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EU: Lithuania and Romania Fined By European Court Human Rights For Collaboration with CIA in Providing Secret Torture Camps On their Territories

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US tariffs: EU and Canada will retaliate

US slaps steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU

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North Korea - US summit: differences miles apart - could sink meeting

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Internet Security: Dealing with hackers of your private and personal info

So your financial information is being bought and sold on the internet. Now what?

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Turkey: Opposition parties calls on population to turn off all main Communication and Media channels in Turkey controlled by ERDOGAN

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Italy: Can ECB save EURO from Italian Turmoil?

"Investors ask if ECB has will and means to save euro from Italian turmoil" -

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NAFTA ON THE ROCKS; Trump team messes up again

"Delays and 'poison pills': team Trump runs out of road in NAFTA talks" -

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Via euronews: Immigrant who saved child from balcony fall given path to French citizenship

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USA: Trump will finally be impeached if Democrats win mid-term elections

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Denmark: Ghetto Children learning about Democracy and Christmas

Via euronews: Denmark to force ‘ghetto’ children to learn about democracy and Christmas


EU: Russian blunders are galvanizing Europ

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AUSTRIA; Plans to cut social benefits from immigrants and foreigners who don't speak German

Austria plans benefit cuts for non-German speaking foreigners,

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EU: the EMU or a True OCA?

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USA: gun - control - protests across the USA continuing for gun control

Protesters across U.S. and beyond rally for gun control

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Britain: Brexit : Quick trade deal with Trump after Brexit not a chance of happening

Theresa May's hopes of a quick Brexit trade deal with Trump are 'not going to happen'

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Britain Brexit: EU's Barnier tells Britain to get real

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Ireland: Abortion vote: Yes vote wins overwhelmingly

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EU - the new EU privacy policy

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Iran Nuclear Agreement : Unity in Europe is the only way to move forward despite US (Donald Trump) THREATS

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USA: 31 percent in Gasoline prices since last

USA: Gas prices are up 31% from last Memorial Day. Here's wh

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North Korea - US SUMMIT: the "boogie man" strikes again

'Very Perplexed': International Confusion, Concern After Trump Cancels Summit

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Afghanistan: Another US Military failure

Afghanistan stabilization effort failing after 17 years of U.S. work, watchdog report says

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NORTH-KOREA - US summit cancelled by Trump

Trump cancels Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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Italy: without the EURO Italy would be more like Britain, not Turkey or Argentina

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US Iran policy: After kicking US Allies in the groin Trump now requires their help on Iran Nuclear Treaty

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USA: Pompeo affirms that Russians tried to help Trump win

Pompeo Affirms, Reluctantly, That Russia Tried to Help Trump Win

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NAFTA: Trump wants for Canada and Mexico to accept his conditions or else

Trump: Canada, Mexico, 'very difficult' to deal with on NAFTA talks says angry Trump

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TURKEY - Erdogan Driving Turkey Over The Cliff: Why Investors Have Become Skittish About Turkey

For the better part of 16 years, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a "self-styled economic reformer", and the world’s great hope for Muslim democracy, had a compelling story—and for most of that time, everyone bought it. Everyone, that is, except Turkey’s old guard—the secular establishment, the billionaires, generals, and educated elites who stood to lose their monopoly on power, wealth, and influence.

Now, however, it looks like Turks got more than they bargained forAfter a run that brought in more than $220 billion of foreign investment, tripled gross domestic product, and returned inflation to single digits, Turkey’s economy is again ailing—its democracy even more so.

With the nation heading to snap elections on June 24, the lira is sinking, inflation is running at double the central bank’s target, and companies are struggling under more than $300 billion in foreign debt.

Turkey’s ranking on nearly every index of democratic governance has plunged. There’s no longer talk of a peace process with Kurdish separatists.

Buoyed by a seeming imperviousness at the polls, Erdogan has become ever more autocratic, his style of leadership more personal, prickly, and intolerant.

He has ruled using emergency law since a failed military coup in the summer of 2016, jailing more journalists than any country in the world and widening censorship powers to include the internet.

If people don't wake up in time to the fact that Erdogan is driving Turkey over the cliff and vote him out of power - it could mean this beautiful country will be going in na tailspin towards certain disaster.

READ MORE: Why Investors Have Become Skittish About Turkey - Bloomberg

USA: Donald Trump's "Mein Kampf" : the startegy of a mad man ? - Destroy the International Community in Order to Save It.

The new president’s cabinet nominees are a similarly worldly lot, being either generals or multimillionaires (or both), or simply, like their president, straight-out billionaires. Rich people jet off to exotic places for vacations or to make deals; generals are dispatched to all points of the compass to kill people. With an estimated net wealth of more than $13 billion,

Trump’s cabinet could be its own small island nation. Make that a very aggressive island nation: The military men in his proposed cabinet—former generals Mike Flynn (national security adviser), James Mattis (defense secretary), and John Kelly (head of Homeland Security), as well as former Navy Seal Ryan Zinke (interior secretary)—have fought in nearly as many countries as Trump has done business.

