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Venezuela crisis:Trump Administration - White House could deploy 5,000 US troops to Colombia - Business Insider

The White House is seemingly open to sending up to 5,000 troops to Colombia as President Donald Trump squares off with Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro. 

During a press conference on Monday, reporters spotted national security adviser John Bolton carrying a notepad that appeared to say: "Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks. 5,000 troops to Colombia." 

When contacted for clarification on Bolton's notes and whether the Trump administration is considering deploying thousands of US troops to the region, a White House spokesman told INSIDER, "As the President has said, all options are on the table." 

Note EU-Digest: Unfortunately reality is that US military intervention to force regime change has never been too successful  for the US around the globe    History also shows us that military interventions in Latin America  are not welcomed with open arms by the local populace.

Read more: Venezuela crisis: White House could deploy 5,000 US troops to Colombia - Business Insider

China-US Trade Talks: Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks - by Brett Samuels

President Trump said Thursday there’s been no talk of extending a March deadline to reach an agreement with China to avoid imposing increased tariffs on Chinese goods.

However, the president expressed optimism about the chances of reaching a satisfactory deal following talks with a top Beijing representative at the White House.

“I don’t think we have to extend it," Trump said of the March 1 deadline while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

"Now, at a certain point… it’s the largest transaction ever made, to be perfectly straight. We have to get this put on paper at some point if we agree. There are some points that we don’t agree to yet but I think we will agree," he continued.

“I think when [Chinese President] Xi and myself meet, every point will be agreed to."

U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer said that he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to China for talks “shortly.”

Lighthizer said he anticipates a brief pause in negotiations to observe the Chinese New Year, but said the two sides will be “more or less in continuous” contact.

 Read more: Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks | TheHill

British Brexit Disaster: EU fears short article 50 extension will mean no-deal Brexit in June - by Daniel Boffey

EU officials fear Theresa May is setting the UK on course for a no-deal exit at the end of June because she will not have the political courage to ask for the longer Brexit delay they believe she needs.

Senior figures in Brussels have been war-gaming the likely next steps by the British government, and believe a delay to the UK’s exit date of 29 March is inevitable.

But they fear the prime minister’s strategy of seeking simply to survive from day to day will lead to her requesting an inadequate short three-month extension for fear of enraging Brexiters in the Conservative party.

EU officials and diplomats said the danger of the UK then crashing out in the summer was an underappreciated risk given that the escalation of no-deal planning and the cries of betrayal by Brexiters would give momentum to a cliff-edge Brexit.

On Thursday the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, became the first cabinet minister to admit that the two years of negotiations allowed under article 50 may have to be prolonged, describing the Brexit impasse as “a very challenging situation”.

EU sources suggested it was unlikely that the heads of state and government of the 27 member states would reject such a request given the pressure that would be applied from the business community.

On Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, said he believed a delay would be the wisest course given May’s hopes of a renegotiation.

Read more: EU fears short article 50 extension will mean no-deal Brexit in June | Politics | The Guardian

Iran -EU Relations: European countries establish payment channel with Iran to bypass 0US sanctions

Germany, France and Britain have joined forces to establish their own trade channel to Iran and circumvent United States sanctions, according to a joint statement made by the so-called E3 on Thursday.

The three signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been working for months to establish a measure allowing payments between Europe and Iran to continue, in the wake of the US withdrawal from the agreement in May.

Now the European countries have officially established that channel, in a move likely to displease Washington.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the "special purpose vehicle," known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), at a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Bucharest, Romania.

The INSTEX channel will be used by Europe to sell only food, medicine and medical equipment to Iran, with the possibility of expanding in the future, German broadcaster NDR reported.

 "We have been looking for ways to obtain this agreement because we are firmly convinced that it serves our strategic security interests in Europe," Maas said during a press briefing in Brussels earlier in the day.

Read moreEuropean countries establish payment channel with Iran to bypass US sanct

Islam versus Nike: Muslims urge Nike to recall shoes with logo some say resembles the word Allah - by Megan Cerullo

Saiqa Noreen, who created the petition demanding that the footwear and apparel brand remove the Nike Air Max 270 from store shelves, said the symbol on the bottom of the shoe "will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth."

"It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam. Islam teaches compassion, kindness and fairness towards all," he continued.

As of Thursday, the petition had garnered more than 19,000 of the 25,000 signatures it seeks.

It urges Nike to review the rest of its product line too, and to recall any merchandise with logos that resemble the word Allah.

"We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market," the petition read.

Read more: Nike Air Max: Muslims urge Nike to recall shoes with logo some say resembles the word Allah - CBS News

USA: Beware the Foreign Regime Change Charlatans - by Sina Toossi

Bijan Kian, a business associate of President Donald Trump’s disgraced first national security advisor Michael Flynn, will likely soon go to jail for violating federal lobbying laws. Together with Flynn, Kian worked on behalf of the government of Turkey. But long before he was peddling Turkish interests, Kian was one of many in Washington taking advantage of America’s military might to settle his personal scores. In his case, he wanted revenge against the clerical regime in Iran.

The tragedy of U.S. foreign policy has been that in its quest to do good globally, it has invited all kinds of charlatans to lobby Washington to do their bidding. The language of these actors is seductive and frequently plays on Americans’ reverence for freedom and democracy. In the Middle East, the cacophony of voices demanding U.S. support has time and again entangled America in regime change wars that can’t be won.

While these foreign actors purport to support U.S. interests, their narratives are often self-serving and their policy alternatives detrimental to the livelihoods and democratic aspirations of regional peoples.

Indeed, the track record of U.S. interventions is pretty poor, especially for the Iraqi and Iranian people,who for years have suffered under the weight of policies spearheaded by Washington-based special interests and expats.

Today, Trump’s Middle East policy stands at a crossroad. Recognizing the folly of forever wars in the Middle East, he has decided to pull out of Syria, much to the chagrin of war hawks like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who have sought to walk back his decision.

No doubt, the people of Iran deserve freedom, dignity, and a representative government that empowers rather than represses them. But the regime change cottage industry in Washington is not dominated by genuine democrats. It is in the hands of exiled wannabe rulers like Kian and foreign powers like Saudi Arabia, which, like Bolton and Pompeo, seek to misuse America’s military might for their own ends.

Note EU-Digest: Indeed the US does not have a great success rate when it comes to regime change Maybe they will have better luck with Venezuela, but it is doubtful

Read more at  Beware the Foreign Regime Change Charlatans | The American Conservative


Global Warming: Fears rise 'world's most dangerous glacier' could soon collapse - by Mark Prigg

A gigantic cavity two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall has been found growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

About the size of Florida, Thwaites Glacier is currently responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise.

