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France: COP21: China′s climate efforts far from sufficient

China is one of the biggest polluters in the world. The Asian economic giant, however, says it is committed to tackling the issue as the UN climate conference kicks off in Paris. But how difficult will that be for China?

China's rise from a developing country to a global superpower in just half a century has mesmerized the world. But the progress has come at a price: The Asian economic giant is now one of the biggest polluters in the world.

China's economic growth is a result of its rapid industrial expansion. In 2011, it overtook the United States as the country with the highest rate of energy consumption. In 2012, more than two-thirds of China's energy was directed to its industrial sector. Chinese authorities argue that they still have to catch up with the West in terms of industrialization; hence, they cannot reduce emissions drastically - at least not now.

But there seems to be a shift in Beijing. Shortly before the start of the UN climate conference in Paris, China announced that it was planning to revise its energy policy. In a rough version of the 13th "Five-Year Plan," which was released in early October, the government presented proposals for clean energy and environmental protection. A detailed version of the document will be released next year.

Read more: COP21: China′s climate efforts far from sufficient | Asia | DW.COM | 30.11.2015

France: World leaders in Paris begin bid for breakthrough in climate talks

Representatives from more than 150 countries have started their ambitious attempt to bring down the earth’s rising temperatures.

The climate change conference in Paris, COP 21, will seek to steer global economies towards greener fuels instead of fossil fuels.

Opening the summit, French President Francois Hollande said the fight against terrorism and global warming are closely linked.

He also reiterated that a deal to try and keep any further rises in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius needed to be “universal, differentiated and binding”, with richer countries contributing more than poorer ones.

Reaqd more: World leaders in Paris begin bid for breakthrough in climate talks | euronews, world news

"The Corporate Takeover of American Minds": Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which is better?- by Kirsten VerHaar

Black Friday: Frenzied Shoppers  going crazy
"There's nothing quite like the thrill (and novelty) of piling into the car in the wee hours of the morning and waiting for your favorite retailer to open its doors. Adventure awaits:

Will you score the ultimate doorbuster deal? Or how about that unannounced surprise sale that could be offered? Both are very real possibilities that you can only experience live and in person.

And sometimes nothing can replace the sensory experience, especially when shopping for clothing or furniture.

You don't have to worry about shipping costs or canceled orders either, because you'll be carting your loot home.

To some, Cyber Monday offers many of the same benefits of Black Friday without all the hassle. According to the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend) is expected to contribute significantly to overall holiday sales — an anticipated $105 billion in online sales, So, is it worth opting for the couch instead of the mall?

Shopping from the comfort of home or work makes for more rational decisions, and you're not dealing with the crowds.

Finally, the pleasure of shopping in PJs can't be discounted. There's nothing better than curling up on the couch with a cup of cocoa and getting your spend on.

Bottom-Line: do you really need all  those so-called "bargains" and make retailers happy as they deposit your hard earned cash in the bank ?  As a passerby of a major US  department store noted when he saw all the frenzied shoppers trying to get into the store: "Every One Has The Right To Do Stupid Things But The American Consumers Are Abusing that Privilege."

 Read more: Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which is better?

FRANCE: Rallies worldwide call for action at Paris climate summit

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of cities around the world on Sunday, demanding bold measures to stave off catastrophic climate change as representatives of 195 countries gather in Paris for the start of a critical summit. Protests have been banned in the French capital as part of emergency rules passed in the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds more injured.

Instead of marching, campaigners formed a 2-kilometre human chain and covered the symbolic Place de la République with thousands of shoes – including a pair of trainers left by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Elsewhere, large crowds rallied to put pressure on world leaders as they begin a 12-day diplomatic marathon aimed at producing a comprehensive deal that can curb global warming.

Read more: france 24 - Rallies worldwide call for action at Paris climate summit - France 24


Syria: EU-Digest Poll shows majority of people polled want return to pre-war status Syria

A recent EU-Digest poll (October through November) shows the majority of the people polled (50%) want Syria to return to the situation before the commencement of hostilities there.

A total of 40% polled  want an immediate cease fire to be called and negotiations started between all involved parties, to reach a binding settlement.

The rest of the people polled (10%) find the present situation confusing and dangerous.

The latest EU-Digest poll which runs throughout the month of December focuses on the EU and changes that are required to make it more manageable and  inclusive..


EU-US Relationship: The Atlantic Alliance needs a facelift - by RM

Is the Atlantc Alliance outdated?
Everyone seems ton be in total agreement that the US and the EU (Europe) share a lot of common values going back all the way to the American war of independence and the majority of the people on both side of the pond hope it will remain that way. 

Europe and the US need to support each other in these ideals - even though if we look at the US  reasons for helping out Europe in times of need, for instance during the first and second world war, this support also came because of US self interest.

If the Nazi's had won the war in Europe they would also become a direct threat to the existence of the US.

A similar situation developed during the the cold war with the Soviet Union.

What some visionary Europeans are suggesting today is that times have changed. Even though the basic principles on a large number of issues, including human rights are still common ideals in the US and the EU, there are also many areas of disagreement..

These including: but are not limited to, foreign policy, the environment, privacy rights, trade, financial laws, military alliances (NATO), and agricultural safety standards.

In other words - what is good for America is not necessarily good for the EU.

The EU needs to do some basic homework as to figuring out what needs to be achieved from within if the EU wants to become a truly independent world  player and this brain-storming must also include developing a new framework for the Atlantic Alliance with the US.

It is high time this happens, before the more than 500 million inhabitants of the EU lose faith in this greatest European political project ever undertaken in history.



France-Germany: How France Will Bail Out Germany’s Merkel - by Daniel Stelter and Stephan Richter

Things are shifting quickly in Europe – and the Germans, especially Angela Merkel, will be noticing the full brunt of the changes very soon. In Germany’s place, France may be calling the shots.

That sounds very surprising, given the overall continued weakness of the French economy. In addition, President Hollande’s effort to build a war coalition against ISIS was coolly brushed off by Barack Obama during the Frenchman’s recent Washington visit.

And Hollande’s attempt a day after to convince Angela Merkel to pursue a much more muscular – read: military — policy was also met with limited success. Warm words of solidarity were essentially the only “harvest” Hollande received.

Both the U.S. President and the German Chancellor remain unconvinced that a strategy that primarily rests on militarizing the conflict, rather than pursuing much better homegrown efforts for better integration of young Muslims, is the way to go.

Under those dismal circumstances, how is it then possible to argue that France may be calling the shots in Europe?

Here is how: Germany, under Angela Merkel’s tutelage, has essentially lost its claim to leadership. Her reaction to the refugee issue essentially put humanitarian impulses over the need to preserve internal European cohesion.