As worldly as they might be, Trump’s nominees don’t look much like the world. Mostly rich white men, they look more like the American electorate… circa 1817. Still, the media have bent over backward to find as much diversity as they could in this panorama of homogeneity. They have, for instance, identified the nominees according to their different ideological milieus: Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Republican Party, the lunatic fringe.

In this taxonomy of Trumpism, the media continue to miss the obvious. The incoming administration is, in fact, united around one key mission: It’s about to declare war on the world.

Don’t be fooled by the surface cosmopolitanism of the new president and his appointees. For all their international experience, these people care about the planet the way pornographers care about sex. Their interactions are purely transactional, just the means to an end. There couldn’t be less empathy for the people out there involved in the drama. It’s all about the money and that piercing sense of conquest.

The Trump team’s approach, a globalism of the 1 percent, benefits themselves even as it reinforces American exceptionalism. Their worldview is a galaxy distant from the sort of democratic internationalism that values diplomacy, human rights, and multilateral cooperation to address planetary problems like climate change and economic inequality. Such a foreign policy of mutual engagement is, in fact, exactly what’s under immediate threat.

As with Obamacare, the incoming administration wants to shred an inclusive project and substitute an exclusive one for it. In so doing, it will replace a collection of liberal internationalists with something worse: a confederacy of oligarchs.

For such an undertaking that so radically privileges the few over the many, the next administration needs a compelling rationale that goes beyond assertions that the status quo is broken, international institutions are inefficient, and the United States is the indispensable power on the planet. America isn’t facing just any old crisis like failing banks or nuclear wannabe nations. For someone like Donald Trump, the threat has to be huge, the biggest ever.

So brace yourself for a coming clash of civilizations. The new president is circling the wagons in defense of nothing less than the Western way of life. As if it were a town in South Vietnam in 1968, Trump aims to destroy the international community in order to save it. 

Read more: Donald Trump’s Strategy? Destroy the International Community in Order to Save It. | The Nation

The North Korea- US Summit: A reality check on Korea nuclear talks

When President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in first agreed to meet in Washington Tuesday, they seemed to genuinely believe they might be on the brink of a major rapprochement with the North. Now, there are concerns over whether the much-touted summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for Singapore on June 12 will happen at all.

With hindsight, Pyongyang’s announcement last week that it might pull out of the meeting should have been less of a surprise. North Korea has spent decades using similar tactics to shape the diplomatic agenda with the South and Washington, raising hopes of a breakthrough – then sparking a crisis and moving the goal posts.

It’s still less than a month since Moon and Kim engaged in what appeared a successful summit in the
 demilitarized zone, both pledging to work towards the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Last week, however, Pyongyang furiously denounced Washington for demanding the North’s unilateral disarmament, particularly as a precondition for potential U.S. economic aid.

Read more: Commentary: A reality check on Korea nuclear talks | Article [AMP] | Reuters

International Politics: USA big on promises and threats, poor results

Analysis: The Trump Agenda’s Unintentional International Consequences

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USA: Donald Trump - a dictatorship in the making?

Donald Trump Has All the Power

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Iran nuclear deal: Iran says EU efforts to save deal are inadequate

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EU: France warns Italy to stick to its EU commitments

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China : space exploration at their moon base

On the run: China boosts its lunar mission with satellite to talk to dark side of the Moon

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China-US trade relations: Trade meeting fails to produce results

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Turkey: Erdogan wants Arab action against Israel

Turkish president tells OIC leaders that Israel must be held accountable for the killing of Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

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USA - Texas: And the killing continues as politicians remain under the spell of the NRA

Ten killed in Texas high school shooting by student firing his father’s guns, governor says

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EU to reactivate 'blocking statute' against US sanctions on Iran for European firms
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North Korea throws a hammer in Trump "playbook"

Via euronews: North Korea throws US talks in doubt

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Capitalism: flawed on both sides of the Atlantic

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Social Media: Facebook suspends 200 Apps

Facebook suspends 200 apps as part of investigation into data misuse

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US-Israeli Relations: Questionable US Diplomatic move by USA could further jeopardize Middle East Peace

U.S. delegation arrives in Jerusalem ahead of controversial embassy move

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European Space Agency outer space missions expanded

European Space Agency considers 3 new mission concepts

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Iran Nuclear Treaty: cooperation between Russia and Germany

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Eurovision 2018: why America needs to join the contest immediately

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EU finally getting ready to play hardball with Donald Trump

US faces European backlash against Iran sanctions

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Trump announces June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader

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China Russia trade on the upswing.

Russia-China trade  on the upswing

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Airplane Industry: Boeing loss of $ 20 billion sale to Iran downplayed.

