On Thursday, Turkey issued notices restricting air space (NOTAM) to a height of 200,000 feet and waters off its Black Sea coast to allow the S-400 firing tests, a week after the missile systems were seen being transported to the area, while it had previously carried out radar tests. Another angle of the #Turkish S-400 test launch near #Sinop pic.twitter.com/1dresOdShB
— Observer IL (@Obs_IL) October 16, 2020 Ankara inked the deal with Moscow in 2017, making Turkey the first NATO country to acquire these systems from Russia, and the delivery of the first parts of the S-400 started in 2019, despite strong opposition by the US. “If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Friday, after the circulation of the reports. The warning was reiterated last month, during NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Ankara, who said that the activation of the S-400 missiles risks compatibility with NATO aircraft and defences. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems shoot during the 6th International Army Games 2020 in Ashuluk landfill in Astrakhan region 1300 km outside Moscow, Russia, 26 August 2020. Washington had initially proposed that Ankara buys the US-made Patriot missile defence system instead, however it eventually suspended the country from its F-35 fighter jet program. Several videos also circulated in Twitter, allegedly showing Turkish military’s live fire test of the Russian-made S-400 missiles. The 6th International Military-Technical Forum ‘Army-2020′ is held from 23 August till 05 September 2020 at 23 military training grounds of five countries. During the exercise, three S-400 missiles successfully shot down three targets, TASS news agency reported, citing a military-diplomatic source. The US had also warned of economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, if the S-400 system is activated. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

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Turkey has tested for the first time its Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system in the Black Sea province of Sinop, Turkish and Russian media reported on Friday. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Turkey reportedly conducts live fire test of Russian-made S-400 missile system

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08626816 Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems shoot during the 6th International Army Games 2020 in Ashuluk landfill in Astrakhan region 1300 km outside Moscow, Russia, 26 August 2020.

However, late on October 11, the Turkish authorities opted to throw out any semblance of wanting to find a peaceful compromise with the international community and issued a NAVTEX. EPA-EFE//ABIR SULTAN

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Greek officials are up in arms after the Turkish government reneged on its previous pledge to halt illegal energy exploration activities on the Greek continental shelf. Reports from across the EU have indicated that some European leaders are finally beginning to grow weary of Erdogan’s continued attempts to stir up conflict so near to the EU’s borders. This effectively brings things back to the boiling point that brought the entire Eastern Mediterranean to the brink of a major crisis in late August and early September. EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN

The Israeli Navy's INS Lahav (L), the USS Donald Cook (2-R) from the United States Navy, the Fremm Auvergne (C) from the French Navy's, and Greek Navy's HS Aegaeon (R) take part in a joint military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is because of this reason that a high-ranking Greek official told New Europe that, despite the large Greek naval presence in the area now in focus, the Hellenic Navy will gain by keeping its cool and avoiding any sort of trap that Erdogan is hoping to set. A Greek Air Force F-16 fighter jet is seen during a refuelling-by-air exercise with an American KC-135 aircraft from the US airbase at Chania, Crete. Many Western observers, as well as officials in Athens, now believe that Erdogan is hoping to engineer an incident at sea that would give him an excuse with the Turkish public to create new tensions in the region with the goal of forcing a dialogue under new terms. A
According to New Europe information, German officials were by their Greek counterparts, just shortly before Ankara’s announcement, that Turkey was going to make a major move that could destabilize the situation. Earlier in October, Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Bratislava and promised to set a date for the relaunch of the so-called exploratory talks between the two countries on the delimitation of maritime zones. Greece, as well as its powerful allies in the Eastern Mediterranean and the United States, do not recognize any other internationally accepted legal framework with Turkey other than the current delimitation of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone. The Turkish government appears dissatisfied by the framework of the exploratory talks and wants to radically expand the scope of the debate. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Turkey is playing with fire in the Eastern Mediterranean

By George Evgenidis
Political Affairs, New Europe

epa07763438 Israeli Navy’s INS Lahav (L), US Navy’s USS Donald Cook (2-R), French Navy’s Fremm Auvergne (C) and Hellenic Navy’s HS Aegaeon (R) take part in a joint military exercise in the Mediterranean, near the city of Haifa, Israel, 07 August 2019 (issued 09 August 2019). The joint exercise called ‘Mighty Waves’ simulates a scenario where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the African Syrian Rift at the Jordan Valley area with thousands of casualties with Israel requesting international assistance from the USA, Greece and France to provide humanitarian and medical aid from air and sea. The officials told New Europe that the situation went “From the anticipation of an invitation… to a provocation’ when Turkey issued a new NAVTEX that extends to October 22 for research vessel Oruc Reis to carry out research activities in Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone of the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is, according to reports provided to New Europe, also deeply irritated by Erdogan’s latest provocation. Athens is also sending strong signals to Brussels that the EU can no longer be a neutral observer in the crisis, especially in light of Turkey’s most recent action. In recent months, Turkey dramatically ratcheted up tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean with increasingly bellicose and provocative actions. Turkey, however, has said that if Greece opts to legally extend its territorial claims, the Turkish government would consider the move a casus belli and a justification for war. Officials who are familiar with the details of the meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Maas on October 13 told New Europe that Maas was extremely angered by Erdogan’s actions, but was preoccupied with how Turkey would react and whether or not a stiffer response would further infuriate the Turks. Even those who have taken a very moderate and pro-dialogue approach towards the Erdogan regime, including German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, slammed Turkey’s move as a “provocation” and described the Turkish government’s stance as a total breach of confidence and a move made in bad faith. According to International Law, Greece withholds the right to unilaterally expand its territorial waters from 9.5 to 19.3 kilometers. Germany has been putting pressure upon Turkey to make sure that the exploratory talks remain top of the agenda for the Turkish government. What is not clear at this point, and which is keeping the Eastern Mediterranean on a knife’s edge, is the fact that many of Europe’s key actors appear to suffer from a lack of clarity on how to formulate a strategic plan to contain Turkey or who are genuinely paralyzed by their concerns about how Erdogan and his Islamist/ultra-nationalist allies in Turkey’s governing establishment will respond if harsh counter-measures are employed to halt Turkey’s illegal activities. Several European key players were completely taken aback by Turkey’s sudden reversal. Maas did, however, cancel a scheduled trip to Ankara that was set to take place on October 14. An internationally mediated conflict resolution process might force the two countries to hold comprehensive discussions in order to avoid the battlefield. EPA-EFE//STEFANOS RAPANIS
Further complicating matters is the fact that Greece and its allies have flatly rejected Turkey’s demands that the Greek government fully de-militarization certain Greek islands. A Greek source told New Europe that the return to the status quo ante comes under far worse circumstances than in August. This new act of provocation, however, goes beyond any previous move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the northeastern side of the territory included in the NAVTEX is located only 10.5 kilometers from the coast of Kastelorizo; Greece’s territorial waters extend to 9.5 kilometers from the island’s coast.

