Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

What price Russian cooperation on Afghanistan?

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According to the Washington Post, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sees opportunities for the United States to cooperate with Russia on Afghanistan. The newspaper says Gates, a longtime Russia analyst during his years with the CIA, sees Moscow as less of a threat than do many inside and outside the U.S. military establishment. "Russia is very worried about the drugs coming out of Afghanistan and has been supportive in terms of providing alternative routes for Europeans in particular to get equipment and supplies into Afghanistan," it quoted him as saying.

The story is interesting in the context of the United States searching for new supply lines through Central Asia into Afghanistan as an alternative to Pakistan before it sends in thousands more troops.  "The plan to open new paths through Central Asia reflects an American-led effort to seek out a more reliable alternative to the route from Pakistan through the strategic Khyber Pass," the New York Times said.

It quoted U.S. officials as saying that delicate negotiations were under way not only with the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan but also with Russia, to work out the details of new supply routes. "The talks show the continued importance of American and NATO cooperation with the Kremlin, despite lingering tension over the war between Russia and Georgia in August."

In an editorial, the International Herald Tribune picked up the same theme, saying that the passage from Pakistan, through the Khyber Pass, had become too dangerous. "Despite the tension in U.S.-Russian relations since the war in Georgia last August, Russian officials are saying openly that they share with NATO a strategic interest in helping protect Afghanistan from the Taliban. Toward that end, Russian and NATO representatives have been discussing the transport of NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Russia's airspace."

Russia-Ukraine row: up close and personal

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Could it be that the gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev broke out because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin felt personally slighted by his Ukrainian opposite number, Yulia Tymoshenko?
It may seem far-fetched that two countries would risk leaving half of Europe without gas over something so apparently petty. But a look at the sequence of events that led up to this crisis suggests there just might be something in it.

Rewind back to Oct. 2, and Tymoshenko is meeting Putin at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. It is a lodge in forested parkland where, as a rule, he only invites people on whom he wants to make a good impression.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India – aiming for diplomatic encirclement of Pakistan?

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India is piling on the diplomatic pressure to convince the international community to lean on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants blamed by New Delhi for the Mumbai attacks.

According to the Times of India, "India has made it clear to the U.S. and Iran as well as Pakistan's key allies, China and Saudi Arabia, that they need to do more to use their clout to pressure Pakistan into acting..." The Press Trust of India (PTI), quoted by The Hindu, said India had used a visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to Delhi to drive home the same message.

from Global Investing:

Top Gun economics

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It's not often that economists turn their attention to military hardware, but Deutsche Bank has done just that in its latest world outlook. The subject is aircraft carriers and what it sees as the strange desire among a number of countries to build them.

Russia has suggested it may build up to six carriers, DB notes, while China plans one and Britain and France three between them. Like the true economists they are, DB first questions the need, saying such boats are vulnerable, make no sense for coastal defence and are for projecting offensive power over long distances. Then comes the cost:
  

Gaddafi and Lukashenko – coming in from the cold?

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Posted by Andrei Makhovsky and Salah Sarrar

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi found they had plenty in common when they met in
Minsk this week.

Both their  countries have started to come in from the cold after years of
international isolation and sanctions that were imposed on their
countries because of their policies.

They also share a vision of a multi-polar world to
counterbalance U.S. influence.

British royalty steps into Central Asia energy diplomacy

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Britain’s Prince Andrew stepped into Central Asia energy diplomacy this week, touring the vast former Soviet region and holding top-level talks on gas supplies in remote Turkmenistan.

Western envoys have flocked to Central Asia over past years, hoping to grab a share of its abundant energy reserves – a worrisome trend for Russia which sees the mainly Muslim region as part of its traditional sphere of interest.

Bailing out Russian oligarchs

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Posted by Guy Faulconbridge

Not all of Russia’s rich businessmen are queuing up for a loan under a government rescue package offering billions of dollars in state funds to bail out oligarchs who have been badly hit by the global financial crisis.

Russian billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Mikhail Fridman this week got a total of $6.5 billion in loans from a state-owned bank to help them cover foreign debts secured against stakes in major Russian companies, according to industry sources.

Russia talks to foreign investors – in private

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Posted by Gleb Bryanski

Foreign investors who filed into a Moscow hotel on Wednesday anxious to hear what Russia’s anti-crisis tsar First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov had to say about the future of the market were disappointed to find he had not shown up.

They had many questions: the stock market is down around 70 percent since May peak, gold and forex reserves are have fallen below $500 billion for the first time in eight months as Russia props up the rouble and the economic outlook is uncertain.

Leaders unite over financial crisis, but is it enough?

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Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (C) gestures as he arrives with Greece’s Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (2nd L) to attend a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris October 12, 2008. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and leaders of euro zone countries hold an emergency meeting in Paris to agree on specific, pan-European measures to prop up the battered financial sector and halt market panic. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/PoolEuropean leaders have finally got their act together. After weeks of looking divided over how to tackle the global financial crisis, they agreed on joint measures at  emergency talks in Paris. 

Their meeting followed talks in Washington at the weekend involving G7 finance ministers and officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at which governments pledged to support the financial system. U.S. President George W. Bush said he was confident the world’s major economies could overcome the challenges.

Poland to Russia: Please keep the nuke threats to a minimum

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sikorsky1.jpgPolish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski would appreciate it if Russia would stop threatening his country with nuclear annihilation — or at least limit its threats to once a month.

“It is not a friendly thing to do, and we have asked them to do it no more than once a month. But as the Atlantic alliance we have nukes too,” Sikorski told an audience at Columbia University this week.

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