Europe

Time for Germany to Learn to Lead

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Washington’s move to abandon its global leadership role marks the end of Germany’s foreign policy innocence Christiane Hoffmann Spiegel Berlin will soon be faced with difficult choices that could dent its moral standing It is often a single sentence that goes down in history, one that epitomizes an idea, a movement, an era or a personality. Two sentences from Angela Merkel come to mind. One, focused on domestic politics, was an entreaty: “We can do it.” It was a pledge ... Read More »

UK minister expects closer defense ties with Cyprus military

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain’s defense minister says authorities want to ensure that British armed forces “work closer and more supportively” with Cyprus’ military in tackling common challenges. The Associated Press Herald-Whig Britain has two military bases on Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960. It continues to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean island nation. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides on ... Read More »

Winds of change: Britain now generates twice as much electricity from wind as coa

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Just six years ago, more than 40% of Britain’s electricity was generated by burning coal. Grant Wilson Iain Staffell The Conversation Today, that figure is just 7%. Yet if the story of 2016 was the dramatic demise of coal and its replacement by natural gas, then 2017 was most definitely about the growth of wind power. Wind provided 15% of electricity in Britain last year (Northern Ireland shares an electricity system with the Republic and is calculated separately), up from 10% in 2016. ... Read More »

Latvia, a disappearing nation

RIGA, LATVIA - MARCH 22:  The Freedom Monument  honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence from1918 to 1920 is pictured on March 22, 2013 in Riga, Latvia.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Since it joined the EU, the country has lost one-fifth of its population. By GORDON F. SANDER Politico RIGA — Atis Sjanits has an unusual remit for an ambassador. The Latvian diplomat is not responsible for relations with another nation — but with his own country’s diaspora. Sjanits’ job is to respond to the exodus triggered by Latvia’s accession to the EU. Since joining the bloc, nearly a fifth of the nation has left to work in more affluent EU ... Read More »

Ötüken Union Party, an openly racist/fascist political party, founded in Turkey

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The Ötüken Union Party, Turkey’s first openly racist and fascist political party, was established on Dec. 20, 2017, according to a report by online news outlet Duvar on Friday. Stockholm Center for Freedom By citing the political party list released by the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office at the end of the year, Duvar has reported that “Ötüken” is a legendary capital city in both Turkic mythology and Tengrism, a shamanistic central Asian religion that once prevailed over Turkic ... Read More »

We must help vulnerable people to make the best decisions

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New legal measures will bolster rights of those with diminished decision capacity Áine Flynn The Irish Times “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know what date it is?” “Can you name the Taoiseach?” “Can you spell ‘world’ backwards?” These questions are from the traditional mental status examination. They are an example of how not to assess the decision-making capacity of someone with an intellectual disability, mental illness, dementia or acquired brain injury. A person whose… We must help… Read More »

Tony Blair: Government could oppose final Brexit deal

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Discussions over Border highlight central dilemma for Theresa May, says former PM Denis Staunton The Irish Times The Government would have a strong case to oppose a final Brexit deal without a clear, detailed agreement on how to avoid a hard border, Tony Blair has said. The former British prime minister said the deal agreed between Theresa May and the European Union last month did not resolve the issue of the Border. “The important thing about the deal on Ireland was that ... Read More »

Yemen civil war: Norway suspends arms sales to UAE as part of ‘precautionary line’

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There is “great concern” over the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country, says Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide Jan M. Olsen Independent AP Norway has suspended exports of munitions and arms to the United Arab Emirates as a “precautionary line,” based on its assessment of the situation in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition including the UAE has been fighting Shia rebels in the country for nearly three years. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had “no information” that any of Norway’s military exports have been used in Yemen, but that there’s ... Read More »

Israel: African migrants told to leave or face imprisonment

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The Israeli government has issued a notice for thousands of African migrants to leave the country or face imprisonment BBC The migrants will be given up to $3,500 (£2,600) for leaving within the next 90 days. They will be given the option of going to their home country or third countries. If they do not leave, the Israeli authorities have threatened that they will start jailing them from April. The UN refugee agency said the controversial plan violated international and ... Read More »

Flemish farmer busts conventional wisdom on EU farm policy

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Community-supported model thrives without subsidies from Brussels By SIMON MARKS Politico LEUVEN, Belgium — The EU does not spend much time thinking about farmers like Tom Troonbeeckx. But as Brussels prepares to propose a reform of its landmark €58 billion-per-year Common Agricultural Policy in 2018, the softspoken Flemish farmer offers an alternative model to Europe’s conventional wisdom over the last half century. Troonbeeckx runs 30 hectares of farmland near the Belgian city of Leuven, only 20 kilometers east of Brussels, without… Flemish ... Read More »

Joe Hockey discussed Alexander Downer’s Russia revelations with FBI

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The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey personally steered Australia’s dealings with the FBI on explosive revelations of Russian hacking during last year’s presidential campaign in a sign of how politically sensitive the Australian government regarded the bombshell discovery, Fairfax Media understands. David Wroe Brisbane Times It is also understood there is now annoyance and frustration in Canberra that the High Commissioner to Britain Alexander Downer has been outed through leaks by US officials as the source of information ... Read More »

Macron’s new year’s speech: ‘France can’t succeed without a strong Europe’

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French president promises to listen to dissenting voices but appeals to Europeans not to give in to ‘nationalists and sceptics’ Angelique Chrisafis in Paris The Guardian The French president, Emmanuel Macron, appealed to European citizens “not to give in to nationalists and sceptics”, as he used his new year’s speech to promise to make the European Union “more united, more sovereign and more democratic”. Macron said in a televised address: “I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environmentally-friendly, scientific power that ... Read More »

Why it makes good sense to have a rainy day fund

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Ireland’s position remains vulnerable, despite the enormous progress of recent years Cliff Taylor The Irish Times There is a long tradition of interviews with the Taoiseach and senior Government Ministers over the Christmas period This year a key message from the Government is that there may be a need for restraint in tax and spending policies next year, as economic growth continues apace. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was at pains to point out that expected tax cuts of €1 billion could not be ... Read More »

Europe: What surprises are in store for 2018?

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Talk about a poisoned chalice… Katya Adler  “You’re the Europe editor,” say the BBC powers that be. “Tell us what to look out for in 2018.” Yet if we’ve learned anything at all from the last couple of years in European politics, it’s that hedge betting is a far more comfortable path to take than prediction-making. A year ago who could have foreseen the Macron phenomenon, taking over the French presidency and dominating the country’s parliament? Who, last December, predicted ... Read More »

Tory MP condemns universal basic income as ‘dangerous nonsense’

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Former skills minister says ‘we should not be trying to create a world in which most people do not feel the need to work’ Caroline Mortimer Independent A former Conservative minister has denounced the idea of a universal basic income to protect workers who lose their jobs as “dangerous nonsense” Former skills minister Nick Boles said the Tories had a “moral duty” to oppose the introduction of the idea – which guarantees every worker in the UK a minimum income. Universal basic income, or ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »