Category: International News

St. Petersburg Station Attack Shows Signs Of Terrorism; Putin Lays Flowers Near Bombing Site

On Monday afternoon, a homemade explosive filled with fragments and shrapnel exploded in St. Petersburg’s Tekhonologichesky Institut subway station. It killed 11 people and wounded 40 other people. Authorities cordoned the area and looked for other possible explosives in the area. Russia’s second-largest city was thrown into chaos as shown by videos taken by individuals in social media.

Russian authorities suspect the attack as terrorism-related but Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the authorities have yet to conduct a final investigation to qualify the attack as such. He said investigators have to “consider all theories” before academically concluding the incident as maliciously made by a terror group.

After the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with security and law-enforcement services on Monday where he was informed about preliminary breakthroughs in their investigation. Putin had also visited the site of attack and laid flowers for those who had died during the attack.

The Russian President also speculated terrorists were behind the attack. No terrorist group had come forward to claim responsibility for the attack but authorities suspect southern Russian militants involved in the conflict in Chechnya and Caucasus. The group is believed to be strongly involved with the Islamic State group and repeatedly threatened attacks the previous year.

OPEC Oil Embargo Sees Increase of Oil Prices To $52 Per Barrel

Global oil producing Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on Wednesday would be its first oil output reduction since 2008. OPEC’s oil output reduction is due to Saudi Arabia’s voluntary “big hit” to force Iran to drop oil output and stabilise the price of oil in the worldwide market.

According to AB Bernstein’s analysts, OPEC had agreed to create a “historic production cut” that would remove about 1.2 million barrels per day and would further cut 0.6 million barrels per day for non-OPEC countries to increase oil prices.

Brent crude oil futures shot up by 10 per cent at $51.88 per barrel. Markets had doubts about the cut’s emergence. According to Barclays, the production levels — and not the export levels — have been cut. The cut is slated for 2017, making it possible that supplies for 2016 to be enough.

Despite the price jump, oil prices remain at 2014 prices before oil’s prices dropped to ground prices due to high production.

OPEC produces a third of global oil. With 33.6 million barrels per day in their production, the oil producer would increase prices of oil with its January 2016 levels of production. Meanwhile, US crude production had increased by 3 per cent this year to 8.7 million barrels per day to compete in a lower priced environment.

One Individual Masterminded Thailand Bombings

A new series of explosive and arson attacks in famous tourist spots in several provinces last week are believed to be the work of one leader of a network of bombers.

Authorities believe the attacks had been planned effectively. From the scene, two incendiary devices in Hua Hin had been found.

According to Deputy National Police Chief Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the group carried out hte operation in many locations all at the same time following orders from a single individual.

However, no insurgent group had claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, it is highly likely that political enemies of the ruling government or members of the Malay-Muslim-majority South are escalating their action against the Thai junta.

In 2014, military leaders won leadership with a country-wide referendum on a constitution that entrenches their power in any future government. This also antagonised all political enemies of the government effectively.

A firebomb exploded in the island of Phuket on Sunday. Two explosive devices were found in Phang Nga while explosives had detonated in different areas on Friday including Surat Thani.

According to Coup Leader and Prime Minister Prayt Chan-o-cha, the attacks were intended to cause chaos and confusion in the country.

Meanwhile, main opposition party Pheu Thai said on Saturday their members had nothing to do with the escalating bombings in Thailand.

Trump Claims Being Attacked By a Fallen Soldier’s “Muslim Parents”

According to GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, Khizr and Ghazala Khan had “viciously attacked” him during the Democratic National Convention.

The Khans — parents of fallen US Captain Humayun Khan who fought in Iraq — said the candidate had no empathy for the fallen soldier.

Photo Credits:

Photo Credits:

Mr Khan said:

‘His [Trump’s] policies, his practices do not reflect that he has any understanding of the basic fundamental constitutional principles of this country, what makes this country exceptional, what makes this country exceptional in the history of the mankind.

‘There are principles of equal dignity, principle of liberty. He talks about excluding people, disrespecting judges, the entire judicial system, immigrants, Muslim immigrants. These are — divisive rhetoric that is totally against the basic constitutional principle.

‘If you read the Constitution, you will — either deliberately would be violating those principles, or you have not read.

‘That is why I have watched whole year and rest of the world has watched, and the love and affection and support that we have received after my statement at every corner of the street, at every place, the affection, the support, the love that I have received, that we continue to receive, is a testament that he is talking about ignorance.

‘He is not fully aware of these principles.’

The Republican Candidate said he did not have a chance to respond against Khizr Khan’s criticism during the Democratic Convention.

New Philippine President Vows to ‘Intensify Fight Against Corruption’

Once a Mayor of Philippine’s Davao City for two decades, Rodrigo Duterte, known internationally as Duterte ‘Harry’ or ‘The Punisher’, has been inaugurated into office. Supporters believe him to be pro-poor and capable of achieving more where past administrations had failed.

Duterte is the Philippines’ 16th president jumping from Mayor of Davao City. His huge popularity is owed to his swift end to drug distribution and organised crime in Davao City. As mayor for two decades, he had improved the quality of life in Mindanao’s prime city.

After he made his pledge, his speech centred on stating that some of his methods may be illegal, but stressed that his being a lawyer has allowed him to know right from wrong.

“I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders, the erosion of faith in our judicial system, the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier,” he said in his speech.

Duterte won majority of the public’s support as he shared the disgust against political dynasties and failure of successive governments to tackle poverty and inequality.

He was often compared to the US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, another populist candidate. But analysts drew the line as Duterte has political leadership experience being mayor and understands management and the law better than the latter.

