Eurozone unemployment hits new record


In bailed-out Greece, unemployment stands at 18.8%, up from 13.3%; while Spain now has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, at 22.9%

Spanish demonstrate unemployment and austerity measures in Madrid, 2011

Spanish people demonstrate against unemployment and austerity measures in Madrid, 2011. The jobless rate hit 22.9%. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Public spending cuts and collapsing business confidence have sent unemployment in the eurozone to a record 16 million people, up 587,000 on the same month in 2010.

Official figures compiled by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, show the heavy toll taken on the workforce by austerity measures and the slowdown in the eurozone economy during 2011.

Unemployment across the 17-member single currency area hit 16.4 million by November. The unemployment rate – the proportion of the workforce without a job – has risen only slightly over the past 12 months, to 10.3%; but many workers have given up on finding a job.

In bailed-out Greece, the unemployment rate stands at 18.8%, up from 13.3%; while Spain now has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, at 22.9%. In Germany, however, still the motor of the European economy, and as yet relatively unscathed by the downturn, the rate declined, from 9.1% to 8.1%.

The sharp divide between the strongest members of the eurozone and its recession-hit periphery underlines the tough challenge facing politicians in finding a solution to the crisis that all their voters are willing to accept.

Young workers have been hit disproportionately hard by the deterioration in the labour market, the figures reveal, with youth unemployment rates much higher than those for the workforce as a whole. In Spain, 49.6% of under-25s were without a job; in Greece, it was 46.6%.

Rising unemployment was not confined to the single currency area, however: Eurostat calculates that 23.7 million people were out of work across the EU as a whole in November, an increase of 723,000.

Separate figures also released by Eurostat on Friday showed that retail sales declined by 0.8% in the eurozone – and 0.6% in the wider EU – in November, compared with a month earlier, suggesting that consumers are starting to tighten their belts as confidence is undermined by the continuing political turmoil.

EU leaders will hold a series of meetings in the coming weeks in a bid to strike a deal to underpin the single currency and prevent strains in financial markets becoming a full-blown credit crunch.

via Guardian


Daughter trading #Iran secrets saves mom being deported…


Daughter trading #Iran secrets saves mom being deported from #Canada

An Iranian woman in Canada has won a last-minute reprieve from deportation because her daughter is said to be a scientist who is spilling secrets about Tehran’s clandestine nuclear programs.

The mother, identified only as “X” in a cryptic and terse Federal Court of Canada ruling released Wednesday, had argued she would be brutally mined for information if she was made to return to her homeland.

SirrK (Kay Ydill) @lissnup — some good news — knock on wood — [ Iranian daughter]”

5-Jan 07:00PM

Europe Sanctions 13 Syrian Regime Members (full list)


23 July 2012 Update: The European Union agreed a 17th round of sanctions to target senior members of the Syrian regime:

BRUSSELS — The younger brother of President Bashar al-Assad heads a list Tuesday of 13 Syrian officials subjected to European Union sanctions for their roles in violence against protestors.


Maher al-Assad, 43, was described as “strongman” of the Republican Guard and the “principal overseer of violence against demonstrators” on the list published in the EU’s Official Journal.

He was joined by the head of the intelligence service, General Ali Mamlouk, 65,  and the new Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar, who were also blacklisted for being “involved in violence against demonstrators.”

The Syrian president was not hit by sanctions himself due to divisions within the EU, diplomats said.

The names of the officials hit by visa bans and assets freezes were published after the EU formally adopted the sanctions on Monday to punish the regime for a crackdown that rights groups say has left hundreds dead.

The 27-nation bloc also imposed an arms embargo and ban on equipment that can be used for internal repression.

The sanctions aimed to bring about an immediate change of policy by the Syrian leadership, an end to violence and the swift introduction of “genuine and comprehensive political reform,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.

“Failing that, the EU will consider extending the restrictive measures in light of the developments, including at the highest level of leadership.”

The other officials on the sanctions list include the head of political security, Mohammed Dib Zeitoun, the chief of military intelligence, Abd Al-Fatah Qudsiyah, and the air force intelligence chief, Jamil Hassan.

The EU also sanctioned two men considered close to Maher al-Assad: Colonel Hafez Makhluf, who heads an intelligence unit, and Rami Makhluf, a Syrian businessman accused of bankrolling the regime therefore “allowing violence against demonstrators.”

The former head of political security in the southern protest city of Daraa, Atef Najib, was on the EU list as well as the current head of political security in the coastal city of Banias, Amjad Al-Abbas.

In Banias on Monday, security forces rounded up thousands of men as they went house to house in a bid to crush an anti-regime protest movement.

Rustum Ghazali, head of the Damascus countryside branch of military intelligence, was listed for his role in “the repression against the civilian population.”

The list is rounded out by two members of the Shabiha militia and the president’s clan involved in the repression, Fawwaz al-Assad and Mundir al-Assad.

The EU urged Assad on Monday to choose the path of reform and national inclusive dialogue and avoid further bloodshed.

EU foreign ministers will consider the situation in Syria at a meeting later this month, Ashton said.

At talks in Brussels on Syria last week, EU nations were divided on whether to directly target Assad and how strongly to sanction his regime.

Britain, France and Germany favoured a swift and clear message while smaller states — notably Cyprus, Portugal and Greece — were reticent over targeting Assad.

Estonia for its part has been concerned for seven of its nationals kidnapped in Syria’s neighbour Lebanon.

Rights groups say more than 600 people have been killed and 8,000 jailed or gone missing in the eight-week crackdown on protesters.

via AFP

Full List:

Below are the 13 individuals named on the list and the EU’s allegations against them.

1. Maher al-Assad

President’s Bashar al-Assad’s brother. Prinicipal overseer of violence against demonstrators. Commander of the army’s 4th Division, member of the Baath Party Central Command, strongman of the Republican guard.

2. Ali Mamlouk


Syria’s Head of General Intelligence Service; involved in violence against demonstrators.

3. Mohammed Ibrahim al-Chaar

Country’s minister of interior; took part in promoting violence against demonstrators.

4. Atef Najib

Former head of security in the city of Deraa; involved in violence against protesters.

5. Hafez Makhlouf

Colonel and Head of Unit in the General Intelligence Directorate – Damascus Branch; He is close to Maher al-Assad and involved in violence against protesters.

6. Mohammed Dib Zeitoun

Head of political security; responsible for violence against demonstrators.

7. Amjad al-Abbas

Head of security in the city of Banias; involved in violence against protesters in Baida.

8. Rami Makhlouf

He is the first cousin of Bashar and Maher al-Assad and one of the most powerful economic figures in Syria. Makhlouf provides key financial support for regime’s violence against demonstrators.

9. Abd Al-Fatah Qudsiyah

Head of Syrian military intelligence; involved in the repression against the civilian population.

10. Jamil Hassan

Head of Syrian Air Force Intelligence and as such involved in the repression against the civilian population.

11. Rustum Ghazali

Head of of Damascus countryside branch of Syrian military intelligence; involved in the repression against the civilian population.

12. Fawwaz al-Assad

A leader of the Shabiha – undercover- militia; involved in the repression against the civilian population.

13. Mundir al-Assad

Took part in the repression against the civilian population as part of the Shabiha militia.

via AlJazeera English