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Brussels Playbook Plus: EU fights fake news machine




EU FIGHTS FAKE NEWS MACHINE FROM SHADOWS: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Playbook he doesn’t confidence “fighting propaganda with propaganda.” The EU also stays away from the propaganda game (mostly) but has produced a team called “East StratCom” inside External Action Intend to catalogue and expose disinformation it says arises from the Russian state. To this point it claims to are finding nearly 2,500 degrees of Russian disinformation.

You can imagine Playbook’s surprise when journalists were invited to some briefing Monday on said disinformation, and then be known they couldn’t quote the
diplomats giving the briefing. Reporters were, put simply, inspired to expose disinformation from shadowy sources via non-quotes from another faceless source.

To be fair, they carries a slick “EU vs Disinformation” Facebook page and a Twitter account (@EUvsDisinfo), therefore it is not completely in the shadows. But Playbook will not help wondering if Brussels should assemble the “face” back into Facebook.

Here’s some context you can ensure that you get: The “EU source” belongs to an organization of around 12 people, without any discretionary budget. They have got uncovered false stories for instance one concerning the Ukrainian army crucifying a three-year-old boy inside of a former rebel stronghold. Angela Merkel may be a new target of Russian disinformation, says the “EU source,” which is regularly implicated like a cause of terrorist attacks.

CULTURE WARS In the COLLEGE OF EUROPE: The Bruges home of future Eurocrats, a beacon in the European peace project, is definitely the site of your brewing culture war. None other than Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the opening speech of the present academic year on the College of Europe, telling students “Now is not the here we are at division.” This reveals some of them forgot to have notes as things started to get nasty when multiple students from different The european countries took turns to make national displays during the college canteen.

The Benelux delegation is said to experience promised “Belgian chocolate, Dutch drinking games, Luxembourgish potatoes and also a speech from Paul Magnette,” depending on Beata Thor, a Swedish student. However, their display included King Leopold II, the “Butcher of Congo,” without explanation. The college’s?student newspaper called them out on this, bringing about an?apology of sorts.

“Millions of an individual were killed, injured or saw their living conditions severely worsened. The real reason for pretty much everything human misery was a never-ending imperialistic quest for power and cash,” admitted the Benelux contingent. Still, Leopold is usually a significant historical figure, hence they included him anyway. Bulimia: nasty messages over the college’s Facebook group. Stayed tuned to get more detailed.

OVER The most notable: Playbook was alarmed to see a trade union report today suggesting Europe it not just burning, but burning even though the Committee with the Regions fiddles. The CoR has never
before been accorded such importance, and now we thought we would investigate.

According to Unite Syndicale we’re also “in turmoil” (a really Trumpian phrase) as “southern Europe borders on war zones” as well as the European idea is challenged like never before (excluding the earth Wars, presumably). And thru it all “the Committee in the Regions fiddles around with jobs for your boys!”

“As Europe struggles to outlive, the CoR struggles to rush by way of a bogus internal ‘competition’ exclusively restricted to its Mexican army of political appointees,” the union raged. No, that is not another Trump insult, but a French expression to go into detail a group through an abundance of administrators. Around the wider point, Playbook agrees that job vacancies must be advertised. But surely the wider question is: How does the EU spend tens of millions on the Committee in the Regions, without really hearing it?

SEPARATED AT BIRTH:?Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva, and pop superstar Britney Spears.


357,000,000,000: Niche European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says he’ll present Italy whether it leaves the euro.

25: The amount of MEPs who agreed within the International Trade Committee to approve the EU-Canada trade deal.

15: The number of trade committee MEPs with the Canada deal.

46:?Days before the Dutch general election.


Martin Schulz: He is predicted being announced when the Socialist challenger to Angela Merkel in Germany’s national election in September.

Benoit Hamon: The French Socialist won the very first round of the center-left presidential primary and is also planning to clinch the nomination this Sunday.


Francois Fillon: What is this great that his wife Penelope was about the payroll of his office between 1992 and 2002 might not help his poll numbers to the French presidential bid.

Sean Spicer: Managed to anger and confuse nearly everyone in reference to his first briefing as being the U.S. presidential spokesperson.

