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32 combats killed in western Yemen

Asia @en/BreakingNews @en di

As loyalist forces of President Hadi advanced into neighborhood of Mokha 32 combats were killed on Wednesday in a battle for a key coastal town in western Yemen. 24 Houthis were killed and 12 of that were taken to an hospital in Mokha, while 12 others were militias and were buried after they were found by advancing troops. Between the soldiers 8 were killed and more than 400 combatants have been killed since the government forces launched their offensive in the Red Sea coastline. So 32 combats is just the bill of today.

U.S. Airstrikes Hit ISIL Targets in Libya

Defence/Middle East - Africa di

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2016 — U.S. Africa Command officials today announced results of precision airstrikes conducted Aug. 16, against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targets in Sirte, Libya.

Africom is conducting the strikes at the request of, and in coordination with, the Libyan Government of National Accord, officials said.

The following targets were struck by U.S. forces:

— Seven enemy fighting positions.

— Four vehicle-borne bombs.

— One pickup truck with a mounted recoilless rifle.

— Twelve enemy fighting positions.

— One command-and-control vehicle.

These airstrikes bring the total number to 57, in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning, which began Aug. 1.

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Officials said the U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya. These actions and those taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and its allies, officials said.

 

Source: DoD Defense Media Activity

Argentina turns right

Americas di

The first six months of Macri’s presidency marked a turning point in Argentina’s history. After 12 years of a Peronist government ruled by the Kirchner spouses, Argentina changed its route in internal policy as well as in international relations. Mauricio Macri won the presidential elections on the 22nd of November in 2015, and he immediately started to implement a series of reforms in contrast with the policies adopted by his predecessors.

Firstly, Macri’s government adopted a series of measures in order to reduce public spending on social welfare. These measures consist in the increase in public transport fees, energy and petrol prices, in addition to the layoff of part of the public employees. The Argentine population is not satisfied about these measures. On the other hand, it is important to point out that the government approved tax cuts for businesses, in order to stimulate the growth in export of wheat, corn, meat and minerals. One of the latest proposals of the government was the reform of the electoral system, in order to introduce the electronic voting. The declared intention of President Macri is to promote a modernization of the country as well as bolstering the economic recovery. Moreover, the new President reached a landmark agreement with foreign creditors of the country. The government accepted to pay its debts so that Argentina will be able to regain trust in international markets. In addition to that, the government is seeking to attract foreign investments in the country.

Undoubtedly, the agreement with the foreign creditors had a positive impact on the relations between Argentina and the United States, as well as Europe. In fact, these countries tightened its bonds with Argentina, and this led to an official visit of President Obama in Argentina, after 20 years of difficult relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and President François Hollande also visited the new Argentine President. Argentina’s new position on the world’s stage led to a weakening in its relations with the previous allies: particularly Venezuela and Russia. One of the main challenges proposed by Macri in foreign policy it is to strengthen Mercosur and to promote free trade in Latin America, as well as opening new commercial routes in the Pacific area.

It is important to mention the cold relations between Macri’s government and the Holy See, even though it is not something new if compared with the previous Argentine government. On the 9th of June, the association Scholas Ocurrentes, a pontifical foundation that opened schools in Argentina and other countries, refused, under Pope’s instructions, a 16 million pesos donation from President Macri. Pope Francis argued that the foundation should be careful in order to avoid corruption. Macri’s offer was considered by the Pope as a strategy to improve his relations with the Holy See. The public response of Bergoglio was that “Argentine government has to cope with many people’s needs, so that the managers of the foundation do not have the right to ask the government for anything”. The Casa Rosada was surprised about this response, mainly because the foundation asked the government for that quantity of money. Macri underlined that the support to Scholas Ocurrentes was a policy in line with the previous government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The real message of Pope Francis seems to be that Macri’s government should change its strategy to gain Vatican’s trust as well as its attitude towards lower social classes.

Argentina’s political change is part of a more general phenomenon affecting Latin America. Many of the socialist governments that had great success at beginning of the 21st century, are now suffering from a reduced popularity. However, Argentina’s government will not be able to ignore the legacy of Kirchner’s era, which mainly consists in the social achievements obtained by Argentines over the last decade.

 

by Elena Saroni

North Korea announces the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party

Asia @en di

North Korea announced that the next year it will be hold the seventh unitary Congress of the Workers’s Party. The event is meaningful, in consideration of two elements: the last congress organized by the Communist Party of North Korea dates back to 1980, over 35 years ago; on this occasion, Kim Jong-Il, father of current President Kim Jong-un, made his political debut with an appearance that marked his preeminent position on the succession line. The transfer of power was realized only a few years later, in 1994, with the death of the Eternal President Kim Il Sung.

