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12/31/19

EU-US Trade Relations: EU seeks to reset US trade relationship

EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan told the Irish Times newspaper that he was seeking to reset trade relations with the United States during a planned visit in Washington in January. "I will be seeking a reset of the EU/US trade relationship on issues like tariffs on steel and aluminium and the threat of US tariffs in response to a digital tax in Europe, " he said.

Read more at: EU seeks to reset US trade relationship

USA: Will the American Global Order Survive Donald Trump? - by Michael Mandelbaum

Among the most pointed criticisms of the presidency of Donald J. Trump is the charge that he has done serious damage to the remarkably beneficial global political, military, and economic arrangements that emerged from World War II, and that preserving them depends on his departure from office. The charge is not accurate. While it is true that Mr. Trump is no friend to the world order he inherited with the office, he has done only modest damage to it, and the most severe threat to it is not his creation and so will outlive his term in office.

For seven decades after 1945, America’s alliances, its military deployments, and its support for cross-border trade and investment helped to bring peace and prosperity to much of the world. The relevant policies originated in the Oval Office. The President proposed them, persuaded the Congress and the public to support them, and took responsibility for putting them into practice. Every post-1945 President, beginning with Harry Truman, was committed to this American global role.

Then came Donald Trump. He presented himself as the exception to that pattern—skeptical of alliances, opposed to free trade, and dedicated to the proposition that the peace and prosperity that the world had enjoyed had cost the United States too much and that the policies undergirding them should, therefore, come to an end. His election in 2016 seemed to portend the demise of the world order the United States had done so much to establish and sustain.

Read more at: Will the American Global Order Survive Donald Trump? - The American Interest

Population Growth: US has slowest population growth rate in a century as births decline

Increasing deaths and the slowdown of migration also contributed to slowest growth rate since first world war.

Read more at:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/30/us-population-growth-census-2020?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Add_to_Firefox

12/30/19

EU: France creates anti-hate crime office amid wave of antisemitism - by Zoi Didili

In the wake of more than a 100 Jewish graves being desecrated with swastikas in eastern France, the country’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner, announced the creation of an office tackling hate crimes.

“The office will coordinate both police and judicial work to hold those responsible for antisemitic, Islamophobic, and anti-Christian hate crimes,” said Castaner, who added that France’s authorities will step up its efforts to fight antisemitism.

The hate crime incident in Westhoffen near the Franco-German border, occurred a few hours before France adopted a non-binding resolution modelled on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which equates anti-Israeli actions with hate crimes against Jews.

Read more: France creates anti-hate crime office amid wave of antisemitism | New Europe

USA: Hate Crimes Soar in Major US Cities - by Masood Farivar

Hate crime in America's five largest cities rose sharply in 2019, with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago all setting highs not seen since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from California State University.

The Jewish community was the most frequent target of hate crimes amid a resurgence in anti-Semitism, according to the report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. In the wake of at least five anti-Semitic attacks in New York during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that police will increase patrols in several neighborhoods with large Jewish communities. "Hate doesn't have a home in our city," de Blasio tweeted.

Among the nation's five largest cities:

* New York City will show an estimated 415 hate crimes for the year, up from 361 in 2018 and the highest level since 2001. Anti-Semitism incidents jumped more than 20%, to 213, accounting for more than half of all bias-motivated attacks.

* Los Angeles will show 309 hate crimes, up from 290 in 2018 and also the highest since the Sept. 11 attacks. Anti-Jewish incidents more than doubled, to 58, while attacks targeting blacks jumped more than 18%, to 58.

* Chicago will show an estimated 96 hate crime incidents, up from 77 in 2018, and a post-9/11 high for the nation's third-largest city. Anti-Jewish hate crimes rose more than 46% over the previous year to a total of 19 incidents.

* Phoenix will show a 25% increase in hate crimes over the previous year.

* Houston, however, will show a decline in hate crime incidents of 25 percent.

Collectively, hate crimes in the five biggest cities rose from 867 in 2018 to 988 in 2019, about a 14% increase, according to the report. For the nation's 10 largest cities, however, the overall increase was slightly more moderate, at about 10%.

Read more at: Hate Crimes Soar in Major US Cities | Voice of America - English

The Netherlands: FreshBooks Announces Plans to Open First International Office in Amsterdam

FreshBooks, the #2 small business accounting software in America, with paying customers in 160 countries, today announced it is opening its first international office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The new office strengthens FreshBooks’ presence within Europe, while ushering in the next phase of its global expansion.

Since 2004, FreshBooks has helped more than 20 million people and established itself as one of the world’s most popular accounting software platforms for small businesses and self-employed professionals. The company differentiates itself by building ridiculously easy-to-use accounting software and delivering best-in-class customer service.

Read more: FreshBooks Announces Plans to Open First International Office in Amsterdam

12/29/19

Social Media:‘Facebook is the new cigarettes for our society,’ Marc Benioff says, calling for regulation

Salesforce founder rips Facebook and again calls for the social-network giant — which has been wracked by scandals in recent years — to be regulated or split..

Read more at:
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-is-the-new-cigarettes-for-our-society-marc-benioff-says-calling-for-regulation-2019-12-29

USA - Middle East: Trump aides call U.S. strikes on Iraq and Syria 'successful,' warn of potential further action

U.S. officials said on Sunday that air strikes in Iraq and Syria against an Iran-backed militia group were successful, but warned that "additional actions" may still be taken in the region to defend U.S. interests.

Read more at :
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iraq-security-usa/trump-aides-call-u-s-strikes-on-iraq-and-syria-successful-warn-of-potential-further-action-idUKKBN1YX0GL

Middle East: EU divisions over Libya leave a gap for others

Libya is in turmoil and no political solution is in sight. The EU's inability to take concerted action in the country, meanwhile, is being exploited by third parties, such as Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to militarily support the Tripoli-based Libyan government — which is recognized by the UN — in its fight against militia commander Khalifa Haftar. And if Turkish parliament signs off on his proposal in the next few days, Erdogan might get his will.

Read more: EU divisions over Libya leave a gap for others | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 29.12.2019

12/28/19

Brexit -EU: Top EU official warns transition period for Brexit might have to be delayed

Von der Leyen says she has "serious concerns" about the limited time for negotiations between EU and UK after official leaving date and suggests Johnson reconsider his refusal to extend transition period.

Read more at:
https://www.euronews.com/2019/12/27/top-eu-official-warns-transition-period-for-brexit-might-have-to-be-delayed

Iraq: Protesters force shutdown of Nassiriya oilfield in southern Iraq

Italy: PM Giuseppe Conte warns of Russian and Turkish involvement in Libya

Conte also said his government will launch an ambitious programme to tackle tax evasion. amid a stagnant economy.

Read more at :
https://www.euronews.com/2019/12/28/italy-pm-giuseppe-conte-warns-of-russian-and-turkish-involvement-in-libya

USA - Gun Control: 2019 saw most mass killings on record, US database reveals

Thirty-three of 41 incidents involved firearms, research shows.

