#AceNewsReport – Sept.28: Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google on Monday blasted EU antitrust regulators for ignoring rival Apple (AAPL.O) as it launched a bid to get Europe’s second-highest court to annul a record 4.34-billion euro ($5.1 billion) fine related to its Android operating system.
#AceDailyNews says that according too Reuters Google (Android Operating System) is in a fight against record EU fine, slamming regulators for ignoring Apple
Far from holding back rivals and harming users, Android has been a massive success story of competition at work, representatives of Google told a panel of five judges at the General Court at the start of a five-day hearing.
The European Commission fined Google in 2018, saying that it had used Android since 2011 to thwart rivals and cement its dominance in general internet search.
Regardless of how the court rules, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook will have to change their business models in the coming years to ensure a level playing field for rivals following tough new rules proposed by European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
“The Commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this industry, that between Apple and Android,” Google’s lawyer Meredith Pickford told the court.
“By defining markets too narrowly and downplaying the potent constraint imposed by the highly powerful Apple, the Commission has mistakenly found Google to be dominant in mobile operating systems and app stores, when it was in fact a vigorous market disrupter,” he said.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.15: Last week, the correspondent accounts of Belarusbank, Belinvestbank and Belagroprombank were closed by Deutcsche Bank, a key correspondent bank for Belarusian banking institutions,
#AceDailyNews says that Nasha Niva reports, citing sources as Belarus loses access to European banking system due to sanctions: European banks began to massively close dollar end euro correspondent accounts of Belarusian states-owned companies, making it impossible to conduct operations in two key world currencies………..
Belagroprombank, one of three banks sanctioned by the EU, has lost correspondent relations not only with Deutsche, but also with all its European correspondent banks, including Germany’s Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Italy’s Unione di Banche Italie and Poland’s PKO Bank.
Even Russian banks, including Sberbank, VTB and Rosselkhozbank, refused to conduct currency transactions with Belagroprombank.
A similar situation has developed with Belarusbank and Belinvestbank, which are also included in the EU sanctions list, Nasha Niva reports.
Two thin threads on which the Belarusian banking sector is still hanging and which can break at any time are the European subsidiary of VTB (conducts operations for Belarusbank) and the Moscow TKB Bank, which holds euro accounts for Belagroprombank.
Isolation from the world monetary system has already hit Belarusian business. Foreign currency payments are still technically possible through small Belarusian and marginal Russian banks, but this all makes it very difficult to fulfill existing contracts and jeopardizes new ones, one of the entrepreneurs complained to Nasha Niva.
“It used to be that a three-day delay in payment was considered a scandal, now two weeks is a norm because money goes around half the world to get where it needs to go,” he says, adding that the private sector is likely to move to other banks or look for opportunities through neighboring countries.
On June 24, the European Union announced the imposition of economic sanctions against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko for “serious human rights violations”, “brutal suppression of civil rights”, as well as the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk, which the West qualified as air piracy.
All Belarusian banks with a state share of more than 50%, as well as subsidiaries of Belarusbank, Belinvestbank, Belagroprombank, fell under sanctions prohibiting the provision of financing for a period of more than 90 days.
Lukashenko, commenting on the EU decision, said that the sanctions show “impotence” and called for “scoundrels on the other side of the border” to prove this in practice.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.31: Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, who is responsible for police and security, said what the protesters did was “absolutely unacceptable” and that those detained “will bear all the legal consequences of their actions.”
#AceDailyNews says Poland detains activists for damaging barrier with Belarus the activists said it was an act of protest against Polish authorities for what they believe is the “inhuman treatment” of migrants seeking to enter the European Union nation.
Those detained include 12 Poles and one Dutch citizen, according to Polish media reports.
Poland — like Lithuania — has seen a surge of migrants arriving across its border with Belarus in recent weeks. The government in Warsaw accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of sending migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere across the border in a “hybrid war” to create instability in the 27-nation EU. The borders that Lithuania and Poland have with Belarus form part of the EU’s eastern border.
In reaction, Poland has begun building a barbed wire fence along the border.
But local attention has focused heavily on 32 people — described by a refugee group as Afghans — who have been stuck in a no man’s land along the border near the Polish village of Usnarz Górny for weeks. Poland’s government says they are on Belarusian soil and will not let them walk the short distance into Poland to apply for asylum. It argues that Belarus is responsible for them.