Boeing C.E.O. Downplays Loss of $20 Billion Contract With Iran

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USA: freedom of expression challenged

Trump suggests revoking reporters' credentials.
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Iran Nuclear Deal: World leaders react to US withdrawal from Iranian nuclear

Following Trump's speech on Tuesday, there was an immediate reaction by world leaders, incluing the other parties to the landmark deal.

Here's a round-up of statements from around the world:

The top European Union diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called on the international community to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

"The EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal," Mogherini said from Brussels.

"We fully trust the work, competence and autonomy of the International Atomic Energy Agency that has published 10 reports certifying that Iran has fully complied with its commitments.

"The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the agreement. The EU has repeatedly stressed that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions has a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but also mainly, [it has] crucial benefits for the Iranian people."

In a written statement, the former US president,Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated and signed the deal, issued a list of points as to why Trump's decision is "so misguided". "The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working - that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current US Secretary of Defence," Barack Obama wrote.

"The JCPOA is in America's interest - it has significantly rolled back Iran's nuclear programme. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish - its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea.

"Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes - with Iran - the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans."

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he was "deeply concerned", urging the remaining parties of the deal to abide by their commitments.

"It is essential that all concerns regarding the implementation of the plan be addressed through the mechanisms established in the JCPOA. Issues not directly related to the JCPOA should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments," Guterres said.

"France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA," French President Emmanuel Macron, a champion of the deal, wrote on Twitter.

"The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake," he added.

"We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle East, notably Syria, Yemen and Iraq."

Ttump Administration's allies Iseael and Saudi Arabia applauded the US President decission



Trump's exit from the Iran nuclear deal: Power move or ego move? Shared via the CBC News Android App


Iran deal: Donald Trump withdraws US from nuclear agreement – by Amanda Holpuch

President Grump said the US will exit the nuclear agreement in violation of the landmark deal, describing the move as a ‘withdrawal’

Read more: Iran deal: Donald Trump withdraws US from nuclear agreement – live | World news | The Guardian

Global disorder: Trump's Dangerous Neo-Isolationism - by Richard North Patterson

A leader ignorant of history misapprehends its tragedies. A president steeped in grandiosity risks repeating them. Such is Donald Trump.
In modern history’s cardinal disaster, virulent nationalism combined with failed diplomacy and great power competition to ignite two catastrophic world wars within 25 years, in turn precipitating a nuclear arms race between America and the Soviet Union. In response, we encouraged democratic partners in Europe and Asia to join us in alliances like NATO, and global institutions like the United Nations and WTO.

This model promoted democracy, free trade and shared strategic and economic interests rather than unconstrained nationalism – and, while imperfect, gave us seven decades of relative stability.
Now the global order is under attack
Authoritarians squelch democracy. Populists scorn free trade. Resurgent nationalism and tribalism hamstring international cooperation. These threats come from all sides – including America’s president.

Read more: Trump's Dangerous Neo-Isolationism | HuffPost


Iran Nuclear Deal: Germany committed to Iran deal, even if US exits

 As the Iran deal deadline approaches, Germany and its European co-signatories are sticking to the agreement. US President Donald Trump plans to announce a decision on the accord on Tuesday.

The German government reaffirmed its support for the Iran deal on Monday, as the agreement's deadline quickly approaches. The deal "makes the world safer," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

"We don't think there is any justifiable reason to pull out of this agreement and we continue to make the case for it to our American friends," Maas said.

The Iran nuclear agreement of 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been imperiled by a possible United States exit, after President Donald Trump demanded that signatories fix "the terrible flaws" in the accord before May 12, when the sanctions exemptions are due to expire.

Read more:  Germany committed to Iran deal, even if US exits | News | DW | 07.05.2018

EU And US: A Relationship Of Concern - by George Handlery

Note EU-Digest: One of the few Conservative European Newspapers, the Brussels Journal, certainly grabs "the steer by its horns",  in this Op-Ed on EU - US relations.  

It probably should be required reading material for the members of the EU Commission and the EU parliament, as it touches on many of the "sore-spots", when it comes to the relationship between the EU and the US, and also many of the weaknesses within the EU and US political structure. 

Much to their detriment, Americans like to ignore the world. Accordingly, they do not appreciate reminders that, like it or not, the rest of the world is out there. Worse, some of its “leading leaders” have rabies and “bite”. Aware of the provocation, Duly Noted has often indulged in its own version of “globalism”. In doing so, the European Union had received much attention.

If by your unearned luck you are an American reader, you wonder why the EU should be of concern to you. The evolvement of the Union will determine the quality of that entity and thereby its worth as a major ally. A federation might emerge that will, in a future crisis, be “neutral against the USA”. If some of this is true, the way Europe’s content will develop is of geopolitical significance.

Be reminded that Europe is a major world player. However, by its choice, it punches well under its weight class. With 500 million inhabitants and members rated as leading economies and with three of them listed among the great powers –England, France and Germany- Europe matters. It also counts as it had generated the forces that made the modern world. The Renaissance, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, modern science, from rocketry to cybernetics is, besides some key components of democracy, Europe’s contribution to the present. At the same time, two world wars and some of destructive systems of mass murder - Fascism, National Socialism and Communism- are also European products. 

