Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Turkish Military Begins Major Offensive Into Syria in Fight Against ISIS

The New York Times

ISTANBUL — Turkey mounted its largest military effort yet in the Syrian conflict on Wednesday, sending tanks, warplanes and special operations forces over the border in a United States-backed drive to capture an Islamic State stronghold in Syria.

The joint offensive on the city of Jarabulus, one of the last border strongholds of the Islamic State, began hours before Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The timing seemed aimed at easing tensions between the two countries raised by the failed coup in Turkey last month.

EU warns Greece statistics row 'dangerous' for bailout

Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:35am EDT
By Alastair Macdonald and Renee Maltezou | BRUSSELS/ATHENS
The European Union called on Greece on Wednesday to quash what Brussels said were false accusations the Greek statistics agency rigged data to help foreign creditors and warned that the row posed risks to Athens' current bailout programme.

The Greek government quickly replied that it was "surprised" at the call from the European Commission for it to take a stance on a judicial matter and insisted it respected the independence of the Elstat statistics office.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Refugee inflow into the Aegean Islands after the coup.

Aegean islands alarm as refugee numbers rise after Turkey coup attempt
EU voices fears that deal struck to curb migration is at breaking point as tensions grow between Turkey and Greece

The Guardian

Greek authorities on a number of Aegean islands have called for emergency measures to curtail a growing flow of refugees from Turkey, which Athens attributes to the impact of the attempted coup in that country.

Since the failed 15 July putsch, the number of Europe-bound migrants willing to make the perilous journey across the Aegean has increased noticeably, with the Greek government announcing that as of yesterday some 9,420 men, women and children had been registered on Lesbos and other islands.

Islamic State Strikes Oil, Gas Facilities in Iraq

Attacks at AB2 gas compressor station, Bai Hassan oil field kill at least five local workers

The Wall Street Journal

Updated July 31, 2016 2:01 p.m. ET

BAGHDAD—Islamic State claimed twin attacks on oil and gas facilities in northern Iraq on Sunday that killed at least five local employees, the latest in northern Iraq by the extremist group, which relies on oil for a significant portion of its revenue.

Four suicide bombers hit the Bai Hassan oil field, prompting an hourslong standoff with local forces, said a colonel with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces that control the area. The field is one of the largest in the region of Kirkuk, producing more than 175,000 barrels a day, according to oil officials.

Three of the attackers were dead, he said, and one remained at large.

Britain’s scientists are freaking out over Brexit

The Washington Post

By William Booth and Karla Adam July 31 at 3:00 AM
CANTERBURY, England — Britain has been a powerhouse of discovery since the age of science began. Newton, Darwin, Crick? They parted the curtain on gravity, evolution and DNA.

Now comes Brexit, and to use a non-scientific term, the scientists in the country are freaking out.

Since the vote to leave the European Union last month, leaders of Britain’s scientific academies are making dire predictions about what could happen to research and innovation here.

Damage to British research, the scientists warn, could be among the cascade of unintended — and largely unappreciated — consequences of the vote to exit the bloc.

The researchers worry that Britain will not replace funding it loses when it leaves the E.U., which has supplied about $1.2 billion a year to support British science, approximately 10 percent of the total spent by government-funded research councils.

Decree by Turkey’s Erdogan brings military more under govt

Middle East
 The  Washingtion Post
(Kayhan Ozer Presidential Press Service, via AP Pool/Associated Press)
By Cinar Kiper and Elena Becatoros | AP July 31 at 12:45 PM

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new presidential decree Sunday that introduced sweeping changes to Turkey’s military in the wake of a July 15 failed coup, bringing the armed forces further under civilian authority.

The decree, the third issued under a three-month state of emergency declared after the attempted coup, gives the president and prime minister the authority to issue direct orders to the commanders of the army, air force and navy.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mitsotakis' mission: Saving Greece from Tsipras

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the Greek conservative party Nea Dimokratia, says he wants to "liberate" Greece from left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He tells DW how he intends to accomplish this.

