Because of time and energy limits, we skip the banter and mainly introduce our entries with the source link.

A lot happening, with much from Greece, Asia, Latin America, and Asia, plus environmental headlines and the latest Fukushimapocalypse Now! After the jump.

From OpEd News, proof of the endurance of the noxious beliefs of social Darwinism:

The Rich and Educated Believe Wealth Correlates with Virtue, Says Study

A study of social class — defined by annual income and by education-level — finds that “Social class rank was positively associated with essentialist beliefs [beliefs that genetics is more important than environment in explaining social class]. … Social class rank was also positively associated with both belief in a just world … and meritocracy beliefs, … suggesting that upper-class … individuals are more likely to believe that society is fair and just than are their lower-class rank counterparts.”

MarketWatch covers the consumption:

More shoppers, but spending drops: survey

4-day weekend sales seen at $57.4 billion, down 2.8% from year ago

From The Guardian, a warning:

Nobel prize economist warns of US stock market bubble

Sharp rises in equity and property prices could lead to a dangerous financial bubble Robert Shiller tells Der Spiegel

From the Washington Post:

Puerto Rico, with at least $70 billion in debt, confronts a rising economic misery

The economy here has been in recession for nearly eight years, crimping tax revenue and pushing the jobless rate to nearly 15 percent. Meanwhile, the government is burdened by staggering debt, spawning comparisons to bankrupt Detroit and forcing lawmakers to severely slash pensions, cut government jobs and raise taxes in a furious effort to avert default.

World Socialist Web Site:

Inequality and poverty on the rise in New Jersey

A recent report found that poverty in the state of New Jersey continued to grow in the years following the financial crash of 2008, and has now reached levels not seen since the 1960 census.

The report, issued several months ago by Legal Services of New Jersey, uses a poverty threshold of $37,060 for a family of three, a figure that is twice the federal poverty level because of the higher cost of living in the state. It found that 24.7 percent of New Jersey residents, 2.1 million people, are classified as poor. This is based on 2011 data, and is certain to have risen since then, especially considering the impact of Hurricane Sandy on economic statistics as well as housing and homelessness.

Al Jazeera America:

US push on intellectual property conflicts with international norms

Revelation of secret agreement shows need for transparency and accountability

The Washington Post:

Supreme Court declines case on making online retailers collect sales taxes

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to get involved in state efforts to force online retailers such as Amazon.com to collect sales tax from customers even in places where the companies do not have a physical presence.

Bloomberg News:

Black Friday Online Spending Reached Record $1.2 Billion

Online spending on Black Friday increased 15 percent to a record $1.20 billion as more consumers opted to shop from their couches rather than battling long lines at stores.

Total e-commerce sales reached $20.6 billion in the first 29 days of this holiday season, according to ComScore Inc. (SCOR) That’s about a 3.1 percent increase from Nov. 1 to Black Friday last year, the research firm’s data showed, noting that 2013 numbers include a few more shopping days because Thanksgiving fell on a later date this year.

McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Obama spends $600 million on rail projects that benefit private companies

The railroad industry brags in its national publicity campaign that it spends billions of dollars improving its infrastructure “so taxpayers don’t have to.”

But the ads don’t tell everything. The nation’s freight rail network has been the quiet recipient of more than $600 million in federal investment during the Obama administration.


Fast-food strikes planned for 100 cities

Fast-food workers in about 100 cities will walk off the job this Thursday, organizers say, which would mark the largest effort yet in their push for higher pay.


Hollywood Studio Bosses Ask Obama To Help Improve Relationship With Silicon Valley… While Pressing TPP That Will Harm Silicon Valley

from the yeah,-so-that-first-bit… dept


SEC puts corporate political disclosure on back burner

Liberal activists pledged Monday to lobby the Securities and Exchange Commission to reconsider its move dropping corporate political disclosure from the agency’s priority list.

Last week, the agency eliminated political disclosure from its list of regulatory priorities for early 2014, a potential setback for campaign watchdog groups looking for ways to force some of the anonymous money in elections into public view. The measure had been on the SEC’s 2013 list of possible rulemaking.


SEC Delays Revolving Door Restriction

Months ago, bowing to concern about regulators who leave government and then work their former colleagues on behalf of industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it was tightening restrictions on the revolving door.

