News Archive December 1-15, 2012

Representative DeLauro Urges Obama Administration to Not Weaken Food Safety with Canada
Food Poisoning Bulletin, Dec 14, 2012 – The letter also states that the Beyond the Border Action Plan establishes a pilot program that would let Canadian facilities ship fresh beef and pork products directly to an FSIS-inspected facility without passing through border inspection.

ECOWAS Is the Only Regional Bloc With Free Visa Entry – Elumelu
Awoko, Dec 15, 2012 – The right of entry involves the right of ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] citizens to enter any member country without the requirements of visa….This is why we are moving away from the manual form of identification to biometric, so that people can be tied to their ID cards. This is also why we are introducing the ECOWAS Passport and, as we speak, 11 member states have already adopted it.

Russia, Eurasia: waiting for a new union
Voice of Russia, Dec 14, 2012 – “The USSR was the pioneer of the European Union, so today’s EU is not the first. Lenin followed the model of the United States of Europe though he had further expansion in mind- the United States of the World, but proletarian ones.”
‘Ukraine needs a reason to join the Eurasian Union’ – Shevchenko – Voice of Russia, Dec 14, 2012 – ‘Kazakhstan would benefit from a tighter relationship with Russia. Kazakhs won’t make it without us’ – Shevchenko added.

European Central Bank to be banking watchdog of European Union
Economic Times (India), Dec 14, 2012 – The European Union reached a landmark deal on Thursday to make the European Central Bank the bloc’s top banking supervisor, giving EU leaders greater confidence that they are gaining the upper hand over the Eurozone’s debt crisis.
European Union crisis times over: Francois Hollande – Economic Times(India), Dec 14, 2012 – The times of crisis and confusion for the European Union are over, French President Francois Hollande said Friday.

Russia changes tack on Syria
Asia Times, Dec 15, 2012 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alleged only last week that a process of “re-Sovietization” is under way in Eurasia….All in all, therefore, it is highly probable that Washington will terminate the Russian naval presence in Tartus in the post-Assad phase, and may think of evicting Russia altogether from the Eastern Mediterranean. The US is already blocking Russia’s bid to join hands with Israel in developing the massive Leviathan gas fields.
Experts: it’s time to bring up future leaders of Eurasian Union – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), Dec 13, 2012 – Formation of employees for Eurasian integration structures should be regarded as a special issue in the formation of the Eurasian continent.

Looking south
Stabroek News (Guyana), Dec 14, 2012 – ….All these countries, along with Guyana and Suriname, comprise the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), a fact recognised by President Ramotar when he said that that there was taking place a “process of an inevitable marriage between Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and Unasur,” resulting from “a logical progression of convergence.”

Africa: Dismantle AFRICOM! – General Carter Ham Makes the Case?
By Horace G. Campbell, AllAfrica, Dec 13, 2012 – Jeh C. Johnson, the General Counsel for the Department of Defense of the United States said, “The war on terror is not an endless conflict and the US is approaching a “tipping point” after which the military fight against al-Qaeda will be replaced by a law enforcement operation.” This speech formed part of the divide within the military establishment about the future of the war on terror.
….The present insecurity in Mali emanated from a military coup d’état that was carried out by a captain who had received military training in the United States. Bearing in mind the fact that the United States had expended more than one billion dollars in Mali on ‘development and military training’ this author reflected on the musings of one former US Ambassador to Mali who wrote and posted pictures of himself and Captain Sanogo under the caption, ” Sanogo: A hero or a mutineer.” This author repeated the call for a thorough evaluation of the role of the United States and NATO in Libya and for a full disclosure of the relationship between the US AFRICOM and the current instability in Mali.
….[18] Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo the leader of the military coup in Mali had received military training in the United States visiting the most prestigious academies over 5 times since 2001.
[Horace G. Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.]

No better time for Arab cooperation
Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 14, 2012 – Some argue for a model which would stress a region-wide approach to Middle East security. Others argue for an approach which would stress a sub-regional model, at least in the first instance, beginning in the Gulf.

