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ALERT Europe: Politics, Trade, NATO - June 2019
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  1. #1

    Europe: Politics, Trade, NATO - June 2019

    This thread is for European: Politics, Trade, NATO for the month of June 2019

  2. #2
    Far-right party aims to govern 1st German state this fall

    By The Associated Press
    BERLIN — June 1, 2019, 7:58 AM ET

    The far-right Alternative for Germany party says it intends to take power in one of the country's 16 states for the first time this fall.

    Joerg Urban, the party's leader in the eastern state of Saxony, told supporters Saturday that there's no way other parties will be able to govern with them after September 1 regional elections

    The party, known by its German acronym AfD, came first in Saxony in last month's European elections and the 2017 national vote , ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats.

    German news agency dpa reported that AfD's state election program includes plans to ban the teaching of Islam in Saxony's schools.

    Far-right parties have long been stronger in Saxony, particularly outside big cities such as Dresden and Leipzig, than the national average.

  3. #3
    German government wobbles after Social Democrat leader quits

    By Frank Jordans, Associated Press
    BERLIN — June 2, 2019, 12:23 PM ET

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Sunday to continue with her government after the leader of the center-left Social Democrats, a junior partner in the coalition, resigned following a series of disappointing election results.

    In a surprise announcement hours earlier, Andrea Nahles had announced she planned to quit, saying she wanted "clarity" after questions were raised about her ability to lead the Social Democrats. The party finished third in last month's European Parliament election, receiving 15.8% of the vote behind Merkel's center-right Union bloc with 28.9% and the Greens with 20.5%.

    "The necessary support for me to carry out my duties isn't there anymore," Nahles said in a statement. The 48-year-old said she would be stepping down from her post as chairwoman of the Social Democrats and leader of its parliamentary faction in the coming days to ensure that her successors are found "in an orderly fashion."

    Merkel voiced respect for Nahles' decision, calling her a "fine character" who she had worked with closely over the years.

    "Of course I also respect the decisions that the Social Democratic Party now needs to take," she told reporters in Berlin.

    "We will continue the work of government, with all seriousness and especially with a great sense of responsibility," Merkel added, noting the numerous challenges that need to be tackled in Germany, Europe and beyond.

    The leader of Merkel's party also sought to downplay the possibility that the "grand coalition" of Germany's two biggest parties would collapse.

    "I'm working on the assumption that the Social Democrats will now swiftly make the necessary personnel decisions and the grand coalition's ability to act won't be compromised," Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters

    "We continue to stand by the grand coalition," she added. In a swipe at her own critics within the Christian Democrats, Kramp-Karrenbauer warned that "this is not the hour for tactical considerations within the party."

    Nahles took over as party leader in February 2018, as the Social Democrats reluctantly extended their coalition with Merkel's conservatives following a poor showing in the previous year's German election.

    While the Social Democrats have managed to push through their agenda of improving social welfare and working conditions for millions of Germans, voters haven't rewarded the party for it in the polls.

    Instead, many have turned to the environmentalist Greens, the far-right anti-migrant Alternative for Germany, the socialist Left party or Merkel's increasingly centrist Union bloc in recent years.

    An election loss last week in a longtime bastion of the Social Democrats, the tiny northwestern state of Bremen, and the prospect of further defeats in upcoming regional votes in eastern Germany this fall has alarmed many in the party.

    "The party is in an extremely serious situation," said Nahles' deputy Malu Dreyer, the governor of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. "If we don't manage to stick together and find a way out of it then things will look really bleak."

    Dreyer told reporters in Berlin that senior party officials would meet Monday to discuss the next steps.

    Former party leader Sigmar Gabriel told the daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung that the Social Democrats needed a "detox" to prevent internal power struggles from further harming the party.

    The Social Democrats had planned to hold a midterm review of the coalition with Merkel's bloc later this year, raising the prospect of an early end to the coalition.

    A recent opinion poll indicated that the Social Democrats may not have hit rock bottom yet.

    The survey conducted last week for broadcaster RTL by the Forsa research institute found the Greens at 27%, ahead of Merkel's Union bloc with 26% and the Social Democrats at 12%.

    The poll had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

    Merkel, who handed the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union party to Kramp-Karrenbauer in December, has said she wants to stay on as chancellor until her fourth term ends when Germany holds its next national election in late 2021.

    The Christian Democrats were meeting late Sunday to review their own election result, but that is likely to be overshadowed by discussions about the future of the governing coalition.


    Follow Frank Jordans on Twitter at

  4. #4
    Pope warns EU risks future if it doesn't confront challenges

    By The Associated Press
    VATICAN CITY — June 2, 2019, 3:36 PM ET

    Pope Francis is warning that the Europe Union risks losing its influence and very essence as a unified bloc if political leaders don't reawaken the dreams of its founding fathers.

    Francis appealed for prayers and hope that Europe not be "beaten by pessimism and ideologies." He said: "If Europe is not careful about the future challenges, Europe will dry up."

    Francis spoke to reporters en route home from Romania on Sunday a week after European Parliament elections marked by a rise in far-right parties skeptical of the EU.

    In the news conference, Francis also criticized fundamentalist, traditionalist Catholics who he said are stuck in the past, saying true tradition "is always in movement."

    He said: "Tradition is the guarantee for the future, and not the container for the ashes."

  5. #5
    Greek conservatives dominate second round of local elections

    By The Associated Press
    ATHENS, Greece — June 2, 2019, 4:04 PM ET

    Conservative-backed candidates have won 12 of 13 of Greece's regions and captured the majority of Greece's cities, confirming a trend seen in last week's first round as well as the European Parliament election, which took place on the same day.

    In Athens, Costas Bakoyannis, son of former conservative mayor Dora Bakoyannis and nephew of opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has been elected with over 65% of the vote against a candidate backed by the ruling left-wing Syriza.

    In the Attica region, where nearly 30% of Greece's registered voters live, regional governor Rena Dourou, a prominent Syriza member, was trounced Sunday by conservative Giorgos Patoulis, who is getting around 66% of the vote with nearly all precincts reporting.

    Although there were a few hiccups, such as the election in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, of a dissident conservative over the official one, and a similar result in the North Aegean region, Mitsotakis' New Democracy party confirmed its position as the top party and the favorite to win a snap national election on July 7.

    Turnout was significantly lower than last Sunday. In regional elections, it dropped from 58% to 41% and in local ones from 59% to 44%.

  6. #6
    Donald Trump wades into Britain's Brexit crisis

    Steve Holland, Guy Faulconbridge
    June 2, 2019 / 8:41 AM / Updated 2 hours ago

    WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Britain on Monday on a state visit laden with diplomatic peril, having already humiliated outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit and challenged her to be tougher in dealing with China’s Huawei.

    Trump and his wife, Melania, will be treated to a display of British royal pageantry during the June 3-5 visit: lunch with Queen Elizabeth, tea with heir Prince Charles, a banquet at Buckingham Palace and a tour of Westminster Abbey, coronation church of English monarchs for 1,000 years.

    Beyond the pomp, though, the proudly unpredictable 45th U.S. president also brings demands: He has praised a more radical Brexit-supporting potential successor to May and his envoys have urged a tougher British stance towards telecoms giant Huawei.

    May said it was a “significant week for the special relationship and an opportunity to further strengthen our already close partnership.”

    She also said the UK-US security relationship was “deeper, broader and more advanced than with anyone else” in comments released by her office before Trump’s arrival.

    In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, Trump said the next British leader should send arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage to conduct talks with the EU.

    Britain must leave the EU this year, Trump said.

    “They’ve got to get it done,” he said. “They have got to get the deal closed.”

