Monday, February 20th 2017: EU agreement with Afghanistan to facilitate deportations, Thousands call on Spain to welcome more refugees, EU nationals living in UK face chaos


EU agreement with Afghanistan to facilitate deportations: Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini signed the long-negotiated Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) on Saturday in Munich. The pact sets out an agenda until 2024 aimed at promoting sustainable development, tackling corruption and fostering civil rule, education and trade – despite fragile security in many regions of Afghanistan. Since October, when EU nations reportedly increased pressure on Kabul to accept repatriations, human rights groups have warned against rash deportations.,

UN envoy questions US engagement on Syria: Addresssing the Syria conflict at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said one thing he was missing at the moment was a clear US strategy. One month into US President Donald Trump’s four-year term in office, the new administration is still trying to work out its priorities on the conflict, de Mistura said. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed the Iran nuclear deal, while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif brushed the attacks aside. US Vice President Mike Pence pledged the Trump administration’s unwavering commitment to Nato on Saturday.,

Iraq starts offensive to retake western Mosul: Iraq opened the next chapter in its offensive to drive the “Islamic State” out of Mosul on Sunday, preparing an assault on the western half of the city. Multiple news outlets reported that leaflets were dropped from planes overnight on the western districts, warning residents of the coming assault and appealing to militants to surrender. The assault is taking place amid new concerns about the condition of hundreds of thousands of civilians still trapped in the western part of the city.,

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German journalist taken into custody in Turkey: A German correspondent for the daily „Die Welt“ newspaper has been taken into custody in Turkey. A lawyer for Deniz Yücel said the journalist was being charged with membership in a terrorist organization, spreading propaganda and misuse of information. Yücel had reported on emails that the leftist Turkish hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Energy Minister Berat Albayrak. He is the first German reporter to be held in a widespread crackdown on press freedom in Turkey.,

Nato:US to deploy 1000 troops to Poland


On behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance.
US Vice President Mike Pence assured European allies this weekend the United States will stand strong with Nato.


Renzi steps down as party leader: Italy’s former premier Matteo Renzi has resigned as leader of the Democratic Party in the hope that he can return to politics in a stronger position before an election is due early next year. Renzi told the national assembly of the party on Sunday that he had handed in his resignation, acknowledging he was set back by defeat in the December 4 constitutional referendum. Renzi made clear he would seek re-election and warned that the PD’s internal feuding was proving a gift to its main opponent in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.,

Thousands call on Spain to welcome more refugees: At least 160,000 protesters have marched in Barcelona to demand that Spain’s conservative-led government increase its efforts to take in refugees from war-torn countries like Syria. Protesters heeded a call by Ada Colau, the mayor of Spain’s second city, who urged residents to fill the streets on Saturday to highlight the Madrid government’s failure to accept its share of refugees. In September 2015, Spain’s government pledged to bring 17,337 refugees in within two years.,

France’s Fillon will still run for president: Conservative candidate Francois Fillon has changed his mind, he will press ahead with his presidential bid even if investigators charge him over claims his wife had a fake parliamentary job. Fillon told “Le Figaro” newspaper that it would be outrageous to deprive the right and center of a candidate. An opinion poll in France has indicated 65 percent of respondents want Fillon to withdraw from the presidential election. Meanwhile, thirteen people have been arrested and two police officers were lightly injured following a protest in Paris against police violence.,, (Protest)

EU nationals living in UK face chaos: EU citizens living in the UK will face a legal no-man’s land after Brexit, according to a document obtained by the “Observer” newspaper. European lawmakers and officials foresee problems because Britain lacks information on which EU nationals are in the country before its divorce. That will make it difficult to choose who will remain after Brexit, and could overburden the system. US President Donald Trump’s visit to Britain will be debated in parliament on Monday.,

Germany: SPD takes poll lead for first time in decade
Ukraine: Third anniversary of the end of the Revolution of Dignity

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Trump’s remarks baffle Sweden: Swedes reacted with confusion and ridicule on Sunday to a vague remark by US President Donald Trump that suggested that something terrible had occurred in their country. During a campaign-style rally in Florida, Trump issued a sharp if discursive attack on refugee policies in Europe. At the time, Trump appeared to be referring to recent terror attacks in Germany and elsewhere, but nothing particularly nefarious happened in Sweden on Friday — or Saturday, for that matter — and Swedes were left baffled. The Swedish government has asked the US State Department to explain what the new president meant.,



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