Importance of Regional Integration
ALAI-Latin America in Movement, Dec 12, 2012 (Google Translate) – In that way, there are discussions relevant as convergence between Mercosur and the Andean Community in the framework of Unasur, or the promotion of financial integration in the framework of the Economic and Financial Unasur specifically being discussed in the Working Group Financial Integration (GTIF), currently coordinated by the Argentine government and composed of representatives of other Ministries of Finance and the central banks of the region.
UNASUR: A regional strategy for sovereign management of natural resources – América Latina, Dec 12, 2012 (Google Translate) – On 30 November, the Sixth Summit of Heads of State of UNASUR passed what may be one of the most significant steps in recent times in our region: the development of a regional strategy aimed at full utilization of natural resources for the development of South America….The document supports the need for a regional strategy for the exploitation of natural resources, prepared by the General Secretariat of UNASUR and presented to the Sixth Summit of Heads of State of the Union…

The business route to South Asian integration
TwoCircles (India), Dec 13, 2012 – Data shows that South Asia is the least integrated region in the world with a very low trade volume of about five percent. By contrast, the percentage is much higher in other regional groupings such as the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and European Union (EU) where it is 22, 52 and 65 percent respectively. Trade there has grown faster within the region than with the rest of the world.

Turkmenistan joins Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia
Azerbaijan Business Center, Dec 12, 2012 – The process has been launched, despite the cry of official Washington: outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that the U.S. will prevent all forms of re-integration of the Soviet Union, whatever it is called (economic integration, the Customs Union and the Eurasian Union).

Energy independence: Romney’s ghost?
Politico, Dec 12, 2012 – Mitt Romney promised to achieve North American energy independence if the voters put him in the White House. But now, evidence is mounting that the once-implausible-sounding achievement will happen without him.

East Africa: Why EA Needs Change in Tax Systems – EAC Heads of State Summit Chairperson and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni notes the region is becoming bigger from the EAC to COMESA and they are working on the African Common Market. “….but they lack infrastructure to link them and electricity to power production.”
Africa condemns army interference in Mali – Business Day (South Africa), Dec 12, 2012 – The African Union (AU) and West African regional bloc Ecowas condemned army interference in Mali’s politics on Wednesday after the prime minister was forced to resign.
Rwanda’s Move to Issue Visas At Point of Entry Is Timely – AllAfrica, Dec 11, 2012 – Already there are plans to allow tourists visiting any member country of the East African Community (EAC) to use one Visa when visiting any of the partner states.
African Union urges DR Congo rebels to complete Goma pullout – Afrique en Ligue, Dec 11, 2012 – The AU, the UN Security Council and the European Union have been planning the deployment of an international neutral force to help restore the authority of the central government in the region.

ASEAN 2013: Growth Will Continue
Live Trading News, Dec 12, 2012 – The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cited the favorable demographics and the push for greater integration and connectivity under the ASEAN Economic Community AEC by Y 2015 as the other 2 advantages of the regional grouping.

European Union approves continent-wide patent rules
San Jose Mercury News, Dec 11, 2012 – The European Union approved a new common patent system on Tuesday designed to cut red tape and streamline patent procedures across much of Europe.

Putin denies trying to ‘reinvent’ Soviet Union
Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 11, 2012 – “It’s very strange to hear when some colleagues abroad say that … it is a rebirth of Russia’s ambitions as the former Soviet Union. What rubbish.”
Russia’s friendly ties with neighbors upsets Hillary Clinton – Pravda (Russia), Dec 10, 2012 – The Chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Alexei Pushkov noted….”Creation of the Customs Union, as well as creation of the Eurasian Union, is not in the purview of the U.S. State Department and Mrs. Clinton. We are talking about an economic union that does not threaten anyone and is based on the generally accepted principles of integration. Such unions exist in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.”

African Court Not Ready for International Crimes
AllAfrica, Dec 10, 2012 – The three year old impasse between the African Union (AU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is being further complicated by plans to expand the jurisdiction of African Court on Human and People’s Rights (African Court) to cover grave international crimes.

Independent Scotland likely to have to apply to EU
Reuters, Dec 10, 2012 – European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday a newly independent state would have to apply to join the European Union, casting doubt on assertions that an independent Scotland would automatically become a member of the bloc.

