DONALD Trump's administration has been dealt a significant blow after not even a month in office.The President must now fill a vital national security post following the resignation of embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn.Flynn stepped down late yesterday, ending days of speculation about his fate following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia.The military veteran accepted that discussions of sanctions may have come up during several calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition period leading up to Trump's inauguration.He acknowledged that he gave "incomplete information" about those discussions to Pence who, apparently relying on information from the national security adviser, initially said Flynn had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy.The New York Times has also claimed that Flynn accepted money from Moscow during a trip in 2015.It is alleged he was paid to attend a celebration of … [Read more...] about Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigns over links to Russia
National steps challenge
Oil has a high price: year in and year out, the costs for the damage caused to the environment in the Arab region grow. Environmental protection plays a very marginal role in production and distribution in these economies, said Murad Ahmad Al-Fakih from the Organization for Environmental Protection in Yemen. Soon, Al-Fakih fears, products manufactured in the Arab region will no longer be competitive. "Arab countries no longer have a choice," he said. "This isn't about wanting to convert to a green economy or not. They have to do it! We urgently need growth on the one hand and, on the other hand, we have to protect the environment." Experts from the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) share Al-Fakih's opinion. The non-governmental organization brings together environmental experts, organizations and representatives from the private and public sector from various Arab countries. The Beirut-based AFED focused in depth on sustainable development in the Arab world in this … [Read more...] about Arab nations face challenging hurdles to go green
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is on a two-day visit to New Delhi to boost bilateral ties that have been improving for quite some time. On Wednesday, Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again urged Pakistan to end "all sponsorship of terrorism." Both Kabul and New Delhi complain that terrorists with sanctuaries in Pakistan are creating unrest on their soil, an allegation Islamabad denies. India has maintained close ties with Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. It is one of Afghanistan's major donors, underwriting an array of development projects in the impoverished nation. On Wednesday, September 14, India offered a fresh one billion dollars (890 million euros) in aid to Kabul for building capacity in education, health, agriculture, energy and infrastructure, said a joint statement by Modi and Ghani. The two leaders also pledged to speed up the implementation of an agreement between New Delhi, Tehran and Kabul to develop the Chabahar port in Iran. … [Read more...] about Can Afghanistan step out of Pakistan’s shadow?
General David Petraeus told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week that he firmly backed President Barack Obama's withdrawal plans for Afghanistan. Petraeus, as the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, is the man who has to put those plans into practice. The four-star general had presented Obama with several options, but Obama eventually chose a different model. US media report that Petraeus favored a slower drawdown. But now it's set: Of the some 100,000 US soldiers, 10,000 are supposed to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year. A further 23,000 will follow by September 2012. By 2014, Afghan forces should take over the country's security, according to the agreement with NATO allies. Officially, July 1 was set as the beginning of the withdrawal. But at the Senate hearing, Petraeus said the military could decide for itself which troops would be pulled out where. "There are already some [soldiers] that are coming home without replacement, decisions that were … [Read more...] about US exit strategy from Afghanistan faces many challenges
With unofficial results placing the "yes" camp narrowly ahead, Turkey's electoral commission declared a victory for the introduction of a presidential system late on Sunday - ushering in an overhaul of modern Turkish politics. According to results from Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency, the "yes" vote won by 51.4 percent compared to 48.6 percent for the "no" camp with 100 percent of the votes tallied. Final results will be released in 11 to 12 days, said electoral commission chief Sadi Guven. The preliminary result is being strongly contested by the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who vowed to challenge it. Much of their concern stemmed from the electoral commission's decision to allow ballots which had not been stamped with an official seal to still be counted as valid. Guven, however, defended the decision and denied any of the ballots in question were fakes. He said the decision had been made so voters … [Read more...] about Erdogan claims victory in Turkish referendum; opposition plans challenge