Global Environmental Parliament to Tackle Global Troubles

The United Nations’ Environment Programme is to invite a world’s environment ministers meeting to create a “parliament for the environment.”

UNEP said that the UN Environment Assembly is the world’s “de facto parliament for the environment.” However, it has no constitutional role in a government.

The aim is to allow environment ministers to urge their governments ot agree on common policies. The meeting has 21 proposed resolutions on the table for issues including illegal wildlife trade, plastic in the oceans and whaling in Southeast Asia.

The ministers and their deputies in the meeting will receive a report compiled by 1,203 scientists. The report is a compilation of six separate regional reports for the UNEP regarding the environment and issues that matter in their region and its effects on other regions.

The report would talk about consumer spending in regards to energy consumption, a resource boom from $21 to $56 trillion by 2030 due to East Asian growth.

Meanwhile, UNEP is calling for technology development enabling decoupling economic growth from resource consumption.

The report calls it the greatest health risk to Europeans, with outdoor pollutants such as ozone and particulates killing 500,000 people prematurely per year, and indoor pollution killing another 100,000.

In Africa, indoor air pollution, mainly from cooking, kills 600,000 people a year. In east Asia, pollution controls have made some improvements, but overall, levels are still rising along with prosperity, with short-lived pollutants such as carbon particles and methane killing 153 people per 100,000 per year.

Brazil Is Just Steps Away From A Coup

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s government is just a few steps away from spiralling into political chaos.

However, an expert believes Brazil is on course to a “soft coup”. A change of hands with the government without the bloodshed, armies and bloodshed.

Corruption charges against Rousseff’s government had dominated Brazilian local media. International news have only to show Brazil’s political engagement between the left and right parties.

According to Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California Assistant Professor Hector Perla, there’s more than just corruption or opportunism from Rousseff’s enemies to prey on her current government and its vulnerability.

It’s been normal practice for the right-wing parties to try and deter right wing parties. By opposing left-wing politicians heavily, right-wingers often resort to institutional, non-electoral and undemocratic means.

Meanwhile, accusation against Rouseff are quite weak. Evidence isn’t present to link Rousseff to corruption scandals they accuse her of.

However, the Brazilian speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha, was named in the Panama Papers as taking bribes from a multinational corporation involving Petrobras.

A judge ordered Brazil’s wiretapping of calls between Rousseff and her mentor Lula Da Silva. The transcripts of their conversations were released to the public. The information was manipulated, according to Perla, to the advantage of right-wing organisations and news outlets.

Perla believes what happens next in Brazil will have long-term effects on socialist governments throughout Latin America.

Middle East Situation Proving Unresolvable

According to observers, Russia held the key to wrest Palmyra from the Islamic State’s palms.

Working with Syrian regime forces, the combined might of the Russian Spetsnaz helped push back the militants.

Observers note that the Spetsnaz are working closer than US Special Forces, which only operate at the back-end and logistics of Iraqi troops and allied nations.

The Syrian Regime’s troops have become more effective. Observers said it would need to watch closely how the Regime army functions as Russia calls for a pullout in its Syrian operations.

Observers and journalists also note that the Middle East situation proves unresolvable as key Western allies have conflicted relationships.

The United States believes the Kurdish forces are crucial in defeating the Islamic State. Turkey considers the Kurdish PKK a terrorist group to the likes of the Hamas.

Russia’s volatile actions in the Middle East achieved ground for the Syrian regime. Russia is not allied with the United States and the United States is opposed to the Syrian regime’s actions.

US and Russia ties are increasingly tense as Russia’s increasing aggression is escalating matters in Eastern Europe.

Starting with Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, many Eastern European countries are calling for wider NATO and allied presence in the area.

French Authorities Thwart Suspected Terror Attack

At least four have been arrested as a French anti-terrorism police group arrested three men and a woman with ties to Islamic militants. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said their intelligence suggested one person with ties to violent actions in France. The person in question was one of the four individuals arrested during the morning along with people tied to the possible operation.

During the arrests, French authorities found an unused magazine of an automatic rifle, computer equipment and other devices. However, no other weapons have been found in the area.

According to Hollande, their intelligence suggests that the Islamic terrorist cells are looking for a target. However, they are present near and even inside France.

At least four have been arrested as a French anti-terrorism police group arrested three men and a woman with ties to Islamic militants. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said their intelligence suggested one person with ties to violent actions in France. The person in question was one of the four individuals arrested during the morning along with people tied to the possible operation.

During the arrests, French authorities found an unused magazine of an automatic rifle, computer equipment and other devices. However, no other weapons have been found in the area.

According to Hollande, their intelligence suggests that the Islamic terrorist cells are looking for a target. However, they are present near and even inside France.

One Arrested During New York Times Square New Year Celebrations

Emanuel Lutchman, suspected by the FBI for a plot to attack a Rochester restaurant, received a charge for supporting the Islamic State group. The 25 year-old man claims he had received his command from a member of IS. The criminal complaint contains his statement along with  charge of attempting to provide material support for the IS.

Lutchman was snuffed out after telling an FBI-commissioned informant that they could plant a bomb inside the establishment, kidnap and kill people. Lutchman’s statement to the informant said:

“I will take a life. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Lutchman said he might use a knife during the attack.

Lutchman has had a criminal history from 2006. He had also been the subject of several state mental hygiene arrests.

Lutchman faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for his actions.

Security around the New York Times Square was tighter. The NY security and rapid-response teams spread throughout the city. People attending the New Year Crystal Ball drop in the square were filed and organised into block-length pens encircled by police officers.

Tightened security was also present in London and Munich, the latter cancelling its post-fireworks events after a suicide bombing threat involving five to seven individuals had increased the presence of armed police throughout the city.