Specifically, the SEC decided to close a loophole in the ethics rules that allowed some “senior” SEC personnel to lobby the agency immediately after leaving instead of staying on the sidelines for a year or more, as employees at other federal agencies must do. The change in the rules—revoking a longstanding exemption for some SEC officials—appeared to be a rare stand against the revolving door at an agency that has long blurred the lines between the regulators and the regulated.

But not so fast.

A notice published in Monday’s edition of the Federal Register said that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) was withdrawing the new rule at “the request of the SEC” so that the agency could have more time to “effectively educate affected employees before the exemption revocation takes effect.”

But there’s one really booming economic sector, reports MintPress News:

Pentagon Approves Record Sale Of Advanced Arms To Countries At War

Congress will decide if deal first struck by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in April should go through.

Today’s high-tech weapons manufacturers are enjoying record sales. The State Department’s Military Assistance Report stated that it approved $44.28 billion in arms shipments to 173 nations in the last fiscal year.

And whilst hyping booms, consider this from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Fracking-led energy boom is turning U.S. into ‘Saudi America’

A surge in U.S. oil production has in just a few short years propelled the United States from a country largely dependent on oil imports to one that soon could become the world’s top oil producer. The goal of North American energy self-sufficiency, the holy grail of American politics since the Arab oil boycott of 1973, seems to be within grasp.

And then there’s this bit of national euphorics from USA TODAY:

Manufacturing expands strongly in November

Increased manufacturing activity bodes well for the economy’s health as the year ends.

The ISM’s closely watched index of the nation’s factories rose to 57.3 in November from 56.4 the previous month. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 55.1. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding.

The Guardian:

Toronto mayor Rob Ford plans online chatshow series

Mayor’s brother Doug, who will co-host show, says they aim to get their message out to supporters without media distortion

On to Europe, first with an EUbusiness report on a message coming out about five years too late:

Europe raps ratings agencies

The EU’s securities market regulator on Monday rapped ratings agencies for numerous shortcomings in how they evaluate the creditworthiness of sovereign countries, but did not move to sanction them under new regulations.

New Europe:

The European Consumer Centre Network highlighted the problem

Discrimination in cross-border shopping

The European citizens face several difficulties and experience discrimination on the basis of residence or nationality when proceeding in cross-border shopping activities.

CBC News:

Former Harper adviser blasts Keystone XL support

Economist Marc Jaccard calls Canada a ‘rogue state’ for its pipeline support

The environmental economist delivered a lengthy rebuke of Canada’s climate-change performance at the event near the White House, as the Obama administration continued to grapple with whether to approve the Alberta-U.S. pipeline.

London Telegraph:

More than a thousand care home residents die thirsty

Official figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the full extent of neglect as the vulnerable are left dehydrated

Sky News:

RBS And NatWest IT Problems On Cyber Monday

Many people vent their anger on Twitter, complaining that the high street banks’ cards, apps and websites have failed.

Bloomberg News:

Osborne Pledges Reduction in British Consumers’ Energy Bills

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged that domestic power customers will benefit from a reduction in government levies for energy companies.

The proposal, outlined by Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in an article in the Sun newspaper today, will cut the average energy bill by about 50 pounds ($82) per year with the government funding some of the costs currently included in consumer energy bills. The full details of the plan will be announced in Osborne’s Autumn Statement on Dec. 5.

The Independent has a key piece of the puzzle:

800,000 people ‘lifted’ out of fuel poverty – by redefining it

The new definition, which could come into force before Christmas, will instantly reduce the percentage of fuel-poor households in England by nearly a third, from 15 per cent to 11 per cent, according to calculations by MPs on the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

London Telegraph:

EU guilty of ‘power grab’ against British justice system, says Dominic Grieve

Attorney General sends warning to EU that is must play within the rules

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, warned that EU attempts to seize ever-greater powers from member states like Britain are damaging the Continent’s prosperity and alienating its population.

The Independent:

Stephen Hawking: NHS is Britain’s finest public service and must be preserved from commercial interests

The NHS “must be preserved from commercial interests who want to privatise it”, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned, in a heartfelt tribute to the health service, recorded to accompany a new documentary about his life.

