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Posts Tagged ‘Newsweek’

WHY BRUSSELS? THERE ARE TOO MANY REASONS

Posted by hkarner - 28. März 2016

Date: 27-03-2016
Source: NewsWeek

On Friday morning in Brussels, police sirens screamed throughout the capital as officers raced to hunt down the suspects behind the devastating March 22 bombings. On that Tuesday morning, two explosions ripped through Brussels airport, bringing the roof down on fleeing travelers and killing 11 people. An hour later, a bomb exploded on a train leaving Maalbeek station for the city center. This proved the most deadly attack, killing 20 people.

At the time of writing, 300 victims were still in hospitals, 61 of them with critical injuries. Armed guards patrolled the streets, incongruous in their bulky camouflage. Police were still launching raids on the neighborhoods of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek, while others stopped commuters at metro stations to sift through their bags.

Beneath the grief of Brussels residents was anger. Their government had been warning for weeks of an impending attack—previous raids on militants’ safe houses had unearthed guns and traces of explosives. Perhaps most damning of all, police were aware of two of the assailants, the el-Bakraoui brothers, one of whom Turkey had even arrested in July 2015 and warned Belgium about. In the minds of many Belgians, it was clear: The government had failed. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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HOW BELGIUM’S BUMBLING BUREAUCRATS BOOSTED EUROPE’S TERROR THREAT

Posted by hkarner - 25. März 2016

Date: 25-03-2016
Source: NEWSWEEK

Michel CCBelgian Prime Minister Charles Michel attends a ceremony outside of the terminal at Brussels International airport following bomb attacks in Brussels metro and Belgium’s airport of Zaventem, Belgium, on March 23.

As the world sends its sympathy to the victims of the recent terror attacks in Brussels, the most fervent prayer to be uttered for Belgium itself is that it finally wakes up. The incompetent Belgian government, its bureaucratic law enforcement agencies and its half-hearted intelligence services deserve as much blame for the slaughter as the murderers.

For more than a decade, the bumblers in Belgium have stood by as terrorist hotbeds emerged in their midst. Speaking to Newsweek on condition of anonymity, frustrated intelligence officers in other European countries slammed the Belgians, saying that they have failed to do the basic legwork to detect terrorist cells in neighborhoods around Brussels, with their efforts instead focused on groups that all but announce themselves, such as Sharia4Belgium, whose leaders were prosecuted last year. Belgian law enforcement has few contacts or informants in the areas around Brussels where terrorists live. Only in the last few months has Belgium started pumping greater funding to intelligence efforts and to recruiting more personnel.

Belgium’s lackadaisical approach to Islamic terrorist cells has placed much of the continent in danger, which is why government officials from the European Union and the United States have been quietly pressing its leaders to shape up, intelligence officials say. The terrorists who have set up shop in Brussels are only a short drive from Paris, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin. Few in the intelligence community were surprised to discover that the November terrorist attacks in Paris were organized in Belgium, led by a Belgian named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and included a suicide bomber and shooter from Belgium. That attack was the deadliest in the European Union since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, whose perpetrators included Belgians in a terrorist cell that was part of the Groupe Islamique Marocain Combattant. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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TRUMP’S REBEL YELL: HOW THE TECH REVOLUTION IS SETTING UP ANOTHER CIVIL WAR

Posted by hkarner - 14. März 2016

Date: 13-03-2016
Source: NewsWeek

A group of men sit near a railroad junction near City Point, Virginia, circa 1861. The increased access to information and ability to move people and services provided by railroads fundamentally changed the country and its politics; the Whig Party tried to hold on to old ways, but lost supporters to politicians embracing technology.

A technological revolution killed the Whig Party in 1850. A new one is blasting the GOP into splinters in 2016.

Amazingly, none of the presidential candidates talk much about technology, yet our software-eats-the-world whirlwind drives everything that’s cleaving the country and throwing its politics into chaos. The parallels to the dynamics of the 1850s are a little scary. After all, the Whigs’ self-destruction was a prelude to the Civil War.