    “If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away. If you don’t get a fair deal, you walk away.”

    Trump repeated his backing for those candidates to succeed May who have said Britain must leave on the due date of October 31 with or without a deal.

    Those candidates include former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump praised in an interview with the Sun newspaper on Friday, along with former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and interior minister Sajid Javid.

    Trump said it was a mistake for the Conservatives not to involve Farage, the Brexit Party leader, in talks with Brussels after his success in European Parliament elections last month.

    “I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer - he is a very smart person,” Trump said.

    “They won’t bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

    On the Brexit divorce bill, Trump said: “If I were them, I wouldn’t pay 50 billion dollars. That is a tremendous number.”

    A meeting with either Johnson, favourite to succeed May, or Farage, a bombastic anti-establishment campaigner, would be seen as a snub for May who is bowing out after failing to negotiate a Brexit deal that parliament could ratify.

    British officials are privately concerned that Trump could heap further ignominy on May, who battled in vain to unify her ruling Conservatives behind a deal and cried while announcing the end of her premiership in Downing Street last month.


    On his last visit to the United Kingdom, in July last year, Trump shocked Britain’s political establishment by hammering May’s Brexit negotiation for being too weak with the EU and by praising rival Johnson as a “great” potential prime minister.

    Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday the United States did not want to “get in the middle” of Brexit or a discussion of the next government’s policies.

    Bolton dismissed concerns about Brexit: “You know, America declared its independence once – we made out okay,” he quipped.

    Brexit is the most significant geopolitical move for the United Kingdom since World War Two and if it ever happens then London will be more reliant on the United States as ties loosen with the other 27 members of the EU.

    At a meeting with May, Trump will warn Britain that security cooperation could be hurt if London allows China’s Huawei a role in building parts of the 5G network, the next generation of cellular technology.

    The Trump administration has told allies not to use its 5G technology and equipment because of fears it would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data. Huawei denies it is, or could be, a vehicle for Chinese intelligence.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Britain last month it needed to change its attitude towards China and Huawei, casting the world’s second largest economy as a threat to the West similar to that once posed by the Soviet Union.

    Britain’s so-called special relationship with the United States is an enduring alliance, but some British voters see Trump as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on issues ranging from global warming to his treatment of women.


    A blimp depicting Trump as a snarling, nappy-clad baby will fly outside Britain’s parliament during the visit while protesters plan a “carnival of resistance” in central London.

    “Trump is coming to Britain to commemorate the defeat of fascism after D-Day while at the very same time pursuing a dangerous far-right agenda and fanning the flames of hatred,” said Matt Bonner, its designer.

    The first day of the visit, Monday, culminates in a lavish state banquet at Buckingham Palace - where men wear white tie coats with tails and women evening gowns.

    Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, who has declined an invitation to attend the state banquet, scolded Trump for getting involved in British politics.

    “President Trump’s attempt to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister is an entirely unacceptable interference in our country’s democracy,” Corbyn said.

    The second day will focus on politics, including a breakfast with business leaders, talks with May in 10 Downing Street, a news conference and a dinner at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.

    On Wednesday, Trump joins the queen and veterans to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in the southern English city of Portsmouth, and also makes a trip to Ireland. He will attend official D-Day ceremonies in France on Thursday.

    Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by William Maclean and David Evans

  7. #7
    Trump tells Britain to 'walk away' if EU does not yield on Brexit

    Paul Sandle, Stephen Addison
    June 1, 2019 / 6:12 PM / Updated 11 hours ago

    LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said Britain should refuse to pay a $50 billion European Union divorce bill and “walk away” from Brexit talks if Brussels does not give ground.

    Trump told the Sunday Times newspaper ahead of a state visit to Britain, which starts on Monday, that Britain’s next leader should send arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage to conduct EU talks.

    Once Britain leaves the EU, which Trump said must happen this year, then he would go “all out” to agree a trade deal.

    “They’ve got to get it done,” he said in the Sunday Times interview. “They have got to get the deal closed.”

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will step down shortly after this week’s Trump visit, having failed to win backing for the Brexit divorce deal she negotiated with the EU.

    Trump said her successor should pursue a “no-deal” Brexit if he or she could not get more concessions from Europe by the end of October, when Britain is due to leave.

    “If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away,” he said. “If you don’t get a fair deal, you walk away.”

    The 13 candidates already in the leadership race are split between those willing to accept a “no-deal” and those opposed.

    In the “no deal” camp are former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump praised in an interview with the Sun newspaper on Friday, along with former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and interior minister Sajid Javid.

    Trump said the United States could work “very, very quickly” on a trade deal if Britain was not constrained by a transition period agreed with Brussels.


    The U.S. Ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, said any such trade deal would include agriculture and healthcare.

    “In a trade deal, all things that are traded will be on the table,” he told the BBC on Sunday. Asked if that included healthcare, he replied: “I would think so”.

    Concerns have been raised in Britain about accepting U.S. agricultural standards, notably chlorine-washed chicken, and about opening up its state-funded healthcare system to U.S. companies as the price of a trade deal.

    “American products would come over, and be allowed to come over,” Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “You give the British people a choice, if they like it they can buy it, if they don’t want it, they do not have to buy it.”


    Trump said it was a mistake for the Conservatives not to involve Farage, the Brexit Party leader, in negotiations with Brussels after his success in European Parliament elections.

    “I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer - he is a very smart person,” Trump said. “They won’t bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

    Farage, who led the unofficial campaign to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum, wants to leave the bloc without any agreement.

    His new Brexit party swept to victory in the United Kingdom’s European parliament election last month, prompting him to demand a seat at Brexit negotiations.

    However, none of the candidates seeking to replace May are expected to offer an olive branch to a longstanding rival who has the potential to split the right-wing vote in Britain.

    Trump also said he would have “to know” Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn before authorising U.S. intelligence to share its most sensitive secrets with a hard-left government.

    He said Britain must be careful not to jeopardise intelligence-sharing by letting Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd into its 5G mobile phone network.

    Reporting by Stephen Addison and Paul Sandle; Editing by Chris Reese and Alexander Smith

  8. #8
    Aki Heikkinen‏ @akihheikkinen · 17h17 hours ago

    Incoming Finnish center-left government to gradually increase military refreshers by 20% till 2023.

    Also commits to previously agreed acquisitions: Hornets will be replaced in full. Navy will get 4 new ships

  9. #9
    Future in doubt for Merkel's German government after ally quits

    By Geir Moulson, Associated Press
    BERLIN — June 3, 2019, 6:24 AM ET

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she won't run for a fifth term, but the departure of a top ally in her often-cantankerous coalition has raised new doubts about whether her government will even survive until the end of her current term in 2021.

    Here's a look at the political turmoil in Germany right now:


    Merkel, Germany's leader since 2005, has run the country for most of her tenure in a "grand coalition" of her center-right Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats. Those traditionally were Germany's biggest parties but their support has eroded, particularly that of the Social Democrats.

    On May 26, the center-left Social Democrats had a disastrous result in the European Parliament election, dropping down to third behind Merkel's conservative bloc and the environmentalist Greens for their worst post-World War II performance in a nationwide vote.

    Andrea Nahles announced her resignation Sunday as the Social Democrats' leader and head of their parliamentary group, paving the way for what could be prolonged uncertainty about the government's future.



    Merkel's fourth-term government took office in March 2018, nearly six months after a national election. The Social Democrats initially vowed to go into opposition after a poor election result, but reluctantly reconsidered.

    The coalition has since become notorious for infighting. First, a spat within Merkel's own bloc over migration. Then an argument erupted over the future of the domestic spy chief, who had appeared to downplay far-right violence against migrants. More recently the two sides have tussled over Social Democratic demands for more generous pensions for low earners.