The mayor of the capital recalled that during the spread of coronavirus infection in public transport, cash payments were limited to exclude the possibility of infection. “We have already tested it in a pilot mode. “Especially in winter, you won’t dig in your purse, you just need to take off your mask – the system will recognise you and then go into public transport,” Kulginov said. Passengers of the capital’s public transport can pay for their fare using transport cards, SMS, several applications and bank cards. He also added that from the beginning of 2021, an additional 100 electric buses will arrive in the capital, where the Face pay system will also be introduced. Then two buses were equipped with special cameras. “To pay in public transport, you just need to look at the camera – it recognises the face and immediately automatically removes the fare of 90 tenge from the card,” Kulginov said at the QazUrban Forum 2020 “Nur-Sultan is a comfortable city”. Face pay technology was launched in pilot mode at the end of 2019. KULPASH KONYROVA

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Passengers of public transport in the capital of Kazakhstan will be able to pay for travel by showing their face at the camera using Face pay technology, Akim (Mayor) of Nur-Sultan Altay Kulginov said on October 16. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Kazakhstan’s capital to install facial recognition payment technology in 2021

By Kulpash Konyrova

View of Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan. Now we want to install cameras on all routes in general starting next year,” he said.

The Forced Labour Prevention Act was passed in the US on September 22 to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang autonomous region suspected to be produced through the use of forced labor among China’s ethnic minorities. EPA-EFE//REMKO DE WAAL
The EU’s efforts to grant the Sakharov Prize to jailed Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti in 2019 was definitely a step in the right direction. The Uyghur human rights activist Rushan Abbas compared the barbaric acts of China, which went so far to use the Uyghur minority as ‘guinea pigs’ for COVID-19 vaccines, to Germany’s Nazi regime, underscoring the obligation of the international community to stop such crimes against humanity under the UN Genocide Convention of 1948. Members of the Uyghur community demonstrate on Dam Square in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 29 December 2019. Especially given the Chinese influence in the EU owing to the 17+1 format. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Europe can no longer ignore human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in its dealings with China

By Eli Hadzhieva
Founder and Director of Dialogue for Europe

epa08565638 Demonstrators hold posters reading ‘Stop Genocide and Free Eastern Turkestan’ during a gathering against China’s alleged abuse of the Muslim Uyghurr community in Xinjiang province, near the Chinese embassy in Paris, France, 25 July 2020. A conference organised by the European Foundation for Democracy this week highlighted gross human rights violations in Xinjiang ‘re-education’ camps, where more than 1 million Uyghurs are detained, including disappearances, forced sterilisation, political indoctrination, and torture. The EU Member States shall have a common strategy and adopt a united and holistic position in their dealings with China and they should seriously consider adopting measures, such as creating a European Forced Labor Prevention Act, boycotting Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, sending an EU fact-finding mission on human rights abuses in Xinjiang region, ramping up scrutiny of Confucius Institutes and town twinning with Chinese cities as well as making any future deal with China conditional on respect for human rights. While experts discussed insidious Chinese tactics to silence researchers focusing on the situation of the Uyghurs, such as intimidation, the spread of disinformation, threat to cut funding, mobilisation of Chinese students, they invited European governments, universities and media to stay firm behind EU values, such as democracy and human rights. If the EU’s current pragmatic approach aiming to preserve trade and economic relations with China continues, the Union would risk importing the Chinese human rights model at the expense of its values, and no one could guarantee that forced labour camps would not be established on European soil in the future, repeating the worst horrors of history. Such is the EU’s current work to establish a Magnitsky Act for the bloc, a mechanism allowing to impose sanctions on people suspected of human rights abuses, similar to the one in the US. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Uyghur women in Paris hold posters reading 'Stop Genocide and Free Eastern Turkestan' during a gathering against China's abuse of the Uyghur community in Xinjiang province. The region is a major source for Chinese petrochemicals, agriculture, textiles, and cotton, accounting for more than 80% of Chinese cotton production. Since 2017, the Chinese regime has banned the language and religion of the Uyghurs, even destroying graveyards and religious sites, under the guise of the fight against extremism. Even following a frosty EU-China Summit, a new scheme to fight back against Chinese subsidies, an investment screening mechanism to protect the European industry from Chinese acquisitions and increased scrutiny for ensuring the security of 5G networks, the EU still retains a pragmatic approach to its relations with the trade giant, sometimes in contradiction with its own values. EPA-EFE//CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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As plans were revealed that China stepped up its investments in Italy, including the building of new ports in Venice and Trieste as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, activists accuse European governments and companies with being complicit to China’s ethnic cleansing policies against its Uyghur population, highlighting China’s increasing use of forced labour in detention camps in the Xinjiang region. Yet, these measures may not be sufficient to stop the human tragedy in Xinjiang. Although the EU increasingly views China as a ‘systemic rival’, such punitive acts are not on the Union’s agenda yet.

Her writings have appeared in The Washington Times, The American Conservative, The Christian Post, The Jerusalem Post, and Al-Ahram Weekly. In addition to Greek Cypriots, Armenian Cypriots Maronites Cypriots, and others were also forcibly displaced. The ethnic cleansing of the northern area of Cyprus by Turkey has resulted in the displacement of more than 170,000 Greek Cypriots. Nicholas Cathedral, the most majestic structure in Famagusta. As a result of the Turkish airstrikes, dozens of civilians died, including tourists. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ?ghost town?. EPA-EFE//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU
Author Helen Starkweather also noted, “In 1570, the Ottoman Turks sent cannonballs ripping through the walls in a siege that lasted for nearly a year. You also need to protect the political will that lays claim to these lands. Turkey is the one to be held accountable for its actions in Cyprus such as the obliteration of the island’s cultural heritage. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Europe’s “ghost town”: What Turkey has done to Cyprus