Professor Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, said that he would not be alive today without the NHS, which he described as “Britain’s finest public service”.

The Guardian:

David Cameron calls for new EU-China free trade agreement

PM says the UK will be China’s biggest advocate in the west, hoping to appease leaders angry at Dalai Lama meeting

The London Telegraph:

Popularity of Royal baby names wane as Breaking Bad inspires parents


Iceland thumbs nose at international opposition to advance $1.2 billion debt relief plan

Iceland’s government has announced that it will be writing off up to 24,000 euros ($32,600) of every household’s mortgage, fulfilling its election promise, despite overwhelming criticism from international financial institutions.

The measure was introduced by the country’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the leader of the Progressive Party which won the late-April elections on a promise of household debt relief.

The Guardian:

Iceland’s armed police make first ever fatal shooting

A 59-year-old Reykjavik man died in hospital after reportedly firing at police in country’s first fatal shooting by officers


“Slow TV” attracts record audiences in Norway

Images of knitting, fishing and panoramic landscapes are attracting record audiences in Norway after public broadcaster NRK replaced some of its usual prime time drama with “slow TV”.

The Guardian:

Why is Sweden closing its prisons?

Sweden’s prison population has dropped so dramatically that the country plans to close four of its prisons. What lessons can the UK learn?

The Copenhagen Post:

New rules drive up the cost of love

With new laws set to kick in that require co-habitating couples to live up to the same obligations as married couples, one young couple wonders why they don?t get the same benefits


Telekom puts up to 8,000 jobs in firing line

Deutsche Telekom is planning to cut at least 6,000 and possibly as many as 8,000 jobs at its IT subsidiary T-Systems, the business newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Monday.

The New York Times:

Germany, Austerity’s Champion, Faces Some Big Repair Bills

Germany was once known for its superfast autobahns, efficient industry and ability to rally public resources for big projects, like integration with the former East Germany. But more recently, it has been forced to confront a somewhat uncharacteristic problem: Its infrastructure — roads, bridges, train tracks, waterways and the like — is aging in a way that experts say could undermine its economic growth for years to come.


Purity Pride: Germany Wants World Heritage Status for Its Beer

No additives: Before the beer purity law came into force in 1516, beer could cause hallucinations, says the brewing federation.

Germany’s brewers are so proud of their 500-year-old beer purity law, which states that it must consist only of water, malt, hops and yeast, that they want it inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list — alongside the pyramids, the Taj Mahal and Flamenco dancing.


Germany used Irish shell companies to lower deficit

The German finance ministry between 2005 and 2007 used Irish letter box companies and complex financial “securitisation” schemes to bring down its public deficit, which in the end failed, Spiegel reports. Germany is currently a fierce critic of Ireland’s tax regime and wants to reign in investment banking.

Europe Online:

German states unveiling new bid to ban right-wing extremist party

Germany’s 16 states were set to unveil on Monday the country’s second attempt to ban the extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD), claiming it has adopted the same aggressive anti-foreigner stance as Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.


Sex Law Reform: Johns to be Prosecuted for Forced Prostitution

A prostitute in Böblingen. Johns are facing action over forced prostitution

Germany’s new coalition government, which is yet to come into office, has agreed to push through a reform of the controversial Prostitution Act in early 2014. For the first time in German history, johns will be prosecuted if they knowingly use the services of prostitutes forced to work in the sex trade.


More French ‘fraudsters’ declare Swiss accounts

The tax service in France has seen a flood of requests to regularize funds hidden abroad, a minister said Monday, as Switzerland pledges to end its vaunted banking secrecy under international pressure.


Consular staff sue British Embassy in Paris

Several aggrieved staff members who lost their jobs at the British Consulate in Paris have launched legal action against the embassy, who it accuses of breaking French law when they were made redundant.

The four employees were made redundant along with 17 others when the passport processing office at the Consulate closed down at the end of August and was relocated to London as part of a cost-cutting drive.


Spanish gov’t mulls second labor reform for 2014: economy minister

The right wing Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy was preparing a second round of labor reforms for the new year, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Saturday.

Speaking at an event in Catalonia, De Guindos said that the second labor reform, which follows on from the first reform passed in February 2012, would simplify the different work contracts and also make part-time contracts more flexible.