    Support for both coalition partners has fallen, with the Greens in particular benefiting from general discontent and a perception that the government isn't acting decisively enough to fight climate change.



    If the Social Democrats decide that they want to leave the coalition, that would likely lead to an early election, which would end Merkel's nearly 14-year reign. Merkel's bloc alone is far from having a parliamentary majority.

    Merkel, 64, said last year she won't seek a fifth term as chancellor. Her successor as leader of her Christian Democratic Union, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has had a bumpy start and polls suggest Merkel remains more popular.

    There is no realistic chance that the pro-business Free Democrats and Greens could jump in as Merkel's new coalition partners without a general election. Polls are now far more favorable to the Greens than in 2017, when they emerged as the smallest party in parliament. And the Free Democrats have made clear they don't want to be in a Merkel government.



    The Social Democrats' share of the vote has declined from 40.9% in Germany's 1998 national election to just 15.8% in last month's European election. Many supporters were alienated by labor reforms and welfare-state cuts introduced by Merkel's predecessor as chancellor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, though they were credited with boosting the German economy.

    In 2005, the party became Merkel's junior partner in a "grand coalition." It has been in that awkward position ever since, apart from a four-year break between 2009 and 2013.

    The party has struggled to sell its achievements in government, often complaining that Merkel — who has moved her own party steadily to the center — has taken credit for them. Germany's introduction of a national minimum wage and same-sex marriage, for example, were policies that Merkel had long opposed but allowed to happen at the Social Democrats' insistence.



    The Social Democrats are expected to appoint an interim leader or leaders while they consider a longer-term solution. It may take a while for the party to cement its leadership, and to decide whether to stick with Merkel's coalition.

    In the meantime, further tests loom that could destabilize the government. On September 1, the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg hold elections that could bring further setbacks for the governing parties. The far-right Alternative for Germany party is strong in both — as it is in a third state, Thuringia, which votes on October 27.

    The Social Democrats' branch in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt on Monday already advocated ending the coalition with Merkel.

  10. #10
    Germany probes mysterious death of Merkel party politician

    By The Associated Press
    BERLIN — June 3, 2019, 8:56 AM ET

    Authorities in Germany are investigating the death of a politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel's party who was reportedly found with a gunshot wound to the head.

    Police in the central state of Hessen plan to hold a news conference later Monday about the death of Walter Luebcke, who was in charge of the Kassel area regional administration

    The Daily HNA newspaper reported that no firearm had been found at the house where the 65-year-old died near Kassel. His body was found Sunday.

    Luebcke was a long-time member of Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Party.

  11. #11
    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    4h4 hours ago

    Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    4h4 hours ago

    I believe that if people stoped using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!

  12. #12
    In the UK and Ireland, we really don't have "cable" we have Sky through a dish, these days Vodafone has a similar service without quite as many channels (the apartment we sublet briefly in Dublin had it) and these days CNN is only "American offering."

    Sky took Fox off overnight and never bothered to replace it, although we do get MSNBC's economics channel (not that its an improvement).

    Sky has been "featuring" their Trump coverage with crowd scenes of people looking up followed by a shot of the Trump Blimb and the slogan "he's back."

    And while I don't mind peaceful protests and blimps or cartoon-like parade floats are normal ways to make fun of politicians in Europe I thought that using that as their main advert for covering a State Visit to be rather low and somewhat disrespectful of the office even if they don't like the occupant.

    Cover the demonstrations, that is new, but the way they put the advert on they were also making news.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  13. #13
    Typhoons intercept Russian fighters near Estonia

    By George Allison
    UK Defence Journal
    June 3, 2019

    British jets scrambled at the weekend to intercept two Russian SU-30 Flanker fighters, two SU-24 Fencer attack aircraft and an AN-12 transport aircraft flying off the north coast of Estonia.

    The aircraft were in international airspace and this intercept is entirely routine.

    Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said:

    “Our commitment to NATO and European security is unwavering and our brave RAF pilots have shown once again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK and its allies. Alongside our NATO allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity.”

    The Typhoons took over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the German Air Force last month.

    A Typhoon pilot from XI(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), was conducting Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called. He said in a press release issued by the MoD:

    “We were scrambled to intercept a group of four Russian fighters. The intercept was routine and we stayed with them for around 25 minutes during their transit from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad oblast.

    Once complete with this task we hauled off and conducted a further intercept of a Russian AN-12 aircraft travelling much lower and slower along the same route. The intercept of all five aircraft was uneventful and conducted in a professional manner throughout.”

    This is the fourth Quick Reaction Alert scramble since the RAF deployed in April 2019 as part of Baltic Air Policing.

  14. #14
    Royal Marines drop into Denmark for Exercise Baltic Protector

    By George Allison
    UK Defence Journal
    June 3, 2019

    Royal Marines performed a parachute drop over Denmark as part of the Baltic Protector deployment.

    The Pre-Landing Force, 30 Commando, landed outside the small town of Varde in western Jutland

    After a 90-minute flight in a C-130 Hercules from RAF Brize Norton, the Plymouth-based commandos jumped over their dropzone using special low-level parachutes, landing on their target with pinpoint accuracy at twilight, say the Ministry of Defence.

    “The drop is just one element in the opening stages of the two-month-long Baltic Protector deployment, led by Britain and involving more than half a dozen nations which border either the Baltic or North Seas.

    With a cluster of British vessels at its heart (flagship HMS Albion, support ship RFA Lyme Bay, helicopter support vessel RFA Argus, frigate HMS Kent and military ferry MV Hurst Point, numerous helicopters and hundreds of Royal Marines spearheaded by 45 Commando from Arbroath in Scotland), the deployment is the biggest test yet of the Joint Expeditionary Force.”

    The force was established seven years ago to demonstrate the resolve of the military of northern European nations to operate side-by-side in the event of an international incident or crisis – everything from responding to a natural disaster through to conflict.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Central PA

    Pentagon: No joint U.S.-Turkish study group on F-35, S-400 missile system (fair use)
    By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

    Defense Department officials over the weekend said there’s been no formation of a joint U.S.-Turkish study group to examine the compatibility of American F-35 fighter jets with the Russian-made S-400 missile system.

    The statements from Pentagon officials — along with the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) — come after a Middle East Eye report that President Trump agreed to the concept of a study group during a phone call last week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Such an agreement would’ve represented a major change in administration policy, given the longstanding position that the F-35 and S-400 systems cannot be used together due to serious security fears.

    But officials say no deal was made and no study group has been set up.

    “The Middle East Eye report claiming a group was established to specifically address security related to the co-location of the F-35 and S-400 is incorrect and based on rumor, not facts,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. “We continue robust discussions and meetings with our Turkish counterparts at all levels regarding the future of our [military-to-military] relationship, however we have been clear that purchasing the S-400 would create an unacceptable risk because its radar system could provide the Russian military sensitive information on the F-35. Those concerns cannot be mitigated.”

    NSC spokesperson Garrett Marquis also pushed back on the reports.

    “We have nothing new to announce at this time. We have been clear that obtaining the S-400 would create an unacceptable risk to U.S. technology, our pilots, and our aircraft,” he said.

    Administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have repeatedly warned Turkey that pursuing the S-400 would mean it will no longer have access to the F-35 program.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    SE Okieland
    Administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have repeatedly warned Turkey that pursuing the S-400 would mean it will no longer have access to the F-35 program.

    Europe and the world is heating up....


  17. #17
    A look at the main candidates in Denmark's election

    By Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press
    COPENHAGEN, Denmark — June 4, 2019, 4:53 AM ET

    A look at the main candidates in Wednesday's elections for Denmark's 179-seat parliament.



