Global debt set to hit record $255tn by end of year

Global debt now hovers near a record of over $250 trillion (Dh918tn) and is set to exceed $255tn by the end of this year, the Institute of International Finance said in a new report.

“Spurred by looser financial conditions, the ballooning global debt load increased by $7.5tn” in the first half of 2019, the Washington-based organisation said.

“With few signs of a slowdown in the pace of debt accumulation”, the IIF expects the trend to continue, largely driven by the US and China, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the increase.

The world’s debt pile is now more than three times' (320 per cent) global gross domestic product. Emerging markets debt also hit a record of $71.4tn.

Non-financial sector debt — borrowing by governments, households and other businesses — accounts for $190tn, or 75 per cent, of total debt and is growing faster than the global economy.

Within the non-financial sector, government debt increased by 1.5 per cent in the first half. It is expected to top $70tn by the end of this year, an increase of around 6 per cent from 2018 “driven mainly by the surge in US federal debt”, the IIF said.

Borrowing from non-financial companies increased by 1 per cent in the first half and is also expected to increase by 6 per cent from last year to over $75tn, due to growth in “net borrowing by the Chinese corporate sector”.

Over the past decade, global debt has increased by over $70tn. In mature markets, the rise has been driven mainly by governments. For emerging markets, the bulk has been in non-financial corporate debt, but data shows that half of that borrowing is by state-owned enterprises.

“Sovereign-related borrowing has been the single most important driver of global debt over the past decade,” the report said.

Global bond markets have increased to over $115tn, from $87tn 10 years ago. Government bonds now make up 47 per cent of the market, compared with 40 per cent in 2009. In contrast, bank bonds have dropped to below 40 per cent from over 50 per cent in 2009.

Central banks have been lowering rates in an attempt to spur borrowing, as 60 per cent of the world’s countries are expected to see below-potential growth next year, the report said.

However, countries with high levels of government debt, such as Lebanon, may find it harder to turn to fiscal stimulus. Moreover, emerging market economies that have increasingly relied on foreign-currency borrowing, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, may be exposed to risks if growth slows further.

High debt burdens could also curb efforts to tackle climate risk. Global climate finance flows amount to slightly over $1tn, far short of the average $3.5tn that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates is needed annually.

In separate research published earlier in the week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “yield curve inversion, global manufacturing recession, trade wars and rising debt defaults have raised the spectre of an imminent global economic recession”. It said the biggest vulnerability for markets in the coming decade “comes from today’s bond market bubble", adding that responses to the next slowdown will be inflationary.

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Cuban president visits town near US military base

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel is making his first trip to the town of Caimanera, the closest point in Cuba to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

Díaz-Canel arrived in the town of about 10,000 people Thursday morning for a series of meetings with local officials.

He began with a visit to a newly renovated 3D movie hall.

Diaz-Canel assumed power in April 2018 and has made several dozen similar trips around Cuba to check on public services and infrastructure, accompanied by Cuba’s state-run media. Some international media were invited to cover the trip.

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Cubans in the US to celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary

Members of the Alianza Martiana, which brings together Cuban emigree organizations in Miami, United States, will travel to Havana to participate in celebrations to mark the city's 500th anniversary.

According to a press release from the organization, 35 of its members will leave tomorrow for the Cuban capital to join 'these festivities of national and popular pride.'

They will also show their support for the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and demand the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island, and the end of travel restrictions on US citizens, the text added.

The blockade has been imposed for over 55 years and has been condemned by the vast majority of the international community, as demonstrated by the most recent vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a Cuban resolution demanding an end to this hostile policy.

The visitors' program in Havana includes a meeting with the President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Fernando Gonzalez, and the Director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad of the Foreign Ministry, Ernesto Soberon.

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Anti-Cuban Mafia in Miami pulling the strings behind Bolivia’s coup d’état

Bolivian digital media Erbol released a series of 16 audio recordings involving directly opposition leaders plotting a coup d’état against the government of President Evo Morales. The coup has been coordinated by the U.S. embassy in that country.

According to the audio recordings, the U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Bob Menendez would be involved in the coup as they had direct contact with opposition groups whose goal was to bringing about a change in the leadership of Bolivia. In this regard, retired officers, and the former mayor of Cochabamba and refugee in the U.S. after being accused of corruption back in 2009, Manfred Reyes Villa, was also mentioned as one of the masterminds in an operation orchestrated from abroad.

The audios also mention the calls of opposition leaders to burn down buildings belonging to the government party and incite a general strike throughout country. In this line, an eventual attack against the Cuban Embassy would be part of the operation, a situation very similar to the coup d’état occurred in Venezuela with President Hugo Chavez in 2002.

Local media point out that such destabilizing plan would have been coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia before the presidential elections and confirm U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had direct contact with the opposition in Bolivia in a strategy to overthrow (Evo) Morales.

The plan focused on Evo Morales. If he won the elections held last October 20th, a civil-military transition government would be established by the new government. The new government would claim fraud in the electoral process and would not concede defeat in Morales’ win.

In the audio recordings leaked via social networks, the opposition leaders called to burn down governmental buildings and attack the Cuban Embassy in that nation.

