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Retirement: Europe’s Top 5 Affordable Retirement Havens

Imagine the smell of freshly-baked croissants wafting through the air, or the satisfying swallow of wine made from grapes grown just down the road. Perhaps you muse about living on a sun-drenched Mediterranean beach or tucked down a cobbled lane savoring the cosmopolitan delights of a history-rich city…

A retirement in Europe is a dream for many folks. And it can easily be a reality. If it’s culture, history, and variety you’re after, Europe has it all, and at a cost much lower than you may think… Here we explore the five best low-cost options for enjoying your perfect European retirement.

Here you’ll find properties to rent for less than $600 a month or to buy for under $110,000. A filling three-course meal in a local restaurant can be had for $10, while a bag of fresh produce grown locally can be got for under $6.

In all five countries you’ll find fabulous beaches, idyllic rural retreats, and cities where history is thickly layered with stunning architecture and grand museums. For each country, our experts have nominated an area they think is particularly worthy of your interest, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what type of lifestyle you’re after.

Not surprisingly, Europe delivers strongly on healthcare; in each of our five picks, you’ll find healthcare professionals and facilities of a world-class standard. But perhaps more surprisingly, the care on offer in these countries won’t leave you counting pennies. Many of these nations benefit from universal coverage and strong public healthcare systems, and even their private healthcare can be accessed for a sliver of the cost in the U.S. Doctors’ visits, for instance, can run well under $100, and other services are similarly reasonable.

You’re guaranteed to find an ideal place for yourself in Europe. Though a small continent, it packs in so much diversity that the perfect retirement for you is bound to be hiding somewhere.

Read more: Europe’s Top 5 Affordable Retirement Havens

The Netherlands - Weather: Four years of hot summers expected in the Netherlands - by Mina Solanki

This year, the Netherlands has experienced an unusually hot summer, with a code orange being issued due to the heat and two heatwaves engulfing the country in a short period of time. Not to mention the drought that did not go unnoticed across the land.

Well, if you thought the weather was just a tad too warm, you won’t have any luck in terms of cooler summers for the next few years. According to a new statistical analysis by KNMI climate researcher Sybren Drijfhout and colleague Florian Sevellec, globally, we are in for another four years of warmer than usual weather.

From now until 2022, the earth will be in the throes of a “warm anomaly”, in addition to the slow advance of global warming due to greenhouse gasses. Although the anomaly may only contribute to temperatures worldwide by a few hundredths of a degree, it could result in heatwaves, extreme weather conditions and hot summers.

Drijfhout credits the coming warm period to a four-year hiatus, roughly between 2010 and 2014, in which the earth’s temperature hardly increased. During this period, it seems as though the extra heat was absorbed by the sea; extra heat which could still be released into the atmosphere, he says. Up until 2022, there is a 70 percent possibility of extra hot summers and higher temperatures in general the world over, the weather model currently reports.

Read more: Four years of hot summers expected in the Netherlands

British Economy: UK records biggest July budget surplus since 2000 - as it happened

t’s been a good day for UK chancellor Philip Hammond as far as the country’s public finances go, with the best July budget surplus for 18 years.

But factory growth was less impressive in August, according to the CBI.

Meanwhile the dollar has weakened after President Trump took the Federal Reserve to task for continuing to raise interest rates.

And in Greece, prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said Greece is at the beginning of a new era following its exit from its longstanding bailout programme.

Read more: UK records biggest July budget surplus since 2000 - as it happened | Business | The Guardian

USA: Dollar falls, emerging markets rally after Trump's Fed attack

The dollar weakened Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump slammed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, while global equity markets rose as strong economic and earnings growth favored stocks in a relatively benign environment.

Wall Street shares rose, following stock market gains worldwide, with the benchmark S&P 500 edging closer to an all-time high.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Monday that he was "not thrilled" with the Fed under his appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising rates and that the U.S. central bank should do more to boost the economy.

Read more: Dollar falls, emerging markets rally after Trump's Fed attack


EU-US Trade Relations: Six Ways How Trump Gets Trade and Europe Wrong - by Holger Schmieding

U.S. President Donald Trump is bringing the world close to a genuine trade war. Judging by his own rhetoric, Trump gets key trade issues wrong on at least six counts:

1. If China poses a problem, why not join forces with the EU?

In his dealings with China, Trump has half a point. China ought to change some of its practices, including its penchant for forced technology transfer and its habit of discriminating against foreign companies.

These legitimate concerns do not apply to the EU, however. Unfortunately, Trump seems to have rejected the original EU offer to jointly lean on China to mend its ways.

2. Can trade barriers reduce a U.S. deficit in a meaningful way?

Not really. The U.S. current account deficit of 2.3% of U.S. GDP in 2017 is not the result of supposedly unfair practices of trading partners.

Instead, the U.S. deficit reflects the country’s traditionally strong appetite for imports as well as the fact that the United States does not save enough to finance its investments at home. Short of actually halting imports, U.S. trade barriers will not change these factors very much.

3. Does the EU run a surplus with the U.S.?

Trump complains about too many German cars on Fifth Avenue — although half of those cars may actually be built in the United States.

Still, the United States indeed imports more goods from the EU than it sells in Europe. But that is only half the truth. The U.S. goods deficit is offset by a small surplus in services and a big surplus in income (largely from the Netherlands where some U.S. companies seem to pool their EU-wide profits).

As the chart below shows, the United States has actually run a small current account surplus with the EU since 2009. What Europe earns by selling goods to the United States, it spends on licensing fees for U.S. technology and on U.S. services. Nothing unfair here.

Trade chart

4. Is the EU refusing to cut tariffs on U.S. exports?

President Trump complains that EU tariffs are high. For cars, that is true. For trucks, however, it is the other way around. On average, EU tariffs are close to those of the United States.

In 2017, Trump rejected the TTIP deal that would have abolished almost all tariffs between the United States and the EU. For that, he can only blame himself.

5. Talk to Brussels, not Berlin and Wolfsburg

Trump’s ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has reportedly offered German car companies to abolish all car tariffs between the two countries on a bilateral basis.

But such a “divide and rule” attempt will not work. On trade, only the EU can and will strike deals, not Berlin. Moreover, as a result of the recent trade tensions, the EU seems more united on trade than on most other issues.

6. Can the U.S. bully the EU on trade?

The EU as such is not a strong force in global politics. But its sheer market size makes the EU the top trading power of the world.

As a result, the EU is less inclined than any other region to give in to trade threats.

A well-balanced deal to liberalize U.S.-EU trade is possible, but only if Trump’s advisors start to understand the EU — and then manage to convince their president.

Read more: Six Ways How Trump Gets Trade and Europe Wrong - The Globalist

EU-US Relations: Why Trump wants to break up the European Union - by Andrew Hammond

At the heart of this diplomatic discord is Mr. Trump’s disdain for the European Union, which goes significantly beyond that of any president since the bloc’s establishment. While he has concerns with Europe’s low levels of defence spending vis-a-vis Washington, it is on the economic front that the Brussels-based club is the deepest source of frustration for him with its large goods surplus with the United States.

Mr. Trump tweeted that: “Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking. Remember, we are the ‘piggy bank’ that’s being robbed.”

This latest tweet builds on remarks recently from Mr. Trump when he remarkably declared, “I think the EU is a foe, what they do to us [the United States] in trade.” While some have dismissed this remark as just another spur-of-the-moment presidential outburst, Anthony Gardner – who served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union under Barack Obama – has warned that, “Europe wake-up; the U.S. wants to break-up the EU. Remember Belgium’s motto L’Union Fait la Force (Unity creates strength).”

The contrast between Mr. Trump, with his calls for more “Brexits” within the European Union, and U.S. policy at the start of the European integration process could not be starker. Embodied in John Kennedy’s 1962 Atlantic Partnership speech, the core U.S. view then was that a united Europe would make future wars on the continent less likely; create a stronger partner for the United States in meeting the challenges posed by the Soviet Union; and offer a more vibrant market for building transatlantic prosperity. Yet, U.S. attitudes gradually became more ambivalent as integration deepened, particularly in recent Republican administrations.

In the economic arena, for instance, the drive toward the European Single Market led to U.S. concerns about whether this would evolve into a “Fortress Europe.” Similarly, the creation of the European Monetary Union prompted worries about the dilution of U.S. primacy in the financial sector and macroeconomic policy. Moreover, in competition policy, the increasing assertiveness of the European Commission has raised U.S. concerns about EU overreach. Only last week, for example, Mr. Trump tweeted “The EU just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!”

Before Mr. Trump, the administration of George W. Bush came closest to questioning the value of European integration. For instance, the controversy over the Iraq conflict saw Washington querying the benefits of EU collaboration in the security and defence arena. On the eve of the NATO defence review in 2003, U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld even drew a distinction between “old” and “new Europe” with the latter perceived as more favourable to U.S. interests.

However, while the Bush team eventually recognized the need to draw back from this approach, it appears Mr. Trump may not be willing to do the same and has indeed raised the rhetoric several notches. In so doing, one of the features of the President’s approach is an attempt to prise apart Germany and France, the traditional two motors of EU integration. In May, it is reported that Mr. Trump advised French President Emmanuel Macron, who he appears to hold in high regard, that France would be better to quit the European Union to get a better trade deal with Washington than the United States is willing to offer the European Union as a whole.

