Europe

Sweden’s Recycling Is So Revolutionary, The Country Is Running Out Of Trash

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When it comes to recycling, Sweden sets an example for the rest of the world. Thanks to a government prioritization on sustainability, the Nordic country recycles 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually, a staggering amount for a population of about 9.6 million (in 2013). Sara Barnes BuzzWorthy In terms of rubbish, Swedes only produce a measly 461 kilograms (1,106 pounds) of waste average per year—less than 1% of discard ends up in landfills. This is slightly below the half-ton average in the rest of ... Read More »

Norway sued over Arctic oil exploration plans

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The case, led by Greenpeace, claims Norwegian government has violated constitutional right to a healthy environment and contravenes Paris agreement Tone Sutterud and Elisabeth Ulven in Oslo The Guardian The Norwegian government is being sued by climate activists over a decision to open up areas of the Arctic Ocean for oil exploration, a move they say endangers the lives of existing and future generations. The plaintiffs, led by environmental organisations Greenpeace and Youth and Nature, will on Tuesday claim that the Norwegian government has ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: Brexit means we are bordering on the absurd

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The UK’s move may result in a return to the pointless rituals of inspection at the Border Fintan O’Toole In 1962, the Ulster poet John Hewitt published a short poem called The Frontier. The Irish Times It is ostensibly about crossing the Alps between France and Switzerland but, of course, not really. Hewitt’s reflection on the absurdity of border-crossings is inevitably resonant of more insular experiences. The train he is on stops and “small men in uniform drift down the corridor, thumb ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

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The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

Why does Sweden produce so many startups?

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What do Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga have in common? John McKenna World Economic Forum They were all made in Sweden. Skype was co-founded by Swedes and SoundCloud started in Stockholm before moving to its current home in Berlin. Sweden is home to Europe’s largest tech companies and its capital is second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to the number of “unicorns” – billion-dollar tech companies – that it produces per… Why does Sweden… Read More »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

WSJ: Mueller probes Flynn role in plot to deliver cleric to Turkey

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Washington (CNN) – Former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn and his son are alleged to have been offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove from the US a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, The Wall Street Journal… Miranda Green CNN The Journal reported the FBI questioned at least four people in regards to a mid-December meeting in New York at the “21” Club. Discussions between Flynn and Turkish representatives supposedly took place there, according to the… The ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

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In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis, the Bad-Boy Former Finance Minister, Is Back

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In a new book, a star of the European left argues that Greek’s financial crisis prefigured the fissures afflicting Europe today. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic PARIS — In the often-dismal European landscape of technocrats and party hacks, few figures are as colorful and polarizing as Yanis Varoufakis. Remember him? The bad-boy Greek finance minister who, in a heated moment in the European debt crisis in 2015, showed up to meet the chancellor of the exchequer in a long black leather ... Read More »

Small EU states caught between France and Germany

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In Greek mythology, the hero Odysseus was sailing home from the Trojan War through the Strait of Messina (which separates Italy from Sicily) when he was beset by two monsters – Scylla and Charybdis – one on either side. Lisbeth Kirk EUobserver Odysseus had to figure out which was the lesser of the two evils as he passed through the strait to reach home. The old trope came up again when Nordic countries recently met in Helsinki for their annual ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

Citizens’ Assembly ideas confront worst of global warming

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Climate change is a pressing moral issue and action is needed for future’s benefit Kevin O’Sullivan  The Irish Times The recommendations made by the Citizens’ Assembly have the potential to achieve the kind of societal transformation necessary for Ireland to play its part in countering the worst affects of global warming caused by humans spewing out CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere. Its brief – to identify how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change – may in time ... Read More »

Why we need a better philosophy of trees

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On November 6 1217, Henry III’s Charter of the Forest gave ordinary English people back their traditional rights to use royal hunting grounds for livestock grazing and collecting firewood. Tristan Moyle The Conversation The freedoms that were restored in the use of ancient woodland reshaped the community’s legal and political relationship with nature. But, today, this relationship has broken down. Only 2% of the UK’s ancient woodland survives; over half has been destroyed since the 1930s. Only 13% of the ... Read More »

The Nansen passport: the innovative response to the refugee crisis that followed the Russian Revolution

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The triumph of revolution in Russia in 1917 brought an end to the 300-year old Romanov dynasty and the empire over which it ruled Peter Gatrell The Conversation The collapse of the German, Austrian and Ottoman war effort in 1918 precipitated the end of the remaining continental European empires. In each instance, imperial dissolution went hand in hand with the formation of new states. The Russian Civil War, between 1918 and 1921, led to an exodus of people who opposed ... Read More »

Kurdish rift emerges between Erdogan, Putin

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ANKARA, Turkey — Since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey in November 2015, Turkey has been scrambling to reconcile with Russia, but disagreements over the role of Syrian Kurds are now threatening a fresh deadlock. Zülfikar Doğan Al-Monitor Despite the close dialogue between the two countries’ presidents, the rift over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), seems to be deepening. Last week, Russia invited 33 groups, including Syrian President Bashar ... Read More »

Leader comment: MPs found guilty of sexual harassment deserve to lose their jobs

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WE have not, it seems almost certain, heard the end of serious allegations of sexual harassment and assault against male politicians. The Scotsman With each day, more depressing details of the shameful abuse of power by men in positions of authority emerge. Both Westminster and Holyrood are now tainted by a scandal which has already ended a number of high-flying careers and looks certain to scupper many more. It is surely clear that, painful though the weeks ahead may be ... Read More »