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France US Relations: Quit the EU for better trade deal, Trump reportedly told Macron

Donald Trump suggested to Emmanuel Macron that he pull France out of the European Union in return for a bilateral trade deal, it has been claimed.

The offer, aimed at destroying the Europe alliance, was reported to have been made during a private meeting when Macron visited the White House at the end of April.

The Washington Post said the US president asked Macron: “Why don’t you leave the European Union?” In return, Trump suggested the US could offer France a substantial bilateral trade deal.

The article claimed that Trump promised to give France better trade terms than the EU as a whole gets from the US.

The columnist at the Washington Post, Josh Rogin, cited two unnamed European officials as the source of his report, adding that the proposition revealed “a basic lack of understanding of Macron’s views and those of the people who elected him”. It was “an instance of the president of the United States offering an incentive to dismantle an organsation of America’s allies, against stated US government policy”. 

Note EU-Digest: How can the EU Commission swallow this, if true ? 

Read more: Quit the EU for better trade deal, Trump reportedly told Macron | US news | The Guardian


USA: Trump Administration Mulls a Unilateral Tax Cut for the Rich - by Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley

The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities. The Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells.


Iran: US Strategy against Iran could lead to a lose-lose scenario

US strategy against Iran may lead to lose-lose scenario for everyone


United Nations: UN RUNNING OUT OF CASH and facing urgent cuts

Russian-US relations: Putin Invites Trump to Moscow

BREAKING Vladimir Putin says he has invited Donald Trump to Moscow
For the complete report go to:

Venezuela: crumbling as its fleeing Citizens become the new underclass

As Venezuela crumbles, its fleeing citizens are becoming Latin America’s new underclass

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BRITAIN- BREXIT: Theresa May will now personally lead Brexit negotiations

May says she will lead Brexit talks from now on

USA: Health Care: Medicare for all say progressive Democrats

An ideal solution, but unacceptable by Big Pharma and Republicans 

Progressive Dems Push Party Toward Medicare for All

Right-Wing Populism: Steve Bannon plans Brussel based Populist Foundation

Poland: We are not anti-EU says Polish Senate Speaker, as Polish Citizen massively demonstrate against anti-Democratic measures Government

Polish Senate speaker: We are not anti-Europe



South Africa’s Boers Are Putting Russia On The Horns Of A Dilemma - Andrew Korybko

The planned migration of 15,000 South African Boers to Russia is forcing the host country to choose between welcoming these new arrivals for humanitarian reasons or complicating their efforts to flee for geopolitical ones. 

RT just published an article quoting a Rossiya 1TV report about a delegation of 30 South African farming families that travelled to the country’s southern Stavropol Region in preparation for the planned migration of 15,000 Boers there in the coming future. This community of white farmers has been increasingly victimized by killings and other crimes since the end of Apartheid in 1994, and with the new government of Cyril Ramaphosa vowing to seize their land without compensation, they understandably feel under threat enough to the point of fleeing their homeland for protection. The intertwined issue of the Boers and their farms involves human and land rights, though legitimate questions pertaining to racial victimhood and inherited property have been largely overlooked after political extremists hijacked this emotive debate.

Eurasia Future


EU Google Fine: Trump slams EU over $5 billion fine on Google

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the European Union over a record $5 billion (3.84 billion pounds)fine EU antitrust regulators imposed on Google, saying the bloc was taking advantage of the United States.

EU officials on Wednesday also ordered Google to stop using its popular Android mobile operating system to block its rivals, adding to trade tensions between Washington and Brussels.

Note EU-Digest: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black.

Read more: Trump slams EU over $5 billion fine on Google | Reuters

USA - Donald Trump - The noose is tightening: Analysis: 2 troubling questions for Trump in light of the new Michael Cohen tape revelation - by Aaron Blake

We've known for a while Michael Cohen taped some of his conversations and investigators had those tapes. What we did not know was whether a tape of President Trump was included or whether the two discussed legally problematic things.

We now know the answers to those questions: Trump was, and they did.

The Washington Post has confirmed that potential turning point of a story. Investigators have a tape of Cohen and Trump discussing purchasing the rights to Playboy model Karen McDougal's story of an alleged affair with Trump from the National Enquirer's parent company, about two months before the 2016 election. The New York Times first reported the story. Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani confirmed the tape exists but said it is actually “exculpatory,” because Trump suggests the payment should be documented, and the payment was not actually made.

Our understanding of Trump and Cohen's arrangement was that Cohen handled these matters while deliberately leaving Trump in the dark. That is the defense that has been offered in the case of porn star Stormy Daniels, who actually did get a payment from Cohen. It also seemed to be the Trump team's defense for McDougal. “We have no knowledge of any of this,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said when it was revealed the National Enquirer had paid for McDougal's story.

That denial has now fallen apart; Trump clearly knew about the Enquirer paying for the story, given he was talking about buying the rights to it. And if Cohen kept Trump in the dark about Daniels, why wouldn't he also keep Trump in the dark about McDougal? Why wall it off for the porn star but not the Playmate? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Read more: Analysis: 2 troubling questions for Trump in light of the new Michael Cohen tape revelation

Social Media: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter cooperating data project

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter partner for ambitious new data project

For the complete report go to:

Global Economy: Key Takeaways from PIMCO’s Secular Outlook: Rude Awakenings

In case you missed it—given the recent gyrations in Italy and financial markets—we published our Secular Outlook in May. Difficulties in Argentina and Italy, and President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, among other disruptions, are some recent examples of rude awakenings for complacent financial markets. However, as we lay out in more detail in the outlook, these events may only be a small precursor of things to come over the secular horizon. Here are the key takeaways.

Following the three-day Secular Forum with distinguished external speakers and our Global Advisory Board, as well as our subsequent internal discussions, we concluded that we may be witnessing an important turning point: Ten years after the financial crisis, the global economy and financial markets look set to enter a new era of potentially radical change that will make the future look very different from the past.

The post-crisis environment has been characterized by financial repression through regulation; dominant central banks; mostly passive or restrictive fiscal policies; largely uninhibited trade and capital flows; subdued growth and inflation; and low volatility in the macro economy and markets. To be fair, the past decade had its fair share of rude awakenings, but whenever they came along, central banks were quick to step in and prop up markets and economies.

