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Russia - US Summit: Is it a Summit or a Performance review of Donald Trump by his boss?

President Donald Trump said on Friday that nothing was off the table for his upcoming meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

“I’ll talk to him about everything,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend.

Trump said he planned to address election integrity when the two leaders come face to face in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16. Though Trump and Putin often speak warmly of each other, their countries are increasingly at odds when it comes to issues like foreign policy and meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

“We don’t want anyone tampering with elections,” Trump said on Friday.
Russia denies any interference in the 2016 elections, though U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded otherwise.

Trump maintains there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election, a subject at the core of several federal investigations.

Other topics on the table are Ukraine, Syria, Crimea and issues involving former President Barack Obama,

Trump told the White House press pool on Friday. The president also said he didn’t see a problem with having good relationships with Russia and China.

Note EU-Digest:As one of the US Late Night talk Show Noted: This is not a summit - this is a performance review for Trump by his boss.

Read more: Latest Trump-Russia and Muller investigation news today - POLITICO

Ukraine - Russia: EU leaders extend Russian sanctions over Ukraine for six more months

After meeting in Brussels on Friday, the European Council (EC) announced that EU leaders agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six months.

The decision will be formally confirmed in the coming days, an EU official said.

The sanctions are aimed at Russia's financial, energy and defense industries. They are specifically intended to block Russian banks' access to EU markets and limit Russian access to some EU imports.

US sanctions against Russia are likely to figure large when US President Donald Trump meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

Evidence of Russian meddling in the US 2016 election led the US to impose sanctions on Russia in April, but Trump and some European leaders have questioned if sanctions against Russia have the desired effect.

A spokeswoman from the German economy ministry said on Friday that the ministry had received a commitment from the US that any new US sanctions would not affect Russian pipelines, a reference to the controversial Nordstream II pipeline linking Russia and Germany.
Read more: EU leaders extend Russian sanctions over Ukraine for six more months | News | DW | 29.06.2018

EU-Turkey Relations: The EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan, who can now be considered a dictator in his own right

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan won his fifth consecutive election victory on Sunday and finally will be able to rule Turkey with an omnipotent/almighty one-man system non-existent in any democratic country.

Most pundits agree he is now in the club of 'strong rulers' like Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China.

He can be potentially in power until 2032 – with the new system, a president can run twice and also for a third time if he calls for early elections - and calling early elections is within the president's authority.
Read more: EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan


USA: Tariffs on foreign cars - Trump auto tariffs may cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs

President Donald Trump's threat to slap heavy tariffs on imported cars and parts may cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs and raise auto prices in the U.S. by roughly 10 percent. That's according to analyses from economists, industry groups, lawmakers and carmakers ahead of a June 29 deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Indeed, General Motors Co. warned on Friday that the tariffs being considered by the Trump administration could lead to a "a smaller GM" and risks isolating U.S. businesses from the global market, Reuters reported.

The largest U.S. automaker, with around 180,000 employees, said in its comments to the Commerce Department that the tariffs could "lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American company, and risk less -- not more  -- U.S. jobs."

In May, the Trump administration floated a 25 percent tariff on auto imports, framing the national security measure to ensure the vitality of key U.S. industries. Last week, Mr. Trump proposed a 20 percent tariff on all auto imports from Europe, before he gets the results of an investigation initiated last month by his own Commerce Department.

Here are the latest estimates on both job losses and costs:

A 20 percent tariff on EU auto imports may cost 100,000 U.S. jobs in 2019 alone, economists at Oxford Economics forecast in a June 28 note.

Read more: Trump auto tariffs may cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs - CBS News

US Economy: Is a recession on the way?

This economic indicator has predicted recessions in the past — but is it different this time?

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EU Summit: Migrant Processing, Cooperation: as EU Members reach a deal on migrants early Saturday 29/6 morning

'Italy is not alone anymore': EU leaders reach agreement on migrant processing

Read full report at::

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GEO POLITICS: Trumps gift to China and a changing world

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EU Immigration Deal: EU leaders seek immigration deal in Brussels

European Union leaders are huddling together in Brussels on Thursday, where over the next two days they will discuss security, trade and, most importantly, migration.

Stakes are high after German Chancellor Angela Merkel described irregular migration as an issue that could "make or break" the EU. At home, she is under pressure to secure a bloc-wide deal or face the possible collapse of her government.

Some of the measures Merkel is hoping to clinch during the summit include bolstering Frontex, the EU's border management agency, establishing a "solidarity-based agreement" to share the burden of hosting asylum-seekers and shoring up support for returning migrants under the Dublin system.

"Defense of our external borders is something which unites Europe. (We will talk about ) the issues of Frontex, border protection, secondary migration. The countries that are receiving a lot of refugees need support. But the refugees and migrants can't choose in which country they request asylum," Merkel said at the summit.

Several nations, including France, Hungary, have told reporters at the summit that they are open to bilateral agreements with Germany.

But by Thursday evening, Italy had vowed to block progress on any issue to pressure fellow members into action on migration. Leaders had hoped to pass joint statements on a range of issues and then come to an agreement on migration.

A French diplomatic source said on Thursday evening that France, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain had agreed on the wording of a draft summit text on immigration.

Read  more: EU leaders seek migration deal in Brussels | News | DW | 28.06.2018

USA: -The Press: At least 5 killed in US Newspaper shooting

Via euronews: At least 5 killed in US newspaper shooting , motive not clear yet?

In the Netherlands also  this week several newspaper offices were set  on fire, and all Newspaper headquarters in the Netherlands are now under 24 hr police and security protection.

The question obviously arises if there is a connection  between  the US Newspaper shooting and the Dutch  fire bomb attack on Dutch Newspapers

US military: gets $675 billion of US taxpayers money for new weaponry

House backs $675 billion spending bill for Pentagon as social and medicare programs are chopped

For the complete report go to:

Russia-US relations: Trump and Putin to meet in Helsinki July16

Helsinki Summit Meeting is Set for Trump and Putin

For the complete report go to: 


EU-US Relations: EU President Donald Tusk warns EU leaders to ″prepare for the worst″ in EU-US relations

European Council President Donald Tusk warned European Union leaders that they should "prepare for the worst" in EU-US relations in a letter to EU leaders who will be gathering in Brussels for a summit on Thursday and Friday.

He laid out the agenda for discussions at the important meeting, with migration topping the list.

Transatlantic relations

Writing on the issue of transatlantic relations, Tusk said the EU must be prepared for "worst-case scenarios" as US President Donald Trump's policies have been increasingly at loggerheads with the bloc's values.

"It is my belief that, while hoping for the best, we must be ready to prepare our union for worst-case scenarios," Tusk wrote. "Despite our tireless efforts to keep the unity of the West, transatlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump."

Trump has decided to withdraw his country from the Paris climate deal and the Iran nuclear deal, despite repeated pleas by the EU to stick with them.

