Six In The Morning Monday 29 January 2024

‘Little to no warning’ for US troops killed in attack on sleeping quarters

Attacks on US bases in the Middle East

Since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, US bases in Iraq and Syria have been attacked around 150 times, according to US officials.

The map below shows which bases have been more frequent targets since 18 October.

A map of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. Red dots indicate how many attacks have been made on a certain US base by size

Summary

  1. The US has vowed a “very consequential response” to a drone attack on a base in Jordan that killed three American troops, with President Joe Biden blaming Iran-backed militants
  2. American troops were still in their sleeping quarters when the drone struck with little to no warning, the BBC’s US partner CBS reports
  3. The drone arrived at the same time as a returning US drone – and as a result elements of the defence system were turned off, an official says

Secret EU plan ‘to sabotage Hungarian economy’ revealed as anger mounts at Orbán

Brussels’ fury grows over Budapest’s ‘policy of blackmail’ in continuing to hold up £50bn support package

Officials in Brussels have reportedly drawn up a secret plan to sabotage Hungary’s economy if Viktor Orbán decides this week to again block a €50bn support package for Ukraine.

The plan, reported by the Financial Times, reflects the fury mounting across European capitals at what one diplomat called the “policy of blackmail” being pursued by the Hungarian prime minister, who leads the bloc’s most pro-Russia state.

The FT said the strategy involved targeting Hungary’s economy, weakening its currency and reducing investor confidence.

China’s real estate giant Evergrande ordered to liquidate

A court ordered the liquidation after the company failed to reach a restructuring deal with creditors. Evergrande’s troubles erupted after Chinese regulators clamped down on excessive borrowing in the real estate sector.

China’s real estate giant Evergrande was ordered on Monday to liquidate, after it failed to present creditors a viable restructuring plan for its debts.

Judge Linda Chan at a Hong Kong court said it was appropriate for the court to order the company to wind up its business given a “lack of progress on the part of the company putting forward a viable restructuring proposal” as well as Evergrande’s insolvency.

Fergus Saurin, a lawyer representing an ad hoc group of creditors, said he was not surprised by the ruling.

French farmers block motorways around Paris in stand-off with government

Protesting French farmers began blocking several motorways around Paris on Monday to press their demands for better working conditions, higher pay and less environmental regulation in an intensifying stand-off with the government.

For days, nationwide protests have flared in Europe’s largest agriculture producer, with farmers angered in part by red tape and environmental policies they say are hurting their bottom lines and rendering them unable to compete with less stringent neighbours.

Across France, farmers have used tractors and trucks to block roads and jam traffic. They plan to step up their pressure campaign by establishing eight chokepoints along the major arteries to Paris on Monday afternoon.

“We need answers,” said Karine Duc, a farmer in the southwestern Lot-et-Garonne department as she joined a convoy of tractors heading for Paris.

Hayashi won’t budge on U.S. base relocation in Okinawa visit

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

January 29, 2024 at 18:32 JST

The government will proceed with land reclamation work for a U.S. military base project in Okinawa Prefecture despite the prefectural governor’s demands to suspend it, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said.

In a 15-minute meeting with Hayashi on Jan. 28, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki reiterated his opposition to U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, being relocated to Henoko Point in Nago, also in the prefecture.

“We ask the government to seriously take to heart the will of the people of Okinawa who oppose the project, halt the landfill work and open dialogue with Okinawa Prefecture to resolve the issue,” Tamaki told Hayashi at the prefectural government office.

Russia boasts it is beating sanctions, but its longer-term prospects are bleak

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken to gloating about Russia’s resistance to international sanctions and its supposed economic resilience, despite the best efforts of the United States and its G7 partners to choke off Moscow’s oil revenues and starve it of military technology.
 
Scoffing at Europe’s economies, Putin said at a recent event: “We have growth, and they have decline… They all have problems through the roof, not even comparable to our problems.”
It’s true that, as the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches, the Russian state is earning billions from oil and diamond exports, its military factories are working flat out, and many Russian banks can still access the international financial system.
 

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