FIRST PRIZE TODAY GOES TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHAT MERKEL’S POSITION NOW IS ON THE MIGRANTS ISSUE
In a move to “boost confidence”, the Swedish government said last week the country was likely to deport between 60,000 and 80,000 of last year’s asylum seekers. One suspects that the gang of masked, black-clad men reportedly rampaging through the streets of Stockholm, and threatening to attack migrant street youths, may have had something to do with it.
Meanwhile, Eurogroup arselickers Finland are to throw 65% of their asylum seekers back, and as I write Norway is bussing migrants – the collective term these days being “a bunch” I’m told – to the Russian border….in temperatures of -30°. Norwegian interest as to what happens to them after that appears to have waned.
And not to be outdone, the Danish and Swiss governments are booting lots of them out…but not before stripping them of all valuables. The Swiss of course have a long tradition of doing this….and once confiscated, it is damnably hard to get the stuff back again.
Similar reactions continue to be alleged in Germany: like many morbidly obese people, Angela Merkel has deceptively nimble feet. In her case, this is especially remarkable when you consider they are fashioned from clay. However, I wonder if anyone anywhere is up to speed with Mutti Geli’s ‘position’ on migrants, and if so I am performing a much-needed public service by straightening this one out. Unsere geliebte Jugendfüherin feels unequivocally that migrefugants can come in infinite numbers and stay as long as they like, just so long as the numbers reduce to a trickle and they bugger off when the Iraq war is over.
In taking this brave stance, the Good Frau Doktor is reflecting the consistency of the EC as a whole, which ruled three years ago that Greece must not turn refugees away, and then last month that the Greek Government must not process any more of them.
So with things going so well in the European Union, I don’t think we should bother with this referendum thingy after all. I mean, why leave the safety of a loving family of nations for the uncertainties of life on our own?
We turn now to the vexed question of China and its very narrow, temporary problem of having market indices heading for the paddy fields while the unrelated economy is in excellent shape. The relevant ministry’s website reports that in 2015, Government expenditure rose 15.8% from 2014, but tax revenues lagged behind at +8.4%. Falling revenues do not a buoyant economy suggest, but either way it means the Politburo is out of pocket to the tune of $358billion.
China’s 2015 gdp growth was the smallest since 1988, the state news agency Xinhua admitted. What Xinhua omitted to admit was that most of the extra fiscal splurge went into trying in vain to stabilise the Shanghai Composite Index, which of course was a vital thing to do as said index has nothing at all to do with what’s really “going on” in the economy.
As of the early hours of Sunday morning (a good time to dump bad news) Xu Dianqing, Beijing University’s economics professor, let it be known that China’s gdp growth rate is probably, going forward, between 4.3% and 5.2%….and not the 6.9% advertised by official statistics.
Mr. Xu goes further, saying he believes it’s probable that industry and construction grew at most by 2% last year…..and perhaps not at all. He also added that it is unlikely the services sector did any better, thus pouring cold water (of a similar temperature to that of The Slog’s) over all the ‘transition’ bollocks pumped out by the Daleks of Davos a week ago.
Despite another huge PBOC intervention towards the close of business this morning, the Shanghai dropped a further 1.8%. It is now 311 points below the psychological 3,000 level.
You may think of Africa as being largely infiltrated by Chinese and Islamists these days, but nothing is that simple any more. The US now runs a thing called Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, and it met last month to ‘coordinate’ the activities of the Department of State and U.S. military representatives ‘dedicated to aligning military and political priorities for East Africa.’
No prizes for guessing whose priorities these are going to be: U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti Tom Kelly was quoted as saying that the conference provided “the luxury of us all being here together to talk about the tough issues.” Up to but not including any Africans. Said C-i-C U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer:
“All of these efforts are focused on achieving a single goal: operationalize the Theater Campaign Plan by synchronizing the combatant commander’s primary ways with all available means to achieve our end states and execute our enduring tasks”.
It all sounds vague and yet all-encompassing at the same time. So far, the luxury of having tough issues relating to end states and enduring tasks to discuss is not extending to the media. Sometimes the past is a guide to the future, and the chances are that the US foreign service plus its armed forces know even less about Black African cultures than they do about the Middle East. But Alexander M. Laskaris, AFRICOM deputy to the commander for civil-military engagement, declared that lessons have been learned from the past:
“The key is to maintain relationships, maintain contacts and never accept things for the way they have always been. We have to get it right. The good news is we have more partners than ever before, we are working together as a government better than ever before, we are working better with our European allies and non-traditional partners, and we are working better than ever before with Africa.”
So we can all be hugely relieved. But it contrasts quite remarkably with the news that nine Americans are among 33 suspects detained on terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia over the past week, the English-language daily Saudi Gazette reported yesterday. The American embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and we doubt if anyone at State is going to have anything to say about NATO exercises taking place in Eastern Europe at the moment either.
Die Welt – a usually reliable title – says the drill is simulating a Russian nuclear attack on Poland, which you may find an unlikely left-field event but NATO doesn’t. So of course, it may be necessary for
the US NATO to invade Poland as a purely defensive safety action. Who knows, they may take a trip down the Danube to Budapest while they’re at it. And you never know, a couple of right-wing Governments opposed to commercial colonialism might somehow topple at the same time.
See The Slog post from two weeks ago for more background on this one.