Viewed globally, Europe’s achievements - rounded out by the contribution of her overseas extensions- have made it a culture of reference. However, the caveats of that evaluation counsel to caution.

By the 20th century, the highs achieved in the arts, science, medicine, economics, have been unmatched by the Continent’s political performance. Staging the world wars expresses that. Europe’s efforts to protect past achievements and to project these into the future have been less than satisfactory. This holds especially true in the post WW2 period when the independence of Western Europe had to be maintained –even after the post-war recovery- by an extra-European power.

Europe’s weakness is caused by an amalgam. Its components are failing vision, misjudged threats, unfounded assumptions about security, and an unwillingness to sacrifice to protect values declared non-negotiable.

An adjunct is to be added. Politicians are inclined to underrate threats, so they promise to voters that should know better that there are no enemies, and that the proclaimed intentions of these are not meant seriously. The notion of “security for free” is a drug. Its lulling consumption is difficult to cut when illusions dissipate and resistance is called for.

Disturbing trends emerge once the Union’s development is examined. To begin: the analogy of the United States of America and the United States of Europe is misleading. America’s union project –even if there might have been an emerging Southern nation- has not encountered functioning, historical and conscious national entities. The Civil War has determined that America would not continue to develop as a confederation. Given “federalism’s” practice, the components of an expanding USA could live with that result.

East or West, Europe is peacefully and consensually not unifiable the way “United” in “United States” suggests. To create a unitary state here, one needs to weld together what does not wish to fit together. Europe’s states are not administrative conveniences but the products of diverging traditions and languages. Since Europe is an entity without a matching people, any plan to unite it administratively while also upholding liberty and identities, implies a commitment to contradictory concepts. This testifies to ignorance, to the pursuit of a hidden agenda –or both.

The foregoing should not be taken to indicate that some sort of a European Union must be a threat to the collective personality of its member nations. Decisive is the nature of the federation that can be had, while the values of democracy and the goal of prosperity are preserved.

Therefore, the question is what kind of a union is achievable that does not make the resulting entity into a “jailhouse of nations” as was the Russian Empire, the empire of the Habsburgs, Hitler’s Reich and Stalin’s uncompleted project.

By such standards, disturbing problems emerge. The original concept of an EU had been to guarantee the independence of sovereign states that were committed to defend shared values. These were “democracy”, limited self-government to cultivate localism, and a free market. The collective pursuit of shared objectives assumed freely extended cooperation among like-minded states. This is the juncture where the original principle departs from contemporary practice.

Operating a federation demands patience and the modesty of its managers. Europe’s tradition of centralism, enhanced by the natural craving for power, has resulted in a construction that defies its original purpose.

As the tasks of the EU grew, their implementation was assigned to bureaucratic agencies. As these duties widened the administrators saw their power expand. Bureaucracies upgrade their importance by extending their sway and by usurping power that is reserved for legislatives. In the case of the supranational Eurocrats, this grab has been facilitated because there is no European people and so, there can be no controlling national government. The supervising Commissioners are themselves bureaucratic creatures whose loyalty is more to administrative organs than to a non-existing people. The result is turf extension –and to create jobs for the like minded. The result is a system that is not governed by a responsible cabinet-like institution but by an interlocking system of regulations and officials.

Eurocracy is involved in a discernible campaign. Stealthily it seeks to expand its power to become a supranational equivalent of a national government. Lenin and Stalin wished to have totalitarian power to create the New Socialist Man that, as they had to admit, history failed to create. The faceless in charge of EU institutions wish to use their might to create the yet missing people to match the structure they operate.

That project finds that national identity and its institutions block the way to unity. This redefines independences as a hindrance and not a status to be preserved.

The creeping expansion makes the EU increasingly authoritarian. For that reason, the union has accepted underdeveloped states that were unqualified for membership. Being unripe, such countries incline to submit to tutelage in exchange for funding that feeds, if not the people, then the elites. An adjunct to admission against the statutes is the negative view of those that dare to refuse membership. Peripheral Norway gives money to buy its independence. Eight million Swiss send a billion to Brussels, ostensibly, to finance the upgrading of the underdeveloped members of a federation of which it is not a member. A steep price paid to be left alone, you might say. (Switzerland is a non-member because its system of direct democracy let her people to vote down the project to join.) Even so, the pressure on the recalcitrant is considerable. Conforming in some areas –border controls and immigration- to EU norms is not a question of persuasion but of pressure. In disputes regarding cooperation, the EU even demands that EU courts adjudicate the case. At the same time, members that show signs of wanting to “take their country back”, are exposed to serious threats. In case that a British exit materializes, London will face threats it has not seen since Hitler.

