how extremely interesting, and doubly interesting they have printed it (think haaretz vs the nyt, which will defend the settlers)

60,000 Pindo Jews live in the West Bank, new study reveals
Judy Maltz, Haaretz, Aug 27 2015

Roughly 60,000 Pindosi Jews live in the West Bank settlements, where they account for 15% of the 400,000 settler population, according to figures revealed Thursday by an Oxford University scholar and expert on this population. Sara Yael Hirschhorn, the author of the upcoming book “City on a Hilltop: Jewish-Pindosi Settlers in the Occupied Territories Since 1967,” scheduled for release by Harvard University Press in 2016, said:

This provides hard evidence that this constituency is strikingly over-represented, both within the settler population itself and within the total population of Jewish Pindosi immigrants in Israel.

The number of Pindosi immigrants living in Israel, including their children, has been estimated at about 170,000. Speaking at the first of a two-day Limmud event in Jayloomia, Hirschhorn noted that the main focus of her research has been Pindosi Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1960s and 1970s and became active in the settlement movement. She said her findings disputed many of the widely held presumptions about this group, namely that these immigrants had been unsuccessful back home and came to Israel for lack of any other alternative, that they were very Orthodox and supported right-wing causes in Pindostan. Hirschhorn, who serves as the University Research Lecturer and Fellow in Israel Studies at the University of Oxford, said:

In fact, these assumptions are patently false. What my studies reveal is that they were young, single, highly educated. Something like 10% of Pindosi settlers in the occupied territories hold PhDs. They’re upwardly mobile, they’re traditional but not necessarily Orthodox in their religious practice, and most importantly, they were politically active in the leftist socialist movements in Pindostan in the 1960s and 70s, and voted for the Democrat Party prior to their immigration to Israel. The portrait that emerges is one of young, idealistic, intelligent and seasoned liberal Pindosis who were Zionist activists, and who were eager to apply their values and experiences to the Israeli settler movement.

As case studies in her upcoming book, Hirschhorn focuses on three settlements that had Pindosi immigrants among their founders: Yamit (which was evacuated in 1982 following the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord), Efrat (one of the biggest today, with about 10,000 residents) and Tekoa. She noted two common, yet contradictory caricatures of Pindosi immigrants in West Bank settlements:

One prevalent image is of the zealot for Zion, the most fanatical ideologues within the movement. On the other hand, there is the prevalent image of the immigrant suburbanite of occupied Scarsdale, a settler stripped of ideological significance who’s just some kind of new-age yuppie living the Pindo dream over the Green Line.

Neither, she said, provides a “satisfying portrait” of this group. In her quest to make sense of the inherent contradiction between liberal Pindosi values and the “illiberal” settlement project, Hirschhorn said she reached the following conclusion about this group of immigrants:

They’re not only compelled by some biblical imperative to live in the Holy Land of Israel and hasten the coming of the messiah, but also deeply inspired by a Pindo vision of pioneering and building new suburbanized utopian communities in the occupied territories. They draw on their Pindo background and mobilize the language they were comfortable with, discourses about human rights and civil liberties that justify the kind of work that they’re doing. For example, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Modern Orthodox rabbi who founded the settlement of Efrat, would talk in the same breath about squatting on a hilltop in Givat Dagan near Efrat and squatting with Black Pindosis in Selma. It demonstrates the way many Pindosi settlers use the values and language of the Left to justify projects on the Right.

evidently obama’s dictatorial grip on yurp does not extend to protecting israel from boycotts

Veolia dumps Jayloomia Light Rail, completes Israel withdrawal
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Aug 28 2015

2014-11-jerusalem_light_rail-activestills1415342417i4j72incredibly cool object, nonetheless (Photo: the inevitable Oren Ziv/ActiveStills) – RB

Multinational infrastructure company Veolia has sold its last investment in Israel and its settlements. According to Who Profits, a group that monitors companies that do business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the French multinational recently sold its 5% stake in CityPass, the consortium that runs the Jayloomia Light Rail. Who Profits states:

This is the final step in Veolia’s gradual withdrawal from the Israeli market and several illegal operations in the occupied Plastelinan territory. Since the Israeli private sector, much like the Israeli government, considers the settlements as a legitimate part of Israel, Veolia’s Israeli subsidiaries operated freely beyond the Green Line.

