Thursday, March 23, 2017
THE EU AND JAPAN TO PROTECT THE WORLD ORDER THROUGH FREE TRADE.AND 5 DEAD-INCLUDING TERRORIST AND 40 INJURED IN UK TERRORIST ATTACK YESTERDAY.
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates;(WERE WW3 STARTS IN IRAQ OR SYRIA OR TURKEY) and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.(THE TURKEY ATATURK DAM ON THE EUPHRATES CAN BE SHUT AND DRIED UP ALREADY BY TURKEY)
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon,(SATAN) and out of the mouth of the beast,(WORLD DICTATOR) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(FALSE POPE)
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.(WERE 2 BILLION DIE FROM NUKE WAR)
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.(ITS AT THIS TIME I BELIEVE WHEN AMERICA GETS NUKED BY RUSSIA ON THE WAY TO THE MIDEAST)
DANIEL 11:44 (2ND WAVE OF WW3)
44 But tidings out of the east(CHINA) and out of the north(RUSSIA, MUSLIMS WHATS LEFT FROM WAVE 1) shall trouble him:(EU DICTATOR IN ISRAEL) therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.( 1/3RD OF EARTHS POPULATION)
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.(WORLDWIDE WAR)(TURKEY-IRAQ-SYRIA)(EUPHRATES RIVER CONSISTS OF 760 MILES IN TURKEY,440 MILES IN SYRIA AND 660 MILES IN IRAQ)
15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,(WORLDWIDE WAR) which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(1/3 Earths Population die in WW 3 2ND WAVE-2 billion)
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand:(200 MILLION MAN ARMY FROM CHINA AND THE KINGS OF THE EAST) and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)
PROOF HALF ON EARTH DIE DURING THE 7 YR TRIBULATION PERIOD (8 BILLION ON EARTH)
REVELATION 6:7-8 (8 BILLION- 2 BILLION = 6 BILLION)
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse:(CHLORES GREEN) and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth,(2 BILLION) to kill with sword,(WEAPONS) and with hunger,(FAMINE) and with death,(INCURABLE DISEASES) and with the beasts of the earth.(ANIMAL TO HUMAN DISEASE).
REVELATION 9:15,18 (6 BILLION - 2 BILLION = 4 BILLION)
15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,
18 By these three was the third part of men killed,(2 BILLION) by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR ATOMIC BOMBS)
HALF OF EARTHS POPULATION DIE DURING THE 7 YR TRIBULATION.(THESE VERSES ARE JUDGEMENT SCRIPTURES NOT RAPTURE SCRIPTURES)
LUKE 17:34-37 (8 TOTAL BILLION - 4 BILLION DEAD IN TRIB = 4 BILLION TO JESUS KINGDOM) (HALF DIE DURING THE 7 YR TRIBULATION PERIOD JUST LIKE THE BIBLE SAYS)(GOD DOES NOT LIE)(AND NOTICE MOST DIE IN WAR AND DISEASES-NOT COMETS-ASTEROIDS-QUAKES OR TSUNAMIS)
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other shall be left.(half earths population 4 billion die in the 7 yr trib)
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.(Christians have new bodies,this is the people against Jerusalem during the 7 yr treaty)(Christians bodies are not being eaten by the birds).THESE ARE JUDGEMENT SCRIPTURES-NOT RAPTURE SCRIPTURES.BECAUSE NOT HALF OF PEOPLE ON EARTH ARE CHRISTIANS.AND THE CONTEXT IN LUKE 17 IS THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION OR 7 YR TREATY PERIOD.WHICH IS JUDGEMENT ON THE EARTH.NOT 50% RAPTURED TO HEAVEN.
MATTHEW 24:37-42 (THESE ARE JUDGEMENT SCRIPTURES-SURE NOT RAPTURE SCRIPTURES)
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
42 Watch therefore:(FOR THE LAST DAYS SIGNS HAPPENING) for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
HAMAS GAZA LEADER WILL LIBERATE ALL OF PALESTINE
NORTH KOREA MISSLE FAILS
North Korea Missile Launch Fails, U.S. and South Korea Say-by Richie Duchon and Stella Kim-NBCNEWS-MAR 22,17
North Korea attempted a missile launch Wednesday morning but it failed almost immediately, U.S. military officials and South Korea said."A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch," U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said in a statement. "We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea's actions closely."The launch comes a day after Kim Jong Un's regime issued an ominous warning of a potential pre-emptive strike after a test over the weekend of a new advanced rocket engine.[North Korea launches 3rd test missile since Trump took office]-"The world will soon witness what eventful significance the … recent ground jet test of Korean-style high-thrust engine will carry," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday via state-run news agency KCNA. "The nuclear force of [North Korea] is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence."South Korea also confirmed the failed launch and said it was analyzing what type of missile was fired, a South Korean military official confirmed to NBC News.North Korea conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests during 2016, and experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland within a few years.Asked by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell whether North Korea's threat of pre-emptive military action represents a dangerous escalation, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson replied: "No comment today, thank you."
North Korea missile launch toward S. Korea failed. How often does that happen?-[Christian Science Monitor]-Ellen Powell-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
An attempted North Korean missile launch failed on Wednesday, according to US and South Korean reports.The missile, launched from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan, “[appeared] to have exploded within seconds of launch,” the US Pacific Command said in a statement. American officials had been aware of the planned launch for several days, as they observed a rocket being moved and VIP seating being assembled in Wonsan, they told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The launch failure comes as the United States and South Korea engage in their annual “Foal Eagle” joint military exercises, which typically provoke a strong response from the North."The North Koreans respond to [the drills] almost every year with some kind of outlash or provocation or something like that," Robert Kelly, associate professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea, told CNN. "Missile tests are a nice way to send a signal."Recommended: How much do you know about nuclear weapons? Take our quiz.As North Korea accelerates its missile program, success has been mixed with failure. But these failures may not be entirely organic, an investigative report by The New York Times revealed earlier this month. Instead, a new US antimissile approach appears to have been affecting the tests.“Just about every time the North Koreans tried to launch an advanced missile, it seemed to end up in the ocean seconds later,” wrote David E. Sanger for The New York Times. “Maybe it was bad luck ... or bad parts, or bad welding. After all, the North Koreans are not known for quality control. Or maybe something else was going on.”That “something else,” it turned out, was a new US approach to antimissile defense. In 2014, former President Barack Obama concluded that traditional antimissile systems, which failed more often than they succeeded under test conditions, were not the answer to protecting the US. To replace these systems, the US instituted a “left of launch” program that aims to sabotage the missiles before they ever leave the ground.That program likely contributed to the failure of a series of launches over the past year. Over the course of one week last October, two missiles failed to launch successfully. In May, a Musudan missile exploded within seconds of launch, and a similar situation occurred in April.But North Korea has also celebrated successes in the program, which it sees as the key to maintaining its autonomy and influence against China, the US, and other powers. Of a pair of missiles launched in June, one flew 93 miles and the other 250 miles. Earlier this month, though one missile failed to launch, the other four landed in Japanese waters.These successes are an increasing concern for the US and its allies. Mr. Obama, upon leaving office, warned President Trump that North Korean missile development would be the most urgent problem facing his administration. After the test earlier this month, Japanese authorities in the northwestern city of Ogo ordered residents to participate in a civilian evacuation drill, a first for the country. Increasing pressure from North Korea has also led Japan to consider how its constitutional commitment to pacifism meshes with its commitment to defending its citizens from a potential attack.The US is committed to working with China, Japan, and South Korea to defuse tensions in the region, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated on his visit to the region last week. Concrete steps have not yet been agreed upon, however. The US has expressed a preference for sanctions and a willingness to use military force, while China would prefer to open a multilateral dialogue with North Korea. This report contains material from the Associated Press.