Read more at :
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/28/mass-killings-2019-us-database?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Add_to_Firefox

12/27/19

USA: Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Winter Vacation Pushes Taxpayer Golf Tab Above $118 million

President Donald Trump has pushed his taxpayer-funded golf tab past $118 million on his 26th visit to Mar-a-Lago, his for-profit resort in Palm Beach, Florida, with a Saturday visit to his course in neighboring West Palm Beach.

The new total is the equivalent of 296 years of the $400,000 presidential salary that his supporters often boast that he is not taking.

And of that $118.3 million, at least several million has gone into Trump’s own cash registers, as Secret Service agents, White House staff and other administration officials stay and eat at his hotels and golf courses.

Read more at: Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Winter Vacation Pushes Taxpayer Golf Tab Above $118 million | HuffPost

Britain: Inside Boris Johnson's £20,000-a-week Caribbean Christmas getaway

Pictures have emerged of the luxury Caribbean villa where Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds will see in the New Year. The pair will have a pick of three swimming pools, six bedrooms and stunning views in every direction at the £20,000-a-week hideaway. The Oceanus villa on the island of Mustique comes with a dedicated butler, housekeeper, chef and gardener. They arrived today after stopping off in St Lucia where he was congratulated on his election victory by the country’s prime minister, Alan Chastanet. But he is expected to leave all formal prime ministerial work at the door to spend time with Ms Symonds, 31.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/27/inside-boris-johnsons-20000-week-caribbean-christmas-getaway-11966178/?ito=cbshare
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
Pictures have emerged of the luxury Caribbean villa where Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds will see in the New Year. The pair will have a pick of three swimming pools, six bedrooms and stunning views in every direction at the £20,000-a-week hideaway. The Oceanus villa on the island of Mustique comes with a dedicated butler, housekeeper, chef and gardener. They arrived today after stopping off in St Lucia where he was congratulated on his election victory by the country’s prime minister, Alan Chastanet. But he is expected to leave all formal prime ministerial work at the door to spend time with Ms Symonds, 31.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/27/inside-boris-johnsons-20000-week-caribbean-christmas-getaway-11966178/?ito=cbshare
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson
Pictures have emerged of the luxury Caribbean villa where Boris Johnson (55) and his 31 year old girlfriend Carrie Symonds will see in the New Year.

The pair will have a pick of three swimming pools, six bedrooms and stunning views in every direction at the £20,000-a-week hideaway.

The Oceanus villa on the island of Mustique comes with a dedicated butler, housekeeper, chef and gardener.

They arrived today after stopping off in St Lucia where he was congratulated on his election victory by the country’s prime minister, Alan Chastanet. But he is expected to leave all formal prime ministerial work at the door to spend time with Ms Symonds,

Read more at: Inside Boris Johnson's £20,000-a-week Caribbean Christmas getaway | Metro News

Iran: Rouhani calls on Muslim states to end US dollar domination

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pointed to the potentials of Islamic countries in different economic fields, noting that measures should be adopted to put an end to the domination of the US dollar.

“The Islamic world should adopt measures to set itself free from the domination of America’s financial system and US dollar,” Rouhani told the Kuala Lumpur summit on Thursday in Malaysia.

He went on to say that Islamic countries complement each other and that signing banking cooperation and creating various financial mechanisms can lead to the mentioned aim.

Read more at: Rouhani calls on Muslim states to end US dollar domination - Mehr News Agency

A Protestant View of Globalization (Part I) - The Globalist

What prevents many Christians from developing a theological perspective on today's globalized world?

Read  more at :
https://www.theglobalist.com/a-protestant-view-of-globalization-part-i/

12/26/19

Israel's embattled Prime Minister Netanyahu wins landslide victory in Likud primary battle

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a landslide victory in a primary election for leadership of the ruling Likud party.

Official results announced early Friday showed Netanyahu capturing 72 per cent of the votes, compared with 28 per cent for challenger Gideon Saar.

Earlier, Netanyahu had declared a "huge victory" via Twitter, just over an hour after polls closed

The victory means Netanyahu will lead Likud during March elections, Israel's unprecedented third election in under a year.

Read more: Israel's embattled Prime Minister Netanyahu wins landslide victory in Likud primary battle | CBC News

Outer Space: Why alien 'megastructures' may hold key to making contact with extraterrestrials

For nearly 70 years the scheme favored by most scientists has been to look for signals — radio transmissions. That’s the classic approach of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), and frankly, it makes sense. Radio can easily traverse light-years, and the technology for detecting it is well known and highly sensitive.

But is looking for signals really the best plan? Is it possible that we’re making the wrong bet?

There’s an attractive alternative: searching for physical artifacts — alien structures. We’re not talking about crop circles or other odd phenomena here on Earth. We’re talking about massive engineering works that an advanced society has constructed somewhere in space.

Why search for artifacts? Because it eliminates the requirement that the aliens have chosen to get in touch — to transmit radio signals our way. Sure, maybe they’d want to do that, but then again maybe they’d rather lay low. If you’re not sure you’re the Milky Way’s top-dog society, you don’t want to bet the farm by assuming that the alpha aliens, wherever they might be, have good intentions. Silence could have survival value.

Read more: Why alien 'megastructures' may hold key to making contact with extraterrestrials | SETI Institute

NATO: European Security in Crisis: What to Expect if the United States Withdraws from NATO - by Liana Fix and Bastian Giegerich

t is February 2021. A few months after his re-election as president of the United States, Donald Trump declares that NATO has become obsolete and the United States withdraws from the alliance. All U.S. forces — military personnel and equipment — including nuclear and missile defense assets will be withdrawn from Europe as soon as possible.

This nightmare scenario has been on the mind of many security policy officials, and experts, ever since the New York Times reported in January 2019 that Trump discussed several times over the course of 2018 wanting to withdraw from the alliance. Congress has acted and passed the NATO Support Act, which prohibits the use of funds to withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Yet the possibility of such a move cannot entirely be excluded.

A policy game prepared by Körber-Stiftung and the International Institute for Strategic Studies sought to answer these questions this summer in Berlin. Five country teams with experts from France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States addressed a fictional scenario that involved a U.S. withdrawal from NATO, followed by crises in a NATO member state in the western Balkans and across Eastern Europe. How would Europeans react to such a scenario? What are the red lines, interests, and priorities of the respective actors? How might Europeans organize their defense if the United States withdraws from NATO, and what role could the United States play in European security after the withdrawal?

European Security in Crisis: What to Expect if the United States Withdraws from NATO - War on the Rocks

12/25/19

Britain-Brexit: Boris’s revenge: The coming assault on Britain’s democracy

How resilient the human spirit is! Within hours of Boris Johnson’s shock election triumph on Thursday night, the crushed ‘metropolitan elite’ had begun to console itself with an optimistic forecast. Boris, the idea circulated, is really a closet centrist, and the scale of his victory means that he can now turn his back on the radical right who put him into power, and govern as the One Nation Conservative he claims to be. Did he not, after all, re-enter Downing Street on Friday morning with the words “healing” and “unite” on his lips?