It holds enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet (65 centimeters) and backstops neighboring glaciers that would raise sea levels an additional 8 feet (2.4 meters) if all the ice were lost.

The giant cavity is just one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier.

Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites' bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below.

However, the size and 'explosive growth rate' of the newfound hole surprised them.

The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier would cause an increase of global sea level of between one and two metres (three and six feet), with the potential for more than twice that from the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Read more at: Fears rise 'world's most dangerous glacier' could soon collapse | Daily Mail Onlin

Britain-Brexit: The Messier Brexit Gets, the Better Europe Looks - by Steven Erlanger

After Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, its leaders were in a panic. It was mired in a migration crisis and anti-Europe, populist forces were gaining. Britain’s decision seemed to herald the start of a great unraveling.

Two years later, as Britain’s exit from the bloc, or Brexit, looks increasingly messy and self-destructive, there is a growing sense, even in the populist corners of the continent, that if this is what leaving looks like, no, thank you.

Nothing has brought the European Union together quite as much as Britain’s chaotic breakdown. “A country is leaving and has gotten itself into a right old mess, making itself ridiculous to its European partners,” said Rosa Balfour, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels.

The challenges facing Europe — low growth, eurozone governance, migration, debt, border security and populism — have by no means gone away. Nor has Europe found consensus on how to deal with them.

The very prospect of losing a country like Britain, considered so pragmatic and important in the world, is deeply wounding for the EU.

But on the whole, while all parties will suffer with Brexit, particularly in the event of a so-called “no deal” departure, analysts tend to agree that the European Union, which will remain the world’s largest market, is likely to fare far better than Britain.

 Read more at :The Messier Brexit Gets, the Better Europe Looks - The New York Times: Steven Erlanger

Eurovision: Boycott Israel's 'artwashed' Eurovision 2019, pro-Palestinian activists say - by Rami Ayyub

As Tel Aviv gears up to host the Eurovision Song Contest, pro-Palestinian activists are urging performers to pull out of this year’s competition - while the 2018 Israeli winner said she didn’t believe in boycotts.

The call by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is part of a broader campaign to pressure governments, companies, performers and academics to disengage from Israel.

The movement sees Eurovision “as artwashing - whitewashing through arts” of what it calls Israel’s decades-old regime of military occupation and colonialism, its co-founder Omar Barghouti told Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“We take this Eurovision issue very seriously,” he said. “We are very conscious of how the Israeli government is dying to have such a mega cultural event.”

Israel was chosen to host the 42-nation contest after local singer Netta Barzilai won last year in Portugal with “Toy”, propelling her to international stardom. The winning country customarily hosts the following year.

On Tuesday the BDS appeal received support from British celebrities including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actresses Julie Christie and Maxine Peake and singer Peter Gabriel.

They were among 50 signatories of a letter to left-leaning newspaper The Guardian calling on the BBC to “press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.”

Note EU-Digest: It seems that given the fact that Britain is at the verge of falling apart as a result of the political chaos in the country with Brexit, the fact that the Eurovision is held in Tel Aviv, or not, should be the last thing on the minds of the British public at large.

Read more at: Boycott Israel's 'artwashed' Eurovision 2019, pro-Palestinian activists say | Reuters

Venezuela US relations: Trump phones Venezuela's Guaido as U.S. pushes for Maduro to go - but how sincere is he really?

 U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president by phone on Wednesday, reiterating support for his "fight to regain democracy," as Washington's push to force socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power picked up steam.

The White House said Trump and Juan Guaido, the opposition leader trying to replace Maduro, agreed to maintain regular communication after Venezuelan authorities opened an investigation that could lead to Guaido's arrest.

The moves against Guaido, 35, including a travel ban and assets freeze, were in retaliation for oil sanctions imposed by the United States this week. They intensified the fight to control Venezuela, an OPEC nation that has the world's largest oil reserves.

The U.S. president spoke to Guaido to "congratulate him on his historic assumption of the presidency and to reinforce President Trump’s strong support for Venezuela’s fight to regain its democracy," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Guaido thanked Trump for the U.S. commitment to freedom and prosperity in Venezuela and the region and noted the importance of planned protests across the country against Maduro on Wednesday and Saturday, she said in a statement.

Note EU-Digest: Let us hope Trump treats Guaido better than he treated the Kurds in Syria, who have been fighting there on behalf of the US. against ISIS. Mr. Trump does not have the reputation as someone who keeps his word or who tells the truth.

Read more: Trump phones Venezuela's Guaido as U.S. pushes for Maduro to go

USA - corruption: US drops out of 20 best performers in Global corruption index


USA: Intelligence chief contradicts Trump on North Korea and Iran

US intelligence chief contradicts Trump on North Korea and Iran.
Trump had said that Iran was producing nuclear weapons, which it is not, and that North Korea would destroy their nuclear tipped missiles, which it will not do.

Read more at: 

Capitalism: slowly but surely the Capitalist system is self-destructing

Capitalism: all we have to do is look how some major multinational corporations, including the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries, weapons or financial Industry, are exploiting the world community, to realize they are the ones who are destroying the image and reputation  of Capitalism

PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY: Robbing everyone blind and nothing or no one seems able to stop them

It is a scandal that the pharmaceutical industry is able to get away with these high prices and allowed to constantly increase their prices, without any Government intervention or legislation

Britain - Brexit: What happens next? Britain wants the cake and eat it too.

Brexit: What happens now?  British want their cake and eat it too.

Read more at: 


Canada: Trudeau fires Canadian ambassador to China

Trudeau fires Canada's ambassador to China amid Huawei controversy

USA Polls: US a more divided nation than ever says recent poll

USA: shutdown cost US economy $11 Billion and State Of the Union address will be postponed says Pelosi aid

EU fighting crime: Eurobanks stop issuing 500 Euro notes in fight against crime

Cash out: Eurozone banks stop issuing €500 note in fight against crime

Read more at: 

VENEZUELA: Will the US target oil exports? by Daniel Galas

Will the US Target Venezuela Oil Exports or in vade Venezuela?

Britain-Brexit: Deprivation played a key role in the Brexit referendum’ - by Vidya Ram

Last week, Anand Menon, a professor of politics at King’s College London, won plaudits on social media for his no-nonsense performance on Question Time, a popular BBC political show, and his blunt explanation of what a no-deal Brexit entails.

