Daily Archives: June 27, 2015

France | Terrorist Attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait Kill Dozens

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Terrorists attacked sites in France, Tunisiaand Kuwait on Friday, leaving a bloody toll on three continents and prompting new concerns about the spreading influence of jihadists.

Russia | Yevgeny Primakov, Russian prime minister in late 1990s, dies at 85

Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian prime minister whose career included desperate but unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to avert wars in Iraq and NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, died June 26 in Moscow. He was 85.

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin announced the death. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

Ukraine | Yanukovich’s Law Returns under Maidan Banner

The Verkhovna Rada will consider the bill on blocking access to sites without a court order.
The National Commission for Communications Regulation would have the right to order a blocking access to Internet sites that are mandatory for providers.
The corresponding norm is contained in the bill №2133a published on the official website of the Parliament.
According to the text of the draft law, ISPs must “according to the decision of the National Commission exercising the state regulation in the sphere of communication and information, limit (stop, block) their subscribers’ access to Internet resources through which the dissemination of information contrary to the law is carried out, and renew such access on the basis of the relevant decision in the case of the removal of such information, or based on a court decision, which reversed the decision to restrict the access of subscribers to Internet resources”.
It should be noted that the rule almost completely duplicates a similar rule of Yanukovych’s scandalous “draconian laws” January 16, 2014. In particular, as in the controversial package of laws, blocking of Internet resources in the new bill is carried out without a court order, on the basis of a decision of the National Commission.
The bill also stipulates that Internet service providers are obliged to provide “competent authorities” information about their subscribers.
The authors of the bill are the deputies Andrey Kozhemyakin, Vladislav Bukharev, Ruslan Lukyanchuk (“Fatherland”) and Nikolay Palamarchuk (Block Poroshenko).

Ukraine | Goldman Sees Ukraine Default in July as Debt Standoff Holds

by Elena Popina Natasha Doff
June 25, 2015
Ukraine will miss a bond coupon payment in July, setting off a default on about $19 billion of debt, as a standoff with creditors shows no sign of abating, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The government is unlikely to resolve a disagreement with its creditors on its debt-repayment plan in the coming weeks and will probably issue a moratorium before a $120 million coupon payment comes due on July 24, analyst Andrew Matheny wrote in a research note on Wednesday. Ukraine is giving creditors a few weeks to accept a proposal that includes a 40 percent writedown to principal before it imposes a debt moratorium, a person familiar with the talks said on June 19.
“Ukraine will not make the July 24 coupon payment and, as a result, will enter into default at that point,” Matheny said of his base-case scenario in the report. “We do not expect the ad hoc committee to accept Ukraine’s latest restructuring proposal.”
Members of the committee, the government and the International Monetary Fund will meet in Washington next week as the crisis lender weighs whether to issue the next slice of a $17 billion loan to Ukraine. The IMF said earlier this month that it can keep supporting Ukraine even if it stops servicing debt held by private bondholders.
Templeton Plan
A creditor group led by Franklin Templeton that holds about $9 billion of Ukraine’s debt reiterated on Wednesday that its proposal, which uses maturity extensions and coupon reductions to save Ukraine about $16 billion over four years, is the best way forward. The group has opposed Ukraine’s insistence on a principal writedown.
The bond on which the coupon is due, a $2.6 billion note due July 2017, climbed 0.39 cent to 49.78 cents on the dollar by 1:30 p.m in Kiev. The securities have risen 12 cents from this year’s low on March 25.
Goldman’s Matheny reiterated his view that a principal writedown is necessary for Ukraine due to rising debt-to-GDP levels and slowing growth. The nation’s debt burden will rise toward 100 percent of GDP this year, from the IMF’s most recent forecast of 94 percent, he said. The IMF last month deepened its forecast for how much Ukraine’s economy will shrink in 2015 to 9 percent.
Ukraine’s offer to creditors to tie restructured bond payments to future economic performance would allow bondholders to profit from any upside if economic indicators outperform, Matheny said. That might allow the two sides to reconcile their differing views.
A proposal issued to Ukraine last month by the creditor group includes a similar GDP-linked instrument, a person familiar with negotiations said on June 12.
“We expect bonds to reflect economic fundamentals more closely, as the market begins to assess the pricing of these potential new instruments,” Matheny said in the report.

USA | Journalist Robert Parry: Explaining Myself

June 16, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. government propagandists know that the best way to get Americans to support a war is to get them despising and laughing at some “designated villain,” though the technique applies to more mundane cases, too. That’s when journalists should step in but often they just pile on, says Robert Parry.