    Loekke Rasmussen has been in power since 2015. He presently heads a minority center-right government with his Liberal Party, the center-right Liberal Alliance and the Conservative Party.

    A member of parliament since 1994, the avid cyclist and jogger also was prime minister from 2009-2011, and earlier was interior and health, and finance minister.

    Described as a skilled negotiator, Loekke Rasmussen, 55, has been at the heart of several scandals about using party funds for personal use.

    His government has tightened Denmark's immigration laws several times, bowing to pressure from the populist, anti-immigration Danish People's Party, which isn't part of the government but supports it with the needed seats to muster a majority.



    Frederiksen, 41, took over Denmark's largest party, the Social Democrats, in 2015 after Helle Thorning-Schmidt lost to Loekke Rasmussen.

    A member of Denmark's Folketing, or parliament, since 2001, she comes from a working-class background. Frederiksen was minister for employment and justice in the Social Democratic-led governments of Thorning-Schmidt.

    Frederiksen has insisted on forming a one-party government if her party can garner a majority. She started the election campaign with a 16-percentage point lead ahead of Loekke Rasmussen.



    He became Danish People's Party leader in 2012 after its founder and leader Pia Kjaersgaard voluntarily stepped down.

    A member of parliament since 1994, the 49-year-old Thulesen Dahl has in recent years changed his image to become folksier. He has managed to position his party and its 37 seats in parliament by supporting the center-right government in exchange for tightening Denmark's immigration laws.

    Thulesen Dahl has said his party shouldn't be in government because it has greater influence by being outside. Polls also have shown people who traditionally voted for the Danish People's Party are drifting to other parties, mainly to the Social Democrats.



    Vermund, a 43-year-old architect, founded in 2015 the conservative New Right, which has an anti-immigration and euroskeptic agenda.
    The party has been promising a stricter immigration policy in a challenge to the Danish People's Party

    The New Right wants asylum only given to those with "a job in hand," an end to spontaneous asylum, calls for random border controls and wants to limit Danish citizenship to people who "contribute positively" to society.

    Vermund has said her party is "ready to withdraw Denmark from the EU and seek a looser connection if a satisfactory agreement for Denmark cannot be achieved."



    The 37-year-old lawyer came first to public attention when burning Islam's holy book, the Quran. He did it across the country, often in neighborhoods with a large immigrant population under heavy police protection. Paludan said it was done to support free speech

    The burning of the Quran sometimes sparked violent clashes with counterdemonstrators. Police eventually issued bans, citing Paludan's own safety.

    In a video posted on December 19 on the YouTube channel of his party which he founded in 2017, Paludan said: "The enemy is Islam and Muslims ... The best thing, however, is if there are no Muslims left on our dear Earth."

    In April, a Copenhagen suburban court found Paludan guilty of racism for comments directed at the spokeswoman of an ethnic group and was given a 14-day conditional jail sentence which he has appealed.

    Three years earlier, he was convicted of insulting a police officer and told the court that he sustained a head injury in a 2005 accident after which "he found it very difficult to tolerate other people's mistakes without being very frustrated."

    In 2013, he got a five-year restraining order for harassing a fellow student and, as a lawyer, he has been defending cases where asylum-seekers had their applications rejected.

  18. #18
    AfD demands Hizbollah ban in Germany

    By Voice of Europe
    4 June 2019

    The largest German opposition party AfD (Alternative for Germany) is introducing a bill to ban radical Islamic terror organization Hizbollah in Germany this Thursday. Vice AfD faction speaker Beatrix von Storch presented the bill at a press conference today in the German Bundestag.

    The EU has classified Hizbollah as a terrorist organization. Hizbollah is also outlawed in the United States, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Japan and Israel. In Germany, however, Hizbollah maintains its main foreign bank account with the city-owned Municipal Bank of Bremen, approx. 950 Hizbollah activists collect donations for the terror group in Germany, as Jerusalem Post reporter Benjamin Weinthal found.

    “Hizbollah abuses German NGO law, finances terrorism by means of illegal drug and arms deals, and fights for the destruction of Jews and Israel, which you could witness last Saturday at the Al Quds march in Berlin and nationwide, where they even chant ‘Gas the Zionists’ on the streets of Germany,“ said AfD faction secretary Bernd Baumann at the press conference on June 4. “This must stop.” Many of the Arab clans which dominate the German underworld and intimidate Berlin police are Lebanese in origin.

    Vice AfD Bundestag speaker Beatrix von Storch, who drafted the bill, demanded “Hizbollah must be banned in Germany” and urged the Berlin government to explore all legal means of doing so: “Hizbollah is a terrorist organization. The Berlin government claims you must distinguish between a legitimate, political wing of Hizbollah and a terrorist wing. This does not make sense to us, or the voters.”

    German administrative high court had made clear that terrorist groups can be outlawed even if their funding does not flow directly into military or terrorist activities, Von Storch said, noting that Article 9 of the German constitution prohibits “organizations which oppose the peaceful coexistence of peoples.” There could be “no reasonable doubt” Hizbollah does so, said Von Storch. “Hizbollah’s goal is the destruction of Israel and the Jews, and we should not be offering a safe haven for them to hide in Germany and finance their armed struggle in Lebanon against Israel from our territory.”

    The chairman of the German Jewish Council Josef Schuster, who has often been very critical of the AfD and even accused the right-wing party of anti-Semitism, also demanded a Hizbollah ban on May 27, as did left-wing Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel June 1. The bill will be debated in the Bundestag on Thursday at 2:30 pm, forcing the ruling parties to decide whether to vote with the AfD, or for Hizbollah. “I am very curious to see what excuses they come up with,” said Von Storch.

    On May 17, the AfD tabled a motion to outlaw anti-Israel BDS organizations in Germany, forcing the ruling parties to introduce their own, watered-down anti-BDS bill with no outright ban on BDS organizations. All German party foundations except the AfD support BDS organizations, NGO Monitor has reported.

  19. #19
    ‘Absolute no go’: German police officers injured in clashes with bicycle-throwing asylum seekers

    2 June 2019

    Five police officers have been injured in violent clashes with asylum seekers, who have staged a riot in a shelter in the state of Bavaria, Germany. German crime statistics also show that migrant violence is becoming a new trend, reports.

    Police were deployed to a large refugee shelter located in the small Bavarian community of Stephansposching on Friday evening following reports of asylum seekers going on a rampage. When the officers arrived at the scene, they were confronted by a group of some 30 aggressive refugees and migrants, Bavarian Radio reports, citing police.

    The rioters then attempted to prevent the police from leaving, with one man jumping at a police car’s side window while others built barricades and blocked the shelter gates with stones and cable-reels to stop them from escaping the scene. The officers, apparently, had to leave their car there as, according to Bavarian Radio, they only managed to flee the scene by getting over a construction fence.The officers were harassed and even spit at in the face from the very start. The situation then dramatically escalated when they attempted to detain the alleged ringleader. In response, the group assaulted the officers and started beating them. Some asylum seekers even threw bicycles at them.

    It was only after large reinforcements arrived that the police finally managed to restore order in the facility. Five police officers, who were initially caught in the riot, sustained various injuries, including cuts as well as eye and rib injuries. Four of them were admitted to hospital.

    Police initially detained 15 people but only six of them were arrested. Those arrested face charges of a serious breach of the peace and property damage, as well as resistance to law enforcement and assault. The suspected ringleader initially managed to flee the shelter as the officers were assaulted by other rioters and the police had to use a helicopter to track him down. He eventually surrendered to police several hours later.