Foreign investors return to Spain

A year after fleeing Spain as its economy tottered on the brink of a full-blown sovereign bailout, foreign investors are coming back.

The prospect of relatively high returns in a eurozone economy emerging from recession with a strong corporate presence in Latin America is apparently proving irresistible.

El País:

Spanish manufacturing suffers renewed decline in November

First contraction in four months highlights “fragility” of sector

The Spanish manufacturing sector contracted again in November as new orders fell for the first time in six months, underscoring the anemic state of the incipient recovery.


Spain’s top parties won’t govern alone: Poll

Spain is facing an increasingly splintered political future with neither of the country’s two major parties likely to be able to form government alone in a future election, a new poll published on Sunday shows.


Canal Nou closes for good provoking massive demonstrations in Valencia and Alicante

DESPITE thousands of employees putting up a fight, blocking liquidators from entering their premises, occupying their old workplace and continuing to broadcast despite orders to the contrary, Canal Nou (Valencia’s Channel 9) and Ràdio Nou have finally been taken off air and the company responsible for them, Radio Televisión Valenciana (RTVV) shut down.

The Portugal News:

Unemployment heads downwards for seventh consecutive month

The Portuguese unemployment rate retreated for the 7th month in a row although still coming in at the historically high 15.7%, according to the latest figures from the European Union number crunchers Eurostat.

The Guardian:

Italian textile factory fire deaths highlight conditions for migrant workers

At least seven people died and three were injured when a clothing factory in an industrial zone in the Italian town of Prato burned down on Sunday, killing workers trapped in an improvised dormitory built on the site.


Italy’s graduates turn to domestic works

More Italians, and especially those with a degree, are turning to domestic work – a sector usually dominated by foreigners – according to a survey by Assindatcolf, the National Association of Employers of Domestic Workers.

Assindatcolf said that almost 10 percent of those providing household services, whether it be cleaning, babysitting or looking after the elderly, are Italian – a jump from 3.73 percent in 2011 and 8.62 percent last year, Corriere reported.

New Europe:

Putin hopes Russia will boost trade with Italy

On 26 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow and Rome hope that bilateral trade will reach $50 billion this year.

“Italy is fourth among Russia’s largest trade partners,” Putin said after talks in Trieste with the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.  “Bilateral trade has been growing. This year, despite problems in the global and European economy, it will grow by another 24%. I think it will reach or even exceed the $50 billion mark,” he added.


Opening brothels could give Italy tax boost

The council in Italy’s northern Lombardy region is pushing to overhaul the country’s law against prostitution, in order to gain tax revenue, Italian media has reported.

After the jump, Grecomeltdown, Ukrainian crisis, Iranian changes, Latin American economics and political tensions, Asian treaty tensions, space shots by India and China, Thai turmoil, the rise of the Asian neoliberal national security state, Chinese numbers, mixed Japanese economic signals, environmental news, and the latest Fukushimapocalypse now!. . .


German FinMin: Greece deserves respect for fiscal achievement

Greece fulfilled its commitments better than expected during the last year and a half, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

China Daily:

Big potential’ in Sino-Greek economic ties

Debt-strapped nation to attract more Chinese investors, tourists

China will probably top the list of foreign investors in Greece in two to three years while the expected launch of direct flights between Beijing and Athens will boost Chinese tourism to the European country, said Vassilios Costis, the Greek ambassador to China.

The two countries have agreed to double the size of trade by 2015 as the European Union member nation is gradually getting out of its debt crisis, the ambassador told China Daily.

Some good news from Macropolis:

Manufacturing PMI in Greece hits a 51-month high in November

Greek Manufacturing PMI rose to a 51-month high of 49.2 in November from 47.3 in October as output at Greek manufacturers rose for the first time since September 2009, according to Markit.

More positive numbers from Capital.gr:

Greek market hits highest level since 2011

Athens Stock Exchange ends higher on Monday while the General Index hits highest level since26th of July 2011 after the rating agency upgraded Greece’s rating to Caa3 and recognized the improvement in the country’s medium-term economic outlook.

