International Relations

Analysis: Monti takes off gloves in euro zone fight

Analysis: Monti takes off gloves in euro zone fight

Barry Moody, Reuters,

8 August 2012

(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has taken the gloves off in his fight to save Italy from disaster in the euro zone debt crisis, daring to stand up to European paymaster Germany in a way unthinkable a few months back.

His change of attitude is driven by increasing Italian exasperation with repeated delays in formulating an effective response to a crisis on bond markets that has put Spain and Italy in the front line against an existential threat to the euro and perhaps the whole European Union.

Monti is trying to pressure German Chancellor Angela Merkel into agreeing to a European shield against high borrowing costs that are crippling Madrid and Rome and that he believes threaten the very survival of the euro if they lose access to markets.

Japan’s Shrinking ASEAN ‘Soft Power’

Japan’s Shrinking ASEAN ‘Soft Power’

August 08, 2012

A recent Yahoo! Japan search for “sofuto pawa,” the Japanese translation for soft power, yielded nearly two and a half million entries. While this number indicates the term’s popularity in Japan, it tells us little about how successful Tokyo has been in employing soft power throughout the Western Pacific.

Sinai Attack Tests New Egyptian President’s Relationship With Israel

Sinai Attack Tests New Egyptian President’s Relationship With Israel

International Herald Tribune

6 August 2012

Syrian Christians caught between two sides

Syrian Christians caught between two sides

Deutsche Welle

7 August 2012

Reports suggest that Syrian Christians are increasingly being targeted for attack by radical Islamists. They're suspected of loyalty to the Assad regime - yet many are actively involved in the uprising.

Robert Fisk: Hijab defection drives wedge into fractured party

Robert Fisk: Hijab defection drives wedge into fractured party

The Independent

7 August 2012

The highest ranking-defector yet – the Syrian Prime Minister, Riad Hijab – deserted President Bashar al-Assad yesterday and headed for the highest-paying supporter of the country's rebels: the oil-stuffed state of Qatar.

'Greece Should Leave' Patience with Athens Nearing an End in Germany

'Greece Should Leave'
Patience with Athens Nearing an End in Germany

Der Spiegel

6 August 2012

Even as Greece's leading creditors expressed satisfaction with a new agreement aimed at labor market reforms, patience in Germany is running out. The tone among politicians allied with Chancellor Merkel is growing sharper.
The good news is that Greece is not going to go bankrupt -- at least not this month. Despite Athens facing a €3.2 billion ($3.96 billion) bond repayment in August and rapidly running out of cash, the European Central Bank (ECB) last week rubber-stamped a request from the Bank of Greece, allowing it to boost the amount of money it can loan to the Greek government. The move should keep the country's head above water at least until September.

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