Like today, the technological revolution in the mid-1800s ushered in a disruptive new era of connectivity, and transportation technology was key. Before the 1800s, getting anywhere—or exchanging any information over distance—involved horses, mud roads or boats. Movement was so hard that almost all business in America stayed local and small, and much of it was centered on agriculture. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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WHY PUTIN MIGHT BACK BREXIT

Posted by hkarner - 12. März 2016

Date: 11-03-2016
Source: NEWSWEEK

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, President Putin’s desire to interfere in European politics has increased significantly. The most important principle in this process is “divide and conquer”—putting the focus on the member states where it is easier to exert influence to weaken the European Union.
Russian diplomats have made no secret about the fact that they would prefer to deal with nation states rather than the EU. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last year that he “would appreciate and prefer a situation where each member country would be guided by its national interests.”

The current military and foreign policy doctrines of the Russian Federation define the West and its institutions as enemies rather than allies. Last month, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov openly said that breaking up the EU has never been Russia’s aim but it would prefer if it acted more independently, without the influence of the U.S.

In the light of that, it is not surprising that those close to the Kremlin would prefer it if Britain voted to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum on June 23. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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IN FOUR CHARTS: THE RISE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Posted by hkarner - 27. Februar 2016

Date: 26-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek

A new market forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts a bright future for electric vehicles, rising from about 1 percent of global annual vehicle sales to 35 percent by 2040—about 41 million cars.

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Last month, Elon Musk predicted that the electric vehicle industry will „definitely suffer“ from low oil prices—a barrel of crude is about $33 today, down from more than $100 a year ago. Why invest in an electric car when gas is so cheap? And sure enough, sales of gas-guzzling SUVs jumped 10 percent in 2015, while electric vehicle sales dipped 4 percent.

But don’t expect that trend to last, even if oil prices stay relatively low. A new market forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance paints a rosy picture for the future of electric vehicles, rising from about 1 percent of global annual vehicle sales today to 35 percent by 2040—about 41 million cars. That’s good news for Musk and other scions of clean energy. Whether it’s good news for the planet remains to be seen (more on that below).

Here are a few of the report’s main predictions. First, the increase in sales is projected to really pick up after 2025. Green represents electric vehicles (BEV is fully electric battery vehicles like the Nissan Leaf; PHEV is plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius); gray is all other types of light-duty cars. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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MERKEL, ISOLATED AND UNDER PRESSURE, NEEDS AMERICAN HELP

Posted by hkarner - 25. Februar 2016

Date: 25-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek

Merkel NiceGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.S. deference to Berlin on European matters has forced Merkel to step up as Europe’s leader, but she clearly needs U.S. help to get the continent through a series of historic crises.

In 1989, George H.W. Bush, addressing a then-divided Germany from the city of Mainz, called for Germany and the United States to act together as “partners in leadership.” With the Cold War coming to an end, Washington saw the potential in a new, soon-to-be reunited Germany to become the United States’ leading partner on the global stage. The Germans demurred, neither yet comfortable nor perhaps capable of assuming a position of leadership alongside the U.S.

Today, Berlin has been forced to take up this offer.

Barack Obama has revived Bush’s offer to Germany in his own way by scaling back the U.S. role in Europe. There has been an explicit U.S. effort to empower and ensure Germany steps up to lead Europe, alleviating some of the burden on Washington. Indeed, in the White House today, the first question often asked about any European issue is, “What does the chancellor want?” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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BREXIT: HOW SHOULD BRITAIN VOTE?

Posted by hkarner - 24. Februar 2016

Date: 23-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek

Britain faces a historic choice.