Read more: How France Will Bail Out Germany’s Merkel - The Globalist

EU-USA: Transatlantic trading deal

The guns of the long transatlantic beef war are silenced. Last year the European Union more than doubled its quota of American beef imports (so long as it is not treated with hormones) and America removed punitive duties on imports of Roquefort cheese. The Americans should soon ease a ban on beef imports imposed in 1997 to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. In November the EU accepted the American practice of decontaminating meat with lactic acid. A final skirmish, over American beef fat, could soon be settled through plans to allow imports of tallow for biodiesel (but not for cosmetics).

After decades of trade rows and lawsuits, the truce is meant to clear the air for an ambitious transatlantic free-trade deal. EU officials speak of creating “something approaching a transatlantic single market in goods”. Even a less grand pact could help to re-energise struggling economies on both sides of the Atlantic. It could also help America and Europe to set international trade rules in the face of a fast-rising China.

Big business wants a deal. Trade unions and greens are no longer so worried about a race to the bottom. The ever-protectionist French and Italians are on board. And yet there is genuine wariness, particularly on the American side.

The report of a high-level group that is expected to recommend the start of talks has been delayed. Perhaps, think some, President Barack Obama is trying to squeeze concessions out of the Europeans; or, Europeans worry, he cares more about a transpacific deal; or he is busy setting up his second-term administration; or is he waiting for the right moment for an announcement, for instance in his state-of-the-union message on February 12th?

American officials say they want to ensure that any negotiation is both unusually ambitious and unusually fast. The deal, they say, has to be done “on one tank of gas”, by which they mean in the next two years. Neither side wants a repeat of the moribund Doha round, now in its 12th year.

America and the EU make up the world’s biggest and richest trading partnership, accounting for about half of global GDP and one-third of trade. They are the biggest investors in each others’ economies. But this very closeness makes progress harder. Easy deals have mostly been done; what is left is complicated. Tariffs are low (below 3% on average, though higher on farm products) but non-tariff barriers abound. Many have to do with consumers, public health, the environment or national security. Governments are not usually elected to compromise on such matters.

One European aim is to open up America’s public-procurement market, which is more protected than Europe’s; one reason is that the federal government cannot force states to open tenders to foreign bidders.

Another is to dismantle restrictions on services, which represent the lion’s share of output but a relatively small part of exports. European airlines cannot take over American carriers or carry passengers between American cities. Similar restrictions apply to coastal shipping under the 1920 Jones Act. Yet the EU market in services also remains fragmented. A transatlantic deal could spur further integration.

Other difficulties include France’s insistence on the “cultural exception” to protect French-language audio-visual products, and the EU’s wish for America to respect hundreds of “geographical indications” on everything from Parmesan cheese to French wines.

Read more: Transatlantic trading | The Economist

The Netherlands: Dutch Court to Rejected 'Refugees': Go Home or Starve - by Michael Walsh

Holland, which has been suffering from the "refugee" influx even before Muslim immigrants were called "refugees," can now expel them without worrying about European notions of "human rights."
A Dutch high court on Thursday upheld a government policy of withholding food and shelter to rejected asylum-seekers who refuse to be repatriated, giving legal backing to one of Europe's toughest immigration policies. The Raad van State or Council of State, which reviews the legality of government decisions, found that the new policy of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.
A rejected asylum seeker does not have the right to appeal to the European Social Charter, it said.
The Dutch government "has the right, when providing shelter in so-called locations of limited freedom, to require failed asylum-seekers to cooperate with their departure from the Netherlands," a summary of the ruling said.

This is a good first step. The Europeans have been buffaloed by the trammels of the European super-state, looking over their shoulders at the bureaucrats in Brussels and the corruptocrats of the UN before daring to defend themselves against the invasion of their territory by "migrants" from the ummah of Islam.

Read more: Dutch Court to Rejected 'Refugees': Go Home or Starve | PJ Media


Merchandising: Netherlands expects its own Black Friday - by Janene Pieters

The Netherlands has its on version of the American phenomenon Black Friday. But on the Monday just before Sinterklaas, instead of on the Friday after Thanksgiving as the Americans do it.

This is according to research done by Piet Hein Kerkhof of Criteo Benelux, BNR reports.

In the United States Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is always on the last Thursday in November. It is a day of mega sales and massive discounts, which usually includes large crowds, screaming customers and occasionally someone being trampled. According to Kerkhof, retailers fuel Black Friday with the idea of getting a head start on Christmas shopping.

Kerkhof found a similar trend in the Netherlands, though nothing close to the proportions of Black Friday in the United States.

According to him, there is a peak in the Netherlands on the Monday following Black Friday, in the run up to Sinterklaas. “This is less driven by retailers, but a trend in the behavior of the consumer”, he said to the broadcaster. Dutch consumers like discounts on the Monday before Sinterklaas is set to deliver his gifts.

Read more: Netherlands expects its own Black Friday - NL Times

Turkey - Freedom of the Press - Turkey detains journalists who allege army lorries carried weapons for ISIS

Recep Tayip Erdogan dragging Turkey into the abyss
Between one and two thousand people protested outside the Istanbul offices of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet.

The paper has seen its Editor-in-chief and Ankara correspondent arrested and charged with espionage and treason on Thursday for daring to accuse Turkey of doing business with ISIL.

Both men say they have only done their jobs and deny their reporting is helping enemies of Turkey.

“As you know, an investigation has been launched into our reports on intelligence agency MIT trucks carrying weapons. The plaintiff is President Tayyip Erdogan himself.

We came here to defend journalism. We came here to defend people’s right to be informed, their right to learn the truth if the government is lying,” said Can Dündar, the senior of the two men.

“If the country is under a certain threat or in danger, a journalist has to report it,” said Erdem Gül.

Both men were placed in custody after their declarations. Turkey is currently rated near the bottom of global tables for press freedom and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the author of the lorry story “will pay a heavy price”.

Read more: Turkey detains journalists who allege army lorries carried weapons for ISIL | euronews, world news

QE: Lost In Contradiction: The IMF And Competitive Wage Dumping In The Euro Area - by Ronald Janssen

A staff discussion note published recently by the IMF addresses the argument that squeezing wages across a large part of the euro area is dangerous and deflationary as it will not improve anyone’s relative competitive position while undercutting domestic demand everywhere.

 Since the IMF has always been a staunch advocate of the ongoing euro area experiment of substituting currency devaluation with wages devaluation, it is worth taking a closer look at its work.

The IMF bases its findings on a simulation whereby nominal wage growth in a set of five countries representing an economic weight of 30% of the euro area (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland) is reduced by 2 percentage points over the course of two years. Importantly, this simulation is carried out under the assumption that the ECB’s hands as regards cutting its interest rates are tied because these rates are already hitting the zero mark. It is also assumed that lower wages growth is fully passed on into domestic prices, implying that there are no cuts in real wages.

Note EU-Digest: QE - Money printing presses going full speed and major dangers lie ahead for the US, EU and Japanese economies. When they come they will make the 2007/2009 economic crises look like child's play.

