Worse than Oil? The Geopolitics of the Banana

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Attracting encroachments to national sovereignty by rapacious Washington-connected multinational corporations and the meddling attentions of their powerful home country; stunting reform and economic development at every turn; breeding economic dependency; firmly controlled by foreign companies and giving little beneficiation to the country of production; upending and undermining political institutions; and… Bhaso Ndzendze ModernDiplomacy These are ringing accusations which bring to mind one natural resource –oil. Certainly not the banana. This is somewhat understandable; oil more readily lends itself to the… ... Read More »

Greece frees German journalists detained at Turkish border

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Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. Agence France Presse Hurriyet Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. The pair, a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, were working for regional German television channel NDR on a documentary about refugees, ... Read More »

U.S. moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

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In an effort to repair tattered relations, the Trump administration has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, according to U.S. and… By Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The first step and “the crux of the matter,” a senior Turkish official said, is to withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the ... Read More »

Trump tariffs: EU wants clarity on exemption

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The EU’s trade commissioner says there is “no immediate clarity” from the US on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump. BBC Cecilia Malmstrom met with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels. She said discussions would continue next week. Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute. The EU says that its exports should be excluded from the… Trump tariffs: ... Read More »

Renowned author and archaeologist Jacqueline Karageorghis dies aged 85

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Internationally renowned French archaeologist Jacqueline Girard Karageorghis has died, it was announced on Saturday. She was 85. CyprusMail Karageorghis moved to Cyprus in the 1950s after completing her studies at the University of Lyon. She married to the former director of the department of antiquities, Vassos Karageorghis in 1953 and together they had two children, Cleo and Andreas. During her long and multifaceted professional career, she taught French, between 1963 and 1986, and was deputy education attaché at the French ... Read More »

Labour’s Brexit policy could see them lose Scottish votes, MEP warns

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Labour could lose votes in Scotland unless it adopts its Brexit position to reflect the country’s desire to stay in the European Union, one of the party’s MEPs has warned. Katrine Bussey The Scotsman With almost two-thirds of Scots having voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, Catherine Stihler warned Labour would “pay the consequences electorally at the hands of the SNP” if it ignored that result. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would be “wrong” for the UK to ... Read More »

Princess Diana beats Virgin Mary as nation’s best mum

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She may be dearly loved and revered, but Princess Diana is not yet the focus of prayer for millions around the world. Harry Farley Christian Today And yet the Duchess of Wales comfortably beat the Virgin Mary as the ideal mother, according to a Church of England poll ahead of Mothering Sunday. With one in 20 (five per cent) naming Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother as the ideal figure, Diana was easily the most popular single choice. In fact ... Read More »

Minister criticises ‘snowflake’ artists who opposed arms firm sponsorship

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Jake Berry reacts after BAE Systems withdraws as partner of Great Exhibition of the North Frances Perraudin The Guardian The government minister responsible for the “northern powerhouse” has described campaigners who forced the arms firm BAE Systems to withdraw as a sponsor of a flagship arts festival in north-east England as “subsidy-addicted artists” and “snowflakes”. The Great Exhibition of the North, which will run from 22 June to 9 September in Gateshead and Newcastle, is being funded by £5m from the government’s northern ... Read More »

Why China’s Xi is not ‘Putin-plus’

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Xi Jinping is not following in Vladimir Putin’s footsteps. He’s carving his own path. Maria Repnikova Al Jazeera The recently announced constitutional amendments in China, ending term limits and paving the way for Chinese leader Xi Jinping‘s indefinite rule, have sparked quite a lot of debate and speculations in Western media. Some commentators went as far as comparing Xi to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that China is now turning into a Russia-style autocracy. While the phrase “Putin-plus“ sounds catchy, the comparison does not reflect the ... Read More »

Empty threats won’t worry Russia. Britain needs a better approach

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The threat posed by the Kremlin can be reduced if Britain refuses to handle its dirty money and takes on a PR offensive Mark Rice-Oxley The Guardian Oh, Russia! Even before we point fingers over poison and speculate about secret agents and spy swaps and pub food in Salisbury, one thing has become clear: Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war. Its agents pop over for murder and shopping, ... Read More »

Syrians yes, Iraqis no: the startling disparity in Britain’s asylum decisions

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Collateral, a new TV mini-series on the BBC written by David Hare, revolves around the murder of a young man working as a pizza delivery driver in London. Jason Hart The Conversation One of the main themes running through the drama series is the situation of asylum seekers in the UK. We soon learn that the murder is linked to events that occurred while the victim and his two sisters were crossing by boat from Turkey to Greece. Initially pretending ... Read More »

Mobile phone pioneer encourages Scotland to embrace circular economy

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An influential designer who has worked on some of the world’s most popular mobile phones is to visit Edinburgh to speak on the benefits of adopting a more “circular” manufacturing sector. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman Tapani Jokinen, who helped develop the multi-million selling Nokia 3310 and 1100 cellphones, will devliver the latest in a series of lectures organised by Zero Waste Scotland on the need for a circular economy – in which materials are kept in high value use for ... Read More »

Arsene Wenger: Why some Arsenal fans are comparing him to Robert Mugabe

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When is a football manager like a controversial ousted ruler? Arsenal twitterdom has found an innovative way to call for an end to Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as manager: by comparing him to former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Reha Kansara BBC Comparisons between the two men have been the basis for jokes all season long, but the meme really took off after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton over the weekend. And the heat on Wenger has only continued in advance of Thursday’s ... Read More »

Russia Should Go Beyond Humanitarian Corridors in Syria

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Russia’s proposal for humanitarian corridors for Eastern Ghouta and Rukban camp have little chance of mitigating suffering there. Sam Heller ICG Instead, Moscow should push for a negotiated resolution of Eastern Ghouta through UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and secure normal aid agency access to Rukban, thereby enhancing its credibility as a mediator. Syria’s civilians have suffered tremendously through the country’s seven years of conflict. Now, as the Syrian government and its allies prepare to retake Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta suburbs, ... Read More »

US Tariffs: ‘Aluminum Companies Will Benefit, Everyone Else Will Lose’ – Analyst

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Trump’s decision to introduce higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would be detrimental to both the US and the EU. Sputnik This is what French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has stated, noting that the US measures would have a major impact on the European economy. Sputnik discussed this with Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst at Cato Institute. Sputnik: What is your take on President Trump’s statement that the US has been suffering from unfair trade, is that really the case? ... Read More »

Another oil firm seeks sweeping injunction against UK protesters

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Critics say legal move by UK Oil and Gas, that could see protesters at its sites jailed and fined, is draconian and anti-democratic Rob Evans The Guardian Another firm is seeking a sweeping injunction against environmental protesters, drawing accusations that the legal move is “draconian and chillingly anti-democratic”. UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) has applied for a broad injunction to prevent campaigners from mounting protests that it says would unlawfully interfere with its operations. The injunction, if granted by a… ... Read More »