In a statement, the activists who tried to cut through the barbed wire barrier said: “We do not agree to humiliation, inhumane treatment and refusal to provide medical assistance to refugees, and we do not agree to the use of illegal push-back procedures.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.06: For a third day, Greek firefighters continue to battle wildfires as a prolonged heatwave and strengthening winds have fuelled more than 150 wildfires in recent days, threatening the ancient site of Olympia…..
#AceDailyNews says that fires rage in Greece for a third day as 25 more villages are evacuated across the country and according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service – the European Union’s Earth observation programme – July 2021 “was the second warmest July on record for Europe. Heatwaves occurred from the Baltic to the eastern Mediterranean.”
Locals are complaining that not enough is being done by the government to combat the fires, write Marina Rigou in Athens and Nikolia Apostolou in Kalamata
The blaze in Athens has rekindled and two new suburbs are being evacuated. Another major fire burned just one kilometre from the archeological site of Ancient Olympia, where the first Olympics was held, in the Peloponnese region of Greece, but was later brought under control.
Dozens of people have been evacuated from some 25 villages in the regions of Ilia, Evia, Grevena, and Messinia. In southern Greece, the fires are now burning the village of Karnasi in Mani.
Police frequency, [Aug 5, 2021 at 15:18] Greece, EU: Thousands flee homes outside Athens as heat fuels wildfires: https://t.me/police_frequency/50949: Time-lapse video shows wildfires burning throughout the day in Athens. Fires spread through a forest near the city, burning down more than 90 homes, 27 businesses, and 80 cars: Fire victims will receive €800 (£670) as emergency aid and €6,000 (£5,100) in the near future in order to buy furniture. More help is expected to be announced: A new fire in a suburb in the northern part of Athens, bigger than the first one. The situation is really difficult here as it is growing quickly. Ippokratios Politia and Drosopigi already evacuated and it is now heading towards Krioneri.
More than 170 firefighters with 52 engines and six aircraft were operating to bring fires under control on the island of Evia.
“If there are even few people who have reservations about whether climate change is real, I call on them to come here and see the intensity of the phenomena,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, said from Ilia, near Ancient Olympia.
The Civil Protection Authority issued an “extreme fire warning” for Friday as temperatures remained high.
Firefighters and planes have been deployed from other European countries including Sweden and Cyprus. The military also mobilised its forces to support patrols.
But that has not been enough to prevent more than 300 homes and businesses from being destroyed by the fires, according to state officials on Wednesday night.
The government is blaming the fire on the prolonged heatwave, which has now lasted ten days with temperatures reaching as high as 46C.
“We are carrying out organised evacuations in order to protect human lives,” Mr Mitsotakis said during his visit to Olympia. “We have a legal framework for state aid, which means that those citizens who saw their homes destroyed by the fire will be compensated so that the houses can be rebuilt,” he stressed.
For Yiannis Sfetsas, a 60-year-old car mechanic in Varibobi, that’s not enough. Yesterday, he saw his shop burn to the ground.
“Whenever there’s a protest they mobilise 10,000 policemen, but here they just sent 300 firefighters,” he said. “My shop is destroyed and so is my home.”
In Sfestas’ shop, 10 cars left there to be repaired have been reduced to ashes. “The damage is really big,” he said. “If only they had reached the initial fire they would have controlled it.”
An area of 6,000 hectares (14,8000 acres) was destroyed in three days, according to the National Observatory of Athens. It amounts to half of the usual annual total.
As efforts have been focused on saving Ancient Olympia, locals in Evia and Messinia are claiming on Greek media that they’re receiving very little aerial help.
On Wednesday, 85 people were rescued by sea from the coastal village of Rovies, where 150 homes and businesses were destroyed by fire.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.04: According to the agency, the German authorities will focus on the European Union imposing sanctions on Russia…
#AceDailyNews says that Germany will not block Nord Stream 2 if Russia tries to use the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline as a geopolitical weapon, Germany will not block it and will rely on European Union to impose sanctions …..
Veth: Published: Aug.03, 2021
UNIAN: The Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is already 99% built.German authorities will focus on EU sanctions against Russia / Illustration REUTERS
Sanctions may be imposed in response to the Kremlin’s aggressive actions, but the authors say the pipeline is unlikely to be restricted.
According to the agency, Berlin’s unwillingness to take action against Russia at the national level may further exacerbate criticism of the pipeline agreement in the US Congress.