Putin boasts about rising Russian arms sales abroad-[Associated Press]-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia's arms sales abroad last year have topped $15 billion.Putin, speaking Wednesday at a meeting with officials, said Russia last year also signed $9.5 billion in new arms-export contracts, which currently total $50 billion.He said that Russia accounts for nearly a quarter of global arms sales, coming in second after the U.S.Putin said Moscow plans to expand its share of the global arms market, adding that a military campaign in Syria has demonstrated the "remarkable reliability and efficiency" of Russian weapons.Russia has waged an air campaign in Syria since September 2015, helping Syrian President Bashar Assad's military to win some key ground.
British tanks join NATO battle group in Estonia-[AFP]-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
Tallinn (AFP) - British army equipment including tanks and self-propelled guns on Wednesday arrived by boat in Estonia, part of a NATO move to reinforce its eastern flank to deter a militarily resurgent Russia, according to Estonia's defence forces.The 130 units of equipment arrived at the Paldiski seaport in northern Estonia but will be transferred to the town of Tapa to join the 200 British troops and 50 French soldiers already there.By mid-April more than 800 British troops and nearly 300 French troops will be stationed in Estonia. A Danish contingent will replace the French later this year.NATO decided at a July 2016 summit to deploy its troops to the Baltic states and Poland as a tripwire against Russian adventurism in states formerly under Moscow's control.Apart from the British-led battalion in Estonia, Canada will lead a multinational battalion in Latvia, Germany in Lithuania and the US in Poland.Tensions between Russia and the West have escalated over the past two years, triggered by Russia's actions in Ukraine and its military campaign in Syria since late 2015.
Iranian navy endangering international navigation in Gulf: U.S. commanders-[Reuters]-By Sami Aboudi-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (Reuters) - U.S. Navy commanders accused Iran of jeopardizing international navigation by "harassing" warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz and said future incidents could result in miscalculation and lead to an armed clash.They spoke after the U.S. aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush confronted what one of the commanding officers described as two sets of Iranian Navy fast-attack boats that had approached a U.S.-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait on Tuesday on a journey from the Indian Ocean into the Gulf.It was the first time a U.S. carrier entered the narrow waterway, where up to 30 percent of global oil exports pass annually, since President Donald Trump took office in January pledging a tougher U.S. stance toward Iran.U.S. commanders said Tuesday's incident, in which the George H.W. Bush sent helicopter gunships to hover over the Iranian speedboats as some came as close as 950 yards (870 meters) away from the aircraft carrier, ended without a shot being fired.But it underscored growing tension between the United States and Iran since the election of Trump, who has condemned the 2015 nuclear deal that his predecessor Barack Obama and leaders of five other world powers struck with Tehran and labeled the Islamic Republic "the number one terrorist state."The encounter with Iranian Navy boats occurred as the USS George H.W. Bush was en route to the northern part of the Gulf to participate in U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria."What I don't like about that is they (Iranian boats) were in the middle of international transit waters (while) we had a right to be there as we were exercising freedom of navigation on our way into the Arabian Gulf," Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 2, told journalists aboard the aircraft carrier."They also had weapons uncovered as some of the cameras were able to tell. They had some of the weapons manned. We also have aerial data that they were arming all of these weapons."-TERRITORIAL WATERS OR NOT?-Whitesell said Iran's position was that the U.S.-led flotilla, which included a Danish frigate and a French destroyer, had breached its territorial waters, which he denied.There was no immediate comment from Tehran.In another incident, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said a U.S. Navy ship changed course toward Iranian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on March 4 and accused Washington of "unprofessional actions...(that) can have irreversible consequences".A U.S. official told Reuters on March 6 that multiple fast-attack vessels from the Revolutionary Guards had come within 600 yards (550 meters) of the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship, forcing it to change direction.Years of mutual animosity eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year after the deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. But strong differences remain over Iran's ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.Captain Will Pennington, commanding officer of the George H.W. Bush, told Reuters that the behavior of the Iranian navy had become "more aggressive and less predictable".He added, "(They have) every right to come out and see who we are and query what our intentions are...It is the method with which they do that which is unprofessional and adds greater risk to miscalculation in our need to maneuver the ship, and often presents a risk to the merchant traffic that's around us."Pennington accused the Iranian Navy of threatening one of the helicopters that flew over the Iranian boats as they approached the flotilla, sometimes at high speed."I would say that approaching at a high rate of speed while loading your weapon and while essentially threatening a helicopter that is part of our group while we are behaving completely in line with international law..., I wouldn't call it a grave threat, that would be an overstatement, but it is certainly unprofessional behavior," he said.The last serious naval incident was in January when a U.S. destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait after they closed in at high speed and disregarded repeated requests to slow down.While still a presidential candidate in September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be "shot out of the water".(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; editing by Mark Heinrich)
WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)
EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)
London terror attack: Four confirmed dead including police officer and suspected terrorist-Matilda Long-Yahoo News UK-March 22, 2017
What we know so far:At least four people have been killed-One police officer and the alleged terrorist are among those dead-One woman was killed after being run over by a car on Westminster Bridge-A fourth person is also thought to have been killed on the bridge-Others are believed to be suffering ‘catastrophic injuries’-World leaders have expressed their condolences, including messages of support from French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel-The assailant is believed to have driven over Westminster Bridge and then crashed into gates outside Parliament-He then stabbed a police officer before being shot-A woman has been pulled alive from the River Thames-Three French students among those seriously injured on the bridge-Police have cleared the surrounding area-Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs: “What I am able to say to the House is there has been a serious incident within the estate.“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police.“An air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties.“There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it’d be wrong of me to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the House security authorities about what is going on.”Prime Minister Theresa May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the palace as what sounded like gunfire rang out at around 2.45pm.A Downing Street source confirmed she was “OK”.
