Press Review

Global Systemic Crisis

  • trump Trump Warned Saudis Off Military Move on Qatar - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates considered military action in the early stages of their ongoing dispute with Qatar before Donald Trump called leaders of both countries and warned them to back off, according to two people familiar with the U.S. president’s discussions. The Saudis and Emiratis were looking at ways to remove the Qatari regime, which they accused of sponsoring terrorism and cozying up to Iran, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were confidential. Trump told Saudi and U.A.E. leaders that any military action would trigger a crisis across the Middle East that would only benefit Iran, one of the people said… More recently, the Trump administration has quietly sent high-level messages to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to try to defuse ... Read
  • Plus de 50 pays, défiant les Grands, signent un traité interdisant l’arme nucléaire - Une cinquantaine de pays, Brésil en tête, ont lancé mercredi à l’ONU la signature d’un traité bannissant l’arme atomique, malgré le boycott des puissances nucléaires qui invoquent la menace nord-coréenne pour dénoncer la naïveté du texte. Le traité, élaboré en quelques mois, a été adopté en juillet par 122 pays. Il entrera en vigueur dès lors qu’il aura été ratifié par 50 d’entre eux, ce qui pourrait prendre des mois. Même s’il n’aura aucun impact sur les quelque 15.000 têtes nucléaires actuellement stockées dans le monde, le traité marque “une étape importante vers l’objectif universel d’un monde sans armes nucléaires”, a affirmé le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, lors de la cérémonie de signature en marge de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU, en soulignant “l’inquiétude croissante” face au risque posé par ces armes… Lire ... Read
  • nz New Zealand jet fuel ‘debacle’ disrupts election campaign and chokes off exports - New Zealand’s jet fuel crisis is worsening by the day with airlines restricting ticket sales, politicians limiting travel to essential flights only on some routes in the final days of the election campaign and all but the most critical exports halted. Rationing is set to continue for another week after a digger on Thursday struck the sole jet fuel, diesel and petrol supply pipe to Auckland, the country’s biggest city and major transport hub for international visitors. Three thousand people a day are being affected by cancelled domestic and international flights. Another 6,000 people will be impacted by delays or disruptions to normal service, Air New Zealand said, and it had taken the “unusual” step of restricting ticket sales to all but essential or compassionate travel to try and manage the shortage. As a result of ... Read
  • pouvoirsafrique Tribune libre: Pour une réforme en profondeur du Franc CFA - Au début de ce mois de septembre 2017, s’est passé au Sénégal plus précisément à Saint Louis, ancienne capitale du Pays, un phénomène exceptionnel à savoir l’effondrement, suite à des intempéries, de la statue de Louis Faidherbe, ancien Gouverneur colonial Français. Pendant la même période, ironie de l’histoire, le Sénégal célébrait dans la même ville, un grand Résistant colonial du nom de Cheikh Ahmadou  Bamba, religieux visionnaire, stratège, dont l’une des prouesses encore saluée au-delà des frontières est d’avoir réussi, par la connaissance, la non-violence et la détermination à inculquer à  sa communauté, les mourides, le culte du travail et le compter sur soi. Ces deux évènements ne sont pas passés sous silence car survenus dans un contexte de débats animés parfois rudes entre pro et anti franc CFA avec ... Read
  • bloom Bitcoin Crashes After Chinese Exchange Says It Will Halt Trading - Bitcoin fell for a fifth day, the longest losing streak in more than a year, after one of China’s largest online exchanges said it would stop handling trades by the end of the month amid a government crackdown on cryptocurrencies. BTC China will immediately stop accepting new account registrations on its BTCChina Exchange, Chief Executive Bobby Lee said Thursday in a tweet. The decision was made after “carefully considering” the Sept. 4 announcement by Chinese regulators that outlawed initial coin offerings, he said. The cryptocurrency has slumped as much as 27 percent since Sept. 7. It had risen more than four-fold this year amid greater acceptance of the blockchain technology that underpins the exchange method, global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia… Read more : Bloomberg, 14.09.2017
  • guardian Greek oil spill forces closure of Athens beaches - An emergency operation is under way to clean up an oil spill from a sunken tanker that has blackened popular beaches and bays in Athens’ Argo-Saronic gulf. What had been thought a containable spill is being described by officials as an ecological disaster after thick tar and oil pollution drifted toward residential coastal areas. By Thursday, four days after the 45-year-old Agia Zoni II sank off Salamína island, mayors in suburbs south of the capital were forced to close beaches, citing public health risks. “This is a major environmental disaster,” said the mayor of Salamína, Isidora Nannou-Papathanassiou. “Clearly the danger [of pollution] was not properly gauged, the currents have moved the spill.” The vessel sank while at anchor in the early hours of Sunday. It was carrying 2,500 tonnes of fuel ... Read
