Monday, May 12, 2014

 

CYPRUS – A Troika delegation (European Commission, ECB, IMF), which is visiting Cyprus, continued today its meetings in Nicosia, for the fourth assessment of the Cyprus economic adjustment program, as Cyprus News Agency (Cna) reported. Cyprus is currently implementing a 3-year fiscal adjustment program, following a bail-in deal, reached last year with its international lenders, known as the Troika.(ANSAmed)

 

UKRAINE – Nearly 90% of voters in the Donetsk region voted in favor of independence from Ukraine and 10% voted against it, an election official claimed Monday. Pro-Russian separatists eager to declare independence from Kiev held the vote Sunday. Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov slammed the results. (CNN)

 

SYRIA – Al Qaeda-linked militants have cut off water supplies for the past eight days to Aleppo, in northern Syria, leaving residents without water. Activists and civilians in the violence-torn city have denounced the risk of a humanitarian crisis. (ANSAmed)

 

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

 

ISRAEL – Former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison after being convicted of taking bribes in the so-called Holyland apartment complex case while he was mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s. He also received a suspended sentence of two years. (ANSAmed)

 

ITALY – Italy lashed out at the European Union on Tuesday after 17 bodies were recovered and 206 people were saved from a migrant shipwreck, as rescuers described scenes of panic in the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano urged more assistance from Europe for border patrols, threatening that otherwise Italy would defy EU asylum rules and allow migrants to travel on to other countries in Europe. (Yahoo News)

 

LIBYA/JORDAN – Jordanian ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Aitan, who was kidnapped on April 15, has been freed, local media cited the Libyan foreign ministry as saying Tuesday. The ambassador will reach the Jordanian capital of Amman in the next few hours. (ANSAmed)

 

 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

 

TURKEY – Over 200 bodies have been recovered overnight by rescue workers at a Turkish coal mine at Soma in Manisa province which was partly destroyed Tuesday by an explosion. The death toll could however rise as dozens, perhaps hundreds or miners are still trapped underground. Tuesday’s could be the most serious industrial accident in Turkey’s modern history. (ANSAmed)

 

QATAR – The government of Qatar, the Gulf nation that will host the 2022 World Cup, said Wednesday it is introducing a draft law that could eventually end a controversial employee sponsorship system that ties expatriate workers to a single employer. The move comes amid increased scrutiny over labor rights in the OPEC nation. Human rights advocates have urged Qatar to scrap the sponsorship system, saying it leaves workers open to exploitation and abuse. (Al Arabiya)

 

ITALY/EU – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi repeated accusations on Wednesday that he had been forced out of office at the height of the euro zone crisis in 2011 as the result of a plot by European Union officials. Berlusconi’s comments followed the publication of a book by former U.S. treasury secretary Timothy Geithner which suggested that the U.S. government had been asked to help force Berlusconi to resign as the crisis escalated in late 2011. (Reuters)

 

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 

EU – Candidates for five main European parties battled over how to put the continent’s economy back on track in a widely broadcast debate Thursday, one week before voting for a new European Parliament is set to begin. The debate was shown in all 28 EU countries – either on television or Web stream – although in many key states major broadcasters decided not to pick it up. But the debate attracted a lot of interest online. A search for the hashtag #Telleurope, which viewers had been asked to use, produced more than 70,000 hits on Twitter. On Facebook, #Telleurope was trending in both Germany and Italy. Online streaming services cut out from time to time, possibly suggesting that the European Parliament’s servers had trouble dealing with an increase in traffic. (Wall Street Journal)

 

SYRIA – At least 17 were killed by a car bomb explosion Thursday on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). SOHR said the blast occurred at the Bab al-Salama crossing point. (ANSAmed)

 

EGYPT – Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who ousted an elected Islamist president and is set to become Egypt’s next head of state, called on the United States to help fight jihadi terrorism to avoid the creation of new Afghanistans in the Middle East. In his first interview with an international news organisation in the run-up to the May 26-27 vote, Sisi called for the resumption of U.S. military aid, worth $1.3 billion a year, which was partially frozen after a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. (Al Arabiya)

 

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

 

ITALY – Italy will continue its Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) rescue operation of migrants for humanitarian reasons, despite opposition, cabinet Undersecretary Graziano Delrio said Friday. As many as 30,000 people that would probably have become victims of the sea have been rescued. At the same time, Delrio said, the Italian government is stressing the importance of increasing cooperation with Middle Eastern and North African countries including Libya, from which many Europe-bound migrants come, to try to improve border controls. (ANSAmed)

 

LIBYA – At least 21 people were killed on Friday as Libyan army soldiers believed to be loyal to a rogue general clashed with Islamist militants in the eastern city of Benghazi, medical sources said. It is the first time that national army units backed by war planes have attacked Islamist militias with no apparent orders from the Libya’s central government, Associated Press reported. (Al Arabiya)

 

5+5 DIALOGUE – The Economic Forum and the 11th foreign ministers meeting of the 5+5 Dialogue Forum (Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Malta, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania) will be held May 21-22 in Lisbon. Diplomatic sources say that Italy’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, will be present. Opening remarks will be made by Portugal’s deputy prime minister, Paulo Portas, as well as the secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Fathallah Sijilmassi. Sustainable development, the environment, challenges in the transport and infrastructure sector, business opportunities, cooperation and partnership will be focused on. (ANSAmed)

 

POLISARIO – A splinter group in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria, has announced the formation of a military wing to counter what it said were attempts by the Polisario Front to abort it, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Friday. The so-called “Youth Movement for Change” released a video accusing the Polisario Front’s leadership of corruption and called for improving the conditions of the Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf. (Al Arabiya)