America to collapse in 2010
Russian Professor Igor Panarin says that events are continuing to confirm his doomsday prediction first made over 10 years ago, that the United States will completely collapse like the Soviet Union before the end of 2010, and warns that the chaos could begin to unfold in as little as two months. Panarin, doctor of political sciences and professor of the Russian Diplomatic Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists during the unveiling of his new book that President Obama has done nothing to forestall the fast approaching crisis. "Obama is "the president of hope", but in a year there won't be any hope," said Panarin. "He's practically another Gorbachev - he likes to talk but hasn't really managed to do anything. Gorbachev at least had been a secretary of a regional communist party administration, whereas Obama was just a social worker. His mentality is totally different. He's a nice person and talks nicely - but he's not a leader and will take America to a crash. When Americans understand that - it will be like a bomb explosion."
Muslims should pull their money out of Swiss bank accounts
Muslims should consider withdrawing their money from Swiss bank accounts in response to the country's ban on construction of minarets, a Turkish minister said. "I am certain this (vote) will prompt our brothers from Muslim countries who keep their money and investments in Swiss banks to review their decision," said Egemen Bagis, cited by Turkish daily Zaman. Bagis is the chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union accession as well as minister for European affairs.
Dubai's prime companies declared junk
International ratings agency Standard & Poor's said it had cut the credit ratings of six Dubai government-linked companies. S&P said it had taken the move after the likelihood of extraordinary support from the Dubai government appeared "low" after the emirate indicated it would not guarantee the debt of Dubai World currently at $59 billion, its flagship conglomerate. The six Dubai government-related entities (GREs) lowered to junk status were DP World, DIFC Investments, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group and Emaar Properties PJSC. Their credit ratings remain under surveillance and could be downgraded further, the agency said.
French troops bribe Taliban in exchange for safety
French troops deployed in Afghanistan are attempting to bribe Taliban fighters not to attack them, a senior Taliban leader has told Al Jazeera. In an interview, Saif-Allah Jalili, the Taliban commander of the Kabul district, said on Monday that his men have been offered gifts and money by the French soldiers in order to persuade the fighters not to engage their forces. "The French in Sorubi [in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan] tried to send gifts to Taliban fighters and offered them a lot of money in return for not launching attacks targeting the French troops," Jalili said. "But Taliban fighters replied by rejecting everything and by strongly demanding the departure of the French troops and all other troops from our country, which they invaded by force," he said. The Taliban claim comes only a month after Italian troops in the same area were accused of paying off Taliban fighters to keep the area calm.
Obama's new strategy points to an expansions of America's war against Pakistan
Obama's Afghan strategy is quickly turning into an official proclamation of war on Pakistan. ‘What happens in Pakistan ... will do more to determine the outcome in Afghanistan than any increase in troops or shift in strategy,' said Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Opening a hearing on Afghan strategy, Kerry, a Democrat, said that it is the ‘presence of al-Qaida in Pakistan, its direct ties to and support from the Taliban in Afghanistan and the perils of an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan that drive our mission'. Sen. Richard Lugar, the committee's top Republican, chimed in, saying the president and his administration ‘must justify their plan not only on the basis of how it will affect Afghanistan, but also on how it will impact our efforts to promote a much stronger alliance with Pakistan.' Lugar said ‘it is not clear how an expanded military effort in Afghanistan addresses the problem of Taliban and al-Qaida safe havens across the border in Pakistan.' Both Gates and Mullen sought to underscore the threat that al-Qaida poses in Pakistan, which maintains its own arsenal of nuclear weapons. Gates said he considered the dangers to be greater than they were 18 months ago because al-Qaida has become ‘deeply involved' with Taliban forces operating inside Pakistan that are trying to destabilize the government there. Mullen said al-Qaida's pursuit of nuclear weapons and interest in Pakistan is ‘extraordinarily dangerous.'
4th December 2009