  • hindu Japan, India to deal with North Korea jointly: Shinzo Abe - Displaying strategic convergence, India and Japan on Thursday asked North Korea to shut down its nuclear and missile programmes. Both sides also hinted at Pakistan’s past involvement with North Korean nuclear and missile programmes and sought accountability of “all parties” who helped Pyongyang acquire nuclear technology even as Japan promised to help India deal with cross-border terrorism. “Japan and India will take firm steps against the challenges that have emanated from North Korea. We will force North Korea to roll back its recent aggressive moves. This is a message that I send out along with Prime Minister [Narendra Modi],” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, elaborating Japanese concerns about the recent test of a hydrogen bomb by Pyongyang, which also fired a long-range missile over the northern Japanese island of ... Read
  • alj Halimah Yacob named Singapore’s first female president - An establishment figure has been named Singapore‘s first female president after a “walkover” election that saw no vote after no other contenders ran for the position. Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament from the Muslim Malay minority, did not have to face an election for the largely ceremonial post originally due this month after authorities decided her rivals did not meet strict eligibility criteria. Yacob, 63, is expected to be sworn into office on Thursday. Yacob is Singapore’s first ethnic Malay president in 47 years since the late Yusof Ishak, who governed in the mid-1960s. Authorities had decided to allow only candidates from the Malay community to put themselves forward for the presidency, a bid to foster harmony in the city-state of 5.5 million people which is dominated by ethnic ... Read
  • parrainage Sponsor a student in 2017 (GEAB promotional offer) - The LEAP laboratory invites all GEAB subscribers to sponsor a student and offer them a free academic year subscription to the GEAB bulletin! The academic year is always synonymous with the welcoming of new university students. Do you believe in the importance to support students with their professional integration? Should you know a specific student around you who needs geopolitical and economic references, we invite you to become a sponsor. This 1+1 subscription offer is valid from September 1st, for the entire university year so we invite readers who have not yet subscribed or renewed to do so now here in order to allow the selected student to receive all of this year’s bulletins for free! We are at your disposal should you require any further information at: geab@leap2020.net ————————————————————– The Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin, your crisis ... Read
  • north k Commentary: The North Korean nuclear ‘crisis’ is an illusion - Although it has involved disturbing events — ballistic missile launches, nuclear weapons tests, military exercises, inane bombast — the North Korean “crisis” of recent months is largely an invented one. A year ago, the probability that North Korea would fire a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States was essentially zero; the North did not have the capability to make such an attack. Pyongyang has made technological advances since then. But despite what some analysts believe, others say there is no definitive, publicly available proof that North Korea has a missile with the range to strike the continental United States, a miniaturized nuclear warhead to mate with it, and the shielding technology to make sure the warhead survives the heat and pressure of reentry to the atmosphere. That doesn’t, of course, mean the show is harmless. ... Read
  • defence Turkey’s S-400 deal may tip the Nato-Russia scale - Turkey’s deal to purchase two batteries of the Russian S-400 air defence missile system – estimated to be worth $2.5bn – has followed months of rumours surrounding the purchase and its resulting controversies. Until November 2015, reports suggested Turkey was showing an interest in purchasing Chinese air and missile defence system FD-2000. Then came reports that Turkey had cancelled this $3.4bn deal in favour of developing a long range missile defence system. While seemingly a respite for Nato countries, who at the time raised multiple objections to a Chinese partnership, the subsequent pivot towards Russia has proved an equally concerning move. The S-400 can detect track and destroying aircraft, drones, and cruise and ballistic missiles, undeniably enhancing Turkey’s the air defence capability in a significant way. The system has advanced radar system ... Read
  • Russian soldiers yell at the Red Square during the Victory Day military parade general rehearsal in Moscow on May 7, 2016 / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV        (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images) All quiet on the eastern front - In a gentleman’s club in the Lithuanian town of Visaginas, less than 30 kilometers from the Belarusian border, a group of men are playing pool. Some drink beer, others order glass flasks of vodka, and frustrated yet well-humored exclamations of “yolki palki”  — Russian for “darn it” — punctuate the clicks of billiard balls. I approach a short, broad Dagestani man. He works in municipal government, he says, but won’t tell me his name. Is he scared of his eastern neighbors, primarily Russia? In the silence, he takes a step closer toward me. Our stomachs are practically touching. Suddenly, he throws his head back and laughs. “Me? Afraid of Putin?” he asks incredulously. The international community has been on high alert in the run-up to the jointly organized Russia-Belarus Zapad 2017 military ... Read
