Southern Europe was gripped by a new wave of anti-austerity protests, with Spanish and Portuguese unions coordinating strike action for the first time. Over 700 flights were grounded and even Spanish ministers admitted that there was a 15.8 percent drop in electricity usage across the country. One in four Spaniards are out of work, with half of young people unemployed.
Eurostat, the European Unions statistics agency (yeah, it’s as dull as it sounds) released figures showing a drop in Eurozone’s industrial output. There was a 2.5 percent drop month on month for September. The dip comes after a modest 0.9 percent rise in the August.
Israeli twice fired into Syria in the Golan area, following several salvos into Israel from Syrian army units harrying anti-Assad rebels. On the same day France became the first Western Power to recognize the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The Gulf Cooperation Council of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE have also withdrawn recognition for the besieged Ba’athist regime.
A mass foreign military intervention in Mali is looking increasingly likely. Algeria is building up forces near the border, with jets, helicopters and between six and twelve thousand troops being housed in newly constructed bases. A coup in March broke what little hold the capital held over the rebellious north of Mali, which has now become a semi-autonomous Sharia state. World leaders are worried that Mali could become a regional hub for Jihadists, taking advantage of the vast stocks of Libyan weapons which have yet to be secured. Nigeria, a regional heavyweight, fears Muslim separatists in its north could link up with the rebels and help launch more attacks in the oil rich Delta.
Barak Obama’s second term in the White House got off too a less than stellar start. Not only have two of the most senior security chiefs become embroiled in sex scandals, but number of unemployment Americans rose by 87,000 last week.