Failed reset?: United States decries “sovietization” of former USSR states
ArmeniaNow, Dec 10, 2012 – It is obvious that in order to promote its “Eurasian integration” Moscow will use the “stick” because it does not have enough “carrots” even for itself, and especially that the “carrots” in the West taste better. Meanwhile, the West seems to have set itself the task of stopping Moscow from intimidating former Soviet republics…
US Plays The Boss Again – Albany Tribune (from Voice of Russia), Dec 9, 2012 – “It is in the traditions of the US authorities to believe that they have the right to interfere in anything in the world. Processes of integration are beneficial for former Soviet states….”

European Union set to be awarded Nobel Peace Prize
Irish Times, Dec 10, 2012 – From just six countries who agreed to pool their coal and steel production in the 1950s to 27 member states today – and 28 once Croatia joins next year – the EU now stretches from Portugal to Romania, Finland to Malta and sets rules and regulations that have a bearing on more than 500 million people.

The North American Gusher
Wall Street Journal, Dec 9, 2012 – Three democracies, sitting on vast resources, each have their own comparative advantages to offer an integrated continental market that could lead the world.
[Just as the European Union began with European nations pooling their coal and steel production, this globalist push to pool North American energy production is crafted to integrate into a North American Union.]

Euro lessons for East Asia
BusinessWorld (Philippines), Dec. 10, 2012 – East Asia could learn two valuable lessons from the euro zone crisis. First, do not rush the process of financial and monetary integration; and, second, develop adequate institutional frameworks before proceeding.

GCC plans $32bn power, water projects in 2013
TradeArabia, Dec 10, 2012 – Anita Mathews, the exhibition director of Middle East Electricity said: “The GCC region will require an additional 60 Gigawatts of power capacity by 2015, and the coming years are likely to witness a substantial improvement in the development of regional utility infrastructure.”
GCC refining infrastructure spend seen at USD 700 billion – SteelGuru, Dec 10, 2012

External tariffs review pushed to 2015
TradeMark Southern Africa, Dec 10, 2012 – The delay in establishing the CET and a single Customs territory is hindering free movement of goods, capital and people across member country borders, even though the Common Market Protocol was officially launched in 2010.

GCC takes baby steps towards Gulf union
Al-Bawaba, Dec 9, 2012 – The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit this month in Bahrain will not announce the union of the six member states, Bahrain’s foreign minister has said….“We do not run towards our goals. We walk carefully,” Shaikh Khalid said…

SAARC CCI demands visa on arrival in SAARC countries
Daily Times (Pakistan), Dec 9, 2012 – Vice President SAARC CCI Pak chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik said for promotion of economic cooperation in South Asia, free movement of businessperson in the region was crucial and India-Pakistan agreement on flexible visa policy would allow multiple-entry on reciprocal basis.

Pardon Me Sir, But Aren’t You a Dictator? Ghanaian Journalist Asks ‘Democrat’ Olusegun Obasanjo
Information Nigeria, Dec 9, 2012 – At the preliminary press briefing of theEconomic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)…a local journalist forced former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, the ECOWAS Head of Mission, to re-examine his credentials as a democrat.
Scale up regional integration coverage, envoy urges EA scribes
IPP Media (Tanzania), Dec 9, 2012 – Jenerali Ulimwengu, a veteran journalist, lawyer and commentator, said that the ideal of EA integration must not be lost….“We should not be afraid, especially the young people, to reject negative sentiments against regional integration,’’ he said.
[Information that rejects negative sentiments against their “ideal of EA integration” is not journalism, but one-sided propaganda.]
SADC to Activate Stand-By Force – AllAfrica, Dec 9, 2012- The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has decided to activate its stand-by force and dispatch it to the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Growth outlook for Asean upgraded
Manila Standard Today, Dec 8, 2012 – “2012 growth forecasts in the Asean 5 [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] was revised up from 5.6 percent to 5.9 percent, boosted by a strong third quarter in Malaysia and the Philippines,” the ADB said…

‘No alternative to SAARC for regional peace
The Himalayan (Nepal), Dec 7, 2012 – SAFTA [South Asian Free Trade Agreement] has been in place and efforts are underway to progress towards the South Asian Economic Union. The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) which is in operation since April 2010 in Thimphu acts as the umbrella funding mechanism and currently at least six projects are underway, which have a worth of some US$ 55 million.
Ahmed Saleem‚ Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
SAARC restructuring in offing: Secy General Saleem – República (Nepal), Dec 7, 2012 – Saleem said SAARC has started to work on improved connectivity among member states in view of promoting intra-regional trade and movement of people across the region.