Alas, we have been there before – as Donald Trump approached the White House. Remember all those confident predictions that Trump was more interested in the trappings of power than its exercise? “More Berlusconi than Mussolini”, we were assured. He would be “managed” by the “adults in the room”. That worked out well, didn’t it?

Johnson, of course, is a very different figure from Trump. But they have certain crucial characteristics in common, most obviously: mendacity, ruthlessness, and, it is becoming increasingly apparent, vindictiveness. Both men can be genial when things are going their way – but neither responds well to opposition, and each has a well-developed instinct for scapegoating when things go wrong.

And things will certainly go wrong for Boris. The great “Get Brexit Done” lie may have helped him back to Downing Street, but it left untouched the insoluble conundrum at the heart of Brexit – the fact that we can maintain the close economic relationship with the European Union on which Britain’s prosperity depends; or we can go for the sort of low-cost, low-regulation “Singapore-on-Thames” that Johnson’s financiers (oligarchs, hedge funds, expatriate media barons) demand; but we cannot have both. Looking ahead to negotiations on the “comprehensive free trade agreement” with the EU that Boris has sworn to deliver by next year’s end, it is hard to see any outcome other than breakdown or capitulation. It will be tough to spin either as a success.

Read more at: Boris’s revenge: The coming assault on Britain’s democracy | European Council on Foreign Relations

China-EU relations: What kind of Europe does China want to deal with: friend, business partner or strategic rival?

China is slowly losing Europe. This is happening even though transatlantic relations are at a low point and right when the European Union is finally aiming to become a global geopolitical player.

Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, has made it clear over the past months that she wants to lead a “geopolitical commission” and one of its priorities will be to “define our relations with a more self-assertive China”.

This means that the next few years will be decisive for China. Over the past three years, even in the context of EU-US disagreements and tensions,

China’s ties to Europe have frayed, with the EU branding it ” and “a systemic rival”, while numerous voices on the European continent are calling for a more confrontational attitude against what they perceive as a rising illiberal adversary.

Read more at: What kind of Europe does China want to deal with: friend, business partner or strategic rival? | South China Morning Post

EU-DIGEST: EU - reality check: - Who Still Needs the EU?

Shopping in Europe - Sales offers: Best destinations for sales in Europe

You like traveling in Europe and you want to do shopping at the best prices? We have selected for you the best shopping destinations for your sales in Europe. Here are some good ideas for a shopping city trip in Europe.
 
Take a look and discover the fashion sales in Milan, London, Paris and the trendy sales in Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels, If you really want the best prices in wonderful cities, go to Lisbon or Istanbul, the best destinations for cheap and smart shopping and book your hotel at the best price guaranteed in one of the best destinations for sales in Europe.

London, Milan, Madrid best three shopping locations. 

Read more at: Best destinations for sales in Europe - Europe's Best Destinations

Aviation Industry: New Boeing 737 Max documents show 'very disturbing' employee concerns: U.S. House aide


Boeing Co. documents now under review by a U.S. government committee appear to point to a "very disturbing" picture of commentary from the planemaker's employees over the grounded 737 Max aircraft, a House of Representatives transportation infrastructure committee aide said on Tuesday.

The documents, submitted to the committee late on Monday, discussed concerns over Boeing's commitment to safety, along with efforts by some employees to ensure the company's production plans were not diverted by regulators or others, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

Read more at: New Boeing 737 Max documents show 'very disturbing' employee concerns: U.S. House aide | CBC News

EU - reality check: - Who Still Needs the EU?

The EU elicits a range of reactions. What's behind the preconceptions and skepticism? DW reporters go looking for answers in Germany, Poland, Italy and Brussels

Read more at.
https://www.dw.com/en/who-still-needs-the-eu/av-48723885

12/24/19

EU-British Relations after Brexit: Toward a Privileged EU-UK Partnership - by Joschka Fischer

After a great deal of pain and confusion, the Brexit decision is now effectively behind us. Looking ahead, both sides will have to find ways to cooperate more closely, particularly when it comes to shaping a joint security and foreign policy. China and Russia’s geopolitical positions have not changed because of Brexit, nor has the threat of terrorism diminished. The collective challenges posed by migration, climate change, and many other issues will remain, and it will be up to both the EU and the UK to manage them effectively.

12/23/19

EU: 2019 ends as it began, in political turmoil

Saudi Arabia - Khashoggi murder: Turkey passed up Canada's offer of help with Khashoggi investigation, documents show

Canada offered to help Turkey investigate the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but the Turks never took up the proposal.

Documents from Global Affairs Canada obtained by CBC News under Access to Information law show that in October 2018, then-foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland told her Turkish counterpart Canada would be happy to send investigators to help probe the death of the prominent Saudi journalist and dissident.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and well-known critic of the government of Saudi Arabia, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early in October 2018 when he tried to pick up a marriage document for him and his Turkish fiancé.

Investigations have pinned responsibility for his death on Saudi Arabia. His dismembered remains have never been found.

Read more at: Turkey passed up Canada's offer of help with Khashoggi investigation, documents show | CBC News

USA: President Trump's Turning Point USA Speech Features Slurred Speech, Windmill Rant

You will be shocked to learn that the Center for Public Integrity obtained emails this weekend that show a Trump administration official put in place a hold on nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine just 90 minutes after the president's infamous July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky. The senior budget official in question, Michael Duffey, even asked the folks he was emailing at the Pentagon to keep the whole thing on the low. This is the quid pro quo, which they already admitted to, but here it is again in the contemporaneous emails. As a reminder, even Jonathan Turley—the witness Trump's Republican allies called before the House to naysay the impeachment proceedings—admitted a proven quid pro quo would be impeachable.

Everyone knows what happened and why. And yet we're still subjected to Republican senators saying Donald Trump was gravely concerned about generalized corruption in Ukraine. Right, just like his anti-corruption initiatives at his hotels, where he rakes in money from corporate and foreign interests—some of whom don't even stay in the rooms they pay for!—while his government makes policy that may affect those interests. The audacity of these people. Meanwhile, they refuse to allow any direct parties to the scheme—including, say, Duffey—to testify in the Senate trial. Surely, since these folks are all telling the truth about how innocent the whole thing was, they would offer the same story under oath (and penalty of perjury)?

Read more at: President Trump's Turning Point USA Speech Features Slurred Speech, Windmill Rant

USA - Labor Force: life expectancy continues downward spiral, study shows - by Jorge L. Ortiz

The engine that powers the world’s most potent economy is dying at a worrisome pace, a “distinctly American phenomenon’’ with no easily discernible cause or simple solution.

Those are some of the conclusions from a comprehensive new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University showing that mortality rates for U.S. adults ages 25-64 continue to increase, driving down the general population’s life expectancy for at least three consecutive years.