One EU official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told DPA news agency that such "negative" decisions were starting to "look like a pattern" where the US has "no friends, no enemies" and where preserving the international rules-based structure was not a focus.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will share his views on EU-NATO cooperation at the meeting.

Read more: Donald Tusk warns EU leaders to ″prepare for the worst″ in EU-US relations | News | DW | 27.06.2018

US: Congress rejects Republican immigration bill, ignoring Trump

The Republican-led House resoundingly rejected a far-ranging immigration bill on Wednesday despite an eleventh-hour endorsement by President Donald Trump, as the gulf between the GOP's moderate and conservative wings proved too deep for leaders to avert an election-year display of division.

The bill was killed 301-121, with nearly half of Republicans opposing the measure. The depth of GOP opposition was an embarrassing showing for Trump and a rebuff of House leaders, who'd postponed the vote twice and proposed changes in hopes of driving up the tally for a measure that seemed doomed from the start.

The roll call seemed to empower GOP conservatives on the fraught issue. Last week a harder-right package was defeated but 193 Republicans voted for it, 72 more than Wednesday's total. Another 112 Republicans voted "no."

Read m,ore: House rejects Republican immigration bill, ignoring Trump


EU - the Netherlands: Double nationality status is the root of many problems in Europe - EU Digest Editorial

Related image
In  Sunday's Turkish Presidential elections, Erdogan got 72.7 % and Social Democrat Muharrem Ince 18.2 %, from Dutch nationals with a double nationality (Turkish-Dutch).

This brings the issue of double nationality in the spotlight.

Properly regulated immigration is certainly needed in Europe, with the death rate gaining over the birth rate, but providing immigrants, who become citizens the ability to choose for a double nationality status is totally absurd. 

It should be unacceptable for someone who has chosen to become a citizen of another country, enjoying its democracy and all the benefits that come with it, to vote in his former country's elections, join its military, or perform any Public function for that former home country. 

Double Nationality also provides many loopholes for people to circumvent existing financial laws, and it gives foreign politicians the ability to continue exercising political pressure on their former citizens. 

Double nationality must be abolished in the EU. As the saying goes, you can not serve two masters.


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USA - Chemical Industry: Monsanto's Glyphosate "Roundup weed-killer" goes on trial in US with billions at stake - by Aimee Picchi

After it was introduced in the 1970s, Roundup was promoted as an "herbicide that gets to the root of the problem."

Now, four decades later, manufacturer Monsanto will face a lawsuit that seeks to get to the root of another problem: whether the active ingredient in the weed-killer is to blame for a California man's terminal cancer. If Monsanto fails to persuade the court that its product isn't to blame, the agricultural company's flagship product could take a hefty hit.

Billions in revenue could be at stake for Monsanto and its new corporate parent, German chemical giant Bayer, which closed its $60 billion acquisition earlier this month. While Monsanto doesn't break out sales of glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Roundup -- the product delivered $4.8 billion in revenue in 2015. In its latest fiscal year, Monsanto cited higher global sales of glyphosate for helping lift total revenue by 8 percent.

Monsanto declined to comment on the potential sales impact, citing the trial proceedings. In a statement earlier this month, it told CBS News it denied the allegations.

"We have empathy for anyone suffering from cancer, but the scientific evidence clearly shows that glyphosate was not the cause. We look forward to presenting this evidence to the court," it said.

Note EU-Digest: Unfortunately the EU recently cleared the use of this weed killer for the next five years, after a heated debate over whether it causes cancer or not. 

Regardless of this decision, given the legal battle Monsanto is now facing in the US, the EU Parliament, despite the obvious intense lobby by the chemical industry, should immediately halt the use of  the weed-killer glyphosate in Europe, and take another close look at the dangers this weed killer poses for European consumers. Better late than sorry.

Read more: Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer goes on trial with billions at stake - CBS News


EU and China meet and discuss ways of dealing with Trump’s tough trade tariffs

China and the European Union are seeking ways to confront US President Donald Trump’s belligerence on trade during a high-level dialogue today Monday, June 24th, in addition to settling their differences on investment restrictions.

“The elephant in the room is Trump and his view on the global trade order. This issue will eclipse everything else,” said Jan Weidenfeld, analyst of Europe-China relations at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. “Both sides are under pressure to avoid a public spat, which would dilute their ability to signal to the Americans that they’re not happy.

“We are there – we are having a very frank conversation now, and we would be having a much franker discussion if we didn’t have all the trouble with the US administration.”

“China and Europe are facing the common challenge of US actions in trade and multilateral institutions, which gives them more room to cooperate,” said Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

Read more: EU and China to meet and discuss ways of dealing with Trump’s tough trade tariffs | South China Morning Post

Turkey - the Presidential elections: Erdogan wins following a rigged election and can now rule Turkey with very little opposition

No automatic alt text available.Neutvoom says that a lot of investors "don't agree with his position on the central bank." Erdogan said last month from London that he wants greater control of monetary policy and suggested he wanted to control interest rates. This worries investors as it could mean a loss of independence at the central bank.Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new executive powers after his so called "victory" in landmark elections on Sunday.

But Erdogan was not the only person to claim a victory. His Islamist-rooted AK Party and its nationalist allies also secured a parliamentary majority
But what do the election results mean for Turkey and the rest of the world?

Turkey's currency has fallen some 20% this year against the dollar. Erdogan has repeatedly called on Turks to convert their euro and dollar savings into lira to help bolster the ailing currency.

While Erdogan's victory is likely to be positive for the lira in the short term, Nora Neutrvoom, an economist at ABN Amro told Euronews that the "Turkish economy will face a severe slowdown."

Turkey has long been vying for full EU membership. Last month, Erdogan said getting a fully fledged membership was a "strategic goal" for Turkey. But that looks unlikely after widespread criticism following the mass arrests and crack down on civil rights since the aborted coup of July 2016.

Note EU-Digest: Unfortunately no one in his right mind believes that these election results represent an accurate reflection of the facts . 

It is nearly impossible, as was reported by the government controlled media, that 59 million votes were counted by hand in only a little over three hours. 

Another first for Turkey was that Erdogan announced he had won, before the official Turkish election board did.

Erdogan called this election, which in reality was a total scam, a "celebration of Democracy", regardless of the fact that he had shut-down all the opposition's access to the media.

In this context, one should also not forget that Turkey presently has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world. 

Bottom line: Erdogan can now rule Turkey without opposition  as Turkey's economy slowly disintegrates.



USA: Donald Trump who considers himself the best business negotiator has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his companies six times - by by Tom Murse

Trump has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his companies six times.

Three of the casino bankruptcies came during the recession of the early 1990s and the Gulf War, both of which contributed to hard times in Atlantic City, New Jersey's gambling facilities. He also entered a Manhattan hotel and two casino holding companies into bankruptcy.