#AceNewsReport – July.31: Looking on from the outside, such figures appear to be a largish run-of-the-mill loan that one country grants another and for which interest is collected. But the situation with Belarus and Russia is different. According to observers: interest is mounting and debts carry on growing year in and year out, yet Minsk continues to receive new loans from Moscow…..
#AceDailyNews says here’s how Russian money keeps Belarus afloat Russia has supported its western neighbor Belarus for decades — long before the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Minsk and President Alexander Lukashenko. Earlier this summer, Moscow loaned its ally $500 million (€423 million) — six months prior, it had issued Lukashenko’s regime a similar sum.
Russia has been subsidizing its neighbor for years. Between 2005 and 2015, Moscow pumped $106 billion into the Belarus economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Discounted oil and gas
Experts divide Russia’s monetary contributions to Minsk into two categories: one legal and one covert. Neither is driven by economics and both have put a strain on Russia’s state budget.
The most obvious subsidy, analysts say, occurs within Belarus’ energy sector — which receives cheap Russian gas and has tariffs waived on oil destined for Belarusian refineries.
Russia has subsidized the energy sector by selling cheap gas
“Over the past 20 years, gas prices in Belarus only rose twice to European levels; each time, Belarus halted payments [to Russia], demanding a discount,” said Sergey Kondratiev of Moscow’s Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation. The research institute estimates Russia has subsidized oil to Belarus to the tune of $35 billion, and gas to the equivalent of $19 billion between 2011 and 2020.
Cheap loans, preferential market access
Cheap — and legal — loans are another means by which Russia has been able to prop up Belarus. Moscow continues to extend payment deadlines and is constantly revising the terms and conditions of the loans. Russia, for example, lent Belarus $10 billion to build a nuclear power plant in 2011.
“Belarus received both a very long grace period when it came to repaying the money, as well as the possibility to repay the loan at a discounted rate,” said Kondratiev. “Belarus would not have received such favorable conditions on the open market.”
It remains unclear how Minsk spends loans not earmarked for specific projects. Bogdan Bespalko, a member of Russia’s Council for Interethnic Relations — a body linked to President Vladimir Putin’s office — suspects they are used to pay off old debts. “A large portion of the latest $500 million loan was taken to repay money owed to Russian corporations,” Bespalko pointed out.
Certain sectors of Belarus’ economy enjoy preferential treatment in the Russian market
Russia has also granted Belarus special access to its market. Not even other members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) enjoy such favorable terms as companies from Belarus do. Observers argue this preferential treatment guarantees the survival of entire business sectors within Belarus, especially within the food and engineering industries.
In addition to low-interest loans, such favorable preferences allowed the Belarusian economy to generate some $11 billion between 2011 and 2020, according to Moscow’s Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation.
Shady sources of income
Cross-border smuggling has also played its part in supporting the country’s economy. Without border checks between Belarus and Russia, and thanks to preferential market access, illicit trade has thrived. While the financial scale of this smuggling pales in comparison to that of official Russian loans, it is still considerable. As such, it also hurts Russian coffers.
The illicit trade in Belarus sees certain EU goods relabeled, and falsified customs documents issued. These mislabeled goods are then smuggled into Russia to evade EU sanctions. Such business practices also mean excise payments on products are being circumvented.
“Only Belarus earns money doing this,” said Kondratiev. “Belarusian cigarettes are a case in point: Batches containing up to 1 million packs are smuggled into Russia without any excise duty being paid. A popular way to hide cigarettes is within shipments of mineral fertilizers.”
From 2011 to 2020, illegal tobacco imports cost Russia some $2.6 billion. Between 2014 and 2020, Russia incurred an estimated $4.2 billion in financial damages from the smuggling of EU-sanctioned goods.
Another source of income for Minsk lies in seizing the property of Russian companies in Belarus. The 2020 Belgazprombank case is a prominent example.
“After a provisional administration was established, deposits and financial assets were siphoned off, seriously hurting Russian shareholders,” said Kondratiev. Such conduct is common, he added. “We know of cases where goods sent by Russians transiting through Belarus have been seized.”
No country in the world receives the level of support from Russia as that which is afforded to Belarus, Kondratiev said. However, Moscow’s assistance has put a strain on finances. This is all the more troublesome, as the help rendered is neither spurring economic growth in Belarus, nor promoting the efficient use of money.