We expect a very different macro landscape to emerge over the next five years—for better or worse. Already, there are important shifts underway: The monetary-fiscal policy mix has been changing, with central banks retreating and fiscal policy becoming more expansionary; the regulatory discussion is moving from the financial to the tech sector; and economic nationalism and protectionism are on the rise. However, bigger disruptions may lie ahead. Here are five potential sources of major rude awakenings for investors over the secular horizon:

Read the full report at: Key Takeaways from PIMCO’s Secular Outlook: Rude Awakenings


Spain - Catalonia: Spain drops case against Puigdemont

Catalan case: Spain drops warrant against Puigdemont -
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Canadian - EU Aircraft Industry Cooperation: ‘Godfather’ of aircraft leasing takes second look at post-Bombardier A220

Steven Udvar-Hazy, Air Lease Corp.’s founder and chairman, is studying his first potential orders of the Airbus SE A220 now that the European planemaker controls the single-aisle jetliner.

Airbus’s sales and engineering expertise brings greater potential to the aircraft, Udvar-Hazy said Sunday. The program was developed by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. and formerly known as the C Series before Airbus took over a majority stake July 1.

“It’s a more attractive prospect,” Udvar-Hazy said in an interview in London ahead of the Farnborough air show. “This has changed the whole landscape in terms of its credibility.”

An order from Air Lease would provide the A220 with a seal of approval from one of the world’s most closely watched jet purchasers. Udvar-Hazy has been nicknamed the “godfather” of aircraft leasing for his role in founding the industry.

Airbus, which last week won a A220 deal from JetBlue Airways Corp., is trying to quickly build an order book for the plane, while also seeking to make the aircraft more viable by squeezing supply-chain costs. JetBlue’s 60-jet order was valued at $5.4 billion based on list prices. Delta Air Lines Inc. is also a buyer of the plane.

Read more: ‘Godfather’ of aircraft leasing takes second look at post-Bombardier A220 | Montreal Gazette

EU, US relations sinking further after divisive Trump tour - by Raf Casert

After a week of the worst barrage of insults yet from U.S. President Donald Trump, the European Union is looking westward toward the White House less and less.

Making it worse, Trump spent Monday cozying up to EU adversary Vladimir Putin in an extraordinary chummy summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki.

Never mind. In an age when Trump has made political optics all-important, on Tuesday the EU struck back. Key EU leaders were in the far east in Japan and China looking for the trust, friendship and cooperation they could no longer get from a century-old ally.

Trump's embrace of Putin and the EU's Asian outreach highlight the yawning rift, widening more by the day, in a trans-Atlantic unity that has been the bedrock of international politics for the better part of a century, as countless graves of U.S. soldiers buried in European soil bear witness to.

Trump's abrasiveness and "America First" insistence had been a given even before he became president. Europe's increasing resignation to letting go of the cherished link to the White House is much more recent.

After last week's brutal NATO summit where Trump derided Europeans as freeloaders, EU chief Donald Tusk spoke on Tuesday of "the increasing darkness of international politics."

"This Helsinki summit is above all another wake-up call for Europe," said Manfred Weber, the German leader of the EPP center-right group in the European Parliament, the legislature's biggest.

"We Europeans must take our fate in our own hands."

It was a startling sentiment coming from someone who hails from the same German Christian Democrat stock as Angela Merkel, Helmut Kohl and Konrad Adenauer, staunch supporters of the trans-Atlantic link over the past three-quarters century.

There have been other signs of the growing European detachment from the White House, especially after Trump pulled out of the global climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal the EU brokered.

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" Tusk asked two months ago.

Soon, Trump had also piled on economic punishment with punitive tariffs on European steel and aluminum.

Then came the NATO summit. Already viewed with apprehension, reality turned out to be worse.

First, Trump called Germany, the powerhouse of the European Union, "captive" to Russia. Then he suggested that Britain should "sue" the EU over Brexit terms. Finally, he finished off by calling the 28-nation bloc a trade "foe."

"For Trump, the categories of friend, ally, partner, opponent, enemy don't exist. For him there is only his own ego," said the head of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, Norbert Roettgen.

So little wonder the EU has turned for friends elsewhere — and found one Tuesday in Japan, where the bloc said it put in place "the largest bilateral trade deal ever."

Up to two years ago, that was supposed to be the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, trade deal between the EU and the United States. But Trump quickly let it be known that such an international agreement would not happen on his watch.

"This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order," Tusk said at a joint news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism."

Despite it all, until last week there had remained hope that on the most critical of geopolitical security issues, Trump would remain true to American ideals. Instead, he unleashed unprecedented criticism at the NATO summit.

Fully extracting itself from the United States, though, is a daunting challenge for Europe.

Militarily, with the exceptions of France and Britain, the European allies have lived under the nuclear umbrella of the United States since World War II. Defense cooperation outside of U.S-dominated NATO is only now taking off and the blocked Brexit negotiations make such a prospect fraught with uncertainty.

That military dimension, and the bond between Europe and the United States, have a special resonance in nations like Poland and the Baltic states, which had long been under the thumb of Moscow before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Hence, Monday's Helsinki summit was seen with apprehension that Trump might make dramatic concessions to Putin and leave parts of Europe with too little protection. In Poland, the 1945 Yalta Conference is seen as a symbol of political treason because, without Poland's participation and against Poland's will, it put the country under Soviet control for decades, until 1989.

Read: EU, US relations sinking further after divisive Trump tour


EU Versus Google: Brussels lashes a historical fine to Google for domain abuse with Android

EU Versus Google: Unfair Competition - Monopoly Position
Brussels launches its strongest offensive against Google. The European Commission is now ready a record fine for U.S. giant for abuse of dominant position through Android, its mobile operating system, which use virtually all less Apple manufacturers.

The technological signature requires brands that use this system default installation of ir own applications like Google search engine or Chrome browser.

This is one of practices that European authorities judge against competition and which worth greatest punishment imposed by an antimonopoly case (about 4 billion euros). The previous record was also reached by Google. The decision stresses even more already complex transatlantic relationship.

The sanction, according to sources close to the case, is around 4 billion, the largest ever imposed by the European Commission

The Android process is now completed, after several years of research, and decision is expected to be communicated on Wednesday, as country has been able to know. The European Commission was clear that it would close case before holidays, but had hesitated to impose sanction on American firm last week or this.

The level of confrontation reached with US President Donald Trump's visit to NATO summit in Brussels advised him to postpone fine. The Community executive has tried, at same time, to take away as much as possible this initiative from visit that President of this institution, Jean-Claude Juncker, will make to Trump next week in White House. Both institutions confirmed this Tuesday that meeting will be held on 25 July. However, effect it causes in spirit of American tycoon is uncertain.

The great technology has never been Trump's favorite sector, which was very close to former president, Barack Obama. The penalty for abuse of dominant position with Android will surpass 2.424 billion taxes in 2017 also to Google for systematically favoring Google Shopping, its service of comparison of prices.

The reason is that scope of Android case is much higher than price compared, since 90% of mobiles in Europe incorporate Android. And that quota has grown vertiginously in recent years.