Africa Union: Delay of peace keeping ‘Standby Force’ costly
Coastweek (Kenya), Dec 7, 2012 – The brigades are divided among the five Africa’s regional blocks of Eastern, Southern, Central, Western and Northern. Progress in establishing full brigades varies from region to region.

Clinton vows to thwart new Soviet Union
Financial Times (London), Dec 6, 2012 (Google Link) – “There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” the US secretary of state told a news conference in Dublin hours before going into a meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,”….
Moscow denies plans to ‘re-Sovietize’ – UPI Asia, Dec 7, 2012 – Putin….suggested a union similar to the 27-nation European Union — which is intended to be economic and political — for Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and other Eurasian countries, in particular the post-Soviet states.
A central banker’s perspective on European economic convergence
Speech by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB
European Central Bank, Dec 7, 2012 – In other words, the future prosperity of Europe hinges on our ability to complement monetary union with economic union, fiscal union and financial union. This more advanced institutional architecture will in turn need to be embedded in some form of political union that engages citizens more deeply in European decision-making. As a result, joining the euro area in the future should imply greater sharing of sovereignty and a deeper European accountability than it did ten years ago.

JK’s caution on monetary union laudable
The Citizen (Tanzania), Dec 7, 2012 – The President, who served as Tanzania’s finance minister between 1994 and 1995, noted that the monetary union protocol team needs to be extremely careful as this is the most vital stage of the integration process. He said if the monetary union is not crafted carefully, it will put the region in trouble citing the example of the ongoing nuisance in the European Union.
East African Community Leaders Vow To Boost Economic Activities – Bernama (Malaysia), Dec 7, 2012 – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East Africa Cooperation Dr Stergomena Tax said that the five Heads of State agreed to set up good infrastructure networks in the regions to ease implementation of customs union and common market integration.

Asean set for single economic block by December 2013
The Star (Malaysia), Dec 7, 2012 – Malaysia is optimistic that Asean is ready to be integrated into a single economic block by December next year despite uncertainties in the economic growth in eurozone and the United States.

US military planners working with African nations on likely offensive in northern Mali
Minneapolis StarTribune, Dec 5, 2012 – Officials from the State and Defense departments told senators that the United States was working with the African Union and ECOWAS, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, on a planned military action in northern Mali.

Ex-Soviet states to cut use of dollar
The Hindu, Dec 5, 2012 – The agreement is designed to cut the use of the dollar and euro and facilitate transactions in national currencies in foreign trade and financial services. It will above all promote the use of the Rouble as a reserve currency given the dominant position of the Russian economy in the former Soviet Union.
Armenia has to build up relations with Eurasian union: prime minister says – ARKA News Agency (Armenia), Dec 6, 2012 – “Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have already transferred much of their powers to the Customs Union and the Eurasian Commission and will transfer more,’ Sargsyan said. He said that from now on Armenia will have to discuss bilateral economic issues with these countries in the framework of these structures, “just as we are working with the EU.”

Peace in Colombia?
Inter Press Service, December 5, 2012 – Latin America is experiencing a high point in terms of integration, with the recent creation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)….Given these dynamics, the war is an anachronism, as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has often claimed. The FARC know that this is the case. The time has come for both sides to lay down their arms.

GCC summit unlikely to include talk of union
“Some GCC countries have request some time for the sake of a deeper study of the issue,” Ganem Al Buainain, Bahrain’s state minister for foreign affairs, said in in remarks published in the Arabic daily Al Ayam on Thursday….“However, we must always remember that everything is possible in politics.”

Britain’s European Destiny
By Tony Blair, Project Syndicate, December 4, 2012 – Britain would cut itself out of future developments in Europe at a time when countries around the world are seizing the opportunities offered by regional integration. From the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – now with roughly 600 million people and looking to get a single market underway – to the African Union and South America’s MERCOSUR and UNASUR, countries everywhere are coming together in regional blocs. Will Britain drift away from the one on its doorstep?
[Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. He has also indicated an interest to be an elected President of the European Union.]
EU Seeks Power to Probe Entire Industries Over State Subsidies – Bloomberg, December 5, 2012 – The commission wants to speed up inquiries and gain the right to seek more information from companies under threat of fines. It also wants the right to ignore some of the 300-plus complaints it receives over state aid every year.