  • suisse If you want German trains, go to Switzerland - Anyone who has traveled by rail in Germany knows there is a huge disconnect between reputation and reality when it comes to punctuality and service. DW looks at who is to blame, and what can be done to fix it. “If you’re looking for German efficiency, go to Switzerland” – a joke well-worn with native born Germans and immigrants alike as they watch their train delays tick upwards from 15 minutes, to 45, to over an hour. Harried conductors are reluctant to offer help, and any attempt to rectify traffic dilemmas is slap-dash at best (such as putting an entire high-speed train’s worth of passengers into taxis during a recent technical failure). Hoards of angry customers, who have come to rely on the German rail’s vastly overrated self-image, sit around ... Read
  • euobs EU brushes off UN criticism of Libya policy - The European Commission says it is working to help and protect migrants in Libya amid sharp criticism from the United Nations. An EU commission spokesperson on Monday (11 September) told reporters in Brussels that its work with the UN and its affiliated agencies on the ground in Libya is part of a greater effort to protect migrants and provide them with access to basic medial care. “We are working with the UN, extremely closely, with different agencies, precisely again to protect the migrants in Libya,” said Catherine Ray, who speaks on the behalf of the EU’s diplomatic arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS). She noted that the agencies are helping people to return to their home countries where they are aided with further assistance. The EU is also training ... Read
  • macron fb From “Biancheri Athens 1998″ to “Macron Athens 2017″: Upgrading democracy takes 20 years - Emmanuel Macron’s recent speech in Athens puts on the table the great political challenges facing the EU. Rebuilding citizens’ trust, democratising the EU, opening the European election to trans-European lists, politically refounding the Eurozone… These ideas are truly echoeing another speech, delivered 20 years ago, in Athens too, by Franck Biancheri, at the time when, together with his road-companions, he was launching the Project Europe2020 (which gave birth to think tank Europe 2020, followed by LEAP2020). Not only are the ideas the same, but the deadline set to transform the EU the time was perfectly estimated: 20 years. As Nathalie Loiseau, the new French Minister of European Affairs, wrote when Franck passed away : “Franck was a sower. His ideas have germinated and leave a deep print in each of us. If his passing away is a ... Read
  • kbs Séoul prépare des pourparlers avec Washington sur la répartition des frais pour la défense conjointe - La Corée du Sud s’est mise à préparer les négociations avec les Etats-Unis sur les frais liés à la présence de l’armée américaine sur son teritoire. Le ministère des Affaires étrangères se propose de nommer ce mois-ci l’ambassadeur chargé de discuter avec Washington sur la part que Séoul devrait assumer après 2019. Ces tractations sont prévues vers la fin de cette année. Les frais en question couvrent les salaires des employés sud-coréens travaillant dans les bases militaires américaines, les constructions dans ces sites ou l’approvisionnement militaire, entre autres. Les deux alliés ont signé jusqu’ici neuf traités sur ces depenses, dont le premier remonte à 1991… Lire la suite : KBS World, 11.09.2017
  • brexit Brexit Bulletin: Chaos Warning - Theresa May is set to enjoy a victory in the House of Commons tonight, but she won’t be able to pop open the champagne. Support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and a lack of opposition within her Conservative Party mean the British prime minister will likely squeak to victory on a bill designed to allow her government to copy European Union law and enshrine it in the domestic statute. Once enshrined, the laws can be edited after Brexit in 2019. The real challenge will be whether May can keep the draft free of amendments at the so-called committee stage it enters next. The most contentious proposals are the so-called “Henry VIII powers,” which would allow ministers to make changes to existing laws, bypassing normal scrutiny by Parliament. The opposition Labour Party and other ... Read
  • varoufakis Varoufakis group may seek MEP posts in 2019 - Former Greek finance minister and founder of the Diem25 political movement has derided the EU parliament, but may seek to return MEPs in 2019. The Diem25 pan-European political movement may seek to enter the European Parliament as part of a broader effort to overhaul what it calls the deep establishment. Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister and one of Diem 25’s founders, has said it will decide in October whether to contest the EU elections in 2019. “The European Parliament election might be a focal point for us even though we believe that Europe does not have a parliament,” he told EUobserver in an interview on Saturday (9 September) in Brussels. Speaking ahead of Diem25 meeting on the launch of its vision for a new federal Europe, Varoufakis derided the ... Read
  • euobs EU big four push to tax internet giants - The eurozone’s four main countries are pushing to tax internet giants on their turnover rather than on their profits, in an effort to prevent them from taking advantage of low tax rates in some member states. In a letter to the Estonian EU presidency and the European Commission, the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain ask the EU executive to design an “equalisation tax” on turnover, so internet companies can pay tax where they make money rather than where they registered. At the moment, companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – the so-called Gafa – can pay minimal taxes in Europe thanks to subsidiaries in low tax rate countries like Ireland. Their profits are reported where the subsidiary is, even if revenues are generated in other ... Read