Read more: Lost In Contradiction: The IMF And Competitive Wage Dumping In The Euro Area

US Economy: The Crisis Of The American Working Class

The disturbing evidence about the health of white middle-aged American working class, discovered and publicized this week by Nobel prize winner Angus Deaton and his wife Anne Case, is not tied to just one trend in the culture, policies, or economic factors at work within the United States.

It is not the fault of one party or movement, but has multiple root causes. But it is something we all ought to be concerned about, both for the future fiscal and policy burden it represents, and for the broader lesson it tells us about how America is changing.

The numbers clearly indicate that these Americans are increasingly likely to kill themselves
– whether on purpose or through the slow gradual death of addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.

The rate of mortality increased most dramatically for white Americans lacking any more than a high school education.

There have been a host of reports about the rise in the number of Americans receiving disability payments over the past three decades – this one, from This American Life, is still fairly definitive. It is impossible to understand the current Labor Force Participation situation without acknowledging this dramatic growth.

Read more: The Crisis Of The American Working Class

Syria: Putin and Hollande agree on greater cooperation over Syrian air strikes

The presidents of France and Russia have been meeting in Moscow to discuss strengthening cooperation in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Both Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande said they agreed there was a need for greater coordination to be more effective in air strikes, and to avoid a repeat of Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on Tuesday.
Putin described the shooting as an “act of betrayal” by a country Moscow considered to be its ally.

Hollande repeated his belief that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad can not be part of Syria’s political future but Putin said such a decision could only be made by the Syrian people.

Read more:: Syria: Putin and Hollande agree on greater cooperation over Syrian air strikes 


Spanish Economy: Summer tourism helps Spain’s economy grow more than other eurozone countries

Summer tourism helped Spain’s economy grow faster than most others in the eurozone in the third quarter.

Figures from Spain’s National Statistics Office (INE) showed that output expanded by 0.8 percent between July and September, as household spending recovered from the doldrums.

The effects of the recession still hit many Spaniards hard – a major challenge for the centre-right government ahead of next month’s elections.

“I keep saying that we’re coming out of the recession. We’ve seen two and a half years of positive growth. But we still haven’t reached, in terms of income, the levels we had before the crisis. We’ll get there, if we maintain this pace of growth, at the end of next year,” said Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos.

Falling unemployment has helped boost spending – but more than 20 percent are still out of work.
Labour reforms are credited with having stemmed job losses – but critics say they’ve failed to tackle employers’ abuses of short-term contracts. Economists also say the gap between Spain’s highest earners and its poorest is on the rise.

Tourism accounts for around 11 percent of Spain’s output. A record year for foreign visitors brought a rise in the number of jobs in hotels, restaurants and other parts of the service sector.

Read more: Summer tourism helps Spain’s economy grow more than other eurozone countries | euronews, economy

Head Scarfs - Top European court upholds France′s headscarf ban

The Strasbourg-based international court's ruling upholds a ban on employees in the public sector wearing headscarves and other religious symbols. In 2000, Muslim social worker Christiane Ebrahimian, who worked in the psychiatric department of a hospital in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre.

When she learned that her contract would not be renewed because she refused to take off her headscarf despite complaints from patients and colleagues, she decided to sue the hospital, taking her case all the way to the European Court of Justice.

The Strasbourg judges argued that the ban did not violate freedom of religion in a country where secularism and strict religious neutrality is enshrined in the constitution.

Religious freedom, they stressed, did not mean a right to express their religious views in the workplace.

Note EU-Digest:-Does not belong in secular nations - as long as this ban does not only single out Islamic head scarfs, but also includes those from other religions,  including:  Anglican, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, Jewish,, Orthodox, and Sikh

Read more: Top European court upholds France′s headscarf ban | News | DW.COM | 26.11.2015


Turkey: NATO Should Tell Turkey: ‘This Thanksgiving, You’re Dumped’ - by Raheem Kassam

Some of us have been expressing deep concerns about the regress of the country of Ataturk for years, while others, including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and his European Parliamentary colleague Daniel Hannan MEP, have been agitating for an immediate inclusion of Turkey into the EU. It simply cannot happen.

This morning’s downing of a Russian jet underscores the problems with Turkey’s NATO membership and EU accession. It is perhaps not the worst example of how Turkey is not fit to be in a formal military alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States, but it underscores the point that the country is simply not ready – not even as ready as it was pre-2000. The country has regressed in three key areas as far as Europe and the United States should be concerned: on security matters, on human rights matters, and as a hub for mass migration into Europe.

Read more: NATO Should Tell Turkey: ‘This Thanksgiving, You’re Dumped’


Turkey: Putin calls Turkey 'accomplices of terrorists' after Russian jet shot down - live updates | World news | The Guardian

In Brussels, Nato officials say Russian jet entered Turkish airspace before it was shot down. Earlier the US said the Russian incursion into Turkish air space lasted just seconds. Nato ambassadors apparently believe

Diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters that while none of the 28 Nato envoys defended Russia’s actions, many expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace. “There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents,” said one diplomat who declined to be named.

Hollande says strikes must be against Daesh and stresses the need to resolve the crisis, which is relevant not just to Syria’s neighbours but the wider world as refugees leave the region.

The French president stresses France will not deploy ground troops as that is up to local forces. Obama says the US is backing local forces with training and equipment as well as launching air strikes. He says the Vienna process, which includes Iran (also backers of Assad) for the first time, is the best option.

On the downing of the Russian plane, Obama stressed the importance of Turkey and Russia working to de-escalate the situation. 

Read more: Putin calls Turkey 'accomplices of terrorists' after Russian jet shot down - live updates | World news | The Guardia


Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe -

The agricultural revolution was one of the most profound events in human history, leading to the rise of modern civilization. Now, in the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists has found that after agriculture arrived in Europe 8,500 years ago, people’s DNA underwent widespread changes, altering their height, digestion, immune system and skin color.

Researchers had found indirect clues of some of these alterations by studying the genomes of living Europeans. But the new study, they said, makes it possible to see the changes as they occurred over thousands of years.

“For decades we’ve been trying to figure out what happened in the past,” said Rasmus Nielsen, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the new study. “And now we have a time machine.”

Before the advent of studies of ancient DNA, scientists had relied mainly on bones and other physical remains to understand European history. The earliest bones of modern humans in Europe date to about 45,000 years ago, researchers have found.

Early Europeans lived as hunter-gatherers for over 35,000 years. About 8,500 years ago, farmers left their first mark in the archaeological record of the continent.

Read more: Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe - The New York Times

EU’s Fate After Paris: A Dark Scenario - by Daniel Stelte

The EU: United we stand divided  we will fail
The terrorist attacks from Paris, inhuman and brutal, serve as an accelerant for already ongoing processes that have been weakening the European Union’s bonds.