“It means that all the laws governing our interaction with the EU — whether you can fly, whether you can shop, whether you can trade, whether you can travel — cease to exist,” he said. swiftly dismissing a suggestion by one panellist, who equated it with walking away from a deal to buy a car that you weren’t convinced by.

He was equally candid in his assessment of the second referendum. “Whatever you think of [the referendum] it was a remarkable moment in democratic history that people that hadn’t voted ever or for a very long time did so and they would, with some reason, feel hacked off.”

Besides what would happen if the result of a second referendum were 52 to remain and 48 to leave on a lower turnout. Would that settle anything?

Questions and facts around Brexit are something Mr. Menon deals with on a daily basis as the director of ‘U.K. in a Changing Europe’ — teams of researchers carrying out Brexit-related research up and down the country, in an attempt to give factual grounding to an emotional debate.

Funded by Britain’s Social Research Council, it is based on a similar project that had been set up ahead of the Scottish referendum. It has grown from a part-time one-person role for Mr. Menon to 25 teams across the country researching to provide the public with factual analysis.

“We report what the research says... in that sense we are not looking to support leave or remain or a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit,” he told The Hindu in a recent interview. “Sometimes, you of course end up taking a position — and our analysis is pretty unequivocal that leaving with no deal will be damaging. We are not afraid to stand up and say that, and we do end up with fights with people who say we are biased, but my response is that ‘if we are wrong, tell us why we are wrong’?”

Their approach has garnered considerable public interest — some one million people visited their website over the past few weeks.

Mr. Menon admits that he’s conflicted over the issues and the aftermath of the referendum. Born to a Malayali family who moved to northern England in the 1960s, he grew up in Wakefield, a West Yorkshire former mining town that has known its fair share of deprivation, and which voted heavily to leave the EU in the referendum. An image of a harmonious Britain cruelly thrown out of balance by the referendum — put forward by some Remain supporters who were caught off guard by the result — is not one that he shares. During the miners strikes of the 1970s, he recalls seeing the wives of miners on the streets begging for loose change.

“You’ve just realized what a nasty divided country we’ve always been,” he recalls telling someone surprised after the referendum result. The role that deprivation played in the referendum cannot be discounted or glossed over, he argues. “There are people who don’t like the EU — the added element of the vote being a collective two fingers at the establishment whether its Brussels or London

The sense of alienation has been made worse by an electoral system that means that unless you vote for one of the two big political parties it doesn’t count for much. “Protesting against the two big parties has been very difficult for people and the referendum provided an opportunity to do that.”

The real success of the leave campaign was in drawing the link between immigration and the EU, says Mr. Menon, noting that until the referendum, the EU had not been regarded as a salient political issue though immigration had been.

But on this count, research published by ‘U.K. in a Changing Europe’ this week has a remarkable finding: a sharp and sustained drop in those who see immigration as a salient issue to around 20%.

Mr. Menon says this remains an open question but what the research has further shown is that people across the country now have strong Brexit identities that trump their political ones, mirroring what has happened across the world, from India to the U.S.

“The politics of identity, the politics of culture are competing with the traditional politics of the left versus right and that is what was mobilised by Brexit, and it was mobilised very strongly. You see the same in the US and India – a coalition between the wealthy and poorer voters who share social values but aren’t on the same side of the spectrum when it comes to the redistribution of wealth….I hear people in the UK talk about Brexit triggering populism and I say to them: Modi was the precursor of nativist politics and to understand populism you have to understand it is not just global and not just Western.”

He sees strong parallels between the forces that drove Brexit and the endurance of the BJP. “It may well be the case that many of the issues that led people to vote leave had nothing to do with the EU but it doesn’t mean they were not legitimate — and you may not like the fact that people are voting BJP but you can understand the fact why people [were] fed up with Congress. There was corruption; there was this sense of entitlement. Why wouldn’t people react to that and say a plague on all your houses and let’s vote for something different?”

The deep-rooted nature of these identities adds to the problems around the route forward for Britain. There is little evidence that people have changed their positions on Brexit — the slight shift which has tipped the scales from slightly pro-Leave to slightly pro-Remain has come not from people changing their minds but from those who didn’t or couldn’t vote last time round saying they would in a future referendum. “We live in an age where people interpret evidence through the prism of prior belief. Throwing facts at people is not going to get them to change their mind,” he says.

However, it doesn’t make what U.K. in a Changing Europe are doing any less important. “The evidence we provide doesn’t say you should be for or against anything. Part of the Brexit debate is that it involves trade-offs between politics and economics: how much of an economic trade-off are you willing to make to free yourself from the EU is a personal thing that can’t be determined by research. But what can be determined by research is the nature of that political freedom, how constraining the EU is, what trading with China and the U.S. would add, and the economic costs,” he says. “If you are going to support a no-deal Brexit be honest that it’s going to be hugely disruptive.”

The same applies to the consequences of leaving, and the potential for trade with countries like India to fill the gap. “We export more to the Republic of Ireland than we do to Brazil, China, Australia, South Africa and India combined,” he notes, adding that while the loss to growth from exiting the single market and the customs union would be between 3% to 5% for the U.K., an FTA with the U.S. that scrapped every tariff that currently exists would lead to an uptick of just 0.3% to 0.4%.

However, economic costs aren’t everything. He recalls discussing the independence movement with his grandmother. “She used to say we would rather live on rice than steak and chips under the British. Of course it’s not at all the same situation — a colony is a very different situation to a member state. But it shows our willingness to make an economic sacrifice to achieve a political objective. What I aspire to is people being honest and what some Remainers do is underestimate the degree to which some people are willing to say: if there is economic damage we will live with it.”

Read more: ‘Deprivation played a key role in the Brexit referendum’ - The Hindu


EU: Pesticides in food: what is the European Parliament doing to help?

Europeans are concerned about pesticide residues in food and their potential effect on health. Find out how MEPs are tackling the issue.

About 50% of the food tested by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2016 contained pesticide residues, with 3.8% exceeding legal limits. In the EU, pesticides and the active substances in them are carefully monitored, but in recent years, concern has been raised over the approval procedure, especially after controversy about the renewal of glyphosate approval in 2017.

To better protect people’s health the European Parliament wants action to improve the management of pesticide use in the EU.

More transparent pesticide approval procedure

In February 2018, Parliament appointed a special committee to look into the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides. On 16 January, MEPs backed the committee’s final report pushing for more transparent procedures to ensure political accountability.