“On the contrary, we are seeing steady stagnation,” said the Russian Council for Interethnic Relations member Bogdan Bespalko.
#AceNewsReport – July.12: Daimler, BMW, VW, Audi and Porsche avoided competing on technology to restrict pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars, the European Commission said.
#AceDailyNews says EU fines German car makers BMW, VW, Audi and Porsche $1.3 billion over emission collusion: EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said even though the companies had the technology to cut harmful emissions beyond legal limits, they avoided competing and denied consumers the chance to buy less polluting cars.
Daimler was not fined after it revealed the cartel to the European Commission.
“Factories compete with one another also when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from the cars,” Ms Vestager said.
“Manufacturers deliberately avoided to compete on cleaning better than what was required by EU emission standards. And they did so despite the relevant technology being available.”
It made their practice illegal, Ms Vestager said.
“So today’s decision is about how legitimate technical cooperation went wrong. And we do not tolerate it when companies collude.”
Volkswagen considering legal action
Volkswagen said it was considering whether to take legal action against the fine, saying the penalty over technical talks about emissions technology with other carmakers set a questionable precedent.
“The commission is entering new judicial territory, because it is treating technical cooperation for the first time as an antitrust violation,” the German carmaker said after being fined 502 million euros ($799 million).
“Furthermore, it is imposing fines, although the content of the talks was never implemented and no customers suffered any harm as a result,” Volkswagen added in a statement.
BMW agreed to the settlement proposed by the European Commission, paying a 373 million euro fine, saying it had been cleared of suspicion of using illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests.
“This underlines that there has never been any allegation of unlawful manipulation of emission control systems by the BMW Group,” the company said in a statement.
The agreement promotes the sustainable management and long-term viability of cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, herring, and saithe stocks in the North Sea. The catch levels agreed for 2021 are worth over £184 million to the UK fishing industry.
This is the first time the UK has participated in the talks as an independent coastal State. Throughout negotiations the UK has pressed for catch limits – known as total allowable catches – to be set sustainably to ensure the long-term future of the fisheries industry.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said:
Today we successfully concluded the first trilateral fisheries negotiations between the UK, EU and Norway.
As an independent coastal state we are committed to managing our fisheries sustainably, to the benefit of the fishing industry across the UK and our marine environment, now and in the years to come.
UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid said:
For the first time in decades we have concluded our first trilateral negotiations with the EU and Norway as an independent coastal state.
The outcome represents an increase in the total allowable catch of certain key stocks for Scotland – such as Haddock and Whiting.
Agreements have also been made which safeguard the long-term viability of some other key stocks such as cod.
We remain committed to supporting the industry and being a champion for our coastal communities on the world stage.
Of the stocks jointly-managed with the EU and Norway, five out of six have been set in line with or lower than the catch level advised by ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. This results in catch reductions for North Sea cod (-10%), plaice (-2%), saithe (-25%) and herring (-7.4%) compared with 2020, but increases in haddock (+20%) and whiting (+19%).
The agreed catch limit for haddock is well within the sustainable limits advised by the scientific body ICES. This will encourage the recovery of other key stocks in the North Sea mixed fishery.
North Sea cod will be subject to a slightly smaller reduction than the -16.5% recommended by ICES. The three parties supported this approach as it would allow the stock to recover at a similar pace to that set out in the scientific advice. Furthermore, the catch limit is accompanied by the UK’s ongoing cod avoidance plan which applies to all vessels in UK waters. The plan establishes measures to support the long-term recovery of the stock in UK waters, these include ‘real-time closures’ to protect high abundances of cod and selective fishing gear.
The UK Government has worked closely throughout the negotiations with the Scottish Government and other administrations to reach this consensus.
This trilateral agreement marks the conclusion of the first in a series of annual fisheries negotiations. Bilateral negotiations are underway with the EU, Faroes Islands and Norway to confirm access arrangements and quota exchanges, where applicable.
#AceGuestNews – Sept.29: Western Propaganda Machine Kicked Into Action as France Commenced Bombing in Syria Apparently in “Self Defense.” France’s president and prime minister think Syria’s Mr. Assad is a”butcher” and “dictator.” Agreed and no one in any part of the world is arguing that Mr. Bashar al-Assad is the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft, but […]
#AceNewsReport – Sept.18: Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossings with Serbia overwhelmed by a huge surge of refugees turned away by Hungary. PM said Croatia will not accept or accommodate asylum seekers any longer.
