Sunday Readings

Syrian Talks Getting Off On Wrong Foot
Setting the stage for diplomatic talks set to begin this week, Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad said he has no intention on resigning and that the matter will be up for debate at the talks, the BBC reports.

Assad’s determination to remain in power and a recent bombing which claimed the lives of 200 certainly cast more doubt on what the talks can yield.

Even thought the Syrian Opposition voted to attend the Geneva 2 conference, Josh Rogin said in The Daily Beast that while nobody should expect success, there is room for progress.

“Although progress toward a transitional governing body may not happen, there are other possible opportunities for breakthroughs, such as prisoner swaps or humanitarian access agreements that could alleviate civilian suffering. The Assad regime has never publicly acknowledged the opposition leadership, preferring to blame the violence in Syria on terrorists and armed groups. The conference will be the first formal acknowledgement of the opposition leadership.”

Defending Davos
Jeremy Warner of the London Daily Telegraph offers a defense of Davos saying it is more relevant today than ever because the upcoming financial meeting will take place in a post-meltdown phase.

“For the first time in a long time, the agenda is not overshadowed by the immediate threat of financial and economic Armageddon, allowing space for renewed focus on underlying, long-term concerns and trends.

“Not much is going to be missed in a programme shaped around the catchy little title “Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business”.  There’s everything here, from the challenge of youth unemployment to the cutting edge technologies of the future and the latest research on how the   brain works.

“For those interested in the future of monetary and macro-economic policy,   there are 20 central bank governors on offer, including three of the world’s big four – Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank, Mark Carney of the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda,” Warner asserts.

For more information on the upcoming meeting, please visit the site of the World Economic Forum.

This page will be following developments at the meeting throughout the week.

New York Post Takes United Nations To Task For Ignoring Palestinian Starvation
The New York Post editorial points to assertions that Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assads regime “has been routinely killing Palestinians at the Yarmouk refugee camp” and last week alone “at least 41 Palestinians died as a result of food and medicine shortages.”

“This week, a PLO convoy loaded with food and medicine was fired on by pro-Assad forces, preventing them from delivering relief to the camps. Normally, the slightest allegation of suffering inflicted on Palestinians (by Israel, that is) brings about instant worldwide outcry and an emergency session of the UN Security Council,” notes the editorial.

What The West Can Learn From Asia About Competitiveness
James Ashton of The Guardian says the West has much to learn from its counterparts in the East.




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