The world in brief – Friday, September 30, 2022

In India, central bank hikes interest rate:

The Reserve Bank of India raises its benchmark repo rate by 50 basis points on Friday, the fourth straight increase, as policymakers extend their battle to tame stubbornly high inflation and analysts say further tightening is on the cards. The monetary policy committee (MPC), comprising three members from the RBI and three external members, raised the key lending rate or the repo rate to 5.90 percent with five out of the six voting in favour of the rise. The RBI has now raised rates by a total 190 basis points since its first unscheduled mid-meeting increase in May but inflation has continued to remain stubbornly high – a phenomenon that is affecting much of the global economy. One basis point is 0.01 of one percentage point.

In the U.S.A., Hurricane Ian continues to pound coastal states, Google Fiber plans to offer 100 gpbs broadband speeds for consumers, attorney seeks clemency for Leonard Peltier, and Washington avows more aid for Ukraine and more sanctions on Russia:

A revived Hurricane Ian threatened coastal South Carolina and the historic city of Charleston with severe flooding Friday after the deadly storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida and trapped thousands in their homes. Sheets of rain whipped trees and power lines, and many areas on Charleston’s downtown peninsula were already under water by midday. Streets in the 350-year-old city were largely empty. Ian’s anticipated landfall just up the South Carolina coast was expected to coincide with high tide, which would make flooding worse. Ian left a broad swath of destruction after it came ashore on Florida’s Gulf Coast as one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S. The storm flooded areas on both of Florida’s coasts, tore homes from their slabs, demolished beachfront businesses and left more than 2 million people without power. At least nine people were confirmed dead in the U.S. — a number that was almost certain to increase as officials confirm more deaths and search for people. With winds holding at 85 mph (140 kph), the National Hurricane Center’s update at 11 a.m. Friday placed Ian about 60 miles (95 km) southeast of Charleston. The center’s hurricane warning stretched from the Savannah River to Cape Fear. The forecast predicted a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) into some Carolina coastal areas, and rainfall of up to 8 inches (20 centimeters).

Google Fiber, part of the Access division of Alphabet, is reportedly planning to offer 100 gbps broadband speeds for its consumers in the US. According to ZDNet, one gigabit speeds, which US incumbents like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T could not match, were Google Fiber’s main selling point to attract users. This forced incumbents to boost speeds in areas where Google Fiber was available, but its coverage was limited and remained stagnant for five years until last month, when it revealed plans to expand to five more states.

Leonard Peltier’s name has become a story that reflects other stories. One narrative describes Peltier as America’s longest political prisoner, serving more than 46 years in a federal maximum security prison. In that telling, Peltier has become a humanitarian and a 78-year-old Turtle Mountain elder who has been incarcerated for far too long. There is a long list of people, tribes and organizations that have called for Peltier’s freedom. The former prosecutor in the case. Members of Congress. Amnesty International USA. Pope John Francis. The Dalai Lama. The National Congress of American Indians. Dozens of tribal nations, including Peltier’s own tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. And, as of this month, the Democratic National Committee. That’s one version. A contrary account casts Peltier as the lead character for the crimes allegedly committed by the American Indian Movement during the Wounded Knee era, including internal community violence, and he is described as a remorseless murderer. That last story is still promoted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on its website. But Peltier is not in prison for murder. The government could not justify a murder case, so it switched gears and today Leonard Peltier is Inmate #89637-132 serving at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman, in central Florida, on charges of “aiding and abetting” the murder of federal officers, plus a seven-year sentence for an escape attempt. Indeed Peltier has already served a longer sentence than most principals in murder convictions. There is no way to look at the evidence and come away with any conclusion other than Peltier is being punished for crimes that could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Kevin Sharp is a Nashville attorney, and former U.S. District Court judge, who is representing Peltier pro bono with a petition to President Joe Biden calling for clemency. That petition questions the role of the United States government saying “the FBI redoubled their efforts to secure a conviction,” including dropping other charges, so that the “weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.”

Western leaders have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for signing accession treaties on Friday to start the process of bringing the two Donbass republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions into the Russian Federation. US President Joe Biden vowed fresh sanctions and more aid for Kiev. The four former Ukrainian territories held referendums between September 23 and 27 on joining Russia, with the measures passing with overwhelming support. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in Donbass have been regarded by Russia as independent states since February, while Putin recognized the independence of Kherson and Zaporozhye on Thursday. After the Russian president signed accession treaties with the heads of all four territories on Friday, condemnation poured in from Western leaders.

In China, Vice FM stresses countries’ diplomacy stances at press conference:

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu stressed China’s position on the diplomatic front at Thursday’s press conference themed around what Chinese diplomacy has achieved in the past decade. Ma said we fight against the rhetoric and actions that undermine China’s national interests and dignity, we safeguard our own legitimate rights and interests and dignity, oppose hegemonic, domineering and bullying acts, and stand firm for international fairness and justice. We firmly safeguard national interests and national dignity, have a clear-cut position on critical issues, and won’t yield one inch, Ma stressed. Ma stressed that China has also advanced its diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel and multifaceted way. To date, China has established diplomatic relations with 181 countries and entered into partnerships with more than 110 countries and regional organizations, thus making more and more friends and forming a network of partnerships covering the entire world, said the vice foreign minister.

In Venezuela, Culture Minister calls on UNESCO to protect cultural rights:

On Thursday, Venezuelan Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to adopt measures to protect the cultural rights of peoples from the harmful impact of sanctions imposed by other countries. UNESCO should offer a “mechanism to protect the cultural rights of peoples, their heritage and cultural diversity, from unilateral coercive measures,” Villegas said at the 2022 World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (MONDIACULT). “Sanctions can severely impact communities, not only in Latin America but worldwide… those who have calculated the numbers say that half of humanity is being subjected to sanctions,” he added. Venezuela supports MONDIACULT’s goal to officially recognize culture as a “global public good” in a joint declaration to be issued at the end of the conference, Villegas said.

In Austria, Party of Labor issues solidarity statement to the people of Iran:

The shocking murder of Mahsa Amini has provoked a legitimate wave of protest, which is currently being put down with extreme brutality by the theocratic regime in Tehran. Her murder is not an isolated case – it has served as a magnifying glass for the inhumane practices of this regime, which constantly denies women’s basic social rights. In more than 80 cities, the revolt against this system has become manifest, as it has the regime’s brutal response: more than 50 deaths have already been counted and hundreds remained injured. To curb popular anger, the Iranian regime has even shut down telecommunications and the Internet. But the protests continue and cannot simply be shut down. The struggle against oppression and arbitrary murder by the state’s repressive mechanisms in Iran clearly shows that states are not progressive merely because they position themselves against the U.S. and other imperialist states. Likewise, there is no need to trust the EU’s indignation and two-faced statements in this regard – in Saudi Arabia, women are persecuted and oppressed for the same reasons, yet the country is considered a reliable ally of our “democratic” and “enlightened” governments.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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