News

13 April 2017

Turkey referendum - Sunday 16th April 2017

Istanbul (CNN)Turkish voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in a referendum that could radically alter the way the country is governed.

If Turkey backs the referendum, the country's parliamentary system will turn into a presidential one, effectively consolidating the power of its legislative bodies into one executive branch with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its primary executor.

Significantly, it would also allow Erdogan -- who served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 before becoming President -- to stay in office until 2029. Those opposing the vote say the proposed constitutional changes give carte blanche…Read

12 April 2017

Cliche East vs West paradigms need to yield to the notion of art beyond borders

What is an exhibition of Picasso and Giacometti doing in fine arts museum in Doha, Qatar – an Arab capital – at a time when Syrian children are gassed to death and millions of Arabs are forced into mass exodus from their homelands? Article by Hamid Dabashi.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/04/rethinking-arab-capital-art-170409105111270.html

http://www.qm.org.qa/en/picasso-giacometti

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10 April 2017

Turkeys Referendum that seeks to empower presidency.

Istanbul, Turkey - On Sunday, April 16, Turkish voters will head to the polls to cast their vote in a milestone referendum that will determine how their country will be governed in the future. The constitutional amendments proposed by the referendum would empower Turkey's presidential office by setting up an executive presidential system.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/voxs-pops-turkish-voters-weigh-referendum-170409074012884.html

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UK foreign secretary - Boris Johnson

Russian officials have launched a scathing attack on the UK over Boris Johnson’s decision to cancel an upcoming trip to Moscow due to increased tensions about Syria, threatening to bring relations to a new low. The foreign secretary faced criticism at home and abroad on Sunday for postponing the visit, prompting his allies to say critics had put “polls and politics above sorting out a civil war”. With the repercussions continuing from last week’s chemical weapons attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhun and a retaliatory US strike on a Syrian government…Read

9 April 2017

U.S Missile Strike in Syria

Samer N Abboud is an Assistant Professor of International Studies at Arcadia University, Pennsylvania. In a short response to the recent U.S missile attack in Syria he says that that he believes the real reason was to whip up patriotism at home. He goes on to point out that: “Trump's presidency has grown increasingly unpopular, wrought by internal disarray, federal investigations, allegations of corruption and a stunning incompetence in international affairs. As we remember from the Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies, a quick, targeted strike against a hapless target in some far-off land…Read

8 April 2017

Was Bashar al-Assad responsible for the nerve agent, sarin attack

In an article by Emma Graham Harrison published in the Guardian newspaper on 7th April it is argued that Bashar al-Assad did have convincing reasons to use sarin in an attack on Khan Sheikhun town on Tuesday 4th April.  Joshua Landis, a long-time Syrian observer and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said chemical weapons could be attractive to a leader running low on military alternatives. “I think Assad and his generals want to win the war but have a depleted and exhausted army,”  …Read

6 April 2017

Emmanuel Macron is forecast to win the May 7 runoff with 62 percent to 38 percent for Le Pen.

French centrist Emmanuel Macron's lead in France's presidential election has narrowed following a televised debate though he is still on course to win, an Elabe poll for BFM TV showed on Wednesday.

Conservative Francois Fillon, whose campaign had struggled as he fought nepotism allegations, regained some momentum though not enough to make it into the runoff. His score rose to 19 percent in the first round from 18 percent last week.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-idUSKBN1772OG

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5 April 2017

Chemical attack’ in Syria draws international outrage

UN to investigate potential war crimes after dozens were killed in Idlib attack US says 'cannot be ignored'.

A suspected chemical attack in Syria has drawn international condemnation, with the United States, France and Britain all pointing the finger at President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

At least 58 people, including 11 children, were killed in the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday, doctors and a monitor said.

The United Nations said it would investigate the bombing raid as a possible war crime, and an emergency Security Council meeting…Read

3 April 2017

North Korea: Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program

U.S. President Donald Trump held out the possibility on Sunday 2/4/17 of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation against North Korea and suggested Washington might deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs on its own if need be. The comments, in an interview published on Sunday by the Financial Times, appeared designed to pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this week.

"China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won&rsquo…Read

2 April 2017

Brexit: Game On

John Pienaar has a flutter on the frooties in his round-up of events in Westminster in a week when the UK triggered Article 50, nine months after the referendum, which put the UK on the road to leaving the EU.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39451480

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31 March 2017

What does nepotism mean and should it be allowed in business or politics?

The practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. "his years in office were marked by corruption and nepotism"

Ivanka Trump is officially joining her father's administration as an unpaid employee with the title, "Assistant to the President," the White House says. Ivanka Trump is the daughter of U.S. president Donald Trump and his first wife, former model Ivana Trump.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39438769  

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30 March 2017

‘No turning back’ on Brexit as Article 50 triggered

Britain's departure from the EU is "an historic moment from which there can be no turning back", Theresa May has said. She was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year exit process by handing a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk. A sombre-looking Mr Tusk said it was not a "happy day" for him or the EU.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39431428

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29 March 2017

Neither charismatic nor visionary, but very popular since announcing he would run to be chancellor

An interesting article by Hans Kundnani, featured in ‘The Guardian’ Newspaper, Sunday 26 February 2017 suggests that Martin Schulz's popularity is not so much about a liking for the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP),  but rather of a feeling of being fed-up with long-time chancellor, Angela Merkel.

“The excitement around the candidacy of Schulz is something of a puzzle – he is hardly a charismatic or visionary figure. Some think of him, though, as “populist of the centre” because of the way he presents…Read

28 March 2017

The French election

A Le Pen victory would be the worst crisis for half a century. Even if she doesn’t, the system is in deep trouble.

Is France on the brink of a political revolution? Already, four established candidates for the presidency — two former presidents and two former prime ministers — have backed out or been rejected by the voters, and another, François Fillon, is on the ropes. The campaign is being taken over by outsiders, principally the Front National’s Marine Le Pen and a youthful former banker, Emmanuel Macron, while the Socialists…Read

27 March 2017

Iran hits back at US with ‘reciprocal’ sanctions

Iran has announced sanctions against 15 US companies, alleging they support "terrorism", repression and Israel's occupation of Palestine, in retaliation for measures earlier announced by Washington.

A foreign ministry statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency on Sunday said the sanctions barred companies from any agreements with Iranian firms, and that former and current directors would not be eligible for visas into Iran.

It also said any of the company's assets in Iran could be seized.

"The sanctioned companies have, directly and/or indirectly, been involved in the brutal atrocities committed…Read

Angela Merkel’s Re-election Bid Is Buoyed by Widely Watched State Election

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won a regional election in the western state of Saarland on Sunday, dealing a setback to their Social Democrat rivals (Martin Schulz) and boosting her prospects of winning a fourth term in Germany's Sept. 24 national election. Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) strengthened their position as the largest party in the state despite expectations ahead of the vote that the Social Democrats (SPD) would be boosted by their new national leader, Martin Schulz. The CDU won 40.1 percent of the vote, up from 35.2 percent in the last election in Saarland in 2012, an exit poll for…Read

26 March 2017

European leaders gather to mark 60th anniversary of Treaty of Rome

Only once, and fleetingly, was the 28th member state of the European Union mentioned during the formalities of a distinctly sombre summit in Rome held to mark the 60th anniversary of the bloc. And it was not to celebrate what Boris Johnson has taken to describing as Britain’s liberation.

Lamenting the EU’s failure to respond adequately enough to the economic crisis of 2008, the Italian prime minister Paolo Gentolini told leaders and dignitaries: “That [failure] triggered in part of public opinion – unfortunately the majority of public opinion in the United Kingdom –…Read

25 March 2017

A victory for the American people,” Nancy Pelosi” but a disappointing day for Donald Trump

Republicans in the US House of Representatives, short of support from their own party, have withdrawn a healthcare bill drafted to repeal and replace "Obamacare".

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday withdrew the legislation after President Donald Trump called him and asked him to halt debate without a vote.

Just a day earlier, Trump had demanded a House vote and said if the measure lost, he would move on to other issues.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that "we were very close" and tried to blame Democrats for the failure to…Read

Brexit is a failure and a tragedy, says EC chief Juncker

Brexit is “a failure and a tragedy”, the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said.

The EU’s most senior civil servant promised that Brussels would approach the negotiation of Britain’s withdrawal in a “friendly” and fair way, but warned that European institutions were not “naive” about the process.

He confirmed that the UK would be presented with a bill for leaving, but insisted this did not represent a punishment, but merely the settling of commitments made by the UK.

He did…Read

U.S Health care vote - the latest news

After Republican leaders abruptly postponed its vote on the GOP health care bill Thursday, President Trump declared he was finished negotiating with Republicans opposed to the current measure and sent the message he wanted the vote Friday. House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to brief the president on the state of play in the vote.

The House is debating the measure now and is expected to begin voting on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) later this afternoon. Follow along here for live updates:

The vote has been cancelled 3:35 p…Read

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