For the complete report click here

EU-US Relations: Trump Tariffs: EU to respond to any U.S. auto tariff move: by Mathieu Rosemain

The European Union will respond to any U.S. move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.

“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.

“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.

Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.

Note EU-Digest: Come on EU Commission, take your gloves off, and hit Trump where it hurts: medical equipment and supplies, weapons industry, NATO.

Read more: EU to respond to any U.S. auto tariff move: report | Reuters

USA: Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due-process rights - by Philip Rucker, David Weigel

President Trump on Sunday explicitly advocated depriving undocumented immigrants of their due-process rights, arguing that people who cross the border into the United States illegally must immediately be deported without trial — and sowing more confusion among Republicans ahead of a planned immigration vote this week.

In a pair of tweets sent during his drive to his Virginia golf course, Trump described immigrants as invaders and wrote that U.S. immigration laws are “a mockery” and must be changed to take away trial rights from undocumented migrants.

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Trump wrote. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

“I don’t want judges,” Trump said Tuesday. “I want border security. I don’t want to try people. I don’t want people coming in. Do you know, if a person comes in and puts one foot on our ground, it’s essentially, ‘Welcome to America, welcome to our country.’ You never get them out, because they take their name, they bring the name down, they file it, then they let the person go. They say, ‘Show back up to court in one year from now.’”

Read more: Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due-process rights

Turkey elections live: Voting booths close, Erdogan leads - but 2nd round is now more likely

Voting polls have closed in Turkey, the results of which will determine if incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan secures another five years in office.

The main challenger to Erdogan, centre-left candidate Muharrem Ince, has warned that an Erodogan win will lead to authoritarian rule
This year's elections are unprecedented, as the winner of the presidency will wield executive powers — and the prime minister post booted — under a new set of reforms backed by Erdogan and later adopted after his 'yes' campaign won a referendum
Turkish voters have two ballots, one for the presidency, and another for parliament.

  • Voting has closed in the Turkish election and so far Erdogan is in the lead with around 54%, while Muharrem Ince trails behind on about 30%.
  • In the parliamentary vote, AKP has garnered around 44% of the vote, while CHP are on about 22%.
  • The pro-Kurdish HDP party has surpassed the 10% threshold required for their politicians to be eligible to enter parliament.
  • Voter turnout has also been recorded at a whopping 87% for both the presidential and parliamentary elections.
  • Reports of violence, deaths have emerge during the election. In the city of Erzurum, in eastern Turkey, Good Party representative Mehmet Sıddık Durmaz and two other party workers were shot and killed.
  • Track our interactive chart as the results come in for the presidential and parliamentary elections.
  • Turkey's election system explained in 90 seconds.
For the complete report click here/


Turkey -Turkish Presidential Elections: Mega Rally in Istanbul of opposition's democratic and charismatic Muharrem Ince attracts 5 million supporters - EU-Digest Editorial

Muharrem Ince fresh approach attracting many Turkish voters
Mr Muharrem Ince drew a massive crowd to an Istanbul rally on Saturday, June 23, one day before the election. 

Even Istanbul Police estimated that over 5 million attended this rally, despite undemocratic obstructional measures taken by the Erdogan Government, including, halting ferry boats, which were bringing Ince supporters to the rally, censoring publications which wanted to report the event. 

People who clicked on web pages which reported on Ince speeches and events found the following appearing on their screen. 

The page you are looking for has been moved or does not exist. 

Turkish voters are calling for end to corrupt Erdogan regime
Mr Ince, a former teacher and the presidential candidate of the main opposition the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), has proved highly effective on the campaign trail, drawing huge crowds, especially in the big cities.

Mr Muharrem Ince repeated an accusation made by other opposition politicians of political bias by Turkey's state media, which has given Mr Erdogan and the AK Party heavy coverage, while often completely neglecting to broadcast opposition rallies.
Massive turnout for Ince in Istanbul on Saturday, June 23

"There are 5 million people in Maltepe right now but none of the TV channels can show it," Ince said in Istanbul this Saturday, June 23.

It is also remarkable and strange, that very few US and EU media outlets have provided hardly any coverage to the rallies of Muharrem Ince. 

Instead, the international Press provides a lot of coverage to "President" Erdogan, who has locked up more journalists than the Peoples Republic of China.

Extra security forces and more than half a million ballot monitors and volunteers will be deployed across Turkey during Sunday's election. 

Unfortunately, large numbers of these security forces, monitors, and volunteers have been placed there by the Erdogan government, which, just like during the last referendum vote, makes fraud a major threat again during this Presidential election.

The winner of Sunday's June 24 presidential contest will acquire sweeping new executive powers under a constitutional overhaul backed by Mr Erdogan and endorsed last year by a narrow majority of Turks in a referendum.


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as long as EU-Digest is mentioned as the source.

Populism: France's Macron warns of populism leprosy, Italy hits back - by Michel Rose, Gavin Jones

Italy’s anti-establishment leaders, clearly assuming Macron was referring to them, hit back by dismissing the 40-year-old French president as a “chatterbox” and accusing him of hypocrisy in his stance over immigration.

Macron has come under pressure at home for not accepting the Aquarius migrant ship that far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini turned away from Italian ports, prompting a war of words between Paris and Rome.

On a visit to Brittany, a particularly pro-Europe region, Macron urged commentators to fight those who “hate Europe” rather than attacking him.

“You can see them rise a bit like a leprosy all across Europe, in countries where we thought that would be impossible to see them again, in neighboring countries,” Macron said.

“They’re saying the worst things, and we’re getting used to it. They’re making provocations, and nobody is horrified by that,” he added, without mentioning Italy or anybody else.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, head of the 5-Star Movement which governs with Salvini’s League party, called Macron’s words “offensive and out of place”.

Read more: France's Macron warns of populism leprosy, Italy hits back | Reuters


Turkey - Presidential elections: Turkey’s opposition with its new shining democratic star Muharrem Ince might actually have a chance – by Zia Weise

Muharrem Ince wants to bring democracy back to Turkey
Politico reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s challengers are gaining momentum ahead of a snap election Sunday — their confidence buoyed by the energetic campaign of Muharrem Ince, a firebrand politician and former physics teacher who has become "dictator" Erdoğan’s foremost rival in the race for Turkey’s presidencyo reports that Turkey’s opposition, long written off as toothless, has rediscovered its bite.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s challengers are gaining momentum ahead of a snap election Sunday — their confidence buoyed by the energetic campaign of Muharrem Ince, a firebrand politician and former physics teacher who has become "dictator" Erdoğan’s foremost rival in the race for Turkey’s presidency

Ince — the nominee of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) — has won popularity with boisterous political rhetoric not unlike Erdoğan’s own.

On Saturday, while campaigning on Istanbul’s Asian side, he took the president to task over issues ranging from economic mismanagement to democratic erosion, taunting Erdoğan for rejecting a televised debate.