MEPs recommend that:
*The public should be granted access to studies used in the authorisation procedure
*Manufacturers asking for substance approval should register all regulatory studies in a public register to ensure all relevant information is taken into account
*Scientific experts should review studies on carcinogenicity of glyphosate and maximum residue levels for soils and surface water should be set
*Pesticides and their active substances should be tested thoroughly, taking into account cumulative effects and long-term toxicityPesticides should no longer be used over a wide area near schools, childcare facilities, playing fields, hospitals, maternity hospitals and care homes

Better access to studies on food chain safety

In December 2018 Parliament voted in favour of an update of the general food law regulation covering food safety in EU at all stages of the food chain, including animal health, plant protection and production.

The proposed new rules aim to improve public access to studies used by the European Food Safety Agency in the risk assessment of food products, and to ensure the studies are reliable, objective and independent.

A common European registry would be set up for commissioned studies, so the European Food Safety Agency can check whether companies are suppressing any unfavourable studies. If there is reason to doubt the evidence provided by the applicants, the agency could request additional studies.

Read more: Pesticides in food: what is the European Parliament doing to help? | News | European Parliament

Britain- Brexit: For the poor, it’s not Europe that’s the problem. It’s austerity - by William Keegan

As the Brexit farce proceeds, it is worth remembering that before David Cameron made his catastrophic error of calling a referendum, the EU was way down the list of British people’s concerns in almost every opinion poll. Indeed, not even in the first 11.

The central point is that Brexit became the focus for all manner of discontents, many of them understandable. But leaving the EU would indubitably not be the answer to them, and would be guaranteed not to make the discontents into “glorious summer”.

Indeed, it would exacerbate the sources of this discontent. Why? Surely it is becoming increasingly obvious that growing swaths of British industry – much of it foreign-owned by conglomerates that enjoy the advantages of the single market – are cutting back their investment plans and in many cases planning to relocate to mainland Europe. The prospect of the diminution of the economic base of the country has dire implications not only for employment and living standards, but also for the tax base on which living standards depend.

We have spent 45 years becoming an integral region of Europe, creating an economic omelette that no one in their right mind would try to unscramble. Unfortunately there are a lot of not-so-right minds about, some of them in the cabinet, and we have the misfortune to have a prime minister who transmits but does not listen, and is fixated on a treacherous mission.

Read more: For the poor, it’s not Europe that’s the problem. It’s austerity | Business | The Guardian


Switzerland - Davos Economic Forum where the elite avoid discussing how to solve the increasing disparity between rich and poor

Davos Economic Forum: the elite talk about everything, except truly searching ways to decrease the ever increasing economic gap between the rich and the poor .

Read more at: 

USA - the Muller investigation: The noose is tightening around Trump his head

Why this key line from Roger Stone's indictment could shine a bright light on Trump as the noose tightens around his neck.....

Venezuela: Maduro given ultimatum by EU leaders

Venezuela crisis: Maduro given ultimatum by European leaders

Read more at: 

Germany: Zero tolerance of anti-semitism says Qngela Merkel

Angela Merkel: 'Zero tolerance' of anti-semitism in Germany

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EU coal Industry: Germany to stop using coal by end of 2038

Germany to stop using coal by end of 2038: commission


SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp

France: French President Macrons ratings creep up amid town hall meetings

French President Macron’s ratings creep up amid town hall meetings Surveys suggest French President Emmanuel Macron has stemmed a hemorrhage in support as he tours the country to take part in a "great national debate", part of his government's response to anger expressed by the "Yellow Vest" protest movement.

Read more at: 

CLIMATE CHANGE: doomsday looms - climate change and Nuclear Weapons threaten human existence

Doomsday looms as misinformation, climate change and nuclear weapons threaten human existence

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USA: The US Government reopens - No money for the wall - Donald Trump lost: period - by Jennifer Rubin


Brexit: Bye Bye Britain -The Netherlands here we come- More than 250 firms interested in Brexit move to The Netherlands

The Netherlands: Almere, -one of
 the most modern cities in Europe
Dutch officials are in contact with more than 250 companies about a possible post-Brexit move, the government said on Wednesday, after Sony revealed it would shift its base to the Netherlands.
The Dutch government will announce a final figure in February but “every new arrival of a business, big or small, is a success”, Michiel Bakhuizen, a spokesperson for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, told AFP.

Japanese electronics giant Sony is following Panasonic in moving its European headquarters across the North Sea to the Netherlands ahead of Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU in March.

While Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he “doesn’t see Brexit as a business opportunity”, the Netherlands has still pushed hard to win post-Brexit investment.

Via the investment agency, the Dutch government is “in contact with more than 250 interested in an eventual move to the Netherlands because of Brexit”, Bakhuizen said. “The number of businesses we are in contact with for a possible arrival is growing. At the start of 2017 it was 80, at the start of 2018 150, and now it’s more than 250.

“This increase will continue and it’s not strange, because there is great uncertainty at the moment in Britain. And if there is one thing that’s bad for business, it’s uncertainty.”

The spokesperson said he would not comment on “individual” cases such as Sony, but added that the Netherlands welcomed any such decision. “In mid-February we will announce the number of companies that have left the UK for the Netherlands because of Brexit,” he said.

Asked whether Abe’s visit had helped with the Sony move, the spokesperson said that “it’s certain that these political and diplomatic moments help”.

However, Rutte warned in a press conference with Abe that any extra investments would be offset by the overall “negative impact” of Brexit, particularly if Britain crashes out without a deal with the EU.
Dutch officials said this week they are preparing for the “blue sea of uncertainty” that a no-deal Brexit would create.

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that “we have started early with our preparations but, of course, it has become more intensive because of a possible no-deal Brexit”.

There is a famous Dutch saying which goes as follows: "de een zijn dood, is de ander z'n brood". which in English would translate to :"their loss, your gain" - Yes indeed, if Brexit happens, the Netherlands could "laugh all the way to the bank". 

Read more at: More than 250 firms interested in Brexit move to The Netherlands

EU - Venezuelan relations: EU backs self proclaimed President Guaido says voice of Venezuelan People

Russia-Turkey-Venezuela: While a majority of Global Leaders condemn Maduro's politics, rigged election,Turkey's Erdogan and Russia's Putin support him

 Re Maduro's rigged elections - Turkey's Erdogan and Russia's Putin show their true coulours

European Aircraft Industry: Airbus boss slams UK over disgraceful lack of clarity on Brexit

Brexit Brief: Airbus boss slams U.K. over ‘disgraceful’ lack of clarity for business -

USA - Chaotic Trump Administration: Trump now says he will not give State of the Union until after shutdown ends - by John Parkinson

The ABC Network reported that the back and forth between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump over when and where the State of the Union will be delivered -- if at all -- came to a conclusion, if temporary, late Wednesday night.