Police officer killed in UK parliament attack: BBC-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
LONDON (Reuters) - A police officer was among the people killed in an attack just outside Britain's parliament building, the BBC reported on Wednesday, quoting a lawmaker who provided medical assistance.The officer died at the scene, the BBC said.An assailant stabbed a policeman and was shot by police just outside Britain's parliament building in London on Wednesday in what police described as a "terrorist incident".(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison)
Three French schoolchildren hurt in London attack-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
PARIS/RENNES (Reuters) - Three French schoolchildren were hurt in the attack near London's parliament on Wednesday, French officials said.The three students from the Concarneau Lycee in Brittany, western France, were on a school trip there, a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement. The statement did not say how serious the injuries were.A total of 90 students from the school were in London, about a dozen of which were in the area of the attack, an official at the school told Reuters."As the center of London was hit by a cowardly attack, France assures the British people of its solidarity," the foreign ministry statement said, adding that French authorities were in contact with their British counterparts.A report in Le Telegramme newspaper cited a fellow students who was at the scene of what British police have described as a terrorist incident, saying the three were hit by a car that was involved whilst walking on Westminster Bridge. One of them landed on the hood of the car, the Telegramme said.They were aged around 15 or 16, Le Telegramme reported.(Reporting by John Irish in Paris and Pierre-Henri Alain in Rennes; Writing by Ingrid Melander and Andrew Callus; Editing by Leigh Thomas)
At least 2 dead in car rampage, knife attack in London-[Associated Press]-JILL LAWLESS and DANICA KIRKA-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
LONDON (AP) — A vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge, killing at least one woman and leaving others with injuries described as catastrophic. Around the same time Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a police officer and was shot on the grounds outside Britain's Parliament, sending the compound into lockdown.Authorities said they were treating the attacks as a terrorist incident. Some of those injured were French high school students, France's prime minister said.The threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. was already listed at severe. Wednesday was the anniversary of suicide bombings in the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people, and the latest events echoed recent vehicle attacks in Berlin and Nice, France. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and it was not clear if there was more than one attacker.Prime Minister Theresa May, who was rushed from the building within minutes, will chair a meeting of the government emergency committee. London Police Commander B.J. Harrington said a full counterterrorism investigation was underway.The incident in London unfolded within sight of some of the city's most famous tourist sites, including the London Eye, a large Ferris wheel with pods that overlook the capital. It stopped rotating and footage showed the pods full as viewers watched police and medical crews on the bridge, which has at its north end Big Ben and Parliament, two iconic symbols."The whole length of the bridge there were people on the ground," Richard Tice, a witness, told Sky News. The London Ambulance Service said it had treated at least 10 people on the bridge, and British port officials said a woman was pulled from the River Thames, injured but alive.Colleen Anderson of St. Thomas' Hospital said a female pedestrian died and around a dozen people were hurt."There were some with minor injuries, some catastrophic. Some had injuries they could walk away from or who have life-changing injuries," she said.French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve offered support to the British and to "the French students wounded, their families and their schoolmates." London is a common destination for French school trips.The French Foreign Ministry said that three students on a school trip from Saint-Joseph in the Brittany town of Concarneau were among the injured. The ministry said it was in contact with British authorities.Witness Rick Longley told the Press Association that he heard a bang and saw a car plow into pedestrians and come to a crashing stop. Images from the scene showed pedestrians sprawled on the ground, with blood streaming from a woman surrounded by a scattering of postcards."They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben," he said. "A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman. I have never seen anything like that. I just can't believe what I just saw."At Parliament, a body was seen lying in the yard. It wasn't clear if it was the attacker.Dennis Burns, who was just entering Parliament for a meeting, told the Press Association he heard a radio message saying an officer had been stabbed. Police and security rushed outside as he was going in."When I got inside I was wondering what the hell was going on and I saw dozens of panicked people running down the street," he said. "The first stream was around 30 people and the second stream was 70 people. It looked like they were running for their lives."Daily Mail journalist Quentin Letts said he saw a man in black attack a police officer outside Parliament before being shot two or three times as he tried to storm into the House of Commons."He had something in his hand, it looked like a stick of some sort, and he was challenged by a couple of policemen in yellow jackets," Letts told the BBC. "And one of the yellow-jacketed policemen fell down and we could see the man in black moving his arm in a way that suggested he was stabbing or striking the yellow-jacketed policeman."Lett said the other officer ran to get help and the man in black ran toward the entrance."As this attacker was running towards the entrance two plain-clothed guys with guns shouted at him what sounded like a warning, he ignored it and they shot two or three times and he fell," he said.As lawmakers were voting inside Parliament, they reported hearing the sound of gunshots.Parliament was locked down for two hours, and the subway station outside was shuttered.British security has thwarted some 13 terror plots over the past four years, but the UK has largely been spared major international terror attacks such as the ones seen in Belgium and France.Last year, a far-right supporter shot and killed British lawmaker Jo Cox, who had campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the European Union. Prior to that, an attacker stabbed three people at a train station in east London in response to the Royal Air Force's bombing of the Islamic State group in Syria.The most gruesome recent attack occurred in 2013 when two Muslim converts of Nigerian descent attacked Lee Rigby, a British Army soldier who was walking down the street. The men ran Rigby down with their vehicle and then used a cleaver to hack him to death as bystanders watched in horror.The worst peace time attack on Britain this century was on July 7, 2005, when four Al-Qaida-inspired bombers blew themselves up on three subway trains and a bus in London, killing 52. Three of the bombers were British-born, all of Pakistani descent; the other emigrated from Jamaica.___Paisley Dodds, Sophie Berman and Rob Harris in London, and Lori Hinnant in Paris, contributed to this report.
Apparent 'terrorist incident' closes UK parliament By Eric Maurice-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 17:14-The British parliament and Downing Street, where the prime minister's office is located, were put under lock-down on Wednesday afternoon (22 March), after a car and knife attack.London police said it was treating the events taking place as a "terrorist incident".The police said they were called "at approximately 14.40 hours [15.40 in Brussels] to reports of an incident in Westminster Bridge".According to media reports, a car ran over people on Westminster bridge, which leads to the Houses of Parliament. Witnesses said that around eight to ten people were lying on the ground. The car then crashed into a wall outside the parliament building.St Thomas' hospital, where people were being treated, said that one woman was killed and several people had "catastrophic injuries".A policeman was also stabbed outside the parliament and his apparent attacker was then shot by armed police. According to witnesses, a person was lying dead, who could possibly have been the police officer.It was unclear, since the police operation was going on, as to whether the two incidents were committed by the same person or by different people.The whole area around Westminster, including the government quarter, was closed as an anti-terror unit were in operation.Prime minister Theresa May, who was inside the building with MPs to participate in prime minister's questions time in the House of Commons, was reported safe. Members of the House of Lords were also in the building.The US president was briefed on the situation, the White House said.German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Twitter that Germany's "thoughts are with our British friends".Frans Timmermans said at a European Parliament hearing that "the only response to the constant threat against our society, our way of life and values is our determination and that we keep defending our values that they hate so much".The incident took place on the day Brussels commemorated the 22 March 2016 terrorist attacks.If confirmed as a terrorist attack, the London incident would be reminiscent of the method used in Nice and Berlin, in July and December 2016, where vehicles ran into crowds of people.