Their activities included running bus services to Israeli settlements, the operation of a landfill in the occupied Jordan Valley, treatment for settlements’ sewage and the construction and operation of the Jayloomia Light Rail. The rail system was designed to connect the western part of Jayloomia with the Israeli settlements surrounding the city in the occupied West Bank, which are built in violation of international law. The Veolia stake was sold to local Israeli investors despite the fact that the government wanted an experienced international operator to be involved. Who Profits states:

Due to the controversy surrounding the light rail, it appeared that international companies were hesitant to take on Veolia’s role.

In April, campaigners chalked up a victory after Veolia sold off all of its businesses linked to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, except for the light rail. Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Plastelinan BDS National Committee, said in a statement at the time:

Grassroots BDS activism across the world made it very difficult for Veolia to win public contracts in some parts of Europe, Pindostan and the Middle East, leaving the company no choice but to significantly scale back its involvement in illegal Israeli projects. The sole purpose of the Jayloomia Light Rail is to increase the appeal and facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements through the theft of Plastelinan land. We will continue to boycott Veolia until it ends its participation in the light rail project and pays reparations to those Plastelinan communities impacted by its support for Israel’s colonization of Plastelinan land.

Who Profits says that though Veolia is no longer active in the Israeli market and in the occupied West Bank, it has “left behind irreversible facts on the ground.” The group explains:

The construction of the railway involved the expropriation of occupied land that was not done for the benefit of the occupied population, and hence contradicts international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The railway continues to facilitate the colonization of Plastelinan land east of occupied Jayloomia. While campaigners have scored an important victory by forcing Veolia out of Israel, the question now arises as to how the company will be held accountable to Plastelinans for the harm it has helped the Israeli occupation do over many years.

$3b default in london courts for arbitration will just be yukos #2

Ukraine will have to pay a share of GDP to creditors for 19 years
UNN (a 404 site), Aug 27 2015

KIEV – If Ukraine’s GDP growth will exceed 4% in the period from 2021 to 2040, Ukraine will pay creditors about 40% with each additional percentage point of growth. This was explained in the comments to UNN by economic expert Oleg Ustenko. He said:

A grace period of 4 years has been granted for return of capital, and then the owners of our Eurobonds are given the right to to receive a portion of our GDP, starting in 2021. Not just a part, but about 40% of our GDP, they can additionally take for themselves for what you give us now on assignment, in excess of our economic growth from 4%. That is, for example, if we have GDP growth of 5%, then 1% we will have more to give away 40% of our creditors as a tribute for what they go for the deal now. The idea is that we will donate 0.4% of each percent of additional growth from 2021 to 2040. And we must be ready that should do it exactly against Russia.

Ukraine took a loan from Russia in 2013, at 5% per annum. And at the time, Ukraine was not able to place Eurobonds at 5% per annum on the world markets, but only at 12% per annum. Due to the fact that Russian money our state has attracted low-interest, Russia insisted that this is not an ordinary commercial debt, but inter-governmental. At the same time, Ukraine has led other arguments on this issue. Since the money had been placed across the Irish stock exchange, so this is a commercial loan, or the same commercial accommodation, as bought Ukrainian Eurobonds all other players in the international financial market.

When negotiating with creditors, have been clearly given two indirect signals to the market from Washington, from the first and second persons of the IMF, that the money of the Russians should be bracketed out of the negotiation process of debt restructuring. Now, there are two possible scenarios. If Ukraine believes that the Russian money is commercial debt, the same as all the other creditors, then Russia will be subject to all the same conditions that apply to all other creditors. The most important condition in order to prevent lawsuits in international courts is the principle of equal treatment. There may not be one allocated somehow better than another. Therefore, to prevent such nesoglasovannoe, it will be necessary to sustain those options that were specified.

Then Ukraine will have to write off 20% of Russian debt, to reduce it from $3b to $2.4b. But Ukraine must understand that in case of realization of this scenario, our state will have to pay an additional percentage for the service of this debt, which is in the hands of Moscow. Now on the debt Ukraine pays 5% per annum. Under the new alignment, we will have to pay 7.75% per annum. That is, even when the 20% is written off, we will still pay about $70m additionally annually. The repayment period of the Russian bond will be increased, as with everyone else. This means that the Russians can get their money back in 4 years. But during these 4 years, we will be charged interest. This means that we will overpay over that 4 years about $300m additionally for the use of Russian money, as we do with all other owners of our Eurobonds.