We are left with the impression that liberty in the EU is reduced to the right to agree with its central organs. This makes the personnel that run Europe into left-of-center collectivists. Binding more tightly than the inclination of the parts of an artificial construction allows, absorbs much energy. Shoring up the internal power base leaves little to counter outside threats -IS, Iran, Putin’s Russia - and, as noted by EU-Digest - "Trump's USA ".

Consequently, if the EU’s current course continues, its value as a member of the Atlantic Alliance will not improve. The implications of that are easily guessed.


Solar Power Future Bright: New Estimates Show Rapid Growth in Off Grid Renewables - by Irena

The supply of electricity from mini-grids and small solar devices, such as solar home systems and solar lights is growing especially fast.

This part of the energy sector, including power generation from these sources, is often missing from official energy statistics. But evidence of their growing importance can be seen in solar panel import statistics and development project databases.

During 2017, IRENA collected detailed data about off-grid power developments to determine current estimates of off-grid capacity. Data sources included biannual market surveys from the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, the OECD-DAC development project database, national and regional power plant databases, off-grid data gathered via IRENA questionnaires, and information obtained from organisations such as REN21 and the Alliance for Rural Electrification.

New data from IRENA shows that about 115 million people worldwide currently rely on the basic energy services provided by solar lights, while another 25 million obtain a higher level of renewable energy services through solar home systems or connection to a solar mini-grid. In addition to solar power, over 6 million people are currently connected to hydropower mini-grids, while another 300,000 people use biogas power.

The supply of electricity from mini-grids and small solar devices, such as solar home systems and solar lights is growing especially fast. This part of the energy sector, including power generation from these sources, is often missing from official energy statistics. But evidence of their growing importance can be seen in solar panel import statistics and development project databases.

During 2017, IRENA collected detailed data about off-grid power developments to determine current estimates of off-grid capacity. Data sources included biannual market surveys from the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, the OECD-DAC development project database, national and regional power plant databases, off-grid data gathered via IRENA questionnaires, and information obtained from organisations such as REN21 and the Alliance for Rural Electrification.

Read morL New Estimates Show Rapid Growth in Off-Grid Renewables - Modern Diplomacy

USA: Gun Control: The Stricter a State's Gun Laws, the Fewer Children DIE- by Ed Cara

State laws that mandate universal background checks for buying guns and ammunition may save young lives, suggests new research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. The study found that states with stricter gun laws had lower rates of gun-related deaths among children compared to states without such laws.

Researchers, primarily at the Children’s National Health System in Washington DC, first examined gun injury data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They specifically looked at reported firearm deaths of people under the age of 21 that took place in 2015. Then they matched each state’s child mortality rate to a rating of their gun control laws and policies, based on a scorecard established by the Brady Campaign, a non-profit organization that advocates for gun violence prevention.

There were a total of 4,528 reported child deaths from gun in 2015. The state-by-state firearm mortality rate ranged from 0 deaths per 100,000 children to 18 deaths per 100,000 children.

The researchers found that the median mortality rate for the 12 states with universal background laws for all gun sales—including Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut—was 3.8 deaths per 100,000 children. But for states that didn’t require background checks, the median mortality rate was 5.7 per 100,000 children. The same relationship was true when looking at background checks for ammo: The median mortality of the five states with these laws was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 children, while it was 5.6 deaths per 100,000 children in states with no background checks.

Read more: The Stricter a State's Gun Laws, the Fewer Children Die From Guns, Study Finds


EU Economy: Spring 2018 Economic Forecast: Expansion to continue amid new risks

Growth rates for the EU and the euro area beat expectations in 2017 to reach a 10-year high at 2.4%. Growth is set to remain strong in 2018 and ease only slightly in 2019, with growth of 2.3% and 2.0% respectively in both the EU and the euro area.

Private consumption remains strong, while exports and investment have increased. Unemployment continues to fall and is now around pre-crisis levels. However, the economy is more exposed to external risk factors, which have strengthened and become more negative.

Robust growth is facilitating a further reduction in government deficit and debt levels and an improvement in labour market conditions. The aggregate deficit for the euro area is now less than 1% of GDP and is forecast to fall under 3% in all euro area Member States this year.

Read more: European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Spring 2018 Economic Forecast: Expansion to continue amid new risks

USA: Pentagon, Citing Russian Patrols, Bolsters US, NATO Presence In North Atlantic – by RFE RL

The Pentagon has launched a new naval command to bolster the U.S. and NATO presence in the northern Atlantic Ocean, citing an increased Russian presence in those waters.

“The return to great power competition and a resurgent Russia demands that NATO refocus on the Atlantic to ensure dedicated reinforcement of the continent and demonstrate a capable and credible deterrence effect,” Johnny Michael, a Pentagon spokesman, said on May 4.

The new NATO command “will be the linchpin of trans-Atlantic security,” he said. Outlines of the plan were approved at a February meeting of NATO defense ministers as part of a broader effort to ensure the security of the sea lanes and lines of communication between Europe and North America.

