Posts Tagged ‘BRICS News’

Russia defeated ISIL in Syria: Defense Minister

There is consensus that Assad’s government would not have likely survived the Islamist extremist attacks had Russia not intervened politically and militarily [PPIO]

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the press Saturday that his country’s intervention in Syria over the past three years helped the government there defeat the Islamist extremists.

“Over the course of the operation, 87,500 militants were destroyed, 1,141 settlements and over 95 per cent of Syria’s territory was liberated,” Shoigu told the Fifth Council of Defense Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Russia has since September 2015 deployed such advanced weaponry as the SU-34, SU-30SM and SU-5S fighter jets and bombers, Tu-22M3, Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers, and the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier used to launch the MiG-29 fighters to battle Islamic extremist forces in Syria.

Russia has also boosted its defensive capabilities in Syria and the Mediterranean by deploying the missile cruiser Moskva stationed near the Latakia coastline – used to boost air defenses – and by deploying S-1, S-300, and S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense systems at its bases in Syria.

The turning point in the war, which the UN estimates has killed more than 400,000 people since 2011, came in December 2016 when Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, recaptured the city of Aleppo, once a major operating base for such extremist groups as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The routing of extremist groups has allowed Iran, Russia and Turkey to negotiate humanitarian corridors and de-escalation zones in and around civilian centers in the country. Russia has delivered hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid over the past several years.

Related: Russians killed in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has always maintained that its aiding of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s government has helped prevent the partitioning of the country.

The Russians have also blamed the US for ignoring the long-term effects of “their meddling in Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

‘Winter is coming,’ IMF told at Bali summit

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo urged the 189 members of the International Monetary Fund to work together to avoid a global economic calamity

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde acknowledged the global imbalances caused by trade and that these may have fueled populism [PREUSS]

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo warned that “winter is coming”, borrowing an expression from the Emmy-winning television series Game of Thrones made by HBO from an adaptation of a series of novels written by George RR Martin.

He made this reference in front of a packed hall at the plenary session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali, over the weekend.

“With all the problems that the global economy currently faces, it is appropriate to say that ‘winter is coming’,” Jokowi said.

He said weak coordination and cooperation, particularly on the part of developed countries, had resulted in additional uncertainty in the global economy, citing the drastic increase in the global oil price and turmoil in the financial markets of emerging markets as recent examples.

“We rely on you, the world’s fiscal and monetary policymakers, to maintain the commitment to global cooperation. I am very hopeful that you, sirs and madams, will contribute to encouraging the world’s leaders to respond appropriately to the situation,” Jokowi said.

To curb the impact of climate change, for instance, the world may need to increase an annual investment in renewable energy by around 400 per cent globally, to save the planet and many lives, he noted.

“I do hope you will do your part to encourage leaders to address the situation appropriately. Monetary and fiscal policies that can shoulder trade wars, technology disruption and market uncertainties are necessary,” he said.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, also spoke at the same event, and acknowledged the global imbalances caused by trade, which despite having created prosperity, also caused a backlash, as too many people felt that they had been left behind, which is why there has been an upsurge in populism globally.

To cope with the changing economic landscape, she proposed a “new multilateralism”, which is “more inclusive, more people-centred and more results-oriented”.

“This partnership is integral to the new multilateralism – not least because tensions arising from exclusion and climate change do not respect national borders. In that sense, solidarity is self-interest,” she said.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned that time is running out for governments to implement programmes aimed at curbing global warming.

“Climate change is an existential threat to global development and efforts to end poverty. The warming planet is already having an impact on the poor and most vulnerable,” Kim said.

Helmo Preuss in Nusa Dua, Bali at the International Monetary Fund meetings

Can Mboweni bring stability to S Africa’s Finance Ministry?

Tito Mboweni is being seen as the comeback kid in South Africa [Courtesy: Ministry of Finance]

When Tito Titus Mboweni was announced as the future Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) in July 1998, South Africa’s financial markets reacted negatively.

But two decades later, they greeted his appointment as Minister of Finance with glee, resulting in the rand gaining more than 30 cents against the US dollar this week.

The reason for this reaction was that this time Mboweni was seen as a seasoned financial markets player, whereas in 1998 he was seen as a novice, even though he held a cabinet position as Minister of Labour in Nelson Mandela’s first African National Congress (ANC) cabinet from 1994 to 1998.

He first joined the SARB in July 1998 as adviser to then Governor Chris Stals and had his baptism of fire the following month, when the Russian debt default froze up South Africa’s financial markets with bond market makers unable to set prices for the one (and hopefully only) time since they had been appointed.

It was under Mboweni with the concurrence of the other two members of the TM Triumvirate (the others being Thabo Mbeki and Trevor Manuel) that the South African government introduced the inflation targeting regime, which has proven to be a solid anchor for monetary policy.

This move was hailed by economists who said that it would bring about stability, although detractors from organized labour and business criticized the target range as being too tight and said it would stifle economic growth and job creation.

Many now believe that President Cyril Ramaphosa has made an inspired choice and the markets are justified in their optimism as Mboweni will bring some much needed stability to his new position of Minister of Finance.

Helmo Preuss in Nusa Dua, Bali at the International Monetary Fund meetings

India ignores US, buys Russian missiles

With a range of 400 kilometers, S-400 Triumf is designed to shield from air strikes, strategic, cruise, tactical and operating tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles [Russian MoD]

Despite US objections and the threat of sanctions, India says it will go ahead and purchase advanced Russian defense systems.

Chief of India’s Army Staff Bipin Rawat told the media on Monday that New Delhi will determine a military procurement of its own choosing.

“You can be rest assured while we may be associating with America in getting some technology, but we are pursuing an independent policy,” he said in statements directed at India’s Russian military allies.

Rawat’s comments came three days after India and Russia signed a multi-billion dollar defense deal revolving around the sale of five advanced S-400 Triumf surface to air missile systems.

The deal was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India late last week.

The S-400 is believed to be able to engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft and VLO (Very Low Observable) craft.

With a range of 400 kilometers and an altitude of close to 32 kms, S-400 Triumf is designed to shield from air strikes, strategic, cruise, tactical and operating tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles, as well as neutralize drones.

The S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence missile systems is equipped with three different types of missiles and an acquisition radar capable of tracking up to 300 targets within the range of nearly 600 kms.

Triumf is a system made of eight launchers and a control station.

India says the purchase, to be delivered within the next three years, will significantly boost its defensive capabilities.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Putin have for years edged closer to sealing the deal. The two BRICS partners met in Sochi in May .

But since then India came under pressure from the US to cancel the arms weapons purchases from Russia on the pretext that it could violate US congressional sanctions on Moscow.

In August 2017, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which toughens sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.

But it also punishes all countries doing business with the aforementioned by imposing sanctions and embargoes.

In September, the US enacted CAATSA sanctions against China for its purchase of advanced Russian fighter jets.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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