Trump will not give a speech until after the partial government shutdown is over.

The president tweeted the news in a two-part missive just before midnight, saying, "As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over."

He ended speculation he might look to give the speech in a location other than the House of Representatives as well, saying he's not looking for another venue.

As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an.alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!" Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019

In response, Pelosi took the opportunity to encourage the president to support a bill to fund the government while discussions over border security continue.

"Mr. President, I hope by saying 'near future' you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow," she said. "Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences." .....— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 24, 2019

The bill is mostly likely dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.

It's the latest twist in their political and seemingly personal feud earlier Wednesday, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump saying there would be no State of the Union address in the House chamber until after the partial government shutdown ends, effectively rescinding her invitation to the president.

"When I extended an invitation on January 3rd for you to deliver the State of the Union address, it was on the mutually agreed upon date, January 29th. At that time, there was no thought that the government would still be shut down," her letter said.

"I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened," Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

The resolution is necessary to authorize the president to address a joint session of Congress.

"Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened," Pelosi's letter continued.

Trump says he will not give State of the Union until after shutdown ends - ABC News


Venezuela: EU working on joint Venezuela statement - by Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

EU member states are consulting on a joint reaction to the latest developments in Venezuela, a statement from French president’s office said Wednesday.

“France is consulting with its European partners about the situation in Venezuela, the president's office said on Wednesday as the South American country's opposition leader declared himself interim president,” read a statement from Emmanuel Macron’s office.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrel said a joint statement from the EU on the situation is important amid demands of the government from the right-wing opposition to recognize Juan Guaido as president
Some Venezuelans living in the Spanish capital of Madrid who celebrated the developments in a main square were joined by the leader of main opposition party, the People’s Party.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass also said a joint response is being worked on with EU partners.

"We call on all actors Venezuela in prudence and to refrain from violence," he said. “ [We] Will coordinate a joint response with our EU partners,” he said.

Britain’s Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Alan Duncan said on Twitter he was “following the situation in Venezuela carefully’ and “Juan Guaido has widespread support among Venezuelans.”

He said: “The political crisis has gone on long enough. Now is the time to find a way forward that leads to a peaceful solution for all Venezuelans.”

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen also took to the Twitter.

“New hope in Venezuela. Denmark will always support legitimate elected democratic institutions- not least the parliamentary assembly including Juan Guaido,” he said. “Working for a strong EU statement.”

Meanwhile, Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, urged the EU to recognize Guaido as president.

“The US, Canada & many crucial EU partners in Latin American have recognised @Jguaido as President of #Venezuela & the EU should do the same,” he said on Twitter.

“He is the only legitimately elected representative of the Venezuelan people & authorities must guarantee his fundamental rights & security,” Verhofstadt wrote.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Washington would recognize opposition leader Guaido as interim president.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has slammed the decision and said his country was cutting off diplomatic relations with the U.S., giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

Maduro made the announcement while speaking to supporters who gathered at the Presidential Palace in the capital of Caracas.


Venezuela - US Relations: Break in US-Venezuela relations raises fresh concerns for oil market - by Tom DiChristopher

  • The break in U.S.-Venezuela diplomatic relations raises concerns that Washington will expand sanctions to energy trade.
  • Venezuela relies on imports of super light oil from the United States, while U.S. refiners are big purchasers of heavy crude from the Bolivarian Republic.
  • Sanctions on Venezuela's energy minister, who holds OPEC's rotating presidency this year, would also create a headache for the 14-nation producer group.
A sudden escalation in long-burning tensions between the United States and Venezuela could have far-reaching ramifications in the oil market, where the Bolivarian Republic remains a significant player despite its plunging output.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it would back Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself the country's interim president earlier in the day. Shortly after President Donald Trump recognized Guaido, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro severed relations with the United States and gave U.S. diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country.

The latest development raises the prospect that the United States will expand sanctions to U.S.-Venezuelan energy trade, a move that would be potentially devastating to Venezuela. The nation has seen its oil production crater in recent years, depriving the socialist republic of its lifeblood energy revenue and exacerbating a devastating economic crisis.

But the consequences could also ripple throughout the broader oil market and complicate OPEC's relationship with the United States.

RBC Capital Markets is already forecasting an additional drop of 300,000 to 500,00 barrels a day from Venezuela in 2019. If the Trump administration pulls the trigger on energy sanctions, those declines could balloon to several hundred thousand more barrels, says Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC.
Read more: Break in US-Venezuela relations raises fresh concerns for oil marke


Britain - Brexit: Delay is "most likely" option says former chancellor

Brexit: Delay is 'most likely' option, says former chancellor

Read more at: 

BIG TECHNOLOGY: US right wing populist and their allies allies disagree over big tech

EU - Corporate Taxes: Corporations failing to pay proper Tax rates

Corporations 'failing to pay proper tax rates' in EU

Germany: Merkel and Macron sign newTreaty of Aachen to revive EU

Merkel and Macron sign Treaty of Aachen to revive EU 


Wealth disparity gap - Have and Have Nots : the world's wealthiest saw their fortunes increase by $2.5 billion a day in 2018

World’s wealthiest saw their fortunes increase by $2.5 billion a day in 2018 says Oxfam -

USA: MLK's son criticizes US VP Pence for using father's memory to push border wall

FRANCE: Google fined Euro 50 million by France using EU's transparency and consent law

France fines Google €50 million using EU’s transparency and consent law

Read more at: 

US - EU Relations: Trump backstabbing EU in favor of Russia

When will Europe wake-up to the fact they can't trust the US Trump Administration. It is high time they do. Wake-up EU Commission

Switzerland - Davos: Elites at Davos World Economic Forum need to reasure those who fear a tech-focused future

Davos elites need to reassure those who most fear our tech-focused future 


European Union: Angela Merkel sees Germany and France as drivers of European unity

With Brexit looming on the horizon and populist parties calling for further EU exits, European unity has been shaken. In a video message, Merkel explained why she thinks a new friendship treaty with Paris will help.

After centuries of war between the two countries, the friendship that now exists between Berlin and Paris was "anything but self-evident," she said.

Her remarks come just days before she and French President Emmanuel Macron are due to sign a new friendship treaty in the city of Aachen.

One of the main aspects that wasn't addressed in the old treaty was the role that Germany and France play in Europe.

"We work in Europe, we want to give momentum to European unity," Merkel said. "This dimension wasn't as planned out in the old treaty."