Greek Reporter:

FT: Grexit or Bankruptcy for Greece Within the Next 4 Years

The Financial Times made a shocking prediction concerning Greece. While analyzing the sustainability plan of the German government that derived from the coalition between Angela Merkel with the Social Democrats. The newspaper wrote that within the next four years, Greece will either return to the drachma or declare bankruptcy, or maybe both scenarios will take place.

Greek Reporter:

Toll Increase of up to 60% in Greece

New toll increases are coming in 2014, with the new tariffs to be applied in all motorways. It is indicative that the tolls on the route Athens-Thessaloniki, Greece, by car will cost more than 56 euros, including the return.

The European Union Times:

HIV infection cases on rise in Greece, officials warn

Health officials in Greece have voiced alarm over a dramatic rise in HIV infection amid steep healthcare cuts in the austerity-stricken country.

Official data released by the Greek Health Ministry showed on Friday that 1,058 new HIV infection cases were reported in the first 10 months of this year.

To Vima:

Ministry of Health denies “sudden death” rumors for EOPYY

EOPYY doctor union currently debating the future of their strike over controversial healthcare reforms

The Ministry of Health’s controversial structural changes in healthcare, which include dismissals, suspensions and transfers of doctors and healthcare staff, have prompted EOPYY doctors to call a strike until the 9th of December. Under threat of a “sudden death”, the EOPYY doctor union is currently debating the future of their strike.

Greek Reporter:

Provocative Stance by Troika

The negotiations between Troika and the Greek Government concerning Troika’s plans for the auctioning of primary residences, have reached their limits. Troika’s representatives appear to be adamant on the complete deregulation of commercial property leases and are indifferent about individuals who are not able to pay the agreed installments on time due to the economic recession.

According to Ethnos newspaper, Thomsen, Mors and Mazoux during their conversation with the Greek Minister of Finance, Yiannis Stouranaras, and the Greek Minister of Development, Costis Chatzidakis, made the following statement: “If you want to exercise social policy, you have to start looking for places to host those who are about to lose their houses.”


Greece,troika technicians back in Athens today

While talks with Athens will resume after Eurogroup

Kathimerini English:

Athens opposes tough troika stance on foreclosures

Government officials on Monday affirmed their opposition to a hardening stance being pursued by the troika, including pressure for restrictions to be lifted on home foreclosures, Kathimerini understands.

The Guardian:

Greece: upgrade by Moody’s soured by row with lenders

Greece is at loggerheads with the troika of lenders EU, ECB and the IMF over cost-cutting reforms and a looming fiscal gap

To Vima:

NTUA administrative employees call new 48hr strike

Administrative employees of the National Technical University of Athens decide to continue their strike

The administrative employees of the National Technical University of Athens decided to continue their strike over the government’s suspension and dismissal scheme for a further 48 hours, even though a number of the University’s departments appear to operate as normal.

Kathimerini English:

Education minister ceases talks with striking university staff

A woman sits on the steps outside the main hall of Athens University, where administrative staff held a meeting on Monday.

In an effort to force an end to a strike by administrative staff at Athens University that has kept the institution closed for nearly 13 weeks, Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos Monday decided to cease all talks with representatives and referred rector Theodosis Pelegrinis to a disciplinary council for dereliction of duty.

Kathimerini English:

Greek Employees Left Unpaid for More Than a Month

Nearly half of Greek enterprises owe money to their employees, and only four out of ten employees are receiving their salaries on time.

The Associated Press:

Greek death raises worry of winter impact on poor

Greek authorities say a 13-year-old girl has died after inhaling fumes from a wood-burning stove her mother was using to heat the home after its electricity was disconnected.

The case has raised concern about poor families’ ability to cope with the encroaching winter.

More from Keep Talking Greece:

Thessaloniki: 13-year-old girl dies from brazier fumes; mother arrested for being ‘illegally in Greece’

A 13-year-old girl died from what it looks carbonmonoxide poisoning from the fumes of a make-shift stove. The girl from Serbia was living together with her mother in an apartment without electricity in Xirokrini by Thessaloniki in Northern Greece.

The Guardian:

Golden Dawn supporters rally for imprisoned leader’s release

Neo-fascist party supporters demand release of Nikos Michaloliakos, held since a party member killed a leftwing rapper

Thousands of supporters of Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn gathered in front of the country’s parliament this weekend to demand the release of their imprisoned leader Nikos Michaloliakos, in the party’s first high-profile rally in months.