By Uzay Bulut
A Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara. What followed was ethnic cleansing through forcible displacement. The detainees were tortured or exposed to other types of inhumane treatment, including performing forced labor. There is no need to speculate on this … I call out to our cognates in northern Cyprus, to my Turkish brothers. Many well-documented atrocities were committed by occupation forces during that period. Since 1974, it has been occupied, abused and emptied of its indigenous population by Turkey. If we can put this out fully, I believe that the future in Cyprus will be very different,” Erdogan added,
The opening of the fenced-off area appears part of the “election” politics by Turkey; the Erdogan government aims at firing up local Turkish nationalists during the presidential election held on October 11 in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. Greek Cypriot women and children between the ages of 12-71 were raped. A section of Famagusta was fenced off and became only accessible for the Turkish military. EPA-EFE/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET

A view of an abandoned quarter in the Turkish-occupied zone of Famagusta, Cyprus, October 8, 2020.  ‘My body is yours. Professor Van Coufoudakis notes in his 2008 report “Human Rights Violations in Cyprus by Turkey” that “evidence of the gross and continuing violations of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus come from, among others, eyewitness accounts, NGO investigations, various international organizations, the European Commission of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and reports by international media.”
Since 1974, Turkey has forcibly occupied 36 percent of the sovereign territory and 57 percent of the coastline of the Republic of Cyprus. Weeds and wildflowers press against sandstone walls eroded by rain and earthquakes. The Ottomans took over Cyprus and closed Famagusta to Christians. It has invaded and divided a small, weak but modern and independent European state (since 1 May 2004 the Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the EU); Turkey has also changed the demographic character of the island and has devoted itself to the systematic destruction and obliteration of the cultural heritage of the areas under its military control.”
Famagusta since 1974
Famagusta is a district on the east coast of Cyprus with a long history and deep significance as a cultural heritage place. “In 1570 the Ottoman invasion which took Nicosia, then Famagusta, in hideous and bloody sieges, marked the end of the natural life of the edifice as a place of Christian worship,” according to Michael Walsh, a professor of art and archaeology. Many were arbitrarily detained by the Turkish military authorities and placed in concentration camps. Churches that weren’t converted—as well as other buildings damaged by the siege—were left to ruin. A minaret was placed above the gothic buttresses of the former Cathedral of St.  The skin was afterwards stuffed with straw, sown back into a macabre effigy of the dead commander, and paraded in mockery before the jeering Muslims.”
The Ottoman Turks converted many historic churches into mosques, such as St. EPA-EFE//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

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Europeans may be unaware, but Europe includes a “ghost town”. Her work focuses mainly on human rights, Turkish politics and history, religious minorities in the Middle East, and antisemitism. They built fountains throughout the city to modernize the water supply, and they converted most of the churches to mosques. It is because they were terrorized by Turkish troops and fled for their lives. Agencies such as UNESCO are unable to send either funds or conservationists due to the economic and social embargo the international community imposed on northern Cyprus after it was forcibly annexed by Turkey in 1974.”
Turkey has designed two main excuses for invading the island. Nicholas Cathedral is still used as a mosque in Turkish-occupied Famagusta and is now named “Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque” after the commander of the 1570 Ottoman invasion. You have to lay claim to these lands. Nicholas, where Jerusalem’s kings had once been coronated. Civilians, including children between six months and eleven years, were murdered. The 1974 Turkish invasion  
In 1878, Britain assumed the administration of Cyprus and annexed it following Turkey’s defeat in the First World War. However, anyone who is clueless about the history of Cyprus and who listens to Erdogan would be misled to think that the opening of this “coast” is a positive development and that even Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus was a good incident. By the 19th century, only a handful of residents remained, most living in shacks attached to deteriorating churches. Houses and business premises of those who had to leave were looted, seized, and appropriated. Nicholas Church — by now a mosque — and tied to a column, where he was slowly flayed alive.  He ordered the nose and ears of Marco Antonio Bragadin, the fort commander, hacked off. In 1983, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) was established with a unilateral declaration. Cyprus declared its independence from British rule in 1960. As a result, it was the Christian population who was dissolved by Turkey. Fourteen years later, however, Turkey, violated the treaty and invaded Cyprus twice: on July 20 and on August 18, 1974. The Turkish-speaking Cypriot minority was scattered all across the island. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. In an article entitled “The Battle of Lepanto: When Turks Skinned Christians Alive for Refusing Islam,” historian Raymond Ibrahim describes how “Muslim Turks — in the guise of the Ottoman Empire — invaded the island of Cyprus in 1570 and captured Famagusta.”
“After promising the defenders safe passage if they surrendered, Ottoman commander Ali Pasha — known as Müezzinzade (‘son of a muezzin’) due to his pious background — had reneged and launched a wholesale slaughter. Outnumbered and starving, the Venetians surrendered in 1571. The 1570 Ottoman Invasion
The Turkish presence in Cyprus dates back to the 16th century. The current status of Famagusta is the same as the rest of the occupied area. Hence, there was no actual need for Turkey to intervene. The reopening of Varosha was condemned by Cyprus?s internationally recognized government. The Treaty of Guarantee said that it “recognized and guaranteed the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus.” It was signed by Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. No candidate won a majority of the votes in the first round and a second round will be held on October 18. Ali then invited the mutilated infidel to Islam and life: ‘I am a Christian and thus I want to live and die,’ Bragadin responded. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. People walk on the beach near a Turkish military guard post in front of deserted hotels in occupied Famagusta. A second excuse was that Turkey “aimed at protecting Turkish Cypriots” from Greek Cypriot violence. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. This declaration was condemned by the international community, and to this day, Turkey remains the only country that has recognized the entity. EPA//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU
In a 2009 article at Smithsonian Magazine, author Helen Starkweather warned the world about the situation of Famagusta, calling it an “endangered site.”
“‘All ships and all wares,’ a 14th-century German traveler wrote, ‘must come first to Famagusta.’ The port city on the northeastern coast of Cyprus was once on a bustling shipping lane, carrying merchants from Europe and the Near East and armies of Christian knights and Ottoman Turks. And those who fled are still not allowed to return. Its disused shops, hotels and homes have remained untouched since 1974 and it has been given the label of “a ghost town”. Famagusta is often described as a ‘ghost town’ after its Greek population was forced to flee Turkey’s invading armed forces. Some 200 buildings—reflecting Byzantine, French Gothic and Italian Renaissance architectural styles—are in a state of disrepair. A 2012 report entitled “The Loss of a Civilization: Destruction of cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus” documents the devastation by Turkish forces of monasteries, churches, Christian and Jewish cemeteries, among other religious and cultural artifacts. In 1984, the Turkish military completed surrounding the empty and looted part of Famagusta. “Now ancient Famagusta, tucked into a modern city of 35,000 people, also called Famagusta, is largely forgotten, except, perhaps, as the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello. According to the report,
“Turkey has been committing two major international crimes against Cyprus.  Torture it as you will’,” Ibrahim wrote, adding, “So he was tied to a chair, repeatedly hoisted up the mast of a galley, and dropped into the sea, to taunts: ‘Look if you can see your fleet, great Christian, if you can see succor coming to Famagusta!’  The mutilated and half-drowned man was then carried near to St. The coup collapsed a few days later and democratic rule in Cyprus was re-established. But what have Turks really done to Cyprus? A deserted Greek Orthodox Church inside the Turkish-occupied coastal city of Famagusta in the north of Cyprus. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Famagusta by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. Like the Ottoman occupation in 1570, the 1974 Turkish invasion was bloody and brutal. Famagusta?s quarter Varosha, was partially opened to civilians after being sealed off for years. He also said that “the Turkish special warfare department has a rule to engage in acts of sabotage against the respected values [of the Turks] made to look as if they ‎were carried out by the enemy.”
Today Turkey still shockingly calls the atrocities it committed in 1974 “a peace operation.”
No matter what the Turkish government claims, the photos and documents concerning Famagusta and the rest of the occupied area in Cyprus tell their own story: People fled from the invading Turkish army that killed, tortured and raped. All of Varosha?s 39,000 residents fled the advancing Turkish army during an invasion in 1974. The “TRNC” does not exist as a state but rather a de-facto administration of the Turkish occupation. Fenced off 46 years ago when Greek Cypriots were forced to flee invading Turkish forces, a part of the Cypriot district of Famagusta has remained a “ghost town.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that “the two main streets and the coast in the Maras region [Famagusta in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus], which have been closed since the 1974 peace operation, have recently been opened to the use of the Cypriot people.”
“The closed Maras region belongs to the Turkish Cypriots; it should be known this way. The first one is the coup engineered by the Greek military, which toppled the democratically-elected Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios III. This land is yours. During the second phase of the Turkish invasion, on August 14, 1974, Famagusta was bombed by the Turkish air force. But even Turkish officials have confessed that the violence was mostly committed by Turks to pave the way for a military invasion. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha. The atrocities of Turkey in 1974 drove out the Greek Cypriots from the northern area, turning it into a Turkish colony. St. epa08729413 A view on a newly-opened street of abandoned quarter of Varosha in Famagusta, Cyprus, 08 October 2020. Famagusta rose to prominence between the 12th and 15th centuries, most notably as the city where the Crusader kings of Jerusalem were crowned. In 1878, when the British occupied Cyprus, Scottish photographer John Thomson called Famagusta ‘a city of the dead.’”
Despite successive invasions and occupations throughout the centuries, including the Ottoman occupation from 1571 until 1878, the population of Cyprus remained predominantly Greek throughout the country. General Sabri Yirmibesoglu, a Turkish army officer, for example, said in 2010 that Turkey had burned a ‎mosque during the Cyprus conflict “in order to foster civil resistance” against Greek Cypriots. Most of Famagusta is under Turkish military occupation and under the control of Turkey – not because the Greek locals got bored and “abandoned” the town.