    A regional police union chief condemned the incident in Stephansposching by calling it absolutely unacceptable, and decrying the lack of respect the asylum seekers demonstrated to the police. “This is an absolute no go,” he told Bavarian Radio, adding that it is “troubling that police officers were injured in the refugee shelter again.”

    It is not the first time Germany’s refugee shelters hit the news following violent clashes between police and asylum seekers. In early May, police officers and a rescue service crew were pelted with stones and bottles as they sought to retrieve the body of a woman who was found dead on the premises of another shelter in the Bavarian town of Regensburg.

    A group of some 40 asylum seekers gathered in front of the shelter and sought to prevent German law enforcement from entering the building. The officers were again harassed and attacked by the refugees and migrants, who later retreated to the shelter and barricaded themselves inside, while pelting the police with stones and bottles which they threw from the windows.

    In the end, 20 patrol cars and 50 officers were needed to stop the riot. No one was injured in the incident, though. According to the Bild daily, there were also “no indications” that the dead woman in the shelter had fallen victim of a crime.

    A recent German police report published in April paints an even grimmer picture as it indicates that the number of violent crimes perpetrated by migrants and refugees against Germans has been on the increase in recent years.

    One in ten victims of violent offenses in Germany in 2018 had been assaulted by migrants, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said. The statistics on “violent crimes” included murders and contract hits, sexual assaults as well as particularly brutal physical abuse and robberies. Out of about one million victims of such crimes in Germany last year, 102,000 were assaulted by migrants. The number of such crimes committed by immigrants and asylum seekers against Germans increased by seven percent in comparison to 2017, the police said.

    In particular, 230 Germans have been victims of attempted murders and contract hits, in which at least one non-German citizen was identified as a suspect – twice as many as in 2017. More than 100 people were killed.

    At the same time, only 8,455 asylum seekers and refugees were victims of violent crimes – mostly infliction of bodily harm – perpetrated by Germans. That amounts to 18 percent of all violence-related cases, in which foreigners seeking protection in Germany were registered as victims. In most cases, refugees and asylum seekers were attacked by other non-Germans, according to police. More than 3,200 Germans were sexually assaulted by immigrants and asylum seekers in 2018, police added. The total number of violent crimes committed by foreigners against Germans has risen by 19 percent in comparison to 2017.

  20. #20
    The twitter account for Defend Evropa has been suspended.

    You can still read Defend Evropa at

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Central PA

    Erdoğan says no step back from Russian S-400 deal (fair use)
    June 04 2019 09:48:00

    Turkey will not take a step back from S-400 missile deal with Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 4.

    “There is an agreement. We have determination. It is out of the question to take a step back from it [S-400 deal],” Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul.

    Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.

    However, U.S. officials have advised Turkey to buy the Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system from Moscow, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems.

    Turkey has responded that it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.

    “We can take a step for Patriots, if there is a positive offer as Russia made,” Erdoğan said, adding but so far there was no positive offer from the U.S. side.

    Erdoğan added win-win approach is in the self-interest of every country.

    “If it is not the case, we are not obliged to buy anything.”

    Erdoğan also said Turkey had offered to set up groups with the U.S. to work together on the issue, without saying what Washington’s response had been. Last week a top Pentagon official said the consequences would be “devastating” for Turkey’s joint F-35 fighter programmer and its cooperation with NATO if the country went ahead with plans to buy the Russian anti-aircraft weapon system.

    Kathryn Wheelbarger, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said the planned purchase would damage Turkey’s ability to work with the Western alliance, and force Washington to hit the country with sanctions against arms deals with Russia.

    Last month Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the country was already “preparing” for U.S. sanctions.

    U.S. officials said they expect Turkey to opt for the American Patriot missiles instead, arguing that would then allow the F-35 program to continue.

    Turkey plans to buy 100 US F-35s, and some Turkish pilots have already started training with counterparts in the U.S.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on June 4 said Turkey did not have to warn Russia, when asked if Ankara informed Moscow of its proposal to create a joint working group with Washington.

    “Turkey did not have to warn us. This is not our business. Our business and that of our Turkish partners is to conclude the transaction over the delivery of S400s, which is being carried out,” he said.

    “Turkey can talk about that with any third country.”



  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Central PA

    US NATO ambassador says Turkey must back down on Russian missile purchase (fair use)

    The U.S. ambassador to NATO told CNBC that Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system could help the Kremlin in its bid to weaken NATO.

    Turkish officials reportedly have until the end of this week to cancel the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system and instead buy Raytheon’s U.S.-made Patriot missile.

    U.S. officials see Ankara’s purchase of the missile system as a pivot toward warmer ties with Moscow. Turkey’s integration of the Russian S-400 system is viewed as a direct threat to the security of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program which Turkey is a part of.

    Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. NATO ambassador and former U.S. senator, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday that Russia is trying to “continue to probe ways” to disrupt and weaken the NATO alliance, adding that a Russian missile system under the same military control as an F-35 fighter jet was unacceptable.

    “You have to make a choice. You can have one or the other but not both,” she said, before repeating that Turkey stands to “lose association” with the F-35s that they have already ordered.

    If Turkey refuses to comply with Washington’s demands, it faces losing their supply chain position within the F-35 program. In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the U.S. jet program would collapse without Turkey’s input.

    In late May, the Turkish lira saw a rare move higher after President Donald Trump spoke with Erdogan via telephone and set up a late June meeting. The currency had shed around 14% year-to-date amid the friction between the NATO allies.

    European defense force
    Meanwhile, the concept of a European defense force has been gaining traction which would need funding from EU members. French President Emmanuel Macron has offered support for the concept, but the U.S. is lukewarm, preferring money to continue to flow to NATO, an organization that the U.S. has strong influence over.

    Bailey Hutchison said that NATO was “watching carefully” as the idea developed but it didn’t want to see any threat to NATO’s role as a “security umbrella for all of Europe and North America.”

    The U.S. ambassador to NATO said the U.S. was trying to convince the EU it was making a mistake. “NATO must be the priority. We must not have competition within the EU that would take away the dollars that we need for the strength to repel adversaries,” she said.



  23. #23
    Increase on the Balkan migration route

    By Hungary Journal
    5 June 2019

    Hungarian military personnel will also be taking part in the defence of the southern Hungarian border. This is enabling the reallocation of various police units from the border.

    Speaking on Hungarian M1 television’s current affairs program, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Gyorgy Bakondi said: “Over the next three months a significant number of police units are required in the interior of the country because of the Maccabi European Games, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the peak tourist season at Lake Balaton”. “At such times, the presence of police officers is highly important with relation to maintaining public order”, he added.

    With relation to the migration situation, Bakondi said: “There is an increase being seen along the Balkan migration route. This is also being felt at the Hungarian border, where some 4700 illegal immigrants were apprehended and accompanied back to the border during the first five months of the year”. “The seven-hundred-person weekly average of the previous period doubled in May, and larger groups are now also attempting to cross the Hungarian border”, he added.

    “In addition, in view of the critical situation that has developed in the vicinity of the Croatian-Bosnian border, the attempted movements of people from there towards the Hungarian border must also be carefully monitored. We must be in a state of readiness to reinforce the Croatian border if necessary”, the chief security advisor pointed out.

  24. #24
    EU commission urges legal action against Italy over debt

    By Lorne Cook and Giada Zampano, Associated Press
    BRUSSELS — June 5, 2019, 10:00 AM ET

    The European Commission recommended Wednesday that legal action be launched against Italy because it failed to respect EU debt rules last year and is likely to do so again in 2019 and 2020, setting up a new confrontation with the populist government in Rome.

    In coming weeks, EU member states must assess whether an "excessive deficit procedure" should be opened against Italy and the extent of any penalties. It could face billions of euros (dollars) in fines.

