SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni wedding ended in disaster after a guest firing celebratory shots in the air with his AK-47 accidentally killed two men while they were dancing to pop hit Gangnam Style, according...
At last a well orchestrated campaign by a small group of Islamic zealots has succeeded in closing the licit importation of khat, the mild naturally occurring stimulant that has been used in Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen for millennia.
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Iran and world powers struck an initial accord that broke a decade-long diplomatic stalemate, setting limits on the country's nuclear program in exchange for about $7 billion in relief from sanctions over six months.
Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear activities and in return won an easing of "certain sanctions" on oil, auto parts, gold and precious metals. The deal, which is reversible, was announced today after five days of talks in Geneva. It releases some of Iran's oil assets and allows it to keep exporting crude at current levels.
The accord is the first major crack in the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program since 2003, when Hassan Rouhani, now the president of the Islamic republic, was its top negotiator. Since then, the dispute over the purpose of the program has helped deepen sectarian rifts in the Middle East, sparked threats of military action by the U.S. and Israel, and raised concerns that the oil-rich region was heading for a nuclear arms race.
The deal also marks a breakthrough in relations between the U.S. and Iran 34 years after the Islamic revolution fractured ties. Backed by President Barack Obama and Rouhani, the pact faces opposition from Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a "historic mistake." Critics in the U.S. and Iran may also hamper efforts for further detente.
"Everything that had happened since 1979 is a deterioration of relations between Iran and the West," said Ghanem Nuseibeh, the London-based founder of Cornerstone Global Associates, which advises clients on risk in the Middle East. "This is the first major reversal of that deterioration."
The agreement was announced by diplomats including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the early hours of today. The two sides now aim to conclude a comprehensive accord within six months.
Diplomacy has "opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure," Obama said. The agreement halts Iran's nuclear progress and "key parts of the program will be rolled back," he said. "These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon."
Rouhani, who announced the news in a televised address, may also be strengthened at the expense of Iranian hardliners who rejected any compromise with Western powers.
"Constructive interaction is the motto of this government and it can be achieved through trust, the initial steps of which have been taken," Rouhani said.
The agreement comes less than six months after Rouhani won a surprise first-round election, campaigning on pledges to resolve the nuclear dispute and help the economy.
Western nations have accused Iran of harboring nuclear-weapons ambitions, an assertion it denies. The U.S. and Israel have said they are willing to use force if needed to prevent Iran from obtaining the capability to make such weapons.
Eric Cantor, of Virginia, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, said the U.S. "must remain vigilant and respond immediately and severely to any cheating or wrongdoing by Iran. And we must rebuild our alliances in the region and stand firmly with our closest partners against Iranian aggression."
The House has previously passed legislation to impose more sanctions on Iran, and a number of senators said today that they will seek to act on such a measure after the Senate, now on a Thanksgiving holiday, returns to legislative business on Dec. 9. They didn't make clear whether new sanctions would apply only if Iran fails to live up to terms of the interim agreement or only after the six months it's in effect.
The "disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December," Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. "It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table."
Under the deal, Iran must improve cooperation with United Nations monitors, commit to eliminate its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent levels and halt advanced centrifuge installation, the White House said in a statement. Iran also won't commission its Arak heavy water reactor, which, if it became operational, could produce plutonium and give the country a second path to nuclear weapons.
In return, Iran will be able to repatriate $4.2 billion in frozen assets, the Obama administration said. The accord will "suspend certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran's auto sector and Iran's petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue," the administration said.
The accord also provides $400 million in tuition payments to schools for Iranian students studying abroad, and will allow access to civilian aircraft parts.
Some curbs on gold trading also will be removed. While Iran will be allowed to buy and sell precious metals, including gold, it will be barred from accepting them as payment for oil or any other sanctioned transaction, according to the officials. Iran sits on the world's fourth-largest proven oil reserves.
Stops in Geneva
The accord was reached after foreign ministers from the U.S., Europe, China and Russia made unscheduled trips to Geneva to push the third round of talks in six weeks to a conclusion.
The deal compels Iran to clarify work that has been the focus of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. The agency, which convenes a quarterly meeting to discuss Iran this week, two years ago published a list of people and places that may have been involved with atomic-weapons work.
While the agreement fell short of demanding a visit to a military site south of Tehran where Iran is alleged to have tested nuclear-weapons triggers, it forms a commission with international monitors "to facilitate resolution of past and present concerns with respect to Iran's nuclear program, including the possible military dimension of Iran's nuclear program and Iran's activities at Parchin."