But Weafer said at this stage, hopes for a demand recovery, which then supports an oil price rally, in early 2021, look overly optimistic. Oil prices fell on October 15 as traders are concerned that new restrictions to stem a second wave in COVID-19 infections would slow down economic growth and oil demand. Brent crude LCOc1 futures had dropped $1.39, or 3.2% to $41.93, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures were down $1.41, or 3.4%, to $39.63, Reuters reported, noting that the decline in US shale output, as over leveraged producers were forced to close, and the steady demand recovery, have also been important factors. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an article published in the energy ministry’s magazine Energy Policy on October 14 that despite the second wave of the pandemic in a number of countries, OPEC+ continues to be optimistic and “expect we can gradually raise production as per the agreement without harming the market”. Saudi’s currency is pegged to the US dollar,” he added. But Moscow is financially better placed than Saudi Arabia because of the free-floating currency. “Today the ruble is trading at 78 versus the dollar while, based purely on economics, it should be at 68. “It’s going to remain weak and I can see very little reason why it should be rising unless you are going to see a very difficult winter coming up but certainly, I see very little reason why it should be rising at all,” he said, adding, “Western economies are going to be weak and are going to remain weak for the foreseeable future so I can’t see anyone would be looking for significant rise in demand and therefore the price of oil”. So, the OPEC+ deal is working for Russia. delayed it to August 1st,” he said. There is no appetite in Moscow, or Riyadh or in many other oil capitals, to support a recovery in the US oil sector,” he said. Weafer noted that, ironically, the Russia ruble is currently much weaker than it should be because of the sanction threats from Washington. It’s dropping because of the slowdown in the economies, which will take some time to recover from and, of course, the efforts, quite strenuous efforts by some countries to now move away from carbon fuels, not just because they don’t want to be dependent upon Russia and the OPEC nations, but actually because ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance, is now foremost in investors’ minds and you are seeing that in reaction of markets now,” Urquhart Stewart said. Oil prices fell on October 15 as traders are concerned that new restrictions to stem a second wave in COVID-19 infections would slow down economic growth and oil demand. Justin Urquhart Stewart, co-founder of Regionally, the UKs leading regional investment platform, told New Europe on October 15 that OPEC+ should be very worried with the second wave of COVID-19 and new lockdowns. “We would likely see that again and an early announcement would help stabilise the oil price if demand were to again weaken in the coming months. follow on twitter @energyinsider The OPEC+ agreement has also been one of the key factors in providing support for the oil price since early May, Weafer said, noting that the price of Brent crude rose 80% from May 1st, when the current agreement started, to September 1st. Otherwise the price will more likely weaken into year end. The difference is the political risk premium,” he said. Also, Russia’s financial reserves are now the 5th largest in the world. Following their phone conversation on October 13, Putin and bin Salman have reportedly agreed on the importance of all oil-producing countries to continue co-operating and abiding by the OPEC+ agreement to achieve these goals for the benefit of both producers and consumers,” according to the kingdom’s state media outlet. US crude oil futures plummet to minus 37.63 US dollar (34.65 euro) a barrel, the lowest price in history. “But I think that Russia and Saudi Arabia would respond to that and, for example, delay the increase in production planned for January 1st by a couple of months. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Russia, Saudis push COVID-19 oil supply cuts on OPEC+