Rafael Correa: South America should learn from Europe to integrate
El Universo (Ecuador), November 30, 2012 (Google Translate) – The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, said today that the creation of a common citizenship is a goal that “South America, in this case it must learn from Europe.” Correa, who participated in the Presidential Summit VI Union of South American Nations (Unasur) held in Lima, told Peru’s state TV that Europeans “were killed in the Second World War” and other conflicts, “but now are practically a homeland “.
[Apparently, “homeland security” is the operative term and euphemism for “regional security” – replacing “national security.”]
Argentine, Ecuador leaders talk southern alliance
Kansas City Star | Associated Press, December 4, 2012 – Cristina Fernandez is proposing that the UNASUR group of South American nations take a common stand against “judicial colonialism.”

What should the top priority be for US-Mexico relations?
‘A joint economic agenda is now more achievable than before.’
Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, VOXXI, December 4, 2012 – Joint approaches within the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations can be a means to achieve NAFTA 2.0. If coupled with a North American approach to potential trade negotiations with the EU, North American economic integration can advance to a point unthinkable even a few short years ago.
Public Meeting of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Motor Vehicles Working Group
U.S. Government Printing Office, December 5, 2012 – The public meeting will be held on January 15, 2013….The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was created on February 4, 2011. After private sector consultations and bilateral negotiations, the RCC released the Joint Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation on December 7, 2011. The Joint Action Plan is a practical first step to increased regulatory cooperation between the United States and Canada. In order to implement the initiatives identified in the Joint Action Plan, bilateral working groups led by senior officials from regulatory agencies have developed work plans with concrete objectives, deliverables and milestones for tangible progress within the RCC’s two-year mandate.
Conservatives poised to get budget bill through House of Commons – Vancouver Sun (Canada), December 4, 2012 – The legislation will also see Canada adopt the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system by 2015 for people arriving by air from visa-exempt countries, including many European nations. A type of mini visa that could be issued online within minutes, ETAs already exist in the United States and are part of the “Beyond the Border” perimeter security deal with the U.S.
Size of Gulf economy is almost equal to India, Russia: Experts
Economic Times (India), December 4, 2012 – The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economy, which is growing at around 5-6 per cent, is almost as strong as that of the Indian economy, industry experts have said.

African Union and Chad press UN over Mali force
AFP, December 4, 2012 – The acting head of the African Union and the president of Chad issued a joint call on Tuesday for the United Nations to rapidly authorise an intervention force for Islamist-held northern Mali….The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said it is ready to deploy 3,300 men to try to oust the armed Islamists from northern Mali once it has UN approval.

Georgian revenge of Russia
ForUm (Ukraine), December 4, 2012 – The victory of Georgian Dream can be considered the beginning of the comprehensive regime change, which may bring Georgia back in Moscow’s sphere of influence, including CIS and Eurasian Union. Moreover, there already is an economic base: Georgian energy distribution networks and a part of energy generation plants belong to the Russian company “Inter RAO”.

Assad may fall ‘anytime’, Arab League head tells AFP
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is in danger of collapse “anytime” as the opposition gains ground on the military and political fronts, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told AFP on Monday.

Putin to visit Brussels as ‘Eurasian Union’ leader
Euractiv, December 4, 2012 – Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the EU-Russia summit in Brussels later this month. But he will make sure his hosts welcome him as the representative of the Eurasian Union – Putin’s pet geopolitical project, which bears similarities to the EU.

What Happens When America No Longer Needs Middle East Oil?
Forbes, December 3, 2012 – The biggest losers would be the Arab oil states grouped in the Gulf Cooperation Council, most of which are monarchies kept in power by a combination oil dollars and American military power.

Least integrated South Asia
Pakistan Observer, December 4, 2012 – There are a number of such groups or organizations in the world today that have helped accelerate the pace of socio-economic development of the member states with varying degrees of success – the idea being the European Union that is said to have achieved almost total integration of economies of the member states followed by ASEAN, GCC and NAFTA.