  • guard New leak of Brexit papers reveals fissures between Britain and EU - The EU will risk heightening tensions with the UK on Brexit by publishing five combative position papers in the coming days, including one that places the onus on Britain to solve the problem of the Irish border, according to documents leaked to the Guardian. The Irish document shows that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will call on the UK to work out “solutions” that avoid the creation of a hard border and guarantee peace on the island. The leaks come a day after the Guardian obtained a draft memo showing the British government’s position on post-Brexit EU migration, which has been denounced as “completely confused”, “economically illiterate” and “a blueprint on how to strangle London’s economy”. The Ireland paper is one of five due to be published by the European commission in the coming days. Each ... Read
  • asia Asia’s foreign reserves reach record high - Governments and central banks in Asia held a record-high level of U.S. treasuries and other foreign assets at the end of July. Combined foreign reserves in Asian countries and regions excluding Japan and China reached $2.4 trillion at end-July, up 6% from a year earlier, according to data from central banks. Indonesia saw its reserves grow 15% in the past year. The pace of growth in the region has accelerated since the beginning of the year and foreign reserves have now grown sixfold from their levels during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. With such high levels of foreign reserves, Asian economies and their monetary systems are in a good position to withstand financial shocks. But Asian economies are still vulnerable if Western countries continue to tighten their monetary policies. With ... Read
  • alj Israeli jets strike military facility in Hama: Syria - Israeli fighter jets have struck a military facility in western Syria, killing two people, according to a Syrian commander quoted by the state-run news agency SANA. The army statement said the air strike caused material damage near the town of Masyaf and warned against the “dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region”. The air strike was carried out from Lebanese airspace and two people were killed at the site, SANA said, adding that it would embolden “terrorists” in Syria fighting the government. “Israeli warplanes at 2:42am today fired a number of missiles from Lebanese airspace, targeting one of our military positions near Masyaf, which led to material damage and the deaths of two members of the site,” the Syrian army said in a statement. ... Read
  • bloom It’s Time for Draghi to Talk About the Elephant in the Room - Mario Draghi is finally having the talk he has long sought to avoid. The European Central Bank president opened a debate about the future path of stimulus on Wednesday after the Governing Council was presented with various scenarios for winding down asset purchases, according to people familiar with the matter. For months, Draghi put off a discussion, concerned about low inflation and wary of market turmoil at any hint of an exit. Now, as the risk increases that leaving a decision too late makes investors jumpy, the challenge is to find a way to begin dialing down quantitative easing while providing assurance that any moves will be gradual. In starting the debate on policy normalization, Draghi followed through on a July pledge to start talks in the fall. Still a formal announcement ... Read
  • irma Trump promises to “restore America’s competitive edge” through tax reform - President Trump promised to “restore America’s competitive edge” in the global economy by implementing a tax overhaul during a speech Wednesday at Andeavor Refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. “If the fight is fair, no one on Earth can beat the American worker or the American company,” Mr. Trump told the crowd. Mr. Trump called the tax code a “self-inflicted economic wound” and promised to simplify it while reducing tax burdens on both individuals and corporations. Lowering taxes has been one of the president’s oft-stated goals since taking office, and his remarks come just as Congress returns from its August recess. Echoing a speech he delivered from Springfield, Missouri a week ago, Mr. Trump said tax reform would stimulate the economy and create jobs, allowing the U.S. to “re-establish our economic dominance” in relation to ... Read
  • US needs to consider all affected by peninsula - The phone conversation between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on Wednesday amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula was a timely and necessary one for the international community. The situation had further deteriorated after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea proclaimed on Sunday a successful test of a hydrogen bomb. The DPRK has conducted several missile tests in the past months in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The DPRK and the US also have engaged in a war of words. The US and the Republic of Korea on Aug 31 concluded their annual military drill, known as the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which involved 50,000 ROK soldiers and 17,500 US soldiers. Xi reiterated China’s long-standing and unswerving resolve to achieving the denuclearization of the peninsula; maintaining ... Read
