Nato is to deploy its forces at new bases in eastern Europe for the first time, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from causing trouble in the former Soviet Baltic republics, according to its secretary general.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations’s summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders – a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow.
He also outlined moves to boost Ukraine’s security, “modernise” its armed forces and help the country counter the threat from Russia. Continue reading
The barbaric Islamic State regime marauding through Syria and Iraq has gained the Vatican’s full attention.
In recent weeks the world has finally started to pay serious attention to the barbarism of the Islamic State, the radical Islamist group taking over Iraq and Syria. The growing outcry includes voices from Pope Francis and the Vatican, who are concerned about the genocide of Christians in the Middle East.
Criticized for his weak, uncommitted response to the Islamic State, the pope appears to be changing his tune.
During his Sunday blessing on August 10, “Pope Francis used unusually strong language to condemn the actions of [the Islamic State],” according to the Guardian (emphasis added throughout). “Unusually strong language” is probably an overstatement by the Guardian. Compared to previous popes, and considering the dramatic cruelty of the terrorist group, it is easier to make the case that Francis’s remarks are merely stronger than they were before.
However, the pope’s remarks, and some recent decisions made by the Vatican, clearly reveal that the Vatican is toughening its stance. Continue reading
A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.
On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.
A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.
France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets
Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.
Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.
Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.
It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.
Data from Germany, Italy and Portugal put pressure on ECB to act
Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.
The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. Continue reading
To get economy moving again, policymakers should go ahead with quantitative easing to boost liquidity and allow the euro to weaken
The euro zone’s “softly, softly” approach to the financial crisis is not working. The economy is sinking into deflation, dragged down by a zombie banking system and spiralling government debt. It is slipping back towards recession. A future break-up of the euro zone remains a potent threat.
Policymakers can ill afford to keep kicking the can down the road. The bailout earlier this month of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo was a sharp reminder to investors the euro zone was not out of the woods by a long stretch. Continue reading
ROME — Italy slipped into recession for the third time since 2008 in the second quarter, underlining the chronic weakness of the eurozone’s third-largest economy and pressuring the government to complete promised reforms.
Figures on Wednesday from statistics agency ISTAT showed gross domestic product unexpectedly declined by 0.2% in April-June from the previous three months. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast growth of 0.2%.
The economy also shrank by 0.1% in January-March, meaning it has returned to recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
Italian stocks fell after the data and the risk premium between Italy’s 10-year bonds and those of Germany widened. Continue reading
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Gendarmerien are police forces, although they take on tasks of internal security. In contrast to the police but they are subordinated to the ministries of defense. Used in the interior they are under the authority of the Interior Ministries. They are described as “robust police issues” because they have a better weaponry, armored vehicles and military training. Therefore, they can also be used on the edge of military hostilities. There they are under the command of the responsible Department of Defense.
The EGF was originally planned around the turn of the millennium by Italy and France as EU force. Several Member States, including Germany, but had objections to such a paramilitary unit. The governments in Rome and Paris stuck to the plan and eventually founded the EGF as a multilateral, independent of EU unity. According to its statutes, the capabilities of NATO, the OSCE, the UN and the EU can be borrowed. In the foreground, however, are inserts of the European Union. Continue reading
The 65,000-ton Royal Navy aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, launched by Her Majesty on July 4 and praised as “a national instrument of power,” is in fact “a ship with no real purpose other than to act as the monument to yet another failed dream of EU integration,” according to historian and journalist Christopher Booker.
Even before the launch, there were questions raised over the ship’s purpose. No aircraft will be able to fly off it until 2020. Despite a vast flight deck, it is not designed to handle fixed-wing aircraft, only the American-built vertical take-off F35, which is still in development with chronic design problems.
The F-35 seen on board the ship at the launch was in fact a fibre glass replica, a plastic kit plane defence giant Lockheed Martin assembles for air shows and exhibitions.
Other questions have been raised that HMS Queen Elizabeth should be nuclear powered like American aircraft carriers, not by diesel and gas. More, the Royal Navy no longer has enough surface craft to provide escort for an aircraft carrier. Continue reading
In addition to a push for a ‘United States of Europe’ lead by Germany via the EU and its control over the ‘Troika’, calls for a ‘European Army’ have already been made in the past by member nations such as Poland and Italy. What may seem like science fiction or a joke nobody will take serious today is tomorrow’s reality, and as the addage goes: the truth is stranger than fiction. Although a lot of EU nations don’t like each other at the moment, the further integration of iron and clay (Daniel 2:43) continues to be their only solution. With Italy’s high involvement, and even with the Vatican, it’s reminiscent of the WWII era connection between the church and the German leadership. Or better yet, the Holy Roman Empire of the past.
Look for calls of a European Army to grow, especially as resurgent Russia is on the doorstep and the United States is suicidally fading away from the world stage. As with all nation building, the political structure comes first, then the economy. After the economy comes the military. The Fourth Reich is coming.
Italy will use its presidency of the European Union to push for a “United States of Europe,” the prime minister has said
Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.
Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time“, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.“
He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission.
Key policy ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, supplied by Azeri state corporation SOCAR
The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.
The European Commission released an EU energy security strategy earlier this week, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine which is threatening gas supplies from Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless the latter starts to pay off its gas debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says stands at €2.5 billion. Continue reading
Dubai: AnonGhost, a politically motivated group of hacktivists, is planning to launch cyber attacks on energy companies globally, including Adnoc and Enoc in the UAE, on Friday for using the dollar in oil trades.
This is according to a YouTube post link tweeted by the AnonGhost team.
“It is a follow-up from the #opPetrol operation in 2013. They [Anonymous] are serious about its political message and they will deliver it,” Nicolai Solling, director of technology services at Help AG, told ‘Gulf News’.
The great mystery is why the voting public of debtor states continue to put up with an arrangement that ensures years of mass unemployment
If Europe’s elites seem nonchalant about the deflation threat staring them in the face, it is because they do not share the Anglo-Saxon and Japanese orthodoxy that letting it happen is an unforgivable policy failure.
The handful of officials calling the shots at the European Central Bank and Germany’s finance ministry — with applause from Italy’s hard-money “Bocconi Boys” and Spain’s “Austrian School” ultras — do not think deflation would be traumatic even if it were to happen. Some rather like the idea.
Italy could increase gas imports from Algeria, Libya and the Netherlands to counter any disruption of supplies from Russia, Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti said on Monday as G7 energy ministers gathered in Rome.
“We are capable of rapidly increasing imports from the supplier countries … Libya, Algeria and the Netherlands,” De Vincenti told Reuters.
Italy, which generates more than 40% of its electricity from gas, is increasingly dependent on Russian gas as Algerian imports decline and Libyan supplies are limited by growing unrest in the country. Continue reading