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

epa08375724 A gas station attendant wearing a protective face mask fills a car amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Moscow, Russia, 21 April 2020. Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the current nationwide lockdown with stay-at-home orders until the end of April in a bid to slow down the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. “Recall that Riyadh’s criticism of Russia’s involvement in Syria ended when the first OPEC+ deal was agreed,” he told New Europe. Weafer argued that it is also very good politics because having at least a pragmatic relationship with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, such as the United Arab Emirates, is a key geopolitical priority. “But, of course, Russia is in a better economic place than Saudi Arabia and most of the OPEC member states,” Weafer said, explaining that is because it has a free-floating currency and this greatly compensates the budget for weaker dollar-based revenues. Weafer agreed that a second wave of COVID-19 lockdowns would for sure hit oil demand. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Putin’s gambit: politics + economics winning hand

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have urged fellow oil producer countries in OPEC+ to stick to supply cuts agreed earlier this year. “I believe Moscow will agree to this – provided there is no recovery in US shale production. “Demand for oil is dropping in two levels. “So, Russia is in a relatively better financial and budget situation thanks to the US Congress,” Weafer said, arguing that this is helping Moscow survive weak oil much better than would otherwise be the case. For him it combines good economics with good politics,” Chris Weafer, co-founder of Macro Advisory in Moscow, told New Europe on October 16, adding that the former because the Russian budget is better off with $40 oil and lower volume than it would be with higher volumes but with $30, or lower, oil. “Russia, or I should say President Putin, is very committed to the OPEC+ deal. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

A gas station attendant fills a car amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Moscow, Russia. Urquhart Stewart predicted that the oil price is going to remain weak for the rest of the year and early 2021. Russia and Saudi will soon have to decide to announce a delay in the January 1 planned oil production growth. They did that for the July increase, i.e.

International Broadcasting
Ukraine lives under a constant state of information war that has many layers and players, most of which are linked with Russia’s propaganda. All of the 15 channels are owned by major media groups and are owned by Ukrainian oligarchs, who are all linked to Ukrainian politics. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president are meeting for the first time at a summit in Paris to find a way to end the five years of fighting in eastern Ukraine. In 2014-2015, Kolomoisky was the Head of Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration and his channel was key to the popular rise of Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as 1+1 produced Zelensky’s wildly successful political farce – Servant of the People. Furthermore, all of the channels show a relative weakness when it comes to Ukraine’s current information policy, which desperately needs to be revised as it remains under the threat from disinformation war and Kremlin propaganda. In a 2016 article for The Wall Street Journal, Pinchuk came under severe criticism from some sectors of Ukrainian society when he proposed that the Ukrainian government should officially reject the idea of ever joining the European Union and NATO. But an analysis of the country’s media market easily reveals major flaws in its information policy. Ukraine’s National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting is officially the state regulator and has the authority to punish channels for any violation of Ukrainian and even to stop channels from broadcasting. Though these channels say they are meant to be political by nature, they manipulate and attempt to hide the political interest of their owners. Without a counter initiative, Ukrainian policies and Ukrainians themselves, are described from the perspective of Russia’s leaders and their interests. Pinchuk is known as a supporter of political changes and is a patron of modern art. The Ministry of Information Policy is currently joined to the Ministry of Culture, but when it was a separate authority during the Poroshenko administration, its main focuses was to spread feel-good pro-government stories about Poroshenko’s initiatives. Also, a strict and clear framework that details what sort of punishment can be handed out to violators must be established. A focus on the type of programing, not on the channels, can help with regulation, not state control. The channels ICTV and UA:First seem to be neutral, which is especially surprising due to the fact that ICTV is connected to Pinchuk. The market can change if the government pays more attention and puts more resources into the functioning of the public broadcaster, which faces a lack of finances. The structure of ownership here is even more politicized than those with general programing. For that reason, Ukraine has to create an adequate strategy that has to include stronger international broadcasting as a key element. This meant that a very important layer of international broadcasting that focused on hard news from Ukraine was completely ignored. The most popular channel, Ukraine, supports two parties – Fatherland led by Yulia Tymoshenko, and The Servant of the People, which was created and is led by President Zelensky. Looking Ahead
The information policy of Ukraine has to be revamped to solve the current issues on the Ukrainian television market. Russia has media outlets such as Russia Today (RT) and international versions of their main channels (Channel 1 Russia, Russia One, etc.) that have good ratings and get a lot of financial support from the Russian government. ZIK, NEWSONE, 112 Ukraine, and OURS are owned by Taras Kozak who is a close friend of Medvedchuk. Since 2013, the Inter Media Group has been owned by oligarchs Dmitry Firtash and Sergei Liovochkin. EPA-EFE//DMITRY LOVETSKY

 
 

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We live in a society driven by information, and its delivery is the media’s main responsibility. If the broadcaster finally gets some much- needed resources, it can get play a leading role in the market and set new trends for the delivery of information to the Ukrainian people. The Council does not have to control the market or dictate the rules of the game through the sort of blatant censorship that one sees in China or Russia. So-called ‘fake news’, biased reports, and disinformation have drastically impacted the lives of ordinary people, and the dangerous spread of conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that some sort of regulation of the media is urgently needed to prevent additional deaths. The former, like his competitors, is both an oligarch and politician with powerful connections to the country’s political elite – he is the son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. One of the key elements that have to be included in that framework is the degree of violations correlating with the following punishment. EPA-EFE//OLEG PETRASYUK
That said, a line must be drawn between regulation and control. This has to be implemented within a legal environment that will guarantee that such guardrails do not become useless. During the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, Firtash was appointed to a few positions in his government, including in the State Commission of Cooperation with the World Trade Organization. To understand the details, it is important to analyze more than a dozen Ukrainian TV channels by their ratings share. policy for Ukrainian foreign policy think tank ADASTRA

epa08057774 Journalists watch a screen in a press centre as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (L) French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a working session at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, 09 December 2019. In Ukraine, television is the most trusted source of news for most of the Ukrainian public. Though news channels are not overly popular, they are the main source of information for many Ukrainians. This coordinated disinformation campaign finds an audience both abroad and domestically due to Ukraine’s provincial view of and total lack of a presence on the international broadcasting market and the near-non-existence of foreign media outlets that regularly broadcast in Ukraine. Private Ukrainian television networks have to become less dependent on the political interests of their owners in order to give access to reliable information to the Ukrainian public. Lack of Regulation
All of Ukraine’s broadcasters have proven incapable of strictly following the country’s guidelines with any sort of consistency. That regulation does not, however, have to threaten freedom of speech in the country. But UATV never had enough diverse or serious content and quickly became a source of what was essentially government mouthpiece propaganda. EPA-EFE/DMITRY LOVETSKY / POOL MAXPPP OUT