“We’ll only talk about the economy,” he shouted as he paced back and forth on top of a campaign bus in Üsküdar, a largely conservative neighborhood where Erdoğan owns a house. “Come on television. Aren’t you a world leader? Why won’t you come?

The crowd packing the shorefront square in the scalding June heat cheered, but Ince was not finished: “Look, the people of Üsküdar want you to, Erdoğan. Don’t be afraid, I won’t eat you. Come!” he roared.

Even though the odds, mainly reported by the Erdogan cam,  still seem firmly in Erdoğan’s favor on June 24, it will be the first time Turkey holds simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections. 

Given there is no ballot box fraud, like there was in the last Turkish referendum, a new democratic star might be born in Turkey, who can bring the country back on a normal footing, re; human rights, including freedom of the press, and economic health, also with a more than fair chance for Turkey to finally join the European Union.

Opposition candidates hope to force Erdogan into a runoff on July 8 — and most polls show Erdoğan falling narrowly short of 50 percent in the first round, suggesting they might stand a chance.

Sunday will also mark the day that Turkey’s constitutional reforms come into force, endowing the president with vast executive powers as approved in a controversial 2017 referendum. The opposition candidates have vowed to roll back the changes and return to parliamentary rule.

If there is a second round, Ince will likely be the one to face off against Erdoğan — an unexpected turn of events, as the president and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had counted on CHP to nominate its mild-mannered leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Kılıçdaroğlu, however, surprised many by choosing Ince, an outspoken MP known for criticizing his own party. It was a shrewd choice for CHP: Unlike most secular politicians, Ince has proven capable of reaching out to voters beyond the party’s base.

Unlike most secular politicians, Ince has proven capable of reaching out to voters beyond the party’s base.

Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations said of him: “But Ince — he’s not elite, he’s a village kid, he knows how to ride a tractor. His mother wears a headscarf. So, he cannot be labelled as an elite hard-line secularist. That makes it difficult for Erdoğan to attack him,”

Erdoğan is still a force to be reckoned with. But in stark contrast to previous elections, the president has run a lackluster campaign plagued by gaffes — from a malfunctioning teleprompter to gifting the opposition its slogan of tamam (“enough”) when he pledged to step down should voters tell him “enough.”

Ince and his fellow opposition candidate Meral Akşener, the nominee of the center-right Iyi Party, are increasingly setting the tone of the campaign. When both Ince and Akşener decided not to appear on TRT state television, Erdoğan followed suit.

When Ince declared he would lift the two-year-old state of emergency if elected, Erdoğan — who had previously insisted that the emergency law was necessary for Turkey’s security — pledged to do so, too.

And while Erdoğan hopes to win over voters with a nationalist agenda, blaming Turkey’s economic problems on Western meddling and emphasizing the threat of terrorism, the opposition has run a campaign marked by a sense of hope.

Ince, who has accused Erdoğan of creating a “society of fear,” has crisscrossed the country promising democracy and rule of law, a stable economy and greater freedoms. At his rallies, he has charmed voters by dancing and cycling on stage.

Recent polls suggest Ince may score between 20 percent and 30 percent of votes in the first round, with Erdoğan between 45 percent and 48 percent (though a few surveys put him at above 50 percent). Akşener’s vote share is projected between 9 percent and 15 percent. 

Though only a few analysts predict a narrow victory for Erdoğan, a second round would see a closely fought race.

Dilara, a 19-year-old first-time voter who attended Ince’s event in Üsküdar, said she sees the CHP candidate as “fresh blood” for the opposition.

“I’ve never seen Üsküdar like this,” she said. “Things are changing. There’s a chance — a small chance — he can win in the second round.”

Like many voters, Dilara counted Turkey’s economic troubles among her chief concerns. Double-digit inflation, rising unemployment and the plummeting lira pose major threats to Erdoğan’s plans for reelection, given his promise of continued growth.

Where the opposition stands a real chance is in the parliamentary election, where they are threatening the AKP’s majority, thanks to an unlikely alliance between secularists, Islamists and nationalists.

The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has been left out of the alliance, but Ince has gained popularity among Kurdish voters with his inclusive approach.

Ince has visited HDP’s imprisoned candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, in jail — a risky undertaking that exposed him to accusations of sympathizing with terrorists — and pledged to support Kurdish-language education.

His overtures are paying off: Last week, a large crowd welcomed him in the Kurdish city Diyarbakır — a rare feat for a lawmaker from CHP, the party responsible for Turkey’s historical repression of Kurds

The Kurdish vote may prove crucial. The AKP will only lose its majority if HDP surpasses the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament. Opposition parties are also vying for the vote of conservative Kurds, who have favored AKP and Erdoğan in the past.

“Kurdish voters are key,” said Baris Yarkadas, a CHP MP for Istanbul. “Whoever the Kurds vote for in the second round will become president.”

With just days remaining before the elections, opposition parties and their supporters are growing bolder. Saturday’s Üsküdar rally resembled a festival, with families picnicking on the grass and vendors hawking cotton candy.

Optimism abounded, as well as a sense of unity. Aside from staunch CHP supporters, many first-time voters and even supporters of other parties were in attendance. Some waved HDP and Iyi Party flags.

“It’s a different atmosphere this time,” said Deniz Uludağ, 39, who was at the rally with her siblings. “I think the government, they’re a little bit afraid.”


EU-US Relations: Trump Tariffs: Europe hits back at Trump's tariffs as global tensions mount

The European Union's retaliatory tariffs on US products came into force on Friday, the latest shots fired in what increasingly looks like a global trade war.

The EU, the world's largest trading bloc, imposed levies on 2.8 billion euros (S$4.4 billion) of American products in response to US duties on its steel and aluminum exports that were justified on national security grounds.

"We did everything we could to avoid this situation, but now we have no choice but to respond,'' said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. "It is frankly ridiculous that EU steel is considered a threat to US national security. As longstanding allies of the US, we were disappointed, but not surprised.''

The European reaction opens up another front in Washington's battle to reshape its commercial relationship with the world. President Donald Trump has levies on US$250 billion of Chinese goods in the pipeline and already placed duties on products from allies including Canada, Mexico and Japan..

Note EU-Digest: Maybe the time has come for Europe to start playing some "hardball" with Trump, and suggest to him it will stop buying military equipment from the US, that it wants to review NATO antiquated policies, its global strategies, and the need for European nations to participate, and pay for controversial US controlled missions around the world.  Most of which have resulted in failure, and a large influx of refugees into the EU and Turkey. 

Read more: Europe hits back at Trump's tariffs as global tensions mount, Government & Economy - THE BUSINESS TIMES

USA - "this can't be happening, but it is": What’s Behind the ‘Tender Age’ Shelters Opening for Young Migrants - by Caitlin Dickerson and Manny Fernandez

The shelters were intended for children under the age of 12, referred to as “tender age” detainees, who are entering the detention system in ever-larger numbers under the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from parents who enter the country illegally.

