Europe

Liverpool makes a stand and runs far-right marchers out of town

Fringe far-right group abandon plans due to numbers of counter-demonstrators Mattha Busby The Guardian A far-right group has abandoned plans to march through Liverpool after members were visibly outnumbered by counter-demonstrators, including the mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson. A handful of marchers from the so-called North West Frontline Patriots were met by hundreds of anti-fascist counter-protesters co-ordinated by groups such as Merseyside Together and Unite Against Fascism as they arrived in Liverpool on Saturday. “Peaceful people power… Liverpool makes a… Read More »

Greek islanders to receive inaugural John McCain Prize for refugee crisis response

The people of the Greek island of Lesvos are poised to receive the inaugural John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service for their response to the refugee crisis, Politico has reported. ekathimerini According to its daily briefing, the American news site said that the announcement was made by Cindy McCain, the widow of the respected US statesman who died on August 25. The award will reportedly be bestowed on the residents of the Aegean island that has been on ... Read More »

Homelessness: how other countries can avoid a US-style crisis

Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK, where the number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010, yet it is dwarfed by the scale of the issue in the US. Andrea Gibbons The Conversation More than 500,000 homeless were found across the US during just one night, compared to the UK’s 2017 count of 4,751. Changes in the definition of homelessness and flawed methodologies suggest that the true number for the US could be anywhere from 2.5 to 10.2 times greater. Millions more live in overcrowded ... Read More »

Pressure mounts on Ireland to accept EU digital tax

The Republic continues to resist proposal as European opposition to the levy slips away Pat Leahy, Cliff Taylor The Irish Times The Government is under increasing pressure to agree to European Commission proposals for an EU-wide 3 per cent digital sales tax ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels next week. Government sources says it will resist the proposal in its current form, but there has been heavy lobbying from the commission, the French government and the ... Read More »

A Flawed European Ruling on Free Speech

The European Court of Human Rights invoked “religious peace” as a reason to limit criticisms of the Prophet Muhammad. Simon Cottee The Atlantic According to dominant Islamic traditions, the Prophet Muhammad’s third wife Aisha was six years old at their marriage and nine at its consummation. Muslims, as Graeme Wood has pointed out, have debated the issue of Aisha’s age for a very long time, and critics of Islam seemingly can’t keep off the subject. In the fall of 2009, a woman referred to as ... Read More »

Georgian presidential front-runner aims at multilateralism to thaw frozen conflicts

Born in exile, the career diplomat Salome Zurabishvili faces a runoff vote after a narrow lead in the first round. Zhanna Nemtsova In an interview with DW, she stressed the importance of democracy and multipartyism in her country. Salome Zurabishvili is an independent candidate for the Georgian presidency endorsed by the Georgian Dream party. Born in Paris to a family of Georgian emigres, she was educated in France and served as a career diplomat, and was appointed ambassador of France ... Read More »

Why Europe still needs Merkel

Even the German leader’s biggest critics are worried about what will happen when she goes. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Europe’s queen is dead! But is she really? And if so, will there be a new queen? Or maybe a king? As if Europe didn’t have enough to worry about at the moment (Italy, Brexit, Poland, Hungary, populism … Italy!), Germany is back on the boil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision this week to step aside from the leadership of her Christian Democrats may ... Read More »

Christians’ crisis of faith threatens Norwegian government

Kingmakers torn over prospect of ousting conservatives and installing center-left alliance. Anca Gurzu Politico The future of Norway’s conservative-led government has been thrown into doubt by a small Christian party, which will decide on Friday whether to keep supporting the ruling coalition or push the country to the left. The Christian Democratic Party (KrF) is not formally part of Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s minority administration but backs the government in key parliamentary votes. KrF leader Knut Arild Hareide shocked the country at the end of… Christians’ ... Read More »

Angela Merkel’s African business summit marred by protest

The German chancellor welcomed 11 African leaders to Berlin to introduce them to the CEOs of Germany’s biggest firms. Ben Knight DW Outside, protesters demanded Germany stop doing business with dictatorships across the continent. “Africa is open for business.” South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa couldn’t have made the basic purpose of the G20 investment summit any clearer. Ramaphosa was one of 11 African leaders in Berlin on Tuesday for what the German government said was the biggest African event ... Read More »

Europe’s AI ethics chief: No rules yet, please

Define ethical principles and let the courts correct problems as they come up, says Pekka Ala-Pietilä. Janosch Delcker Politico HELSINKI — In a global race to dominate artificial intelligence technology, Europe needs to keep its urge to regulate under control — at least for now. That’s the main message from Pekka Ala-Pietilä, a former president of Nokia and tech entrepreneur who is overseeing EU efforts to draw up principles that will underpin any future regulation of the technology. At the ... Read More »

What Thucydides Knew About the US Today

On the morning after the 2016 presidential election I tried to distract myself by reading some pages of Thucydides that I had assigned for a class the next day, and found myself reading the clearest explanation I had seen of the… Edward Mendelson The New York Review of Books In the third book of his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides describes the outbreak of civil war on the northern island of Corcyra in 427 BC: There was the revenge taken in ... Read More »

Merkel government shaken by regional vote battering

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government on Oct. 28 suffered a beating in a second key regional election in as many weeks, multiplying questions over the future of the veteran leader’s fragile alliance. FRANKURT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Weakened by a strong backlash against immigration after allowing over a million people into Germany since 2015, Merkel’s fourth government has staggered from one crisis to the next since being formed earlier this year. According to an exit poll by public broadcaster ARD in Hesse state, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union ... Read More »

How a Democratic majority could undermine Mueller probe

Democrats want to open probes into issues the US special counsel is also investigating. Darren Samuelsohn Politico U.S. Democrats have religiously deferred to special counsel Robert Mueller over the last 17 months, hamstrung by their lack of congressional power and expressing faith that the respected investigator will get the job done if left alone. That could all change after November. If Democrats retake the House in the midterm elections, they’re prepared to use their newfound subpoena power to aggressively open ... Read More »

Glasgow tries to get at roots of crime as other countries take note

Glasgow, Scotland: Jonathan has scars from his former life. Jagged scars on his neck and the back of his head. He has a history of drug abuse and assault. Some of the punches he threw landed on police… The Washington Post The Canberra Times But today his scars are partly covered by a bright pink shirt and black apron. He leans across a gleaming counter to hand over a chicken wrap and fries. “Sea salt or chili salt?” he asks a ... Read More »

Brian Wilson: Leipzig shows how history’s giants bring people together

In Leipzig, Brian Wilson finds evidence of the greatness of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who took an extraordinary decision that helped make the reunification of Germany a success. Brian Wilson The Scotsman It is surely a paradox of history that so much time now has to be spent resisting efforts to create new borders when most of the past couple of centuries’ heroes are those who brought people together. This week, I was in two German cities – Berlin for ... Read More »

Diarmaid Ferriter: Nuns’ side of story needs to be heard

Silence and selective recounting of history reinforces caricature of ‘bad nuns’ Diarmaid Ferriter The Irish Times Just what is the nuns’ story? That is a question I’ve often pondered when absorbing the revelations of recent years about Ireland’s reliance on institutions, the things that went on within them and the social, economic and cultural currents that… There has been much testimony from survivors of abuse and numerous declarations of sorrow from politicians reacting to the publication of the reports of ... Read More »