Ian's Feed
Dec 30, 2011
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BRICs raise relegation risk for European soccer

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Global wealth is shifting south and east and the world’s best soccer players appear to be following. Nicolas Anelka is on his way from Chelsea, the top-flight London club, to Shanghai. Samuel Eto’o, meanwhile, is heading to the Russian North Caucasus region, having starred for Internazionale of Milan and a Barcelona side which is one of the finest to grace the stadiums of western Europe.

Dec 21, 2011
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UK cuts pensions and workers — without a fight

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The compromise between the UK government and public-sector workers over pensions looks like an important breakthrough. The unions have given most ground. The government will save billions of pounds on retirement benefits over coming decades. An ugly repeat of the clashes and strikes of the Thatcher years now looks unlikely. But if David Cameron is emerging as a consensual politician, it is with a very hard edge.

Dec 20, 2011

Iran says invites UN nuclear agency to visit

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has invited the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit for talks and would be ready to discuss concerns about its disputed atomic ambitions, an Iranian envoy told Reuters Tuesday.

The conciliatory gesture comes as Iran faces tightening sanctions over a nuclear program it says is for peaceful power generation but its foes suspect is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Dec 19, 2011

Future N.Korean leader attended Swiss school – friends

BERNE/VIENNA (Reuters) – Former pupils of a school in Switzerland believe the young lad who loved playing basketball and watching action movies and was always “good for a laugh” may have been none other than Kim Jong-un, son and anointed successor of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Joao Micaelo, who now works as a chef in a Vienna restaurant, told Reuters he was a good friend of a North Korean teenager with a different name when they both attended the German-speaking Steinhoelzli school in Berne from 1998 to 2000.

Dec 19, 2011

Future North Korean leader attended Swiss school: friends

BERNE/VIENNA (Reuters) – Former pupils of a school in Switzerland believe the young lad who loved playing basketball and watching action movies and was always “good for a laugh” may have been none other than Kim Jong-un, son and anointed successor of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Joao Micaelo, who now works as a chef in a Vienna restaurant, told Reuters he was a good friend of a North Korean teenager with a different name when they both attended the German-speaking Steinhoelzli school in Berne from 1998 to 2000.

Dec 15, 2011

UN nuclear watchdog wants to visit Myanmar-source

VIENNA, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The United Nations nuclear
watchdog is seeking to gain access to sites in Myanmar, which
rejected allegations by an exile group last year it was trying
to develop atomic weapons, a diplomat familiar with the issue
said.

Myanmar officials signalled during talks in September that
inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
could come to the southeast Asian nation, which has initiated
radical reforms after decades of authoritarian military rule.

Dec 14, 2011

Iran ready to start nuclear work in bunker – sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could soon begin sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a move that would up the ante in a stand-off with big powers demanding Tehran curb such work.

Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic Republic to start higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.

Dec 14, 2011

Iran may soon start nuclear work in bunker: sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a development likely to add to tension between Tehran and the West.

Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic state to begin higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.

Dec 8, 2011
via Breakingviews

Irish tiger-turned-tortoise may need more help

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Ireland’s budget is more of the same – pain that seems without end. The country is making huge efforts, but the Celtic tiger has become a tortoise, weighed down by the collapse of its property bubble and bank bailouts. The unwelcome metamorphosis implies years of fiscal struggle ahead. Ireland seems likely to need more external help.

Dec 7, 2011

Experts argue over Iran nuclear bomb timeline

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran could likely build a nuclear bomb in six months or less, a U.S. defence analyst said on Wednesday, but another Western proliferation expert dismissed this as unrealistic.

The differing estimates show the difficulty in trying to assess how long it could take Iran to convert its growing uranium stockpile into weapons-grade material and how advanced it may be in other areas vital for any bid to make a bomb.