The report, “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017,’’ was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study paints a bleak picture of a workforce plagued by drug overdoses, suicides and organ-system diseases while grappling with economic stresses.

“This looks like an excellent paper – just what we needed to help unravel the overall decline in life expectancy in the U.S.,’’ said Eileen Crimmins, an associate dean at the University of Southern California who’s an expert on the link between health and socioeconomic factors.

Read more at: US life expectancy continues downward spiral, study shows

Christmas: Canada Is Officially The Christmas Capital Of The World

Christmas is a magical time all around the world, but we're proud to announce that Canada has taken the top spot and been officially named the #1 most Christmassy country in the whole world.

According to the rankings, there were several reasons why Canada took the top spot. There is an impressive amount of people here who listen to Christmas music relative to other countries, which also makes sense given that staple Canadian singers Justin Bieber and Michael Bublé have both released Christmas albums. 

Read more at: Canada Is Officially The Christmas Capital Of The World - Narcity

European Weather - Global Warming: Storms Elsa and Fabian leave nine dead across southern Europe

The death toll from fierce back-to-back storms pummeling Spain, Portugal and France has risen to nine as the region reels from more powerful winds and flooding.

The death of a fisherman in Catalonia, who was swept away by strong waves in the Mediterranean, brought the number killed up to nine since Storm Elsa whipped across from Wednesday to Friday. Seven of the deaths have been in Spain and two in Portugal.

Read more at: Storms Elsa and Fabian leave nine dead across southern Europe | News | DW | 22.12.2019

12/22/19

France: Colonialism was a 'grave mistake', Macron says during Ivory Coast visit

USA - Trump impeachment: Ukraine aid blocked soon after Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, emails show

Trump acted about 90 minutes after phone call behind the scenes to freeze aid from the Pentagon

Read more at:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/22/trump-ukraine-emails-aid-held-soon-after-phone-call?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Add_to_Firefox

EU Foreign Policy: Has Europe's foreign policy lost relevance? - by Koert Debeuf

Last weekend (14-15 December) the Doha Forum took place in, well, Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Gulf is in the middle of international politics for many reason

Since 2015 a devastating war has been going on in Yemen, where udi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting the Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran. 

Has Europe's foreign policy lost relevance?

12/21/19

Nord Stream: Germany, EU decry US Nord Stream sanctions

Berlin and Brussels have criticized White House sanctions against companies involved in building a Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany. They accused President Trump of interfering in national and bloc sovereignty.

Note EU- Digest: who made the US the master of all living things ?

Read more at:
https://www.dw.com/en/germany-eu-decry-us-nord-stream-sanctions/a-51759319

France: 'Not climate-friendly? We won't work for your company' French students say in manifesto - by Koert Debeuf

I meet them in a coffee bar in Brussels. Five students from the so-called 'grandes écoles', the French elite institutions for higher education.

They have started a remarkable initiative to push companies to become more climate-friendly.

In September 2018 they wrote a manifesto for climate awakening in which they commit to use their power as future employees to change the companies that will want to hire them.

"We have two goals," Inès Malot, a student engineering at Mines ParisTech, says. "Changing the way our economy works and changing the courses at our schools."

"It is unacceptable to see how ecology and climate change are not part of our curriculum. This needs to change if we want to be prepared for the future," she continues.

More revolutionary, however, is how these students want to use their power as much wanted employees.

"We know that the big and small French companies need us", Benoît Galand, another student engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique explains.

"We ask them to answer our questions about their ecological footprint. If their answers are not convincing, I am not going to work for them."

Read more at: 'Not climate-friendly? We won't work for your company'

USA - Economy: US deficit soars to $342B in two months - by Jonathan Garber

The U.S. government deficit spiked 12 percent to $342 billion during the first two months of fiscal year 2020, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO says the U.S. budget deficit will average $1.2 trillion a year from 2020 to 2029, amounting to 4.4 percent to 4.8 percent of gross domestic product.

During October and November, revenue rose 3 percent from a year ago to $471 billion. Receipts from individual and payroll taxes climbed 4 percent, or $17 billion, while receipts from corporate income taxes were up 14 percent, or $1 billion. Receipts from other sources, such as excise taxes and customs duties, fell 11 percent, or $5 billion.

Meanwhile, expenditures rose 6 percent to $813 billion during the first two months of the fiscal year, which runs from October through September. Spending on mandatory programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, was up $22 billion, or 7 percent. Outlays for military programs of the Department of Defense climbed 7 percent, or $8 billion, while Department of Education spending climbed $3 billion, or 25 percent.

The US federal deficit was $587 billion when President Trump took office in January 2017, and had ballooned to $984 billion in 2019.

Read more at: US deficit soars to $342B in two months | Fox Business

USA: There Will Be No Going Back: Wall Street's Confounding Optimism Over An Elusive Trade Deal With China - by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa

A sharp disconnect is emerging between America’s economic reality and Wall Street’s curiously blind optimism about the future, reflected in another record-setting streak for US stock prices despite a weakening economic outlook.

US President Donald Trump’s multi-front trade war has raised recession fears and contributed to a renewed contraction in US manufacturing activity, forcing the Federal Reserve to react by reversing course on interest rates and cutting them again three times this year. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is now forecasting an alarmingly weak 0.4 percent annualized rate of growth in the fourth quarter.

Yet stocks are happy to keep on trucking to new heights on even the tiniest rumor suggesting some progress on the trade conflict between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.
Long-term investors should be reticent, however.

For one thing, Trump has shown a distinct inability to stick to even any modest deals he does manage to strike. After pulling out of the long-standing North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada and following a painstaking renegotiation, 

Trump nearly torpedoed the entire process with a surprise threat, later recanted to introduce tariffs on Mexico based on immigration quotas.

Perhaps, and more importantly for those concerned about the long-term stability of the global economy, Trump’s erratic and roughshod behavior has likely damaged the world’s trading system irreparably.

That is not to say existing trade deals were perfect. Far from it. Most failed to address crucial issues around workers’ rights, the environment and even the democratic autonomy of nation-states. Hopefully, the next US president can and will begin to take on some of those concerns in earnest.

However, wrecking the system without any plans for what comes next as Trump is doing is even more destructive.

Read more at: There Will Be No Going Back: Wall Street's Confounding Optimism Over An Elusive Trade Deal With China - Emerging Market Views

12/20/19

USA: Major Christian publication Says Trump Should Be Removed from Office

"It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was".

Note EU-Digest: The well known US Christian Magazine "Christianity Today", finally spoke out on behalf of many Pastors and millions of Christian's around the world, including the US, who don't support Donald Trump, and said he should resign.

Read the complete report at:
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html

German military: Germany to reintroduce rabbis into army

Rabbis haven't had a place in the German military since Hitler expelled Jewish soldiers. Decades after the Holocaust, Germany has restored the tradition.

