Europe

14 French ISIL detainees handed to Iraq

The U.S.-backed YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, has handed 280 Iraqi and foreign ISIL detainees to Iraq, 14 of whom are French citizens, in recent days, Iraq’s military said in a statement on Feb. 24. BAGHDAD Hurriyet An Iraqi military colonel confirmed to Reuters that 130 people were transferred on Feb. 24, adding to the 150 transferred on Feb. 21. They included the first known transfers of non-Iraqi detainees to Iraq, but it was unclear if they will remain in Iraqi custody. There ... Read More »

Outrage over antisemitic attacks in France presents opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to heal wartime wounds

France has recently been rocked by a series of antisemitic attacks. Portraits on post boxes of the late Simone Veil – a Holocaust survivor and the country’s first minister for women’s affairs – were vandalised. David Lees The Conversation The philosopher Alain Finkelkrault was verbally abused by protesters from the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement. A number of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries have been defaced with Swastikas and a man was shot with an air rifle outside a synagogue in ... Read More »

English is not enough – British children face major disadvantage when it comes to language skills

For a number of years now, the provision of languages in British schools and universities has been in decline. Authors: The Conversation Yet, as Brexit looms largely on the horizon, there has been much talk in the media and from politicians about the need for a… Arguably, a country can only really be global and outward looking if language skills are considered essential for its citizens. The government seems to share this view – at least to some extent. This ... Read More »

Ukraine’s crisis of faith

The Kiev-Kremlin conflict catalyzes a religious schism centuries in the making. Christopher Miller Politico VORSIVKA, Ukraine — For years, Father Vasily spent his Sundays behind the altar at St. Nicholas, a church in the small town of Vorsivka, in north-central Ukraine. That all changed in early January, not long after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church in one of the biggest schisms in Christian history. That’s when the village faithful held a vote to decide whether their ... Read More »

The Conflict of Fener and Moscow Patriarchs about Church of Ukraine

Significant developments happened in the Orthodox world in the last autumn of last year. Arif Asalioglu POLITURCO Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Archbishop of the Independent Church of Ukraine established in Kiev, and his accompanying committee arrived in Istanbul in order to receive the “Tomos”, which recognizes the independence of the Church, from the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. Ceremonies, which were also attended by the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, were held for the occasion. And in those ceremonies, Ukraine officially obtained an ... Read More »

Tajikistan: Activist Forcibly Returned from Russia

Faces Torture, Politically Motivated Prosecution (New York) – Tajik and Russian officials arbitrarily detained and forcibly returned to Tajikistan a peaceful opposition activist while he was visiting Moscow, the Association of Central Asian Migrants, Association for… HRW The activist, Sharofiddin Gadoev, is being held in Tajikistan. The government has issued a series of choreographed videos and photographs designed to show that he “voluntarily” returned. Russian and Tajik officials beat him in Moscow and on the flight to Tajikistan. Gadoev should be released and allowed ... Read More »

No-deal Brexit throws up really big calls on jobs, the rural economy and peace

Cliff Taylor: Government would need to embark on a major programme of assistance for the companies affected The Irish Times The Omnibus Bill on Brexit, published yesterday, is an important piece of work to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. But the big decisions lie elsewhere. How do we support the sectors worst hit? And what about the Border? There is an almost irresistible temptation among the political classes to reassure us that everything is ready, and it will all be alright ... Read More »

Georgian leader revives French connection

Salomé Zourabichvili aims to bring country closer to EU and NATO, with help from her past life. Rym Momtaz Politico PARIS — Goodwill only gets you so far — even if you used to represent a country you’re asking for help. That’s the reality Georgia’s new President Salomé Zourabichvili had to contend with this week as the former French diplomat visited Paris to seek closer ties with the EU and NATO. Zourabichvili met President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday at the Elysée ... Read More »

Life cycle: is it the end for Britain’s dockless bike schemes?

Three major cycle-sharing companies have pulled out of Britain’s cities in just over a year. Can the schemes ever be sustainable? Niamh McIntyre and Julia Kollewe The Guardian Not so long ago, Chinese bike-sharing company ofo was planning to put 150,000 of its distinctive yellow bikes on London streets. Buoyed by $2bn of venture capital funding, ofo was going to “optimise city resources” and… Mobike, another Chinese start-up and ofo’s main competitor, was also apparently in the business of tech-altruism. Its journey data would ... Read More »

Julian Assange gets a new Australian passport

Fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport after lengthy negotiations over whether he was subject to an arrest warrant for a “serious foreign offence”. Richard Baker The Sydney Morning Herald A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that Mr Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. Consular and Crisis Management Division first assistant secretary Andrew Todd said, “Mr Assange does have an ... Read More »

This new history of the Christian genocide during the Ottoman Empire sounds a dark warning for the future

Is it possible for a people to be so inured to cruelty that they changed, that their acts of sadism could alter their humanity? Robert Fisk Independent Israeli historian Benny Morris doesn’t do things by half. The footnotes of his new book on the 30-year genocide of Christians by their Turkish rulers, cowritten with his colleague Dror Zeevi, take up more than a fifth of the 640-page work. “It was nine years, a long haul,” he admitted to me this week, with an ... Read More »

US law recognizes Aegean treaty regime in Dodecanese

It was in 1920 that the United States first became seriously involved in issues arising from the Aegean treaty regime in the Dodecanese. Nicholas G. Karambelas ekathimerini In that year, the peace conference which culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 had been convened. The fate of the 12 Aegean islands commonly known as the Dodecanese was one of the issues which the peace conference debated. The US Senate passed a resolution which called on the peace conference to ... Read More »

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tells EU to double its climate targets

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist has urged the European Union to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts. AFP-SBS Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired pupils worldwide to boycott classes, urged the European Union on Thursday to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts. At an EU conference, Thunberg warned that politicians who fail to tackle climate change will be “remembered as the greatest villains of all time” for leading the world to disaster. “If the ... Read More »

Will Turkey Really Get an Aircraft Carrier Armed with F-35s?

Whether or not Turkey finally gets its hands on the F-35B, Anadolu will become one of the most important ships the Turkish navy has ever operated. Robert Farley The National Interest The missions she eventually undertakes will depend very much on political decisions in Ankara; how close to remain to the United States, how to manage tensions with Greece, and how to handle Russia. But Anadolu is a useful enough platform that she can make an important contribution to any ... Read More »

For Guernsey, free movement loss is a double whammy

After Brexit, residents will lose access to second homes on the Continent; businesses will lose access to EU labor. Eleanor Rose Politico LONDON — “I think the worst moment was going into the conservatoire the morning after,” said Peter Bourne, 21, of the 2016 Brexit referendum, which took place when he was studying music in Bordeaux, France. “I was faced with a load of French people who expected answers from me because I was ‘the English one,'” he said. “I had to ... Read More »

Ireland’s new abortion service is the envy of many healthcare systems

I am incredibly proud as a GP to be part of something so worthwhile and rewarding Mark Murphy The Irish Times I never thought I would be a provider of abortion services. It’s not that surprising really. Abortion was not mentioned once in the medical curriculum when I qualified 14 years ago. It was an unspoken phenomenon, a secret reality. Before I became a GP, I never had a real conversation about abortion. It’s astonishing to consider that fact now, knowing that 25 ... Read More »