Monday, 10 December 2018

Morocco: 164 countries adhered to the UN Global Compact during the summit in Marrakech. On the other hand, the United States and several other countries have taken distance over the past few months. Italy is also absent in Marrakech, which has decided to submit the pact to Parliament.

The global compact is a “path to preventing suffering and chaos” for the benefit of all, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres before the vote. Guterres recalled that over 60,000 migrants have died since 2000 while trying to leave their countries, calling this catastrophe “a source of collective shame”. (ANSAmed)

Turkey: Jamal Khashoggi’s last words before he died were “I can’t breathe”, according to a report citing a source who has read a full transcript of the journalist’s murder. Khashoggi was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October in what Saudi Arabia initially claimed was a botched attempt to return him to the Gulf state. (The Independent)

Brexit: On Monday afternoon, Theresa May announced that she was postponing a vote in the House of Commons on the deal that she struck last month to take Britain out of the European Union. The vote, which was scheduled for Tuesday evening, was shaping up to be a calamitous defeat for May, possibly signalling the end of her time as Prime Minister. It was called off only at the last minute. (New Yorker)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Brexit: The European Union ruled out renegotiating the Brexit divorce treaty or its Irish border protocol on Tuesday as Prime Minister Theresa May sought last ditch assurances from the bloc to save her deal after pulling a vote she acknowledged she would lose. (Reuters)

Spain: Spain’s government has warned authorities in Catalonia that it could take over responsibility for law and order in the region after radical separatists blocked a highway. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska warned that if the regional police force does not exercise “the roles…. assigned to it” then “we will order state security forces to intervene, if necessary and with proportionality”. (The Local Spain)

Lebanon: Lebanon will not make a decision regarding Israeli digging activity near the Blue Line of demarcation between the two countries until an investigation currently underway is completed, said Lebanese President Michel Auon. Auon is an ally of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, which Israel claims is responsible for the construction of a series of underground tunnels. (ANSAmed)

Terrorism: At least 12 people have been wounded and three killed as a gunman opened fire in the vicinity of the Christmas Markets in the centre of Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday evening. France has raised its terror level and is sending extra security backup to the city of Strasbourg, as security forces cordoned off areas of the city centre while the manhunt continued late into the night. (EurActiv)

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Terrorism: An attack on France’s largest Christmas market by a gunman with a long criminal record was an act of terrorism, the Paris prosecutor announced Wednesday. A manhunt is still underway for the gunman, who was wounded during the attack Tuesday night in the eastern city of Strasbourg before fleeing the scene. French news media have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Cherif Chekkatt, but authorities so far have referred to him only by his first name. (Washington Post)

Germany: Germany will back an extension of the European Union’s punitive sanctions against Russia at an upcoming summit of EU leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers on Wednesday. Russia’s detention of three Ukrainian military vessels and their crews in the Kerch Strait – a body of water shared between the two countries – has led to widespread calls in Europe and the U.S. for sanctions against Moscow to be toughened. (Reuters)

Brexit: Theresa May has won the backing of her party to stay on as prime minister – but more than a third of Conservative MPs voted against her, underscoring the uphill battle she faces in getting her Brexit deal through parliament. Tory MPs rejected a no-confidence motion in the embattled prime minister’s leadership by 200 votes to 117 on Wednesday night (Guardian)

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Turkey: A high-speed train has crashed near the Turkish capital Ankara, killing at least seven people and leaving dozens more injured, according to the city’s governor Vasip Sahin. Holding a press conference at the site of the crash, Sahin said 46 people had been injured in the crash, which took place at around 6.30 a.m. Thursday local time. Three of those were severely injured, according to the governor’s office. (CNN)

Italy: On Wednesday (12 December) Giuseppe Conte and Italy’s Finance Minister Giovanni Tria met the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, accompanied by Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. In the one and a half hour meeting at the Berlaymont, the Italian delegation presented the Commission a new set of proposals that amend the 2019 budget law currently under discussion in the Italian Parliament. The main offer Italy brought to the table brings the country’s budget deficit to 2.04% from 2.4% in earlier drafts. (EurActiv)

Israel: Israel is to authorize thousands of the settler homes built illegally in the occupied West Bank, some of them decades ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. The move is likely to please pro-settler members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition while angering Palestinians, who want the West Bank as part of a future state. (Reuters)

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and another soldier and a civilian woman were seriously wounded Thursday in a shooting in the West Bank, near the settlement of Ofra. Israeli army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said a man disembarked from a vehicle on Route 60, opened fire and fled the scene. (Haaretz)

France: After a two-day manhunt, authorities in France say police have found and killed the suspected gunman who shot three people dead at a Christmas market in Strasbourg. More than 700 French security forces in the northeastern French city had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the Tuesday evening attack, which left 13 people wounded, including five in a critical condition. (Al Jazeera)

Friday, 14 December 2018

Italy: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte sought to convince European Union leaders on Friday that his offer to cut Italy’s deficit target for next year should make an EU disciplinary procedure unnecessary. Conte met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, officials said, and was trying to arrange to meet Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, one of the harshest critics of Italy’s expansionary budget. (Reuters)

Turkey: Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 267 people, mostly military officers and defense industry staff, for suspected links to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, state media said on Friday. (Reuters)

Kosovo: Lawmakers in Kosovo voted unanimously in favor of a set of laws that would allow their nation to create an army on Friday, but opposition Serb politicians boycotted the vote in protest. A former Serbian province, Kosovo separated from Belgrade during the 1998-99 Balkan war unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia is one of the countries that has not yet recognized Kosovo as a nation, as is Russia. (Deutsche Welle)