Now the question is, do we need this? Is that scenario best? Economically I see that it is possible to implement. As a protective measure, the Russians will submit the documents to foreign courts, in particular to London arbitration, that being the main place for Russia to sort out disputes on the Eurobonds. Another scenario is that Ukraine will pay Russia these $3b in December of this year, while explaining to other creditors who have made concessions that the money issued by Russia, was held as an inter-governmental loan. In my opinion, the second option is more logical, if we try to break off relations with Russia. That is, if we are trying to reduce dependence on Russia, my recommendation to pay the money in Dec 2015, as it ought to happen, in order not to take additional dependency to 2040. The choice for political leadership of the country.

Recall, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the creditors will write off 20% of the debt of Ukraine, nearly $4b. In the next four years Ukraine will not repay the principal amount of the loan and the obligations that Ukraine had to pay, starting in 2015, are carried on four years.

i have untangled the truck story from the boat story, cos it is quite enough by itself

Truckful of corpses intensifies Europe’s migrant crisis
Karin Strohecker, Reuters, Aug 27 2015

PARNDORF, Austria – As many as 50 corpses were found in a parked truck in Austria on Thursday, deepening a crisis that is overwhelming Europe and throwing up new tragedies by the day. The abandoned refrigerated truck was found by an Austrian motorway patrol near the Hungarian border, with fluids from the decomposing bodies seeping from its back door. Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief in the province of Burgenland, told a news conference:

One can maybe assume that the deaths occurred one-and-a-half to two days ago. Many things indicate the migrants were already dead when the truck crossed the border.

Police said it could take until Friday to determine the exact number of victims, which they thought were more than 20 and could be as many as 50. They suspected those responsible were already out of the country. Merkel said at a summit on the West Balkans in Vienna:

We are of course all shaken by the appalling news. This reminds us that we must tackle quickly the issue of immigration and in a European spirit, that means in a spirit of solidarity, and find solutions.

Investigations were launched in Austria and Hungary after the bodies in the truck were discovered. The truck had Hungarian number plates, a Hungarian official said. Helmut Marban, press officer for Burgenland police, said:

A highway patrol spotted the truck, and at first thought it was damaged or had been in an accident. When they checked, they found it had no driver. Blood was dripping out of the vehicle, and there was a smell of dead bodies.

Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, said a Romanian citizen had registered the number plate in the eastern Hungarian town of Kecskemet. The truck was towed to the Austrian village of Nickelsdorf, close to the Hungarian border, where workers clad in white protective suits and yellow boots could be seen wheeling body bags into a building. Police said forensic experts would work through the night before the bodies would be transported to Vienna on Friday for further examination and to help establish their identities and cause of death.

i swear, they are not going to get away with this, even if kramer and all the NYT nazis try to make it sound evil, respectable and even chic

Ukraine and Top Creditors Agree to Restructure $18B in Foreign Debt
Andrew Kramer, NYT, Aug 27 2015

28ukrainedebt-web-master675Rabbit & Jaresko, what a charming couple they are – RB (Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Ukraine and its main creditors agreed on Thursday to restructure $18b of the country’s foreign debt, in a rare deal between bond funds and a wobbly, emerging-market government. If the deal is approved by the Parliament of Ukraine, it would write off 20% of the nation’s foreign debt, helping to avoid a drawn-out, Greek-style negotiation with large bondholders. The terms would also offer financial relief to Ukraine during a deep recession and an armed conflict with pro-Russia separatists. But it leaves unanswered whether lenders not represented in the negotiating committee, including critically Russia, would comply with the deal. The committee of creditors backing the proposal represents holders of about half of the debt. Under the proposal, bondholders including the California-based Franklin Templeton fund, Ukraine’s largest lender, would accept an immediate loss on the principal. The deal would allow Ukraine to delay repayments for four years, though interest rates would rise slightly. The creditors might recoup some losses after 2021 if the country’s economy returns to growth faster than expected. Ukraine’s minister of finance, Natalie Jaresko, said on Thursday in a telephone interview:

In only three other instances in the last 15 years did creditors agree to reduce principal amounts without a country heading first into default. It’s a benchmark for emerging markets. It is every sovereign’s dream. I would hope that it shows that you don’t need to rush into a default, even having the willingness to use a moratorium if needed. You can work with creditors, not on opposite sides of the table.