"At the end of my time in office, every Brazilian will have a breakfast, a lunch and an evening meal," President Lula da Silva promised as he took office in 2003. When he handed over to his successor, Dilma Rousseff, Lula's achievements were impressive. Brazil had become the first Latin American country to fulfill its first millennium goal - based on 1990 figures, Brazil had cut the number of people living in hunger by 50 percent. By 2010 the country had achieved goals it had expected to reach only five years later. Lula da Silva was honored for his achievements with this year's World Food Prize. Thanks to the social program rolled out by his administration, 20 million Brazilians are said to have overcome poverty. Every second Brazilian, it's estimated, has made the leap up into the country's lower middle class. People's growing prosperity has seen consumer demand rise and help consolidate the economy. Social exclusion leads to hunger "Fome Zero" is at the heart of … [Read more...] about Hunger – a Brazilian challenge
Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) party and the de facto leader of its new government, had pledged justice for activists jailed by the country's previous military-led regime. And on Sunday, April 10, officials announced the release of scores of political prisoners, as well as plans to pardon 100 more. Releasing political prisoners is a personal matter for Suu Kyi and her party. Many of the jailed were NLD supporters. Suu Kyi herself was put under house arrest several times under the junta. It was therefore one of the clearest steps to take for the new government, which scored a landslide victory in elections last November, following a half-century of military rule. But it won't always be so easy. Though the previous government initiated a number of reforms - including those that set the stage for last year's democratic elections - harmful remnants from the past might be hard to shake. Simply placing Suu Kyi in a position of power was an … [Read more...] about Challenges await Myanmar’s quest for change
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week announced that the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) would reconvene after nearly two years since "all practical cooperation" was suspended in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. While Stoltenberg is expected to raise concerns about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, "regional terrorist threats" will also be discussed. In 2014, NATO, alongside EU and US officials, accused Moscow of involvement in the eastern Ukrainian conflict after it effectively annexed parts of the Crimean Peninsula in an internationally-condemned public referendum. But the NATO-Russia meeting expected later this month is likely due to thawing US-Russian relations, Cor Snijders, co-founder of The Hague-based security consultancy Lowlands Solutions, told DW. "The primary objective and desire regarding the upcoming NATO-Russia Council meeting in April is most likely to establish a general … [Read more...] about NATO-Russia: A step towards rapprochement?
Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz has discussed some of his policy goals in an interview published by the German weekly "Bild am Sonntag," offering insight into how he plans to challenge Angela Merkel for Germany's top political job. "I would tackle two things directly: the clear commitment to strengthening the European Union and the abolition of one of the greatest injustices: that women for the same work earn less than men," Schutz said. Germany has one of the highest pay gaps in the EU, with a wage discrepancy of over 20 percent between men and women. The politician with the center-left SPD added that his policy will be geared towards the work and life of ordinary citizens. Schulz, who served as European Parliament president from 2012 and stepped down earlier this year, also vowed to curb executive pay. He has made social justice issues a key part of his pitch for leading the country. "I promise that, as chancellor, I will implement a law … [Read more...] about Merkel’s challenger Martin Schulz lays out vision for chancellery
DW: What do you expect from the rally your party is holding on October 17 in Kyiv – a demonstration that could draw thousands in protest against the president's and the government's politics? Mikhail Saakashvili: It is the beginning of a process that will certainly lead to a change of political power in Ukraine. I'm on the road a lot, and I know the mood. Since the government doesn't want to enter into a dialogue with the citizens, the citizens will have to take the first step. At first, a few people will take to the streets, address their concerns and make demands. They will be joined by others, and at some point, the authorities will have to react. Should that reaction be inadequate, the citizens will decide on these authorities' fates. But all of this should take place in the framework of a democratic dialogue - that is, peacefully and calmly. Ukraine doesn't need new Maidan revolutions!a change in the political class and the political system.Should President … [Read more...] about Saakashvili on why he’s challenging Poroshenko’s leadership of Ukraine