Many are toddlers and babies and require special care, and their numbers have been rising since last month, when the government enforced a “zero tolerance” policy on people crossing the border. Estimates suggest that more than 2,400 children under the age of 12 are now in federal custody, including many who have been separated from their parents.

But on Wednesday, faced with the intense criticism over the shelters and the separation of families, President Trump retreated, signing an executive order that would detain parents and children together. 

For now, it seems the separations will stop, but it remains unclear what will happen going forward. A Health and Human Services official said that children already separated will not be immediately reunited with their parents while the adults remain in custody during their immigration proceedings.

The executive order came just hours after reports that three centers in southern Texas — in Brownsville, Combes and Raymondville — were being outfitted to accommodate younger children.

A person inside a shelter in Brownsville, Tex., took a series of pictures and supplied them to The New York Times. The facility, which houses babies and toddlers, is operated by Southwest Key Programs, the same nonprofit group that operates a shelter at a former Walmart.

One image showed a toddler girl who is about 12 months old, playing on a colorful mat decorated with the letters of the alphabet and drawings of animals. The workers and others standing around the little girl wear blue hospital-style bootees to keep the wooden floor clean.

The girl was separated from her relatives for about a month as part of the family-separation policy, according to the person who took the photo, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release an image.

A backlash against the “tender age” shelters erupted on Tuesday night after The Associated Press first reported news of their existence. The MSNBC late night host Rachel Maddow broke down crying on the air as she read the A.P. article.

Referrals of young children have risen “exponentially” since the “zero tolerance” policy was announced, according to Elizabeth Frankel, associate director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. The center pairs migrant children with lawyers and social workers who advocate on their behalf until they are reunited with parents.

Read more at: What’s Behind the ‘Tender Age’ Shelters Opening for Young Migrants - The New York Times


Britain-US relations: May's delay over Trump visit backfires as US-EU divide grows - by Patrick Wintour

If Theresa May thought her favoured weapon – delay – would somehow ensure Donald Trump’s visit to the UK next month would be less controversial than if it had occurred last year, she appears to have miscalculated. Six months ago the president was plausibly an unpredictable nationalist constrained by the senior Republicans surrounding him. He had quit the UN’s climate change agreement but otherwise his foreign policy was largely a complaint that America had to pick up Europe’s tab.

The crisis in transatlantic relations was uncomfortable but containable. In May’s cabinet, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, held sway, arguing that post-Brexit Britain had to remain close to a country with which it had a natural affinity, and anyway Trump’s re-election could not be discounted. The UK had no option but to ride, and if possible tame, the Trump tiger. The perennial role as America’s ambassador to Europe remained viable.

But in the second year of Trump’s presidency that assessment looks shakier. The adults have left the room and Trump 2.0 presents May with uncomfortable choices she would prefer to avoid.
The two latest episodes – the US withdrawal from the UN human rights council and the sight of child immigrants in cages on the US border – are connected only by timing and the outrage they engender.

The withdrawal from the rights council was long planned, and the US dislike of its perceived anti-Israeli bias is shared by the UK. Aware of the imminent US decision, Johnson travelled to Geneva on Monday to voice his concern to the council directly, not endorsing the US move but showing some sympathy. The predominant UK diplomatic view is that the council, for all its faults, is one of the few institutions where tyrants and authoritarians are held to account. The true beneficiary of a US withdrawal is not Israel but the Gulf kingdoms.

Every country lobbies for its own interests, but Trump, in the eyes of Paris and Berlin, seems to be going a step further. Rather than being indifferent to the EU’s survival, he appears to revel in the weakening of mainstream Europe’s leaders. All the alliances, trading relationships and international institutions that have characterised the US-led order for 70 years, including Nato, are now on notice.

That leaves May stranded and UK foreign policy experts in introspective mood. The Foreign Office recognises that outside the EU, the UK as a medium-sized power will need multilateralism more than ever.

Read more: May's delay over Trump visit backfires as US-EU divide grows | Politics | The Guardian

Trump Tariffs: Escalation of trade tensions as India now imposes retaliatory tariffs on US

India imposes retaliatory tariffs, escalating U.S. trade tensions

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Environmental Pollution: Trump scraps Obama policies Oceans and Great Lakes

Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting Oceans, Great Lakes

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Turkish elections: Kurdish candidate running his campaign from Prison

Germany: Flying taxis are being tested in Germany

Germany to test flying taxis in Ingolstadt, Bavaria


Turkey: The Man: Muharrem Ince - Who Could Topple Erdogan - by Safak Pavey

Turkish Presidential Candidate 
Muharrem Ince, rattling Erdogan's base
The New York Times reports that something is changing in Turkey.

After 16 years of electoral dominance by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the secularist opposition Republican People’s Party, known as the C.H.P., has found a leader and presidential candidate who is rattling Mr. Erdogan, invigorating opposition voters and reaching out to Turks beyond the traditional base of his party.

The murmurs are increasingly audible that Mr. Erdogan may not be invincible when Turkey votes on June 24. The politician who achieved this transformation in the national mood is Muharrem Ince, a 54-year-old legislator from the C.H.P., who was chosen as the presidential candidate by his party in May. Mr. Ince has represented Yalova, a province about 50 miles from Istanbul, in the Turkish parliament since 2002. His father was a small farmer. Mr. Ince taught physics at a school before entering politics.

I got to know Mr. Ince while serving as a member of parliament for the C.H.P. from Istanbul. His speeches in the parliament went viral on Turkish social media; his humor inspired caricatures and memes, skewering the opponents. In the past month of campaigning, Mr. Ince’s witty and pugnacious speeches challenging Mr. Erdogan at public meetings have inspired the Turks.

I recently attended a public meeting Mr. Ince was having in Duzce, a city on the Black Sea coast, which has elected Justice and Development Party candidates in every parliamentary election since Mr. Erdogan founded the party in 2002. Politicians from the secularist C.H.P. would face active hostility — even assault, once — when visiting Duzce. I was surprised to see about 5,000 people waiting to hear Mr. Ince. It was a signifier that he was not preaching to the converted.

A young man I met described himself as a supporter of Mr. Erdogan’s party, but he was curious about Mr. Ince. He spoke about how the people of his city were losing their once-ardent faith in Mr. Erdogan’s party. “Nobody believes them any longer,” he said. “Even at the meetings where they distribute alms, they seal off their seating area to separate themselves from the poor.”

Yet not voting for Mr. Erdogan and his party wasn’t a choice. “Last month, the imam of our village asked all of us to put our hands on the Quran and take an oath to vote for our party,” the young man said. He wouldn’t break his oath but came to agree with the opposition leader’s message.