Syrians rescued from drowning; fleeced by police

Refugees who survived drowning last month say they fear they will be imprisoned in Greece

The survivors of a drowning disaster that cost 12 Syrian refugees their lives last month speak about how police confiscated whatever money they had and how they are living in fear in Greece


Clashes rage as 100,000 Ukrainians demand EU pact

Dozens of police and protesters were injured Sunday in clashes that broke out as more than 100,000 outraged Ukrainians swarmed Kiev in a call for early elections meant to punish authorities for rejecting a historic EU pact.

And a video report from euronews:

EXCLUSIVE: Euronews cameraman attacked by Ukrainian riot police during Kiev clashes

Program notes:

(WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE) This video, filmed by the Euronews crew during mass protests in Kiev, shows the cameraman beaten by Ukrainian riot police. The attack happened when the crew were filming the clashes around the building of the presidential administration. Euronews cameraman Roman Kupriyanov has been injured and taken to hospital, his camera has been damaged.

The Guardian:

Kiev anti-government protesters remain in control in parts of city

Police keep their distance as Viktor Yanukovych’s government ponders next move


Thousands of protesters block govt HQ in Kiev

The opposition have entrenched themselves in the center of the Ukrainian capital, ready to repel police, while a column of 5,000 activists are picketing the cabinet headquarters. Police are trying to persuade intruders to leave government facilities.

The Moscow News:

Barricades erected in Kiev as violent protests swell

Protesters in the Ukrainian capital erected barricades early Monday morning after a weekend of violent clashes between police and demonstrators

Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

EU calls for calm, restraint in Ukraine

The European Union called for calm in Ukraine and urged authorities to show restraint after a weekend of violent clashes between police and thousands of pro-democracy protesters furious at Kiev’s rejection of an EU pact.


EU unlikely to impose Ukraine sanctions

Ukrainian opposition leaders have called for EU sanctions on President Viktor Yanukovych after police violence, but the Union is unlikely to respond.


Ukraine looks to China for money as debt crunch looms

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich will head to China on Tuesday looking for loans and investment, despite the massive protests unleashed by his decision not to sign a trade pact with the European Union.

The Guardian:

No respite for Qatar’s migrant workers, international trade union finds

Delegation finds ‘no improvement in living and working conditions’ of migrants building world cup infrastructure

New Kerala:

Iran expects $70 bn investment in oil and gas sector

Iran plans to attract $70 billion for investments in its oil and gas industry, the country’s media reported Sunday.

The oil ministry has prepared a roadmap for investment in the oil and gas industry for the next eight years, reported Xinhua citing Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in Tehran Times.

RIA Novosti:

Iran, Russia Talk New Nuclear Power Plant Deal – Report

Iran and Russia are discussing plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Bushehr, with construction set to begin next year, Iranian media reports said Sunday citing the country’s nuclear chief.


East African leaders sign Monetary Union protocol

East African Community (EAC) leaders on Saturday signed a protocol paving the way for the establishment of a Monetary Union, the third pillar in the five- member economic bloc’s integration process.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza signed the document on behalf of their countries.

The Argentina Independent:

Pacific Alliance: New Business Agreements with China

Business owers in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru have created the China-Pacific Alliance Multi-Chamber Union (UICAP). This new alliance aims to increase commercial ties between these Latin American countries and the Asian giant.

The agreement was ratified during the 7th China-Latin America-Caribbean business summit which ended yesterday, after two days of activities.

The Buenos Aires Herald:

Gov’t raises biodiesel blend rate to absorb EU sanctions shock

Following the EU decision to ban Argentine biodiesel exports, Planning and Economy Ministers Julio De Vido and Axel Kicillof announced today the increase of mandated biodiesel blending that will account for “450,000 tons that will flow into domestic consumption.”


Inflation and competitiveness, Uruguay’s main challenges for next year and a slower growing economy

Inflation and competitiveness are the two main macroeconomic challenges faced by Uruguay and does not anticipate an easy ‘soft landing’, at 3% growth rates in coming years, according to Deloitte during a conference on “Prospects for 2014 and economic challenges for the next government”.