Child migrants endure 'abysmal conditions' By Nikolaj Nielsen-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 11:02-Children who trekked alone to reach Europe often find themselves living in "abysmal conditions" upon arrival and are being denied free legal aid.The findings are part of a thematic report, released on Wednesday (22 March) by Strasbourg-based human rights overseer the Council of Europe.Spearheaded by Tomas Bocek, the report says children left to fend for themselves are sometimes found begging in Turkey and, in some cases, arrested and detained.-Precarious situations-"This [legal aid] is something we have encountered in many places that legal aid is really not available, it concerns of course children but also adults," Bocek told EUobserver.Bocek travelled to Greece, northern France, Italy, Macedonia, Turkey and also visited accommodation centres in Paris and London."Many live in precarious and difficult situations within Europe, vulnerable to neglect and violence," notes the report.Bocek said that many who arrive have no idea what will happen to them, with some at risk of being treated like adults and sent to detention centres.A lack of easy access to schooling, health care, and information only compounds the problem.Bocek recommends the children are provided with guardians to help steer them through the administrative bottlenecks and uncertainties they often face alone."This is crucial, we need to have an effective guardianship system in different member states," he argued.-Issues in Italy-Bocek also said there is especially an issue in Italy, where some mayors are given the impossible task of providing guardianship for hundreds of minors.Around 25,000 minors arrived in Italy last year alone.Italy is now pushing through a bill in its parliament, in an effort to improve guardianship, he said.The idea is being further supported by a broader upcoming plan by the Council of Europe on how to increase guardianship.Uncertain futures for those turning 18 will also need to be dealt with later on."We are going end up dragging kids into criminality and that I think is some of the biggest fears," Afshan Khan, Unicef's regional director for Europe, had told reporters earlier this year.Member states, such as Italy and Greece, do provide care but don't have the resources to deal with the numbers of children that are arriving.-Reaching capacity-Greek asylum minister Yiannis Mouzalas told MEPs earlier this month that they initially only had 300 spaces for unaccompanied minors."In the space of eight months we now have 1,400 places for them," he said.Around 30 percent of asylum seekers arriving in Europe in the last two years were children, and nearly 70 percent of those were fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.Many arrive without any ID and fear being returned. The risk of absconding and turning to smugglers is heightened when, for instance, minors from Afghan in Greece are not eligible for relocation to other EU states.The EU commission had told EU states earlier this month to start detaining more people for longer periods of time.Hungary recently passed a law that foresees the mandatory detention of refugee and migrant children over the age of 14.
Erdogan warns Europeans 'will not walk safely' if attitude persists-[Reuters]-By Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Europeans would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude towards Turkey, his latest salvo in a row over campaigning by Turkish politicians in Europe.Turkey has been embroiled in a dispute with Germany and the Netherlands over campaign appearances by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support for an April 16 referendum that could boost Erdogan's powers.Ankara has accused its European allies of using "Nazi methods" by banning Turkish ministers from addressing rallies in Europe over security concerns. The comments have led to a sharp deterioration in ties with the European Union, which Turkey still aspires to join."Turkey is not a country you can pull and push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground," Erdogan said at an event for Turkish journalists in Ankara, in comments broadcast live on national television."If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy," he said.Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier used his first speech as president on Wednesday to warn Erdogan that he risked destroying everything his country had achieved in recent years, and that he risked damaging diplomatic ties."The way we look (at Turkey) is characterized by worry, that everything that has been built up over years and decades is collapsing," Steinmeier said in his inaugural speech in the largely ceremonial role.He called for an end to the "unspeakable Nazi comparisons."Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said earlier that although Turkish government officials were still taking part in events for expatriate Turks across Europe, they were not campaigning for the referendum.The Union of European Turkish Democrats, which organizes events in Europe, said on Tuesday that Turkish leaders would no longer hold campaign rallies in Germany after an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said they were not welcome.Germany, home to some 1.4 million Turks eligible to vote in the referendum, has been angered by the Nazi comparisons and Merkel has demanded that Ankara halt the rhetoric. Erdogan, however, has repeated the message in speech after speech.The Netherlands, also home to a large ethnic Turkish diaspora, has been embroiled in a similar row with Turkey.Kurtulmus, who is also the Turkish government's chief spokesman, repeated the rhetoric on Wednesday, saying the "footsteps of neo-Nazism and extreme racism" could be heard in Europe.Another deputy prime minister, Veysi Kaynak, meanwhile criticized Norway for granting asylum to Turkish military officers suspected of links to the religious network accused by Ankara of orchestrating last July's coup attempt."This, unfortunately, in my opinion, is the first sign that Europe, which suffered from civil wars that cost the lives of innocent people for hundreds of years, ... is turning into that Dark Age again," Kaynak was quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Julia Glover)
For some airline passengers, new warnings bring new hurdles-[Associated Press]-BARBARA ORTUTAY-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — As far as the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between taking your shoes off at the security checkpoint and having your baby food and milk tested for bomb residue.It's yet another impediment in the name of security for already weary travelers, especially those from or passing through the 10 mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries covered by new U.S. and British policies. While not quite as disruptive as an outright ban on smartphones — much less a travel ban based on nationality — the restrictions loom large for some."Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?" asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut — and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. "Overall this policy is inconvenient, discriminatory, and continues to hurt America's rapidly deteriorating reputation globally."-BAN LOGIC-New restrictions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibit the transportation in carry-on baggage of laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone. The U.S. government cited unspecified threats as the reason. The U.K. government instituted a similar ban; neither government's restrictions affect U.S. airlines.People can still bring with them to their seat items like smartphones, duffel bags, coats, small bottles of hand lotion, snacks, earplugs and other small items.-LOST PRODUCTIVITY-Some, particularly business travelers, see the potential for theft, damage or compromised data if they are forced to check laptops. The anxiety is real enough that there were attempts to reroute flights to other airports immediately after the ban was announced.Banu Akdenizli, a native of Turkey, said that being forced to fly 17 hours without her laptop will cost her precious time to work and to prepare for a conference."It might seem trivial to a lot of people, but what you get from these parts of the world are usually business travelers," said Akdenizli, an associate professor of communications at the Doha, Qatar, campus of Northwestern University.For those who must, there are ways to do a limited amount of work without laptops, tablets or other electronics.-AWKWARD WORKAROUNDS-It possible to transfer import documents to Google Docs and do some work on a smartphone. Features can be limited for some apps; Microsoft's Office app, for instance, allows users to open only one document at a time.These apps are good enough for simple proofreading and minor editing, but will leave users wanting when more complex tasks are required. The text will also be small on smartphones, though there is a way to temporarily reformat text to accommodate smaller displays.One simple task that can be done on a smartphone is communicating via email or cleaning up inboxes. In-flight Wi-Fi is required to send or receive emails.If travelers need downtime, there is always Netflix or Amazon. Users can download content to a smartphone before leaving so that it's easily accessible.-AT LEAST IT'S NOT PHONES-Laptops and other gadgets play only a supporting role to the smartphone for many travelers. Yet even in cases where there are restrictions on smartphones, at least in the most recent and notable example, the reasons were clear.Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to "power down and stop using the device" on planes. (The phone was later banned, and then recalled.)-One big difference with that ban and today's regionally based restrictions is that with the Galaxy, there were widely circulated videos of Note 7s bursting into flames. There was no doubt that this would be bad thing at 30,000 feet.The potential danger cited by the U.S. and the U.K. is more ambiguous.Yet even for some travelers who do not mind stowing away laptops to abide by the new rules, there is some apprehension.Nick Lieber, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, plans an April trip to Chicago that will take him through Amman, Jordan, and therefore subject him to the ban. He doesn't anticipate having to do work on his laptop during the flight.But he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries — which have been blamed for past aircraft fires — stored in the plane's cargo hold. "I'm a nervous flyer already," Lieber said.___Associated Press writers Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, and Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this story.