The seventh congress should take place in May 2016, as reported last Thursday by KCNA, the regime’s news agency. Officially, the plenary meeting has been called to reflect “the demand of the party and the developing revolution.”, in the aftermath of the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party of North Korea, with magnificent military parades that took place a few weeks ago. In fact, the news has generated a wave of speculation on the part of international and South Korean analysts about the real implications of the event.

The Congress could reaffirm the central role of President Kim Jong-Un in the management of power, and serve as a stage to announce economic reforms or new diplomatic relations, to reduce the country’s isolation on the international scene. It could also lead to a reshuffle in the party, with the replacement of some officials with others closer to the dictator. A second hypothesis concerns a possible shift in the internal balance, with a transfer of power by the army in favor of the Party, in a country always marked by a military-political dualism in which the

Socialist armed forces have the fundamental role of economic engine. In this case, the President may decide to eliminate the system of “National Defense Commission,” which has always played a key role in state affairs, transferring its functions from the Army to the Worker’s Party.

In any case, it is possible to speculate about significant changes that could even affect the theoretical physiognomy of Juche, the self-sufficiency and nationalism based theory on which the north Korean communism has built its specificity, In opposition to Marxist-Leninist internationalism.

NATO opens Trident Juncture exercise to international observers

EUROPA di

Observers from member nations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and from other countries around the world have been invited to witness NATO’s biggest military exercise in over a decade, Trident Juncture 2015, which is currently taking place in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

“Trident Juncture shows the Alliance’s commitment to transparency and predictability on military activities,” said General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum, and of the exercise. “I welcome that several countries chose to send observers to Trident Juncture. This exercise is defensive in nature, the scenario and adversary are fictional. We hope that by inviting observers we can help to build trust and confidence.”

Trident Juncture 15, involving 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations, will certify next year’s NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force. Under the OSCE Vienna Document 2011, exercises must be notified to OSCE member states 42 days in advance if exceeding 9,000 troops, and observation is required starting at 13,000 troops. Allies respect these conditions.

Under the Vienna Document 2011, three separate Russian inspection teams arrived this week – one each in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In each country, the teams were provided with briefings about Trident Juncture 15, and have inspected military activities being carried out as part of this exercise. The inspection in Italy took place between 26 and 28 October, and the inspections in Spain and Portugal are on-going between 27 and 29 October.

Also under Vienna Document 2011 rules, observers from Germany, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States will visit Spain between 1 and 4 November, as this is where the largest concentrations of troops will be during the exercise. This observer programme of military activities was coordinated with Spain and NATO’s Conventional Arms Control Coordination Cell.

In the interest of promoting transparency, NATO has also decided to invite observers from eleven other nations to Trident Juncture 15: Algeria, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bashar Al Assad flies to Moscow

Middle East - Africa di

For the first time since the outbreak of the crisis, Syrian President Bashar Assad has left the capital for a corporate trip to Moscow.

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An Unexpected Journey, the Kremlin said in a press release, but suggests a renewed confidence in his government by the Syrian president.

In Moscow Bashar Al Assad met with Vladimir Putin, with whom he discussed the results of the current joint military actions and future initiatives to reach a political solution to the internal conflict in Syria. This his first international public from the beginning of the conflict in 2011 following the Arab Spring of Damascus shows how the changed situation on the ground thanks to Russian, so as not to cause fear a temporary removal from the capital.

The same destination of this presidential trip is emblematic, a kind of recognition of the importance of the Russian intervention as stated on the same Bashar Al Assad, “the terrorism that is spreading through the region now would make even greater losses without it. ”

Iran is also a great supporter of the Assad regime but the choice of Russia as the first visit of the Syrian leader can be interpreted as a sign of the need for the government to Assad to secure recognition of reward legitimacy by a major international player with a seat on the UN Security Council. Many international reactions to the meeting in Moscow was a sign of how Russian intervention is considerable in this quadrant.

Shortly after the visit, Putin has received phone calls from Turkey and Saudi Arabia leaders. Prime Minister turkish Ahmet Davutoglu said that after this meeting could start a political negotiation with Assad while Putin himself has informed the Saudi king Salman on the results of the meeting. Instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received a phone call from US Secretary of State John Kerry after the visit.

A further consequence of the talks in Moscow is the convening on 22 October a series of talks on the Syrian crisis between the top diplomats of Russia, the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Vienna although a great skepticism emerges as to finding a agreement for a transition plan in Syria. There are many factors that complicate the search for a political solution of the conflict, not least that of the deep Syrian divisions.