The Guardian:

Thousands march in Honduras after election controversy

Xiomara Castro and her leftist Libre party demand election recount, saying she was robbed of presidency

The electoral court has declared the conservative Juan Orlando Hernández of the ruling National party as the winner. The court said that with 99% of ballots counted, Hernández had 37% and Castro was second with 29%. Six other candidates shared the remaining votes.

BBC News:

Mexico crowd protests against energy reform

Tens of thousands of people have protested in the centre of Mexico City against President Enrique Pena Nieto’s planned overhaul of the energy sector.

Bloomberg News:

Australia Food-Bowl Dream Seen at Risk as Foreign Cash Shunned

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s election pledge to turn Australia’s remote north into a food bowl for Asia has set him on a collision course with his own government over foreign ownership of agricultural land.

Local farmers and officials have warned Abbott’s vision for the sparsely populated region will fail unless he allows greater investment from countries such as China and Indonesia. The government’s decision last week to block a U.S.-led $2 billion purchase of crop handler GrainCorp Ltd. has put a cloud over Abbott’s vow after his Sept. 7 election win that Australia is “open for business.”

Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

India’s spacecraft successfully begins journey to Mars

India’s first mission to Mars left Earth’s orbit on Sunday, successfully entering the second phase of its journey that could see the country win Asia’s race to the Red Planet, scientists said.

The Financial Express:

Analysts see GDP growth improving in second half

Exports during quarter grew robust 16.3 pct on back of rising global demand and fall in Indian rupee.

Economic Times:

Bali WTO meet: India to press for food security right

Ahead of crucial WTO ministerial meeting in Bali this week, India today made it very clear that it will be firm on the core agenda of food security while pursuing a “persuasive and constructive” dialogue.

The Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3 to 6.

A day after Commerce Minister Anand Sharma asserted that India will secure and protect its right to food security and strive for a permanent immunity from any kind of farm subsidy breach, he is likely to unequivocally convey to his interlocutors that India’s concerns on food security are non- negotiable.

The Guardian:

Teargas, bombs and death on the streets as clashes over Bangladesh’s elections grow

Political turmoil has paralysed Bangladesh’s capital – and some fear top western firms will pull out of the garment industry

The New York Times:

Thai Protests Enter Volatile New Phase After Fatal Shootings

Thailand’s week of antigovernment demonstrations entered a dangerous and volatile phase on Sunday after shootings involving rival political camps left at least four people dead and more than 50 wounded.

Protesters are pursuing the quixotic goal of ridding the country of the influence of Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire tycoon and former prime minister whose political party has captured the allegiance of voters in the countryside, winning every election since 2001.

Bangkok Post:

Suthep gives PM ultimatum before military leaders

Politics Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Sunday night gave Prime MinisterYingluck Shinawatra an ultimatum of two days to return power to people.


Thailand anti-government protesters seize state TV

Protesters seeking to overthrow Thailand’s government have taken control of state television headquarters in Bangkok.

Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

“Insurrection” warrant issued for Thai protest leader

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Monday rejected the demands of protesters who have urged her to quit, as police issued an arrest warrant for “insurrection” against the protest leader amid renewed clashes.

The Guardian:

Thailand’s Yingluck Shinawatra talks of resignation to ‘bring back peace’

PM mentions dissolution of parliament to halt anti-government protests in Bangkok that have led to at least four deaths

Bangkok Post:

100 injured as second day of clashes shakes capital

News Clashes between anti-government demonstrators and police continued for a second day yesterday, spreading to four sites and injuring almost 100 protesters.


S.Korea’s trade balance stays in black for 22 months

South Korea’s trade balance stayed in the black for 22 straight months in November as a reduction in imports offset a slower increase in exports, a government report showed Sunday.

Trade surplus was 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in November, almost unchanged from a 4.88-billion-dollar surplus in the prior month, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). The trade balance kept its surplus trend since Feb. 2012

South China Morning Post:

China launches its first moon rover

China launched its first moon rover mission early Monday, state TV showed, the latest step in an ambitious space programme seen as a symbol of its rising global stature.

The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang’e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Photo: APThe Chang’e-3 rocket carrying the Jade Rabbit rover blasted off around 1:30 am (Sunday 1730 GMT) into the dark sky, the CCTV official broadcaster showed in live footage from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwest of the country.