BREXITOMETER:?Now that Britain’s PM Theresa May has indicated her desire to leave the market, there’s no looking back. But we have seen bumps in the route to a challenging Brexit, as May’s government lost the content 50 lawsuit and then she bowed to demands from MPs to create out her Brexit strategy in the white paper.

QUOTE Every week: “He was using alternative facts.” – President Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway explaining how presidential spokesman Sean Spicer found think crowds for Trump’s inauguration were the greatest ever.


No gender equality for bees: The Parliament’s women’s rights committee soon voted on the resolution with EU funds to generally be spent promoting gender equality, which triggered a backlash from those that think EU funds may be better spent elsewhere. Beatrix von Storch, a senior an affiliate the far-right Alternative for Germany, who, on being appointed on the committee in 2014, swiftly considered necessary it is scrapped, proposed an amendment that didn’t produce the final cut: “Not all EU policy areas could be gender mainstreamed, as, by way of example, the EU policy on honey bees, as there is just one single female bee queen per colony and never two.”

Maltese bird hunting isn’t any laughing matter: Here is what Vicky Ford MEP said when Malta’s Economy Minister Christian Cardona started sniggering when she flagged the plight of the birds that Maltese hunters shoot: “Minister, please stop shooting the birds in the year … Don’t laugh. Stop it. Stop it. Do not do it. Do not do it if you are holding the presidency of your European Council. Please. Thank you so much.”


Clock ticking in Romanian corruption showdown





BUCHAREST – By passing a decree that may let corrupt politicians free, the Romanian government also set the clock ticking on efforts to thwart it.

The measure was passed late Tuesday night, to turn into effective 10 days later. That deadline assists galvanize thousands of protesters who’ve flooded the streets to demand the decree be revoked.

With the ecu Commission along with the embassies of Western nations also criticizing the move, the costa rica government must decide getting in touch with defy both mainstream European opinion additionally, the biggest demonstrations in Romania for the reason that fall of communism.

Curiously, late government entities may not actually aid the protesters’ cause, like a temporary administration will not have the power to cancel the decree, according to political experts.

Events were mounted in train when Justice Minister Florin Iordache announced how the government would update the penal code by decriminalizing the offense of official misconduct for cases involving injury to the population purse of less than

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How Australia built a wall (and purchased it)





SYDNEY – Think of it Australia’s naval wall.

It’s cloudy the amount Mr . trump is aware of how Australia treats refugees who arrive on its shores by boat. Though the program would probably get his approval.

In the three-and-a-half?years since launch of Operation Sovereign Borders, the “Lucky Country” has?turned?back rickety vessels and detained asylum seekers offshore in harsh conditions for the Pacific island of Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. Refugees who arrive by sea are banned from?ever settling in?Australia – without exception.

Critics (and some proponents) in the system voice it out is brutal by design, providing those fleeing persecution with a cruel but effective deterrent. And delay: In 2013,?300 boats carrying 20,587 people made it to?Australia. Only 1 year later, the quantity of boat-people dropped to?157. Since 2014, no boat has made it?through.

“On moral and ethical grounds We would express it is wrong to look at people with committed no offense, and treat them so badly how they?love to face persecution instead,” said barrister Julian Burnside, who works pro bono?with asylum seekers and campaigns against?offshore detention. “But be the fundamental logic than it.”

The U.N.’s human rights committee ruled?the fact that indefinite detention of refugees over?security concerns breached international law.

Whether Australia’s hardline system breaks international law is often a couple of heated debate in the united states – and abroad.

Conditions in Australian-run detention camps are notoriously harsh. Reports of self harm, allegations of medical negligence, illness, suicide, rape,?assaults at the hands of fellow asylum seekers, hostile locals and authorities?are commonplace. In 2009, the Guardian published?2,000 leaked incident reports from Nauru, including allegations of a guard?threatening to kill a kid and the other swapping sexual favors for really shower time.

    Australia’s?leaders?insist they?adhere to their?obligations, but the U . n . and NGOs?have differing views. In April 2016, the U.N.’s human rights committee ruled?that your indefinite detention of refugees over?security concerns breached international law?and?ordered the nation to produce?five those who were detained?for six years.