This remarkable suggestion comes in the context of the U.S. President’s denunciation of Germany, which he has called “very bad” because of its significant trade surplus with the United States. While the White House’s gambit in trying to split Germany and France is unlikely to succeed, it underlines how U.S. ambivalence about European integration has reached its apotheosis under Mr. Trump. The scale of the challenge facing Mr. Juncker is therefore huge, given that this is the first U.S. president who appears to want to not just weaken, but also splinter the Brussels-based club.

Note EU-Digest: There is a cold wind blowing towards Europe from Washington, and a definite shift of policy vis-a-vis the EU. The EU Commission and EU parliament better wise up to the fact, that in dealing with the US, it is not business as usual.   


German -Turkey Relations: German journalist says Turkey court lifts travel ban

A German journalist and translator who is on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges said Monday that Turkish authorities had lifted her overseas travel ban.

"The reports about the lifting of my exit ban are correct," Mesale Tolu wrote on Twitter.
"I would like to thank my supporters and all those who sympathised with me and stood by my side to win my freedom."

An Istanbul court in December had conditionally released Tolu, 34, who was held for over half a year on charges of membership of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which is banned in Turkey as a terror organisation.

Under that ruling, she had to report to the authorities every week and could not leave Turkey.

With the latest verdict, she will be allowed to leave the country.

However Tolu wrote on Twitter that the next hearing in her trial is scheduled for October 16. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

In February, an Istanbul court ordered the conditional release of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel after receiving an indictment from prosecutors seeking a prison sentence of up to 18 years.

The latest court ruling on Tolu comes amid a thaw in Turkish-German relations after months of sharp tensions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he was relieved by the "good news" that Tolu would be allowed to travel and called it "a step forward in improving our relationship with Turkey".

But he added in a statement that more steps must follow and said that "we continue to view critically many rule-of-law issues in Turkey and are addressing these openly with our Turkish counterparts".

Read more: Flash - German journalist says Turkey court lifts travel ban - France 24

USA: the US Military Faces a Major Shake-Up as Trump prepares sweeping changes among upper commanders - by Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef

US President prepares sweeping changes in US upper Military Command
President Trump is expected to nominate Army Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke a former operations officer who played a critical role in the 2011 raid targeting Osama bin Laden to head of the U.S. Special Operations Command as part of a series of military promotions in coming months, according to U.S. officials.

Note EU-Digest: Some confusion here in this WSJ report by identifying Army Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke as the former operations officer who played a critical role in the 2011 raid targeting Osama bin Laden   

It was actually retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven also recently issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan

The Journal also reported that the personnel shifts will affect officers fighting in the Middle East, as well as those working to counter Russia, overseeing Guantanamo Bay and engaging in stealth operations around the world.

Officials told the Journal that Army Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke is anticipated to be formally appointed to U.S. Special Operations Command, in Tampa, Fla. He would succeed Army Gen. Tony Thomas, who will retire next year. The Special Operations Command oversees the specialized forces of all military branches.

As of now, Clarke serves as the director of strategic plans and policy for the Pentagon's Joint Staff. He also served as operation officer at Joint Special Operations Command when the Pentagon initiated the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. At that post, Clarke played a key role in the mission, participating in the planning, training and execution of the raid.

Trump will likely nominate two other commanders to replace retiring heads of regional combatant commands, several U.S. officials told the Journal.

Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters is anticipated to be chosen to head the U.S. European Command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

In the past, Wolters has served as the operations officer on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Wolters currently runs Air Force Europe, Air Force Africa, and Allied Air Command, all of which are based in Germany. He has especially focused on combating Russia in recent years.

Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. is expected to take on U.S. Central Command, after Army Gen. Joseph Votel, according to the Journal. That position is also out of Tampa and is thought of as the most prominent in the military. The post is responsible for all operations in the Middle East.

McKenzie is currently the director of the Joint Staff, which often situates officers well for top commands. He has years of experience in the nation's capital as well as in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Journal also reports that forces under the Special Operations Command have become increasingly important to the U.S. as it tries to lower its military presence across the world. Following from this emphasis, Trump nominated then commander of the Joint Special Operations Command Army Gen. Scott Miller to head up U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

McKenzie and Clarke's nominations will both require Senate confirmation, though it is rare for Senators to move to block military promotions.

The Pentagon and the speculated nominees declined to comment to the Journal.

In addition, two other high-ranking military posts are set to open next year, with the retirement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joe Dunford and the vice chairman Air Force Gen. Paul Selva.

