counting.

Today’s official results have Aliyev winning nearly 85% of the vote; interestingly, the smartphone app of the Central Election Commission released Wednesday’s results on Tuesday, showing the president winning by a landslide (albeit, by only 73%).

The main opposition candidate, Jamil Hasanli has called for the election results to be canceled.

In 40 Years, Coldest Years May Be Hotter Than the Hottest on Record

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa calculated that by around 2047, the average temperatures in each year will be hotter across the planet than they had been during any year between 1860 and 2005. The models did show, however, that these unprecedented temperatures could be delayed 20-25 years through a vigorous global effort to control emissions, which could buy both nature and technology time to adapt.

The chances of that happening don’t look good; another study released today found that the number of large-scale projects to capture and bury carbon dioxide had fallen from 75 to 65 in the past year. Such projects are essential to meet international goals for slowing carbon emissions.

Austerity Pushing Europe into Social and Economic Decline

A report published today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies claims that the austerity policies implemented in response to the debt and currency crises are deepening poverty and inequality as well as promoting mass unemployment, social exclusion and collective despair. In 22 EU countries, Red Cross food distribution had increased 75% between 2009 and 2012: “More people are getting poor, the poor are getting poorer.”

Unemployment and economic uncertainty, moreover, breed xenophobia and EU leaders worry that the extreme right-wing parties will do well in this spring’s election cycle – they are currently poised to gain seats in the UK, Holland, Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria. France’s far-right anti-immigrant party, the National Front, has surpassed both mainstream parties in a recent opinion poll.

 Africa and the International Criminal Court

As the trial of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity at the ICC continues, other African countries have raised the possibility of leaving the ICC. At the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn criticized the ICC’s “double standards” in pursuing only Africans, saying it is effective against the weak but not the powerful. Zimbabwe’s justice minister, meanwhile, said his country would back any calls for African nations to break ties with the ICC.


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