Deutche Welle

If Greece were to hold elections tomorrow, the pro-European conservatives Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy, ND) would clearly win. According to polls, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has headed his party since January, has gained popularity. Many believe he would be a better prime minister than Alexis Tsipras.
The pro-European and neoliberal Mitsotakis, a scion of a Greek political dynasty, holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford. He has worked in politics and investment banking. His father, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, is a former Greek prime minister and his older sister, Dora Bakoyannis, former mayor of Athens, also served as Greek foreign minister and culture minister.

Eight Aboard Military Helicopter Seek Asylum in Greece

6:20 AM ET
Jul 16, 2016
Sat Jul 16 2016 09:20:46 GMT+0300 (GTB Daylight Time)
Niki Kitsantonis

The New York Times

Greece has arrested eight people aboard a Turkish military helicopter that landed in Alexandroupolis shortly before noon, the country’s Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection said.

The eight individuals have requested political asylum, the ministry said in a text message to reporters, and the helicopter has been placed under guard.

Monday, July 4, 2016

After the Brexit vote

The first signs of post-Brexit financial stress: property fund suspended
Jul 4th 2016, 16:45 BY BUTTONWOOD

The Economist

AFTER the initial post-Brexit sell-off in sterling and equities, financial markets had quietened down in the wake of the shock referendum result. The FTSE 100 even moved ahead of its pre-Brexit level.

But investor concerns have shown up in another market - property, Today Standard Life, the Scottish insurer, suspended redemptions in its UK Retail property fund, with £2.9 billion of assets under management. Here is the press release.

Nigel Farage, Who Spurred ‘Brexit,’ Resigns as Head of U.K. Independence Party


The New York Times

LONDON — He spent nearly 20 years pushing for Britain to leave the European Union, and having succeeded in his aim, he is now taking his leave.

Nigel Farage, the politician who probably did more than any other to force the referendum on British membership in the European Union, resigned on Monday as leader of the right-wing populist U.K. Independence Party, saying “I’ve done my bit.”

Mr. Farage, 52, has quit the post before — twice. But on Monday he sounded as if he meant it this time, telling reporters that “my political ambition has been achieved” and that “I want my life back.”

Friday, July 1, 2016

This economist thinks China is headed for a 1929-style depression

Published: June 30, 2016 2:23 p.m. ET


Andy Xie is among the loudest voices warning of an inevitable implosion


Andy Xie isn’t known for tepid opinions.

The provocative Xie, who was a top economist at the World Bank and Morgan Stanley, found notoriety a decade ago when he left the Wall Street bank after a controversial internal report went public. Today, he is among the loudest voices warning of an inevitable implosion in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Xie, now working independently and based in Shanghai, says the coming collapse won’t be like the Asian currency crisis of 1997 or the U.S. financial meltdown of 2008.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brexit isn’t the most serious threat to the EU — the euro is

Updated by Timothy B. Lee on June 29, 2016, 10:10 a.m. ET


Central banks like the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank play a critical role in modern economies.

Money is an essential fuel for economic activity, and it’s the job of a central bank to supply enough to allow for robust economic growth. If they supply too much, they produce inflation. Producing too little can tip the economy into a recession — or make an existing recession worse than it would otherwise be.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Turkey Moves To Restore Relations With Russia And Israel On The Same Day

Closer ties could mean a boost to Turkish tourism, gas prospects for Israel and greater security cooperation.
 06/27/2016 03:19 pm ET | Updated 14 hours ago

The Huffington Post

Sophia Jones
Middle East Correspondent, The WorldPost

ISTANBUL — Turkish leaders on Monday announced a series of landmark moves meant to normalize ties with Russia and Israel after years of tumultuous relations with the two leading world powers.

Strengthened relations — a result of a deal with Israel and a letter to the Russian president calling for restored ties — could lead to a boosted economy and tourism sector in Turkey, lucrative Mediterranean gas prospects for Israel and greater security cooperation at a crucial time in the region.

Greece’s Fragile Economy Faces New Tests After Brexit

“Our effort to exit the crisis becomes more complicated because this decision disrupts our economy,” says one Greek politician.
 06/27/2016 04:14 pm ET

The Huffington Post

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in a so-called “Brexit” has sent shocks through Europe, raising questions about the continent’s political and economic future.