  • gu India army chief: we must prepare for simultaneous war with China and Pakistan - India’s army chief said on Wednesday the country should be prepared for a potential two-front war given China is flexing its muscles and there is little hope for reconciliation with Pakistan. General Bipin Rawat referred to a recent 10-week standoff with the Chinese armyin the Himalayas that ended last week. He said the situation could gradually snowball into a larger conflict on India’s northern border. Rawat said Pakistan on the western front could take advantage of such a situation. The Press Trust of India news agency quoted Rawat’s remarks at a seminar organised by the Center for Land Warfare Studies, a thinktank in New Delhi. India fought a war with China in 1962 and three wars with Pakistan, two of them over control of Kashmir, since securing independence from Britain in 1947. All three countries are ... Read
  • quatar Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates - The latest developments since several countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar on June 5. 8:00am – Kuwaiti emir to hold talks with President Trump -The emir of Kuwait is flying to the US to hold talks with President Donald Trump on the three-month-old diplomatic crisis in the Arabian Gulf. -Kuwait has been acting as the mediator following a political and economic blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt. 10:50pm – Qatar waives visa requirement for Moroccans Morocco has been added to a list of countries whose citizens no longer need visas to enter Qatar, official Moroccan media said. Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani, who met a Moroccan delegation in Doha on Tuesday, announced that his country ... Read
  • fbdoc News Chronicle: American Tsunami and Foresight (Franck Biancheri, 2005) - Harvey, the storm devasting Houston and ravaging the region on its way to Louisiana these days, sadly has a taste of déjà vu, and we could take word for word what Franck Biancheri wrote in September 2005 about the storm Katrina. Yet in Houston, as in New Orleans 12 years ago, it was known that this storm was going to happen … We invite you to re-read the conclusions that Franck Biancheri drew from the lesson of Katrina in 2005: “The world was totally shocked and horrified by the disastrous show caused by Hurricane Katrina. A different America was exposed there… Beyond the material damage, the human misery emerged from the TV broadcasted images… and the revelation of the weaknesses of the American governance, which took a long time to figure out the magnitude ... Read
  • Opening the debate on BREXIT EU parliament to table Brexit position in early October - The European Parliament plans to table its assessment in early October on whether Brexit talks have advanced enough to begin a second phase of negotiations on future relations between the EU and the UK. Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and the EU parliament’s point man on Brexit, told MEPs on Monday (4 September) that he wants to send the proposed resolution to the parliamentary groups by the end of September. The plan is to have the resolution voted on ahead of an EU summit, a gathering of EU heads of state and government, later next month. The summit leaders will determine whether to launch talks on future relations. But the parliament’s prognosis, which will feed into the summit, already looks bleak. Verhofstadt – who had met with the ... Read
  • democratisation European Transnational Lists, a real good progressive idea! (Marianne Ranke-Cormier) - I will not even mention the link to the article “Transnational Lists, a false good idea”, published by the Taurillon, to which I decided to react today. An article signed by a Swiss author, as if in Europe we no longer had thinkers and intellectuals capable of imagining the tools which would be best for us to manage the invention of centuries: European democracy. Yes, the Swiss, and they are not the only ones lecturing Europe about how to manage a 500-million-citizen democracy. Switzerland, with its 8 million inhabitants, whose citizens refuse to join the EU, but at the same time profiting largely from its financial woes; citizens who suffer from all forms of extremism and citizenship issues, the death of their traditional political parties by abandonment, whose cantons are ... Read
  • japantimes No one else wants Okinawa’s U.S. bases - On Aug. 15, the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese surrender, there was a symposium in Tokyo about changing the Constitution. One of the panelists, documentarian Tatsuya Mori, pointed out that earlier that day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had given remarks at an annual memorial event, and at no point did he mention or “apologize to” the Asian victims of World War II. All prime ministers have referred in one way or another to the victims of Japanese aggression when they made the memorial speech, even Abe in his first term. But Abe has not done so in his second term. Mori thinks this omission is indicative of something larger. “My students asked if war wasn’t inextricable from human existence,” he elaborated, adding that he didn’t think so himself. It’s a sentiment that ... Read
