Europe

Ecuador conveys ‘unease’ over use of force by Turkish president’s guards

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Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has conveyed its “unease” over the use of force against its citizens by guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a demonstration in the capital of Quito, Turkish officials have confirmed. Hurriyet – Emine Kart – ANKARA The incident subject to Ecuador’s diplomatic moves took place on Feb. 5 as a group of demonstrators protested Turkey’s ongoing military operations against the outlawedKurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as Erdoğan was speaking at the National Higher Studies Institute in Quito. ... Read More »

Why we’re not safe from Grexit yet

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Letter From Athens Between economic recovery and an escalating migration crisis, Greece faces a tumultuous year ahead. Politico – By Megan Greene ATHENS — A team of analysts from one of the main credit rating agencies smiled condescendingly across a boardroom table one recent afternoon, when asked about the likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro. It was clear they dismissed the idea. There is virtually no chance of Greece leaving the eurozone, they assured me. This is not the first ... Read More »

Academia in Turkey ‘reminds me of Ceauşescu’s Romania’, says exiled scholar

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Political theorist Andrei Stavilă explains how a comment on a friend’s Facebook page led to exit from Turkish university Times Higher Education By Jack Grove Twitter: @jgro_the A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics. Andrei Stavilă had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two more years ... Read More »

Russia and the Separatists in Eastern Ukraine

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Despite repeated expressions of support for the Minsk process and recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR, LNR), Moscow’s policy in Ukraine’s east looks more likely to strengthen those entities than prepare for the dismantlement the Minsk agreement envisages. Kyiv/Brussels, ICG – Europe and Central Asia Briefing N°79 OVERVIEW The Kremlin views Ukraine’s European choice as a major security threat and the 2014 overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych as Western-backed and aimed at isolating Russia. ... Read More »

French purists vexed at demise of circumflex

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French linguistic purists voiced online anger on Feb. 4 at the loss of one of their favorite accents — the pointy little “circumflex” hat that sits on top of certain vowels. Hurriyet – PARIS – Agence France-Presse A change in the spelling of some 2,000 French words will come into effect in new primary school textbooks being released for the start of the school year in September, the education ministry and publishers announced. The circumflex accent will become optional for many ... Read More »

Warsaw wants to BFF Cameron

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The new conservative government in Poland, isolated in the EU, looks for new allies. Politico – By JAN CIENSKI WARSAW — David Cameron’s visit to Warsaw on Friday is about more than the British prime minister hunting for support ahead of a Brexit referendum. It’s also a way for Poland to show it still matters in the EU. “The fact that Cameron is coming to Poland is proof that Poland is an important member of the EU,” said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. Szydło ... Read More »

Centrica sells three wind farms in £423m deal with GIB

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Scottish Gas owner Centrica has sold its stake in an Aberdeenshire wind farm as part of a £423 million deal. The Scotsman – GARETH MACKIE The group, along with 50 per cent joint venture partner EIG Global Energy Partners, has sold the 26 megawatt Glens of Foudland site near Huntly, along with two offshore wind farms in Lincolnshire, to a consortium comprising the UK Green Investment Bank Offshore Wind Fund and funds managed by BlackRock. Centrica said the enterprise value of ... Read More »

UN panel urges UK and Sweden to end Julian Assange’s ‘deprivation of liberty’

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UN working group on arbitrary detention says WikiLeaks founder should be offered compensation for being confined to Ecuadorian embassy The Guardian – Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent @owenbowcott The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden since he was arrested in London in December 2010, according to aUnited Nations report. As anticipated, the finding by the Geneva-based UN working group on arbitrary detention criticises legal action against Assange by both European governments and blames them for ... Read More »

The Not-So-Frozen Conflicts on Russia’s Borders

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Of the six countries singled out by the European Union (EU) as its eastern neighbourhood partners, five are locked in disputes over regions that have claimed independence. Two of these regions have been recognised by Moscow, and Russia is closely engaged in all of them. ICG – By Magdalena Grono These standoffs, several dating back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, are a genuine security and political challenge in a neighbourhood where the EU’s association and Russia’s integration ... Read More »

Planning permission for €240m wind farm in Co Meath rejected

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Controversial development near Kells had been designated as strategic infrastructure The Irish Times Elaine Edwards Planning permission for a controversial €240 million wind farm development at in north Meath has been refused by an Bord Pleanála. Element Power had sought permission for the construction at Emlagh, near Kells, of three wind farm clusters of up to 46 wind turbines with a maximum tip height of up to 169 metres. An oral hearing last summer lasted for five weeks and heard ... Read More »

Portugal’s budget clears EU hurdle

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Commission gives green light to government’s plan, despite warning on eurozone non-compliance. Politico – By PAUL AMES LISBON — Portugal’s Socialist government avoided an embarrassing rejection of its 2016 budget by the European Commission Friday after its additional deficit-reducing measures eased some of Brussels’ concerns. “The Commission did not have to request a revised budgetary plan,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission vice-president for the euro. However, Dombrovskis warned the budget plan remains “at risk of non-compliance” with the eurozone’sstability and growth pact, asked the government ... Read More »

Assange says he will accept arrest if UN panel rules against him

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, and accept arrest on Feb. 5 if a UN panel investigating his case rules against him, he said in a statement. Hurriyet – SYDNEY – Reuters Assange, 44, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape in 2010 which the Australian denies. “Should the U.N. announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United ... Read More »

Russia, terrorism drag down Turkey’s economy

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Turkey is paying a hefty price for incurring Russia’s wrath. After Turkish jets shot down a Russian jet in disputed airspace in November, Moscow responded with biting sanctions that have caused bilateral trade and tourism to plummet. Bluin News – by Michael Lerner in Middle East. Now, Russia’s latest move is to start looking for ways to transfer the manufacturing of spare auto parts for its major car producers from Turkey to Serbia, Deputy P.M. Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday. Turkish producers exported some $800 million worth ... Read More »

United Nations panel could rule in favour of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

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London ends 24-hour guards at Ecuador embassy Assange could soon be questioned after Ecuador-Sweden deal London: The outcome of a United Nations investigation into the case of Julian Assange is set to be revealed and could rule that the WikiLeaks founder is being detained illegally. The Sydney Morning Herald Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years and has been granted political asylum by the Ecuador government. The Australian is wanted for questioning in ... Read More »

Expect the War on Cash to Accelerate as Negative Interest Rates Come to the U.S.

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Like an ambush, it has to come by surprise… Whenever you hear a central banker or politician say something won’t happen, you can almost be certain it will happen. And probably soon. International Man – by Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor * Coming from a bureaucrat, the real meaning of “no, of course not” is “it could happen tomorrow.” It’s like the old saying: “Believe nothing until it has been officially denied.” These deceptions have a purpose: Politicians and central bankers have to surprise ... Read More »

David Miliband calls for 1m work permits for Syrian refugees

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Former foreign secretary urges lifting of ‘legal and financial barriers’ that prevent refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey from working The Guardian – Patrick Wintour and Ian Black The former foreign secretary David Miliband has called for 1 million Syrian refugees in the countries bordering their homeland to be given work permits, saying it is a “fiction” to suggest the Syrian war will end soon. Speaking before a London conference on Syria hosted by David Cameron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, Miliband ... Read More »