Read more: Brussels last a historical fine to Google for domain abuse with Andr


The Netherlands takes 2nd place in 2018 Global Innovation Index- by Mina Solanki

The Netherlands has moved up to second place on this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII), by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The GII ranks the innovation performance of almost 130 economies from around the world.

This year marks the 11th edition of the GII, which reviews 126 economies. The theme of the 2018 edition is “Energizing the World with Innovation”. This edition looks at the energy innovation landscape of the coming decade and possible breakthroughs that could be made in the areas of consumption, distribution, storage and energy production.

To assess countries, the GII uses 80 indicators that then fall under seven pillars. The average score of the first five pillars equals the Input Sub-Index and the average score of the last two pillars makes up the Output Sub-Index. Each pillar has three sub-pillars with a varying number of indicators. The pillars are as follows:
  • Institutions
  • Human capital and research
  • Infrastructure
  • Market sophistication
  • Business sophistication
  • Knowledge and technology outputs
  • Creative outputs
The number one country this year was Switzerland, which also took first place in 2017. The Netherlands came in second and was followed by Sweden, which dropped a place this year. In fourth place was the United Kingdom, climbing a place this year, and in fifth place, Singapore, moving up two places. The top 10 countries are as follows.
  1. Switzerland
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Sweden
  4. Britain
  5. Singapore
  6. United States of America
  7. Finland
  8. Denmark
  9. Germany
  10. Ireland
Read more: The Netherlands takes 2nd place in 2018 Global Innovation Index

Britain - Brexit: Stuck between EU and US: Britain's Brexit dilemma

US President Donald Trump's unique brand of disruptive diplomacy appears to have shattered the UK government's claim that Britain can have it all when it comes to trade once it exits the European Union.

Prime Minister Theresa May probably expected a more helpful stance as she welcomed Trump to Britain this week, given that the populist leader has been outspoken in his support for Brexit.

Instead, Trump scorched her policy towards the EU divorce in an interview with The Sun newspaper that shocked Britain's political establishment.

May had ignored his own advice on how best to confront Brussels, he said, while praising her departed foreign secretary.

The colourful Boris Johnson quit rather than take part in turning Britain into a "colony", after May's blueprint for Brexit was signed off by her cabinet. Johnson, one of the most prominent Brexit campaigners ahead of Britain's June 2016 referendum, had said the country could "have our cake and eat it" by retaining close ties to the EU while also forging ahead with new trade deals with the rest of the world, including the United States.

May's blueprint, fleshed out in a government white paper this week, argued that it was possible through a deal with the EU that would preclude the return of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

Trump, however, torpedoed such thinking in his interview. He said May's plans to bind Britain's economy closely to its European partners after Brexit would "probably kill" its hopes of a US trade deal.

Both leaders tried to brush aside Trump's incendiary language at a news conference yesterday, insisting they were determined to pursue a post-Brexit pact.

May stressed London could stay on friendly trade terms with both Brussels and Washington. "It's not either or," she said at the press conference.

The allure of a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Washington has propped up much rhetoric by Brexiteers and kept May determined to go ahead with Trump's visit despite opposition from thousands of protesters who denounced the trip.

That was why the government's white paper was "veiled by strategic ambiguity on trade in goods", said Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

"The problem is that FTAs don't actually go that far," he added. "There is a great misconception in the Brexit debate about what an FTA can do. Many arguments are hyperbole or even outright false."

The pound slid 0.6 percent against the dollar on Trump's interview as the rhetoric of Brexit freedom ran into the reality of Britain's economic relationships.

"The UK can't afford to alienate either the US or the EU, its two largest foreign trade partners, and will not be able to choose an 'either-or' solution," commented Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at City Index in London.

But even if Britain can extricate itself from the dense web of regulations and tariffs resulting from its decades of EU membership, a US-UK trade deal would be easier said than done.

Trump has begun a trade war already with the EU, China and others. There is nothing to suggest the hard-nosed deal maker would go easier on Britain, and he may press hard for lower tariffs and easier access for US industry to Europe's second-biggest economy.

Chlorinated US chicken has already become totemic of future rows as campaigners line up against the prospect of Britain relaxing its food-safety standards under any US deal.

Defenders of Britain's cherished National Health Service have mobilised against what they see as a US plot to dismantle the NHS by opening it up to competition from US healthcare providers, and to allow higher prices for US drugs.

Free-trade deals that threaten to undermine institutions like the NHS have drawn mass protests elsewhere. A long-negotiated EU-Canada trade pact is staring at political defeat in Europe. A separate US-EU agreement is on ice. So May faces an unpalatable choice.

The United States may be Britain's single biggest national trading partner, but the EU as a whole is far bigger.

"At first glance, Trump's disruptive approach may make some sense from a narrow 'America first' perspective. In any bilateral negotiation with any other country in the world, the US would be the stronger party," Berenberg Economics said in a report.

But it added: "Trump may be his own worst enemy. By taking on many countries at the same time with behaviour considered unacceptable beyond his own base of fans, Trump may bring others closer together rather than dividing them."

Indeed, British lawmakers from both sides of the aisle seized on Trump's remarks to warn May against placing too much faith in the volatile president as Britain prepares to exit the EU next March.

"If signing up to the #Trump world view is the price of a deal, it's not worth paying," tweeted Sarah Woollaston, an MP from May's own Conservative party.

Read more: Stuck between EU and US: Britain's Brexit dilemma

USA: Republicans are in Turmoil:And Trump Feels the GOP Heat on Putin, But Will It Linger? Doub!ful - they have too much to lose and no backbone


EU - Japan relations: Multi Billion Free Trade Agreement which defies protectionism

USA In Crises: European and many other countries around the world now giving the middle finger to the US

Russia - US relations: Trump says he does not believe Russia meddled in the US elections

Britain - Brexit: Justine Greening: New Brexit referendum ‘is only way to end deadlock’ says this former Conservative Education Secretary

Theresa May’s hopes of winning support for her Brexit compromise have been dealt a huge blow as Justine Greening has become the first senior Conservative to support calls for a second referendum.

The prime minister’s effort to keep Britain in parts of the single market is the “worst of both worlds” and will satisfy no one, the former education secretary says in an article for The Times.

Note EU-Digest: Best of luck to her, but little hope it will succeed, specially with Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage ready to sell out Britain to their long-time friend "Bougie Man" Trump and his "flush American democracy and its Western alliance down the toilet policies" .

Read more: Justine Greening: New Brexit referendum ‘is only way to end deadlock’ | News | The Times

EU, China seek closer ties as US turns against trade

At a time of heightened uncertainty in the global economic environment, leaders of Europe and China are meeting to ponder ways to counter the fallout from US President Trump's "America First" policies.