  • fb Il est évident que les partis politiques nationaux existants ne peuvent pas servir deux maîtres: national et européen - Franck Biancheri, 19/02/1989 Bientôt 30 ans, cette citation a bientôt 30 ans! Et ce n’était pas que des mots, Franck Biancheri l’a mise aussi en application: avec IDE, Initiative pour une démocratie européenne, le premier parti politique européen lancé par Franck Biancheri en 1987 pour les élections européennes en 1989, et en 2009 avec Newropeans. Une seule structure européenne, un seul programme, une campagne, une assemblée de membres qui élisent leurs candidats pour les différents pays. 30 ans plus tard, en 2019, aurons-nous su démontré que nous, les Européens des générations post-traité de Rome et post-Erasmus, sommes des citoyens progressistes et innovants, montrant au monde que nos exigences concernant les processus de démocratisation sont égales à nos propres capacités à soutenir nos principes démocratiques  et à inventer des outils et des voies du ... Read
  • norwey EU ties under pressure in run-up to Norway election - Norway’s next government could have to review the country’s relations with the EU, as EU-critical parties are expected to gain ground in the general elections on 11 September. Both of the largest parties – the Conservatives, which currently rules Norway in a coalition government, and Labour, which hopes to take over – would like to continue with the current relationship format, based on the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA, which Norway joined in 1994, gives the country access to the EU single market. In exchange, it has to implement EU law, without having a say in its making. A comprehensive review of the agreement in the form of a so-called Norwegian official report (NOU), commissioned by the Norwegian government and published in 2012, found that the EEA served Norway’s economic ... Read
  • kenya Kenyan supreme court annuls Uhuru Kenyatta election victory - The decision surprised many in Kenya, where courts have long been subservient to the president. “In the whole world, all eyes were on this supreme court and the judge did the right thing,” said 36-year-old Frederick Oyieng, a nightwatchman. Donna Abongo, 39, an accountancy student, said: “It was a surprise because the trend in justice in Kenya is not good, but this time justice has been done.” Residents in the western city of Kisumu, where Odinga has strong backing, cheered and motorcycle drivers hooted their horns. Odinga said the court had set an “exceptional example for all of Africa”. “Our judiciary now knows they have the power,” he said. “We thank the supreme court for standing up for the truth.” Some observers worried that the decision could lead to political ... Read
  • Hezbollah fighter walk near a military tank in Western Qalamoun, Syria August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RTS1D0E2 US, UK join Lebanon’s strange military bedfellows - The Lebanese Armed Forces on Aug. 19 announced the launch of Fajr al-Joroud, an offensive against the Islamic State (IS) along the Lebanese-Syrian border. The campaign follows on the heels of a late July Hezbollah- and Syrian army-led offensive, backed by the Lebanese army, against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra) outside Arsal. The two operations indicate that a mutual decision must have been made by the three forces to remove the IS and al-Qaeda threats along their shared border. A week into the Arsal offensive, Hezbollah proclaimed victory and reached a cease-fire agreement with the fighters in the area. The Lebanese Armed Forces have been trained and equipped by numerous Western countries, but mainly the United States and the United Kingdom. On the first day of the Fajr al-Joroud offensive, Lebanese Armed Forces spokesman Ali Qanso pronounced, “The Lebanese army is not coordinating with Hezbollah and the Syrian army, ... Read
  • trump Impeaching Trump: Four Eternal Myths - Discussing the viability of launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is like driving a racecar around a decaying track. The exercise is equal parts furious and tedious, sure to jolt over the same potholes again and again. In June, concerned that the impeachment option was being appended as a tagline to every major scandal coming out of the White House, I argued that it makes little sense, practically speaking, to bang the impeachment drum prematurely. To help put the discussion on more principled footing, I offered a lengthy meditation on the nature of impeachment as described by the great constitutional scholar Charles Black Jr., who called for restraint and common sense in his unbeatable 69-page handbook on the subject. And this week, Benjamin Wittes and I argued that a formal inquiry is now ... Read
  • euobs Merkel pledges to end Turkey’s EU talks - German chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to shut down Turkey’s EU accession talks and defended her open-door refugee policy. Merkel made the Turkey pledge in a pre-election TV debate with her main rival, former European Parliament head Martin Schulz, on Sunday (3 September). “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said. “I’ll speak to my [EU] colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks,” she added. Her surprise remarks, which she made impromptu in a segment on North Korea, represented an on-air U-turn. Schulz had earlier said he would end the Turkey negotiations. “If I were chancellor, I’d ask the European Council to end the accession talks with Turkey … ... Read