Now they combine in a dangerous mixture and react with each other:
  • The “third world war”, as labeled by the pope, with radical Islam, which is intensifying for years and in which peaceful solution seems more and more utopian.
  • The wave of refugees flowing into Europe, trying to escape war, suppression and poverty.
  • A depressing lack of cultural will for self-defense of the West, serving like an invitation to intolerant people to become even more intolerant.
  • A European Union that shows more and more that it is not build on shared values but on the generation of economic gains and prosperity. Once Union stops being financially beneficial politicians come under pressure to explain the benefits to their national electorates.
  • European governments not sticking to agreements and rules. Declaring themselves incapable of returning to the order of law.
  • Governments and private sectors having lived beyond their financial means for years, unable to deal with the hefty debt load and unfunded promises for retirement and health care of an aging society.
  • European leaders who have instead of addressing these issues and the ongoing Euro crisis heads on have played for time – without making use of this time.
All of this – and the list is not complete – is now mixing and reinforcing each other.

Note EU-Digest:  Only unity in purpose and joint European action can overcome the dangers that lie ahead.  If the EU breaks up the enemy, which is not only terrorism as such, but also corporate greed and manipulation, will slowly but surely pick away and destroy democracy and liberty individually in each European state without mercy. The EU is worth fighting for !

Read more: EU’s Fate After Paris: A Dark Scenario - The Globalist


Refugees: The Four Forces Driving Angela Merkel - by Stephan Richter,

With her strong pro-refugee stance, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has confounded many people at home and abroad. After all, she is also the leader of the country’s right-of-center party and conservatives generally take a very reserve stance on refugees and immigration.

A key factor explaining her stance is that Angela Merkel grew up behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. For that reason, she has a very personal sense of what striving for and attaining personal liberty under great adversity really means. That sets her apart from basically any other leader in the Western world.

Read more: Refugees: The Four Forces Driving Angela Merkel - The Globalist


EU Economy: Europe’s housing crisis far from over, says report - by Robert Hackwil

Europe’s housing crisis that was triggered by the 2008 financial meltdown is far from over and is getting worse in some places, a new report has claimed.

NGO Habitat for Humanity says in its wake will come major economic and social problems, says the report.
Its publication is timed to coincide with the third Europe Housing Forum meeting in Berlin that finishes on Friday.

The price of a European way of life keeps rising

Both groups seem to be coming to the same conclusion; for some Europeans, spiralling housing costs mean their continent is becoming too expensive for them to live in.

Every EU member has at least one “hotspot” city, whose economic dominance means everyone wants to live there for the jobs or client base it provides, and the education, health and leisure facilities. The top six overheated housing markets are Paris, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, London and Brussels.

However, these hotspot cities are also extremely attractive for another group – investors. Land is a finite resource, so the wealthy have twigged that property values in these places are never going to drop and are a sure thing where making money is concerned. This has skewed the housing market in these places, with plenty of housebuilding for the wealthy, who often buy property not to live in or let, but simply as an investment, but little or no “affordable” housing being built.

Read more: Europe’s housing crisis far from over, says report | euronews, world news

EU: Brussels on full security alert, metro closed

Brussels has been placed on its highest level of security alert after what officials describe as a “serious and imminent threat”.

The Belgian capital and region have moved up to level four after intelligence suggested the threat of a “Paris-style” attack involving weapons and explosives.
The city’s metro system will remain closed for both Saturday and Sunday.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel confirmed the level four status. “It has been recommended that we stop the metro until Sunday afternoon,” he said. “I cannot comment on any ongoing operations or the inquiry for obvious reasons.”

Read more: Brussels on full security alert, metro closed | euronews, world news


France: All for one: 28 EU states agree on first-ever military support to France

France has invoked an EU treaty collective defense article requesting military help from its European partners in response to the terror attacks in Paris. EU officials say the mutual defense article is being used for the first time.

peaking at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 28 EU member states unanimously accepted France's formal call for “aid and assistance” under the EU treaty and he expected all to help quickly in various regions, Reuters reports.

“This is firstly a political act,” Le Drian said of the decision to invoke article on mutual defense of the EU treaty.

The minister said France at this time does not have sufficient capabilities to wage several different military operations simultaneously, and expects full military support from its European partners.

“Beyond that, how is this going to work? It may be by cooperating with French interventions in Syria, in Iraq, it may be in support of France in other operations,” Le Drian said, quoted as saying by RTL.

The EU treaty mentions certain security issues, but Paris preferred to resort to mutual defense article instead of using Article 222, the so-called ‘solidarity clause’. It specifically tackles the issue of response to European countries in case of a terrorist attack and requires EU members to “mobilize all the instruments at its disposal, including military resources.”

Read more: All for one: 28 EU states agree on first-ever military support to France — RT News

Middle East: Why anti-IS coalition with Putin is crucial - could he become the man of the hour?

A coalition with Russia in the battle against the "Islamic State" is the order of the day. The presidents of France and the USA, Francois Hollande and Barack Obama, seem to moving in this direction. Germany should also join the initiative, but do it without imagining a partnership with Russia - and without imagining that it will only take a few years for the collapsing Middle East to develop into a prosperous, democratic part of the world as soon as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ousted from power.

Putin's interest in an anti-IS coalition is not rooted in humanitarian ideals but instead very clearly in geopolitical interests. The Kremlin is, of course, taking advantage of the West's shock over the terrorist attacks in Paris to overcome its international isolation, push through its policies and re-establish itself as a recognized superpower. Russia's diplomatic support of Assad since 2011 is also one of the factors that has fueled the war in Syria.

First of all, the apocalyptic Islamic sect known as "IS" must completely be eradicated - in Syria, in Iraq and in Europe. Achieving such a step requires close military coordination with Russia and putting pressure on IS supporters in the Gulf states. After all, there is no use in lamenting the fact that Moscow has settled itself in Syria with its military bases and become an important player there. The fact that Putin is scoring propaganda points should be irrelevant for now - as long as the West stands firm on its policy regarding Ukraine.

Second, if IS is dismantled, then a conference similar to the one that created the Helsinki Accords must be held to achieve peace and stabilize the entire Middle East. Such a step will likely carry the high price tag of allowing Assad to remain in power of whatever is left of Syria. The alternative would be continued violence, endless suffering and the risk of it all spreading like wildfire to Europe, Africa and Asia.

Read more: Opinion: Why anti-IS coalition with Putin is crucial | Opinion | DW.COM | 19.11.2015


Terrorism: Abdelhamid Abaaoud Suspected organiser of Paris attacks killed in Saint Denis police raid - Allahu Akbar

The suspected organiser of the Paris attacks was killed in a police raid in the suburb of Saint Denis, officials confirmed on Thursday, as France’s lower house of parliament approved an extension of the state of emergency.