Ukrainian journalists watch a press conference by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This lack of discipline is further compounded in a world of tangled disinformation, which can lead to social unrest or even the collapse of a country’s political system. Poland’s TVP Polonia can be used by a future Ukrainian international broadcaster as a model to build a new, and far more professional and effective, new network. The Ukrainian television market is relatively young and is always responsive to political changes in the country. Liovochkin is also infamous for coordinating the Yanukovych presidency with the key elements and interests of Russia’s political elite. The show portrayed the militant groups in a positive light and described their actions as ‘a fight for the freedom of the Donbass’ and ‘against the Kyiv ‘junta’’. What’s paramount is that stronger support for the public broadcaster can force private channels to follow the basic journalistic standards of a free society and move away from biased reports. 1+1 International does not have any informational value and just rebroadcasts programs created by 1+1 Media. However, despite many controversies, not a single national channel has been punished for committing serious infractions in recent years. Kolomoisky caused a major uproar earlier this year when, in an interview dedicated to  Ukraine-Russia relations, he shifted his previously pro-Western position and said Ukraine should return to Russia’s orbit. The embassies denied tha any such meeting had ever taken place. A small portion of 1+1’s shares also belongs to Oksana Marchenko, a TV-presenter and the wife of Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life party and the godfather of one of Vladimir Putin’s daughters. The Kremlin spends an endless amount of resources to help spread disinformation around the world, including all the way up to the Trump administration, about the situation in Ukraine. At first, the government has to pay more attention to the regulation of the market, create a clear and understandable framework to punish violations of journalistic standards. Ukraine’s most infamous oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, owns the Ukraine network, which also includes the channel NLO TV. In 2006, he was a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Yanukovych-led Party of the Regions. 1+1 has the most diverse political framework in its programs and as expressed support for three different political parties, The relatively new party, For Future, is led by Igor Palytsia, and has the support of Kolomoisky. News programs from Inter, one of the country’s main channels, were accused of sharing blatantly false reports, including a 2016 story that supposedly detailed a ‘meeting’ between representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and ambassadors from the US and EU. There are three main problems on the modern Ukrainian TV-market: a lack of regulation by government bodies, a politically biased structure of the ownership of the TV-channels, and an immensely weak presence of international broadcasting within Ukraine. The lack of initiative by the Council only encourages channels like Inter and Ukraine to ignore the country’s ethical norms. UNIAN is owned by Kolomoisky’s 1+1 Media, ESPRESO is owned by the son of Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Zhevago, and The 24th Channel is owned by the wife of Lviv Mayor Andrey Sadovy. All of these cases were reviewed by the National Council, but none were ever reprimanded. To guarantee the independence of that process, the Council can cooperate with investigative journalists and other groups to carry out a proper vetting process. All of this can help to make the Ukrainian television market better and give people access to high-quality content that brings more political stability and even saves lives. Poroshenko decided to focus on a news channel to promote his European Solidarity party. Admittedly, there have been some modest efforts by the government and private networks to reach an international audience, including UATV and 1+1 International. The roots of that problem, most importantly, are hidden in the structure of ownership within Ukraine’s TV market. ‘Political Identity’ of the Market
A few channels in Ukraine truly consider themselves political, but most broadcast a range of biased programing that is created to manipulate, rather than to inform public opinion. The OURS channel supports The Opposition Block, another party led by Yanukovych’s former vice prime minister, Alexander Vilkul. 1+1 Media, one of the most powerful in the country, remains firmly in the hands of Igor Kolomoisky, a man who continues to wield significant influence in Ukrainian politics. This is especially critical to Ukraine’s national security while it remains at war with Russia and its pro-Moscow separatist allies. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Ukraine’s information policy needs to be overhauled to combat both external and internal threats

By Artur Koldomasov
An expert in international information and U.S. The channel’s main talk show, Everybody’s Business, is receiving a public backlash for its disrespect of human rights for exploiting cases that involve minors, including a recent episode about a 12-year-old pregnant girl that was called by British tabloid The Sun ‘the worst reality show’. None of this was or would be of interest a foreign viewer, which ultimately led to the shut down UATV’s international broadcasts in January. The aforementioned regulation may help solve that issue because the content creators on these TV channels use many well-known techniques to spread disinformation and to sway viewers into thinking a particular way about a specific topic. Ukraine’s Channels Follow the Political Whims of Their Owners
All of the channels’ owners are linked with Ukraine’s political process and it is easy to predict that the substance of the content depends on the political interests of the owners. A similar approach had been introduced in Latvia in regards to that country’s laws which are aimed at fighting against fake news and disinformation. The end result has made it increasingly more difficult to combat damaging propaganda from abroad. As a result, these three cases are only the tip of the iceberg, and the whole media and information environment is Ukraine filled with bias, fakes, and disinformation. For that reason, the current policy has to be perfected and revamped. Pinchuk’s STB supports the liberal party Holos. The title of the most influential media group in Ukraine belongs to StarLightMedia, which is owned by Viktor and Olena Pinchuk. TVP Polonia is considered the main source of information about Poland on the international television market and has a diverse content framework. That is why the Council needs a stronger regulations policy. Liovochkin was the head of Yanukovych’s presidential administration and is a member of the Opposition Platform – For Life – a party in the Ukrainian Parliament. Straightforward and The 5th Channel are owned directly or with other sides by ex-President Petro Poroshenko. That said, the government has to pay more attention to the sort of disinformation that flows into the country, particularly from Russia. In comparison to the rest of the media landscape in Ukraine, the public broadcaster’s programing is truly neutral and meets all of the standards of a reliable news outlet. And, finally, Inter has been open about its bias towards the Opposition Platform – for Life, led by Medvedchuk and Vadim Rabinovych, another pro-Russian oligarch. Akhmetov is most famous for being the president of the Shakhtar football club, but he also has deep political ties that go back many years. One of the biggest media controversies in recent years came from the channel Ukraine, and its series of shows from the pro-Russian Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics. Rather, thorough and deep analyses, and a robust fact-checking process, would verify the trustworthiness of the stories that are filed. Even though Ukraine’s creative industries are considered one of the most developed and successful in the former Soviet Union, the channels continue to confuse viewers, muddy the political waters, and move the media away from being a public watchdog.

