Monday, 9th March 2015

IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS – The White House on Monday called a letter from Republican senators on Iran nuclear talks a “continuation of a partisan strategy” to undermine U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy strategy. Republican senators warned Iran that any nuclear deal made with Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, a warning that “certainly interferes in that effort” of the United States and its international partners to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. (Reuters)

GREECE – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on a visit to Japan on Monday that Europe faced a formidable challenge in reaching a financial aid agreement with Greece that would keep it in the euro zone. Asked at a news conference in Tokyo about whether she would rule out a so-called “Grexit”, as European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to do in an interview over the weekend, Merkel struck a more cautious tone. (Reuters)

Tuesday, 10th March 2015

IRAQ – Iraqi troops and militias drove Islamic State insurgents out of the town of al-Alam on Tuesday, clearing a final hurdle before a planned assault on Saddam Hussein’s home city of Tikrit in their biggest offensive yet against the ultra-radical group. (Reuters)

ISLAMIC STATE – A video posted online by Islamic State militants on Tuesday showed a boy fatally shooting Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab accused by the group of having signed up as a jihadi to spy for Israel’s intelligence service.(Reuters)

BLACK SEA – NATO’s Black Sea members Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey joined four other alliance states in a multinational naval exercise on Tuesday just across the water from the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia last year. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, 11th March 2015

EUROPEAN UNIONThe civilian and military heads of NATO cautioned the European Union on Wednesday against duplicating efforts following remarks by the president of the EU Commission suggesting the bloc should develop an “EU army” to deter Russia. (Reuters)

GREECEGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Tuesday expressed his government’s firm intention to seek war reparations from Germany, noting that Athens would show sensitivity that it hoped to see reciprocated from Berlin. (ANSAmed)

 

Thursday, 12th March 2015

ISRAELA few days before Israel’s March 17 elections, center-left Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union gained two seats to reach 24, while Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party lost two, dropping to 21, a poll by Israel newspaper Haaretz reported on Thursday. (ANSAmed)

LIBYAAirport guards stopped Libya’s Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni from getting on a plane to Tunis in protest against his choice of interior minister, officials said, in a stark demonstration of the collapse of state authority in the oil producer. (Reuters)

 

Friday, 13th March 2015

EGYPT – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged businesses to invest in Egypt and praised President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government for reforms to restore investor confidence and boost the economy. (Reuters)

BULGARIA – NATO allies Bulgaria and the United States will stage a series of joint military drills over the next three and a half months, the Bulgarian defense ministry said on Friday, amid increased tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.(Reuters)

SYRIA – The U.S. State Department said on Friday it was working with Congress to provide about $70 million in new non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition fighting President Bashar al-Assad. The aid comes as the U.S. military separately prepares to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants in Syria. (Reuters)