When the news was announced many people who heard it shouted

"Allahu Akbar" 

Read more: france 24 - Suspected organiser of Paris attacks killed in Saint Denis police raid - France 2




UN Human Rights Council: Giving Saudi Arabia a vital position on the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank - by Noman Ansari

During my 15 years growing up in Saudi Arabia, there was one tenet I, like most expatriates, strictly abided by. This simple unwritten rule was; minimise your interaction with locals.

This is because many, though certainly not all Saudis we encountered, looked upon foreigners as if they were insolent slaves. From interactions in the neighbourhood, workplace, shops, and more, the Saudi disdain for foreigners is pretty clear.

With Saudi media towing the Kingdom line, it was only through word of mouth that we learnt of expatriate girls, women, boys, and boyish looking men escaping capture from Saudi groups. These gangs often travelled in hulking SUVs that sported tinted black windows, and would usually take their victims out into the middle of the desert to assault them sexually.

I myself evaded a child molester, when my childhood friend and I were followed by a big bellied man with a large beard who tried to bribe us with money and candy. This monster regularly prowled the neighbourhood for a few weeks.

Read more: Giving Saudi Arabia a vital position on the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank – The Express Tribune Blog

The Fascislamists: Thinking the unthinkable: This is war - by Bernard-Henri Lév

A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the non-territorial model of al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Islamic State has returned.

But a war all the same.

And, faced with this war unwanted by the United States, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and now France, only one question is worth asking: What should we do? How, when a war like this is forced upon you, do you respond and win?

Principle number 1: Do not play with words. Call things by their right names. Dare to utter the terrible word “war,” a word that the democracies try to push out of the range of hearing, beyond the bounds of their imagination, their symbolic system, and their reality. This aversion to war is their mission, their distinguishing trait, and their crowning glory, but it is also their weakness.

Recall the nobility and the candour of Léon Blum revealing, in a famous debate with Elie Halévy in the 1930s, that he could not grasp the notion of democracy at war, except as a contradiction.

Recall the dignity but also the limits of the great consciences of humanism in the second half of that same decade, when they watched with alarm as Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Roger Caillois, and others from the College of Sociology called for the intellectual rearmament of a world that believed, then as now, that it was done with its dark past and with history.

That is where we stand today. Thinking the unthinkable: war. Accepting the oxymoron of a modern republic required to wage war to save itself.

And thinking it all the more painfully because none of the rules laid down by theoreticians of war, from Thucydides to Clausewitz, seem to apply to that non-existent state that brings fire from a distance that is all the greater because its front lines are fluid and its fighters have the tactical advantage of making no distinction between what we call life and what they call death.

France’s government, including the President, understands this. French political leaders across the spectrum have voiced their unanimous support. That leaves you, me and society, both collectively and individually. Each of us, this time, is a target, a front line, a soldier without knowing it, a cell of resistance, a locus of mobilization and of biopolitical fragility. The idea is heartbreaking and appalling, but it is a fact that we must face.

 Read more: Thinking the unthinkable: This is war - The Globe and Mail


US presidential Elections: In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush

In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads Republican candidate Donald Trump by a landslide margin of 12 percentage points, 53 to 41. In the McClatchy poll, Sanders also leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by a landslide margin of 10 points, 51 to 41.

Sanders's strength in general election polling gives credence to the argument I have been making in recent years, that American voters favor progressive populist positions which, if taken by Democrats in the general election, would lead to a progressive populist Democratic president and far greater Democratic strength in Congress.

It is a fallacy argued by conservatives and, in my view, inaccurately parroted by the mainstream media, that Sanders and other liberals take positions that are far too "left." The polling shows, issue by issue, and increasingly in general election match-ups of Republicans running against Sanders, that it is the left, not the right, which has the upper hand with American voters.

Read moreL In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush | TheHill

Paris attacks: Where does Isis get its money and arms from? - by Tom Brooks-Pollock

Jeremy Corbyn posed a series of rhetorical questions when asked whether bombing Isis following the Paris terror attacks would make a significant difference to the situation.

In an interview with Lorraine Kelly on ITV, the Labour leader answered "probaby not", adding: "Who is funding Isis? Who is arming Turkey? Who is providing safe havens for ISIS. You have to ask questions about the arms everyone has sold in the region."

The Paris attackers were armed with AK-47s and identical suicide vests, while police seized a rocket launcher and a huge cache of weapons in terrorists raids in Lyon following the attack. Some are said to have been trained in Syria.

So where does Isis get its money, guns and bombs, both in Europe and in the Middle East?

To a large extent Isis is now funding itself – through oil sales, kidnap ransoms, smuggling, extortion, taxes, looting, bank robberies.

When it was starting out, Isis was ‘seed funded’ by wealthy donors –individuals and charities from across the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

At first, the governments of the Persian kingdoms openly gave money to the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including Isis. This has since become politically and diplomatically incorrect – but large amounts of money still finds its way to Isis from wealthy individuals from the Persian gulf.

Note EU-Digest: Wouldn't it be far more effective if the West and specially the US, which probably has the worlds most sophisticated surveillance and electronic spy network, also starts gathering information on who are buying ISIS commodities and where ISIS buys their weapons?  Nothing would work faster in stopping their maniactic activities than closing their access to financial sources and putting those who buy and sell from them in jail. Then again, this information could probably open a can of worms for the West?

Read More: Paris attacks: Where does Isis get its money and arms from? | World | News | The Independent

Germany: Hanover stadium evacuated over terror threat before Germany-Netherlands match

Police official Volker Kluwe told broadcaster NDR that there was "concrete evidence that someone wanted to detonate explosives" at the stadium, providing no other details. The Washington Post cited a security official as saying that the situation was related to Friday's attacks in Paris.

Police at the stadium urged spectators to calmly but quickly leave the stadium, saying the match had been canceled. “Do not stand still. Stay away from the stadium,” police said through loudspeakers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to attend the match but had not yet arrived.

Read more: Hanover stadium evacuated over terror threat before Germany-Netherlands match - BNO News


Canada: Justin Trudeau gets rock star welcome at G20, faces questions on Canada's role in ISIS fight

Canada's newly installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stayed focused on economic growth and climate change at the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday, while reaffirming his pledge to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by year end and delivering a pointed message that Canada is a country that defines itself by its shared values, not its cultural differences.

He also found time to greet business executives who gave him a rock-star welcome and sought selfie photos as he made his debut on the world stage, and cracked a couple jokes, including one said to have elicited a chuckle from U.S. President Barack Obama.

In his main remarks, Trudeau told a G20 top-tier business audience that long-term investments in infrastructure and youth are the keys to growth, not a preoccupation with short-term profits.

Canadian Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, was among those in attendance, along with Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Angel Gurria, the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Trudeau covered ground that would have been familiar to Canadians following the federal election, including his infrastructure spending plans to stimulate growth.