Read more at:
https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-reintroduce-rabbis-into-army/a-51753983

The Americas - Cuban and Suriname relations: Cuba and Suriname reaffirm cooperation ties (+ Photo)

Cuba and Suriname reaffirmed today the common interest of deepening cooperation ties, in the context of the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

Read more at:
https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=50146&SEO=cuba-and-suriname-reaffirm-cooperation-ties

USA: Donald Trump becomes the first impeached president to run for re-election - Stirring the passions

Poland: Why Poland couldn't sign up to Green New Deal - by Piotr Arak

In her stirring speech to the European Parliament last week the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the European Green Deal. She confirmed the earlier announcements about substantial upscaling of the EU climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
 
In a later press conference, she justified it as the "man-on-the-moon moment".

She underlined that we don't know yet all the answers on how to do it.

This month EU leaders have reached an agreement on achieving climate-neutrality by 2050 but with Poland opting-out of the target. For one member state, it is necessary to take more time to implement this objective.

What does this mean for Poland and the EU?
 
Read more at: Why Poland couldn't sign up to Green New Deal

12/18/19

Donald Trump impeached for abuse of power, obstruction

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, marking just the third time in history it has voted to recommend removing a sitting president.

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/trump-impeachment-house-wednesday-1.5400411

EU-US Relations: Trump Administration simply can not be trusted by its Allies anymore

Last December, Trump abruptly announced that he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, prompting Defense Secretary James N. Mattis to resign in protest. “You’re going to have to get the next secretary of Defense to lose to ISIS,” he told Trump.

This summer, the president blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, a U.S. ally fighting a Russian-backed insurgency. House Democrats are examining whether he withheld the arms to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a potential 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

In Europe, Trump has repeatedly questioned why the United States is still in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the 29-nation defense alliance that has protected the continent for 70 years — and which rushed to America’s aid in Afghanistan after 9/11.

Trump even questioned the U.S. military alliance with Japan, complaining that Japan exports cars to the United States but isn’t required to defend our shores.

“Our allies take advantage of us far greater than our enemies,” he said en route to a recent summit — with our allies.
 
In reference to the above, it must also be noted that the US has been one of the strongest advocates in promoting the admission of former Eastern European Bloc countries for membership in the EU.

Unfortunately many of these Eastern European countries admitted as members into the EU, including Poland and Hungary, have shown a complete disrespect for the impartiality of their Judicial system, freedom of the Press,, and other democratic institutions, to which they, as members of the EU must subscribe to. Many of these Eastern bloc countries have also become strongholds for nationalist and populist movements.

Yes indeed, it is high time the EU Commission starts putting  "their money where their mouth is" and stop "pussy footing" around with the US and start developing its own independent course,. in conjunction, and in unity with all the member states re: foreign policy, military development and international policy.

The lesson we should learn from all this probably is from what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last year: "Europe can no longer rely on the United States as a partner".

EU-Digest 

Scotland to request new independence referendum

 Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Tuesday told the parliament in Edinburgh that she will submit a request to hold another independence referendum in 2020, Bloomberg writes. "This is a watershed moment for Scotland," Sturgeon told lawmakers, adding that this week she will take "the next steps to secure Scotland's right to choose". During the last referendum in 2014, 55 percent of Scots chose to remain in the UK.

Read more at: Scotland to request new independence referendum

USA - the Trump impeachment: Nobody is above the law’: Americans take to streets in support of Trump impeachment

Hours before Congress began to convene for Wednesday’s vote to make Donald Trump only the third US president in history to be impeached, thousands of Americans from across the country gathered to make their views plain under the banner: “Nobody is above the law”.

From snowy Portland in Maine to an even chillier Anchorage in Alaska, 4,500 miles away, protesters turned out on the eve of the impeachment vote to lend their voices to the effort to hold Trump accountable for the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress of which he is accused. Organisers of the nationwide demonstrations, drawn from a coalition of groups including Indivisible, MoveOn and Greenpeace, recorded 617 events nationwide.

The protests ranged from tiny to thousands strong. In Concord, Massachusetts, a small crowd gathered at the historically poignant spot of the Battle of Lexington and Concord that sparked the revolutionary war.

They waved placards that quoted one of the founding fathers, John Adams, who said: “Facts Are Stubborn Things”. That paean to truth was poignant too. At the very moment the Concord protesters were braving the sleet, Trump was delivering a six-page letter full of insults and ranting to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, denouncing the impeachment process.

Note EU-Digest: Trump is a man for whom everything is transactional, and who is engaged in a constant struggle for short-term advantage. Blustering, bullying, threatening and arm-twisting are his tools. He doesn’t feel bound by the rules and niceties that have guided most of his predecessors, or by the constitutional and institutional limits that have constrained them. Norms, shared values, civil institutions and even the rule of law take a back seat, in his playbook, to the ceaseless struggle for the upper hand. He doesn’t seem to make much distinction between what’s good for America and what’s good for him personally. His disdain for the truth and his attraction to conspiracy theories are well known. Republicans will pay a heavy price for following him.

Read more at: ‘Nobody is above the law’: Americans take to streets in support of Trump impeachment | US news | The Guardian

12/17/19

EU, Global warming, submerged, The Netherlands, under water

The low-lying country has centuries of experience managing water. Now climate change is threatening to flood it completely.

Global warming: do something about it, demonstrate in the street and in your workplace. Make your Government understand you are not accepting their "business as usual" reactions anymore.

Read more at:
https://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/3042428/when-will-netherlands-disappear

EU: Poland may have to leave EU, Supreme Court warns

Polish government has already been referred to the European Court of Justice over rules for judges.

Read more at:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50828516

USA - A letter from an Ego-Manic gone out of control President - 'Crusade,' 'spiteful,' 'unfettered contempt': Trump lambastes Pelosi over impeachment in blistering letter

US Meddling agsin in EU Government Affairs: US Senate approves Nord Stream 2 Russia-Germany pipeline sanctions

 A US political action against an Independent EU State which has feathers ruffled in the EU.

Read full report at:
US Senate approves Nord Stream 2 Russia-Germany pipeline sanctions | News | DW | 17.12.2019

Hungarian - US Relations: Orban and Trump, a toxic nationalistic liason and a major danger to the stability of the European Union

In May this year Donald Trump bestowed the greatest possible compliment on Viktor Orbán — comparing the Hungarian leader to himself.

Orbán is “probably like me," Trump said in a joint appearance at the White House with the visiting Hungarian prime minister.

"A little bit controversial, but that’s OK ... you’ve done a good job, and you’ve kept your country safe," he said, while declaring that Orbán — one of the EU's most controversial leaders — "has done a tremendous job" and is “respected all over Europe.”

No Hungarian prime minister has visited the White House since 2005, and Orbán has not set foot in the Oval Office for over two decades. The Hungarian leader was the only EU head of government to endorse Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election, but for more than two years he failed to get an invitation to the White House, leading to a Hungarian government lobbying effort to try to secure a coveted meeting.