The audio leaking went public amid the political crisis after Evo Morales’ electoral victory, who is accused of committing fraud by the opposition.

Some weeks ago, Evo Morales had warned about alleged plans to execute a coup d’état against him and his government had audio recordings to prove him right. Neither the opposition in Bolivia nor the U.S. Embassy has said a word so far on the audio leaking.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

UN General Assembly Debates Cuba Draft Resolution against U.S. Blockade

Since 1992, the resolution presented by Cuba in this forum has been supported by the majority of the participants and the international community

Today and tomorrow, for the twenty-eighth time, Cuba will submit to the United Nations General Assembly the draft resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.

In the main organ of the United Nations, once again, there will be an overwhelming rejection of a genocidal, criminal, and unjust policy that hinders the sustainable development of Cuban society and arbitrarily harms the Cuban people, who decided 60 years ago to determine their destiny.

U.S. Blockade’s Most Inhuman Side

In a backdrop of extreme hostility on the part of the Donald Trump administration, Cuba will win with the support of the nations of the world that defend the right to the self-determination of the peoples and respect for multilateralism.

More than 35 speakers will use the floor during the explanation of vote this Wednesday. The Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, will address the Assembly on Thursday to express the reasons of his people and state.

Cuba will not cease in its demand for the elimination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, and it will once again present a draft resolution that since 1992 has had the overwhelming support of the international community.

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US Pressures UN Members to Vote Against Cuba Anti-Blockade Resolution

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez accused the United States of exerting pressure on Latin American countries to oppose the United Nations draft resolution against the US-imposed economic blockade on Cuba.

"The US authorities have been carrying out different actions of pressures and blackmail to erode the voting pattern in support to the draft resolution that Cuba has been presenting to the United Nations General Assembly which calls for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade against my country", Rodriguez said on Monday. "These pressures have been particularly targeted against the Latin American countries".

Rodriguez also said that US embassies in six countries in the region applied intense pressure on governments to vote against the draft resolution.

"The crude way in which President [Donald] Trump’s administration resorts to a whole range of preconditions and blackmail to meet its foreign policy goals is only well too known", Rodriguez said.

Cuba counts on the support of Latin American countries and expects that the governments will not find themselves swayed by US pressure, Rodriguez added.

Rodriguez noted last month the US Department of State summoned representatives from four Latin American countries to persuade them to vote against the draft resolution.

The United States first imposed an arms embargo on Cuba in 1958. The embargo was complemented by the introduction of restrictions in various other sectors, including sanctions on financial transactions, trade and travel.

Former US President Barack Obama relaxed US policy toward Cuba, introducing regulations to ease people-to-people contacts.

However, Trump toughened the policy once he came to power in 2016, restricting travel, boosting the economic embargo and imposing sanctions on Raul Castro, Cuba's Communist Party leader, over alleged human rights violations and for supporting the Venezuelan leadership.

Cuba’s envoy to Russia Gerardo Penalver Portal said the draft resolution would be presented at the United Nations on 6-7 November.

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Australians against the US blockade To Cuba

The Australia-Cuba Friendship Association (ACFS) issued a statement demanding the immediate lifting of the US blockade against the island, a few days after a resolution was voted in the United Nations.

It is a new one of the active and firm work of solidarity that the ACFS has deployed on Australian soil for more than 40 years, the ambassador of the Caribbean nation here, Ariel Lorenzo, told Prensa Latina today.

The declaration was signed by seven territorial delegations of the Association and was handed over to me by members of their representation in the city of Brisbane, the diplomat said.

The text, he explained, urges the United States government to cease that illegal and genocidal policy and to pay compensation to Cuba for the economic damage it has caused for almost six decades.

He also calls on the Australian government to support actions against the siege of the island through the use of diplomatic channels and pronouncements in international forums, Lorenzo said.

The ambassador pointed out that ACFS's gestures of solidarity towards his country are systematic.

Since its creation in 1979, the organization has held acts of protest against the blockade every second and seventeenth day of each month, in front of the US Consulates General in the cities of Perth and Sydney, he said.

A few days ago, Lorenzo reported through a radio station in Canberra the increase in the aggressive escalation of the United States against his country and the damage caused by the blockade.

Speaking to the Latin American Connection program, which broadcasts the 2XXFM radio station, the diplomat presented the main actions of Donald Trump's government against the island, characterized by the continued imposition of restrictive measures and attacks of various kinds.

On November 6 and 7, Cuba will present once again at the General Assembly of the United Nations a resolution that demands the cessation of the unjustified economic, commercial and financial harassment imposed by Washington.

In the last 27 years, our country has received overwhelming support from the international community and this will happen again this time, the ambassador said.

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Multiple victims reported after mass shooting in Texas, US

At least two people have died in a mass shooting in Texas, US media is reporting.

The shooting at Greenville, outside Dallas, injured over a dozen people, reporter Jason Whitely said.

Police have not confirmed the incident, which was initially reported as a homecoming for students at a university, Texas A&M Commerce.

The university police said there had been "no active shooter situation in Commerce.

"There was an event outside Greenville, TX, that may or may not have involved students at this time."

Ground and air ambulances were reportedly at the scene, according to The Dallas Morning News.

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