We are 100% united. Surprised EU is no longer committed to working "intensively" to reach a future partnership as agreed with @vonderleyen on 3 October. And we call on the UK to make the necessary moves,” the EU Council President said on Thursday, during a press conference following an EU27 leaders’ summit in Brussels. “We are united and determined to reach on agreement, but not at any cost,” Michel added, with the EU and UK negotiations stalled in the fields of fisheries, state aid and the so-called level playing field. Reacting to the move, UK’s Brexit negotiator wrote in a Twitter post that he is “disappointed” by the summit’s outcomes and “surprised” that the EU is “no longer committed to working ‘intensively’ to reach a future partnership as agreed with [Ursula] von der Leyen on 3 October.”
He added that he is also “surprised by suggestion that to get an agreement all future moves must come from UK. EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL

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EU Council President Charles Michel has called on the UK to make the “necessary moves” if it seeks to have a post-Brexit trade deal read for January 2021, as the two sides have still to bridge their differences. And we fully trust and support our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to continue negotiations. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU tells UK to make ‘necessary moves’ if it wants post-Brexit deal

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08749370 European Council President Charles Michel speaks to the media as he arrives for the second and last day of a face-to-face EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, 16 October 2020. Bilateral talks are set to intensify the next two weeks, with the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier travelling to London for negotiations with his British counterpart David Frost. EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL

European Council President Charles Michel speaks to the media as he arrives for the second and last day of a face-to-face EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, 16 October 2020. — David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) October 15, 2020

 
On Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country is ready to withdraw from the talks with the EU unless the bloc changes its stance on the matter, which would mean giving UK a Canada-style free trade agreement. “On those issues, we are concerned by the lack of progress at the negotiation table. It’s an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation.”

1/3 Disappointed by the #EUCO conclusions on UK/EU negotiations.

style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Barcelona begins two-week corona shutdown of all bars, restaurants

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08747140 Empty tables are seen at the terrace of a bar in the district of Barceloneta, on the eve of the regional rule for the closing of bars and restaurants comes into force, in Barcelona, northeastern Spain, 15 October 2020. Catalan Government passed a rule for the closing of bars and restaurants for 15 days and capacity restrictions in malls, gyms, theaters and cinemas to try to avoid the spreading of COVID-19 virus disease. EPA-EFE/QUIQUE GARCIA

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The Spanish region of Catalonia, which includes the city of Barcelona, ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days from Thursday in an effort to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. The deputy mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, called the measure “disproportionate”: “The sector has made a very significant effort and we have to remember that less than a week ago there were plans to reopen nightclubs”, he said. Under the new measures, non-professional sport competitions will be also suspended and the region’s gyms will only be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. The situation is very worrying”, acting regional chief Pere Aragones said on Wednesday. Catalan Government passed a rule for the closing of bars and restaurants for 15 days and capacity restrictions in malls, gyms, theaters and cinemas to try to avoid the spreading of COVID-19 virus disease. On Wednesday, restaurant associations said they would file a lawsuit against any closure. The local government said it will disburse €40 million in aid to bars and restaurants. Spain has so far registered nearly 900,000 cases and more than 33,000 deaths from COVID-19. The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put on partial lockdown last week. EPA-EFE/QUIQUE GARCIA

Empty tables are seen at the terrace of a bar in the district of Barceloneta, on the eve of the regional rule for the closing of bars and restaurants comes into force, in Barcelona, northeastern Spain, 15 October 2020. “We need to act today to avoid a total lockdown in the coming weeks. Casinos will be closed, shops and large shopping centers will see capacity limited to 30%, and cultural events will be allowed to run at 50% capacity and must finish by 11 pm.

However as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation,” von der Leyen wrote in a Twitter post. On Thursday night Conte tweeted about the death of Jole Santelli, the first female president of the Calabria region, elected in January 2020 and former MP with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. Una perdita dolorosa! The loss of Jole Santelli is a deep wound for Calabria and for all the institutions. My heartfelt thoughts and heartfelt condolences to his family,” Conte’s post reads. Il mio pensiero commosso e le più sentite condoglianze ai suoi familiari.   The Italian Premier left the EU27 leaders’ meeting before the latter came to an end on Friday noon. I myself have tested negative. “A painful loss! “I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning. — Giuseppe Conte (@GiuseppeConteIT) October 15, 2020

 
European Commission’s chief Ursula von der Leyen also had to leave the EU summit on Thursday to enter precautionary quarantine, after learning that a member of her front office had tested positive for COVID-19. La scomparsa di Jole Santelli è una ferita profonda per la Calabria e per le Istituzioni tutte. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Italian PM Conte leaves EU summit, delegates Germany’s Merkel

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08749498 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives for the second and last day of a face-to-face EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, 16 October 2020. EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL

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Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had to leave the EU leaders’ meeting on Friday to attend a funeral, delegating German Chancellor Angela Merkel to represent his country at the bloc’s discussions on the Coronavirus emergency and EU-Africa relations. EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives for the second and last day of a face-to-face EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, 16 October 2020. Similarly Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin left discussions on Friday to self-quarantine as a precautionary measure, after having come into contact with a Finnish lawmaker who tested positive for the virus. Marin delegated Swedish PM, Stefan Lofven to represent her country, a Twitter post of the Finnish PM reads.

More than 40 homes were searched by agents in Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, and Latvia, with officials from both the US and Europe saying that the ring, known as “QQAAZZ”, included citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Belgium. All of the suspects face criminal charges in the United States, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. A cyber attack hit at least 150 countries world wide with an estimate 200,000 victims, Europol chief Rob Wainwright was cited as saying in an interview with British broadcaster ITV. The so-called ‘WannaCry’ ransomware cyber attack hit the computers by encrypting files from affected computer units and demanded 300 US dollars through bitcoin to decrypt the files. The ring allegedly laundered cybercriminals’ stolen funds by transferring them between hundreds of accounts held in banks across the world. EPA/LEX VAN LIESHOUT

An exterior view of the new Europol headquarters in The Hague. EPA-EFE//LEX VAN LIESHOUT

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European and American officials have arrested 20 people in several countries who are suspected of belonging to an international money-laundering ring that is responsible for processing millions of euros stolen by cybercriminals. This is the only way forward”, said Carlos Cabreiro, the director of Portugal’s National Unit for Fighting Cybercrime. “This operation has shown that through this type of cooperation, we can collectively tackle global cybercrime. It is expected that there are even more attacks on computers recorded at the beginning of the new working week, Wainwright added. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>FBI and Europol smash major money-laundering cybercrime ring

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa05964226 (FILE) – An exterior view of the new Europol headquarters, the alliance of the European Union police and a multinational research organization, in The Hague, The Netherlands 01 July 2011, (reissued 14 May 2017). The operation, named “2BaGoldMule”, was coordinated by Europol and led by Portuguese investigators, along with the FBI. Media reports on 14 May 2017 state that experts of Europol expect a wave of further attacks on computers with so-called ‘Ransomware’.