The question of how will Syria after the transition from the leadership of al-Assad will be crucial to the multilateral talks in Vienna. Many of the rebels have refused to accept a deal that allows the government to Assad to continue its work of government in any form. The United States and Turkey, among others, are not happy at the prospect that al-Assad will have a say in any political negotiations.

 

Alessandro Conte

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The ENS launches his new report

The ENS – European Network on statelessness (European Network for the Statelessness) is launching in these last hours its new report “No child should be stateless”, which is an integral part of its campaign to put an end to childhood statelessness in Europe.

 

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The entity is a charity under english law,  London based, and  is obviously a non-governmental body, which is always looking for partnerships with universities, international organizations, and experts in the asylum and immigration issues.

The report provides a summary of research studies conducted by membersof the ENS, in eight European countries, as well as analysis of national laws in all 47 states of the Council of Europe (which as we can remember, is neither the European Council nor the Council of the European Union, as we have explained on europeanaffairs.media, but an international organization which also includes non-EU countries, whose main objective is the preservation of human rights). The document explains why many of children continue to grow without citizenship, because of gaps in European laws or because of bureaucratic obstacles that sometimes prevent the regular birth registration. The report reveals that even if a lot of countries acceded to the international conventions, more than a half have not yet given proper effect to its obligations, to ensure that children acquire a nationality. The ENS’ reasearch also sheds light on new and emerging cases of statelessness child and focuses just on the risk run by those who are adopted or recognized by same-sex couples or children who are born from refugees and migrants or through surrogacy.

According to the speakers, whose work quo be downloaded here , statelessness childhood – which inevitably generates considerable difficulties in access to rights and services – can be a problem completely solved: the report concludes with a series of recommendations to guide action to face in a more effectively way the phenomenon in Europe.

We point also out that the topic is the subject of a hashtag on Twitter, #StetelessKids, and that a discussion on this social campaign was launched between 16.00 and 18.00 (CET) on Monday 21st September. This matter was also focused by Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, with a statement which we will return on. The UNHCR also participated in the event and the discussions, with a campaign called #IBelong, which aims at eradicating  statelessness within a decade.

The ENS motto? “Everyone has the right to a nationality”

 

Domenico Martinelli

[/level-european-affairs]

 

 

Asilo e accoglienza ecco come si muove l’Europa

Europe di

Le Agenzie Europee impegnate nel miglioramento del sistema dell’asilo e dell’accoglienza ai rifugiati: il caso della Grecia.

Un paese europeo a noi molto vicino, la Grecia, ci sta dando una lezione importante: come sfruttare al meglio l’operato e l’efficienza della Agenzie Europee nel settore Justice and Home Affairs.

Non tutti sanno che, infatti, nella capitale maltese de La Valletta, esiste un’Agenzia Europea che fornisce assistenza qualificata nel settore dell’asilo e dell’accoglienza di chi l’asilo lo richiede: si tratta dell’EASO, ossia dell’European Asylum Support Office. L’Ente – che tra i sui compiti annovera proprio quello di fornire expertise ed addestramento nel settore dell’asilo e dell’immigrazione e, maggiormente, in favore degli Stati Membri i cui confini sono più duramente messi alla prova – ha firmato un accordo particolare con la Grecia pochi giorni fa.

L’accordo in questione, denominato “Special Support Plan to Greece”, prevede, in maniera molto particolareggiata, che l’Agenzia fornisca ad Atene il massimo supporto in determinate aree identificate quali prioritarie nei settori asilo ed accoglienza. Tra queste, la pianificazione ed il sostegno ai progetti già in itinere, l’addestramento del personale e, soprattutto, il corretto reperimento di fondi Europei ad hoc devoluti. Il tutto fino a maggio 2016.

La richiesta di tale supporto è stata ufficialmente formulata dai nostri vicini di casa nei primi mesi del 2015, e nasce su input del consolante quadro di risultati più che soddisfacenti ottenuti dal paese ellenico negli anni precedenti e sempre dalla stessa agenzia europea “maltese”. E già, perché il supporto alla Grecia aveva avuto inizio nel 2011, con un “Operating Plan to Greece”, messo in essere proprio in virtù dei pressanti flussi di immigrazione irregolare che nascevano fuori dai confini esterni all’Unione. In quella circostanza fu stabilita un’efficiente e sostenibile struttura di asilo e di accoglienza mediante l’impiego di squadre di esperti sul territorio greco, che contribuirono anche a codifcare un sistema di richieste e modulari da presentarsi a cura dei richiedenti asilo alle Autorità elleniche, le cui strutture di ricezione furono anche logisticamente migliorate rispetto a quelle già esistenti.

Ma non è tutto: un altro “Operating Plan to Greece” è stato reiterato nel 2013 ed è stato principalmente finalizzato all’addestamento del personale ed alla corretta gestione dei fondi dell’Unione stanziati per il settore.