YouTube Video: REGION-BUILDING for a NEW WORLD ORDER – Dec 2, 2012
‘Monnet Method’: Template for World Order out of Chaos
By Tim Porter, CircumspectNews, December 2, 2012 – The latest economic crisis, a “fiscal cliff,” looms for the U.S. economy in 2013, with consequences for the entire global financial system. Clearly, this fiscal cliff is the result of dereliction in Washington. But the real problem in Washington is that many of these politicians from both major political parties, along with their special-interest backers, are also collaborators in a Machiavellian, crisis-creating process patterned after the European Union’s “Monnet method.”

A country called Europe fills UK sceptics with fear
Irish Times, December 3, 2012 – As brave europhile Brits walk in fear of Brexit and Tory Eurosceptics and their UK Independence Party cousins inhale the sweet smell of success, other Europeans watch with bemusement how Britain, after decades of obstreperous membership of the European club, may finally pick up its armoured handbag and go.

What makes EU-type arrangements tick?
Hindu Business Line, December 2, 2012 – The sticking point, of course, is the difficulty in giving up some sovereignty. One group that seems more ambitious than most is the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
Gradual integration is right way forward – Tanzania Daily News, December 3, 2012 – According to the Treaty of the revived East African Community (EAC), monetary union is a stage just a heartbeat away from achieving “ultimately political federation” of the region. The preceding steps are a Customs Union and Common Market, a phase member states are still fine tuning, two years after they came together.
EAC to focus on infrastructure dev’t – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, November 3, 2012 – In the summit, Infrastructure was said to be one of the most critical enablers of a successful regional integration in enhancing trade, agriculture, tourism and the movement of labor.
East African leaders intensify steps towards barrier-free regional trade – African Manager, December 3, 2012 – East African leaders rose from a Summit on regional integration Friday, satisfied with the steps towards the formation of a Political Federation and the efforts to set up single revenue collection points.
Regional rail project to cost over $5bn – The East African Community railway line that will connect Rwanda- Tanzania and Burundi project would cost about $5.2 billion, according to a Canadian consultancy firm, Canarail…

Crunch time for the AEC
Bangkok Post, December 3, 2012 – Asean’s goal for the past 20 years has been to create a unified market of more than 600 million people with a combined gross domestic product of US$2 trillion. But the 10 member countries have so far only met 72% of the economic blueprint for merging their economies into a single trade and investment bloc

Unasur advances
Venezuelan News Agency, December 2, 2012 (Google Translate) – President Correa said that the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) has had much more progress in less time that the European Union (EU).

After the Gaza war, Palestine becomes an Arab concern again
Daily Star (Lebanon), December 3, 2012 – The visits to Gaza by the Egyptian and Tunisian foreign ministers, a delegation from the Arab League, and a delegation of Egyptian political parties were a signal that the Arab world has changed, and that the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about to be transformed.

Pakistan softening its stance on Afghanistan?
Express Tribune (Pakistan), December 2, 2012 – Pakistan is also following…regional trade under the broad umbrella of Saarc….More boldly, despite much ‘organised’ objection to the America-floated Silk Road, Pakistan has made an effort to link up with Tajikistan, using Afghanistan as a transit state.

Unasur summit promotes South American citizenship
Andina (Peru), December 1, 2012 – A regional summit of South American leaders concluded Friday with a call to create a single South American citizenship, similar to what the European Union has.

How U.S. can deepen ties in the Americas
By Robert B. Zoellick, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, December 1, 2012 – This is an excellent time to deepen ties. The NAFTA countries should invest in a North American community….While other advanced economies — and many developing ones — will struggle with aging and decreasing populations, North America could become a new type of rising power.
[ Globalist Zoellick was U.S. Trade Representative in President George W. Bush’s first term, was Bush’s Deputy Secretary of State 2005-2006, and President of the World Bank 2007–2012. He is now Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Zoellick’s push for a “North American Community” follows the course of the European Union in its incremental emergence from the old “European Community”]

ASEAN ministers agree to enhance transportation
Jakarta Post, December 1, 2012 – “We are also finalizing the framework agreement on the cross-border transport of passengers to ease procedures and requirements on people movement in cross-border areas,” said Indonesian Transportation Minister E.E Mangindaan, who chaired the meeting. The countries are also working on the finalization of research on the ASEAN Single Shipping Market…

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