  • nk North Korean nuclear test confirmed in major escalation by Kim Jong-un - North Korea says it has tested a powerful hydrogen bomb that can be loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile, in a move that is expected to increase pressure on Donald Trump to defuse the growing nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. In an announcement carried on state TV, North Korea said the test, its sixth since 2006, had been a “complete success” and involved a “two-stage thermonuclear weapon” with “unprecedented” strength. There has been no independent verification of the North’s claims that it has achieved a key goal in its nuclear programme – the ability to miniaturise a warhead so that it can fit on a long-distance missile. Hours earlier, the regime released footage of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb that would be loaded on to a new ICBM. The TV announcement ... Read
  • tourillon UE/OTAN, OBSOLESCENCE PROGRAMMÉE ? - Au sortir d’une période électorale mouvementée qui a vu l’arrivée au pouvoir d’un populiste aux États-Unis et l’échec de ses homologues sur le Vieux Continent, l’Europe est sûre d’une chose : plus rien ne sera comme avant. C’est dans ce contexte que se tenaient les VIIe ateliers de la Citadelle à Lille, rendez-vous désormais incontournable pour parler Europe de la Défense. Les ateliers de la citadelle, édition 2017 La VIIe édition de ces ateliers co-organisés par la Mission Lille Eurométropole Défense Sécurité [1], la mairie de Lille, l’institut Notre Europe/Jacques Delors et le CRR-FR (corps de réaction rapide de Lille) avaient pour thème : « L’Europe face à toutes les crises ». Il était abordé autour de deux tables rondes principales. La première était intitulée : « OTAN/UE, obsolescence programmée ». En effet, les relations OTAN/UE ont toujours ... Read
  • French President Emmanuel Macron (R) greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrives for talks on EU integration, defense and migration at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 28, 2017.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau Merkel and Macron approve creation of eurozone finance minister - Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have thrown their weight behind the creation of a new powerful eurozone finance minister post that would oversee economic policy across the bloc. Speaking in Paris on Tuesday French president Mr Macron said that a “revamp” creating the new economy chief and a eurozone-wide budget were key to helping the bloc weather future crises. The German Chancellor Ms Merkel, who is up for re-election next month, also separately backed deeper integration at her annual press conference in Berlin. Ms Merkel said the new “economics and finance minister” role could provide “greater coherence” to economic policy across the bloc… Read more : Today Europe, 29.08.2017
  • scmp Learning from China: three lessons for the ignorant West - Diego Gilardoni says after years of ignorance, the Western political and business elite need to understand that some Chinese cultural traits – such as longer-term, holistic thinking – can help open new frontiers and opportunities. There is only one thing more staggering than China’s mind-blowing economic metamorphosis in the past few decades. It is the still widespread ignorance about China among Western political and business elites. We live in a multipolar and complex world, in which China is becoming an indispensable player, but too many still think through a Western-centric and simplistic mental framework that is still rooted in the 20th century and therefore does not meet today’s challenges. China’s increasing clout on the global stage is met with a combination of fascination, awe, concern and sometimes outright fear, and rare are ... Read
  • putin Vladimir Putin says pressure on North Korea ‘futile’ - Pressuring North Korea over its nuclear missile programme is “misguided and futile”, Russian President Vladimir Putin says, arguing that only dialogue without preconditions can resolve the crisis. The Korean Peninsula was “balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict”, Putin wrote in an article to be published on Friday before a summit of BRICS economies to be held in China on Sunday. “Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile programme is misguided and futile,” he wrote in the article sent to media in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the BRICS member states. “The region’s problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.” … Read more: Aljazeera, 01.09.2017
  • postmag Chinese flood Johor in Malaysia to invest in US$100b ‘eco city’ billed as the ‘next Shenzhen’ - The moment I set foot in the immigration building, I am approached by two customs officers in army fatigues, buzzing walkie-talkies strapped at the shoulder. Before I start worrying about what’s in my backpack, they address me in a friendly, almost conspiratorial tone. My jaws unclench as I realise the object of their concern – the queue. It’s long. Frighteningly so. I am at the Tuas checkpoint, on the southern side of the Malaysia-Singapore border, waiting to leave the Lion City for a visit to the state of Johor. It’s Friday afternoon, probably the worst time of the week for such an undertaking, but the queues have been made significantly worse of late by an over­whelming number of tourists from China crossing the Johor Strait… Read more : SCMP, 01.09.2017
