Europe

Israel denies Turkish remarks on involvement in Kurd vote

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 1 denied Turkish remarks of covert involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan’s recent independence vote, reiterating however his “sympathy” for the Kurdish people. Agence France-Presse Hurriyet On Sept. 30, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Israel’s intelligence agency played a role in the Sept. 25 referendum, citing as proof the waving of Israeli flags during celebrations for the overwhelming “yes” vote. “This shows one thing, that this administration [in northern Iraq] has a history with ... Read More »

Only a partitioned island will bring the dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to an end

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In one of its worst strategic decisions ever, the European Union (sadly, with UK acquiescence) had agreed that Cyprus should join the EU on 1 May 2004, whether agreement had been reached with the Turkish Cypriots or not Jack Straw * Earlier this summer the 11th international effort to strike a deal between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots was rejected by the Greek-Cypriot government – as every previous one has been. Independent So, whatever its terms, will the next, and the ... Read More »

Brexit: Boris Johnson urges two-year transition time limit

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Theresa May is coming under fresh pressure over Brexit on the eve of the Conservative party conference Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has again intervened on Brexit, setting out four conditions he says are necessary. BBC Speaking to the Sun, Mr Johnson insisted any transition period after Britain leaves the EU should not last “a second more” than two years. Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson’s position threatened a trade war with the EU, which could impact on jobs. The prime minister ... Read More »

The Who, Where, and When of Secession

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National self-determination, the principle that US President Woodrow Wilson put on the international agenda in 1918, is generally defined as the right of a people to form its own state. Joseph S. Nye Project Syndicate The independence referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia are the latest examples showing why that principle is so often difficult to apply. CAMBRIDGE – This week, Kurds in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence for the country’s Kurdistan Region. With some 30 million ... Read More »

Turkey agrees to ‘only deal with Baghdad’ over oil exports

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In a major U-turn, Turkey has agreed to solely deal with the central Iraqi government over crude oil exports, following a contentious secession referendum held by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the Baghdad government says. PressTV The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reported Ankara’s change of mode on Thursday, following a phone call between Abadi and his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim. Yildirim “confirmed the support of his country on all decisions” taken by the Iraqi government, said the… ... Read More »

Monsanto banned from European parliament

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MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller Arthur Nelsen The Guardian Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference. It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or ... Read More »

Catholicism’s influence is very much alive in Ireland

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The faith still has significant public and private sway despite blows to the church A few years ago, Eugene O’Brien and I started work on a book of essays entitled Tracing the Cultural Legacy of Irish Catholicism: From Galway to Cloyne and Beyond. Eamon Maher The Irish Times We approached contributors from different disciplines and shades of opinion to provide as balanced an overview as possible of what is an emotive topic. The timespan covered in the book is revealed, somewhat obliquely, in ... Read More »

EL PAÍS analyzes 10 claims commonly made by separatists to support their cause

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The Catalan pro-independence movement bases its claims on a set of emphatic and oft-repeated assertions These range from historical beliefs (that there was, for example, a war of secession in 1714 that resulted in a subjugated Catalonia) to economic maxims (Spain is robbing us, we’d be richer outside Spain). EL PAÍS These assertions are all false. EL PAÍS has analyzed 10 of the myths that are used to support the separatists’ story, and found that not one of them withstands ... Read More »

Denmark’s immigration minister uses cartoon of Prophet Mohammad as iPad background

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Inger Stojberg says Denmark has right to criticise religions Denmark’s immigration minister on Tuesday posted a screenshot of her iPad showing a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad on Facebook, one of the satirical cartoons that caused outrage among Muslims around the world more than a decade ago. Independent  The Facebook post comes as a reaction to a decision by the Skovgaard Museum in Viborg, Denmark, not to include the drawing in a new exhibition about blasphemy since the Reformation. “It ... Read More »

Vegetative-state patient responds to therapy

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A man in France has regained some degree of consciousness after being in a vegetative state for 15 years Doctors treated the 35-year-old, injured in a car accident, with an experimental therapy that involved implanting a nerve stimulator into his chest. Michelle Roberts BBC Within a month, he could respond to simple instructions, turning his head and following an object with his eyes. Experts say the results are potentially very exciting, but need repeating. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) may not work as ... Read More »

On Catalan independence, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden emerge as surprise backers

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Two Moscow-linked figures have emerged as the loudest voices on Twitter amplifying news and commentary about Catalonia’s secession referendum. Chris Zappone The Age Research independently confirmed by Fairfax Media shows Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange as well as former National Security Administrator contractor Edward Snowden now account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic under the hashtag #… Assange has peppered his followers with more than 80 original tweets supporting the Catalan independence referendum, suggesting “the future ... Read More »

Angela’s ashes: 5 takeaways from the German election

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 24: (EDITOR'S NOTE: This image was converted from color to black and white) German Chancellor and Christian Democrat (CDU) Angela Merkel smiles after leaving her election party and reacting to initial results that give the party 33,1% of the vote, giving it a first place finish, in German federal elections on September 24, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Chancellor Merkel is seeking a fourth term and coming weeks will likely be dominated by negotiations between parties over the next coalition government. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

The next few years won’t be pretty Angela Merkel will remain German chancellor. That widely anticipated outcome was about the only unsurprising element of Sunday’s German election. Matthew Karnitschnig  Politico The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) finished much stronger than most observers dared predict, becoming the first unabashedly racist, anti-foreigner party to sit in Germany’s parliament since the days of Hitler. The Social Democrats (SPD) all but imploded, opting to go into opposition to lick their wounds rather than risk another ... Read More »

Catalan referendum: MSPs call for independence vote to go ahead

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Spanish authorities must allow a referendum on Catalan independence to go ahead, a cross-party group of MSPs has said as tensions in the province rise. PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS The Scotsman Parliamentarians from four parties have signed a letter to the Spanish government voicing “grave concern” at a widening crackdown against organisers of the referendum on 1 October, which Spain’s constitutional court has ruled is… The constitutional row has seen Catalan government officials arrested and control over devolved institutions taken by authorities ... Read More »

Auditor says he was forced to quit Vatican after finding irregularities

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The Vatican’s first auditor-general, who resigned without explanation in June, has broken his silence, saying he was forced to step down with trumped-up accusations after discovering evidence of possible illegal activity. Reuters Hurriyet Speaking to reporters from four media organizations including Reuters in the office of his lawyers in Rome, Libero Milone also said he believed that some in the Vatican wanted to slow down Pope Francis’s efforts at financial reform. He said he could not give details of the ... Read More »

Turkey and Germany: A Worsening Crisis

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The harsh measures taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since the failed coup attempt last year have led to a deepening crisis with a host of Western states, first and foremost with Germany. Yaniv Avrahm BESA Since the coup attempt, relations between Ankara and Berlin have been at an unprecedented low. However, in light of their history of close relations, the volume of stable economic trade over the years, and Turkey’s ability to stabilize the waves of immigration to ... Read More »

What the stunning success of AfD means for Germany and Europe

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The radical right party profited from the fact immigration was the number one election issue. But can its breakthrough last? Cas Mudde The Guardian n 1991 Belgium had its (first) black Sunday, when the populist radical right Flemish Block gained 6.8% of the national vote. Since then many other western European countries have gone through a similar experience, from Denmark to Switzerland. And now, even the ever stable Germany has its own schwarzer Sonntag, and it’s blacker than most people ... Read More »