Markets around the world plunged in the wake of the unexpected referendum results. The Athens stock exchange fell by 15 percent in the immediate aftermath of British voters’ decision, while bank shares dropped by 30 percent.

Greece’s already-fragile economy faces new challenges in an increasingly unpredictable post-Brexit world. Especially worrisome are the potential effects Britain’s decision could have on two of the country’s essential industries: shipping and tourism.

World stocks, sterling fight back after Brexit beating

Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:11am EDT Related: HOUSING MARKET, DAVOS

World stocks rose for the first time in three days and sterling and the euro climbed on Tuesday, as investors made a rush for Brexit-bashed assets hammered by some of the biggest falls since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Bargain hunting trumped still widespread uncertainty over Britain's vote to leave the European Union, as the bloc's leaders, including soon-to-be-ex UK Prime Minister David Cameron, headed for their first post-vote meeting in Brussels.

European shares .FTEU3 jumped 2.4 percent in early trading having plunged over 10 percent since Friday.

How Britain Could Exit ‘Brexit’

The Interpreter

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In the days since Britons voted to leave the European Union, the so-called “Brexit” referendum has created such severe turmoil that public attention is increasingly focused on an extreme option: Can they get out of it?

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that he considered the referendum binding and that “the process of implementing the decision in the best possible way must now begin.” But he also said he would leave that process to his successor, after his expected resignation in October. This opens a window of at least four months during which time Britain could decide not to proceed, and avoid consequences from Europe.

'Why are you here?' Juncker asks Brexit lawmakers

Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:53am EDT Related: WORLD


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asked lawmakers of Britain's anti-EU UKIP on Tuesday why they had attended a European Parliament session to discuss the consequences of the British vote to leave the bloc.

"We must respect British democracy and the way it has expressed its view," Juncker said in a speech to parliament, words that were greeted by rare applause from the UKIP members present.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Having Won, Some ‘Brexit’ Campaigners Begin Backpedaling


The New York Times

LONDON — Freed from the shackles of the European Union, Britain’s economy would prosper and its security would increase. Britain would “take back control” of immigration, reducing the number of arrivals. And it would be able to spend about 350 million pounds, or about $470 million, a week more on health care instead of sending the money to Brussels.

Before Thursday’s referendum on the country’s membership in the 28-nation bloc, campaigners for British withdrawal, known as Brexit, tossed out promises of a better future while dismissing concerns raised by a host of scholars and experts as “Project Fear.”

But that was before they won.

With financial markets in turmoil, a big drop in the pound and the prospect of further chaos, some supporters of Brexit are backpedaling on bold pronouncements they made just a few days earlier. “A lot of things were said in advance of this referendum that we might want to think about again,” Liam Fox, a former cabinet minister, told the BBC, including when and how Article 50 — the formal process for leaving the European Union — should be invoked.

Brexit: France and Germany 'in agreement' over UK's EU exit

37 06 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have said they are in "full agreement" on how to handle the fallout from the UK's decision to leave the European Union.
Mr Hollande warned that "separated, we run the risk of divisions, dissension and quarrels".
The two will hold talks later in Berlin amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the wake of so-called "Brexit".
The pound fell further in early trading in Asia on Monday as markets reacted.
UK Chancellor George Osborne made a statement before the start of trading in the UK in a bid to calm markets.
He said the UK was ready to face the future "from a position of strength", although he accepted the economy would have to confront challenges and that further volatility on financial markets was likely.

Nervous Greeks worry Brexit may lead to Grexit

By Richard Galpin
BBC News, Athens
26 June 2016

Its people and government are embittered by the imposition of harsh austerity measures by the EU and IMF.
Those bailout conditions have brought years of deep recession and high unemployment, but have done little to reduce Greece's huge debt burden.
And as a frontline country in the migrant crisis, Greece feels let down by Brussels and EU member states, in its struggle to cope with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants over the past 18 months.
The anger shows in a pan-European survey published by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, in which Greeks top the table in their response to many of the questions asked.
For example, 71% of those who took part had an unfavourable view of the EU - far higher than in the UK.
More than 90% disapproved of the way the EU was handling economic issues and the migrant crisis.