The Pentagon’s decision reflects growing worries across Europe and within NATO about Russia’s increased military presence and patrols in the Atlantic region.

Russia has increased its patrols in the Baltic Sea, the North Atlantic, and the Arctic, NATO officials say, although the size of its navy is smaller now than during the Cold War era.

Despite evidence that Russia’s weak economy forced Moscow to slash military spending by 20 percent last year, Czech Army General Petr Pavel, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, told RFE/RL in an interview that NATO still must build up its defenses.

Read more: Pentagon, Citing Russian Patrols, Bolsters US, NATO Presence In North Atlantic – Eurasia Review

Iran's president warns Donald Trump he'll regret it if he ends nuclear deal

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday Iran had plans to respond to any move by U.S. President Donald Trump on the 2015 nuclear agreement and the United States would regret a decision to exit the accord.

Trump has said unless European allies rectify "flaws" in Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers by May 12 he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief for Iran.

"We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord," Rouhani said in a speech carried live by state television.

"Orders have been issued to our atomic energy organisation ... and to the economic sector to confront America's plots against our country," Rouhani told a rally in northeast Iran.

"America is making a mistake if it leaves the nuclear accord," Rouhani said.

Read more:Iran's president warns Donald Trump he'll regret it if he ends nuclear deal | Euronews

Cyber Security: How to wrestle your data from data brokers, Silicon Valley — and Cambridge Analytica - Jeremy B. Merrill

Cambridge Analytica thinks that I’m a “Very Unlikely Republican.” Another political data firm, ALC Digital, has concluded I’m a “Socially Conservative,” Republican, “Boomer Voter.” In fact, I’m a 27- year old millennial with no set Party alliance.

One thing is certain: My personal data, and likely yours, is in more hands than ever. Tech firms, data brokers and political consultants build profiles of what they know — or think they can reasonably guess — about your purchasing habits, personality, hobbies and even what political issues you care about.

Making statistically informed guesses about Americans’ political beliefs and pet issues is a common business these days, with dozens of firms selling data to candidates and issue groups about the purported leanings of individual American voters., Cambridge Analytica

Read more: How to wrestle your data from data brokers, Silicon Valley — and Cambridge Analytica |


USA: Trump on US border control: 'We may have to close up our country'- by Josh Delk

President Trump lambasted U.S. immigration policies Saturday, stating that the U.S. may have to "close up" its borders.

Speaking at a business roundtable in Cleveland, Trump acknowledged that officials are working to repair certain areas of the nation's border controls, but said the U.S. needs "much more money."

"We may have to close up our country to get this straight," he said, but did not offer more details on the logistics.

"You can't allow people to pour into our country like they're doing," Trump went on. "If we don't have borders, you don't have a country," he said, chiding Democrats for "open border" policies.

Trump's long-standing promises for a new wall stretching across the U.S.-Mexico border suffered a blow earlier this year when Congress allocated only $1.6 billion toward border security measures in a trillion-dollar spending bill - billions less than the White House demanded.

Read more: Trump on US border control: 'We may have to close up our country'

EU Budget: Commission tables €1.279 trillion EU budget plan for 2021-2027: By Irene Kostaki

The European Commission on Apri 2 proposed an EU budget of €1.279 trillion for 2021 to 2027, the long-anticipated Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled the MFF draft plan during the European Parliament plenary in Brussels. It is the first such plan for the EU-27, in the wake of the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union. According to Juncker, this plan is “an opportunity to shape our future as a new, ambitious union of 27.”

With the cost of Britain’s departure factored in, the remaining EU member states will be required to fill the hole by raising their contributions to around 1.1% of gross national income (GNI) per member state, a 1% rise from the current level. According to Juncker, “the ball is now in the court of the Council and the Parliament”.

The EU’s Budget Commissioner, G√ľnther H. Oettinger, has said that more than one sector will see their costs cut as, “The gap being left by the UK’s departure and the new tasks ahead call for changes”.  The possible cuts could see cohesion funds could be slashed by 7% and agriculture by 5%, while direct payments could be cut by about 4%, according to the Commissioner.

Read more: Commission tables €1.279 trillion EU budget plan for 2021-2027

EU Economy: Strong 2018 economy forecast spurs Commission optimism- by Eric Maurice

EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Thursday (3 May) brushed aside concerns about a slowing down in the EU economic recovery.

"The lights are flashing green," he told reporters while presenting the European Commission's latest forecasts.

NATO Prepares for War With Russia With Simulated Naval and Cyberattacks - by Cristina Maza

Around 1,000 participants from 30 member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gathered in the tiny Baltic nation of Estonia late last month to prepare for war with an enemy that looks a lot like Russia, according to reports.

The exercises were dystopian and catastrophic, and included simulated cyberattacks, poisoned water supplies, a hacked drone employed to kill NATO soldiers and a faulty power grid. As tensions ratchet up between Moscow and the West, NATO countries, especially those like Estonia that border Russia, are increasingly preparing for the worst. The Locked Shields live-fire cyber exercise is a key part of that preparation.

