“Whilst we celebrate the return of all of the Miami Five to Cuba, and the changes foreshadowed in President Obama’s speech are to be welcomed, we have to emphasise that the blockade has not ended.”
The result of the snap election called by Japan’s premier Abe has been hailed as a thumping victory for his combination of right-wing nationalism and competitive devaluation of the yen, which has fallen 20 per cent against the US dollar since July and depreciated by nearly two-thirds since the beginning of 2012.
Jim Crow alive and well in the US
Tens of thousands took to the streets nationwide across the US in response to the exposure of the depth of the structural racism embedded in US society through the impunity with which the US state kills black people.
The movement on the streets, triggered by the grand jury decision in St Louis not to prosecute the police killer of Michael Brown, took on a new dynamic following a similar decision in the New York case of Eric Garner. In New York the guilty were let off despite video evidence that this unarmed black man was choked to death by a police officer.
The following article by Jude Woodward, assessing the US ‘Pacific pivot’ strategy following Obama’s recent visit to Asia, originally appeared on her New Cold War blog.
Obama’s November week-long, whistle stop tour of Asia – attending the Beijing APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit, the ASEAN meeting in Myanmar and the G20 in Australia – was intended to re-launch America’s crucial Asia-Pacific (aka China) strategy, in the doldrums since Obama’s aborted 2013 trip cancelled in the context of the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis. Instead the trip merely underlined how much ground the USA has to make up in order to trump China’s growing influence in the region.
US and Saudi Arabia collude to use oil price fall against Russia
The dramatic fall in world oil prices – down to around $70 a barrel from $95 earlier this year – is already having a profound economic effect, particularly on countries that are reliant on oil and gas exports. Venezuela’s budget deficit is accelerating, Iran is under increased pressure, but the most dramatic impact so far has been in Russia.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter with oil and gas accounting for 70 per cent of all exports and half of government revenues. The combined impact of the oil price fall and Western sanctions in response to developments in Ukraine have led to a huge tumble in the value of the rouble, which has fallen by 36 per cent so far, falling 6 per cent in one day on Monday 1st December.