    According to a new commission report, Italy's public debt stood at 132.2% of GDP in 2018, far above the EU's 60% limit.

    "Moreover, Italy is not projected to comply with the debt reduction benchmark in either 2019 or 2020 based on both the government plans and the commission 2019 spring forecast," the report said. Debt is forecast to rise to 135%.

    EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters that "Italy pays as much in debt servicing as for the entire education system. In 2018, Italy's debt represented an average burden of 38,400 euros ($43,251) per inhabitant, and in addition the average debt servicing cost was around 1,000 euros ($1,126)."

    He added that Italian economic "growth has come to almost a halt."

    The action comes at a time of rising tensions between Brussels and the Italian government, in particular Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, who has been emboldened by his right-wing League party's strong gains in last month's EU elections.

    The Italian government only won commission approval for its 2019 budget plan late last year. After some early defiance from Salvini, Rome agreed to reduce the deficit to acceptable levels.

    Salvini wasted little time Wednesday in suggesting that he would soon put the commission in its place.

    "I'm sure that in Brussels they will respect our will," he said. "The only way to cut the debt created in the past is to reduce taxes and allow Italians to work more and better."

    "Cuts, sanctions and austerity have only produced more debt, poverty, precariousness and unemployment. We need to do the opposite," Salvini said.

    Taking to Facebook, the leader of Italy's other ruling party, the populist 5-Star Movement, complained that some EU countries have been getting away with high debt for years.

    "We are going to take this seriously, but we can't pretend not to know that there are European countries that, in these past years, have used much more debt than what is allowed by the (EU) treaties to relaunch their economies. And they didn't face any sanction!" Luigi Di Maio wrote.

    Italy's debt load is the second-highest in Europe, after Greece. Many are concerned about new financial turmoil in Europe should Italy lose control of spending, but the government in Rome says more spending is needed to jumpstart growth after years of austerity.

    Italy has one of Europe's biggest economies. Saving Greece was hard enough; bailing out Rome would be all but impossible.

    Dombrovskis noted Wednesday that EU member states have to give their views before any legal action is taken. He said the EU's economic and finance committee has two weeks to draw its conclusions based on the report.

    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, on an official trip in Vietnam said: "I'll do everything to avoid an excessive deficit procedure."

    But he also fired a warning shot, saying: "We're determined to give a critical contribution, to modify the existing rules."

    Sanctions can be launched when EU countries breach, or are in risk of breaching, the deficit threshold of 3% of GDP or when they violate the debt rule by having a government debt level above 60%.

    EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici extended a hand to Rome and urged it to provide any additional information it might have to change the assessment.

    "We are ready to look at new data that might change this analysis, so my door is open. We can always discuss and listen," Moscovici said.


    Zampano report from Rome

  25. #25
    Holger Zschaepitz
    þ @Schuldensuehner
    1h1 hour ago

    Doom loop alive & kicking: #Italy's Banks Index drops >2% in tandem w/ rising yields as EU sets in motion disciplinary process against Italy over debt.
    Attached Images

  26. #26
    Holger Zschaepitz
    þ @Schuldensuehner
    2h2 hours ago

    European Commission triggers deficit procedure against #Italy. Brussels takes first step towards fining Rome as it warns of debt 'snowball.' Italy is in a debt trap (rising debt ratio despite primary surplus) & can only hope for a growth miracle.
    Attached Images

  27. #27
    ‏ @intellipus
    22h22 hours ago

    Concerning that this Integration movement seems to be gaining traction between #Belarus & #Russia

  28. #28
    Lukas Trakimavicius
    þ @LukasTraki
    2h2 hours ago

    "The #Lithuanian government has approved plans for growing the number of #military servicemen over the coming decade. The draft document calls for 14,500 professional servicemen in the Lithuanian military by 2028, compared to 10,900 currently,"

  29. #29
    Petri Mäkelä Retweeted
    Petri Mäkelä
    ‏ @pmakela1
    Jun 4

    Petri Mäkelä Retweeted Russian Exercises

    #Russia will deploy Iskander missiles to #Belarus for the July 3rd parade.

    Other participating forces include fighters and attack helicopters.

    It's very unusual that Russia projects these systems into Belarusian territ

  30. #30
    Poll Puts Populist Salvini’s Support Even Higher Than Record EU Election Result

    5 June 2019

    In the face of possible early national elections, Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s League is still dominating polls, with new figures putting the party even higher than their recent European Parliament election victory.

    Polling firm SWG’s new numbers put Salvini’s party at 36.5 per cent, 2.2 per cent higher than their election result a week beforehand, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

    “The Italians choose us for concreteness, but also for the loyalty,” Salvini told Italian television programme Non è l’Arena this week and added: “To those who tell me that I should go to elections to double my parliamentarians, I answer ‘no’ because I am loyal and I gave my word for five years.”

    While saying he wanted to continue with the coalition government alongside the Five Star Movement (M5S), Salvini said that if the Five Stars could not agree to go forward with his domestic agenda, the government would not be able to continue.
    The Five Stars have seen a drastic fall in the polls since the national election, coming in third in the European elections behind the left-wing Democratic Party and scoring only 17.5 per cent in the SWG poll.

    Earlier this week, Il Giornale reported that Italian President Sergio Mattarella could consider dissolving the country’s parliament as early as next month, predicting that the current coalition may have only a month, to a month and a half, to last.

    Following his election victory, the first-ever nationwide election victory for the League, Salvini made it clear that he would be using the momentum from the election to push for domestic policies that had previously been dismissed by members of the Five Star Movement such as introducing a flat tax and general tax cuts.

    To pay for the tax cuts and other policies, Salvini has advocated increased deficit spending which has also brought Italy into conflict with the European Union Commission who have raised the spectre of a potential sanctions process.

  31. #31
    Denmark Admits Country Has ‘Big Problem’ With Criminal Migrants

    5 June 2019

    Danish Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen has admitted that his country has a “big problem” with migrant criminals and has defended new measures from the government designed to make deportations easier.

    The minister’s statements come in reaction to a study by Danish media that discovered Somalis were by far the largest foreign nationality in Denmark to be convicted for violence with 916 convictions between 2014 and 2018, Danish tabloid B.T. reports.

    “Your data clearly shows that there is a big problem with criminal foreigners that we should not have in our society,” Poulsen said and went on to defend the Danish government’s migration policies saying, “we have tightened the expulsion rules so that we can more easily expel foreigners.”

    Poulsen also added that he had recently tabled another bill that will allow judges to order the deportation of migrants who refuse to turn up for their court dates.

    Peter Kofod of the populist Danish People’s party (DF) also commented on the figures that revealed that Somalians had been convicted of a total of 1,111 crimes in the last five years saying, “It’s pretty wild numbers that B.T. has uncovered. It supports, as we in the Danish People’s Party have pointed out for years, that we in Denmark have a challenge with immigration from a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East.”

    “It’s tragic, and we have to respond to that. We must do this by sending people back home and not taking new ones in. It must be the lesson that for too many years, in Denmark and the rest of Western Europe we have had too much from immigration from certain areas,” he added.

    Last year Danish migration minister Inger Støjberg addressed Somali migrants in Denmark directly, urging them to return to their country and rebuild saying, “if you no longer need our protection and your life and health are no longer at risk in your home country, and specifically in Somalia, you must of course return home and rebuild the country from which you came from.”

    Earlier this year, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen also commented on the issue saying that while he would prefer that Somalis left the country voluntarily, he would not rule out forced deportations.

  32. #32
    Social Democrats appear headed back into power in Denmark

    By Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press
    COPENHAGEN, Denmark — June 5, 2019, 10:43 PM ET

    The Social Democrats emerged as Denmark's biggest party in elections Wednesday, with preliminary results indicating gains for left-leaning parties and a big loss for populists.