“The exercise required participants to counter high-intensity attacks on a fictitious country’s IT systems and critical infrastructure networks. Teams had to maintain the IT systems while reporting incidents, managing crises, making strategic decisions, solving digital forensics tasks and dealing with other challenges,” according to a report on homeland preparedness. “The exercise involved a total of 4,000 virtualized systems and more than 2,500 attacks.”

Note EU-Digest: Contemplating war between Nuclear Powers is utter madness and even the idea of preparing for one is tltal madness, because their will be no victors. The only solution is complete disarmement by all nuclear Nations. Unfortunately with all these ego maniacs political leaders around the world this this is impossible.

Read more: NATO Prepares for War With Russia With Simulated Naval and Cyberattacks

The Netherlands - Retirement Provisions: The Dutch Patient - by Bernard M. S. van Praag

All over the world the Dutch retirement system is considered one of the best but at home it has come under fire. Serious questions are being raised about the stability and sustainability of the pension scheme. Are the concerns justified?

The Dutch pension system consists of three pillars: a basic state old–age pension on a pay-as-you-go basis for all citizens, a mandatory funded occupational pension for employed workers and voluntary pension insurance, mainly used by self-employed.

The main components are the first two mandatory systems, each providing about 45 percent of the pensions, with private insurance covering about 10 percent. Together the state pension and the occupational pension provide about 70 percent of average lifetime earnings (subject to differences in earnings and duration of employment over life).

Read more: The Dutch Patient


Turkey opposition names rival to Erdogan for June election

Muharrem Ince: A fresh new face in Turkish Politics
Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has announced its candidate to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next month's snap presidential election. 

Muharrem Ince is staunchly secular and a fiery critic of Mr Erdogan. He has been an MP since 2002.

The CHP plans to ally for the first time with right-wing parties, in the hope of beating Mr Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan's conservative AK Party has a majority in parliament.

He called the snap election to cement his position with enhanced powers. Parliamentary elections will be held on the same day, 24 June.

Secularists are fundamentally opposed to the AK Party's agenda, seeing it as creeping Islamisation of the state.

Read More: Turkey opposition names rival to Erdogan for June election - BBC News

Heads of State Pay scale: Who are some of the best paid country leaders in Europe?

The leaders of Germany, Switzerland and Belgium are among the best paid in Europe, a new study has revealed.

Swiss President Alain Berset earns nearly €400,000 a year, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel take home an annual basic salary of around €300,000.

Their wages were revealed in a study of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which was conducted by UK-based financial services company IG Group.

Fead more: Who are some of the best paid country leaders in Europe? | Euronews


Facebook seeks to block US spying lawsuit from top EU court

Facebook is trying to keep the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from reviewing an Irish privacy case, fearing potential limitations on its ability to move customer data from the EU to the US.
Facebook’s headquarters for most of its non-US markets is in Dublin. The Irish High Court ruled that US surveillance programs permit the “mass indiscriminate” processing of the private data of European citizens and noted the lack of effective legal remedies against that kind of surveillance, given that the US government does not typically notify people who are being subjected to spying.

The Irish court has ordered the referral of the case to the ECJ in order to determine whether methods used for data transfers are legal. If the ECJ agrees with the decision of the Irish court, that could mean trouble ahead for thousands of tech firms, which transfer huge amounts of data from the EU to the US every day.

Read more: Facebook seeks to block US spying lawsuit from top EU court — RT World News

Liberalism: Strange Bedfellows Undermining Liberalism: Trump And Academia - by Bo Rothstein

For people like myself, working as a social science researcher, these are very strange times. Almost any colleague, in whatever discipline you talk with, will quickly turn the conversation onto one and only one question – the election and politics of Donald Trump. Since his election as US President, the academic community appears to have been experiencing something of a mental shellshock, or maybe it would be more accurate to label this an “election shock”. How could this happen in the country with the very best universities and, if we consider for example the number of Nobel laureates, the absolute top research units in the world? The country that, when it comes to size and professionalism, outperforms all other countries (even if you would count the whole of the European Union) in almost all research areas.

Trump and his administration stand for everything that is the opposite of constructing public policy based on research, or if you want to be more solemn, public policy based on the idea of enlightenment. Ideological warfare instead of argument based on reason and facts. Politics and statements about events based on so-called “alternative facts” instead of truthfulness. A steadfast refusal to take into account and, in some respects, pure hostility to well-established research results in key areas such as climate change and population health. Narrow-minded nationalism instead of universalism and openness to the outside world. Xenophobia and racism instead of respect for individual rights. In the field of foreign policy, the Trump administration seems to have done away with most competence residing in the State Department. The anti-intellectualism and irrationality of this administration is simply overwhelming for many academics. Many very established members of respectable academic organizations in the US have criticized this administration at an unprecedented level.

