6/23/2013

Around the World This Week: Notations/Reflections

I begin this "World This Week" here in "outsiders" with Brazil.

Brazil is one of the so-called BRICS that also constitutes Russia, India, China and South Africa.   The countries as a group are beginning to assert themselves in a number of ways including looking at ideas to develop a National Development Bank and to gradually move away from the Dollar.   It is so interesting how the BRICS have been subject to internal challenges that are unprecedented.

The protests in Brazil began with transport fee raises in Sao Paolo and Rio.  This has mushroomed into a broad protest movement to transform Brazil and to force the Government's hands.   It is not about the "20 cents" anymore:



More at The Real News



As the protests continued, I ran across this which really captured the essence of the protest movement and answered the question:
Why am I not going to the World Cup?  The Brazilian President seems to have understood and heard the street.  But, the question is whether it is going to be enough:





It is fascinating to watch.

Beyond Brazil, there is also the aftermath of the Snowden Matter and the leaks that appeared on the Guardian Magazine.    As I write this, he is in Moscow and apparently is gearing up to go to Ecuador.   When I saw the reports of him leaving Hong Kong, I remembered the old film, "catch me if you can", since the United States Government is hot and heavy after him as he's been charged with espionage.    It appears that Julian Assange has been the crucial player in this as he continues staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.   In the meantime, leaks are continuing.  Not withstanding the views of what Snowden has done, the need for where freedom stops and safety begins is a debate that is being held --and it is a necessary debate.     It looks like it will be Ecuador.   The US Government has revoked Snowden's passport.  I would think that going to Ecuador will not present a major problem.

As I assess the World this week,  the continued challenge of climate change is here and cannot be ignored.  As I write this, India is in morning as over 6500 people have died as a result of monsoon rains that have destroyed many villages.    Earlier I saw images of the capital of Alberta in Canada being under water as a result of rivers breaking their banks.   Alberta, for the record, is the capital of Tar Sands that has contributed so much to Canada's Economic Development.      [LINK=http://www.takepart.com/photos/10-inspiring-climate-leaders/]What is so fascinating, though, is to see those on the front lines who are continuing their efforts to be at the forefront of change besides the challenges being faced today.[/LINK].

In assessing the World over the past seven days, I was quite amazed to see this from the Middle East:



This was an image published in Al-Monitor based on a story from Reuters that depicted two Kurdish women who have taken up arms as they stood guard  along a street in Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood on June 19, 2013..   This is as Syrian Rebels have apparently received new arms and have been gearing up for an major attack on the Syrian Air Force base in Aleppo.  

What is happening in Syria has a spillover effect that is becoming increasingly alarming.  Lebanese soldiers were killed in clashes with a Sunni Cleric who opposes Hezbollah.   But, this same cleric has called for defections by Sunni Members of the Lebanese Army.   As Rullah Amin of Al Jazeera pointed out in her most reporting from Beirut, The Army is the only institution that actually is still working in Lebanon.       The War in Syria is having a profound effect in Lebanon and how it impacts is will present a profound challenge going forward.

As Syria is in turmoil, Turkey is in the midst of protests, Iraq's sectarian violence continues to escalate and Kuwait's political crisis deepens, there is Iran.    I commented earlier about to expect the unexpected.    18 Million People voted for change--not necessarily for Hassan Rowhani but to send a clear and convincing voice that the current economic stagnation prevalent brought about by increased international sanctions cannot be sustained.   I reviewed reports that Iran's oil exports were only 700,000 barrels a day that has continued to compound Iran's current difficulties.    Rowhani has begun the transition process as the Guardian Council has certified his election and he's begun his round of consultations.    A sign of the confidence has been a strengthening of the Rial.  One sign of change I have seen is a direct attack on the State-Owned news agency attacking the personal representative of the Supreme Leader and the Editor a major Government-Owned Paper: Kayhan.  The editorial said that "old thinking" epitomized by this editor had to change.    I view it as another indication of an opening.    If anyone is able to work on a transformation, it is him--the consummate insider who understands the World.
I also saw the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi's comments about her hope that if President-Elect Rowhani is able to exercise the full spectre of rights accorded him under the Islamic Constitution, it can potentially represent a new era for human rights especially after the past numbers of years.

As the wave of change sweeps the Middle East, Egypt continues through ever more.    Mohammad Mosri's one year in office is coming up--and it has been quite a year.    There have been many disappointments.  One of the most disappointing moves, in my view, was when the Government arrested the Arab World's Jon Stewart, Basem Youssef, for insulting the President.   I was so thrilled to see Jon Stewart join his "brother in arm" as they discussed their views--and it is one of the best 20 minutes of television out there today:





Never a dull moment for sure..as we bid farewell to June 2013 and continue to reflect upon our World....

Also released to http://www.outsiderviews.com,  June 2013
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