Read more: Justin Trudeau gets rock star welcome at G20, faces questions on Canada's role in ISIS fight - World - CBC News

Syria: G20: Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin agree to Syrian-led transition - by Katharine Murphy

The United States and Russia have reached consensus at the G20 on the need for “a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition” following a sidelines meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

A White House official said Obama and Putin had agreed the United Nations would mediate negotiations between the Syrian opposition and the regime after a ceasefire.

The thaw between Obama and Putin came in the lead-up to the summit’s working dinner, where G20 leaders were due to focus on strategies to counter violent extremism.

Earlier in the day, the US president used his opening remarks at the summit to declare America would intensify efforts to “eliminate” Islamic State and also bring about a “peaceful transition” in Syria.

The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had a brief discussion with president Obama before the leaders gathered for the G20 “family photo”.

Turnbull and Obama will meet for longer talks at the Apec summit in Manila on Tuesday.

In addition to pushing a political solution for Syria, officials told the Guardian, Obama used interventions during summit sessions on Sunday to urge leaders to produce a strong communiqué on climate change as a precursor to the UN-led climate talks in Paris next month.

Read more: G20: Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin agree to Syrian-led transition | World news | The Guardian

ISIS: Hacker Group Anonymous Announces 'Biggest Operation' Against ISIS After Paris Attacks

The Hacker group Anonymous declared "total war" on the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group on Sunday following the wave of attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and left dozens more in a critical condition.

A masked, French-speaking figure with a distorted voice is shown reading a statement from the group in the two-minute-long YouTube video. Clips from the attacks in Paris are shown in the video.

"War is declared. Get prepared," the masked figure says in the video in reference to ISIS. "The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger. Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down. You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go. We will launch the biggest operation ever against you."

The escalation in Anonymous's operation against ISIS comes after at least seven suspected attackers carried out gun and bomb attacks against a number of civilian targets across the French capital, leaving 352 wounded and at least 99 in a critical condition. French police are continuing a manhunt for a man they believe took part in the attacks, identified as 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam.

Anonymous has targeted ISIS for a number of months, revealing the Twitter accounts of ISIS members and hacking a number of the group's sites. U.S. magazine Foreign Policy estimates that the group has dismantled at least 149 of the extremist group's affiliated websites, flagged approximately 101,000 Twitter accounts and nearly 6,000 propaganda videos.

Note EU-Digest: Excellent initiative. The more the better . Unity is the best defense against terrorism and fear.

Read more: Hacker Group Anonymous Announces 'Biggest Operation' Against ISIS After Paris Attacks


US Economy: The decline and fall of America's working people - by Noah Smith

One big piece of news in the past couple of weeks has been the release of a new paper by recent economics Nobel-winner Angus Deaton and his co-author, Anne Case.

The paper highlights a very disturbing trend -- death rates are increasing for white people in America, especially for working-class, middle-aged whites. The increase looks like it has been going on since the late 1990s.

Among other American groups, such as Hispanics and blacks, mortality has fallen across all age and income groups during the past decade and a half.

The trend is concentrated among the less educated. For college-educated whites, mortality fell, much as it did for other racial groups and other nations. For those with some college, mortality was unchanged -- a poor result, but not disastrous. But for white Americans with no college education, deaths have soared.
Something very troubling and very unique is happening to American working-class whites.

The immediate causes of the increase are not hard to identify. Drugs and suicide are the culprits. There is an epidemic of prescription painkiller, alcohol and heroin abuse among American whites. Deaths from alcohol and drug poisoning among middle-class whites have skyrocketed. White suicide rates have also risen dramatically to more than 20 per 100,000 people in the 45-54 age cohort.

One big piece of news in the past couple of weeks has been the release of a new paper by recent economics Nobel-winner Angus Deaton and his co-author, Anne Case. The paper highlights a very disturbing trend -- death rates are increasing for white people in America, especially for working-class, middle-aged whites. The increase looks like it has been going on since the late 1990s.

Among other American groups, such as Hispanics and blacks, mortality has fallen across all age and income groups during the past decade and a half.

The trend is concentrated among the less educated. For college-educated whites, mortality fell, much as it did for other racial groups and other nations. For those with some college, mortality was unchanged -- a poor result, but not disastrous. But for white Americans with no college education, deaths have soared.
Something very troubling and very unique is happening to American working-class whites.

The immediate causes of the increase are not hard to identify. Drugs and suicide are the culprits. There is an epidemic of prescription painkiller, alcohol and heroin abuse among American whites. Deaths from alcohol and drug poisoning among middle-class whites have skyrocketed. White suicide rates have also risen dramatically to more than 20 per 100,000 people in the 45-54 age cohort.

Read more:

Read more: The decline and fall of America's working people - Lowell Sun Online

ISIS: France Bombs ISIS Headquarters In Syria

Isis:When you do the crime you will pay in time
French fighter jets launched their biggest raids in Syria to date targeting the Islamic State's stronghold in Raqqa just two days after the group claimed coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people, the defense ministry said.

"The raid ... including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped," the statement said, adding that the mission had taken place this evening.

The operation, carried out in coordination with U.S. forces, struck a command center, recruitment center for jihadists, a munitions depot and a training camp for fighters, it said.

French President Francois Hollande vowed in the wake of the attacks in Paris to respond "merciless" to the terror group. "France will be merciless towards these barbarians from Daesh," Hollande said on Saturday, using the Arab acronym for the group.

Read more: France Bombs ISIS Headquarters In Syria

Syria: Diplomats set plan for Syrian government, opposition talks, elections - by Matthew Lee and George Jahn

Invoking the need for joint action after the terrorist attacks on Paris, foreign ministers of nearly 20 nations agreed Saturday to an ambitious yet incomplete plan for bringing peace to Syria and ending its role as a breeding ground for ISIS and other radical Islamic groups.

Countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which support different sides in the conflict, put aside their dispute to condemn the bombings and shootings that left at least 123 people in the French capital dead Friday. So did Moscow and Washington.

Standing next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of Saturday's full ministerial meeting, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks "the most vile, horrendous, outrageous, unacceptable acts on the planet". He said they "encouraged us today to do even harder work to make progress and to help resolve the crises that we face."

"The events in Paris underscore the threat that Daesh poses to all of us," he later told reporters, referring by an alternate name to ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the Paris terror spree. Kerry spoke in French for part of his post-meeting remarks, in a bow to the victims of those attacks.

Lavrov said there was "no justification for terrorist acts, and no justification for us not doing much more to defeat ISIS and al Nusra and the like," adding: "I hope that this meeting as well would allow us to move forward."

The plan presented by the two appeared to draw heavily on a recently circulated Russian initiative. With just two weeks elapsed since the Syria talks first convened, it could mark a significant advance, if successful

Read more: Diplomats set plan for Syrian government, opposition talks, elections | CTV News

Hungary’s prime minister suspects “masterplan” is behind refugee crisis

Speaking to a Swiss newspaper, the Hungarian prime minister acknowledges that “the suspicion has inevitably emerged that there is some kind of masterplan behind all this”.