US President Donald Trump's attacks on the international trading system, by imposing tariffs and engaging in virulent anti-trade rhetoric, have left America's commercial partners worldwide scrambling for an appropriate response.
Leaders of the European Union and China, the US's most significant trading partners, were meeting in Beijing on Monday for their annual EU-China summit, with global and bilateral trade and investment relations topping the agenda.

"It is a common duty of Europe and China, America and Russia, not to destroy this (world) order, but to improve it. Not to start trade wars...but to bravely and responsibly reform the rules-based international order," European Council President Donald Tusk said in Beijing. He spoke after a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that was also attended by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

For the complete report from the Deutsche Welle click here


USA - Backfire Policies: Trump Doesn’t Understand His Own Trade War - by Mark Gongloff

It's not entirely clear what President Donald Trump wants out of his trade war against China (and the rest of the world, for that matter), but one theory is that he thinks his tariffs will hurt so badly that Beijing will have to cede to his demands (whatever those are), helping U.S. trade while also firing up his base ahead of the midterms.

Michael Schuman argues this approach misunderstands a lot about China. First, the tariffs won’t hurt it that badly. Second, the tariffs won’t hurt just China – they’ll also hurt foreign companies, including Americans (and that’s before we even start talking about retaliation). Finally, they’ll only make Xi Jinping dig in his heels more. After all, he has a political base too.

Another Trump misconception ahead of the trade wars was that nobody would retaliate, writes Ramesh Ponnuru. This belief – part of the idea that trade wars are easy to win – is one of four “new rules” (some might call them “fundamental misunderstandings”) Trump followed going into his trade wars. The other three are: 1) inflict pain on your own companies and consumers; 2) fight every country at once; and 3) keep your demands unclear

Former WTO chief judge James Bacchus suggests Trump is right to complain about China’s “Made in China 2025” drive, which just looks like more protectionism. He argues China would be more likely to achieve its goals by following the rules. But James, like Michael, notes the West has exploited and cheated China for a very long time. That might help explain not only why China breaks the West’s rules but also why it won’t buckle to Trump.

Read more: Trump Doesn’t Understand His Own Trade War - Bloomberg

Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran - by Simon Tisdall

They were right to be worried. Within hours of arriving in Europe, Donald Trump was busy insulting America’s closest friends and threatening to dismember Nato. He publicly humiliated Theresa May and did his importunate best to force regime change in Westminster, before halfheartedly apologising.

Now he takes his ugly brand of rogue-male politics to Helsinki for a meeting with his best buddy, prominent campaign supporter and fellow narcissist, Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This is an ominous, possibly watershed moment for Europe, full of fear and loathing.

All of which invites the question: how far will Trump be allowed to go before leaders of the western democracies finally draw the line? How long until they recognise him as an antagonist, not an ally, contemptuous of their countries’ values and interests – and act accordingly? Germany’s Angela Merkel tried firmness. May tried flattery. The EU has tried fulmination and retaliatory trade tariffs. Others, wishfully, dismiss Trumpism as an aberration, not a strategic shift. But nothing stops him as he rampages on, malignly flattening all in his path
It is plain what a US president should be talking to Putin about: Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, its cyber attacks, information warfare and election meddling – in the latest development, 12 Russian intelligence officials were indicted for hacking emails during the 2016 election campaign. Then there are the chemical weapons atrocities in Syria and Salisbury, Russia’s treaty-busting nuclear build-up and its sanctions-busting in North Korea. But topping Trump’s personal agenda, it seems, is something entirely different, presaging a whole new world of misery: Iran.

European countries tend to forget Washington’s enduring post-1979 vendetta with Iran. They also underestimate the depth of American ignorance. US diplomats have not worked in Tehran for almost 40 years. American politicians, businesses and media have scant knowledge of the country. It has been far too easy, in such a vacuum, for its enemies, notably the paranoid Sunni Arab dictatorships of the Gulf, to unfairly portray Iran as pariah and international bogeyman.

For John Bolton, Trump’s veteran national security adviser, and others of his ilk, Iran is unfinished business, a part of George W Bush’s infamous “axis of evil”. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was bloodily subjugated; Kim Jong-un’s North Korea is being brought to heel, too, or so they believe. That’s two down and one to go. Eager for a clean sweep, Bush’s more incompetent heir is taking his accelerating campaign against Iran to Putin’s door. There is very little Trump would not do to win Moscow’s support for his coming offensive.

Note EU-Digest: The above scenario as sketched by Simon Tisdall is obviously possible, but given Syria's relationship with Iran and Russia, it seems unlikely, Putin will agree to it..

Read mre: Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran | Simon Tisdall | Opinion | The Guardian

Finland: Putin -Trump Meeting:US ambassador: Trump-Putin meeting ‘isn’t a summit’ – by Quint Forgey

President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated meeting on Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin is just that — only a meeting, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said Sunday.

“It isn’t a summit. I’ve heard it called a summit. This is a meeting,” Jon Huntsman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.

“In fact, it’s the first meeting between the two presidents,” Huntsman added. “They’ve had some pull-asides, one at the G-20 in Hamburg and the other at the APEC Ministerial in Da Nang, Vietnam, but this is really the first time for both presidents to actually sit across the table and have a conversation.”

Read more: US ambassador: Trump-Putin meeting ‘isn’t a summit’ – POLITICO

Soccer: 2018 World Cup final score,France 4- Croatia 2 recap: France beats Croatia as Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann shine - by Roger Gonzales

The French national team was crowned world champions after defeating an underdog Croatian team 4-2 in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday, capturing its second World Cup title and its first since it hosted the 1998 tournament 20 years ago. Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps was the captain in 1998 when his team shocked Brazil in Paris, and on Sunday he became the third to ever win the World Cup as a player and coach.

In a match that featured anything you could have ever imagined, an own goal, a goalkeeper gaffe, pitch invaders and a teenager wunderkind finding the back of the net, France rolled to a convincing 4-1 lead and managed to hold on to earn its second star.

Read more: 2018 World Cup final score, recap: France beats Croatia as Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann shine -



The Netherlands - Weather: Summer is here to stay in the Netherlands- by Mina Solanki

It looks like the summer weather in the Netherlands is here to stay, at least until the end of next week. So, if you haven't already, now is the perfect time to take that trip to one of the Netherlands’ beaches or city beaches. Or, if you prefer, take advantage of the good weather and head on over to a national park or zoo.

On Thursday, July 12, frequent sun and temperatures ranging from 23C to 27C are forecasted. According to Weerplaza, up until the end of next week, July 22, the weather is expected to stay warm at 25C or higher.

On Monday, July 16, temperatures could even reach tropical values of 30C or above. This increase in temperature may make it feel rather stifling outside, as opposed to pleasant.

