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The Eurasian Economic Union: Power, Politics and Trade

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The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), created in 2015 by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz¬stan, Belarus and Armenia, claims to be the first successful post- Soviet initiative to overcome trade barriers and promote integration in a fragmented, under-developed region. Supporters argue that it could be a mechanism for dialogue with the European Union (EU) and other international partners. Critics portray it as a destabilising project that increases Russia’s domination of the region and limits its other members’ relations with the West. The EU views the project as a

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 60

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China and Zimbabwe

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The economy of Zimbabwe has long been in crisis and the local currency has been replaced by the US dollar. The Central Bank seizes new deposits to meet government requirements. Plenty of Zimbabweans, no doubt, would like to see an end to Mugabe’s rule but he and his elite are deeply entrenched in power. Some desperate Zimbabweans brave the waters of the Limpopo to swim to South Africa cut they make no impact upon the economy. Despite the condition of the economy Mugabe frequently goes on visits to friendly countries, no doubt in search of financial assistance and always takes with

Features | Guy Arnold | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 68

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Landmark South China Sea ruling could revive negotiations

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An international tribunal has issued a sweeping ruling against China in a landmark case brought by the Philippines over disputed claims in the South China Sea. Beijing rejected the ruling, but the judgment’s legal clarity could ultimately provide the basis of a better, durable, negotiated outcome for the many parties involved. The most significant part of the 12 July award by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea under the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is the judgment that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’ ”.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 57

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Turkey resets ties with Russia in historic reconciliation

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When the Turkish military shot down a Russian fighter jet that it said strayed from Syria into Turkish airspace last November, Moscow’s retaliation was swift, writes Franklin Adesegha Tourist charter flights to Turkey stopped, Russian visitor numbers fell by 87 percent and Turkey’s exports to Russia, including food, fell by more than half to $730m in the first six months of this year.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 65

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Slow-motion Coup in Venezuela?

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Nicolás Maduro was elected president of Venezuela in April 2013 by a narrow margin. His term is due to end in January 2019, unless the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance can force a recall referendum this year – and win it. But does President Maduro really run the country? In recent weeks Nicolás Maduro appears to have taken a back seat to Venezuela’s top general, defence minister Vladimir Padrino López, who also – unusually – holds the post of operational commander of the armed forces. On 11 July, Maduro announced that he and Padrino would jointly head a newly-created “Civilian- Military Presidential Command”,

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 62

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Media and sports rattled by planned EU copyright shake-up

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The media and sports industries are preparing to lock horns with the European Commission over its plans to shake up copyright law to make more films, sports and TV shows available online throughout the 28-nation bloc. In its plans for a ‘digital single market’ the Commission wants to make broadcasters’ online transmissions more easily available across borders but that risks diluting the licensing value of content and therefore undermining the way films and TV shows are financed, lobbyists say. The changes also have the potential to affect how much Hollywood studios such as Disney and Twentieth Century Fox can charge broadcasters for the rights to

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 62

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Nexit, Frexit or Italeave? British vote fires up EU’s ‘Outers’

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Britain’s vote to leave the European Union fired up populist eurosceptic parties across the European continent, giving fresh voice to their calls to leave the bloc or its euro currency. Right-wing and anti-immigrant parties in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and France demanded referendums on membership of the union, while Italy’s 5-Star movement said it would pursue its own proposal for a vote on the euro. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-immigrant PVV party, said he would make a Dutch referendum on EU membership a central theme of his campaign to become prime minister in next year’s parliamentary election.

Features | Alan Brown | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 61

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Russia’s tough talk on Ukraine

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Moscow’s current outburst, a combination of verbal aggression and military caution, may indicate that it is unsure what to do, argues Paul Quinn-Judge On 10 August, Moscow announced that a team of Ukrainian saboteurs had attempted to attack Crimean economic infrastructure, a charge that Kyiv denies. The announcement triggered speculation in Western media of a new Russian military offensive in eastern Ukraine, where the Kremlin’s clients have occupied two enclaves in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts since early 2014.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 58

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Is Trump a global threat?

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With less than two months before presidential elections, US Republican candidate Donald Trump is considered one of the top 10 risks facing the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, writes Franklin Adesegha. The London-based research firm warns Trump could disrupt the global economy and heighten political and security risks in the US. The Republican candidate is rated riskier than Britain leaving the European Union or an armed clash in the South China Sea.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 63

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Peace at last for Colombia to end halfcentury of bloodshed

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Colombia’s government and Marxist FARC rebels reached a final peace deal last month in Havana, Cuba, to end a five-decade of conflict which once took the resource-rich country to the edge of collapse. Under the historic agreement to end one of the world’s longest conflicts, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will lay down arms and reintegrate into civilian life. This is a landmark in the long search for an end to 52 years of armed conflict. After two failed attempts at negotiating peace with the largest guerrilla group over three decades, exhaustive and painstaking talks behind closed doors have led to a final agreement that aims to remedy the cause of the conflict,