Mentioning what he describes as “left-wing studies about the future of the EU and a possible European superstate”, Mr Orban subscribes to the view that the nation-state as a concept is being eroded and says the European Left and “radical American Democrats” have come up with a theory for this ˝new world˝ idea.

He has no doubt that this is connected to the issue of migration.

Viktor Orban, whose political party has just launched a campaign for signatures against the European Union’s quota system intended to redistribute migrants, points out that according to all indirect evidence and experience the vast majority of the future migrants who fully integrate will be left-wing voters. “Consequently, future left-wing voters are being imported into Europe” he explains.

Orbán thinks that Germany is the key to the migrant crisis, but Angela Merkel’s hands are tied as she is in a coalition government with the Social Democrats.

Read more: Hungary’s prime minister suspects “masterplan” is behind refugee crisis | euronews, world news

Portugal: Start-up city: why Lisbon’s is luring entrepreneurs

Lisbon has much to offer the multitudes of tourists who visit every year but it’s now also proving attractive to entrepreneurs. Under a special programme the city has created excellent conditions for fostering SMEs and the results so far are impressive.

“In two and a half years, we have installed more than 70 new businesses in Lisbon and have already managed to create more than a 160 new jobs,” says Lisbon City Council Project Manager Maribel Rodrigues Ferreira.

By the majestic walls of Saint Jorge castle in the heart of Lisbon we meet the man behind one of the programme’s success stories .

From his Tuk-Tuk Tiago Ribeiro sells beautifully packaged speciality canned Portuguese fish products. He was the first entrepreneur to have been helped by the Lisbon scheme, which immediately saw the appeal of his his concept.

Read more: Start-up city: why Lisbon’s is luring entrepreneurs | euronews, business planet


Paris Massacre: ‘France to mull invoking NATO collective defense’

France will mull invoking NATO's collective defense clause, French security expert Bruno Tertrais tells DW. He also said that Paris-style attacks could happen in every major Western city.

Bruno Tertrais: It does not really come as a surprise. All the intelligence services and police knew that a major attack of the kind we had yesterday was not only possible, but almost likely. It is the kind of attack that police has tried to prevent for several years now, but it was absolutely not a surprise. Of course, it was a huge shock, especially because of the simultaneous nature of the attacks and the fact that for the first time ever, we had suicide bombers operating on the national territory.

Read more: ‘France to mull invoking NATO collective defense’ | World | DW.COM | 14.11.2015

Paris Massacre: It's not only a "war on terrorism" but also a war on "political hypocrisy" - by RM

The tragic events in Paris are deplorable, but when you listen to the comments of the politicians, or most of the corporate controlled press, very few are focusing on the real reasons behind this ongoing  tragedy..Is it maybe that the root of the problem lies in the failure of the political establishment to accept failure and change course.?

In a way, it is quite simple. Anyone who has a bit of a brain and has been watching the developments in the Middle East over the past  20 years will be able to recognize that the result of this disaster really is the totally failed Western foreign policy in that region. .

Unfortunately even though the real culprits of this failed policy - based on lies and greed - are known - for some reason the facts are usually covered up.  Why are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Tony Blair., still enjoying a comfortable life, instead of being locked up for war crimes and misleading the public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and for leading the so called "coalition of the willing" -  which really should have been called "a coalition of the dimwits", - into a war, which basically destroyed the social and cultural structure of Iraq. A war, which also probably lies at the origin of the creation of ISIS. 

The political hypocrisy, however, continues unabated. 

Just look at the reasons politicians give us today when it comes to our ongoing friendship with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel. United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.. Terrorism, in this case, is the keyword  used for their smoke screen, and the cover-up of  the real problems. Right wing politicians even go one step further and blame it all on either the influx of refugees or the Islamization of Europe.

Therefore as is stated in 1 Thessalonians 5. - "Test everything - hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil".

Don't get misled by your politicians or Government. Keep asking  the critical questions and vote them out of office when they avoid telling the truth.



France Closes Borders After Paris 'Horror' . At least 160 dead

France has closed its borders after nearly 160 people were killed in at least six coordinated attacks across Paris.

At least 40 people died in shootings and bombings at bars, restaurants and a stadium in the capital - before another 118 people were killed at a concert venue.

Elite police units launched an assault on the Bataclan theatre, where dozens of people were being held hostage.

Police killed two armed men who had opened fire at the theatre, where Californian band Eagles of Death Metal had been playing to a sell-out crowd.

Read more: France Closes Borders After Paris 'Horror'

ISIS: Recent Al Jazeera poll suggests 81% of Arab Muslims support ISIS, the Al Jazeera Arabic media network web site, recently conducted an online poll asking the question, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria?”  Thirty-eight thousand people across the Arab world responded to the poll and a shocking 81 percent of those polled came back with an answer of “Yes.”

This poll should be taken with a grain of salt for many reasons.  First, Al Jazeera has a well-documented track record of sympathizing with radical Islamic extremists.  The network is run by the royal family of Qatar, which has been accused several times of directly funding the Islamic State.

A similar poll was released by Al Jazeera following the tragic events of 9/11, and 50 percent of respondents voiced support for Osama bin Laden.  Words like “terrorism” and “insurgency” are rarely mentioned on the network and are often replaced with “resistance” or “struggle.”

The second reason to question this poll is that it took place online.  It is very difficult to track any background information when surveying people online and it is nearly impossible to prevent anyone from voting more than once or from sharing it with ideologically similar friends.

However, despite the possibility that 81 percent might not be the exact figure, it is still surprisingly high.  Even if the poll is off by 30 percent in terms of how most Muslims in the Arab world feel, that still means that half the people in the Middle East are sympathetic toward ISIS. That would completely contradict the popular claim that the “vast majority” of Muslims are peace-loving people who abhor terrorism.



EU settlement labelling plan evokes 'dark memories' for Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday compared the European Union's decision to label goods from Israeli settlements to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. Israel also said it was suspending a series of meetings with the EU in protest.

 "The labelling of products of the Jewish state by the European union brings back dark memories. Europe should be ashamed of itself," Netanyahu said as he wrapped up a visit to Washington.

"It took an immoral decision...this will not advance peace, it will certainly not advance truth and justice. It's wrong," he said in an English-language video clip posted on his Facebook page.

Note EU-Digest: The Israeli PM  Netanyahu seems to forget that the agricultural  products he speaks about as coming form Israel are actually coming from the Palestine areas occupied by Israel. Also his comparison of the EU with the former Nazi Regime is totally disrespectful of the principles on which the EU was founded.  Hopefully the EU Commission will voice its disapproval of that statement by Netanyahu in the strongest terms possible.