Wearing an orange tie — the color of his ruling Fidesz party — Orbán joked about his long absence from the White House, saying that being in the building made him feel young.

The Hungarian prime minister said he wanted to use the meeting with Trump to "strengthen our strategical alliance" and said he was proud to stand with the U.S. on fighting illegal immigration and terrorism, as well as helping Christian communities.

U.S. officials have long worried about Orbán's moves to undermine independent institutions at home, while the Hungarian leader's increasingly friendly relations with Moscow and Beijing have raised concerns across the American political spectrum. The role of Chinese and Russian state-owned companies in Hungary was set to be among the topics discussed duringWhite House talks.

But sitting next to Orbán ahead of their private meeting, Trump called Hungary “a very good member of NATO."

Asked about concerns of democratic backsliding in Hungary, Trump told reporters that Orbán is a “tough man but he is a respected man” who has “done the right thing according to many people on immigration. And you look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are tremendous because they have done it a different way than the prime minister.”

All by all this friendship between Orban and and Trump is very toxic to the well-being of the EU.

Let us also not forget that the Central European University in Hungary, founded and funded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros after the collapse of the Soviet Union to spread principles of democracy and free society, was forced from its campus in Budapest by the far-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The move came after a two-year struggle with the Orban government, which has blocked political and intellectual dissent and increased control over much of Hungarian life.

The university, which has 1,435 students from 118 countries, teaches in English and has a reputation as one of the top schools in the region. It will move its U.S.-accredited degree programs to Vienna where it started enrolling students last fall fall.

In an incredulous-sounding statement, CEU president Michael Ignatieff said, “This is unprecedented. A U.S. institution has been driven out of a country that is a NATO ally. A European institution has been ousted from a member state of the EU.”

The statement went on to say, “Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom. It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary.” Indeed, it appears to be the first time a major university has been forced to leave an EU country.

Bottom-line, the EU Commission must stop sitting on its hands and start dealing in a far more serious way with Mr. Orban. There is absolutely no need to encourage Nationalist Populists like Mr Orban to further endanger the integrity and democratic principles the EU is based on.

EU-Digest

12/16/19

Global warming - Opinion: COP25 fails to keep pace with the people


http://prod-upp-image-read.ft.com/b48d5fc6-e9e5-11e9-aefb-a946d2463e4bPublic concern over climate change has escalated since the Paris Agreement in 2015. But Ruby Russell says that COP25 only narrowly avoided a repeat of Copenhagen's collapsed talks a decade ago.

Note EU-Digest: Global warming  has now become a direct fight between "We the People" and Corporate interests, supported by the political establishment, which has done very little to curb the alarming  disrespect of our environment by the leadership of the Industrial Complex.  This disastrous turn of events, if not stopped by strong People Power resistance in the streets and in the workplace, will certainly cause the destruction of our planet.

Read more at::
https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-cop25-fails-to-keep-pace-with-the-people/a-51693888

Britain- USA relations; Boris Johnson talks with Donald Trump, welcomes new MPs

Britain's new political landscape begins to take shape, as triumphant Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks trade with President Donald Trump and readies a pep talk for his new Conservative Party MPs.

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/boris-trump-mps-pep-talk-1.5397431

Congo: Top tech firms sued over DR Congo cobalt mining deaths

A lawsuit accuses Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and others of using cobalt mined by child labour.

Read more at:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50812616

China-US trade agreement? You call this a trade deal? not Really......

12/15/19

Turkey′s Erdogan threatens to close strategic bases to US military

Turkey is upping the ante with threats to retaliate against the US if it imposes sanctions on Ankara for its purchase of a Russian missile system.
 
Read more at:
https://www.dw.com/en/turkeys-erdogan-threatens-to-close-strategic-bases-to-us-military/a-51686229

Canada-US Relations: Canadians travelling to or through U.S. should pay close atten to their withering rights

Travellers on their way from Canada into the United States should be aware that changes to the Canada-United States Preclearance Agreement, ostensibly enacted to increase the efficiency of travel and trade across the boundary, give U.S. officials dangerously extended power on Canadian soil.

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-border-crossing-rights-1.5382547

12/14/19

The Environment: EU Beats U.S., Adopts Its Own Green New Deal

The European Union today launched a package of 50 policy measures including decarbonizing by 2050 and instituting a carbon border tax. But Eastern European countries are fiercely resisting.

Read more at:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2019/12/11/eu-beats-us-adopts-its-own-green-new-deal/

Britain: Boris Johnson's big win may 'get Brexit done' but damaging fights loom

Boris Johnson's victory has dramatically redrawn the U.K.'s electoral map and earned the Conservatives the majority needed to leave the EU. But seat gains by Scottish and Irish nationalists leave the party open to drawn-out fights on a new front.

Read more are  :
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/boris-johnson-win-brexit-uk-ireland-scotland-1.5395001

EU sides with Americans in Europe in fight against US tax schemes

For years the Accidental Americans Association (AAA) has battled to be exempt from a tax scheme imposed by the US requiring that all Americans file annual tax returns to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - even when the person has not lived on US soil since they were a child.

In a letter addressed to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the EU Council - the union's main decision body - asked the US government to dilute costs for European residents who wish to renounce their American citizenship to avoid filing tax returns to the United States.

EU-Digest

Populism on the rise: Beyond Boris: Donald Trump(ism) Wins in British Election

What are the hard lessons for Europe and wider geopolitics from Boris Johnson’s victory in the 2019 British general election?

Read more at:
https://www.theglobalist.com/uk-election-2019-boris-johnson-conservatives-brexit-populism/

12/13/19

EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK - by Eszter Zalan

EU leaders have expressed hope on Friday (13 December) that British prime minister Boris Johnson's decisive electoral victory will bring clarity on the UK side on Brexit, and negotiations can start quickly on the future relations.

EU leaders sounded relieved that Johnson's success might speed up the Brexit process that has been in deadlock for months, as they reconvened on Friday for their summit in Brussels.

A divided British parliament has been unable to ratify the withdrawal negotiated with the EU, some three and a half years after the initial referendum 'Leave' result in 2016.

"It is a good result for the UK to have a stable a majority," Luxembourgish prime minister Xavier Bettel told reporters.

"No excuses, he [Johnson] needs to deliver now," Bettel warned.

Read more: EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK

China, US agree on text of phase one trade deal

Contrary to President Trump's bullish, self congratulating statements on a new China US Trade Deal, the official China News Agency posted a more sober worded report noting "China and the United States have agreed on the text of a phase one economic and trade agreement based on the principle of equality and mutual respect".

The text includes nine chapters: the preface, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, food and agricultural products, financial services, exchange rate and transparency, trade expansion, bilateral assessment and dispute settlement, and the final terms, according to a statement issued by the Chinese side Friday night.

Both sides have reached consensus that the U.S. side will fulfill its commitments to phase out its additional tariffs on Chinese products, so as to achieve a switch from hiking to cutting additional tariffs.