Mr. Ince is asking the people of Turkey to choose between freedom and fear, between national prestige and national solitude, between imposition of religious practice and freedom to choose, between openness and xenophobia.

Mr. Ince has been challenging President Erdogan for a public debate. “Let us debate on any television network you choose,” he says. The loquacious Mr. Erdogan, who is omnipresent on Turkish television, stayed quiet until Saturday, when he responded with characteristic haughtiness. “He has no shame, inviting me on television,” Mr. Erdogan said, adding that Mr. Ince would try to “ get ratings thanks to us.” Mr. Ince retorted, “He says I want to get ratings, but even the weather forecasts are watched more than his interviews.”

In May, in a speech in the parliament, Mr. Erdogan tried to dismiss Mr. Ince as “a poor person.” The opposition leader responded by asking an important question: “We got the same salary at the same time. How come you became so rich and I am poor?” (Mr. Erdogan’s salary as prime minister between 2003 and 2014 wasn’t a lot more than what members of parliament received. As president he gets paid three times more, but Mr. Ince was referring to the corruption charges against his inner circle.)

Under Mr. Erdogan, polarization between social and ethnic groups has increased in the past several years. His challenger is offering the vision of reconciliation and an end to discriminatory hiring practices by the Turkish state. “The state will have no business if a candidate is Alevi or Sunni, Turkish or Kurdish,” Mr. Ince said at a public meeting last week. “There will be no discrimination whether one is wearing head scarf or not, whether one is a woman or a man.”

Mr. Ince is also changing the misconception that his secularist party’s base is anti-religious by appearing at public rallies with his sister who wears a head scarf. He stood up against the relentless propaganda by the A.K.P. against the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, and visited its leader and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas in prison.

The recent fall in the value of the lira exacerbated economic anxieties in the country. Mr. Ince has offered the vision of strengthening a production-based economy, developing agriculture and offering better conditions for local and foreign investors, apart from educating Turkish youth in both their mother tongue and global languages to compete with the world.

Mr. Ince provided examples of moral leadership long before he was in the fray. In the summer of 2016, the Turkish parliament approved a constitutional amendment stripping its members of immunity from prosecution. The bill was pushed by the governing A.K.P. and its ultranationalist allies to target the members from the Peoples’ Democratic Party.

Mr. Ince argued vociferously against the bill and voted against it despite our party being divided on the subject. Earlier, he stood up against the framing and arrest of Turkish military officers by using false evidence and the hollowing out of the judiciary. He spoke out against the indiscriminate purges after the failed coup of July 2016.

During the parliamentary debates on the regressive changes in education pushed by the A.K.P., Mr. Ince called out the party’s hypocrisy by disclosing that A.K.P. elites were not sending their children to the Imam Hatip (religious) public schools, which they deem appropriate for the rest of society. He also pointed out that although the A.K.P. embroiled the country in wars and whipped up hysteric nationalism, its leaders were not enlisting their sons in military service.

Turks seem to be embracing his slogan of “Making Peace, Growing and Sharing Together.” In late April, the C.H.P. vote share, according to independent polls, was about 20 percent. Within a few weeks of Mr. Ince’s presidential campaign, the C.H.P. vote share has increased to 30 percent.

And with the opposition parties coming together, Mr. Erdogan’s time might finally be running out. But nobody knows which rabbit Mr. Erdogan and his team will pull out of their hats before the polling day.

But the shift in the national mood is evident on the streets, on the usually obsequious television networks, in the tea shops across the country. For the first time in almost two decades, Mr. Erdogan no longer seems invincible. A Turkey where every citizen may live without fear finally seems possible.

Note EU-Digest: A Turkish American citizen who was asked what he thought about the possibility of Muharrem Ince  toppling Erdogan answered: "well better the devil you know than the devil you don't.know". 

If everyone had that similar opinion about dictators in power, many would never have been toppled.

Hopefully this fresh wind, which is presently blowing through Turkey in the form of Muharrem Ince candicacy in the Turkish Presidential elections will give the Turks the courage to vote in large numbers for the next President of Turkey: Muharrem Ince  

Read more: Opinion | The Man Who Could Topple Erdogan - The New York Times

EU to launch counter-tariffs against US on Friday

The European Union will launch a raft of retaliatory tariffs against US exports on Friday, a top official has said. 

The move comes after US President Donald Trump imposed steep duties on steel and aluminium earlier this month.

American exports such as blue jeans, motorbikes and bourbon whiskey will be targeted, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed.

However, she said the bloc "did not want to be in this position".

"The unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice," she said.

Read more: EU to launch counter-tariffs against US on Friday - BBC News

EU: Macron and Merkel announce plans for new Eurozone budget

Merkel, Macron announce plans for new eurozone budget

ITALY: Wants the best of two worlds


EU Defense Force: Merkel endorses Macron’s EU military plan – by Jakob Hanke

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday she supports the idea of a joint European defense force, adding that the initiative could be open to British participation post Brexit.

Merkel’s French counterpart Emmanuel Macron has been pushing for the creation of a combined EU military force that could be deployed to trouble spots around the world. The idea had so far received a frosty reception in Berlin, with defense minister Ursula von der Leyen saying the idea is “not an imminent project for tomorrow.” Merkel’s intervention represents a significant change of tone.

“I am in favor of President Macron’s proposal for an intervention initiative,” Merkel said in a wide-raning interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Merkel said the initiative “needs to fit into the structure of defense cooperation,” which she said should bring down the number of different EU weapon systems from 180 to “about 30.”

“With this, we will already develop more European unity. This will need to be complemented by joint strategic action in [military] deployment.”

The German leader also supported Macron’s idea of inviting Britain — which has the second-largest army in the EU — to join that force even after it leaves the bloc. “We can additionally open that initiative to a country like Great Britain,” Merkel said.

Note EU-Digest: it is high time the EU gets its own military defense force, since the so-called NATO umbrella is getting full of holes, specially now Donald Trump has become the NATO's leading nation's "Commander in Chief"

Read more: Merkel endorses Macron’s EU military plan – POLITICO

EU: Asylum applications in the EU drop significantly according to EASO - by Irene Kostaki

A significant drop in the number of asylum applications in the EU has been seen by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), according to its annual report, published on June 18.

According to the data published, migratory pressure decreased for the second year in a row throughout 2017 on the eastern and central Mediterranean migration routes. An unprecedented upsurge, however, was seen on the western Mediterranean route. The EU’s asylum office counted 728,470 applications for international protection in 2017, a 44% drop from the 1.3 million applications in 2016.
Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 4.22.31 PM
While the overall number of asylum applications registered in 2017 dropped, some countries still noted considerable increases. Syria (15%), Iraq (7%) and Afghanistan (7%) remained the top three countries of origin of applicants in the EU. These were followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, Eritrea, Albania, Bangladesh, Guinea, and Iran. Syrian asylum seekers numbered 108,020 in 2017, a 68.4% decrease since 2016.