Read more: Europe - EU settlement labelling plan evokes 'dark memories' for Netanyahu - France 24


US Presidential Election: Fourth Republican Debate showed Republican candidates are unprepared for a general election fought over the economy - by Jamelle Bouie

There are a few things we can get out of the way about Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate. First, after months of decline, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had his first great night, challenging Sen. Marco Rubio on tax expenditures and defense spending, pushing Donald Trump on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and stepping into his father’s role as the libertarian gadfly in the race.

 “If you’re a profligate spender and you spend money in an unlimited fashion for the military, is that a conservative notion?” Paul asked in his closing statement. “We have to be conservative with all spending, domestic spending and welfare spending. I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage.”

The GOP contenders were out of step with the actual economic needs of ordinary Americans. Each candidate talked about relief for workers and families, but outside of Rubio’s child tax credit, few offered it. Instead, candidates came out against raising the minimum wage, called for a new gold standard for currency, and pushed plans for massive upper-income tax cuts. Unlike the first Democratic debate—when Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee tussled over college affordability and health care costs—there was little in the Republican debate that spoke to the challenges of ordinary people rather than businesses.*

Read more: Republican candidates aren’t prepared to argue over the economy in a general election: The GOP fourth debate revealed how little they understand about everyday economic issues.

Spain: Catalonia vows to continue independence bid despite court ruling

Pro-independence leaders in Catalonia have vowed to press ahead with plans to break away from Spain, despite a decision by the Constitutional Court to suspend the secession process.

Catalan Vice-President Neus Munte said it was the political will of the regional government to carry on with plans for independence in 18 months.

Spain's government earlier appealed to the Constitutional Court to intervene.
The court warned Catalan leaders they needed to comply with the order.

"If they fail to comply with the suspension, they may commit disobedience," read the ruling by the Madrid-based high court.

Catalonia's regional parliament on Monday passed a motion to start the secession process, stating an aim of independence within 18 months, and giving 30 days to start legislation on a Catalan constitution, treasury and social security system.

Read more: Catalonia vows to continue independence bid despite court ruling - BBC Net

How will Turkey’s president consolidate his power? - by Martine Dennis

Turkey's ruling AK party has regained its big parliamentary majority following a snap election on Sunday November 1.

Despite the AK Party winning a surprise victory in Sunday's poll, Erdogan's ambitions for further power appear thwarted.

In June, the party had lost that majority for the first time in 13 years, and attempts to form a coalition government with other parties failed.

But the weekend victory fell short of giving the AK Party a so-called supermajority, thwarting Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ambitions for an executive presidential system.

So, how will he consolidate his powers? And how will the AK Party deal with Turkey's many problems, both at home and abroad?

Read more: How will Turkey’s president consolidate his power? - Al Jazeera English

US leads world toward economic crisis’ says Ron Paul

Dr. Ron Paul, the former congressman and US presidential candidate, says unless the United States shuts down the Federal Reserve System - the US central bank known as “the Fed” - the world will experience a major economic crisis. 

Paul, the founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, made the remarks in an article published on Monday while commenting on the US economy and the role the Federal Reserve plays in it. 

“Allowing a secretive central bank to control monetary policy has resulting in an ever-expanding government, growing income inequality, a series of ever-worsening economic crises, and a steady erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power,” Dr. Paul wrote.

“Unless this system is changed, America, and the world, will soon experience a major economic crisis. It is time to finally audit, then end, the Fed.” 

He called on the United States to restore a free-market monetary policy “to prevent the monetary system’s inevitable crash from causing a major economic crisis.”

The basic source of the economic trouble is America’s central banking system, which cannot function in a real market economy, he observed.   

“The failure of the Fed’s policies of massive money creation, corporate bailouts, and quantitative easing to produce economic growth is a sign that the fiat money system’s day of reckoning is near,” he predicted.
The Obama administration has given the Federal Reserve new powers to oversee the financial system and regulate it, but Paul believes there should be more transparency on the side of the government.

In 1983, the Texas Republican proposed legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, but it failed to gain much support at the time.

Read more: PressTV-‘US leads world toward economic crisis’

Russia is key to end ‘third world war,’ Jordan’s king tells euronews

Russia is best positioned to bring a resolution to the war in Syria, Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein has told Euronews.

In an exclusive interview in Amman, the King urged all sides to cooperate in the face of what he described as a “third world war.”

“For a political solution in Syria, Moscow is key. They are the ones that can give the guarantees to the regime that they have a stake in the future,” he told Isabelle Kumar in an interview for Global Conversation.

Jordan has taken in more than a million refugees fleeing fighting between forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al Assad, ISIS and other groups. Refugees now make up around a fifth of the population, putting a strain on heath and education systems and costing the country around $3 billion a year.

The arrival of refugees in Europe has given impetus to address a crisis that has been felt by Syria’s neighbours for more than 4 years and King Abdullah urged European leaders and Moscow to take the opportunity to set aside their differences.

For the complete extract of the interview go to: Russia is key to end ‘third world war,’ Jordan’s king tells euronews | euronews, world news


EU Privacy Laws: Facebook given 48 hours to quit tracking Internet users in Belgium

Facebook has been given 48 hours by a Belgian court to stop tracking Internet users who don’t have profiles with the social media company, or face fines of up to 250,000 euros a day.

The order follows a case lodged by Belgium’s privacy watchdog in June which said Facebook indiscriminately tracks Internet users when they visit pages on the site or click “like” or “share”, even if they are not members, the court said.

Facebook said it would appeal against the decision.

“Today the judge… ordered the social network Facebook to stop tracking and registering Internet usage by people who surf the Internet in Belgium, in the 48 hours which follow this statement,” the court said.

“If Facebook ignores this order it must pay a fine of 250,000 euros a day to the Belgian Privacy Commission.”

Read more: Facebook given 48 hours to quit tracking Internet users in Belgium | euronews, world news

Germany: German ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt dies at 96

Mr Schmidt, who was a Social Democrat, was an architect of the European Monetary System, which linked EU currencies and was a key step on the path to the euro.

He was credited with helping to consolidate the country's post-war economic boom.
He is seen as one of the most popular German leaders since WWII.

Mr Schmidt died on Tuesday afternoon in his home city of Hamburg, his doctor Heiner Greten was quoted as saying by German media.

The doctor provided no further details.

Read more: German ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt dies at 96 - BBC News


Croatia faces lengthy coalition talks after narrow win by HDZ

Croatia’s conservative opposition has claimed victory in the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013.

Preliminary results indicate a narrow victory for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)winning 61 seats in the 151-seat parliament.

It means coalition talks are set to follow

HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko said: “This victory puts us in position to take responsibility for leading the country, a country which is in a difficult state.”

The ruling centre-left Social Democratic Party and allies are set to take 53 seats. With such a narrow margin premier Zoran Milanovic appeared hopeful of participating in a coalition.

Read more: Croatia faces lengthy coalition talks after narrow win by HDZ | euronews, world news