BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) – In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now – truthfully – being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts “difficult times” ahead: “It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales.” In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements – unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU “second ring” would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. Continue reading
Shanghai: The controversial construction of a People’s Liberation Army port in Hong Kong’s historic Victoria Harbour has been approved, amid growing unease about China’s role in the former British colony.
The port proposal was “unanimously” passed by Hong Kong’s planning board, China’s state broadcaster announced. Continue reading
Germany is planning to possibly resume counter-espionage measures against several Western allies, according to a report in the news magazine Spiegel. The report said British and US embassies could be targeted.
Germany is debating plans to expand its counter-espionage personnel and conduct “foundational monitoring” of the embassies of such nations as the United States and Britain, Spiegel said in its report on Sunday. Continue reading
Between January 2006 and December 2013 99 servicewomen sent home
Military rules ban mothers-to-be from serving in a war zone
16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy
In September 2012 Lynette Pearce gave birth at Camp Bastion
According to figures released by the Ministry Of Defence, 16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy, while 18 were sent home in 2011.
The women were flown back on flights usually reserved for injured troops, meaning the true figure could be higher if other female soldiers came home via routine flights, according to The Sun. Continue reading
A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register
New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – In the few months leading up to the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a new debate, over who was responsible for starting the war, is gaining momentum in Germany. As relevant publications – such as the bestseller, “The Sleepwalkers” by the historian Christopher Clark – show, “a shift in paradigm has taken place” in scholarship, according to a recent press article: “The German Empire was not ‘responsible’ for World War I.” The debate strongly contradicts the recognition that, even though Berlin did not bear it alone, it bore the primary responsibility for the bloody escalation of the 1914 July Crisis. This insight, which was derived particularly from the analyses of the historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s, is now being massively contested. Historians are strongly criticizing remarks, such as those by Christopher Clark, who, working closely with government-affiliated academic institutions, is denying German responsibility for the war. According to Clark, “the Serbs” are supposedly a priori “the bad guys” of the pre war era, while he openly displays his preference for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The denial of Germany’s main culpability for the war is “balm on the soul of educated social sectors, grown more self-confident” at a time when Berlin’s political power is again on the rise. Continue reading
While claiming that the People’s Liberation Army is unable to compete against the United States in a full-scale nuclear war, Vasiliy Kashin from the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies stated that China has the ability to wipe Japan from the face of the Earth with its projected arsenal of at least 600 nuclear warheads in ten years’ time, reports the Voice of Russia. Continue reading
A new assessment from a British and New Zealand research team has concluded that the worldwide electrical grid will suffer more frequent and significant outages if current trends continue.
In their report, which was published in the Social Space Scientific Journal, the two authors noted that nearly three quarters of American transmission lines are more than 25 years old. Continue reading
Britain could buy weapons from its former Cold War foe for the first time under a landmark defence treaty, the Telegraph can reveal.
Defence chiefs are preparing to sign a deal that would see British defence companies working jointly on projects with the Russian arms industry.
The treaty allows arms companies to buy kit from Russia – and Russian diplomatic sources said they hope one day to see British soldiers carrying the Red Army’s famous Kalashnikov rifle as a result. Continue reading
Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.
Listeners have told Radio 4′s Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.
HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November. Continue reading
Japan Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said the current tension between Japan and China is a “similar situation” as the rivalry Britain and Germany before World War I, Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times reports.
The comparison, he explained, lies in the fact that Britain and Germany – like China and Japan – had a strong trading relationship. But in 1914, this had not prevented strategic tensions leading to the outbreak of conflict. Continue reading
George Osborne will today deliver a stark warning to Britain’s European partners that the UK will leave the EU unless it embarks on whole-scale economic and political reform.
In a speech to a conference organised by the pro-reform Open Europe thinktank and the Fresh Start group of Tory MPs, Osborne will say: “There is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline. Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform, and then let the people decide.” Continue reading