Diplomacy

‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

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Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’. AlJazeera Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing. The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9 and initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” would be allowed to enter Gaza, ... Read More »

I Came as a Journalist to Ask Important Questions

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If I hadn’t been forcibly ejected from the Trump-Putin press conference, here’s what I would have asked. Sam Husseini The Nation came to Helsinki to ask Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin questions about the threat of nuclear weapons and to distribute an open letter about the need for secure elections and true national security. Instead, I was dragged out of their press conference before it even began and into a Finnish jail. No charges were pressed against me. Here’s what I would ... Read More »

Brexit: Government sees off Conservative rebels to win vote on EU customs union

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MPs narrowly vote down Remainer rebel amendment that would have forced Theresa May to drastically change her Brexit plan Benjamin Kentish Independent Theresa May has narrowly avoided a humiliating Commons defeat on the customs union after another dramatic knife-edge vote. 12 pro-EU Tories voted against the government by backing an amendment that would have kept the UK in a customs union with the EU if Ms May proves unable to guarantee frictionless trade through other means by next January. However, ministers staved off a potential ... Read More »

Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Alliance

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Concrete steps over the past three years have set the foundations of an Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) comprising Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. John M. Nomikos BESA The convergence of the three nations is the natural outcome of close democratic similarities and a joint desire for stability and progress in a region tormented by perennial Middle East strife, radical Islamism, and the morphing of Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic autocracy. The EMA is emerging at a time of increasing global instability. ... Read More »

Philippines: Addressing Islamist Militancy after the Battle for Marawi

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The Philippine city of Marawi, on Mindanao island, remains in ruins more than a year after a five-month jihadist takeover. ICG To avoid fuelling militancy, Manila must involve locals in reconstruction, implement a 2014 deal with Mindanao separatists and go beyond efforts to counter jihadist ideology. In May 2017, Muslim militants acting in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) seized Marawi, a lakeside economic hub in the Lanao del Sur province of Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines. ... Read More »

BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below

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The Durban rapper Ewok captured the spirit of progressive social forces in South Africa with his condemnation of elite politics at a March 2013 protest outside the Durban International Convention Centre: “You dropping BRICS from above? We’re throwing bricks from below!” Patrick Bond CounterPunch For the second time, the leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-SA (BRICS) summit in South Africa, this time at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre from July 25-27. The bloc has great potential to change the world in positive ways. But under ... Read More »

EU ‘positive’ on Russia-Ukraine gas talks

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Talks have taken place in Berlin with the EU, Ukraine and Russia over the transit of gas from Russia to Europe. The forthcoming Nord Stream 2 project has stoked Ukrainian fears of economic isolation. aos/kd (AFP, Reuters) DW The EU sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday following talks in Berlin with envoys from Moscow and Kiev over a dispute regarding future Russian gas shipments through Ukraine. According to European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, the three-way talks were “future-oriented” and “positive” although ... Read More »

EU and Japan say new trade deal is signal to the world that protectionism does not work

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European Commission said openness to trade and investment is ‘one of the best tools to… create more economic growth and jobs’ Caitlin Morrison Independent The EU and Japan have signed up to a “landmark” trade deal in a show of strength against protectionism among global economies. Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner after China and together the EU and Japan account for almost one third of global GDP. The deal was confirmed at a ceremonial signing in Tokyo on Tuesday, attended by ... Read More »

Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse

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Recently NPR featured retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges who was the commanding general of NATO’s Allied Land Command in 2014. Daniel Falcone CounterPunch He remarked how he “was disappointed to see President Trump bring a wrecking ball to Brussels” after “publicly [humiliating] our most important allies.” He went on to explain, and I believe correctly that Trump “either doesn’t understand the concept of an alliance and allies or he doesn’t care” with the latter being the most accurate. I set ... Read More »

Rights not “fortress conservation” key to save planet, says UN expert

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Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples calls for a new, rights-based approach to conservation David Hill The Guardian The United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has released a report highly critical of the global conservation movement and calling for indigenous peoples and other local communities to have a… What exactly is meant by that? It is “the idea that to protect forests and biodiversity, ecosystems need to function in isolation, devoid of people,” the Rapporteur told the Guardian. ... Read More »

Europe’s dependence on the US was all part of the plan

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21:  The voting results are displayed on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly in which the United States declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was declared "null and void" on December 21, 2017 in New York City. The vote, 128-9, at the United Nations concerned Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate its embassy there. The Trump administration has threatened to take action against any country that votes against the United States decision to move its embassy.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Postwar US statesmen designed our world order as it is for a reason. They had lived through what happened without it. Claire Berlinski Politico As feared, the president of the United States arrived at last week’s NATO summit in a mood of preposterous spleen, profound contempt and shocking rudeness. He insisted on sharing before the cameras imaginary facts that hadn’t a thing to do with the summit agenda, and he refused to listen to anyone who tried, however gently, to ... Read More »

‘Shameful,’ ‘treasonous,’ ‘disgraceful’: Trump slammed from all sides for news conference with Putin

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Trump had “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Dartunorro Clark nbc news President Donald Trump was swiftly rebuked by lawmakers, TV anchors and pundits across the political spectrum Monday after his joint news conference in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has criticized the president’s posture toward Russia in the past, called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in … ... Read More »

Immigration decline costing UK economy billions, says think thank

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Meeting government targets on immigration means £12bn hit to public finances, say Global Futures Peter Stubley Independent The fall in immigration since Brexit is already costing the UK more than £1bn a year, according to new analysis by an independent think tank. Global Future, which promotes the benefits of openness, calculates that the loss to the public finances is the equivalent of more than 23,000 nurses or 18,000 doctors. It also claims that meeting the government’s immigration target of “tens of thousands” will also cost Britain ... Read More »

Dani Garavelli: May’s trial by Trump almost excites sympathy

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You might have thought (hoped) Theresa May’s last joint press conference with Donald Trump in Washington, in January 2017, when the US President dished out put-down after put-down, would have marked the nadir in British-American relations; that things, as… The Scotsman But contemporary western politics is a bottomless hole; every time you convince yourself our representatives can go no lower, they slip further into the mire. And so, on Friday, just hours after Trump and May had broken bread together ... Read More »

Mueller’s stark choice for Trump: take on Putin or be branded a coward

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New York: Robert Mueller has snookered Donald Trump spectacularly. A mere three days before Trump was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the special counsel has provided the public with the most comprehensive official account of how the Russians conspired to hack the 2016 election. Matthew Knott The Canberra Times The indictment issued against 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday, local time, offers Trump a simple choice for the Helsinki summit: to aggressively rebuke Putin – both in rhetoric and policy ... Read More »

Would America fight in northern Europe? A question for NATO

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If fighting breaks out between Russia and its neighbors, the Baltic States are one of the likeliest battlegrounds. Various factors make this a tricky scenario for the NATO alliance Stephen Bryen Asia Times Last year, writing for an Italian think tank where I am a senior fellow, Il Nodo di Gordo, I asked the question, Will NATO Fight? And for What?) But today, perhaps the right question is not to ask whether NATO will fight, but whether America will fight for NATO. That ... Read More »