Political Concepts

Views on the News – 18 Oct 2010

Gold hits record as Fed signal sinks dollar

Gold surged to a record high at $1,367.65 an ounce on Wednesday and silver to a 30-year peak after the Federal Reserve signalled the U.S. economy may need extra stimulus, which hit the dollar. Gold prices have rallied nearly 25 percent so far this year as investors turned to the metal as a haven from the effects of an increasingly loose monetary policy. Spot gold XAU hit a peak of $1,367.65 an ounce and was bid at $1,366.75 an ounce at 1417 GMT, against $1,349.60 late on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures for December delivery GCZ0 rose $21.50 to $1,368.20, having earlier touched a record $1,368.90.

France: Turkey can join the EU if it carries out the necessary reforms

Turkey can join the EU if it carries out the necessary reforms, says French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, according to Today’s Zaman. He added that the ball is in Turkey’s court. Kouchner promised that France is willing to help Turkey in fulfilling its EU requirements. Turkey still needs to work on its social and employment policies, says Kouchner in a press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday. Kouchner is currently on an official visit to Turkey.Davutoglu said that he asked Frace to give active supports to Turkey in its attempts to join the EU. We want the visa procedures to be applied to Turkey as they were applied to the Balkans. Nothing more, nothing less,€ says Davutoglu according to Today’s Zaman. Davutoglu mentioned difficult “political barriers” that are blocking Turkey’s EU membership, citing the Cyprus problem as one of them. Davutoglu says that the Cyprus problem can be comprehensively settled by calling a grand conference. He added that Turkey cannot allow Greek Cyprus to use Turkey’s ports until a comprehensive solution is found.

Americans against war on Iran: Poll

A new survey has shown that most Americans would not support US-lead attack on Iran, even if the country “tested a nuclear bomb or attacked Israel.” A quarter of respondents in 60 Minutes-Vanity Fair poll have said that “nothing” could make them “support a war with Iran.” The phone survey of 906 randomly selected participants in September showed that 25% of respondent would consent to an attack “only if Iran attacks US soil” or “if Iran attacks the US fleet in the Persian Gulf”. Around 24% of respondents said they would never support a war with Iran. Only 11 percent of respondents said they would support war if Iran tested a nuclear bomb. The US accuses Iran of following a military agenda under the guise of its civilian nuclear program, refusing to rule out military action on the country of more than 70 million people. Tehran rejects the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

Pakistan plans to target mujahideen in North Waziristan

US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said the Pakistani military has pledged to go after militants that the US wants targeted in the North Waziristan tribal region. Mullen said Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani has given assurances that he will mount an offensive in the tribal region along the Afghan border. “He has committed to me to go into North Waziristan and to root out these terrorists as well,” Mullen reportedly said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” to be broadcast this weekend. “He clearly knows what our priorities are…North Waziristan is the epicentre of terrorism,” Mullen said. “It’s where al-Qaeda lives.” He further said that the objective was to defeat al-Qaeda and ensure Afghanistan would not again become a haven for the group. Pakistan says its army is stretched by the fight against militants in six tribal regions and a flood that inundated a fifth of the country in July.

Nato facilitating Taliban contacts with Afghan government

Nato-led forces in Afghanistan are facilitating contacts between senior Taliban officials and the Afghan government, including allowing them safe passage for talks in Kabul, a senior Nato official said on Wednesday. The disclosure reveals a greater Western role than previously acknowledged in Kabul’s preliminary attempts to seek a political resolution to the 9-year-old war.The official, who spoke to reporters in Brussels on condition of anonymity, cautioned that contacts were in their very early stages and could not be described as negotiations. Nato allies including the United States have previously voiced their support for reconciliation efforts by President Hamid Karzai’s government. The extent of any Western involvement in those contacts had been unclear.”We have indeed facilitated to various degrees the contacts between these senior Taliban members and the highest levels of the Afghan government,” the official said. The official declined to offer specifics about the facilitating role of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force, known as ISAF, in Afghanistan.

India to be given important position at the UN

India will be given a place on the UN Security Council in a move seen as a step towards a permanent seat and recognition as its status as a growing world power. According to Indian diplomatic sources, New Delhi will use its place at the high table of the world’s leading powers to push for UN reform to reflect the rise of growing powers like itself, Brazil and South Africa. India will take up its place on the 15 member council as a regional representative of Asia following a vote at the United Nations General Assembly. It will join its ally South Africa, Colombia and two countries out of Germany, Canada and Portugal. In any case, all four of the ‘BRIC’ countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, the world’s fastest growing economies – will sit together on the Council for the first time, strengthening the hand of the world’s growing powers. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister and second most powerful figure in India after the prime minister, last week intensified New Delhi’s campaign for a permanent seat at the Security Council and a shake-up of the global power structure which emerged following the second world war. During a visit to Washington last week, he said: “I do hope that as and when the expanded Security Council along with the general reforms of the United Nations take place, India’s claim for being a permanent member of the Security Council will be considered and accepted.”