Read more: Strange Bedfellows Undermining Liberalism: Trump And Academia


Global Warming: Collapse of Antarctic glacier the size of Britain threatens to flood coastal towns

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain is threatening to submerge UK coastal towns by collapsing into the ocean and raising sea levels, scientists fear.

British and American experts are launching the largest joint mission for more than 70 years to investigate how long the 113,000 square-mile Thwaites Glacier can last in its current form.

A fleet of research ships, submarines and aircraft and more than 80 scientists will be dispatched to the remote west Antarctic region later this year following warnings the ice structure could collapse within decades.

Read more: Collapse of Antarctic glacier the size of Britain threatens to flood coastal towns

EU Economy: Project funding could be cut as EU battles to balance books - by Elena Cavallone

Discovering the Belgian capital by river cruise - many tourists do it each year. A new terminal has been inaugurated at the port of Brussels, designed to handle 35,000 passengers by 2030 and generate an annual turnover of five million euros.

Half of the cash to make it happen came from European Regional Development Funds.

"Europe is helping us to better integrate the port in the city, while also improving the economic impact for the city. In fact, thanks to these investments we will definitely put Brussels on the map of river tourism in Belgium," said Philippe Matthis, General Director, Port of Brussels, told Euronews.

But development projects may not get funding in the future EU budget.

With Brexit leaving a 13 billion euro hole per year, many fear cuts in cohesion spending which help to even out progress across countrie

Right now, the cohesion programme represents about a third of the EU budget. Most funding goes to eastern, former Soviet bloc countries. But southern countries like Spain and Italy are demanding cash to tackle chronic unemployment.

"Regional disparities have not stopped, on the contrary, in some areas of Europe they are growing, especially in southern Europe and in parts of Western Europe," said Francesco Molica, Founder of the Cohesion Policy Observatory.

Another hotly-debated issue is whether EU cohesion funds should be linked to countries respecting the rule of law - in the wake of concerns expressed about conditions in Hungary and Poland.

"Actually EU funds benefit not only the government but they benefit also the citizens all together and they are also proof that Europe is acting for these countries. So it is also a tool to counter Eurosceptisism," said Raphael Hanoteaux, Policy Officer at BankWatch.

Reporting from Brussels, Euronews' Elena Cavallone said: "Tough negotiations are also expected between member states about the idea of increasing their own contribution to the next EU budget. With defence and migration at the top of the priority list, the 27 might need to dip into their pockets if they want to keep the same level of cohesion spending."

Read more: Project funding could be cut as EU battles to balance books | Euronews

May Day rallies celebrate workers arlound the world and in Germany

Traditional rallies for May 1, also known as International Workers' Day, have taken place in Germany. Revelers, laborers and dissidents took to the streets around the world.

May 1 Labour Day . Celebrated around the world except for a few countries. I

n the US it is celebrated on the first Monday in September.

Unfortunately, today in our Capitalist society, as a result of corporate dominance over the political system, only one in five workers now belong to a labour Union. The result has been stagnant minimum wages and declining social benefits for the poor.

Bottom line, the disparity between rich and pooronly getting larger by the day.

Read more: May Day rallies celebrate workers in Germany and abroad | News | DW | 01.05.2018

US Trump Tariffs: Germany expects permanent US tariffs exemption

Germany expects “a permanent exemption” rather than a temporary respite from US steel and aluminum tariffs for the EU. “Neither the European Union nor the United States can have an interest in an escalation (in tensions) in trade relations,” a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said. I

In March US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. However, the decision was taken to delay the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on EU and others, including Canada and Mexico until June 1, as confirmed by the White House on Monday.

Trump had also reached agreements for permanent exemptions for Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

Read more: Germany expects permanent US tariffs exemption — RT Newsline

The Israel, Iran, US Triangle: 'Smoking gun' or 'warmed-over noodles'? Either way, Netanyahu's Iran show seems aimed at Trump alone

Now that the binders and computer discs filled with stolen documents have been safely locked away in the vaults of Israel's intelligence agency, the conclusion many nuclear experts and diplomats have come to is there was no "smoking gun" in Benjamin Netanyahu's showy presentation on Monday about Iran.

But perhaps the Israeli prime minister didn't need to offer conclusive proof that Iran misled the world about its nuclear intentions; while many dismiss his conclusions, Netanyahu's presentation seems aimed at an audience of one — Donald Trump.

Days before the U.S. president is expected to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, Netanyahu showed off what he called the country's secret "atomic archive." He concluded that the trove proves "Iran is brazenly lying when it said it never had a nuclear weapons program."

In Israel, the country's espionage agency, Mossad, is being celebrated for its role in an episode of tradecraft seemingly ripped from the best spy novels: It's believed Israeli operatives broke into a warehouse in Tehran early this year and smuggled the documents back to Israel.

Read more: 'Smoking gun' or 'warmed-over noodles'? Either way, Netanyahu's Iran show seems aimed at Trump alone | CBC News