South China Morning Post:

British Prime Minister David Cameron backs China to ‘realise its dream’

As British prime minister agrees wide-ranging business deals in Beijing, he says two countries can ‘help each other succeed in the global race’

Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

China manufacturing index steady at 19-month high

China’s manufacturing growth in November maintained its strong pace from the previous month to stay at a 19-month high, official figures showed on Sunday.

The Global Times:

No drop in sight

In response to record-high house prices and public discontent, local authorities in more than 10 major Chinese cities have rolled out new tightening measures since October.

Financial institutions and analysts, however, expect prices in major Chinese cities, especially those with tight supply, to continue rising in 2014, defying local governments’ macro-control efforts

People’s Daily:

China stocks ride reform roller coaster

China’s ChiNext Index, which is composed mainly of hi-tech start-ups, on Monday responded dramatically to moves for a more standardized market.

Down a record 8.26 percent — the worst daily loss since trading started in 2009 — 325 of 328 shares listed on the board fell, with 225 collapsing by the daily limit of 10 percent. Profit taking was triggered by suggested reform to the initial public offering (IPO) system.

Want China Times:

IPO suspension boosts M&A activity in A-share market

This year is being considered an era of mergers and acquisitions for China’s A-share listed companies as the country is transforming its economy and the government has frozen approvals for A-share initial public offerings (IPOs) for more than one year. Investing in listed companies that carry out M&A re-organisational projects has become a good choice, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reports.


People’s Daily:

China Futures Association to collaborate with 3 overseas financial institutions

The China Futures Association (CFA) on Monday signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation with operators of the Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges, as well as the Swiss Futures and Options Association.

China Daily:

China achieves extreme poverty reduction goal

China is among the 62 countries that have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal, namely halving extreme poverty rates by 2015, chief of the Rome-based UN food agency has told Xinhua in an exclusive interview recently.

“This is an outstanding achievement,” Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva said, adding that “The numbers of China, on the whole, are very impressive: the country feeds around 20 percent of the world’s population with only 9 percent of arable land and 6 percent of freshwater. This is a very good example.”

 CBC News:

AIDS epidemic tearing families apart in rural China

World AIDS Day report: a look at an epidemic in mountain villages of Sichuan province

Official numbers show Sichuan as having 50,000 cases of AIDS, but the actual numbers are sure to be much higher.

Al Jazeera America:

World AIDS Day: Has China’s PM made strides in HIV prevention?

After covering up a major epidemic, China’s Li Keqiang has made what some call a halfhearted pitch for awareness

Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

China’s home price rises speed up in November

Chinese home prices rose faster in November than in the previous month, an independent survey showed on Sunday, adding that authorities are likely to introduce further changes to control the lively real estate market.

Macrobusiness conveys a serious warning:

Morgan Stanley: China to struggle in 2014

Want China Times:

Research on GM food in China will not stop: scholar

Jiang Gaoming, a researcher at the Institute of Botany of The Chinese Academy of Sciences, said research on genetically modified (GM) food in China will continue no matter what problems arise.

In 2004, the Chinese government listed the cultivation of GM crops as a major scientific development for the country, and it allocated a total budget of more than 20 billion Chinese yuan (US$3.28 billion). Since then, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become a very popular area for research, Jiang stated.

Jiji Press:

Japan July-Sept. GDP Growth Seen to Be Revised Down

Many private-sector think tanks expect Japan’s gross domestic product growth for July-September will be revised down from the preliminary readings following the release of corporate activity data by the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

The average estimate among 12 think tanks on quarter-on-quarter real GDP growth for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 stands at 0.4 pct after seasonal adjustment, down from the preliminary reading of 0.5 pct growth announced by the Cabinet Office in mid-November.

Japan doesn’t want to accept the U.S. demand it cut back on tariff protections designed to help ensure agricultural self-sufficiency. From the Japan Daily Press:

US, Japan fail to reach conclusion on TPP free trade issues

Despite “tense discussions” on several issues regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, a meeting between Akira Amari, Japan’s minister in charge of the negotiations and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman failed to reach any concrete conclusion. Amari also said there is very little possibility that Japan will

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