"The Chinese side believes that China and the United States, the world's two largest economies, must deal with bilateral economic and trade relations with the big picture in mind. Reaching the agreement will serve the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries and the world, and is expected to bring positive influences on areas including economy, trade, investment and the financial market.

The agreement is generally in line with the main direction of China's deepening reform and opening up as well as the internal needs for advancing the high-quality economic development".

Read more at: China, US agree on text of phase one trade deal - Chinadaily.com.cn

USA: China-US (fake) Trump announced trade deal: How the twists and turns of the trade war are hurting growth - Foggy outlook

AFTER WELCOMING the St Louis Blues, a championship-winning ice-hockey team, to the White House on October 15th, President Donald Trump fondly recalled a recent triumph of his own: last week’s tentative trade deal with China. Simply put, America will impose no further punitive tariffs on Chinese imports if China promises to buy American farm goods worth billions of dollars. How many billions? “It’s very big numbers,” Mr Trump emphasised. “I said, ‘Ask for 70.’…My people said, ‘All right, make it 20.’ I said, ‘No, make it 50.’”

Will this carefully calibrated amount ever materialise? China does not want to pay over the odds or deprive other, friendlier suppliers of its custom. It also wants America to go beyond promising no new tariffs and to start removing existing ones. The deal may unravel before it is written down, let alone signed by the two countries’ leaders next month at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Santiago.

Read more at: How the twists and turns of the trade war are hurting growth - Foggy outlook

Britain: After Boris Johnson Comservative win, Scotland wants to remain in EU and demands fresh independence vote

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Prime Minister Boris Johnson has no mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union and demanded a fresh independence vote on its place in the United Kingdom.

With all of the Scottish results now counted, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48 of the country’s 59 available seats — 13 more than the pro-independence party won in 2017.

The Conservative Party while winning a majority across the whole of the United Kingdom, actually lost seven seats in Scotland and now only has six MPs (Member of Parliament) in the country.

EU-Digest

USA: Panel Approves Impeachment Articles and Sends Charges for a House Vote - by Nicholas Fandos

A fiercely divided House Judiciary Committee pushed President Trump to the brink of impeachment on Friday, voting along party lines to approve charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress.

After a fractious two-day debate steeped in the Constitution and shaped by the realities of a hyperpartisan era in American politics, the Democratic-controlled committee recommended that the House ratify two articles of impeachment against the 45th president. In back-to-back morning votes, they adopted each charge against Mr. Trump by a margin of 23 to 17 over howls of Republican protest.

Read more at: Panel Approves Impeachment Articles and Sends Charges for a House Vote - The New York Times

12/12/19

USA - the impeachment process: House Republicans' Trump impeachment strategy is simple: Distract, deceive and yell - by Kurt Bardella

House Republicans' Trump impeachment strategy is simple: Distract, deceive and yell

Read more at:
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/house-republicans-trump-impeachment-strategy-was-simple-distract-deceive-yell-ncna1100081

Aircraft Industry: Boeing 737 Max won't return to service before 2020

Boeing on Thursday abandoned its goal of winning approval this month to unground the 737 Max after chief executive Dennis Muilenburg met with senior U.S. aviation officials.

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/boeing-wont-return-737-max-before-2020-1.5394335

Britain: Election results 2019: Tories on course to win majority - exit poll

First results are coming in, with the Tories gaining a seat from Labour, as the exit poll suggests Boris Johnson's party is on course for an 86-seat majority.

Read more at:
https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50765773

WTO: EU to give themselves new powers after WTO deadlock

Brussels might soon be able to bypass the US-crippled WTO to impose punitive tariffs on trade partners. The EU cannot afford to be "defenseless", said the bloc's trade commissioner Phil Hogan.

Read more at: 
https://www.dw.com/en/eu-to-give-themselves-new-powers-after-wto-deadlock/a-51646530

USA: 'Currently chilling': Greta Thunberg ridicules Trump's angry tweets

Trump posted insults about Thunberg weeks after his family was outraged over mention of teen son Barron at congressional hearing

Read more at:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/12/trump-angry-tweets-greta-thunberg-prompt-humorous-response-teen-activist?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Add_to_Firefox

12/11/19

The Netherlands: Chint switches on the Netherlands’ self-styled largest solar project - by José Rojo Martín

The Netherlands has recently marked the operational launch of one of the largest solar farms seen to date, a plant delivered in the country’s northeast by Chinese partners.

Chint Solar has now powered up the 103MWp Midden-Groningen Solar Park, built within eight months this year to the east of the city of Groningen.

The 315,000-panel installation was equipped by PV module maker – and Chint’s sister firm – Astronergy and is now supplying the Dutch grid from its 117-hectare site near the village of Sappemeer.

Construction got underway in February 2019 and was completed by the October 2019 deadline thanks to favourable weather conditions this summer, Chint explained.

Read more at: Chint switches on the Netherlands’ self-styled largest solar project | PV Tech

Great Power Politics: American, China, Russia, and the Return of Great-Power Politics

U.S. foreign policy is, by most accounts, in disarray. Headlines—including in these pages—proclaim the death of global American leadership. Famous columnists send regular dispatches from the frontlines of U.S. President Donald Trump’s supposed campaign against the postwar liberal order. The damage to Washington’s standing in the world, we are told, is irreparable.

But step back from the day-to-day commotion, and a different picture emerges. In truth, the United States is gearing up for a new era—one marked not by unchallenged U.S. dominance but by a rising China and a vindictive Russia seeking to undermine U.S. leadership and refashion global politics in their favor. This shift in Washington’s focus has been some time coming. Elements of it emerged, mostly in a reactive form, under President Barack Obama. The Trump administration has gone one important step further, recognizing that great-power competition warrants rebuilding U.S. foreign policy from the ground up, and it has based its formal strategy documents on that recognition. When future historians look back at the actions of the United States in the early twenty-first century, by far the most consequential story will be the way Washington refocused its attention on great-power competition. Beneath today’s often ephemeral headlines, it is this shift, and the reordering of U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic behavior that it entails, that will stand out—and likely drive U.S. foreign policy under presidents from either party for a long time to come.

Read more at: American, China, Russia, and the Return of Great-Power Politics

British Elections: Corbyn and Johnson deliver final messages as election polls narrow-by Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason

Jeremy Corbyn urged Britain to “shock the establishment” and “vote for hope”, while Boris Johnson pleaded with voters to back him and settle the issue of Brexit before Christmas, at the conclusion of a bruising election campaign.

Both leaders stressed that the result could be very close as they toured marginal seats across the country with just 24 hours to go before the ballot boxes open on Thursday.

In his message to voters on the eve of Thursday’s general election vote, Corbyn claimed the country stands at a “fork in the road,” with a “truly historic” choice between parties that have widely different values and policies.

