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October 29, 2007
ICA newsletter – Week 5.
Hi all, my calendar tells me it’s another new week again so here’s another ICA newsletter:
• First story of the week is that the US has stepped up sanctions on Iran to target the finances of the Revolutionary guards, and three state owned banks. These sanctions also extend to the guards business interests. Condoleezza Rice claimed Iran is pursuing technologies ‘that can lead to a nuclear weapon’, but reiterated her commitment to a diplomatic solution, offering to meet her Iranian counterpart, ‘anytime, anywhere’. Such a position is a stark contrast from that of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, who is believed to be lobbying for a military intervention. With Iran’s position similarly hardening also, after the resignation of Ali Larijani and his replacement with the more hard-line Saeed Jalili, is there actually any hope of a peaceful solution? Or will America and/or Israel replicate the Syrian operation? (If we believe the satellite analysis).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7067378.stm – also it appears that it is perfectly ok for Egypt to build nuclear plants for power??
• Second, with the visit of King Abdullah, the first visit to the UK by a Saudi monarch in 20 years, ministers seem keen to stress the ‘shared values’ between the two states. One of the most important of those values seems to be the weapons industry, with the Saudis buying 72 Eurofighters from the UK in a deal worth £20 billion including maintenance and training. Lib Dem Vince Cable has boycotted the King’s visit, citing the Kingdom’s human rights record, and saying that the King should not have been invited. So should the UK press the Saudis harder on their human rights record? Or are the contracts and the jobs they bring just too good to resist?
• A UN expert has condemned the growing of crops to produce biofuels as a ‘crime against humanity’, calling for a five year ban on the practice. Production for biofuels has helped to push food prices higher. The IMF recently voiced concerned that a rise in the reliance on grain as a fuel source could have serious implications for the worlds poor.
Also in the news:
• Lets all hide monkeys under our hats…. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6936533.stm
• Human race to split in two – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6057734.stm, along with artists impression
• Absence of goats made me speed – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5322302.stm