Leftnews.org | News and Views from the Left

by Editors — last modified 2017-07-05T10:43:19-04:00
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox
The best of the political left-wing from around the web.

Syrian War Drags On, but Assad’s Future Looks as Secure as Ever | The New York Times

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 25, 2017 10:45 AM
"A recent report by the World Bank put the country’s lost economic output during the first six years of the war at $226 billion, four times its gross domestic product in 2010, before the conflict began. ... Officials in the United States and Europe still hope that Mr. Assad will leave office in an eventual political agreement, but they have vowed not to reward him for his brutality and rampant human rights violations if he stays by helping rebuild the country. Other countries that support Mr. Assad could help, but their resources are limited. Iran and Russia are under international sanctions, their economies hurting from low oil prices. Last month, the government held an international trade fair in Damascus for the first time since 2011, welcoming companies from Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela and elsewhere. Among the new deals signed were ones for the importation of 200 buses from Belarus and contracts to export 50,000 tons of produce."

Russia threatens retaliatory strikes against U.S. troops and their allies in Syria | The Washington Post

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 22, 2017 11:45 AM
"Past close encounters between the United States and Russia in Syria have been resolved through the mechanism of deconfliction agreements, which delineate where the rival forces may operate. But there is no such agreement defining the U.S. and Russian areas of operation around the key towns and villages stretching south along the Euphrates River from Deir al-Zour toward the town of Bukamal on the Iraqi border. The area contains most of Syria’s oil and controls access to the Iraqi border, and it is viewed as a critical prize for all sides involved."

Erdogan Ready to Send More Troops to Syria, Praises Russian Role | Bloomberg

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 22, 2017 11:42 AM
"Like the U.S., Turkey backed the rebel side in the Syrian war. Yet as Russian military intervention turned the tide in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor, Erdogan has increasingly been co-operating with Russia and Iran to stabilize the country. Coupled with Turkey’s decision to buy a Russian missile-defense system, that’s led many analysts to question Turkey’s place in the Western alliance."

Sorry, Premier, there is no evidence P3s are cost effective | President, Canadian Union of Public Employees Newfoundland

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Sep 21, 2017 08:10 AM
"CUPE’s senior economist reviewed the numbers for the Interior Heart Surgical Centre in British Columbia and estimates that the project would have cost $37.5 million more than claimed if an appropriate discount rate had been used. This would have made the P3 more expensive than the public-sector comparator. Most of the cost-savings boasted about by P3 advocates are based on value for money calculations and when these calculations are scrutinized by impartial experts, like a provincial auditor, they are proven to just not be credible. I would urge ministers Crocker and Haggie to put away the glossy consultant flyers and read the Auditor General reports on P3s."

Backing Corbyn, UK Unions Call for Energy to be Returned to Public Ownership and Democratic Control – Trade Unions for Energy Democracy

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Sep 21, 2017 08:03 AM
"The resolution—carried unanimously—calls upon the 5.7-million-member national federation to work with the Labour Party to achieve this goal, as well as to: implement a mass program for energy conservation and efficiency; lobby for the establishment of a “just transition” strategy for affected workers; and, investigate the long-term risks to pension funds from investments in fossil fuels."

Norwegian elections: Another right-wing victory & a serious Labour defeat | Asbjørn Wahl

by Asbjørn Wahl, Norwegian trade union and political activist — last modified Sep 20, 2017 10:39 AM
The centre-left failed in getting rid of the so-called blue-blue government at the parliamentary elections in Norway on 11 September. The Labour Party was the main loser, while small parties on the centre-left advanced slightly. However, the parliamentary basis of the right-wing government has started to unravel. A deeper political crisis may be looming in the background, while social contradictions are on the raise. Social Democracy followed the general European downward tendency (except Britain).

Rebels say U.S. evacuates base in southern Syrian desert | Reuters

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 19, 2017 02:26 PM
"Washington and Moscow have now moved closer to cooperation in Syria, brokering a ceasefire in the southwest which was the first such understanding between them since the start of the conflict. The diplomat said the latest move is part of a broader effort that included that ceasefire. “This is the latest outcome of the ongoing secret US-Russian talks over southern Syria,” the diplomat, who requested anonymity, told Reuters."
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