The latest figures for the first four months of 2018 highlight a further drop in the number of applications submitted, as between January and April saw approximately 197,000 individuals seeking international protection in the EU. The number was a far a lower number than in the same period in 2015, but higher than the pre-crisis levels of 2014.

The decrease in the number of applications lodged in the EU was distributed across most citizenships of origin to different extents, but with some noteworthy exceptions. In particular, nationals of Venezuela and Georgia have been increasingly applying for asylum in far higher numbers since 2017, increasing by 75 % and 133 %, respectively. The number of Georgian applicants has skyrocketed since the small post-Soviet state was given a visa-free travel regime with the Schengen Zone in 2017.

Read more: Asylum applications in the EU drop significantly according to EASO

USA: The Russia Probe: What Roger Stone’s Latest Lie Reveals About Russia Scandal - by Jonathan Chait
This weekend, the Washington Post reported that Roger Stone met in May 2016 with a Russian man offering to sell the Trump campaign damaging information on Hillary Clinton. There’s no evidence that Stone consummated the transaction. But there is plenty of significance in the revelation.

The first is that the story confirms Stone’s functionally active status as a surrogate for the Trump campaign. Stone officially left his role in August 2015. But he continued to speak regularly with Trump, while supporting him fervently. There is abundant evidence that Stone communicated privately with WikiLeaks during the campaign.

Stone turned down the latest offer because, as he told fellow Trump adviser Michael Caputo at the time, the self-styled Russian intermediary was demanding too much money in return for goods that seemed to promise little. He turned the deal down because it was a bad deal, and claims he now believes the man was an FBI planting trying to entrap him, but there is no dispute he was negotiating on Trump’s behalf.

This tells us that any contacts Stone had with WikiLeaks were also done in his unofficial capacity as Trump surrogate. Stone was colluding with the publicity arm of Russian intelligence as a functional member of the Trump campaign.

Second, it matters that Stone and Caputo have been caught in another lie. Both men told congressional investigators they had no contact with Russians or people identifying themselves as Russian. “I’ve never been to Russia. I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign,” he explained to the Washington Post. “I very definitely can’t think of anybody who might have been a Russian without my knowledge.”

Stone now says he forgot all about this meeting. “I just didn’t remember, 2016 was a pretty busy year,” he tells ABC. It would be fairly surprising for Stone to have forgotten all about an approach from a Russian man offering dirt on Clinton given that Stone says he had zero contacts with Russians. You never forget your first time, as they say. It would be plausible that he forgot this contact with the Russians if he had a lot of contacts with Russians. Even if Stone’s unsupported charge that he was being set up is true, it would not explain why he failed to disclose the meeting and lied about it. In either case, “I forgot” is not usually a compelling defense against charges of perjury.

And the broader point is that Trump and his campaign keep lying, over and over, about the extent of their contacts with Russia. It is conceivable that one or two members of Trump’s campaign might forget an incidental contact with a purported Russian agent, especially if that person had a legitimate role as well. But the scores of lies tell us something different. They are not coming clean in the belief they did nothing wrong. They are denying everything, and when their lies are disproven, they simply retreat to a new categorical defense, and keep doing it. At every moment they insist that the only Russian contacts that occurred are the ones publicly known, but the list just keeps growing. The assumption that the list of known contacts is the entire list rests upon an assumption of innocence that, at some point we long ago passed, is forfeit.

Read more: What Roger Stone’s Latest Lie Reveals About Russia Scandal

Germany: While Trump says crime in Germany is way up, as he continuously tries to destabalize the EU. - German statistics show the opposite.- by Adam Taylor

In the midst of a domestic battle over his own administration's strict immigration policy, President Trump took aim at Germany's Angela Merkel on Monday — arguing in a tweet that the German chancellor's more open policies toward migration and refugees had led to a crisis in her government coalition.

But in making his argument against Merkel's "big mistake," Trump claimed that crime in Germany was "way up." That claim is not supported by recent statistics.

Notably, Merkel's biggest challenger on immigration policy is on record as saying just last month that crime in Germany was the lowest it had been in decades.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had released new crime figures in May that pointed to an overall decline in Germany over last year. The figures showed that 5.76 million crimes were reported in 2017 — a drop of 5 percent from 2016 and the lowest number since 1992.

Given the increases in Germany's population, Seehofer told reporters in Berlin, this meant that Germany's reported crime rate was at the lowest it had been for three decades.

To put it simply, "Germany has become safer," Seehofer said.

There is certainly no doubt that the wave of over a million refugees and migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015 and 2016 changed the country, resulting in strained relations between German citizens and their new guests. However, concern about immigration in the country, Merkel likely remains the country's most popular political leader with a 50 percent approval rating this month.

Trump, meanwhile, continues to be viewed negatively by many Germans. In the same poll that found Merkel's high approval rating, 87 percent of Germans were concerned that the U.S. leader was exacerbating international conflicts.


USA: The American dream has become a Fata Morgana for the average citizen


EU: America First Means Europe United

CHINA - US RELATIONS: Unraveling a quarter century of US-China ties

With tariffs, Trump starts unraveling a quarter-century of U.S.-China economic ties

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Quantum Science: Could it be possible that the future might be influencing the past ? - by Mike Mcrae

This Quantum Theory Predicts That The Future Might Be Influencing The Past

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The Global Order: Trump aims for the total destruction of the established order, including all alliance partnerships the US ever entered into - by Stephan Richter

Trump: The Most Disruptive Global Start-Up Ever By Stephan Richter Trump aims for the total destruction of the established order, including all alliance partnerships the United States ever entered into. Trump aims for the total destruction of the established order, including all alliance partnerships the United States ever entered into. The post Trump: The Most Disruptive Global Start-Up Ever appeared first on The Globalist
For the complete report click here;

USA: Muller Probe -Judge sends former Trump campaign head Manafort to jail by revoking his bail


Turkey - Presidential Elections: Can Erdogan's economic record help him keep seat amid challenges? - by Umut Uras

Sitting by his small telephone sale and repair shop in the buzzing Istanbul district of Besiktas, Hasan Kus is pessimistic about the future of Turkey's economy.

A little over a week before the country's key elections, the 44-year-old believes the financial situation will worsen regardless the outcome of the June 24 polls.

"People are merely trying to pick the better scenario, compared to the other ones," says Kus, before trying to sell a phone charger to a customer.

The economy is going to be a decisive factor in the upcoming vote that will transition Turkey from a parliamentary system to an executive one, in line with constitutional changes approved in a referendum last year.

The presidential and parliamentary polls will be held under a state of emergency, in place since July 2016 following a failed deadly coup blamed by the government on the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based self-exiled religious leader.

On the economic front, the polls come against a conflicting backdrop of skyrocketing growth rate - up 7.4 percent last year - and a depreciating currency.