“We cannot register and accommodate these people any longer,” Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told reporters on Friday. “They will get food, water and medical help, and then they can move on. The European Union must know that Croatia will not become a migrant ‘hotspot.’ We have hearts, but we also have heads.” On Thursday Croatia closed most of its road border crossings with Serbia leaving only one on the main road linking Belgrade and Zagreb at Bajakovo. The decision came as over 13,000 refugees entered the country after Hungary closed its borders on Wednesday failing to cope with the refugee flow. Police told Reuters that about 500 refugees had been detained after crossing into the south of Hungary from Croatia on Thursday.
Some of the refugees appear to be stuck on the border between Croatia and Hungary. Reuters reported on Thursday that a convoy of more than 10 buses which was heading towards the Croatian city of Osijek was turned towards the Hungarian border. Refugees were offloaded at the Croatian border village Beremend, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Hundreds of migrants were also witnessed on Friday at a petrol station by a road in the Croatian border town of Beli Manastir.
Scuffles between refugees erupted on Friday at the Croatian Beli Monastir train station as the people were boarding the trains bound for Zagreb. Some were injured and received first aid.
Some were injured and received first aid.
Dozens of refugees staged a silent sit-in protest at the Serbian-Hungarian border near the town of Horgos on Friday. They held placards which read: “We don’t have houses anymore. We will live here,” and “This is shame for Europe.”
The site was a scene of violence on Tuesday, when police used water cannon and teargas to push back refugees attempting to enter Hungary.
Milanovic said on Friday he has called a session of Croatia’s National Security Council. Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told N1 Television that “it’s a matter of time” before Croatia closes all borders.
Columns of asylum seekers were expected to turn to Slovenia, however the Interior Ministry said on Friday that Slovenia does not intend to open a corridor for the refugees heading to Western Europe to pass through.
“At the moment we have no basis on which we could form a corridor,” Interior Ministry state secretary Bostjan Sefic told reporters.
#AceNewsReport – MACEDONIA:June.14: Macedonia continues to go through a political crisis, after Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and the leaders of the four main political parties in Macedonia failed to reach an agreement on settling the crisis earlier this week.
Western media claims that Nikola Gruevski, the current Prime Minister of Macedonia, created the crisis that puts his government at risk, EUobserver reported.
Recently, Gruevski was accused of mass illegal surveillance, election fraud, as well as abuse of the country’s justice system and media.
Now the European Commission wants to send the government in Skopje a list of tough rule-of-law reforms. If Gruevski doesn’t react and there is no action taken by his government, the Commission will stop backing Macedonia’s EU entry talks, EUobserver said.
Macedonia has been a candidate country for EU accession since 2005. However, negotiations haven’t made any significant progress and there are many obstacles that stand in the way.
Gruevski and Zoran Zaev, the Macedonian opposition leader, agreed to hold early parliamentary elections in April 2016. However, the two politicians can’t agree when Gruevski must step down.
Zaev wants Gruevski to step down in October so that a technocratic government can prepare fair elections. According to Zaev, if Gruevski doesn’t step down, he will rig the new elections in 2016, EUobserver said.
#AceNewsReport – FRANCE:Exclusive Interview:June.14: While France is taking a hard anti-Russian stance due to the Ukrainian crisis, other European nations are busy signing new billion-dollar contracts with Russia, said Philippe Migault, a military expert from the French Institute of International and Strategic Affairs.
Since French companies don’t have access to the two main global arms markets – the United States and China – they face fierce competition for markets in the Middle East and Asia.
That is why voluntarily losing the Russian market, one of the most promising and emerging arms markets in the world, is a silly move on behalf of the French government, Migault told Sputnik France in an exclusive interview.
“We risk regretting this very soon,” the military expert said.
France had the opportunity to deliver two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia; however, Paris complied with Washington’s pressure and decided to cancel the $1.3 billion contract.
France went against its own idea of economic patriotism, highly regarded during the current economic crisis, by abandoning the Mistral deal. Economic patriotism requires the support of exports and the protection of jobs, but France did the exact opposite by cancelling the arms deal
#AceNewsReport – Featured Post:June.13: The leaders of Russia and Turkey have held talks behind closed doors in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. They attended the opening ceremony of the first European Games, before discussing energy projects and the Ukrainian conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counteroart recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed large energy projects, such asthe construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant,and the situation in Ukraine, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov revealed. The leaders confirmed their readiness to bring bilateral trade turnover between Russia and Turkey to $US 100 billion by 2020. In 2014, trade between the two countries exceeded $31 billion.