The Weerplaza weather model gives rather warm weather for the week of 23 to 29 July, especially in deep inland areas. In coastal areas, relatively higher temperatures can be expected, however, these are not as notable as in other areas of the Netherlands. During this week, a few rain showers are highly likely. 

Read more: Summer is here to stay in the Netherlands

Germany wary over Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin meeting

Germany will be watching keenly when the mercurial US president meets his Russian counterpart on Monday. Germans are concerned on three counts: NATO, Crimea and the Nord Stream gas pipelines.;\,

The German government's commissioner on Russian affairs, Dirk Wiese, isn't commenting on Donald Trump's meeting on Monday in Helsinki with Russia's Vladimir Putin. But he and many other German leaders will be carefully, perhaps nervously, monitoring the talks between the two presidents.

Trump has made it something of a habit of late to single out Germany for criticism and any signs of agreement between him and Putin would further fray nerves in Berlin. Germany is particularly concerned about three issues.

Trump has sought to use at least the implicit threat of the United States scaling back its military presence in Europe to pressure NATO members to spend more on defense. That, according to Gwendolyn Sasse, the Academic Director of Berlin's Center for East European and International Studies, has contributed to "a visual rupture in the relationship between the EU and the US."

Germans want Trump to act as a leading NATO member and not as a free agent when he sits down with Putin.

"I hope that Trump's allies at the NATO summit showed him some lines he shouldn't cross in his relations with Russia," Rebecca Harms, a Green member of the European Parliament and a leading Putin critic, told Deutsche Welle.

Germans are under no doubts that Putin, for his part, is pursuing what Harms terms "a long-term aggressive, anti-European policy" and is trying to drive a wedge between the US and its European allies.

Read more: Germany wary over Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin meeting | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 13.07.2018

USA - Trump European Tour: Trump falsely claims credit on NATO spending

President Donald Trump took credit for a supposed new decision by NATO members to increase military spending, though there was no evidence of that.

And after hinting Thursday that the alliance is in trouble, he asserted that his aggressive demands at this week's summit had suddenly turned NATO into a "fine-tuned machine" that will treat the U.S. "much more fairly" — hyperbole that sent U.S. allies scrambling to make clear that NATO unity wasn't at risk.

Here's a look at how Trump's statements at a news conference in Brussels compare with the facts:

TRUMP: "Everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels they've never thought of before."

"I can tell you now that NATO now is really a fine-tuned machine. People are paying money that they've never paid before. They're happy to do it. And the United States is being treated much more fairly."

THE FACTS: There's no outward sign that Trump's aggressive posturing in recent days has changed much for the alliance other than bruise its veneer of unity.

Read more: AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely claims credit on NATO spending


Trade Wars and the Economy: Trump's Trade War Leads Straight to Economic Collapse - by Alessandro Bruno

The United States and China have started a war. As with all wars, there will be victims. This one is no exception; economic collapse will occur before anyone can claim victory.

The sound of gunfire has not gone off yet, because the weapons of this war are trade tariffs. But the global economic hegemony is at stake.

The United States has engaged in a kind of “reverse” Pearl Harbor moment. In 1942, an ultra-nationalist Japanese leader launched an attack on the United States against advice from top officials that Americans would react—fiercely.

The Japanese dared, lost, and ended up waking the sleeping giant that would become the world’s sole superpower by 1990. The stakes this time are devastating in different ways.

Economic collapse doesn’t sound as bad as a world war with thousands dead and wounded, as well as destroyed infrastructure to contend withespecially because U.S. soil was never attacked in a major conflict.

Nobody should make the mistake of underestimating China’s ability to damage the United States, physically, socially, or—it goes without saying—economically.

Trump understands this—his advisors will have warned him. But many of his voters, and not without some justification, see China as the source and core of their economic woes.

Trump’s measures could send the world into chaos
The full Chinese retaliation has not come yet. So far, there are only hints of what shape it will take.

That said, American farmers will be taking a hit and you can expect your local gas station will be stocking more ethanol enhanced fuels.

Beijing has scrapped orders for over a million tons of U.S. soybeans due in August. It amounts to $14.0 billion a year in losses that many of Trump’s own supporters will have to endure. (Source: “North Dakota soybean processors hit hard by tariffs as China cancels orders,” CNBC, July 11, 2018.)

It’s always easier to blame an outsider for big problems rather than focus on insidious factors operating under your nose

Like all wars, the ones of the trade variety are easy to start. But they’re also harder to win. Those who start them may score big points in the battles, but will still fail to win them..

Read the complete report: Trump's Trade War Leads Straight to Economic Collapse

EU - Donald Trump Visit - Russian Probe: the noose is getting tighter around Trump's neck, even during his European trip

The big picture: Mueller looms over Trump's Eurotrip

Climate Change: Record high temperatures around the world

USA: Russian Intel officers indicted for Clinton hack

Via euronews: US indicts Russian intel officers for Clinton hack

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Britain Trump Visit: Trump says the critical comments he made of Theresa May which were recorded and aired on TV were fake news

Trump says his recorded and aired interview critical of British PM on Brexit is 'fake news'

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EU -Jean -Claude Juncker Germany has EU President's Bacingk

Jean-Claude Juncker: Germany has EU president's back despite NATO stumbling

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Germany: German politicians rally around Angela Merkel. after Trump tirade

German politicians rally round Angela Merkel after Donald Trump's NATO tirade

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USA: Trump Russia investigations: the key questioned answerd

Britain: Trump's European "Insult Tour" now goes from Bruxelles to Britain

Trumps met by both pomp and protest as U.K. visit begins

Belgium - Brussels - NATO: Trump's incoherent attacks and insults leaves NATO allies in total disbelief

Trump's attacks leave NATO allies in disbelief

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EU: How to resolve the EU's migrant crises - by Guy Verhofstadt


USA Economy: Dow Slumps on Trump Trade War Escalation

Stocks on Wall Street closed sharply lower and global stocks tumbled on Wednesday, July 11, following the latest escalation in trade war rhetoric from the White House, which published a list of $200 billion worth of China-made goods it said will be hit with fresh tariffs.

The list, which includes products across sectors such as consumer technology, agriculture and automobile parts and equipment, came just days after Donald Trump unveiled $34 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods that were immediately reciprocated by Beijing.

"For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. "Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products ... There is no justification for such action."

China's Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that the latest tariff threat was "bad for China, the U.S. and the rest of the world" and promised to retaliate with both "quantitative and qualitative" measures.

Read more: Dow Slumps on Trump Trade War Escalation - TheStreet

EU: Trump presses falsehoods about NATO, Germany- by David Rising, Robert Burnand Zeke Miller

Unleashing in-your-face rhetoric at the NATO summit, President Donald Trump pressed the falsehood Wednesday that members of the alliance owe money to the U.S. and took sole credit for higher military spending by NATO partners — a decision that preceded his presidency.

