Europe

Even Dutch planning can’t avoid the chaos of a no-deal Brexit

Rotterdam: The Hook of Holland, a stretch of land outside Rotterdam sliced by canals, functions in many ways like Britain’s backyard. Michael Birnbaum WAtoday The Washington Post Greenhouses stretch for miles, nurturing tulips, tomatoes and other supermarket specialties. The bounty is gathered into warehouses and sorted under signs denoting destinations such as Sheffield and Gateshead. Then trucks whisk it all onto ferries headed across the North Sea. Thanks to this precisely calibrated ecosystem and the European Union’s borderless trading zone, ... Read More »

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa flees to US

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa has fled to the US to protest over President Nicolás Maduro’s second term in office. BBC Last year’s election “was not free and competitive”, the former Maduro loyalist told a Florida radio station. And he accused President Maduro of systematically manipulating the affairs of the Supreme Court. In response, the court said Mr Zerpa was fleeing allegations of sexual harassment. Opposition parties boycotted the 2018 vote, calling it a sham. Mr Zerpa had been ... Read More »

Belgium Bans Religious Slaughtering Practices, Drawing Praise and Protest

BRUSSELS — A Belgian ban on the Muslim and Jewish ways of ritually slaughtering animals went into effect on New Year’s Day, part of a clash across Europe over the balance between animal welfare and… Milan Schreuer The New York Times With both animal rights advocates and right-wing nationalists pushing to ban ritual slaughter, religious minorities in Belgium and other countries fear that they are the targets of bigotry under the guise of … “It is impossible to know the ... Read More »

India’s Muslims: Rich Hunting Ground for Middle Eastern Rivals

How Turkey’s President Erdogan is seeking to expand his leadership claim in the Islamic world in India. James M. Dorsey The Globalist Indian Muslims, 180 million strong, constitute the Islamic world’s second-largest community, after Indonesia, and well ahead of Turkey and ten times larger than Saudi Arabia’s population. Thus, when the ever expansionist and ambitious President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that Turkey was “the only country that can lead the Muslim world,” it stands to reason that he wasn’t ... Read More »

Ireland loves exactly what Britain hates about Europe

London and Dublin’s mental geographies have embarked on different trajectories Bobby McDonagh The Irish Times Although Ireland will be deeply affected by Brexit, we have to an extraordinary extent been unaffected by the Brexit debate. The main arguments and fears of the Brexiteers are essentially alien to us. We don’t share their wish to return to an imagined past. Unlike the UK today, we are confident about our ability to promote our interests in the modern interdependent world. Xenophobia in ... Read More »

The euro at 20: An enduring success but a fundamental failure

New Year’s Day 1999 saw the largest monetary changeover in history. Barry Eichengreen The Conversation On that date, just 20 years ago, 12 members of the European Union formally adopted a brand-spanking-new currency, the euro. Today seven additional EU member states use it, along with Montenegro, Kosovo, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. If survival is the ultimate gauge of success, then this grand monetary experiment can be said to have succeeded. But as investment advisers say, past performance ... Read More »

Government’s post-Brexit agriculture scheme falls short of protection needed to safeguard environment, farmers warn

Call for tougher policies comes after Michael Gove addressed two major farming conferences in Oxford Josh Gabbatiss Independent The government’s vision for post-Brexit farming does not provide enough protection for the environment, meaning food production is at risk, according to a farming group.Michael Gove’s agriculture bill is a cornerstone of his plan for a “green Brexit”, but campaigners say it has fallen short of providing long-term protection for UK nature. The environment secretary addressed two farming conferences in Oxford on Thursday, one focusing on traditional agriculture and the other based around ... Read More »

British Jews look to Germany for Brexit ‘insurance policy’

The German constitution allows for people whose citizenship was revoked for ‘political, racist, or religious reasons’ to have it reinstated. Hannah Roberts Politico LONDON — Sally Geppert, a legal secretary from Cologne, was 27 when she arrived in the U.K. on the last day of August 1939 — one of tens of thousands of German Jews who fled the Nazis and found refuge in Britain. The next day, September 1, Germany invaded Poland, war broke out and emigration to Britain from Nazi-controlled ... Read More »

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even its prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain Patrick Wintour The Guardian The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit. Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin ... Read More »

German government cagey on spy cooperation in Pinochet’s Chile

The German Foreign Ministry has refused to shed light on the BND’s cooperation with the CIA to aid General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime in Chile. Ben Knight DW The vague responses have outraged the German Left party. The German government has offered only cagey responses to questions about cooperation between the German secret service, the BND, and military dictatorships in Chile and Greece in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The socialist Left party’s Jan Korte submitted 68 questions to ... Read More »

Poll: 72% of Labour members back second Brexit vote

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defied calls to throw his weight behind a second referendum on the European Union despite a poll suggesting almost three-quarters of Labour members want one and thousands could quit the… Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman A survey of more than 1,000 party members found 72 per cent want a so-called People’s Vote on the terms of Brexit and most would chose to stay in the EU if given the option. But Mr Corbyn has long resisted ... Read More »

Malta opens waters to German NGO rescue boats beset by seasickness closer to shore

Berlin-based Sea-Watch said conditions on the boats had become dangerous, with migrants suffering from severe sea-sickness and post-traumatic stress disorder. The vessels were denied access to ports in Malta and… DW German migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 sent a desperate plea on Wednesday for a harbor to dock. Conditions aboard the ship have worsened, after 12 days at sea and bad weather conditions on the Mediterranean, Sea-Watch said in a… The Berlin-based NGO vessel rescued 32 migrants on December 22, ... Read More »

The President Who Wants to Break Up His Own Country

Once praised by Madeleine Albright as “a breath of fresh air,” Bosnia’s new president, Milorad Dodik, now threatens a fragile U.S.-brokered peace accord. Maxim Edwards The Atlantic SARAJEVO—Few national leaders would call their own country an “impossible state.” Fewer still would actively advocate for it to be broken up. Almost none would risk a decades-old peace accord to do so. And then there is Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik. “I am a Serb … Bosnia is only my place of employment,” Dodik ... Read More »

Ending austerity: give everyone a pay rise

In 2018 real earnings were 4% below what they were in 2008 in the UK. The decade since the global financial crisis was a lost decade for British workers; their living standards have stagnated. Engelbert Stockhammer The Conversation Wages have not even kept up with inflation. This is in sharp contrast to numerous decades before 2008. For example, from 1998 to 2008 wages, adjusted for inflation, grew by 25%. For most households, wages are the most important source of income, ... Read More »

A Eurocrat’s guide to Bucharest

As Romania takes over the EU’s rotating presidency, some top tips on surviving and enjoying the country’s capital. Carmen Paun Politico Dear Eurocrat, After a respite in Vienna, it’s time to head back to Europe’s wild east for the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU. If you survived Sofia, Bucharest should not come as a shock. The Communist-era tower blocks you saw in Bulgaria feature across most neighborhoods in the Romanian capital. The city’s biggest clean-up: It got rid of ... Read More »

Quantifying the Holocaust: Measuring murder rates during the Nazi genocide

Even though the Holocaust is one of the best documented genocides in a historical sense, there is surprisingly little quantitative data available, even on major critical events. Lewi Stone The Conversation What’s more, this history is often told in figures too large to comprehend on the human scale. Large numbers – like the infamous 6 million people murdered – obscure the significance of key operations that shaped this genocide, leaving instead just a… In a digital age, mathematics, data science ... Read More »