During a photo session that preceded the talks, the presidents didn’t talk much and only exchanged opinions about the previous day’s opening ceremony. The presidents agreed the ceremony was superb and wished success to the host team of Azerbaijan.
When President Erdogan remarked that none of the EU leaders had attended the event, President Putin replied: “As EU accession candidate, Turkey represented the whole of the European Union.”
The Russian delegation included Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller, head of Rosatom nuclear monopoly Sergey Kirienko and the Russian president’s senior foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov.
In December 2014, after opposition from the EU, Russia announced the scrapping of the South Stream gas pipeline project that would have bypassed the current routes via Ukraine. Moscow presented a new project, the Turkish Stream – a gas pipeline that will pass through Turkey.
This new 1,100-kilometer transportation route will be laid out under the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey. It will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and the EU border. Europe will have to arrange a means of accessing the gas by itself.
The Turkish Stream will consist of four lines with a capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Some 16 billion will be reserved for Turkey; the rest will go to Europe when the necessary infrastructure is in place.
In 2014, Russia supplied 27.4 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey, primarily through the Blue Stream pipeline that also passes across the Black Sea. Russia and Turkey agreed earlier to increase Blue Stream capacity from 16 to 19 billion cubic meters per year.
Tension between Moscow and Ankara had arisen after Putin attended the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), which took place in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
President Erdogan had threatened to withdraw the Turkish ambassador from Russia, but the meeting in Baku apparently diffused things. President Putin congratulated Erdogan on his party’s win in Turkey’s parliamentary elections on June 7.
#AceNewsServices – Featured Report:MOSCOW:June.11: Double standards in fighting extremism are not acceptable, the top Russian diplomat stressed, adding that actions of extremists are often ignored for political gain.
Russia will promote the creation of a single strategy to counter Islamic State militants in the Middle East and North Africa under the auspices of the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.
@AceNewsServices – Featured Report: Update:June.09: Activists in the Netherlands on Tuesday started an online campaign against the controversial free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, a day before the European Parliament will vote on the deal.
#AceNewsReport – Post Update:SAUDI ARABIA:June.08: There has been international outcry following news that a Saudi blogger – sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes on charges of insulting Islam – has had his punishment upheld, with criticism of the British government’s perceived soft touch in condemning officials in Riyadh.
#AceBreakingNews – June.08: Reports of US plans to deploy missiles in Europe hardly promote the balance of interests on the continent and mutual trust, President Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“Certain actions aimed at escalating tensions, of course, will not be in anyone’s interests,” Peskov said. “For sure, this issue itself hardly promotes mutual trust and the balance of interests on the European continent.”He added: “On the other hand, we do not have any concrete information.”
The statement was made after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the UK would consider hosting US nuclear missiles amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West.
#AceNewsReport – MOLDOVA:June.07: Nearly 10,000 protesters came out onto the streets of central Chisinau on Sunday to protest corruption and to call on those responsible for the country’s corruption-ridden paralysis to resign and face prosecution, local media have reported.
Organized by the ‘Dignity and Truth’ civic group, an eclectic collection of civic activists, political scientists and journalists, the mostly pro-EU oriented protesters voted on a resolution against the pro-EU coalition government, saying its lack of political will has led to a loss of confidence inside the country and in the eyes of its international partners.
The resolution demanded that members of the parliament and judges be stripped of their immunity from prosecution, and called on state officials involved in the scandal surrounding the theft of nearly a billion euros from three banks to face punishment. The civic group gave the government until August 27 (Moldova’s Independence Day) to meet their demands, threatening to return with larger protests.
The phrases “Down with the traitors!”, “Down with the Mafia!”, “Criminals to Jail!” and “Igor Plahotnyuk [a local oligarch], don’t forget, your home is in jail!” could be heard coming from the crowd and seen on homemade posters. Some of the protesters carried Moldovan, Romanian and EU flags.
Speaking before the crowd, Igor Botan, a well-known local pro-EU political scientist and one of the leaders of Dignity and Truth, stated that “we must step up protests in order to see justice, including over the theft of a billion euros from the banking system. We believe that the architects of this robbery of the century are themselves the leaders of the ruling parties. Without active protests, [authorities] will not do anything.”
Botan added that authorities have promised that a third of the money stolen in the country’s recent banking scandal may be returned, “two thirds will be transferred to the national debt, so that we the tax payers will be forced to return it. We cannot sit idly by and watch this. It is obvious that those who are responsible for this situation will not punish themselves.”
Dignity and Truth had earlier held several large-scale meetings, the last of which took place in early May and gathered nearly 50,000 people.
#AceBreakingNews – G7:June.07: The UK is to send an extra 125 military trainers to Iraq to help in the battle against Islamic State, the PM has said.David Cameron made the announcement at the G7 in Bavaria ahead of a meeting with the Iraqi prime minister on 8 June.
UK to send further 125 military trainers to help Iraqi soldiers in battle against Islamic State, PM announces http://t.co/NOV23UrCu0
#AceNewsReport – GERMANY:June.07: The crisis in Ukraine and the Greek economy are expected to top the agenda of the two-day G7 summit in southern Germany. However, the event has been overshadowed by mass demonstrations by anti-globalization protesters, who plan to hold more rallies.
“There is something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concerns,” Cameron said in a statement on Friday, as cited by Reuters.
“At international summits, leaders meet to talk about aid, economic growth and how to keep our people safe. But we just don’t talk enough about corruption. This has got to change. We have to show some of the same courage that exposed FIFA and break the taboo.”
British PM David Cameron says Europe must stay united on sanctions against Russia over Ukraine conflict despite pain, Reuters reports.
“We need to make sure Europe remains united,” Cameron told reporters at the G7.
“It (sanctions) has an impact on all countries. (But) Britain hasn’t let our pre-eminence in financial services get in the way of taking a robust response to Russian-backed aggression and I don’t think other countries should either.”
The President of the European Council Donald Tusk says the G7 group would like to see Russia back at the forum’s table.
“We would all prefer to see Russia at the table of the forum so that it can become the G8 group. But our group is a community of values and that is why Russia is not with us today and will not be invited as long as it acts aggressively against Ukraine or other countries,” Tusk said in a press conference.
Meanwhile, it seems as though the protesters have reached the end of the line as they tried to make their way towards the Schloss Elmau hotel.
Ruptly producer Denise Reese, who is at the scene, says there is a relaxed atmosphere and there does not seem to be any hint of trouble at the moment. There are about 500 demonstrators present.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived in Bavaria for the G7 summit. He plans to push EU officials to speed up negotiations to speed up a multi-billion dollar trade deal between the bloc and the US.
His intervention would come after the EU’s chief negotiator said in April that talks to clinch the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would stretch into 2016.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) receives flowers from children during a welcoming ceremony at Munich airport, Germany, June 7, 2015. (Reuters / Lukas Barth)
“We launched this at a G8 that was ours in Lough Erne in 2013,” one British official told reporters, which was cited by Reuters. “That was over 700 days ago, and the prime minister feels we should be making swifter progress.”
Barack Obama and Angela Merkel meeting some of the locals.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama meet local inhabitants as they visit Kruen, southern Germany, June 7, 2015. (Reuters / Daniel Karmann / Pool)
Barack Obama said before the start of the G7 summit that leaders would discuss what they perceive to be Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, as well as the threats posed by extremism and climate change.
“So over the next two days in Schloss Elmau we’re going to discuss our shared future, the global economy that creates jobs and opportunity, maintaining a strong and prosperous European Union, forging new trade partnerships across the Atlantic, standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine, combating threats from violent extremism to climate change,” Obama said, as cited by Reuters.
U.S. President Barack Obama toasts with beer as he visits Kruen, southern Germany, June 7, 2015. (Reuters / Hannibal Hanschk)
Before getting down to business, the US president managed to enjoy a traditional Bavarian lunch with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ruptly producer Denise Reese has been following the protesters on their march towards the Schloss Elmau hotel.
Demonstrators blocked a road leading to the Schloss Elmau hotel with a sit-down protest. This forced those attending the G7 summit to make the final stretch of their journey by helicopter, Reuters reports.
Bavarian police said on Twitter that 12 protesters had sat down in the road. After the police talked to them, seven of the demonstrators left voluntarily, while five were dragged away forcibly.
Meanwhile, protesters against the G7 summit said that police used a chemical substance on up to 400 people, a spokesperson for the Stop G7 movement told the Sputnik news agency. The spokesperson added that several people suffered injuries after the substance was emitted.