Trump also misrepresented Germany's energy picture, asserting coal and nuclear power are gone from the mix. Coal remains a bedrock energy source for Germany despite its hope to wean itself from that mineral and nuclear plants have several years of life before they are to be phased out.
Here's a look at some statements from the summit in Brussels:

TRUMP: "Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up. It's massive amounts of money is owed." — comments at meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. In a tweet Tuesday, he said: "Will they reimburse the U.S.?"

THE FACTS: There is no such debt to the U.S. or to NATO. Therefore, no delinquency or question of reimbursement.

He is referring to how much each NATO country spends on its own defense and pressing them to spend more. Doing so would relieve some pressure on U.S. military spending. But there are no IOUs to collect from past years.

Read more: AP FACT CHECK: Trump presses falsehoods about NATO, Germany

Belgium: "Look who is calling the kettle black" - At NATO, Trump lashes Germany for being Russian "captive" - by Kevin Lamarque

In a startling public outburst, Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defense spending that was intended to protect Europe from Russia.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia," Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.

His comments appeared to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply the German government was funding the pipeline, which is a commercial venture.

With tensions in the Western defense alliance already running high over Trump's demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, and a nationalistic stance that has seen trade disputes threaten economic growth in Europe, the latest remarks will fuel concerns among allies over the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War Two.

Read more: At NATO, Trump lashes Germany for being Russian "captive"


Health: When Will I Die? Scientists Develop New Blood Test That Could Reveal Life Expectancy - by Khasmira Gander

Life is short, the saying goes, and exactly how much time we have before we shuffle off this mortal coil is anyone’s guess. But this uncertainty could be consigned to history, according to the creators of a blood test they claim can predict a person's life expectancy.

The test measures what the scientists at Yale University call a person’s “phenotypic age,” The Guardian reported. Put simply, if a person’s phenotypic age is higher than their chronological age, they may be at greater risk of dying. It works by measuring nine biomarkers in the body, the authors wrote in a paper published in the biological sciences archive bioRxiv. The paper was not peer-reviewed.

Dr. Morgan Levine, assistant professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine, explained to The Guardian the test can identify differences in life expectancy among individuals who are seemingly healthy.

The team defined "healthy" as being free of disease and having a normal BMI.

"It’s [the test] picking up how old you look physiologically," Levine told the newspaper. "Maybe you’re 65 years old but physiologically you look more like a 70-year-old, so your mortality risk is more like that of a 70-year-old.”

A clinician could therefore use the results as the basis for personalized lifestyle advice on how to prevent diseases and raise a patient's life expectancy, she said.

To develop the test, the researchers analyzed 42 clinical measures documented in participants of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Factors such as their lifestyle and medical history were recorded, as well as a cause of death where relevant. The measures included glucose levels, white blood cell count and levels of albumin, a protein made by the liver. 

“Phenotypic age was significantly associated with all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality,” the authors wrote.

Every year a person’s phenotypic age was above their real age, their risk of dying rose by 14 percent in those between 20 to 39 years old; 10 percent in the 40- to 65-year-old category, and 8 percent among 65 to 84 year olds. Overall, people who aged fastest had more diseases than those who aged at a slower pace.

The test can also differentiate among individuals who appear to be healthy, and “who may have otherwise been missed using traditional health assessments,” the authors wrote.

It is unclear if and when the test will be rolled out in the general population. Yale University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Levine told The Guardian the team hopes the test will help "the majority of the population who are middle-aged, who don't have things wrong with them."

Read more: When Will I Die? Scientists Develop New Blood Test That Could Reveal Life Expectancy

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

What Europe earns by selling goods to the U.S., it spends on licensing fees for U.S. technology and on U.S. services. Nothing unfair here.

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

Can the US bully the EU?.

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

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

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

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

EU - Christian Community Wake-up Call - Trump visit - Join and encourage protests against Trump's visit to the EU and show that Christian revolutionary compasion is still alive and well

Bozo is in town - please give him a "warm" welcome
Many historical scholars will tell us that Jesus Christ can be considered a revolutionary leader, even today. 

In the sense that he refused to be a narrow political leader that would just make Judea (todays Israel) politically powerful.  

His mission was worldwide to benefit all mankind; leveling the importance of power and wealth.

He was equally compassionate and attentive to: women, tax collectors, foreigners inclusing Roman Centurians, Lepers, those crippled, those blind, insane Gentiles, Samaritans, Pharisees (though he brought some of them up short for their hypocrisy), Sinners, Rulers of the Synagogue, and very rich people, including Nobility.

Unfortunately today his doctrine is only given "lip service" in many Christian Churches around the world, in particular  the US and Europe.  

What has happened to the revolutionary Spirit of compassion and involvement Jesus spoke about ? 

Case in point. When in recent weeks the US government’s abusive and widely condemned policy of separating migrant children from their families was publicly criticized, the attorney general Jeff Session of the Trump Administration responded, by quoting the New Testament writer Paul, who in the book of Romans calls on people to obey the laws of the government. Really?.

That this would have ruled out the actions of Jesus himself, was seemingly lost on Sessions, as indeed was the fact that Jesus’s family were forced to escape across borders. 

Or the fact that Psalm 202.28 states: "The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you", and as we read in Mark 9:42: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea".

But the Sessions incident highlighted the problem that Christianity has and the problems that are still being created. 

To put it bluntly: in the 2016 presidential election a majority of practicing Christians in the USA voted for the most racist and misogynistic candidate going, and in so doing helping Donald Trump to the position of the most powerful person in the world. 

Against such a background it’s easy to forget that the movement from which Christianity emerged was one that shared possessions in common, renounced war and at least in some ways modelled more progressive understandings of gender than was generally accepted in those days  To use some words that weren’t around at that time in history; human rights, democracy, pacifismt and pro-feminism.. 

It is easy and quite hypocritical in a way, to externalize modern day problems as happening a long way away, or to personalize them in the name of political leaders; but when injustice is being justified in the name of one of the worlds largest faiths, professed by most of the EU population, it is important for us to voice our protest.

Trump’s ‘America First’ ideology has many similarities with those of  other dangerous nationalist- populists around the world..

Trump has also not attempedt to conceal his admiration for other populist movements around the world. He openly supported the Brexit movement, and populist Marianne Le Pen's campaign in the French Presidential election against President Emmanual Macron. He also hails authoritarian 'strongmen' like Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Vladimir Putin.  He obviously, secretly, envies their freedom of action, and probably wonders why the restraints of this "bourgeois democracy" continuously tie his hands behind his back. 