Several names have surfaced for the positions, including current Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein, Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley, and the head of U.S. strategic command Air Force Gen. John Hyten.

There may be two more additional openings, with the possible retirement of top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Army. Gen. John Nicholson and current commander of U.S. Forces, Korea Army Gen. Vince Brooks, officials told the Journal.

Read moreL Military Faces a Sweeping Turnover Among Upper Commanders - WSJ

Turkey: Shots fired at gate of US Embassy in Turkey, but no one hurt

US Embassy, Ankara, Turkey
Shots were fired at a security booth outside the U.S. Embassy in Turkey’s capital early Monday, but U.S. officials said no one was hurt.

Private Ihlas news agency said four to five rounds were fired from a moving white car and targeted the booth outside Gate 6 at the embassy in Ankara. Police were searching for the car.

U.S. Embassy spokesman David Gainer thanked police for their “rapid response” and said no injuries had been reported.
U.S. Embassy Ankara, 110 Atat├╝rk Blvd.Kavakl─▒dere, 06100 Ankara - Turkey, Phone: (90-312) 455-5555, Fax: (90-312) 467-0019

Read more: Shots fired at gate of US Embassy in Turkey, but no one hurt


EU - Iran Relations: Trump Sanctions Against Iran: EU pledges to help Iran out of US oil ban

Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on Sunday said the European Union (EU) has pledged to take action before the US ban on importing oil from Iran takes effect in November, the media reported.

The European countries have made this promise in an attempt to make up for the possible losses that Tehran may suffer, Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the Press TV.

The US sanctions have so far not limited European countries in the economic sector, particularly with regard to oil purchases and trade, Jahangiri said, Xinhua reported.

The impact has not been "very determining" despite the departure of some private companies, particularly the European ones, he added.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order August 6 to reimpose the first round of sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, to levy "maximum economic pressure" on the Islamic republic.

The sanctions will cover Iran's purchases of US dollar, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its automotive sector.

For the complete report click here:

Israel - US Relations: Trump to Netanyahu: Palestinians Must Be Completely Conquered = by Eric Zuesse

“The Trump administration wants to see a long-term cease-fire in Gaza, with or without the support of the Palestinian Authority, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council told Haaretz on Monday.”

In other words: U.S. President Donald Trump is not angling for Palestinians to become ruled by the more moderate of the two political entities that are contesting for control over Palestine — he’s not favoring The Palestinain Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, over Hamas, Ismail Haniya. He is, instead, aiming for Jews inside Israel to conquer completely the non-Jews, not only inside Israel, but also in the adjoining areas, Palestine.

Trump has now officially placed the United States on the side of Israel’s Jews, for them to conquer and subdue Palestine, for Jews to rule over Palestinians, and for the residents in Palestine not to be allowed to participate in Israel’s elections.

Read more: Trump to Netanyahu: Palestinians Must Be Completely Conquered

Britain - Brexit: Fashion tycoon seeks second EU vote

Just seven months until Britain is due to leave the EU, the co-founder of global fashion chain Superdry has donated 1 million pounds (€1.1 million, $1.28 million) to a group seeking a new referendum on membership of the bloc.

Julian Dunkerton, whose streetwear brand has outlets in 46 countries, wrote in Britain's Sunday Times that he is backing the People's Vote campaign because he predicts Brexit will be a "disaster" and "we have a genuine chance to turn this around."

His donation will be spent on one of the biggest polling operations ever undertaken in the United Kingdom.

Dunkerton used Sunday's opinion piece to complain: "There is no vision for Brexit and the politicians have made a mess of it."

"Increasingly, the public knows that Brexit is going to be a disaster. Maybe they just need to be given that little bit of hope that comes when they see how opinion is moving.

Read more: Brexit: Fashion tycoon seeks second EU vote | News | DW | 19.08.2018

Middle East: Iran says U.S. 'action group' will fail to overthrow Iranian state

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Sunday that a new Iran Action Group in the U.S. State Department aimed to overthrow the Islamic Republic, but would fail.

He was speaking on the 65th anniversary of a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew a democratically elected Iranian prime minister, an occasion when anti-American sentiment runs particularly high in the Islamic Republic.

Comparing fresh U.S. sanctions on Tehran imposed by President Donald Trump with the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, Zarif said Tehran will not let history repeat itself.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday named senior policy adviser Brian Hook as special representative for Iran in charge of the Iran Action Group to co-ordinate Trump's pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic following Washington's withdrawal from an international nuclear deal with Tehran.

Read more: Iran says U.S. 'action group' will fail to overthrow Iranian state | CBC News