The German chancellor noted that the new Treaty of Aachen will largely entail more "cross-border cooperation" and more convergence between French and German policies in the economic sector and the labor market.

"We will supplement this contract with a list of projects that will be constantly updated to show how Germany and France continue to work together in Europe," she said.

Berlin and Paris are also close partners in foreign policy, she said, noting that France and Germany will head the United Nations Security Council for two consecutive months this spring.

Merkel and Macron will meet in Aachen to sign the treaty on January 22 — 56 years after the first friendship treaty was signed.

Read more: Angela Merkel sees Germany and France as drivers of European unity | News | DW | 19.01.2019

Israel: Time to dump Netanyahu

Netanyahu not only a liability for Israel, but also under investigation.


Britain - Brexit: Latest Brexit Poll shows UK would remain if they were allowed to vote again

Latest Brexit poll shows UK would now vote to remain as ‘crossover day’ looms 

Read more at:

Hungary: New ‘tool’ to protect EU budget and uphold EU values

Member states jeopardizing the rule of law or failing to tackle fraud and corruption will risk losing EU funds, according to a draft law endorsed by MEPs of the European Parliament, according to the European Parliamentʼs official website.

Assisted by a panel of independent experts, the EU Commission would be tasked with establishing “generalized deficiencies as regards the rule of law” and decide on measures that could include suspending EU budget payments or reducing pre-financing.

The decision would only be implemented once approved by parliament and council. Once the member state remedies the deficits identified by the EU Commission, parliament and EU ministers could unlock the funds.

The plenary session endorsed the rules by 397 votes to 158, with 69 abstentions. MEPs are now ready to enter negotiations on the final wording of the regulation with EU ministers, who have not adopted their position yet, says.

Read more: New ‘tool’ to protect EU budget and uphold EU values | The Budapest Business Journal on the web |

USA - Government Shutdown: Republican Congressman: Trump’s Border Crisis Is a ‘Myth’- by Andy Kroll

Congressman Will Hurd of Texas is an increasingly lonely voice in the “build the wall” Republican Party of Donald Trump. A 41-year-old former undercover CIA officer, Hurd represents one of the largest congressional districts in America, Texas’ 23rd, a vast expanse of land roughly the size of Georgia that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.

Hurd’s district includes 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, more than any other member of the House of Representatives. But if you’re expecting Hurd, who was narrowly re-elected to a third term last year, to support President Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” and stand with the decision to partially shut down the federal government over the fight, you’ve got it all wrong. Trump’s border crisis is a “myth,” Hurd tells Rolling Stone, and a wall made of cement or steel slats is a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”

“What I always say is building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd says.

He is one of the few Republicans to break ranks and vote with Democrats to approve funding to reopen the government. On Wednesday, he announced that he’d landed a coveted seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, bringing the perspective of someone who actually knows the border to Congress’ main government-funding committee.

Rolling Stone caught up with Hurd in his office on Capitol Hill to discuss the “wall,” what it’s like to represent nearly half of the entire U.S.-Mexico border and his idea for a modern-day Marshall Plan to address the root causes of the social and economic crisis in Latin America that has led to so many immigrants fleeing north and seeking refuge in the U.S. The conversation follows, lightly edited for length and clarity.

The word that we keep hearing from President Trump is that there’s a “crisis” at the border. Is there a crisis at the border?

If there is a crisis, why are the people that are dealing with it not being paid? That’s the first step.

Good question. This is an issue that has transcended multiple administrations. I think $67 billion of drugs coming into our country is a crisis. Now, I also think when you think of a crisis, that means people are afraid to leave their homes, right? El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States of America. The same can be said about Del Rio, Presidio and Eagle Pass, places I represent.

It’s a problem that should be solved. Yes, last year 400,000 people tried to come into our country illegally, and that’s a decrease in 80 percent from 2000. But 400,000 is still a big number.

When I crisscross my district, the thing I hear the most, people are like, “We need workers.” Whether it’s agriculture or artificial intelligence, we need workers. Why aren’t we also talking about streamlining this immigration process so that we get people here legally who are going to contribute to our economy? It’s a problem that needs to be solved. I think it requires us to be cool, level-headed and talk about those solutions.

Read more at: Republican Congressman: Trump’s Border Crisis Is a ‘Myth’

EU - Military - Foreign Policy: German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for greater military cooperation in EU countries ahead of EU parliamentary elections in May - by Alex Daniel

Up Yours Donald !
Angela Merkel has said the European Union should cooperate more in developing weapons systems in a bid to push back against a growing wave of euroscepticism before the European parliamentary elections in May.

In a speech to her Christian Democrats party (CDU) she said: “It is good that after several decades we want to develop a common defence policy ... We must develop weapons systems together.”

“We have very strict export rules, others have less strict rules ... But anyone who develops an airplane with us would also like to know whether they can sell the plane with us,” she said.

Merkel has repeatedly stressed the importance of Germany’s partnership with France, saying on her weekly podcast this week the friendship was “far from a given after centuries of military conflict between our countries”.

“We want to give an impulse to European unity,” Merkel said.

In November the German Chancellor went as far as to call for the creation of a European Army, stressing that such an effort would not mean an end to the US-led Nato.

Note EU Digest: Given the present political climate in the US, the EU can not forever rely on the NATO being there, and must get off Grandpa's knee to take some more independent decisions of their own, as it relates to their defence and foreign policies.


Globalism: Unfortunately Globalists Blind To Communitarianism - by Amitai Etzioni

Very recently a new term has entered the public discourse, in which major segments of Americans are referred to as “nationalists.” These are people who put community and country—their nation—above all, rejecting globalization, free trade, open borders, and even the United Nations’ “Universal” Declaration of Human Rights. According to Michael Lind in an article in Politico, “[n]ationalists support immigration and trade deals only if they improve the living standards of citizens of the nation.” Robert Merry, differentiating between nationalists and globalists, writes that “[n]ationalists believe that any true nation must have clearly delineated and protected borders, otherwise it isn’t really a nation. They also believe that their nation’s cultural heritage is sacred and needs to be protected, whereas mass immigration from far-flung lands could undermine the national commitment to that heritage.”

The self-righteousness of globalists is captured by an August 2016 New Yorker article which sees in Trump’s America—and in Europe, India, and Russia—whole countries that “seethe with demagogic assertions of ethnic, religious, and national identity.” These movements are said to threaten “the great eighteenth-century venture of a universal civilization harmonized by rational self-interest, commerce, luxury, arts, and science.”