Scorched earth: If Islamic State can't have it, no one can-[Reuters]-By Ali Abdelaty-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
CAIRO (Reuters) - As Islamic State loses ground in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni militant group which once held territory amounting to a third of those countries is turning to sabotage to ensure its enemies cannot benefit from its losses.As the Syrian army and allied militias advanced under heavy Russian air cover on the ancient city of Palmyra three weeks ago, Islamic State leaders ordered fighters to destroy oil and gas fields."It is the duty of mujahideen today to expand operations targeting economic assets of the infidel regimes in order to deprive crusader and apostate governments of resources," an article in the group's online weekly magazine al-Nabaa said.The strategy poses a double challenge to Baghdad and Damascus, depriving their governments of income and making it harder to provide services and gain popular support in devastated areas recaptured from the militants.The March 2 article said operations by Islamic State in the area around Palmyra "prove the massive effect that strikes aimed at the infidels' economy have, confusing them and drawing them ... into battles they are not ready for."It's not just oil wells the group has targeted. Twice in the last two years it has taken over Palmyra, about 200 km (130 miles) northeast of Damascus, and both times destroyed priceless antiquities before being driven out.A Syrian antiquities official said earlier this month that he had seen serious damage to the Tetrapylon, a square stone platform with matching structures of four columns positioned at each corner. Only four of the 16 columns were still standing.In their earlier occupation of the city, the militants ruined an 1,800-year-old monumental arch and the nearly 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin.However, the article in al-Nabaa suggested Islamic State sees the destruction of tangible economic assets as a greater weapon against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who is from Syria's Alawite minority."In the first days of the second conquest of Palmyra, where fighters secured the city and other vast areas to the west that include the Alawite regime's last petrol resources ... the Alawite regime and its allies rushed to the depth of the desert to reclaim them," Islamic State wrote."But the caliphate's soldiers had beaten them to the punch and destroyed the wells and refineries completely so that their enemies could not gain from them and so that their economic crisis goes on for the longest time possible."-'MASS DESTRUCTION POLICY'-Islamic State, which declared a caliphate across large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, has lost much territory and many fighters as it comes under attack from a U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive in Iraq and three separate ground forces in Syria.Iraqi troops have recaptured most of Mosul, the largest city to be taken by the group and the base from which its leader proclaimed the caliphate. In Syria, the group has lost Palmyra and its main stronghold, Raqqa, is surrounded.As well as destroying resources before they pull out, the militants have stepped up insurgent attacks in areas beyond their control, especially in Iraq."Any harm to the economic interests of these two governments will weaken them, be it an electricity tower in Diyala, an oil well in Kirkuk, a telecommunications network in Baghdad, or a tourist area in Erbil," the article in al-Nabaa said.It said those attacks would further stretch the group's enemies by forcing them to defend economic interests, weakening their readiness for the battles to come.Islamic State has caused about $30 billion in damage to Iraqi infrastructure since 2014, an adviser to the Iraqi government on infrastructure told Reuters."Daesh has used a mass destruction policy on factories and buildings with the aim of causing as much economic harm to Iraq as possible," said Jaafar al-Ibrahimi, using an Arabic acronym for the group."Over 90 percent of infrastructure that has come under their hands was destroyed. Daesh burned all oil wells in the Qayyarah field south of Mosul."They also destroyed sugar and cement factories and transported the equipment to Syria, he said.In Syria, the militants destroyed over 65 percent of the Hayan gas plant, the country's oil minister told the state news agency. The Hayan field, in Homs province where Palmyra is located, produced 3 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Trevelyan)
Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory says-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-March 22, 2017
BEIRUT (Reuters) - An air strike that hit a school sheltering displaced people near the Islamic-State held Syrian city of Raqqa killed at least 33 people, a group that monitors the war said on Wednesday.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it believed the strike was carried out by the U.S.-led coalition forces fighting Islamic State in the area.Observatory activists counted at least 33 bodies at the site near the village of al-Mansoura, west of Raqqa, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters. The air strike took place on Monday night, he said.The Pentagon said there were no indications that a U.S.-led coalition strike near Raqqa had hit civilians, but that it would carry out further investigations.Abdulrahman said the U.S.-led coalition has escalated its aerial campaign against Islamic State around Raqqa this month, causing numerous civilian casualties.The nearest Islamic State installation to the site of the air strike was a religious school 3 km (2 miles) away, he said.The Syrian government urged the United Nations to stop "the devastation and destruction that the 'international coalition' is committing", state-run SANA news agency said on Wednesday.Syria's foreign ministry accused the U.S.-led coalition of committing a "massacre" by striking a school in the al-Mansoura village, SANA reported.A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition has previously said that it does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties and that it investigates those that are reported as a result of its air strikes.The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led alliance of militias backed by the U.S.-led coalition, is fighting to isolate Raqqa ahead of an anticipated assault on the city, which Islamic State has used as a command node to plan attacks abroad.The head of the YPG militia, the strongest in the SDF, said last week that the offensive to retake Raqqa would begin in early April but a spokesman for the U.S. Pentagon said no decision had yet been made.(Reporting by Tom Perry and Ellen Francis, writing by Angus McDowall, Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Julia Glover)
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.(THE VATICAN IS BUILT ON 7 HILLS OR MOUNTAINS)
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen,(1-ASSYRIA,2-EGYPT,3-BABYLON,4-MEDO-PERSIA,5-GREECE) and one is,(IN POWER IN JOHNS AND JESUS DAY-6-ROME) and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.(7TH-REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE OR THE EUROPEAN UNION TODAY AND THE SHORT SPACE IS-7 YEARS.THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL HAVE WORLD CONTROL FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS.BUT WILL HAVE ITS MIGHTY WORLD POWER FOR THE FULL 7 YEARS OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.AND THE WORLD DICTATOR WILL BE THE BEAST FROM THE EU.AND THE VATICAN POPE WILL BE THE WHORE THAT RIDES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO POWER.AND THE 2 EUROPEAN UNION POWER FREAKS WILL CONTROL AND DECIEVE THE WHOLE EARTH INTO THEIR DESTRUCTION.IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.YOU WILL BE DECIEVED BY THESE TWO.THE WORLD POLITICIAN-THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR.AND THE FALSE PROPHET THAT DEFECTS CHRISTIANITY-THE FALSE VATICAN POPE.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE ANIMAL SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
EU and Japan to protect world order through free trade By Eric Maurice-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 07:10-EU and Japanese leaders committed on Tuesday (21 March) to conclude a trade deal "as soon as possible" in an effort to defend a world order disrupted by the new US administration."We remain united by our common values of liberal democracy and the rule of law as the core principles of the rules-based international order," European Council president Donald Tusk said before meeting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Brussels.He noted that Japan and the EU "are tied deeply together by [a] mutual commitment to maintain an open, free and fair global trading system".Abe visited Brussels as part of a tour to meet European members of the G7, ahead of a planned summit of the rich nations' club at the end of May in Sicily. This will be the first of such summits to be attended by US president Donald Trump.In response to Trump's support for Brexit and his questioning of Nato, the Japanese leader expressed his support for a "strong Europe" and for the EU's "cohesion of Europe as a whole, including on the security front".He added that Japan, the EU, and the US should "work hand-in-hand to maintain and reinforce" the international order and "cooperate to show to the world the flag of free trade as a model".The message comes three days after the G20, a broader forum of wealthy countries, at a finance ministers' meeting in Germany, dropped its pledge to fight protectionism under US pressure.-'Best of both worlds'-European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said before the Abe meeting that negotiations were now in a "decisive and hopefully final stage".He said that he expected a "comprehensive, ambitious and balanced deal" but noted that "there are few remaining issues but [that] they are the most difficult to solve."Talks on the trade deal started in March 2013, but 17 rounds of negotiations have not yet led to a final agreement.For the EU, a deal with Japan, the third largest world economy, is a priority to allay criticism of its trade policies and to compensate for the failure of talks for an agreement with the US."The agreement will give Japan and the European Union the best of both worlds," Juncker said."It opens up a major new market to each other by creating a level playing field and protecting our industries and work forces from unfair trading practices," he said, five months after a similar deal with Canada was criticised for threatening EU standards and workers' rights.-New talks in April-While EU officials hope to conclude the deal this year, the Japanese side prefers not to give deadlines."Shinzo Abe would like to achieve an agreement in principle at the earliest time as possible," a Japanese spokeswoman told a group of journalists after the meeting.She said that during their 50-minute talks, the three leaders expressed their commitment to conclude a deal but did not delve into the blocking points.According to EU sources, progress was made "across the board" in previous rounds of talks, but negotiations remain difficult in sectors such as market access for food and cars, services, public procurement, and intellectual property.A new round of talks is planned for April in Tokyo to take stock of the negotiation with the aim of intensifying the process afterwards, according to an EU official.