    If confirmed in final returns, the outcome pointed to the Social Democrats returning to power after four years as the country's leading opposition party.

    The Social Democrats got about 25.9% of the votes after a campaign in which party leaders vowed a tough stance against immigration.

    Mette Frederiksen, the party's leader, said late Wednesday that the Social Democrats will try to govern as a minority rather than form a governing coalition with smaller parties. It will seek support from the right on some issues, such as immigration, and from the left on other matters, such as social welfare, she said.

    Although Frederiksen won't try to form a coalition, other left-leaning parties that increased their vote shares will likely support her effort to form a government to avoid the center-right from getting a chance. The Social Democrats and other left-of-center parties appear headed to having one more vote than a majority in the 179-seat parliament, the Folketing.

    With nearly 100 percent of the votes counted, the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen showed a slight gain from four years ago. But the populist Danish People's Party, which often voted with the center-right Liberals, was hit with a big drop in support, meaning Loekke Rasmussen can no longer muster a majority in parliament.

    The Danish People's Party's performance was a contrast to some other European countries, where far-right populists have been on the rise. The party was the second-largest party in the outgoing parliament, but its vote share plunged to about 9% Wednesday, compared to 21.1% in 2015.

    Loekke Rasmussen conceded defeat and would resign Thursday.

    "You have chosen that Denmark should have a new majority, that Denmark should take a new direction," Frederiksen said told a jubilant crowd at parliament. "And you have chosen that Denmark should have a new government."

    At age 41, Frederiksen could become Denmark's youngest-ever prime minister.

    "The election campaign is now over. It's time to find solutions," she said.

    Many Danish People's Party voters have drifted to the Social Democrats, mainly because of it readopting tough views on immigration. The party advocated restricting immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s but softened its position later while in a coalition with left-wing parties.

    Its lawmakers voted for several laws introduced by Loekke Rasmussen's government to tighten immigration.

    "This is really, really bad," People's Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl said of his loss at the polls, but he said the party would not change its politics.

    The Hardliner Course party didn't cross the 2% threshold needed to enter Parliament. The New Right, another openly anti-Muslim group that also fielded candidates for the first time, will be in the legislature after getting 2.4% of the votes.


    This story has been corrected to show that the name of leader of the Danish People's Party is spelled Kristian Thulesen Dahl.

  33. #33
    Denmark Election: Social Democrats Win as Populists See Heavy Losses

    6 June 2019

    Populist parties saw heavy losses in the Danish national election this week with large gains for the opposition centre-left and the liberal parties while the anti-Islamisation Stram Kurs (Hard Line) fail to enter parliament.

    The election is a significant victory for the Social Democrats which won the election with 25.9 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary results, winning 91 of the 179 parliamentary seats according to a report from the BBC, while the formerly ruling liberal Venstre party saw its vote also grow from 19.5 per cent to 23.8 per cent.

    The biggest loss was for the populist Danish People’s Party (DF) whose vote collapsed from 21.1 per cent to just 8.7 per cent, mirroring their European Parliament election results where the party also saw heavy losses.

    Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of Venstre, admitted defeat saying: “We had a really good election, but there will be a change of government.”

    Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen is now expected to become the country’s new prime minister following her party’s adoption of more hardline policies on immigration, a factor likely helping the collapse of the Danish People’s Party which was formerly the main party espousing anti-mass migration policies.

    While many polls initially predicted that the anti-Islamisation Stram Kurs (Hard Line) would enter the parliament for the first time, preliminary results show the party managed to achieve 1.9 per cent of the vote, under the two per cent threshold to enter the chamber.

    The party and its leader, lawyer Rasmus Paludan, became infamous across Denmark for their actions which have included burning the Quran in order to make a statement regarding Islam and free speech.

    In March of this year, Paludan and his followers faced off against the Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir group outside of the Danish parliament and burned a Quran in front of them. A month later in April, Paludan sparked a riot in Copenhagen that led to 23 people being arrested in reaction to Paludan throwing around a copy of the Islamic holy book.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Central PA

    Russia, Belarus, Serbia to hold joint military drills on June 14-27 (fair use)
    June 06, 14:42

    OSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. The Russian-Belarusian-Serbian tactical drills dubbed Slavic Brotherhood-2019 will take place in the Serbian city of Pancevo on June 14-27, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

    Paratroopers from the Pskov airborne assault division will represent Russia in the drills, the ministry said.

    "Overall, the drills that will run on June 14-27 will involve about 600 troops, including more than 200 from Russia’s Airborne Force, about 300 from the Serbian armed forces and up to 60 servicemen from Belarus, as well as more than 50 combat vehicles and Il-76MD military transport aircraft," the statement says.

    During the joint drills, the paratroopers from the three countries will practice counter-terror operations.

    The ceremony of opening the trilateral military drills will be held on the territory of the cantonment of Serbia’s Special Forces Brigade in the city of Pancevo on June 14.



  35. #35
    Stratfor‏Verified account @Stratfor · 3h3 hours ago

    The #UnitedStates will likely move forward with plans to expand its #military presence in #Poland. Moscow would respond with military buildups of its own near Poland's borders, most likely by boosting defense assets in Belarus.

  36. #36
    25 injured as explosion rocks Swedish city of Linkoping, bomb squad investigating

    7 June 2019

    The bomb squad has been dispatched to the scene to investigate an explosion in Linkoping, a town in southern Sweden. At least 25 people are confirmed injured, writes.

    The shockwave from the large blast, which took place at roughly 9am local time, destroyed nearby windows and balconies and damaged other buildings. Some 20 ambulances were also sent to the scene with at least six fire tenders in support. The police have confirmed that at least 25 people sustained injuries in the blast.

    “I stood in the shower and noticed that the whole house shook. It rumbled like thunder,” witness Pontus Johansson told Aftonbladet.

    Police have cordoned off several blocks in the immediate area but there are, as yet, no plans to evacuate local residents.

    “We started to get a large number of calls from people about a heavy explosion in central Linköping, on Hamngatan,” said Björn Öberg at the police’s management center.

    The cause of the explosion is not yet known but it bears the hallmarks of gang-related attacks that have become prevalent in Sweden in recent years. Local resident Pyo Stranding posted on Twitter that it was a “terrorist attack,” though that has not been confirmed. Several people were hospitalized after the incident but the type and extent of their injuries remains unclear.

  37. #37
    Greece formally scraps tax base expansion planned for 2020

    By The Associated Press
    ATHENS, Greece — June 7, 2019, 1:07 PM ET

    In the last session of parliament ahead of early elections July 7, Greek lawmakers have approved a bill to scrap a legislated expansion of the tax base demanded by bailout creditors.

    The law revoked Friday would have lowered the income tax-free threshold as of next year, thus increasing the number of Greeks who pay income tax.

    It had been designed to increase state revenues by around a percentage point of Greece's annual GDP, ensuring that the country would continue to post high budget surpluses to be able to repay its bailout debts.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had already notified Greece's European creditors of his plans to scrap the measure.

    His government has insisted that the country will still be able to achieve its ambitious surplus targets

  38. #38

    Pool closures turning Germany into 'nation of non-swimmers'

    Lifeguards warn that more and more people in Germany are unable to swim: A quarter of primary schools no longer offer lessons; a pool closes every four days. As a consequence, drownings are on the up.

    Germany's DLRG rescue association has renewed its petition demanding a nationwide funding plan to avoid further closures of public swimming pools so children can learn to swim safely as a basic lifelong skill.