The Out campaign has peaked

Support for the Out [or Leave] campaign may have peaked. Over the past year, when people have been asked how they would vote in the EU referendum, the question in their minds is: “Do you like Brussels?” And the answer for many is no. As the referendum draws closer, increasingly people will look at the alternative—what might life be like outside the EU? The perceived risks of Brexit will start to weigh more on people’s minds. If you look at the results of constitutional referendum around the world, there is a clear pattern.

Normally what you see is the status quo gaining as voting day approaches. Take for example Quebec’s failed 1995 bid for independence from Canada, Australia’s 1999 referendum on becoming a republic, and the two referendums on Scottish independence in 1979 and 2014, and you see that when a country is divided the status quo normally triumphs. If there was a real likelihood of us exiting the EU there would need to be a double digit lead for Out now, which there isn’t and I don’t expect there to be. But a crisis involving the Syrian refugees or the economic woes of the eurozone could still erupt two or three weeks before votes are cast on June 23, which could leave people thinking that it’s riskier to stay in the EU than it is to come out. All else being equal, I think we will vote to stay in, but I’m not fully confident that all else will be equal. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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U.K. POUND FALLS AS MARKETS GET BREXIT JITTERS

Posted by hkarner - 23. Februar 2016

Date: 22-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek

Johnson CC2London Mayor Boris Johnson, February 21. The mayor has announced his decision to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

The pound has fallen dramatically against the dollar as traders around the world suffer from a dose of the Brexit jitters.

After London Mayor Boris Johnson announced on Sunday he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the EU in a forthcoming referendum, Asian traders reacted fast with a selloff. Bloomberg said on Monday the pound had sustained its biggest fall against the dollar in 11 months.

On Monday the pound was also beginning to lose ground against the euro, having dropped by almost one eurocent around 8 a.m., according to The Guardian.

Johnson declared his position after almost a week of speculation. The mayor has generally been considered an ally of Cameron’s, but said in his Daily Telegraph column that while “David Cameron has done his very best, and he has achieved more than many expected… There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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WHERE WE WENT WRONG, FROM AFGHANISTAN TO ISIS

Posted by hkarner - 23. Februar 2016

Date: 22-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek BY MARK MOYAR

Strategic defeat often results from an accumulation of tactical failures. Repeated battlefield setbacks can destroy an adversary’s capabilities, as befell Napoleonic France, or its will, as befell Britain in the American War of Independence.

In such cases, military organizations may deserve at least some of the blame for the strategic loss, because in most countries the military leadership bears primary responsibility for training, equipping and commanding armed forces, functions that are fundamental to tactical effectiveness.

Military strategy, by contrast, is often set by civilian leaders, and in the case of the United States it is the statutory prerogative of the civilian commander in chief.

When a country enjoys tactical military success as consistently as the United States, responsibility for strategic success must rest primarily with those who make strategy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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CAN MERKEL PREVENT EUROPE FROM IMPLODING?

Posted by hkarner - 3. Februar 2016

Date: 03-02-2016
Source: NewsWeek

Merkel cc 3During the heady months of 2004, Brussels was the place to be. The EU was the organization to join. Europe was brimming with optimism and confidence.

On May 1 of that year, eight countries from Eastern and Central Europe became EU members. Poland’s mission to the EU threw a marvelous party. There was a cacophony of languages. There was dancing, singing and a real sense of relief. Poland and other countries in the region had returned to Europe.

There was also a sense that this bigger, united EU was ready to exert its influence beyond its borders. Almost 12 years later, that Europe is hardly recognizable.

Europe has retreated into its shell. With the exception of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, both of whom understand what is happening to Europe, EU leaders are acting as if they have no obligation to defend Europe’s values and the principles of freedom and openness. More worryingly, they don’t seem to care about the EU’s influence in the world.

This is confirmed by a new report by the World Economic Forum called „Europe: What to watch out for in 2016-2017.“ To say it makes grim reading is an understatement. “European leaders must deliver solutions, and fast, if they want to prevent support for the EU [from] imploding in coming years,” the report states. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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