Analysis-EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times By Eszter Zalan-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 17:58-Four days before one of its largest members, the UK, will officially notify fellow EU countries of its intention to withdraw its membership, the remaining 27 leaders of the European Union will gather in Rome on Saturday (25 March) to recommit to the idea of European integration.The event comes at a turbulent time.The UK’s vote to leave has cracked the historical unity of the bloc, while the new administration of US president Donald Trump has questioned security guarantees for Europe.At the same time, a revanchist Russia is waging a propaganda and cyber war against the EU on the side of anti-EU nationalists, while the unresolved migration crisis has led to a resurgence of xenophobic and far-right feeling.Rome will not be a time for deep reflection, however.Even if they disagree about the way to move ahead, EU countries agree on the one thing they have to demonstrate in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitoline Square, where founding members have signed the Treaty of Rome 60 years ago: unity.The draft text of the Rome Declaration, seen by EUobserver, says that "standing together" is the best chance to influence global dynamics."Europe is our common future,” the two-page document says.Whether the display of unity will convince the European public or overseas powers is another matter.Last minute wrangling over the text of the Rome Declaration indicates how hard fought that show of unity has been.Poland, led by a nationalist government, has vowed to block any references to a multi-speed Europe, a kind of deeper integration among core members that risks leaving others, such as Poland, behind.In the end, a classic EU-style consensus seems likely to prevail.The original formulation was watered down to ease Polish worries.An EU official said so as long as no new EU mechanisms for integrating at different speeds were to be introduced in the Rome document, opponents of the multi-speed Europe idea could be tamed.“We will act together in different paces and intensity when necessary, while moving in the same direction … in line with the Treaties, keeping the door open to those who want to join later," the draft Rome text says."Our Union is undivided and indivisible,” the document says in the context of the multi-speed issue.In another row, Greece has threatened not to sign the declaration if it does not include references to respecting national social rules.Its potential veto represents an effort to push creditors during ongoing bailout condition to defend some of its labour and social laws, but sources say it is very unlikely that Athens will block the text in the end.-Darker globe-The draft Rome document attempts to address the scars left by the euro crisis, terrorism, and the migration crisis.It seeks to portray the EU as a global leader despite Brexit and the new US administration’s protectionism.In a reccurring mantra, the draft pledges that the EU will "listen and respond" to all concerns by citizens and engage with national parliaments. It promises to deliver results, and to be big on big issues and small on small ones.In a thinly veiled response to Brexit and the new US administration, the draft declaration calls for "a stronger Europe on a global scene”.Sending a message to other countries, it promises "further developing existing partnerships and building new ones”.The Rome Declaration's 10-year old sister, the Berlin Declaration emphasised the fight against terrorism, organised crime, and illegal immigration with a pledge to fight racism and xenophobia.It also said the EU would promote freedom, democracy and prosperity around the world, fight climate change and stressed the union’s openness.Rome’s language is more dark and somewhat bolder.It describes the “unprecedented challenges” facing the union - terrorism, migration, protectionism, social and economic inequalities.But instead of openness, it promises to strengthen the external borders of the EU, to create an effective migration policy, and to strengthen common security and defence.It also vows to create growth and jobs and to strive for a social Europe, which would - in a nod to those who want to avoid EU harmonisation on social issues - “take into account diversity of national systems”.-Risk of complacency-Janis Emmanouilidis, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, said Rome should not be expected to be “a historic milestone”.“This exercise is about trying to portray unity among the 27,” he told EUobserver.He said the draft Rome Declaration does not even try to build consensus over “hot potatoes”, divisive issues such as the future development of the union, the monetary union, or the solidarity aspect of migration.“The text has been watered down on what needs to be done because there is no agreement among the 27,” Emmanouilidis said, adding “everyone is aware that showing unity is the maximum to be achieved” in Rome.That is not to be underestimated though.“Showing unity in itself has become a key objective in a Brexit world,” he said.Emmanouilidis said that with the Dutch election out of the way and with little chance of far-right leader Marine Le Pen becoming president of France, there could be a "political window” to move ahead on controversial issues.He said the likely election of either Angela Merkel or the strongly pro-EU Martin Schulz as chancellor in September in Germany also helped.“I fear there is a risk that at the end of 2017 there will not be an ambition to use the window of political opportunity, and there will be complacency,” he added, however.He said that such behaviour would fuel populist sentiment in the long term.
