Sunday news round-up: July 6th-12th

Top Story: Greek government yields to IMF just days after referendum: Just days after Greek voters unequivocally rejected austerity proposals by the Troika in return for more bailout money, the SYRIZA-led government has submitted new proposals, which include a privatization of public assets and cuts to pensions, essentially meeting the Troika’s demands. These proposals, seen as last-ditch attempt to find common ground with the Troika, do not even remotely resemble the promises and pledges SYRIZA ran on, to the befuddlement of many left-wing activists and anti-austerity demonstrators inside and outside of Greece. The proposals have been approved by Greece’s Parliament and will be submitted to the Troika in due course, but it is not clear whether Germany, currently holding Greece to ransom, will accept the proposals. After the referendum, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis stepped down from his post, and has since been replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos.

Future of tense Iranian nuclear talks uncertain: High-profile negotiations between Iran and the U.S. over the former’s alleged nuclear programme are experiencing difficulties, according to reports. While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been keen to stress the progress made in the talks, being held in Vienna, he accepts that “difficult issues” still remain and that the negotiations cannot go on indefinitely. Kerry hinted that the main obstacle to a sound agreement lies with the Iranians’ unwillingness to budge on some issues, the content of which is not clear. It is also not clear that the U.S. will walk away from the talks without a firm effort to reach an agreement, given that this would be a severe diplomatic failure for Barack Obama, who’s gross military foreign policy mistakes already severely tarnish his record.

Exxon knew dangers of climate chance for decades, funded cover-ups: Oil and gas multinational Exxon knew of the damage caused by human made climate chance as far back as the 1980’s, according to leaked documents. A report compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that Exxon inquired about the financial effects of releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere while it was developing the Natuna gas field near Indonesia. After extensive research warned Exxon of the environmental effects of releasing the C02, Exxon buried the report and began funding climate change denial groups. The company now claims that its climate change policy has been “widely misunderstood”. Exxon is by no means the only guilty party here, with the published report claiming that all the world’s major fossil fuel companies “spread climate misinformation and block climate action”.

Egypt continues crackdown on free journalism: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has warned that journalism outside of government approval is a “fourth generation of warfare”, ahead of new government powers currently being debated, which would allow the government to imprison journalists who do not provide correct death tolls for terrorist attacks. Alongside these new powers, a new anti-terrorism bill could see human rights groups under threat, given that the wording of the draft bill is deliberately ambiguous. Despite gross human rights abuses committed during his dictatorship, el-Sisi enjoys favourable relations with many Western heads of state like David Cameron, as well as being seen as a staunch ally by the apartheid Israeli government.

Julian Assange sheds light on secret history of ISIS and Hamas: Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has told an Argentinian newspaper that ISIS is a consequence of U.S. “adventurism”, among other things. The whistleblower, who has resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, told Argentina’s Pagina/12 that the terror group is a consequence of the American’s intent to destroy Iraq, Libya, and now Syria, for geopolitical reasons. In the same interview Assange claims that cables obtained by Wikileaks show how Israel funded and actively supported the rise of Hamas in its early days, in order to destabilize the Palestinian Liberation Organization and sow confusion amongst other resistance groups. Assange remains wanted on bogus espionage charges in the U.S., as well as rape charges in Sweden.


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