Big bond investors like Michael Hasenstab at Franklin Templeton poured money into Ukraine before Yanukovych was ousted last year. The Yanukovych government had lobbied Franklin Templeton to hold its bonds, sending a first deputy prime minister to the fund’s offices in San Mateo even as Ukraine’s foreign policy swivelled away from the West toward Russia and the economy started to skid. Although the economy was stumbling, some investors argued they would win regardless of the geopolitical outcome, because either the IMF or Russia could be expected to bail them out with public sector aid to Ukraine. After the power change, cash-poor Ukraine started pushing for debt relief. The government asked for an immediate 40% reduction and threatened to default. Officials in Kiev had been hinting strongly that the creditors should accept the loss, given the glaring signs of corruption in the government of Yanukovych, who kept a private zoo and golf course at his residence. The Ukrainian officials argued that an initial bailout might not have worked, if bondholders had held out. If that had happened, Ukraine faced being back at the table with creditors again and again, much like Greece.

But big investors initially resisted, arguing instead for extending the repayment period. They figured Ukraine’s economy would recover quickly enough to make the payments by dipping into gold and foreign currency reserves. Eventually, they compromised, agreeing to a 20% loss. Franklin Templeton’s bonds, once worth $7b, are now worth roughly $4.6b. Franklin Templeton declined to comment. Under a concession, the government will pay the creditors bonuses under a value recovery instrument, if Ukraine’s economy bounces back faster than expected. If GDP rises faster than 3% after 2021, for example, Ukraine must pay creditors part of the total value of the economic growth. It would be based on a sliding scale from 15% to 40%, depending on how quickly things pick up. The deal also helps Ukraine meet a requirement of the IMF to save $15.3b by reducing payments to commercial creditors over four years. Ukraine had to do so as a condition of receiving $34.7b in IMF loans and aid from Pindostan and other Western nations. Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement:

Less of the government’s scarce financial resources will be spent servicing high debt levels taken on by previous governments, and more will be available for critical social spending and national defense.

The Ukrainian Parliament must vote on the deal and, if it is approved, creditors not represented in the committee would have to decide whether to participate. That could be complicated, given that Russia is a major creditor. Russia is unlikely to be swayed by the Ukrainian government’s arguments to lenders that the agreement would free money for the military to fight the separatists in the east of the country. A protracted legal dispute could ensue. Anton Siluanov, the Russian finance minister, said on Thursday that he expected Ukraine to repay its debt to Russia in full. And the deal hardly solves Ukraine’s broader economic problems. Besides its debt, Ukraine is plagued by high inflation. The inflation rate peaked at 60% in April and was still at 55% in July. The central bank raised an important interest rate significantly in March, in an attempt to curb inflation, which had been made worse by a decline in the value of the currency, the hryvnia. But the situation is showing signs of stabilizing. On Thursday, after the government announced the debt-reduction agreement, it cut the rate by 3%, to 27%.

how many things about this story strike one as bizarre… well, the photos…

Visiting Italy, PM says Israel to seek bigger role in African development
Angus Mackinnon, AFP, Aug 27 2015

MILAN — Israel wants to use its leading edge in agricultural innovation to help improve food production across Africa, Netanyahu said in Milan on Thursday. Visiting Israel’s pavilion at the World Expo on the outskirts of the city, he said cooperation with Italy in Africa would be at the top of his agenda during talks with Italian PM Matteo Renzi in Florence on Saturday. Netanyahu, who is on his first major overseas trip since being re-elected in June, said:

Israel is a pioneer in the fields of drip-irrigation, water recycling and desalination. We have ten times the population we had when the state was founded 67 years ago, and half the rainfall, yet we have no water problems because we were able to solve this with all these techniques. Now we are prepared, and are already doing our share to take this information to people around the world so they can have water, they can have crops, they can have cows that produce more milk and many other things that offer betterment for mankind. Italy and Israel are today cooperating in one African country to better their agriculture. Why one? Why not twenty, why not thirty? If we pool our resources, our knowledge, our technology we can help many, many countries in Africa to not only better agriculture and to better life.