French socialist woos Europe with new vision By Aleksandra Eriksson-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 09:29-Benoit Hamon, the Socialist Party’s contender in France's presidential race, visited Brussels on Tuesday (21 March) in a bid to promote his vision of Europe.Speaking to 3,000 supporters who gathered in a downtown concert hall in the evening, Hamon said that he loved Europe, but feared for its future.He added that the European project could not only base itself on emblematic projects such as the Erasmus student exchange programme or industrial initiatives, "which start to feel a bit jaded".Europe could not be saved, either, by talk of European values. "It's important, but not enough”, he said."We have to be much more ambitious," he said, adding that the "status quo of austerity and free trade will lead to the dislocation of Europe in the mid and long term".-Russia-"I don't see how the programmes that have profited the rise of far-right nationalism everywhere in Europe, that would scrap public services, roll back workers rights and the welfare state, would prevent us from one day having Marine Le Pen as the president of France, " he said, referring to the French anti-EU and far-right presidential contender.In another jibe at his opponents, he said that France should take more refugees among Europe's "crisis of solidarity with migrants", and backed wider use of humanitarian visas.He spoke at length about Russia, noting that three candidates in the French presidential race - Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon, and Jean-Luc Melenchon - were in favour of recognising Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.He said that could open up a number of old border disputes in Europe."We should discuss with Russia, but we have never stopped to do that. And in order to discuss with [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin, there is need to use some good arguments: international legitimacy, the right of a country to be sovereign over its territory,” Hamon said.“The Minsk agreement has to be followed”, he said, referring to an EU-brokered pact that obliged Russia to stop its war in east Ukraine.-’Poor Moliere’-Hamon also attacked Fillon, the centre-right candidate, for his support for the so-called Moliere clause.The Moliere clause is a rule imposed by some local governments in France which flies in the face of EU free movement by saying that construction workers on public projects must speak French for safety reasons.Hamon's own socialist colleagues from Centre-Val de Loire, a French administrative region, have backed the rule.But Hamon called it a discriminatory measure against Polish and other workers, and implored politicians to leave "poor Moliere" out of what he called a borderline racist measure."Better call it the Tartuffe clause,” he said, by reference to the charlatan hero of a Moliere plays.-Pro-European-Hamon's rally was backed up by Elio Di Rupo, the former socialist prime minister of Belgium, and Thomas Piketty, the French star economist whose book, Capital in the 21st Century, has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide.Piketty told the audience he had teamed up with Hamon because of his views on Europe."Others say they are the European candidate, but Hamon is the only pro-European candidate," he said, referring to Hamon's liberal rival Emmanuel Macron.The economist and his wife, the economist Julia Cage, have been working together with Hamon on a Treaty on the democratisation of the governance of the euro area, or "T-dem".The 12-page pamphlet calls for the establishment of a parliamentary assembly for the eurozone, in which 80 percent of the seats are filled by national MPs and the remaining share by MEPs."This would give democratic legitimacy to eurozone governance and allow it to stop austerity policies in Europe," said Piketty.He added that it was the most detailed proposal for Europe of any presidential candidate's campaign. He also said France was punching below its weight in the EU."France likes to complain, but it's more constructive to put a proposal on the table. It would be difficult for EU leaders to caricature that France is complaining, but lacks an alternative governance model for how to make Europe more social and democratic," he said, drawing applause.-German support-Hamon was the first of France's 11 presidential-hopeful to take his campaign to Brussels.Earlier in the day, he met with the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker; the commissioner for economic affairs, French socialist Pierre Moscovici; as well as left and Green euro-deputies.Afterwards, he told journalists his proposals were not seen favourably by the EU executive.Earlier in March, Moscovici wrote to Hamon to say that EU leaders would never back his proposals.But the French socialist, who hails from the left-wing fringe of his party, suggested that this would be to his political advantage."I didn't make my proposals to please the commission," he said.He was hopeful Germany could be convinced to support the proposal."I'm being told that the Germans don't want this, but Germany is not a homogeneous bloc. There is also an internal, democratic discussion within the country," Hamon said.He said he would seek the endorsement of German socialist chief Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament who was elected party leader of the German Social-Democratic Party (SPD)last Sunday.Hamon said he "wasn't surprised" that the dethroned SDP leader Sigmar Gabriel had endorsed Macron, and hoped for better relations with Schulz."Schulz wants to construct a left-wing majority [in Europe],” he said.
Opinion-Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum By Adria Salvador Palau and Jon Roozenbeek-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
Cambridge, Today, 15:56-In recent months, the Catalan autonomous government has taken unprecedented political steps towards independence from Spain, angering Madrid and putting EU leaders on edge.Meanwhile, the Scottish government has doubled down on its bet for independence by calling for a new referendum in 2018.Together, Scotland and Catalonia have spun a complicated web of juxtaposed geopolitical interests, running in parallel to the already complex Brexit negotiations.But in this era of unstable politics, now is not the time for Catalonia to push for independence, justified though it may be.-Catalan independence-Catalonia, located in the north-east of Spain, is one of the richest regions in Europe. Its capital, Barcelona, is a vibrant global metropolis, ranking among Europe’s top 10 tourist destinations.The region has always asserted itself as being distinct from the rest of Spain.In the last five years, a pro-independence movement has gained a parliamentary majority, which is determined to secede from Spain to form an independent Catalan state. In order to do so, it has unilaterally called a binding referendum, which is to take place before the end of the year.Until recently, the geopolitical leverage of Catalonia has been weak: a strong European Union, with Spain as one of its most reliable members, has treated the independence movement with cold indifference, and sometimes with overt rejection.For example, during a recent official visit to Spain, Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, said: “Those who act against the Spanish Constitution are also acting against the European order”.Then came Crimea, Brexit, Turkey, Trump and populist electoral insurgencies in the Netherlands, France and Germany. All of a sudden, the future of the European Union seemed much less certain. For the first time, Catalonia’s unofficial diplomacy was given a good set of cards to play.The success of anti-globalisation movements, which foresee a revival of nation state ideologies, caught politicians in Barcelona off guard.The Catalan pro-independence movement, similar to the one in Scotland, is largely pro-European. Driven by this tradition, the large Catalan political parties have held onto their pro-European views, keeping in line with the European centrist view of further strengthening the EU institutions.-Madrid anti-secession-Madrid’s reaction has been to double down on its anti-secessionist position. The Spanish government lead by Mariano Rajoy, which has the support of the two biggest parties, has insisted on blocking any kind of referendum on Catalan independence.On March 13th, the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia sentenced the former Catalan president, Artur Mas, to a ban from holding public office for two years.President of the Catalan National Assembly Carme Forcadell and several former members of the government are also facing trial for organising a non-binding consultation on independence on the 9th of November of 2014, and for allowing a sovereignty vote in the Catalan parliament without Madrid’s permission.The level of distrust between Madrid and Barcelona is rising rapidly.After the approval of the Catalan budget (which solidified the pro-independence majority in power, with the support of the Eurosceptic far-left), Madrid terminated “Operación Dialogo”, a central government operation aimed at improving relations with Barcelona.In response, the Catalan parliament passed a motion in March allowing for the possibility of an immediate vote on independence in the Catalan parliament, which intended to give the Spanish government less time to prepare for such a vote and impede any legal challenges against it.Catalan government officials are increasingly worried that Madrid is unwilling to compromise and might be playing a radical end game.This would mean intervening in Catalan institutions, overtaking the educational and police system, and gradually trying to strengthen Spanish nationalism in the region.Leaked discussions between the former chief of the anti-fraud office in Catalonia and the former interior minister in Spain appeared to confirm these suspicions.The first was recorded saying that they will “crush the Catalan health system”, and the latter was caught discussing ways to politically destroy their political opponents in Barcelona.Meanwhile, Catalonia has been expanding its scope in search of foreign allies, and finding them in unexpected places.It has long been rumoured that Catalonia and Israel have been keeping friendly diplomatic contacts. These contacts are grounded in Israel’s need for Mediterranean allies, and in the currently lukewarm Israeli-Spanish relations, exemplified by the Spanish vote in the recent UN resolution against Israeli settlements.