Top 5 News Headlines Thursday 14th January 2016


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Obama Condemns Islamophobia in Final State of the Union

President Obama delivered his seventh and final State of the Union address Tuesday night. Obama defended his record, including his historic deals with Iran and Cuba, while implicitly criticizing the Republican candidates who seek to succeed him. While mostly avoiding specific policy proposals, Obama spoke out against stigmatizing marginalized communities, including Muslims.

President Barack Obama: “When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it what—telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. It betrays who we are as a country.”

Democracy Now


Saudi Arabia Arrests Top Human Rights Activist Samar Badawi

Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, has arrested a leading human rights activist. Samar Badawi is the sister of blogger Raef Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and received 50 lashes in a public square last year. She also campaigned for women’s rights and the release of her husband, attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair, who is serving a 15-year sentence related to his activism. Amnesty International calls Samar Badawi’s arrest “the latest example of Saudi Arabia’s utter contempt for its human rights obligations.”

Democracy Now


Obama schooled on Twitter about Middle East history

It may have just been one line in an hour-long address, but US President Barack Obama is getting criticised for what some said was perpetuating a lie.

Social media reacted quickly to Obama’s comment during his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night, when he paid reference to the ongoing Middle East crisis as one that dated back millennia.

“The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia,” Obama said.

Commentators described Obama’s comment as “orientalist” and “obscene”. Others such as Vox, described the assertion as “dangerous”.

Many pointed out that even a basic reading of history would illustrate that pretty much every conflict in the region, even the so-called Shia-Sunni sectarian divide, dated back no more  than 100 years.

Obama’s comment risks “perpetuating the widespread ‘ancient hatreds’ myth that feeds two dangerous and mistaken beliefs about the Middle East: 1) that these people just hate each other because that’s how they are “over there”, and 2) that the problems run so deep that they can’t be solved and we shouldn’t bother trying,”  Max Fisher wrote  .

“It’s reductive and cynical because it paints a picture of the Middle East as perpetually at war because people there are just different.”



Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists

Investors face a “cataclysmic year” where stock markets could fall by up to 20% and oil could slump to $16 a barrel, economists at the Royal Bank of Scotlandhave warned.

In a note to its clients the bank said: “Sell everything except high quality bonds. This is about return of capital, not return on capital. In a crowded hall, exit doors are small.” It said the current situation was reminiscent of 2008, when the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank led to the global financial crisis. This time China could be the crisis point.

The Guardian


Beware the great 2016 financial crisis, warns leading City pessimist

The City of London’s most vocal “bear” has warned that the world is heading for a financial crisis as severe as the crash of 2008-09 that could prompt the collapse of the eurozone.

Albert Edwards, strategist at the bank Société Générale, said the west was about to be hit by a wave of deflation from emerging market economies and that central banks were unaware of the disaster about to hit them. His comments came as analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland urged investors to “sell everything” ahead of an imminent stock market crash.

The Guardian


  1. Another major story.
    The tanking economy
    Chinese Shipyards “Vanish” As Baltic Dry Collapses To New Record Low
    Another day, another plunge in The Baltic Dry Index, which just dropped a further 3.1% to 402 today – a new record low. While the index is driving headlines, under the surface, reality in the shipping (and shipbuilding) industry is a нdisaster.
    Total orders at Chinese shipyards tumbled 59% in the first 11 months of 2015, and as Bloomberg reports, with bulk ships accounting for 41.6% of Chinese shipyards’ $26.6 billion orderbook as of December, there is notably more pain to come, as one analyst warns “Chinese shipbuilders won’t be able to revive even if you try breathing some life into them.”

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