As I see it, the rise of right-wing populism in the United States and in Europe can be attributed in no small extent to the profound misunderstanding globalists have of community and communitarian values. Globalists tend to view society as composed of free-standing individuals, each of whom has his or her own individual rights and is keen to pursue his or her own self-interest. The trouble with this view of society is that it ignores that human beings are social creatures, whose flourishing depends on lasting relationships and on the sharing of moral and social values. These kinds of relationships and values are found in national and local communities (including families, which are micro-communities). By definition, communities are differentiating between members and outsiders, are never all-inclusive, and inevitably parochial rather than global.

If one seeks to reduce populism, violence, prejudice, and xenophobia, then communities must be nurtured as they are urged to change, rather than being overridden. This thesis can be tested by examining the arguments for free trade. When globalists champion free trade, they tend to ignore the “externalities.” Many developing nations can produce cheaper goods because they pay little mind to the welfare of their workers and to the environment. Trade agreements are supposed to curb these social costs and help workers in countries that pay higher wages compete with workers in countries that don’t, but such curbs have only limited effects. True, free trade lowers the costs of consumer products at Walmart and Target, but hardly to the workers whose jobs are outsourced. Promises to retrain them and find them other jobs—for instance, to make computer programmers out of coal miners—are often false promises. Free trade is the modern equivalent of the old challenge to utilitarian ethics: how many Christians one may throw to the lions if this amuses large hordes of Romans, makes them really happy?

Above all, globalists ignore the effects of free trade on people’s essential communitarian needs. Economists often fail to understand people who are reluctant to move from West Virginia to Montana, say, when the coal industry is declining but the gas industry is growing. They do not take into account that people lose their communal bonds when they move. That they leave behind friends they can call on when they are sick or grieving. Their children miss their friends and everyone in the family is ripped away from the centers of their social lives: school, church, social club, union hall, or American Legion post. And when these people finally bring their families along and form new communities, changes in free trade often force them to move again. Thus, after a boom in Montana, prices of oil and gas have fallen, and so many of the workers who moved there now need to relocate again. In this way, free trade churns societies, exacting high social costs by undermining communities. An evaluation of the benefits of free trade should take into account the destructive effects on communities of churning the labor force.

These social costs do not mean that nations should stop trading with one another; rather, it means that those who are concerned about the social effects of new trade treaties are not know-nothing, parochial nationalists but are people with valid concerns. Those must be addressed first of all by treating the coal miners, steel workers, and others who lose their jobs with compassion rather than dismissing them as white trash and rednecks who do not get how wonderful free trade is for one and all. Second, those who cannot be retrained should be offered early retirement (much less costly than retraining and government-driven “job creation”) or jobs in an infrastructure corps. At best these programs should not require them to relocate, because relocations both increase costs and undermine communities. In other words, globalism can be reconciled with parochialism, and with communitarian values, but only if globalists get off their elitist high horse and recognize that we are social creatures.

Read more: Globalists Blind To Communitarianism | HuffPost

France Strasbourg: Capital of the EU and "The Future of Europe" has become a "hotbed" of jihadism

"New York, Geneva and Strasbourg are the only cities in the world which are home to international institutions without being national capitals", an official page of the French city proudly proclaims. "The choice of Strasbourg as the European capital following the Second World War is no accident. The city stands as a shining symbol of reconciliation between peoples and of the future of Europe"
Last December, however, Strasbourg was shocked by a new terrorist attack. Cherif Chekatt, shouting "Allahu Akbar", murdered five people, before being neutralized in a two-day manhunt. Among Chekatt's victims were Italian, Polish and French citizens. Unfortunately, Strasbourg has become one of Europe's hotbeds of jihadism, an ideology seemingly aimed at destroying Europe's people, not conciliating with them.

The weekly Valeurs Actuelles called Strasbourg a "French bastion of jihadism". Seven men from Strasbourg, who went to Syria between December 2013 and April 2014, have already been sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to nine years. The heaviest sentence was handed to Karim Mohamed-Aggad, the brother of the Bataclan Theater suicide bomber Foued Mohamed-Aggad. The weekly L'Obs called Strasbourg "land of jihad".

"It's true that we have statistically more 'S-Files' [individuals labelled by authorities as a threat to national security] here in Strasbourg and in the Bas-Rhin department than the national average", the mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, said. Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist and director of studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, explained:
"Strasbourg is one of those leading cities of what could be called 'jihadogenic urban areas', such as the suburbs of Paris, Toulouse, Nice or Lyon in the past... Strasbourg is at the crossroads of Europe, all you have to do is cross the Rhine to be in Germany and you are not very far from Switzerland."
 Read more atL Strasbourg: Capital of the EU and "The Future of Europe"

USA: Trump acts more and more like a dictator - by Robert Reich


Generational Gap: Let's hear it for the younger generation

China-EU Trade Relations: It’s Official: EU Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties on E-Bikes Imported from China

Today the European Commission has imposed anti-dumping as well as anti-subsidy duties on e-bikes imported from China. The Commission has opted for the imposition of per company targeted dumping duties.

The dumping duties vary from 73.4 percent for the Bodo Vehicle Group, 24.6 percent for Giant Electric Vehicle to 33.4 percent for the majority of Chinese e-bike exporters

All other Chinese e-bike exporters are hit by a 79.3 percent anti-dumping duty. More to follow later. See also the attached EU document including the Annex on the impositions of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

Read more at: It’s Official: EU Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties on E-Bikes Imported from China

Walled world: Lessons from Europe's border barriers - by Nahlah Ayed

 Donald Trump, would-be wall-builder-in-chief, may currently be the world’s most vocal defender of border walls as the best answer to unwanted asylum-seekers, but he is, in fact, late to the modern wall-building game.

Once home to one of the world’s most loathed walls, Europe has in recent years become a leader in building them: There are now border fences and walls in 10 European countries that together measure more than six times the length of the Berlin Wall, according to a recent report by the Transnational Institute (TNI), a research and advocacy outfit that supports international social movements. This within a continental alliance built on the idea of a borderless union.

The year 2015 was pivotal. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and parts of Africa arrived in what became Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Citing inaction by European Union leadership, some member countries turned to the building of barriers as a favoured way to keep migrants out.

The building spree that year more than doubled the number of walls, from 5 to 12. In all, around 1,000 kilometres of walls and fences have been built in Europe since the 1990s, said the TNI report, titled "Building Walls."

European populist leaders have argued that barriers are necessary to protect their countries from irregular migration and, more crucially, from criminals and would-be terrorists among them.

“Every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk,” Viktor Orban, Hungary’s populist prime minister, said at a 2016 news conference in Budapest.