-Russian roulette-For Russia, Catalan independence is in line with its broader geopolitical strategy.Seeing that a victory for Marine Le Pen in the French elections this April is now less likely - after François Fillon’s drop in the polls - Russian president Vladimir Putin might be looking for other ways to destabilise European unity, while seeking to increase support among Europeans for Russia’s foreign policy.There are signs that he has considered Catalonia as a suitable vessel for this: In September of 2016, rumours (soon debunked) were spread on Russian news sites claiming that the Catalan parliament had recognised Crimea as an independent state.In the United Kingdom, both Westminster and Edinburgh are watching the developments in Catalonia carefully.Theresa May's government has an interest in weakening the European negotiating position, which is united around securing a post-Brexit deal that makes Britain worse off.Scotland is playing its hand and going all in: Nicola Sturgeon's decision to call for a new referendum on Scottish independence in 2018 has put relations between Edinburgh and Westminster on the edge of a knife.The spat between the Spanish state and the Catalan regional government is likely to make the situation even more complicated.Parliament appears to recognise the potential seriousness of the issue and, in early March, set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia. Interestingly, it was SNP MP George Kerevan who took the initiative for the creation of this group.-Brexit, SNP and Catalan-The Catalonian situation has put the upcoming Brexit negotiations in a tough spot: on one hand there is a strong temptation to use a possible support for a unilateral Scottish independence as a Brexit negotiation card. On the other hand, Europe knows that if it were to accept a fast track for Scottish EU membership, Catalonia would be entitled to a similar treatment.If denied this, Catalonia could seek economic and political support from the UK, and the UK could offer it, if only to destabilise the EU in retaliation for its refusal to heed its Brexit demands.Spain, aware of its own difficult position, stated almost immediately after Sturgeon’s announcement that it would respect the results of a new Scottish referendum, but also made it its official doctrine to not allow Scotland to become an EU member state.In brief, all actors involved have a great deal to lose, and only a few have something to gain.The current global geopolitical situation is not exactly stable.Brexit, Trump, the refugee crisis and the emergence of far-right parties throughout Europe have put the future of the European Union in jeopardy. This, ironically, has created a situation where Catalonia is closer than ever to its long sought-after independence but, at the same time, it should restrain itself from acquiring it.As the situation currently stands, a break away from Spain would serve the interests of those bent on destabilising an already weakened Europe. This is not what Catalonia (or Spain, or Europe for that matter) needs.But the pro-European, centrist Catalan coalition risks being driven into a corner where it will find itself without a viable alternative.Both Spain and the EU cannot keep turning a blind eye to the problem. It is also their responsibility to provide an acceptable exit from this situation, either by allowing a referendum, or by reaching a multilateral political agreement with Catalonia.Not doing so would put Europe’s stability even more at risk, and at the worst possible time.Adrià Salvador Palau is a PhD-student at the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He is from Barcelona and has previously published on Catalan and Spanish politics.Jon Roozenbeek is a PhD-student at the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. He previously worked as a journalist and editor in the Netherlands, and now studies Ukraine's post-conflict media landscape and online social movements.
Opinion-Ukraine’s IT boom could speed up EU integration By Mark Temnycky-MAR 22,17-EUOBSERVER
NEW YORK, Today, 09:22-June 2017 will mark the three-year anniversary of the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, and while the Eastern European state has taken major steps towards European integration, its progress has been slow.With the signing of the EU agreement in 2014, it seemed as if Ukraine’s dream of Western integration would finally become a reality. This feeling materialised in 2015 as Ukraine took significant steps in its fight against corruption.Last year, however, presented new challenges.The failure to remove various corrupt government officials undermined progress. Furthermore, as anti-corruption efforts stalled, Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, among others, resigned in frustration.Events within the EU further stymied Ukraine’s progress towards European integration.In April 2016, the Dutch overwhelmingly rejected closer EU ties with Ukraine. Matters became worse in June when the United Kingdom, one of Ukraine’s staunchest advocates in the EU, voted to leave the bloc.Implementation of the agreement allowing visa-free travel to the EU has also been delayed. Given these developments, Ukrainian enthusiasm for Europe is slowly waning as many Ukrainians believe the EU may not deliver on its promises.Critics of Ukraine argue that it is far from ready to join the EU, citing corruption as its major hurdle.Furthermore, some EU members are concerned that Ukraine’s economy would be a drain on European resources.This comes at a time when the EU faces the loss of the UK, one of its biggest financial contributors. Some critics argue that it will take at least 20-25 years for Ukraine to be admitted into the organization.Ukraine continues to face these problems in 2017. It was ranked 131st in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index, and the war in Donbas has escalated.-New case-While Ukraine’s future may seem bleak, the eastern European state has a new case to present to the EU.Its educated populace and the IT sector may accelerate the membership process and boost national morale during this difficult period in its history.Ukraine has a literacy rate of 99.7 percent, which is higher than most EU states. This statistic demonstrates that it can be a vital member of the international community.The well-educated populace has also led to a booming IT sector, with venture investments in Ukrainian start-ups jumping 237 percent from 2014-2015.There are currently over 100,000 skilled IT professionals in Ukraine, and the training and knowledge of Ukrainian software developers are on par with those of Silicon Valley. The IT sector accounted for 3 percent of Ukraine’s annual GDP, and has generated billions of dollars in exports.The work of these Ukrainian developers has not gone unnoticed. Corporations such as Snapchat and Uber have performed well in Ukraine.Moreover, GitLab co-founder Dmitriy Zaporozhets was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 as one of the most successful people in the world in the enterprise technology sector.In addition, international companies are outsourcing to numerous Ukrainian tech start-ups.Firms such as Ecois.me and Petiole have gained international acclaim and were recognized for their contributions to the Ukrainian market.Given their expertise, Ukrainian developers would be a valuable asset to the European community as they have demonstrated that they are very motivated, well-trained, and capable.The recent rise in Ukraine’s tech industry has had a major impact on foreign investment. The tax burden in Ukraine is one of the lowest in Europe, and many investors have capitalised on this opportunity.-Investors-Private sector technology firms from Sweden have invested millions of dollars into the tech industry.The strong performance of IT companies such as Sigma Software and Beetroot have encouraged others, like Danish company Clio Online, to enter the market.As the IT sector continues to expand it is likely that private tech companies from other EU members will conduct business in Ukraine. This partnership could strengthen international cooperation between the EU and Ukraine.The IT sector in Ukraine could also help reduce corruption. During the early 2000s Estonia invested heavily in the tech industry, even choosing to develop electronic services to oversee transactions online between government and citizens.These programs established greater transparency and facilitated good governance. In the words of former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, “you can’t bribe a computer.”Thanks largely to the effect of technology, the Baltic state is now ranked 23rd in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index.Using Estonia as a model, Ukraine’s IT sector could play a critical role in fighting corruption, thereby building confidence in Ukraine and easing the concerns of critics in the EU.With demonstrated strength in the growing IT sector, Ukraine is showing that it can compete with the tech industries of any Western state, and data processing solutions can contribute to greater efficiency and investments across both the private and public sectors.This suggests that Ukraine is not as far behind as critics suggest, and that skeptics in the EU should not be so hasty in dismissing a potential engine of growth on the continent.Mark Temnycky is a Ukrainian-American pursuing a masters in public administration and international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University, New York, in the US.
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