The agreement will probably have a "somewhat muted" effect on oil prices, according to analysts including Mark Keenan, cross-commodity research strategist at Societe Generale in Singapore. "We can, however, expect some price weakness as the market adjusts to the future prospect that Iranian exports will resume," he said by e-mail.
Brent crude for January settlement rose 97 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $111.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Nov. 22, the highest closing price since Oct. 11.
Israel and Saudi Arabia, both longtime U.S. allies, have opposed any deal that allows Iran to retain sensitive nuclear technologies. Israel has signaled it's ready to take unilateral military action against Iran to halt a nuclear program.
"What was achieved last night in Geneva is not historic; it is a historic mistake," said Netanyahu. "Today, the world has become a much more dangerous place," he said in comments broadcast on Israel Radio. "Israel is not bound by this agreement."
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett made the case in more graphic terms. "If five years from now a nuclear suitcase explodes in Madrid and New York it will be because of the agreement signed this morning," he said in an e-mailed statement.
The United Arab Emirates, another U.S. ally in the region, welcomed the agreement, describing it as a first step toward a permanent accord, the state-run WAM news agency reported.
Business between Iran and the U.A.E. declined 83 percent to $4 billion because of sanctions against the Islamic republic, Kerry said Nov. 11.
President Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge of expanded government transparency, yet his administration has charged more Americans with violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information than all previous administrations combined.
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'According to Bettel, Luxembourg's prospective coalition partners, the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), and The Greens (Déi Gréng), have agreed that the future coalition Government will adopt the same FTT stance as the outgoing Government. Therefore, Luxembourg will continue to rule out the idea of such a tax, as currently envisaged by 11 European Union (EU) member states, within the framework of enhanced cooperation, Xavier explained.'
'Join us on Thursday, November 28, 2013 (11:30-1:00pm) for the FREE Chiang Mai Money Club monthly meeting. The Money Club is a new initiative aimed at expats, retirees, and investors, or anyone with an interest in money.
NOTE: To accommodate more club members we are meeting at a new location. All future meetings will be held at THE AIRPORT GREENERY, (see attached flier for details)
Membership is FREE.
Some of the keys topics I will discuss in detail in 2014 are listed below:
EDUCATIONAL TOPICS TO MAKE BETTER INVESTMENT DECISIONS
YEAR 2014 TOPICS
How Expats can save and invest in Thailand with minimal risk
How to buy winning stocks that double and triple in price
How to sell stocks and take emotion out of your investing decisions
Understanding bull and bear markets- a historical look at the financial markets
5 Free online resources you can use to manage your portfolio and research stocks/funds
Globalization – Keys to understanding emerging markets and current bull market
The Technology Revolution- What it is and how to invest in technology stocks
Market Bottoms- An in depth look at human psychology and why most investors sell at the wrong time.
4 Advantages of Exchange Traded Funds and why they are the fastest growing investment vehicle
Ten ways to protect your money from scams in Thailand
Why expats need to avoid offshore savings schemes-such as Royal Skandia and Friends Provident (high fees, lock in periods, low performance)
Tax Reporting Requirements for US expats
Transferring your UK Pension savings into an overseas pension scheme (QROPS)
This month we will discuss the global markets , give a review of the major indexes and leading stocks and sectors. The US markets have been hitting new highs consistently this year and destroying anyone trying to "short" the market. Yesterday the Nasdaq closed at 4000, a 13-year high and closing in on the year 2000 high. Also since our last Money Club meeting the Japanese stock market has broken out of a trading range and is headed higher. We will discuss these topics and more such as charts of Google, Priceline.com (both over $1000 a share), Apple, and emerging market ETFs.
I will detail the Finance / Investment Banking Sector and detail 4 stocks that have doubled in price in the last 12 months. See attached PDF file showing charts of TD Ameritrade, Etrade, Interactive Brokers and Ameriprise Financial. This is a good sign investors are slowly returning to invest in the equity markets and buy stocks and funds again. After the last 13 year consolidation we are now seeing brokerage service providers increasing their earnings due to much higher trading volume. This is a good sign for the economic recovery as it shows investors are returning and once again investing in the global economy.
The bull market is alive and well and as you can see from the attached long term chart of the Nasdaq (US Technology stocks) the last five years have been very profitable but you had to invest while the news every day was gloomy. "Bull-markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria."
The Money Club meets on the last Thursday of each month.'