In Brief – N.4 – January 11, 2015

The NATO-led military Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has officially ended after 13 years and mixed results, analysts said. Now starts the follow-on mission, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Risky general elections ahead for Greece after Stavros Dimas, Prime Minister’s candidate, failed in three consecutive rounds to gather the 180 votes needed for his election at the crisis-stricken country’s presidency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss Ukraine in Astana, Kazakhstan on January 15, 2015. France initiated this “Normandy summit”.

Death threats have been issued by Al Qaeda whose online magazine Inspire listed western air companies and high-profile official and business people as desired targets for killing.

US Orbital Sciences and Russia’s Energomash have reportedly signed a contract worth $1 bn that will supply 60 engines RD-181 for Antares rocket. This move came to light in June and contradicted with US official pressure against the delivery of France’s Mistral to Russia.

Brent crude oil dropped by 1.8 percent to $55.42 per barrel, its lowest price since April 2009 and 51.8 percent lower than its last peak in June 2014. Meanwhile, the Euro fell to $1.1864, its weakest level since March 2006.

“The referendum (on UK’s membership of the EU) must take place before the end of 2017. If we could do that earlier, I’d be delighted, if we could deliver on this referendum then the sooner I can deliver on it the better,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Reassuring news from China where the HSBC/Markit PMI Services index increased 0.4 points at 53.4 in December from 53.0 in November 2014, above 50 meaning the Chinese economy’s growing. General Motors unveiled a 12 percent annual jump in sales with 3,539,970 cars sold in China in 2014.

Awful terrorist attack in Paris against the redaction of newspaper Charlie Hebdo who was assassinated by two or three terrorists, concretizing the impeding threat that has been growing for years. The threat could potentially cause unprecedented developments in the country.