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Crisis Group Yemen Update #3

This is Crisis Group’s third weekly update published as part of our Yemen Campaign. ICG The trend we identify in this edition is new hope for a political compromise to end the four-year-old civil war and ease the country’s grave humanitarian crisis. Trendline: A Shift to the Political in 2019? After a year of unrelenting military pressure along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, there are some indications that the Saudi-led coalition may be pivoting toward a greater recognition that a political ... Read More »

On the Front Lines of the Climate Change Movement: Mike Roselle Draws a Line

The beard is graying. The hair is clipped military-short. Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank CounterPunch He is a large man, oddly shaped, like a cross between a grizzly and a javelina. It’s Roselle, of course, Mike Roselle—the outside agitator. He and a fellow activist have just spread an anti-coal banner in front of a growling bulldozer in West Virginia on a cold February morning in 2009. He’s in this icy and unforgiving land to oppose a brutal mining operation ... Read More »

EU adopts French, German compromise on Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia

Overcoming differences between Paris and Berlin, EU diplomats reached a deal on the pipeline, placing stricter regulations on the project. France said it wanted to “ensure European control” of its own energy needs. DW France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday. “Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together,” ... Read More »

Where Is China’s Foreign Policy Headed?

A ChinaFile Conversation In testimony last week before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats asserted that “China’s actions reflect a long-term strategy to achieve global superiority.” With China’s global influence and tensions between Washington and Beijing growing apace, what is the best way to understand how China envisions itself in the world? Some contend China’s leaders seek global preeminence; others, that they are principally focused on restoring China’s dominant position within the Asia-Pacific; and ... Read More »

What We Heard in Caracas

President Trump’s tough talk and actions opened the door for change in Venezuela. Now the U.S. must avoid hardline inflexibility that could close it, ending the chance of achieving internal peace through an… ICG It’s hard for the two sides in Venezuela’s political conflict to agree on virtually anything, what with dueling presidents, competing institutions, and diametrically opposed visions. But in a brief visit to Caracas this week, we found broad consensus on one point: It all depends on Donald… The Venezuelan ... Read More »

Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku

The April 2018 “velvet revolution” in Armenia has brought new meetings and helped improve the dynamics of the three-decade-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Zaur Shirivev ICG Much more needs to happen to reach peace, but Azerbaijan’s old scepticism is giving way to cautious hope in diplomacy. A series of direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia have brought hope to the two countries’ decades-long impasse over Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that began as the Soviet Union collapsed. But while these meetings, on the heels of ... Read More »

‘We won’: Landmark climate ruling as NSW court rejects coal mine

Environmental groups are cheering a decision in NSW’s Land and Environment Court that found the emissions of greenhouse gases and resulting climate change from a proposed coal mine were among the reasons to reject the project. Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Brian Preston, chief judge of the court, handed down his judgment in a case between Gloucester Resources Ltd and the NSW Planning Minister in Sydney on Friday. He concluded the mine project was “in the wrong place at ... Read More »

The future of arms control is global: Reconsidering nuclear issues in the Indo-Pacific

On Feb. 1, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was as much about the Western Pacific as it was about Russia. Andy Weber and Christine Parthemore War on the Rocks In response, Trump affirmed his view that for the arms control pact to work, more countries would need to be added: “I hope that you’re able to get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new ... Read More »

A Mixed Economic Bag in 2019

Since the global synchronized growth of 2017, economic conditions have been gradually weakening and will produce an across-the-board deceleration in the months ahead. Nouriel Roubini Project Syndicate Beyond that, the prospect for markets and national economies will depend on a broad range of factors, some of which do not bode well. NEW YORK – After the synchronized global economic expansion of 2017 came the asynchronous growth of 2018, when most countries other than the United States started to experience slowdowns. ... Read More »

Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence. Bloomberg The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years. The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey. By November, ... Read More »

‘Kill myself or leave’: female surgeons reveal horrifying conditions

Sexual harassment, bullying and a contempt for motherhood are driving aspiring female surgeons out of operating theatres. Kate Aubusson The Age Women training to become surgeons have seriously contemplated suicide, been invited to fondle the nipples of a male colleague and dismissed as childbearers undeserving of medical training, a series of in-depth interviews reveals. The testimonials confirm the shocking case of surgical trainee Dr Yumiko Kadota is not an isolated one, but an endemic problem in Australian hospitals. Bullying, sexual abuse, extreme ... Read More »

German CDU chief: Europe must adapt to survive

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer talks to POLITICO about EU’s future, China, Orbán and elections. By FLORIAN EDER, ANDREW GRAY AND STEPHEN BROWN Politico Europe must change to prosper in a “contest of systems” with China and the United States, according to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the new leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats. In an interview with POLITICO, Kramp-Karrenbauer sketched out a vision that would mean changing EU competition policy to create “European champion” companies, giving greater weight to industrial policy, and striking a balance between French President Emmanuel ... Read More »

End the US Stranglehold on the World Bank

Since the World Bank was created after World War II, its president has always been selected by the United States and backed by European powers, which enjoy a similar monopoly over the directorship of the International Monetary Fund. Jesse Griffiths Project Syndicate But with US President Donald Trump having nominated an unsuitable candidate, that may be about to change. ONDON – Nominations opened this week for the World Bank presidency, one of the most powerful and important jobs in the ... Read More »

A Sovereign Democracy and a Dud Partner: Explaining the Slide in U.S.-Turkey Relations

What’s wrong with U.S.-Turkey relations? For over a decade, ties between the United States and its NATO ally have been a rollercoaster ride, leading some in the United States to conclude that Turkey has either lost or is losing its value as a strategic partner. Nadir Firat War on the Rocks Observers have offered various explanations for the tensions, including Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu in War on the Rocks and Steve Cook, who gave a long list of disheartening reasons… ... Read More »