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 63

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Britain and China

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Who eventually will construct the nuclear plant at Hinkley Pont in Somerset in the west of England is clearly an open political problem that raises extraordinary questions. Is Britain incapable of producing a nuclear plant of its own? Is Britain so poor that it can only construct the plant with outside investment? Is nuclear technology so complex that such a plant will invite spies to use Hinkley as an entry point to British technology? The Chinese and the French had entered into an agreement that Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May was bound to put on hold while she or her government examined all the

Features | Guy Arnold | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 66

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An ethical banker rejects $8.25 million reward

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A whistleblower whose information helped reveal false accounting at Deutsche Bank has turned down a huge financial reward from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in protest at failure to punish wrongdoing executives at the bank. He refused his share of a $16.5 million award from the SEC for reporting misdeeds. Eric Ben-Artzi, a former Deutsche risk officer, told the SEC that he does not want to take his share of a $16.5m payout awarded for the

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 66

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Worldwide condemnation of France’s burkini ban

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The burkini, the full-body swimsuit, has controversially been banned in several holiday hotspots across France. The burkini has been banned by at least 15 French towns from Corsica to the northern coast but most restrictions have been enforced in the southeast, an area where the far-right is strong and which is a gateway and home for many immigrants. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls defended the ban on burkinis in more than a dozen coastal towns, saying France was locked in a “battle of cultures” and that the full-body swimsuit symbolized the enslavement of women.

Features | Alan Brown | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 62

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Obama prepares to boost US military’s cyber role

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The US President Barack Obama’s administration is preparing to elevate the stature of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, signaling more emphasis on developing cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders into U.S. networks and tackle adversaries such as Islamic State, current and former officials told Reuters. Under the plan being considered at the White House, the officials said, US Cyber Command would become what the military calls a “unified command” equal to combat branches of the military such as the Central and Pacific Commands. Cyber Command would be separated from the National Security Agency, a spy agency responsible for electronic eavesdropping, the officials said.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 61

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Libyan politicians edging towards reconciliation

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At a request by the United Nations-backed Libyan unity government headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, US warplanes carried out a series of air strikes against Islamic State (IS) fighters in Libya’s coastal city of Syrte, the latest salvo of a longer-term campaign by the West to combat the militant group’s foothold in the North African country. The bombing had apparently caused IS “heavy losses”. This is not the first time US war planes bombed targets in Libya but the latest military action marks a significant increase in American involvement in the country.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 1 September 2016 | Hits: 63

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Nigeria’s home-grown terror group Boko Haram

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After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram’s increasing radicalization led to a violent uprising in July 2009 in which its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was summarily executed. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden,” resurfaced as a deadly force under Abubakar Shekau, who took over in 2009 after a military raid on the group’s compound in Maiduguri killed some 700 people. Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets,

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 31 August 2016 | Hits: 68

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Al-Shabab major cause for concern to Somalia and neighbours

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The insurgent militant group al-Shabab is battling the UNbacked government in Somalia, and has carried out a string of attacks in neighbouring Kenya. The group, which is allied to al-Qaeda, has been pushed out of most of the main towns it once controlled, but it remains a potent threat. Al-Shabab means The Youth in Arabic. The militant movement emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 31 August 2016 | Hits: 65

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Overview of conflicts in Africa

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As protracted conflicts intensify in Africa, attempts to resolve them derail and political crises erupt or deepen. The following are examples of conflicts plaguing the continent. Algeria Algeria has emerged from a civil war that cost the lives of over 200.000 people after elections where the Islamists were poised to win, were cancelled in 1991 by the military which has ruled the country since the defence minister, Houari Boumedienne toppled the first civilian President Ahmed Ben Bella in a bloodless coup in 1965.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 31 August 2016 | Hits: 67

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Violence impedes Africa’s progress

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Africa has a reputation for ongoing violence: wars between countries, civil wars, independent militias and any or all these conditions such as Libya at the present time attract interventions from the EU or NATO related to oil or anti ISIS strategy. Moreover, the collapses of empires lead automatically to violence as successor regimes stake their claims. Much of this violence is related to resources that China or the West want – the chaos suffered by the DRC in the years since the first Kabila came to power are testimony to this violence. Burundi became independent in1962and its whole history has been dominated by power struggles between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes and between 1993 and 2000 100,000 people were killed in the ongoing civil war.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 31 August 2016 | Hits: 67

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Africa at a crossroad

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Africa is the world’s secondlargest and second-mostpopulous continent. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world’s human population. Africa’s population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger. Real income has increased more than 30 per cent, reversing two decades of decline.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 31 August 2016 | Hits: 59

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