Ian's Feed
Jul 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

Global warming adds to food inflation risk


By Ian Campbell

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

The United States has just had its hottest first half-year ever. The corn crop is suffering, corn prices are soaring. Extreme weather is also hitting Russian wheat. Is global warming threatening a repeat of the destabilising 2011 global food price shock? Probably not this year. But the longer-term threat is troubling.

Jul 11, 2012

No foul play in death of Gaddafi oil boss-Austria

VIENNA, July 11 (Reuters) – Libya’s Gaddafi-era prime
minister and oil chief Shokri Ghanem died after suffering heart
failure and falling into the Danube river and there is no sign
of foul play, the Vienna prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The mysterious death in late April shocked Ghanem’s friends
and colleagues, who at the time said they suspected enemies may
have hunted down and killed the man who knew more than anyone
else about the toppled Libyan dictator’s billions.

Jul 10, 2012
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Scots aim to break Europe’s working currency union


By Ian Campbell

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

The received wisdom is wrong. Europe doesn’t lack a functioning multi-country currency, fiscal and banking union. But it’s in the United Kingdom, not the euro zone – and Scotland ’s government is keen to break it up.

Jul 9, 2012
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Central bank stimulus won’t solve the crisis


By Ian Campbell

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

Following another weak U.S. jobs report, fear abounds. The sense is that the global economy is teetering and central banks can’t do much more. The point is that in the developed world they should not do more. Monetary policy risks becoming harmful if pushed further.

Jul 5, 2012

Iran submarine plan may fuel Western nuclear worries

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran’s announcement that it plans to build its first nuclear-powered submarine is stoking speculation it could serve as a pretext for the Islamic state to produce highly enriched uranium and move closer to potential atom bomb material.

Western experts doubt that Iran – which is under a U.N. arms embargo – has the capability any time soon to make the kind of sophisticated underwater vessel that only the world’s most powerful states currently have.

Jun 27, 2012

West worried by China-Pakistan atomic ties: sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – Western states pressured China at closed-door talks last week to address concerns about its plans to expand a nuclear power plant in Pakistan and provide more information, but were rebuffed, two diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Beijing’s atomic relations with Islamabad have caused unease in Washington, Delhi and other capitals due to Pakistan’s history of spreading nuclear arms technology and fears about the integrity of international non proliferation rules.

Jun 22, 2012
via Breakingviews

Denmark is another costly refuge


By Ian Campbell

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

European and triple-A rated? Tick. Definitely not in the euro zone? Tick. No external financing gap? Tick. With at least a few solvent banks? Yes! Denmark ticks all the boxes. It is a safe haven. Unfortunately, the little country – 5.5 million people – is crowded these days and it is charging investors to park their assets in the harbour.

Jun 20, 2012

U.S. think-tank sees more Iran site “sanitization” work

VIENNA (Reuters) – A U.S. security institute published new satellite imagery on Wednesday which it said appeared to show further activity to clean up an Iranian military site which the U.N. nuclear watchdog wants to inspect, including removing earth.

Parchin, which Iran says is a conventional military complex, is at the center of Western allegations that Iran has conducted experiments – possibly a decade ago – that could help develop atom bombs. Iran denies any such ambition.

Jun 15, 2012

Powers want “diamonds for peanuts:” Iran ex-official

VIENNA (Reuters) – A former Iranian negotiator dismissed on Friday as “diamonds for peanuts” a proposal by world powers that Tehran halts higher-grade uranium enrichment and closes an underground nuclear site in exchange for reactor fuel and civil aviation parts.

Hossein Mousavian, now a visiting scholar at Princeton University in the United States, said he did not believe Iran would accept the offer when the two sides hold a new round of talks in Moscow next week.

Jun 13, 2012

U.N. cash gap may hinder its nuclear role: report

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ nuclear agency is significantly underfunded, a think-tank said on Wednesday, warning the shortfall risked limiting its ability to identify covert atomic activity that might have a military dimension.

The report, issued by a Canadian think-tank, described the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a “veritable bargain for international peace and security,” but said the Vienna-based agency needed to be reformed and better financed.