    Campaigners, who first initiated their appeal ahead of Germany's 2017 federal election, say half of all public pools have maintenance backlogs, with the total on the map shrinking to 6,400 last year - from 7,800 nearly two decades ago.

    Seemingly rich Germany has numerous indebted municipalities which resort to closures, arguing they do not have the millions in funds needed to continue subsidizing or renovate pools, leaving schools and clubs without local facilities.

    'Fun' complexes not always the best

    Petitioners, who in 2017 included sports teachers and physiotherapists, also argue that booming, commercial fun-style complexes have designs often not suitable for regular swimming lessons and endurance training.

    In April, the German parliament's budget committee allocated €200 million for 186 communal projects, including pools, with demand outstripping supply 13-fold.

    Pool-rescue petitioners, however, say €14 billion is needed over 10 years in a combined plan funded by the federal government and 16 regional states to fulfilled legal obligations that swimming lessons be provided.

    Fewer swim lessons at schools

    At primary level, 20% to 25% of schools could no longer offer swimming lessons because their localities lacked pools, said the assocation.

    In 2017, 59% of Germany's 10-year-olds were not accomplished swimmers, according to a Forsa Institute survey commissioned by the DLRG.

    That showed that swimming badges were held by only 40% of 6 to 10-year-olds. Across the population, 52% declared themselves to be non-swimmers or unsafe in the water. Older generations were more likely to have learnt swimming in their schooldays.

    Among those who defined themselves as swimmers, all but 3% had learned to swim before they turned 18. Few did so in adulthood.

    Child drownings

    Ahead of what could become another heatwave summer, the DLRG said 2018's toll of 504 drownings reflected a 38% rise in child and youth drownings as residents flocked to bathing spots.

    Those 71 victims included 26 children of pre-school and primary school age.

    "We must retain pools, build pools, and not rationalize them away," said DLRG president Achim Haag. "Closures deplete water safety among the population and affordable social services."

    Asylum seekers often non-swimmers

    Last year's drowing toll included 33 asylum seekers, most of whom were non-swimmers, said the DLRG, prompting it to publish bathing safety rules in 30 languages and reflecting the fates of thousands lost during Mediterranean crossings.

    All but 2% of Germany's outdoor swimming sites, including lakes and North Sea beaches, now fulfilled EU water quality standards, the federal UBA environment office announced on Thursday.

    The best score of "excellent" went to 93% of Germany's waterbodies, while 74 were fully or partially closed due to blue algae infestations which multiply in summer.

    The DLRG says its 45,000 lifeguards, mostly volunteers, keep watch at some 2,500 outdoor sites. It cautions swimmers against overestimating their abilities, for example, at German's numerous shingle excavation pits transformed into swimming holes.

    100-year-old German woman elected to town council
    Centenarian Lisel Heise has secured a spot on the town council in a small village in western Germany. A passionate swimmer, she decided to stand for election in part to reopen the local swimming pool. (28.05.2019)

    Keywords non-swimmers, public pools, DLRG, lifesavers, drownings, heatwave

    Plain Jane wonders how many other community services can no be afforded because of immigration.

  39. #39
    Pope to meet Putin before Vatican Ukraine meeting

    By Nicole Winfield and Nataliya Vasilyeva Associated Press
    VATICAN CITY — June 6, 2019, 6:20 AM ET

    Pope Francis will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican next month, a day before Catholic leaders from Ukraine gather at the Holy See to discuss the continuing conflict there and the fallout from the schism between the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches.

    The Vatican confirmed the July 4 audience Thursday. It will be the third meeting between Francis and Putin.

    Francis and Moscow Patriarch Kirill sat down for talks in 2016 in the first meeting of the heads of both churches in a century. That summit, in Cuba, was seen as a possible step toward a papal visit to Russia. Not a single pope has ever set foot in Russia.

    Asked if Putin would extend an invitation for Francis to visit Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that it was too early to say.

    Last month, the Vatican announced that Francis had invited the leadership of Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church, a minority eastern rite church loyal to the pope, for meetings July 5-6. The aim, it said, was to lend support "in the delicate situation in which Ukraine finds itself."

    Last year, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine formally split from the Russian Orthodox Church in a schism recognized by the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

    The push for a full-fledged and independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church was bolstered by fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed rebels.

    The Vatican hasn't entered into the fray for fear of upsetting relations with the various players. It said the summit of the Greek Catholic leadership is aimed at helping "promote peace and understanding, where possible, with the Latin rite church and other churches and Christian communities."

    Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backs separatist rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the country's east for the past five years, a conflict that has left over 13,000 dead.

    Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had touted the creation of an independent Ukrainian church as a cornerstone of his unsuccessful bid for re-election. Poroshenko and many other prominent figures have argued that it was vital to set up an independent Ukrainian church and sever centuries-long ties with the Russian church after the annexation of Crimea.

    Moscow accused Kiev of trying to use church issues for political purposes. Earlier this year, Putin criticized the decision to set up a new Orthodox church in Ukraine, saying that it was rooted in "struggle for power" and triggered "animosity and intolerance." He also warned of sectarian violence and said that Moscow is ready to "do everything to protect human rights, including freedom of conscience."

    Some Ukrainian parishes saw scuffles and clashes earlier this year between the proponents of the new church and those who wanted to stay affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate. But the violence has overall been sporadic and low-level.

    Ukraine's new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy eschewed Poroshenko's religious policy and said that the state should not interfere in religious affairs.


    Vasilyeva reported from Moscow.

  40. #40
    ‘Failure’: Nigel Farage Sums up Prime Minister Theresa May’s Legacy

    7 June 2019

    Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has summed up Prime Minister Theresa May’s legacy on her last day as party leader: “failure”.

    Asked on Good Morning Britain what he thought Prime Minister May’s legacy would be, the Brexit architect said simply: “Failure. Failure.”

    “It was a huge mistake from the very start to put somebody in as prime minister who voted Remain.

    “To deliver Brexit, you’ve got to believe in it, because you have got to stand up against many in the political class, and I am afraid she just never believed in it.

    “It was one of her former advisers who said a ‘Theresa May Brexit was about damage limitation’ – as opposed to seizing an opportunity. I think that, in many ways, sums up the last couple of years.”

    Mr Farage’s comments came before he trolled Mrs May by delivering a letter to Number 10 containing a number of Brexit demands, including he and his party be given a seat at the negotiating table.

    Prime Minister May announced a fortnight ago that she would be stepping down on Friday the 7th of June as Conservative Party leader.

    While in the future historians may debate whether Mrs. May’s tenure as prime minister was a failure, here is a selection of her political low-lights in the past two years, ten months, and 25 days that may indicate the general tenor of her time in office:
    · Losing the Conservative majority in the House of Commons after calling a snap General Election in 2017.
    · Losing 1,334 councillors in the May 2019 local elections, resulting in the party’s worst local election result in 24 years.
    · The Conservative Party coming in fifth place in the May 2019 European Parliament elections, in what was described as the worst election result in the party’s 185-year history.
    · While surviving a party confidence vote, May was subjected to attempts by her own MPs to change party rules to run another within the same year.
    · Conservative grassroots also sought to trigger their own confidence vote for the first time in the party’s history.
    · Failing to pass her unpopular, EU-approved withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons three times — the third time occurring on the day the UK was originally scheduled to leave the EU.
    · Instead of reaching out to party Brexiteers after her deal failed for a third time, the prime minister instead invited the leader of the opposition, known Marxist Jeremy Corbyn, to the negotiating table.
    · Thirty-six ministers from both sides of the Brexit divide had resigned from May’s Cabinet since April 2018.
    · Delaying Brexit twice — in the end, to October 31st — after promising 108 times that the UK would leave the EU on March 29th


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