    Also in 2009, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for the immediate change in asylum seekers out of the Manus Island and Nauru processing centers, labeling?them inhumane and “immensely harmful.” Amnesty International swallows a similar view. “Amnesty disagrees while using the government’s interpretation of the obligations under international humanitarian law,” said Australian spokeswoman?Emma Bull.

    Dumb and dumber

    And?this system comes at a price. Australia,?which in the ’90s considered itself something of the?deputy regional peacekeeper into the United States’ global sheriff, has lost most of its humanitarian good waiting on home and abroad. Faced with a flood of negative media reports?quoting doctors about conditions in the processing centers, the Australian government threatened?doctors and nurses with two-year prison sentences if he or she spoke out. (Authorities eventually caved into media pressure and amended the foundations.)

    And as there are the monetary cost.?Australia currently holds about 1,250?refugees in the?offshore processing centers, who typically have spent 478 days in detention. As you move the government hasn’t already?detailed the cost of the work, according to the Australian National Audit Office?holding the refugees costs over?405,000 (in close proximity to $440,000) per person each and every year. Electrical systems, the?Australian government estimates Syrian refugees that happen to be able to settle in Australia as part of its humanitarian intake cost it roughly 10,700 per person annually.

    Australia, which contains?a population of 24 million, has pledged to?settle?19,000 refugees per year on its shores, when they don’t arrive by boat.

    Because?Australia bans boat-arrivals?from selecting its shores, those that?are granted refugee status either can live in detention, settle in the community on?Manus or Nauru, or say yes to move to one third country.

    That leaves the country?begging or bribing others?to take refugees off its hands.

    Enter the?refugee resettlement arrangement?struck in November with then U.S. Barack obama, which Trump referred to as a “dumb deal”?on Twitter.

    The agreement is true for refugees already on Nauru and Manus, plus those chosen Australia temporarily for medical therapy. They can be qualified to apply for a one-off resettlement during the U.S., be more responsive to vetting by American authorities.

    The deal was away from the back of one other, struck in?September by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a invitation-only summit hosted by Obama. Under that arrangement, known as something of advance payment, Australia accepted resettle?Central American refugees from?camps in Panama and nicaragua , and pledged over 92 million aid for displaced people around the world.?(Australia, who has?a population of 24 million, has pledged to?settle?19,000 refugees 1 year on its shores, when they don’t arrive by boat.)

    If the U.S. deal falls through, Australia should resort to its plan b: Cambodia. Beneath a pact?struck in 2014, Australia accepted?cash nation around 40?million to resettle its refugees. Unfortunately, the agreement with Cambodia is?- to loan Trump’s phrase – a dumb deal. A couple of years after that it was struck, only?five refugees have decided look at the country, and simply one?has stayed there.

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    Fillon’s choices: the unhealthy, the worse as well as real ugly





    PARIS – “I’d makes use of the Titanic cliche, except there’s?no band playing.” That’s how a senior official from the conservative Les Republicains party summed up the mood in Francois Fillon presidential campaign pursuing the latest allegations by the satirical weekly Canard Enchaine.

    Fillon’s allies are uneasy, verging on desperate, about the way bigger chosen to shield himself from what he calls a “conspiracy” on the alleged funneling?of public funds to his wife and kids. Some are concerned?that it’ll cause a political debacle.

    After spending days denouncing unnamed plotters intent on taking him from the French presidential race, Fillon upped the temperature Wednesday morning by accusing the us government associated with aid inside revelations.

    This is “an institutional coup d’Etat” provided by “the ruling left,” he told a gathering of Republicains MPs, depending on AFP.

    His aim were to rally the troops against the unpopular socialist government, however some during the Fillon campaign worried so it would do little to convince voters the allegations are false.

    A week after Le Canard Enchaine said Fillon had long employed his wife Penelope as his parliamentary attache and suggested she hadn’t actually done much work with what he paid her, the paper unveiled new allegations on Wednesday.?Just how much Fillon paid his wife over the years reached nearly

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