Europe

US Senate looks to have ended Trump’s honeymoon with Russia

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Russia’s tit-for-tat retaliation against Senate vote to impose new sanctions on Moscow may herald the beginning of a new downward spiral in relations. Arshad Mohammed Reuters Asia Times Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate over the US expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds. The honeymoon is over. Russia’s tit-for-tat decision now to expel hundreds of US diplomats and seize two US compounds may be ... Read More »

Turkey’s top judicial body reshuffles 110 judges, prosecutors

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Turkey’s top judicial authority, the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), has transferred 110 judges and prosecutors working in military and other courts in Turkey. Turkish Minute According to HSK decrees numbered 1037 and 1038, published on Friday night, 65 judges in military courts were transferred to positions as judges and prosecutors in civil and administrative courts. The HSK also reshuffled 40 judges and prosecutors in civil and criminal courts and five in administrative courts. The reorganization took place after ... Read More »

After Trump and Brexit, is this the end for the Anglo-Saxon west?

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You must be from England,” says the shop assistant at the CVS drugstore in Menlo Park, California. Timothy Garton Ash The Guardian When I mention Donald Trump, he says: “Well, don’t get me started on how things are going on your side of the Atlantic. After Trump and… Read More »

Government adviser urges review of farmers’ tax-breaks

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Tax breaks for UK farmers should be reviewed, the head of a group advising the environment secretary has said. BBC Economist Dieter Helm said the current system of taxpayer-funded support was extremely wasteful and the industry suffered from “subsidy addiction”. Prof Helm said the exemption of farmland and buildings was used to avoid inheritance tax. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said his ideas were not under Government adviser urges… Read More »

What lessons can Nicola Sturgeon learn from Catalonian Indyref plans?

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Once again, it looks like voters in Catalonia are headed to the polls to vote on whether to declare independence from Spain. Ross McCafferty The Scotsman Readers in Scotland, especially those weary of talk over another plebiscite, will have a feeling of solidarity with those in the area that includes Barcelona, as this is the second time in three years the Spanish region will have its say on constitutional matters. The poll, tentatively scheduled for October 1, comes just over ... Read More »

Why offshore processing of refugees bound for Europe is such a bad idea

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n the same day that a top UN official bravely called on Australia to end the harmful practice of processing asylum applications offshore in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, one of his colleagues announced his support for another proposed offshoring system – this time to prevent migrants reaching the… Daria Davitti  The Conversation On July 24, Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), said that Australia’s policy to deny access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea “has caused extensive, ... Read More »

Defiant Varadkar tells British: we won’t design Brexit border for you

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Taoiseach says ‘if anyone should be angry, it’s us’ Mary Minihan The Irish Times Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said Ireland is “not going to design a border for the Brexiteers”. He struck a defiant note at a media briefing in Government Buildings on Friday when he insisted in the strongest terms yet that Ireland did not want an economic border with the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union. “What we’re not going to do is to design a ... Read More »

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show. Moscow – Reuters Hurriyet The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad. Putin approved the agreement on July ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

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China and Russia’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. Crisis Group To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar ... Read More »

Will the Kurds Get Their Independence Referendum?

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The Kurdish region faces a multiplicity of hurdles as it prepares for the “yes to independence” referendum. Seth J. Frantzman The National Interest Kurdistan Regional Government president Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 that the region had set September 25 as the date for a referendum on independence. He was joined by members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Kurdistan Islamic Union, Kurdistan Islamic Movement and… New signs on billboards throughout the KRG capital of Erbil ... Read More »

This is How the Space Race Changed the Great Power Rivalry Forever

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The zeal the United States and USSR had to outperform one another in the Space Race was beneficial to scientific progress. Martand Jha The National Interest The Space Race between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics post World War II was a tipping point in the history of mankind. This superpower race intensified the Cold War rivalry because for the first time mankind was looking to compete in the arena of space. Dominance over space and ... Read More »

Israel to Erdoğan: The days of the Ottoman Empire are over

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In response to statements made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan that linked the problems in Palestine to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the days of the Ottoman Empire are over. Turkish Minute Erdoğan criticized Israel over the installation of metal detectors at the entrance of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem after assailants killed two Israeli police officers on July 14 and said Israel had exceeded its boundaries. Nahshon, who criticized ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

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Russia’s and China’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. ICG To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar investments ... Read More »

UK watchdog to require banks to publish data on service

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[LONDON] Banks in Britain will have to publish data every quarter from next year to show the quality of service they provide to customers to try to boost competition, the… SPH Performance based on set criteria should be measured every three months from April 2018, and published on a bank’s website within six weeks of the end of the quarter, the… First publication is expected in mid-August 2018, with issues such as the… UK watchdog to… Read More »

IMF downgrades UK and US growth forecasts

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The UK and US economies will expand more slowly in 2017 than previously predicted, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BBC It said “weaker-than-expected activity” in the first three months of the year meant the UK would grow by 1.7%, compared with an earlier 2% forecast. The IMF also revised down its US growth forecast from 2.3% to 2.1%. However, its overall global economic predictions – of 3.5% growth in 2017 and… IMF downgrades UK… Read More »

Andrzej Duda says he will block proposed legislation that would have put supreme court under control of ruling party

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Poland’s president says he will veto two contentious bills that are widely seen as attacks on the independence of the judicial system and are part of a planned legal overhaul by the ruling party… Agencies in Warsaw The Guardian In announcing his decision on Monday, Andrzej Duda broke openly for the first time with Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice… Duda is closely aligned with the party and has supported its agenda since taking office in… ... Read More »