Brazil has ordered 28 Gripen E and eight Gripen F fighters from Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab. Brazil has ordered 28 Gripen E and eight Gripen F fighters from Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Sweden to drastically increase military spending amid tensions with Russia

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa07832852 Sweden’s Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist gives a speech during a ceremony where the first Saab Gripen E fighter was handed over to Brazil, in Linkoping, Sweden, 10 September 2019. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden, which is not a NATO member, slashed military spending. EPA-EFE/Stefan Jerrevang SWEDEN OUT

Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist gives a speech during a ceremony where the first Saab Gripen E fighter was handed over to Brazil, in Linkoping, Sweden, 10 September 2019. An armed attack on Sweden cannot be ruled out”, the country’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist said, adding that the move came because the region’s security policy situation “has deteriorated” as “a consequence of Russia’s actions”. The government said that the proposed spending rise, which needs to be approved by parliament, would target all branches of the military and would see the number of staffed personnel grow to 90,000 from 60,000. Hultqvist announced that an extra 27 billion Swedish crowns (€2.6 billion) will be added to the country’s defence budget from 2021 to 2025. Hultqvist warned that the previous “disarmament went too far”, and called on future leaders not to “repeat the mistakes” and maintain “stability”. However, the parliament eventually decided on a turnaround following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. “It is the largest increase in defence capability in 70 years. EPA-EFE/Stefan Jerrevang

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Sweden’s government on Thursday proposed a 40% increase for its defence budget from 2021-2025.

“We’re hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing, and that they will all, before that takes place, get the ceasefire right, and then sit down at the table and try and sort through this”, he added. The main issue is the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians. EPA-EFE/JAKUB GAVLAK

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United States’ secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned that Turkey’s involvement in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has increased the risk in the region. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Pompeo criticizes Turkey’s involvement in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa07364305 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a media conference after his meeting with the Slovakian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bratislava, Slovakia, 12 February 2019. The fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27. Pompeo is on an official visit to Slovakia. “We now have the Turks, who have stepped in and provided resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk, increasing the firepower that’s taking place in this historic fight. Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Soviet Union and have been involved in a territorial conflict since gaining independence within the 1990s. EPA-EFE/JAKUB GAVLAK

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a media conference after his meeting with the Slovakian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bratislava, Slovakia, 12 February 2019. Each side has accused the other of targeting civilians. Turkey has accused Armenia of occupying Azeri territory and vowed full support for Azerbaijan.  According to figures by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold before the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out. The resolution of that conflict ought to be done through negotiation and peaceful discussions, not through armed conflict, and certainly not with third party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation”, Pompeo said in an interview. Both sides have rejected talks and ignored growing international calls for a ceasefire. Pompeo is on an official visit to Slovakia.

She also called “especially on young people to do without a few parties now in order to have a good life tomorrow”. EPA-EFE/HAYOUNG JEON / POOL

Berlin Governing Mayor Michael Mueller, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Premier of Bavaria Markus Soeder during a press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 14 October 2020. German Chancellor Merkel met the heads of the federal states for a discussion on the restrictions against the coronavirus (COVID-19). On Friday, Germany reported a record 7,334 new cases. “We are much closer to a second lockdown than we want to believe”, said Markus Soder, the state premier of Bavaria. “We have decided on this prophylactic number of 35 because we have seen some examples of how fast the increase happens from 35 to 50”, Merkel said. EPA-EFE/HAYOUNG JEON / POOL

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Germany on Wednesday announced tougher restrictions in an effort to combat a rise in coronavirus infections. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of the country’s federal states agreed on limiting private gatherings to 15 attendees and a curfew for bars and restaurants from 11 pm in areas with a weekly rate of more than 35 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. German Chancellor Merkel met the heads of the federal states for a discussion on the restrictions against the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the latest update, the country recorded 24 new deaths from the coronavirus, taking its total death toll to 9,734. As of Thursday, 655 COVID-19 patients were receiving treatment in intensive care units, and 329 were on ventilators. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Germany announces tougher coronavirus restrictions

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08745915 (L-R) Berlin Governing Mayor Michael Mueller, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Premier of Bavaria Markus Soeder during a press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 14 October 2020.

All 298 people aboard the plane died. Prosecutors said the four men are: Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence service, Sergei Dubinsky, employed by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, Oleg Pulatov, allegedly a former soldier with GRU special forces, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian national with no military background who led a combat unit as a commander in Eastern Ukraine. EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

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Russia said on Thursday it would withdraw from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014. The plane was shot down with a Russian-made Buk missile by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, and resulted in the death of 298 civilians, two-thirds of which were Dutch. If convicted, the suspects could face sentences of up to life in prison. However, they are unlikely to be extradited, as Russia’s constitution does not permit the extradition of its own nationals. A Dutch court began criminal proceedings against them in March. Reports on 28 September 2016 state the group of international prosecutors had come to a conclusion a BUK missile fired from rebel territory in eastern Ukraine hit the plane as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said that “The Netherlands greatly regrets this decision,” adding: “It is extremely painful for the survivors”. Reports on 28 September 2016 state the group of international prosecutors had come to a conclusion a BUK missile fired from rebel territory in eastern Ukraine hit the plane as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Moscow has denied any involvement in the downing of the flight. On Thursday, Moscow said it will continue its cooperation in the investigation, but “in a different format”. Australia and the Netherlands have obviously not tried to understand what really happened in summer 2014, but rather just wanted to secure a confession from Russia and compensation for the victims’ relatives”, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Russia withdraws from MH17 talks with Netherlands, Australia

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa05560310 (FILE) A file photo dated 18 July 2014 showing a Ukrainian rescue worker passing wreckage of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Arilines flight MH17, which crashed during flying over the eastern Ukraine region near Donetsk, Ukraine. Investigators say they have proof the Buk missile system came from a military base in Russia. All suspects are believed to be in Russia. EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

A file photo dated 18 July 2014 showing a Ukrainian rescue worker passing wreckage of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Arilines flight MH17, which crashed during flying over the eastern Ukraine region near Donetsk, Ukraine. Three Russians and one Ukrainian are charged with multiple counts of murder over the downing of the plane. The three countries have held discussions aimed at uncovering the cause of the disaster since 2018. “Hostile acts by the Netherlands have made any continuation of the trilateral consultations and our participation senseless. All 298 people aboard the plane died.