In the relatively short time period the current Trump administration has been in power,Trump pulled the US out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Paris agreement on climate change and the Iran deal. He also withdrewn the US from the United Nations' top human rights body and plans to end NAFTA -- while his recently announced tariffs affecting the EU, China, Mexico and Canada, are on the verge of starting a global trade war.

These International actions, however, are only the top of the Iceberg, in comparison to the changes his administration has already made on the home front, negatively affecting peoples health, immigration policies, taxes,  and personal freedom.

And now.... Donald Trump has arrived in Europe, arrogant and cocky as ever.

Check out your local press and social media for additional details of the Donald Trump visit to the EU, and where demonstrations will be held in your area---and please attend.

Trump's program which starts this afternoon July 10 in Brussels, where Trump will meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, before participating in high-level sessions with the 28 allies on Wednesday July 11. and Thursday July 12th at the NATO headquarters.

On the 13th of July he will be in Britain where he will meet Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth II and business leaders, before heading to the Trump resort in Scotland on Friday evening, where he’s expected to play some golf over the weekend.  

The US president is due to spend his first and only night in London at the US ambassador’s official residence, Winfield House, in Regent’s Park. Over the weekend he will be going to Scotland for some golf and probably stay at his luxury hotel he owns in Ayrshire, the Trump Turnberry  

On Sunday evening July 15, Trump will fly further north to Helsinki, Finland for a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Given the backdrop of international trade tensions following Trump’s tariff increases; the litany of retaliatory measures announced by U.S. allies including the European Union (EU); Trump’s criticism of NATO; and close scrutiny of his administration’s links to Russia — some of these encounters are bound to be less congenial than others.

The role that we as individuals can each play is to join in demonstrations, wherever they may be held in in Europe. 

You might feel this does not add up to much, but together it can add up in disrupting the US president’s hoped-for, and loved media PR opportunity, by showing an alternative to what he stands for. 

But that is only a first step. The bigger job is, after acknowledging the problem, to dismantle the scaffolding of structural racism, and economic inequality,  that allowed Trump to get where he is today, and which allow comparable policies to happen in Europe and around the world. 

If you live or have family or friends in the areas where Trump is visiting please pass this article along and encourage them to demonstrate. 

Make Trump understand his Administrations policies are not acceptable in the EU.

EU-Trump Visit to Brussels: European Commission head Donald Tusk slaps back at Trump after his latest NATO swipe saying: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many'

  • President Trump repeatedly berated America's European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations  to NATO 
  • European Council President Donald Tusk hit right back at him at an EU-NATO signing event: 'America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe'
  • Tusk said: 'America appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many'  
  • President Trump tweeted minutes later: NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!'
  • He told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One that America has plenty of allies and put new pressure on NATO nations to increase their defense spending 
  • U.S. NATO ambassador said this week that the United States' European partners had not brought up trade in the context of security alliance
  • 'Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied,' Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Sunday
  • Trump defied her and put his tariffs on the table for discussion at NATO's summit in Brussels, where he arrives on Tuesday evening, in tweets
  • The appearance was gearing up to be a repeat performance of a confrontation at last month's G7 summit in Canada
Read more: Trump says U.S. 'spending many times more than' fair on Europe | Daily Mail Online


EU - The Environment - EU climate diplomacy can make the difference- by Stephen Minas, Vassilis Ntousas

There is no other problem which tests the ability of countries to cooperate and to coordinate their responses like climate change.

For the European Union, climate change is also a test of the ability to act cohesively in the world.

Europe has long been a leader in the international diplomacy of climate change, reflecting the demands of European citizens for a clean environment.

The Paris Agreement of 2015, delivered under the presidency of France, is in part a result of EU leadership.

But now, as the United States under Donald Trump abandons the Paris Agreement, denies the reality of climate change and behaves with unprecedented hostility towards EU partners and multilateralism in general, the share of the load that the EU must bear grows correspondingly heavier.

To examine how the EU could use diplomacy to strengthen climate action globally, we brought together climate negotiators from the European Commission and member states with academic experts on climate politics, policy and law.

The outcomes of this collective project highlight a number of key messages.

First, the unique capacity of the EU to influence international outcomes on climate change stems from the multi-dimensional nature of EU diplomacy.

This includes member states leveraging their diverse relationships with countries and communities around the world, an unparalleled network of diplomatic missions, the EU's standing as the leading global provider of overseas development assistance (which is increasingly focused on sustainable development), and the size of the EU as a trading bloc, enabling it to promote high environmental standards through multilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements (the most recent of which are explicitly linked to implementation of the Paris Agreement).

But the EU can only take advantage of these strengths when member states give it the mandate to act ambitiously and in unison.

The effectiveness of EU climate diplomacy also depends on the credibility of internal EU climate action, so that we can continue to 'lead by example'.

It is not simply a case of retrofitting economies with less polluting energy sources and shoring up defences against the effects of climate change. Rather, an effective response to climate change entails a whole-of-economy transformation.

This necessitates political decision-making and a political vision of the destination. The social element is fundamental to this, because a community consensus for strong climate action depends on prioritising socially just outcomes for workers, communities and regions.

The pursuit of a 'just transition' is not an optional progressive extra to climate policy, but key to its success.

To safeguard the politics that make ambitious climate diplomacy possible, we must engage a broad progressive front which encompasses concerned citizens, environmentalists, workers, and the businesses and investors pioneering the sustainable markets and products of the future.

Finally, progressive leadership on climate change can also help the European Union to re-engage with its citizens. Europeans have long been proud of the EU's high environmental standards and leadership in global environmental cooperation.

At this critical time, with climate change increasingly urgent and with reactionary, anti-science forces threatening processes of cooperation, the EU climate mission can reassert the common values and aspirations which Europeans share.

At the same time, an accelerated climate transition would bring material benefits, such as reduced pollution, lower dependence on energy imports and the ability of more households to independently produce and consume renewable energy.

Read more: EU climate diplomacy can make the difference

USA - Trade Wars: In the Eyes of Trump, Trade Wars Make Sense

Why Trump's trade war makes sense — if you're Trump

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Britain - Brexit: FM Boris Johnson not happy with Theresa May's plan for a Brexit-Lite deal with the EU and resigns

Brexit: Boris Johnson 'criticized' Theresa May's plan for deal with EU and resigns.

Boris Johnson has quit as foreign secretary, claiming in his resignation letter that the UK was headed “for the status of a colony” if Theresa May’s soft Brexit plans were adopted.