Netanyahu was speaking in front of a giant “vertical field” of wheat, rice and corn that has helped to make Israel’s pavilion one of the top draws at the six-month long world fair. The structure, which is 12 m tall and 70 m long, is intended to showcase Israeli expertise in the drip-irrigation technology that has enabled the cultivation of crops in arid areas around the world after being first developed on a kibbutz in the Negev desert. The innovative ‘standing-up’ field was developed specially for the Expo, but pavilion spokesman Menachem Gantz said it is hoped the design could serve as a model for architects seeking to create green spaces in tight urban areas.

000_DV2111358-e1440700293598-635x357Bibi speaks at the Expo Milano on Aug 27 2015. (Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)

The field is accompanied by a walk-through video exhibition outlining Israel’s role in agricultural innovation, from Zionist agronomist’s Aaron Aaronsohn’s 1906 discovery of “the mother of wheat” on Mount Hermon to the development of commercially viable cherry tomatoes in the 1990s. According to Gantz, nearly one million people have visited the exhibition since it opened on May 1. Gantz said:

The theme of the Expo is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,’ and we have represented that. These kind of drip-drip systems enable crops to be grown with 70% less water than traditional irrigation takes, and for rice, the precision of the watering means the yields are twice as high. Most people now see Israel as a high-tech country but that culture has it roots in the way we had to innovate to get as much as we could from the land.

After his tour of the Israeli pavilion, Netanyahu was scheduled to take in those of Italy, Pindostan and China. After that he has no official engagements until his Saturday evening meeting with Renzi.

000_DV2111363-e1440699451189Bibi & Sara touring the Expo Milano on Aug 27 2015. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The Israeli leader is due next month to visit London, where a petition has been launched urging his arrest for alleged Israeli war crimes during the 51-day offensive by Israeli forces in Gaza last year. The British government, however, says:

Visiting heads of foreign governments such as PM Netanyahu have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.

these goddam things are a farce anyway, they are just a showcase gimmick to ‘solve’ the haredi problem (a ‘solution’ which the army perceives as a menace, by the way)

Israeli Minister Presses Settlers to Build Yeshiva Without Permit
Chaim Levinson, Haaretz, Aug 27 2015

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel is pressuring the settlement of Ma’aleh Efraim to quickly begin construction on a branch of the pre-army religious academy Bnei David, even though it has no legal permit. Ariel, of the religious Zionist Beit ha-Yehudi party (‘Jewish Home’, Naftali Bennett – RB), is also the minister responsible for the World Zionist Organization’s settlement department, a major source of funding for the settlements. Bnei David, located in the settlement of Eli, was the first pre-army academy in Israel. Since its establishment in 1988, it has become one of the religious Zionist movement’s most influential institutions. It also runs a regular yeshiva, a program for post-army men and a program for women. Two months ago, Bnei David decided to open a branch in the Jordan Valley settlement of Ma’aleh Efraim, at the urging of Ariel and Ze’ev Hever, secretary general of Amana, the construction arm of the Gush Emunim settlement movement. Ariel and Hever have been striving for years to obtain a foothold in the Jordan Valley, where most of the settlements are secular kibbutzim and moshavim.

Ma’aleh Efraim Mayor Shlomo Lalush agreed to let Bnei David open a branch there. But a group of residents opposed the plan, fearing a hostile takeover of the 1,100-person settlement, that would turn it into a religious community dominated by Bnei David graduates. The town engineer wrote an opinion saying the land allocated to Bnei David was zoned for residential housing, so in order to obtain a building permit Ma’aleh Efraim would need to seek approval from the Civil Administration’s planning committee, which it hadn’t done. Nevertheless, Ariel went to Eli to celebrate the planned opening last month, and the next day, work began at the site. In addition, mobile homes were set up to serve as dormitories and classrooms. The haste to set up the dormitories is because the 2015-16 state budget includes funds to turn temporary dorms into permanent buildings, an item added at Ariel’s insistence, according to a source in Beit ha-Yehudi, and Bnei David hopes to benefit. Ariel responded:

None of this ever happened. The local council is responsible for approving construction, and it’s leading this worthwhile project. I only wish I could claim credit.

Lalush responded:

Nobody pressured me. Regarding the building permits, ask the Civil Administration.