Orban, who has been called “the original Trump,” labelled the migrants passing through his country at the time as “Muslim invaders” who threatened Hungary and Europe’s Christian identity. He built barriers on Hungary’s borders with Serbia and Croatia.

“They look great on television, they look strong and impenetrable, and it suggests to the viewer ‘We, the government, is protecting you from something,’” Marcello Di Cintio, author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, said in an interview from Calgary.

But, he added, they are blunt instruments symbolizing an admission that builders are not interested in dealing with root causes.

“A wall is not a solution, it’s a surrender to the problem,” said Di Cintio. “A wall is a white flag. A wall says ‘We don’t know what to do so we’re just going to do this.’”

Read more: Walled world: Lessons from Europe's border barriers | CBC News

Britain - Brexit: it was never about the EU. Brexit is Britain's reckoning with itself

It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself

Read more at:  

Middle East: Trumplomacy a disaster of astronomical proportions

Trumplomacy: Five takeaways from Pompeo trip to Middle East

Read complete report at: 

EU Parliament: EU Parliament urges Russia to investigate anti-LGBT violence.

EU Parliament urges Russia to investigate anti-LGBT violence

For the complete report go to:

The Anglo Meltdown: The EU will happily punish Britain for 'Greek Fallacy' on Brexit - by Jim Edwards

  • Tuesday night's vote in Parliament defeating Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal might seem like a significant event — an emphatic rejection of what the European Union wants.
  • From Brussels' point of view, however, nothing has changed.
  • Article 50 is a legal process, not a negotiation. This isn't poker, and Britain has not suddenly been dealt a new set of aces. It's more like a court proceeding, in which the EU is deciding how the UK shall be sentenced.
  • If Britain deludes itself into thinking the EU will start compromising, the country could flop out of Europe almost by accident, with no deal — that's the worst-case scenario.
Read more: The EU will happily punish Britain for 'Greek Fallacy' on Brexit - Business Insider

USA: The Trump Administration Seems Doomed: “He Had No Choice”: Giuliani’s Meltdown Foreshadows Another Russia Bombshell - by Abigail Tracy

Watching Rudy Giuliani’s latest televised confessional on Wednesday, one Washington defense attorney called to express his astonishment at the spectacle of Donald Trump’s personal attorney intimating that perhaps the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, after all. “I think it is long past due that we disregard anything he says about the law because I think he is confused,” the attorney said of Giuliani. “If he ever knew anything about it, he doesn’t remember.”

The interview was indeed baffling: over the course of a prolonged, heated exchange with Chris Cuomo on CNN, Giuliani claimed that he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign”; that if there was any collusion, “it happened a long time ago”; and argued that the “only crime you could commit here” would have been if the president had “conspired with the Russians to hack the D.N.C.”

It was, several legal experts observed, an astonishing act of expectation management. “Whatever Giuliani‘s motives for going on a show with Chris Cuomo, he’s clearly looking to sharply redefine the issue in the Russia collusion case,” said Bob Bauer, former White House general counsel to Barack Obama. During the campaign through the first several months of the Mueller probe,

Trump and his allies were insistent that there had been “no contact” with any Russians and certainly “no collusion” to influence the 2016 election. Over the past year, however, those claims have broken down in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

At least 16 Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the campaign or transition, amounting to more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to various reports. Court filings in federal cases involving Trump’s former campaign chairman, former lawyer, and national security adviser, among many others, all paint a portrait of a sweeping Russian influence campaign.

Read more: “He Had No Choice”: Giuliani’s Meltdown Foreshadows Another Russia Bombshell | Vanity Fair


USA - the Trump Administration: Donald Trump Military Border Mission Could Cost U.S. $470 Million In 2019 Alone

President Donald Trump's deployment of active duty U.S. troops and National Guard forces to the U.S.-Mexico border could cost the country as much as $470 million during the 2019 fiscal year alone, now that the Pentagon has extended the border mission until the end of September. That's according to the latest estimates.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced it would be extending the deployment of active-duty troops until September 30, adding 289 days to the ongoing border mission.

Read more: ICE, other agencies, see transparency take major hit during government shutdown
Estimates sent to Newsweek by the Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), an independent and nonpartisan policy research institute, suggest that the extension could add about $170 million in additional costs beyond what the Pentagon had previously announced.

"Altogether, the deployments of both active-duty and National Guard troops to the border could cost in the neighborhood of $410 million to $470 million during fiscal year 2019," Travis Sharp, CSBA researcher for defense budget studies, told Newsweek. 

Sharp said that the number could be significantly higher, however, if the Trump administration decided to boost the number of troops at the border over the coming months.

The U.S. leader had initially ordered more than 5,000 active-duty forces to be deployed to the southern border in late October as a caravan of Central American asylum seekers made its way toward the U.S. Since then, the number of troops stationed along the border has dropped to about 2,350, according to The Associated Press.

 Read more at: Donald Trump Military Border Mission Could Cost U.S. $470 Million In 2019 Alone


US Government Shutdown: hurting tourist industry - travel implications

Intl. tourists starting to avoid
 visiting US following Govt, shutdown
Not only in the US, but also in bordering countries, the multi million tourist industry is starting to hurt from the Trump Administration government shutdown.

In the Bahamas local business owners warily eye the Trump U.S. government shut down and any potential impact on the tourism industry, fearing a continuation that could lead to a drop in visitor arrivals to the Bahamas, as around 800,000 federal employees await pay.

With the shutdown entering its 26thth day and Friday marking the first missed pay period for these workers across the United States, planning future trips to The Bahamas will be the last thing on their minds.

Similar situations can be seen in Mexico and Canada, which usually attract a lot of US tourists throughout the year.

As the lock-down continues, travelers and tourists visiting the US  are also dwindling.

International Airlines around the world are advising their customers traveling to the U.S. that they arrive at airports at least three hours prior to their scheduled departure time, due to increased processing times and other delays and many tourists have cancelled plans to visit the US.

Airline pilots tell @RealDonaldTrump that the #shutdown is jeopardizing national security — air marshals, TSA, air traffic controllers and more.

The largest association of pilots in the US has also expressed concerns over the safety of the nation’s airspace which it said was being threatened due to the shutdown.

There has not been a blanket order yet to clos,  but National Parks across the US are struggling to remain open without funding to pay rangers. Without staff at the gates, parks are also losing a reported $400,000 a day in entry fees. Many campgrounds and walking trails have had to close due to a build-up of litter and other sanitation issues.

Bottom-line: at this point in time, international and local tourists probably should think twice before planning a trips to and in the US.