‘Supergiant’ gas field discovered in Mediterranean

A “supergiant” gas field holding the equivalent of 5.5bn barrels of oil has been discovered off the coast of Egypt, the largest ever find in the Mediterranean.

Italian oil group Eni, which announced the discovery on Sunday, said the find was enough to supply Egypt with gas for decades, in a major boost to the country’s struggling economy.

The deepwater Zohr well, almost 5,000 feet below the water’s surface and covering 100 square kilometres (40 square miles), may hold 30 trillion cubic feet of gas or more. Eni said it would fast-track the development of the discovery to begin production as soon as possible.

Continue reading

An Unofficial Plebiscite

BERLIN/BARCELONA (Own report) – The German establishment is sending mixed signals in reaction to the announcement of an unofficial plebiscite on Catalonia’s secession from Spain. Catalan Prime Minister Artur Mas has declared the September 27 regional elections a de facto plebiscite on the region’s secession. Should his alliance secure the absolute majority, he will proclaim independence from Spain within 8 months. In the past, Germany had repeatedly supported Catalan secession. Influential German think tanks are demanding that secession not be obstructed. However, there is opposition rising from within business circles. Catalonia is a central site for German companies in Spain. Engaged in trade throughout Spain, they do not want to see their business possibilities limited to one region and Barcelona’s secession from Madrid could possibly prove an obstacle. According to German government advisors, on the other hand, these problems could be solved. Some economists contend that the EU’s currency, the Euro, can, in the long run, only be maintained within a uniform economic area. This would exclude Spain, but include a seceded Catalonia, the strongest economic zone on the Iberian Peninsular. Continue reading

U.S. is Destroying Europe

In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.

Shamus Cooke at Off-Guardian headlines on 3 August 2015, “Obama’s ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria Intended to Turn It into New Libya,” and he reports that Obama has approved U.S. air support for Turkey’s previously unenfoceable no-fly zone over Syria. The U.S. will now shoot down all of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s planes that are targeting the extremist-Muslim groups, including ISIS, that have taken over huge swaths of Syrian territory. Continue reading

Iran Warns of ‘Third World War’

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council, warned in comments that the “outbreak of World War III” is coming in the near future, according to a report by Iran’s Fars News Agency.

“The threat of the outbreak of the third world war by the terrorists is serious,” Rafsanjani was quoted as saying in a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was in Tehran this week for a meeting with Iranian officials. Continue reading

Italy in favour of European Monetary Fund

Italy is in favour of tighter European integration and the creation of a European Monetary Fund, its finance minister said Tuesday.

“The monetary union will sooner or later have to be based on common elements… in my opinion a European monetary fund, an insurance mechanism against the shocks of the labour markets, shared budget resources,” Pier Carlo Padoan said. Continue reading

Building a United States of Europe

Pushing for Unity

“What threatens us is not too much Europe, but too little Europe,” wrote French President François Hollande on July 19. He called for a new parliament to govern the eurozone, a new eurozone government that would have its own budget.

The idea of closer integration has strong support across Europe. Guy Verhofstadt, one of the top leaders in the European Parliament, tweeted his support of a “political union” during the latest iteration of the Greek crisis.

Most importantly, it has strong support in Berlin. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called for a eurozone parliament and a “European budget commissioner” a year ago—almost the same recommendations as Hollande. Just two days before Hollande’s article, Spiegel Online published this interview with Schäuble. Continue reading

Italy’s Pier Carlo Padoan calls for ‘political union’ to save euro

A United States of Europe with Germany’s Fourth Reich at the helm is coming.

Countries such as Italy and France will just toe the line and join. Unlike Greece and Cyprus who were forced to join the club, the corrupt Italian and French leaderships are either too scared to go against the grain after Athens has just had an example made of it, or they’re in on the scheme.

 

Italy’s finance minister has called for deeper eurozone integration in the aftermath of the Greek crisis, saying a move “straight towards political union” is the only way to ensure the survival of the common currency.

Pier Carlo Padoan’s comments reflect how the tortured and dramatic negotiations that led to this month’s deal on a third bailout of Greece have triggered a round of soul-searching about the future of monetary union across European capitals.

“The exit and therefore the end of irreversibility is now an option on the table. Let’s not fool ourselves,” he said in an interview in his central Rome office. “If we want to take that risk away, then we have to have a different euro — a stronger euro.” Continue reading

Ships cross Egypt’s New Suez Canal in first test-run

The first cargo ships passed through Egypt’s New Suez Canal on Saturday in a test-run before it opens next month, state media reported, 11 months after the army began constructing the $8 billion canal alongside the existing 145-year-old Suez Canal.

The new waterway, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will help expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, will be formally inaugurated on Aug. 6. Continue reading

Europe Is Partying Like It’s 1939

The world is preparing for war, but not in Europe, where Daft Punk’s beat goes on.

Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.

But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.

Spending Their Money on Frivolity

Like a cheesy disaster movie foreshadowing the apocalypse during Act I, the TVs in the bars where the locals drink wine and gobble pricey tapas cover the looming Greek default 24/7. The coming collapse is background noise to a cacophony of people chattering into iPhones. The revolution is being televised, and no one’s watching.

Continue reading

China gold holdings jump 57pc, but buying not what it used to be

It’s just a guess, but in the near future you shouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement of a gold-backed Chinese currency. They’ve been increasing the inventory of gold for too long to not do something with it and they would love to put a dent in America’s global hegemon.

 

China’s gold reserves stood at 1658 tonnes at the end of June, the central bank said on Friday, up 57 per cent from the last time it adjusted its reserve figures more than six years ago.

Despite the tonnage increase, gold now accounts for 1.65 per cent of China’s total forex reserves, against 1.8 per cent in June 2009.

The reduced ratio suggests China will increase its bullion purchases, but the market had focused elsewhere, traders said. Continue reading

Was Greece Set Up To Fail?

Not only was Greece set up to burn and have an example made of it by Wolfgang Schäuble, according to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the entire Euro was designed to fail. All roads are leading to Berlin and it’s Fourth Reich dominating the continent.

 

My ‘job’ here is by no means done, anyway. Because of the general strike today, another Solidarity Clinic that I wanted to donate some of your AE for Athens Fund money to, is closed (update on the Fund tomorrow). Parliament is debating the latest Troika strangle plan as we speak, and who knows what tomorrow will bring? An entire economy is being deliberately suffocated, and all in all it’s just total madness. Quiet madness, though (update: and then the riots broke out..).Two things I’ve been repeatedly asked to convey to you are that:

1) you can’t trust any Greek poll or media, because the media are so skewed to one side of the political spectrum, and that side is not SYRIZA (can you imagine any other country where almost all the media are against the government, tell outright lies, use any trick in and outside the book, and the government still gets massive public support?!),

and:

2) Athens is the safest city on the planet. I can fully attest to that. Not one single moment of even a hint of a threat, and that in a city that feels very much under siege (don’t underestimate that). And people should come here, and thereby support the country’s economy. Don’t go to Spain or France this year, go to Greece. Europe is trying to blow this country up; don’t allow them to. Continue reading

Berlusconi: Germany Controls EU, While Being Under US Rule

Even a lunatic can be right about something from time to time.

 

“The EU acknowledges the hegemony of Germany, which in its turn recognizes the United States’ dictate. Therefore, we are not far from the circumstances which sparked two bloody world wars in the XX century,” the prominent Italian politician said. Continue reading

The Brussels Agreement

BERLIN/ROME/PARIS (Own report) – In several western and southern European countries, the agreement on Greece reached in Brussels signals a looming collapse of the continental post-war order and Germany’s revival as an ostentatious dictatorial power. Whereas social-democratic observers do not exclude an attenuation of the contradictions, southern European conservative media are among those who speak of a revival of German hegemonic ambitions, which had largely determined or triggered the First and Second World Wars. The consequences of the French-Italian submission during negotiations in Brussels are generating those fears, because Paris had not succeeded to and Rome had not even seriously attempted to thwart the German dictates of sovereignty over Greece. Both, Italy and France are aware of the dangers of becoming the next victim of German financial dictatorship. They are competing for admission in a northern European core Europe, whose membership will be decided by Berlin, in the case of a possible collapse of the European Union. Current events are directly linked to German foreign policy endeavors in the 1990s and the territorial expansion of Germany’s economic basis through the so-called reunification.

Continue reading

Greece Eurocrisis Reveals That Germany Rules Europe

The way that Greece has been manhandled this past week is exposing a new Germany.

Over the past week, we have seen the clearest, most naked display of German aggression since the end of World War ii. Germany, of course, has been ruling the eurozone for years. Der Speigel even called Germany the new “Fourth Reich” earlier this year. But for the most part, Germany has concealed its dominance behind a fig leaf of consensus.

That ended this week.

Continue reading

NATO’s Weakness Will Make Europe Stronger

A German blitzkrieg force in Poland symbolizes Europe’s new military direction.

To half of the alliance, the Cold War is over. To the other half, it’s back on. Seventy percent of Poles say they view Russia has a major threat, according to a Pew poll published in June. For Germany, it was a little over half that.

This dissonance is at the core of NATO’s weakness. And it was exposed in last month’s Pew poll.

Collective defense is at the heart of NATO, under its Article V. But in only two countries out of the eight surveyed, did a majority say they felt they should honor that commitment: the United States and Canada. In Poland and the United Kingdom, those in support fell only slightly short of a majority. Continue reading