Stavolta questo piano di supporto è, come dice il nome stesso, realmente “speciale”: le squadre dell’EASO stanno lavorando a stretto contatto con le Autorità greche, usufruendo però anche del supporto di FRONTEX, altra più (tristemente?) nota agenzia europea e con l’UNHCR dell’ONU.

Gli obiettivi: oltre alla già citata e consueta necessità di addestramento in favore degli addetti ai lavori ed alla consulenza in una sana gestione dei fondi europei reperiti a sostegno del budget nazionale, gli esperti aiuteranno a sviluppare una corretta policy di gestione dell’asilo e delle strutture di accoglienza dei minori non accompagnati, la cui gestione nei centri di accoglienza richiede particolari cautele da parte degli operanti, ed altrettanto particolari tutele nei confronti delle vittime più innocenti dei fenomeni che dell’immigrazione irregolare stanno alla base.

Sembra lecito domandarsi quando il nostro Paese – che è il secondo contributore al bilancio dell’UE – svilupperà e concepirà strumenti giuridici simili, beneficiadi dell’aiuto delle stesse istituzioni europee che contribuisce a mantenere.

 

Domenico Martinelli

 

 

 

Ukraine, Msf report: it’s a humanitarian emergency

Europe/Miscellaneous di

Ukraine is one of the topics on the international board. Over 15000 injured patients, 1600 pregnant women followed by hospitals, about 4000 people with chronic diseases. These numbers are reported by Gabriele Eminente, Msf Italy Director-General, in our interview.

 Where does Msf work in Ukraine? Which are its activities?

Msf planned its humanitarian intervention in a different way because of the kind of conflict which developed in Ukraine in the last year. We usually work with our facilities and fields after an emergency. However, we chose an operational strategy base on five teams which could move with greater perception and portability on territory. The area that i mean is the front line and the band immediately behind. Some groups are located in Donetsk and Lugansk, but we have mobile units for two reasons. The first one, watching Kramatorsk bombing, it’s because we are supporting local hospital and health care facilities: unfortunately, civilian targets have not enough protected. The second one concerns the lack of water, food, power and above all drugs in Donbass region, which we are equipping where they’re missing.

Then we give a psychological assistance to an exhausted population. We’ve already started a hundred talks with individuals and about two thousand with group of people.

But Msf was already in Ukraine before the civil war because there is a high percentage of people affected with Hiv and multidrug-resistant tubercolosis.

 

Hospitals and health centers are constantly under attack from the beginning of the year: after the second Minsk agreement, does the humanitarian corridor eventuality exist?

First of all I want to note the two requests from Msf to Ukrainians and separatists: the instant cease fire; population’s releasing from bombed areas. About the humanitarian corridor, Debaltseve context is one of the most critical as it’s halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk and it’s an important road and railway intersection: so, it’s an essential military target for the warring parties. At the beginning of February, it’s announced the opening of a corridor to exit remaining civilians, but it’s been very difficult to enforce it. It’ll be crucial to verify how the troops will transpose institutional directives.

 

How did war progress in the last year?

This crisis have lived many steps. Last summer was particularly bloody, as Malaysian shot down. The cease fire on September 2014 was a breakdown. And it started a new violent spell between 2014 and 2015. There’s two changes from last year to now. First one we are in the middle of winter. Second one this permanently war has been increasing other effects: Kiev has stopped payment of salaries and financial flows to public servants who live in the eastern regions. This has played up lack of cash, food, and drugs. Msf has collected testimonies from civilians, particularly women and children, who has been forced to refuge in a homeless half-finished center.

 

How are Ukrainian and Pro-Russian populations, especially children, wounded after so many wartime trauma? How will this factor influence peace process?

 As in other similar contexts, there are deep psychological wounds to heal. Our current work is explicitly focusing on the immediate mental assistance. Citizens have shared in two different languages and cultures parts. But now we need end war and save them.

 

The Un have reported more than 5000 victims since Ukrainian crisis.

 I think we have gone over. Ourselves we are observing in Ukraine. Msf’s intervention in Donetsk and Lugansk regions clearly speaks: over 15000 injured patients, 1600 pregnant women followed by our hospitals, about 4000 people with chronic diseases. These alarming informations are showing us a real war near our countries. Perhaps Europe and Italy have not exact feeling about Ukrainian situation yet.

 

Is Ukrainian war underestimated by Western and European countries?

This crisis has not interested the opinion like other conflicts yet. The media have showed the search for a diplomatic solution in recent days. But this event could due to an high and low evolution of Ukrainian war. However, we are speaking about an European fight: it’s hard to understand why there’s not a steady attention about it.

Alessandro Conte
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