Category Archives: International

Italy ends NGO planes search operations

Italy has stopped two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats navigating from African coast to Europe in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – have been used by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been undertaking reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

Lately neither aircraft could take off because the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”.

Tense G7 opens in Biarritz

World leaders are gathering in Biarritz (France) for the G7 summit. Addressing the event the European Council President Donald Tusk said will be a “difficult test of unity and solidarity” due to deep divisions over a range of issues including trade and climate change.

The annual gathering of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) some of the world’s key industrial countries, open on August 24 in the French Atlantic resort of Biarritz.

The three-day summit is taking place against the backdrop of an escalating trade war between the US and China, Brexit, mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran nuclear programme and global concern over Amazon forest fires ravaging Brazil.

Thousands of different groups of protesters from all over the world rallied in the nearby town of Hendaye.

Donald Tusk vows to protect French wine export

Addressing G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the president of the European Union Council Donald Tusk called for “Putting a stop to trade wars. Trade deals and the reform of WTO are better than trade wars.Trade wars will lead to recession, while trade deals will boost the economy, not to mention the fact that trade wars among G7 members will lead to eroding the already weakened trust among us.”

The European Union will “respond in kind” if the U.S. imposes tariffs on France over digital tax plan, Donald Tusk added.

Before leaving for the Summit the American President Donald Trump warned about possible tariffs imposition on French wines in retaliation of the decision of National Assembly to tax US digital companies (GAFA) 3%, operating in France. At present this tax could generate an amount up to €500 million a year and more for the French state purse.

Will Greenland follow Alaska?

An idea to purchase Greenland  from Denmark came one and a half century after the successful operation of acquisition of Alaska from Russia (1867) for an amount of USD7,2 million. The other historic deal was an acquisition of Louisiana for USD15 million from France (1803). 

Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen‘s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” President Trump tweeted.

The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”

While meeting with reporters in Copenhagen, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she did not wish Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his trip to Denmark to become a diplomatic crisis.

“I actually think we have responded very nicely from the Danish side,”  Frederiksen said. “When you are close allies and good friends, like Denmark and the U.S. are, there should also be room for disagreements along the way. I hope we can stop this discussion soon.”

“Obviously, the right decision for this country,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton said, claiming he had put forward the idea of purchase of Greenland. “Several months ago I met with the Danish ambassador, and I proposed they sell Greenland to us.” It is a right decision for the United States, he added.

Greenland is a autonomous Arctic territory of Denmark, with a population of 56,480 people (2013).  About 80% of Greenland is covered by a shield of ice. The territory also has “untold” economic potential in mineral wealth, Cotton said.

The Senator underlined that the territory’s location makes it a vital component of the U.S. defense posture. There’s good reason that Thule Air Force Base has remained operable in northern Greenland since the 1950s, he said.

Greenland village

The Kingdom of Denmark implemented steps for enforce democracy for people of Greenland, granting them home rule in 1979, and in 2008 more powers were transferred from Danish government to local authorities – Greenland government – in Self-Government Act.

 

UK Consulate employee detained in China

The UK “extremely concerned” by reports an employee of its Consulate in Hong Kong has been detained in China, according to AFP news agency.

A staff member from the British Consulate General in Hong Kong has been missing in mainland China for over 10 days after crossing the border for a business trip. Hong Kong authorities in the mainland have been following up on the incident.

Simon Cheng Man-kit, a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the consulate, traveled to attended a business event in Shenzhen on August 8 via the Lo Wu control point, but never returned in contradiction to his prior plan to make a day trip with Express Rail Link, Cheng’s girlfriend told news outlet HK01.

 

Russia demands Google to bloc “illegal” protests video

Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media  (Roskomnadzor) sent a letter to Google demanding to stop using YouTube video hosting to advertise illegal demonstrations, the department’s website announced.

“According to the information available,” writes Roskomnadzor, “a number of players with YouTube channels purchase advertising tools from YouTube (such as push notifications) in order to disseminate information about unauthorized (illegal) public events, including those aimed at disrupting elections of federal and regional significance. “

“If Google does not give a response,” the agency underlined, “the Russian Federation will regard this as interference in the sovereign affairs of the state, as well as a hostile influence and obstructing the holding of democratic elections in Russia, leaving the right to an adequate reaction. “

Neither Roskomnadzor, nor Council of the Federation (Upper Chamber of Parliament) have yet explained what “forces”, “players” and “opponents” are in question.

Strong European support to JCPOA

An extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 28 July 2019 upon the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting was held in order to discuss the need regarding the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.

The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, by EEAS Secretary General Helga-Maria Schmid and was attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran at the level of Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers.

Participants reaffirmed their continued commitment to preserving the JCPOA. They recalled that both nuclear commitments and sanctions-lifting are essential parts of the agreement. They also re-iterated the commitments contained in chair’s statements issued after previous Joint Commissions and, in particular, to continue discussions at expert level on sanctions-lifting and nuclear issues.

Participants reaffirmed their strong support and collective responsibility for the nuclear projects, in particular Arak and Fordow, which are an essential part of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

It was agreed that a meeting of the Joint Commission at ministerial level would be convened in the near future.

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