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The Brief – Replacing Turkey in NATO

A global geopolitical shift has taken place without the wider audience noticing. Turkey has drifted apart from the US and NATO, it has got much closer to Russia, and… By Georgi Gotev with Sam Morgan | EURACTIV.com Turkey is still a NATO member. But it has repeatedly said it is committed to buying Russian missile defence system, despite warnings from the United States that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defence system. Missile defence is not a… ... Read More »

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die

Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life. Brooke Schedneck The Conversation Devotees from many parts of the world are visiting the ailing 92-year-old, who has retired to a Buddhist temple outside Hue. This thoughtful and accepting approach to his own failing health seems fitting for the popular Buddhist teacher, whose followers include a thousand Buddhist communities around the world and millions more who have ... Read More »

Why Emmanuel Macron’s plan for a European agency to fend off fake news makes sense

When French president Emmanuel Macron sent an open letter to the people of Europe, he said their first freedom is democratic – “the freedom to choose our leaders as foreign powers seek to influence our vote at each election”. Alexi Drew The Conversation He went on to propose establishing a European agency to protect this right. The idea would be to provide European states with experts to help them fend off cyberattacks and other kinds of threats to their elections. ... Read More »

After Danske, Next Dirty Money Route Gets Scrutinized in Denmark

As one avenue for money launderers is shut, another one may be opening. Frances Schwartzkopff Bloomberg In Denmark, home to Danske Bank A/S, the authorities are now taking a closer look at companies that provide payment services. The worry is that the process is becoming so complex that criminals might be able to hide their illicit transactions. Danish Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov says the goal is “to all the time be ahead of the criminals.” Because they’re “trying to exploit any ... Read More »

Ardern is a leader for our times, and we should follow her example

This nation needs more leadership, across all levels, in all parties, like that provided by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of Christchurch’s mosque massacres. Peter FitzSimons The Sydney Morning Herald With steely calm, with inclusive language, seeking to unite rather than divide, she told the world, “To the people who did this: you may have chosen us, but we UTTERLY reject and condemn you.” Ms Ardern is one out of the box, a leader for her ... Read More »

Anti-corruption candidate wins first round of Slovakia’s presidential election

Zuzana Čaputová will face Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in final vote. By ANCA GURZU AND LAURA GREENHALGH Politico Lawyer Zuzana Čaputová won the largest share of votes in Slovakia’s presidential ballot Saturday, making her the frontrunner ahead of a second round later this month. Čaputová, a newcomer to politics who has run a campaign focused on tackling corruption, won 40.6 percent of the vote, ahead of government candidate and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on 18.7 percent, according to the… The two will face off in ... Read More »

Housing Affordability Poll Finds Canadians Have Little Faith Government Can Solve The Problem

Only one in 10 respondents want to see 30-year mortgages. Daniel Tencer HuffPost The real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see whether the federal budget landing Tuesday will offer any good news for first-time homebuyers struggling with historically bad housing affordability in Canada. It seems a good bet the pre-election budget will include something to address Canadians’ growing concerns about housing costs — but few actually believe it will make much difference. A new poll carried out for real ... Read More »

Serbia protests: President Vucic the target of Belgrade rally

Serbian police have used tear gas to clear thousands of protesters trying to blockade the residence of President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. BBC The protesters – who are demanding greater media freedom and free elections – shouted “Resign!” But Mr Vucic refused to bow to the pressure, saying: “I am not afraid.” The opposition has been staging largely peaceful rallies for weeks. But tensions escalated on Saturday when crowds stormed the state TV station. Mr Vucic is a reformed extreme ... Read More »

From Aramoana to Christchurch: A Shorthand of New Zealand’s Relationship With Guns

Nearly 30 years ago, a mass shooting in a small town reshaped how New Zealand regulates gun ownership. The attack in Christchurch could have a similar effect. Chris Fitch The Atlantic On a Tuesday in November 1990, the sleepy town of Aramoana was burned into New Zealand’s collective consciousness. The 13 residents killed in a gun rampage that shocked the nation were, until Friday’s attacks in Christchurch, victims of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, one that opened a widespread reevaluation of New ... Read More »

Why is Turkey’s presence in Afrin, Syria any different than the West Bank?

Turkey’s continued role in Afrin, a year after military occupation began in March 2018, is under spotlight as US State Department and UN highlight abuses. Seth J. Frantzman JPost Military occupation. Stolen olives. Checkpoints. Accusations of theft of property, land confiscation, demographic change and settlers. These are claims usually leveled at Israel’s role in the West Bank, but in the last year Turkey and Syrian groups it backs have been accused of similar violations in northwestern Syria. The area of ... Read More »

Yellow vest ‘ultimatum’ rally turns violent in Paris

After weeks of declining participation, France’s “yellow vest” protest movement attempted to rebound on March 16 with a major rally in Paris which quickly turned violent. PARIS- Agence France-Presse Hurriyet A large crowd gathered on the Champs-Elysees avenue for the 18th straight week of anti-government protests which initially rocked President Emmanuel Macron’s administration, forcing him to adopt more anti… Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who erected barricades near the Champs-Elysees in scenes reminiscent of some of the most tense “yellow vest” rallies. ... Read More »

The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil. Stephen Croucher The Conversation Police remain on high alert and authorities are still responding to events following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that took the lives of 50 people and seriously injured many more. Three people have been arrested, and one, an Australian living in New ... Read More »

Italy opens probe into death of ‘bunga bunga’ witness

Italy prosecutors have opened an investigation into the death of a Moroccan model who testified in one of the inquiries linked to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi‘s “bunga bunga” parties. ROME- The Associated Press Hurriyet Imane Fadil, 34, died March 1 at a Milan hospital, where she had been treated since Jan. 29 exhibiting “symptoms of poisoning,” Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said, according to Italian news agency ANSA. In 2012, Fadil had told reporters that she feared for her safety after telling prosecutors investigating ... Read More »

Wanted: Patient Diplomacy in Yemen

Sanaa has become the centerpiece of a struggle among regional power centers, and the battle for control over it will not end soon. Gordon Gray The National Interest Recent Congressional  debates about the Yemen war  have put a high priority on imposing costs on the Saudi-led military coalition by restricting arms sales and military cooperation. Moreover, this past week’s vote in the U.S. Senate  is just the latest in a series of Congressional actions sending a message of disapproval about the Trump administration’s military policy in ... Read More »