Read more at: Corbyn and Johnson deliver final messages as election polls narrow | Politics | The Guardian

EU: Survey marks EU optimism on eve of UK's Brexit election - by Andrew Rettman

Most Europeans believe their country ought to stay in the EU, as British people prepare to vote in a Brexit-dominated election.
``
Some 59 percent of people told a European Parliament poll, published on Tuesday (10 December), that EU membership was a "good thing"

Read more at: Survey marks EU optimism on eve of UK's Brexit election

USA: 5 Great Places to Live in the United States

Most Americans would prefer to age in place, staying in the city or town where they already live, have raised families and made friends. But our hometowns aren’t always suited for older lifestyles, structurally or socially. Many cities across the U.S. are working to change that, putting in place initiatives to make life better for older residents. The AARP Bulletin dispatched journalists to five cities that are winning acclaim for their innovative work toward increased livability, to discover what every community can learn from their efforts.

Read more at: 5 Great Places to Live in the United States

12/10/19

USA - White House: In an Orchestrated White House Showtime Performance Trump Warns Russia Not To Meddle in U.S. Elections

President Donald Trump warned Russia not to interfere in U.S. elections in talks with Russia's top diplomat on Tuesday, the White House said, after meetings where the two sides made no visible progress on nuclear arms control.

Read more at :
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-russia/trump-warns-russia-not-to-meddle-in-u-s-elections-white-house-idUKKBN1YE2A2

Iran protests 'a prelude to collapse of regime,' Nobel laureate predicts

The newest wave of unrest that has seized Iran in recent weeks has sparked an exceptionally brutal response that left thousands of victims in its wake.

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/iran-protests-nobel-laureate-1.5388733

WTO: U.S shuts down World Trade Organization appeals court

Global commerce lost its ultimate umpire Tuesday, leaving countries unable to reach a final resolution of disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and instead facing what critics call "the law of the jungle."

Read more at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/u-s-shuts-down-world-trade-organization-appeals-court-1.5390530

COP25: Who are the biggest climate winners and losers?

Climate change is a race against time. The Climate Change Performance Index published today shows which industrial countries are in the lead, and which are the biggest losers.

Read more at:
https://www.dw.com/en/cop25-who-are-the-biggest-climate-winners-and-losers/a-51603950

Ukraine: Russia, Ukraine agree to ceasefire by year-end at Paris talks

Russia and Ukraine have made progress on restoring peace in eastern Ukraine at a Paris summit mediated by Germany and France. In addition to implementing a ceasefire, the two sides also agreed to a prisoner exchange.

Read more at:
https://www.dw.com/en/russia-ukraine-agree-to-ceasefire-by-year-end-at-paris-talks/a-51602570

USA - Defense Spending: U.S. lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill, eye Russia, Turkey, China

U.S. lawmakers announced an agreement on Monday on a $738-billion bill setting policy for the Department of Defense, including new measures for competing with Russia and China, family leave for federal workers and the creation of President Donald Trump’s long-desired Space Force.

It also calls for sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system, and a tough response to North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, after months of negotiations. It is expected to pass before Congress leaves Washington later this month for the year-end holiday break.

Read more at: U.S. lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill, eye Russia, Turkey, China - Reuters

USA - the economy and the nation will face a "perfect storm" politically and economically:the 2020s will see 'real turmoil' as US debt woes come home to roost, says Gundlach - by Julia La Roche

Influential bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, the CEO of $150 billion DoubleLine Capital, sees trouble brewing in the debt market, despite interest rates hovering near historic lows.

In a recent discussion with Yahoo Finance, Gundlach compared the current expansion to the boom that took place nearly 100 years ago. But the next decade will be the opposite of the roaring 1920s, he said, as the debt bomb the U.S. is sitting on becomes untenable in the next economic downturn.

"It's pretty interesting because the 20s in the 20th century, the 20s were super boom times. And weirdly, I think the 20s this time will be very much different than that, with real turmoil," the 60-year-old billionaire said in a recent wide-ranging interview with Yahoo Finance.

In Gundlach's view, the 2020s will see "the crescendo" of many unattractive trends that have been talked about for years, but finally come home to roost. 

"[We're] going to have to face Social Security, health care, all of these things, deficit-based spending — all of that is going to have to be resolved during the 2020s because the compounding curve is just so bad," the billionaire added.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal deficit will top $1 trillion every year beginning in 2022. Yet Gundlach said the agency’s forecast may be too rosy, given that it assumes a "pretty benign future" with no recession and interest rates that are not very high. 

Interest costs to the government, as a percentage of gross domestic product are expected rise from 1.25% to at least 3% by 2027. “That's a big, big increase. And that's coming,” the investor told Yahoo Finance.

“And when you do that, it kind of says, ‘Hey, GDP is going to be knocked by 2%-2.5% because we have to pay interest,’” he added.

Note EU-Digest: these economic problems will be compounded by a totally inept Trump Administration, which has turned the Republican party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan into a Trump loyalist party which is now based on State Planning and Crony Capitalism

Read more at: Gundlach: The 2020s will see 'real turmoil' as US debt woes come home to roost

12/9/19

British Elections: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has won over Britain's youth — but will they actually vote?

One of the few safe bets in this week's British election is that 70-year-old Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn will sweep the country's under-30 vote.

Youth registrations for the Dec. 12 vote are up over 2017, Labour election rallies are full of young faces and a Labour platform that emphasizes a generational redistribution of wealth appears to have a struck a chord.

Conservative Party candidate James Newhall said the uphill struggle to connect with young people was underscored for him at a recent youth forum at Barnet and Southgate College in North London. He spent several hours talking up his party's plans to protect the National Health Service (NHS), lower taxes and, of course, take the United Kingdom out of the European Union with a Brexit deal.

Read more at: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has won over Britain's youth — but will they actually vote? | CBC News

The Netherlands: The Province of Brabant remains the favorite base for foreign multinationals

BOM Foreign Investments again broke its own record when it came to job creation in the province of Brabant last year, with 1,661 new jobs created in 2014 thanks to foreign companies either moving to the region or expanding their operations there.

These companies also invested €154.2 million in the province, the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) announced yesterday at its biennial Investors Day.

The 2014 figures yet another gain for BOM Foreign Investments over the preceding year, when 1,313 jobs were created and investments stood at €52 million.

Read more at: Brabant remains the favorite base for foreign multinationals

12/8/19

EU: Finland to get youngest prime minister in its history

Finland's transportation minister Sanna Marin was selected by her Social Democratic party on Sunday to become the country's youngest prime minister ever, taking over after the resignation of Antti Rinne.

China-US relations: U.S. bill on China's Xinjiang violates international law, regional official says

Recent U.S. legislation on Xinjiang is a severe violation of international law and gross interference in China's internal affairs, the governor of the far western region said on Monday, accusing the United States of launching a smear campaign.

Read more at:
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-xinjiang/u-s-bill-on-chinas-xinjiang-violates-international-law-regional-official-says-idUKKBN1YD05C