The Turkish lira dropped more than 20 percent against the US dollar this year, prompting the Central Bank to raise interest rates multiple times to shore up one of the world's worst-performing currencies. Meanwhile, both inflation and current account deficit are on the rise.

Under these circumstances, the Turkish electorate appears divided about who is best equipped to deal with the ongoing economic uncertainties.

Voters who blame the uncertainty on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) believe change is needed after 15 years to correct the policies that spawned the current problems.

Note EU-Digest: It is time for a change in Turkey after 15 years of Erdogan. President Erdogan has brought Turkey close to total economic ruin, and based on latest polls can only win the upcoming Presidential elections if he succeeds, once again, to have his associates fiddle with the ballot boxes and votes to change the outcome....? 

Read more: Can Erdogan's economic record help him keep seat amid challenges? | Turkey News | Al Jazeera


EU nations back retaliating against U.S. steel tariffs - by Philip Blenkinsop

European Union countries on Thursday unanimously backed a plan to impose import duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) worth of U.S. products after Washington hit EU steel and aluminum with tariffs at the start of June, EU sources said.

The European Commission has also launched a legal challenge against the U.S. tariffs at the World Trade Organization. In addition, it is assessing the need for measures to prevent a surge of imports of steel and aluminum into Europe as non-EU exporters divert product initially bound for the United States.

Read more" EU nations back retaliating against U.S. steel tariffs | Reuters

China-US relations: Escalating U.S.-China trade spat comes at a bad time for global growth, economist says - by William Watts

The escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China comes at an inconvenient time for the global economy.

The resilience of China’s economy in early 2018 has been an important buffer for global growth in the face of mounting headwinds, noted Louis Kujis, head of Asia economics for Oxford Economics, in a Friday note.

But the economy is showing signs of a broad slowdown after downbeat May economic data, which Kujis expects to continue, braking growth from a pace of 6.8% year-over-year in the first quarter to 6.2% by the fourth quarter.

China’s economy was set to slow without the trade dispute and policy makers were already less likely to respond with the type of stimulus they have implemented in the past to the benefit of the domestic and global economy. The rising trade tensions only amplify the prospects of a slowdown, albeit at the margins.

“While the economic impact of the U.S. tariffs and ensuing retaliation by China will be modest, it does matter,” Kujis wrote. Assuming broadly one-for-one retaliation, Oxford Economics’s economic model suggests the trade actions will shave 0.1 to 0.2 percentage point off growth in 2018 and 2019 for both countries, he said, noting that the impact has already been incorporated into the firm’s forecasts.

Read more: Escalating U.S.-China trade spat comes at a bad time for global growth, economist says - MarketWatch

USA: Trump Presidency, a disaster, while Republicans are asleep behind the wheel - FBI verdict only deepens Washington's nightmare - by Stephen Collinson

This long national nightmare may never be over.

The sour legacy of the 2016 election is further tightening its grip on Washington after the release of a critical report on the FBI's conduct while investigating scandals linked to the vote. And a new legal front is opening with stunning allegations about the Trump family's behavior during the campaign
It all made for another surreal day in the nation's capital Thursday that deepened cavernous divides, dealt a fresh battering to the nation's bedrock legal institutions and further undermined the notion that a shared objective truth underwrites American political life.

The publication of the Justice Department's inspector general's report also offered an unsettling preview of how the political power centers are likely to splinter along partisan lines when Robert Mueller eventually reveals the results of the Russia investigation.

Note EU-Digest: an unending number of Trump disasters is taking the US off in the deep end, while the political establishment is doing next to nothing to prevent it. Is this the birth of a new "Banana Republic" ? 

Read more: FBI verdict only deepens Washington's nightmare


UN: Israel blamed by UN for excessive force against Palestinians in Gaza

UN votes to blame Israel for excessive force against Palestinians in Gaza

For the complete report go to:


Israel has bombed Iranian-backed militias in Syria says Netanyahu

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USA: Trump's Charity Organization involved in illegal conduct of business

New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’

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French - Italian relations: MIGRATION DISPUTE HEATS UP

Via euronews: Migration dispute escalates between France and Italy

For the full report go to:


EU - LGBTQ - Poland: Same-sex spouses have equal residency rights across EU, top court rules - contributor Agata Pankow

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled recently that all member states must grant residency rights to same-sex spouses, regardless of whether or not such unions may legally be officiated in that country.

The decision has direct implications for Poland and six other countries in which same-sex marriage is not recognized by national law – and it is already drawing criticism from traditionalists and euroskeptics alike.

The case originated in Romania, where native Adrian Coman was fighting for residency rights for his American husband, Clai Hamilton. They had married in 2010 in Brussels, where Coman worked for the European parliament. However, like Poland, Romania does not recognize same-sex partnerships, and after being challenged in the Romanian constitutional court the case was referred to the ECJ.

According to European Union law, a non-EU citizen is allowed to reside in the same member state as their EU citizen spouse. This word “spouse” turned out to be key, as ultimately Europe’s highest court ruled that the term was gender-neutral.

The decision narrowly affects residency rights – it does not touch the status quo of allowing EU member states to determine their marriage laws on an individual basis.

Nevertheless, some see it as an over-assertion of power by Brussels. Few countries are warier of this than Poland, which, along with Latvia and Hungary, sent representatives to a hearing Luxembourg last year to argue against the gay couple’s claim.

For his part, ECJ president Koen Lenaerts seemed not to disagree that this could be part of a larger push to unite the EU in recognizing same-sex marriage generally, calling the debate “exactly the same” as the one in the US. (In 2015, the US Supreme Court struck down several states’ same-sex marriage bans in a ruling against Ohio’s refusal to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in Maryland, essentially legalizing it everywhere.)

Whether or not the government of Poland – which remains relatively Catholic and conservative compared to most of the EU – decides to resist the ruling remains to be seen. It would not be the first time that Warsaw has bucked Brussels: Last year the government drew the ire of the European Commission for its highly controversial court reforms, and it defied an order by the ECJ to halt logging in the ancient Białowieża Forest on the pretense of “public safety.”

Furthermore, it is still possible for courts in Romania to appeal the verdict of this particular case, a process which could take up to two years.

LGBTQ activists, on the other hand, are celebrating the EU court’s decision as a watershed moment for their rights. Campaign Against Homophobia (Kampania Przeciw Homofobii), founded by Polish politician and gay icon Robert Biedroń, said that they look forward to the reaction of the government, calling the ruling evidence that “two million [LGBTQ] citizens cannot be ignored.”

There is a complex and inconsistent history of gay rights in Poland, where, exceptionally, homosexuality has never been criminalized. Now Poland joins Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia in prohibiting gay marriage. The 22 other EU member states recognize gay marriage and/or civil partnerships between same-sex couples.

Read more: Same-sex spouses have equal residency rights across EU, top court rules | The Krakow Post