  • alj How Israeli citizens are becoming stateless - Israel has been gradually stripping thousands of Palestinian Bedouins from various villages in the southern Negev region of their citizenship status, claiming that they had been granted nationality in error – a move residents and legislators say is part of a state plan to do away with the minority population. Although Israel has employed the revocation policy for more than two decades, Knesset Member Aida Touma-Suleiman of the Joint List says it has since 2010 become an increasingly “widespread phenomenon” that is in clear violation of Israel’s Citizenship Law. “I found out about this [policy, implemented by the interior ministry] by chance during a site visit to one of the villages in the Negev – I was approached by some individuals who informed me of their dilemma,” Touma-Suleiman, who has been researching ... Read
  • us US orders closure of Russian consulate in San Francisco - The United States has told Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco, in retaliation for Moscow’s demands that the size of the US mission in Russia be cut, according to the State Department. The announcement on Thursday also included a demand for a reduction in Russian diplomatic presence in Washington, DC, and New York by Saturday with the closure of a chancery annex in Washington, DC, and consular annex in New York. Last month, Russia ordered the US to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, to 455 people, after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia… Read more : Aljazeera, 31.08.2017
  • guardian We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon. Here’s why - For the briefest moment in March 2014, Facebook’s dominance looked under threat. Ello, amid much hype, presented itself as the non-corporate alternative to Facebook. According to the manifesto accompanying its public launch, Ello would never sell your data to third parties, rely on advertising to fund its service, or require you to use your real name.  The hype fizzled out as Facebook continued to expand. Yet Ello’s rapid rise and fall is symptomatic of our contemporary digital world and the monopoly-style power accruing to the 21st century’s new “platform” companies, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. Their business model lets them siphon off revenues and data at an incredible pace, and consolidate themselves as the new masters of the economy. Monday brought another giant leap as Amazon raised the prospect of an international grocery ... Read
  • key Key issues likely to dominate the 2017 BRICS Summit - The ninth annual BRICS summit gets underway in Xiamen from 3 – 5 September under China’s chairmanship. This year’s theme is “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. President Xi Jinping has outlined four priorities for the summit: 1) deepen BRICS cooperation for common development; 2) enhance global governance to jointly meet challenges; 3) carry out people-to-people exchanges to support BRICS cooperation; and 4) make institutional improvements and build broader partnerships. What are the key issues that member states should prioritise? Five experts on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa share their views. South Africa: Economic growth South Africa is currently experiencing low economic growth. In 2016, gross domestic product grew at a mere 0.3%, with predictions for 2017 showing slow recovery at 0.8%. Latest employment figures (June 2017) also ... Read
  • texas Is Texas Ready for Hurricane Harvey? - Hurricane Ike, a storm that struck the Texas Gulf Coast in 2008, was the kind of event that’s often described as a wake-up call. Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to strike near Corpus Christi early Friday, could show whether the region actually woke up. Harvey is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm, with winds of at least 111 miles per hour—the most powerful storm to strike the mainland U.S. since 2005. The current National Hurricane Center forecast has it making landfall on the middle Texas coast, well below Houston, although forecasters caution that its track remains uncertain. Portions of the coast, from the Padre Island National Seashore to Sargent, could receive a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet above ground level, forecasters predict. Depending on where ... Read
  • business insider India and China are ending a months-long border standoff - India and China have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops in a disputed border area where their soldiers have been locked in a stand-off for more than two months, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday. The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations – a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa – in China next month, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend. Indian and Chinese troops have been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan and China, in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades along their disputed Himalayan border. The Indian ministry said the two sides had agreed to defuse the crisis following diplomatic talks… Read more : Business ... Read
  • london London Waterloo: Network Rail boss sorry for fresh delays - The boss of Network Rail has apologised to passengers after fresh delays at the UK’s busiest railway station despite the completion of long-running engineering works. Its chief executive, Mark Carne, said London Waterloo had fully reopened “a little bit later than planned” following a signalling problem that closed platforms during the early morning rush-hour on Tuesday. Speaking from Waterloo via a video message, Carne said the “amazing” project to increase capacity by 30% would make a “huge difference” in the long run. But passengers voiced their anger at the delays, with some asking how Carne had managed to get to Waterloo to deliver his message… Read more : The Guardian, 29.08.2017