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Italy: Trump Tariffs - Italy retaliates, as Italy says it won't buy any more F-35's from the US

Italy says it won't buy more F-35 fighter jets, and may even cut its current order

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World Soccer Cup: What France and Belgium’s World Cup success says about European immigration - by Afshin Molavi

While the World Cup has taken center stage of the sporting world this summer, the immigration debate has taken center stage in European politics. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government nearly collapsed over divisions among her coalition partners on immigration. In Britain, unease over large numbers of migrants helped fuel the vote to leave the European Union. And in France, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen put up a more formidable fight than her father during her 2017 loss to President Emmanuel Macron, capturing a third of the French electorate. She, too, famously lamented that “when I look at Les Bleus, I don’t recognize France or myself.”

Read more: What France and Belgium’s World Cup success says about European immigration - The Washington Post

China’s EU envoy urges tough line against Trump’s trade policy- by Ruth Berschens & Till Hoppe

The Chinese ambassador to the European Union favored a confrontational style against Donald Trump’s protectionist course to show the US president’s policies are wrong. “China will fight back firmly,” Zhang Ming said.

“A policy of compromise or appeasement would only be counterproductive,” Zhang Ming said. “We must have the determination to show the initiator of the trade war that this is a wrong thing and it cannot go ahead.”

Indeed, the Asian country fired back immediately on Friday, hitting US shipments of soybeans and cars imported into China after Donald Trump’s administration had slapped a 25 percent levy on $34 billion of Chinese goods entering the US.

China would do everything possible to prevent a trade war, the Chinese diplomat said. “But if the threat is actually turned into reality, and the trade war is imposed on us, China will fight back firmly as well.”

Read more: China’s EU envoy urges tough line against Trump’s trade policy

World Health Organization: U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials - by Andrew Jacobs

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembl

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious 
effects on young children.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

Note EU-Digest: These kind of actions, which include bullying and threats by the US Trump Administration, must not only be  condoned, but can not be accepted by the international community as a whole. 

Read more: U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials - The New York Times


EU: Trump may be doing the European Union and NATO a big favor - by Judy Dempsey

President Donald Trump is on a crusade to undermine the multilateral institutions that the United States and Europe built after 1945 – and there’s no question that he’s already eroding the trust between Washington and its European allies.

Yet the general outpourings of angst and indignation about the fate of the transatlantic community are obscuring an intriguing possibility: that the Trump phenomenon could actually prove to be good for the European Union and NATO. Both organizations have long acknowledged their own need for substantive reform – and then essentially waited for someone else to goad them into action. Despite his own destructive tendencies, Trump may well prove to be the catalyst they need.

Until Trump came onto the scene, neither organization had to think or act strategically. The transatlantic relationship was taken for granted, as was the international rulebook. But now Trump is pushing European elites out of their comfort zone, forcing them to think through their security, defense and foreign policies.

Read more: Trump may be doing the European Union and NATO a big favor - The Washington Post

Britain - Brexit: UK PM Theresa May secures Cabinet backing for 'Soft Brexit' plan

Prime Minister Theresa May has secured backing from her Cabinet to negotiate a soft Brexit with the European Union. It comes off the back of a make-or-break meeting May held on Friday at her country residence in Chequers in a bid to overcome divisions in her government.

"Today in detailed discussions the cabinet has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU," May said in a statement.

Key points from May's new Brexit plan
  • Create a UK-EU free trade area which establishes common rules for industrial goods and agricultural products.
  • Establish a pro-business customs model which would secure an open Irish border whilst allowing Britain to strike trade deals around the world.
  • Create a “joint institutional framework” for EU-UK agreements to be interpreted in court, but with “due regard paid to EU case law” where common rules apply.
Following the announcement, the European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said May's plans, which will be subject to negotiations with the EU, will be assessed "to see if they are workable and realistic".

Read more: UK PM Theresa May secures Cabinet backing for 'Soft Brexit' plan | Euronews

Social Media: Twitter is sweeping out fake accounts like never before - by Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin

Twitter has sharply escalated its battle against fake and suspicious accounts, suspending more than one million accounts a day in recent months, a major shift to lessen the flow of disinformation on the platform, according to data obtained by The Washington Post.

The rate of account suspensions, which Twitter confirmed to the Post, has more than doubled since October, when the company under congressional pressure revealed how Russia used fake accounts to manipulate the U.S. presidential election. Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, according to the data.

Read more: Twitter is sweeping out fake accounts like never before, putting user growth at risk


Middle East - Iran: The battle for Iran is underway in the US and Israel: Policy or regime change? - by James M. Dorsey

Israel-USA: Iran in the Crosshair
Iran, in the latest of a series of incidents on its western and south-eastern borders, said it had disbanded a Pakistan-based cell of ant-Shiite militants in a clash this week on the Iranian side of the border.

The clash, shrouded in mystery like similar past incidents in the ethnic Baloch province of Sistan and Baluchistan and Kurdish areas in the West, occurred amid mounting speculation that the Trump administration, backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel, is striving for regime change in Tehran.

Iran and Jaish-al-Adl (the Army of Justice), a splinter group that traces its roots to Saudi-backed anti-Shiite groups in Iran, issued contradictory statements about the incident. Iran said three militants and two of its Revolutionary Guards were killed in the incident. Jaish-al-Adl claimed it had killed 11 Guards while suffering no losses.

US and Israeli officials insist that their anti-Iranian moves aim to increase domestic pressure on Iran to change its policies at a time that the country is witnessing multiple protests related to economic policies and water shortages rather than at regime change

US and Israeli officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, have resorted to social media to support the protests.

At the same time, debate within the Trump administration pits proponents of regime change like national security advisor John Bolton, backed by Mr. Netanyahu, against those that believe that domestic pressure is pushing the Iranian regime to the brink and simply needs a degree of encouragement.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Pompeo supported Iranian protesters and charged that “Iran’s corrupt regime is wasting the country’s resources on Assad, Hezbollah, Hamas & Houthis, while Iranians struggle.”

Mr. Pompeo’s comments were echoed in one of several video clips by Mr. Netanyahu, celebrating the brilliance of Iranians and their achievements in technology. “So why is Iran so poor? Why is unemployment so rampant? The answer is in two words: the regime. Iran’s dictators plunder the country’s wealth… The Iranian people are the ones that suffer,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

The messages appeared to be the result of a joint US-Israeli working plan drafted late last year to counter Iran with covert as well as diplomatic actions.

A participant before joining the Trump administration, Mr. Bolton this year stayed away from an annual gathering in Paris of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a controversial Iranian opposition group that since being dropped from US, Canadian and European terrorism lists has garnered significant support in Western political, military and security circles.

There is widespread doubt that the Mujahedeen, that advocates the armed overthrow of the Iranian regime, commands popular support in Iran

That did not stop President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and former House of Representatives speaker and Trump ally, Newt Gingrich from attending alongside former US officials, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European politicians. The US State Department said the Americans were not representing the administration.

Read more: The battle for Iran: Policy or regime change?