September 24, 2013 |
JERUSALEM--The eviction of a tiny Palestinian community has sparked a sharp dispute between Israel and the European Union that is threatening to become a diplomatic crisis over allegations of abusing a French diplomat. Last week, Israeli authorities demolished the homes and structures of Khirbet Makhoul, a Palestinian community of around 20 families in the northern Jordan Valley after a legal ruling determined they were built without permits. A few days later, a group of activists and European diplomats arrived at the ruined site.
September 10, 2013 |
LONDON - The European Union added its collective voice Tuesday to the growing chorus expressing support of a diplomatic push to have Syria surrender its chemical weapons as a way to forestall a U.S.-led military strike. Catherine Ashton, the EU's top diplomat, said she welcomed the Russian-backed proposal to put Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons under the control of international inspectors and out of reach of both President Bashar Assad's security forces and the rebels, including Islamic militants, who are trying to topple him. “This now needs to be fully worked up as quickly as possible, including the details of its implications in terms of safe storage, verification and destruction” of the arsenal, Ashton said in a statement.
September 6, 2013 |
LONDON - A regional court Friday struck down sanctions imposed by the European Union against several Iranian companies, dealing a blow to Western efforts to maintain economic pressure on Tehran over its controversial nuclear program. The European general court rebuked the EU for relying on what it said was insufficient or inconclusive evidence as a basis for slapping restrictions on a group of Iranian financial, export and construction companies. The firms had appealed their placement on the EU's blacklist, which led to the curtailment of their business in Europe and the freezing of their assets.
September 2, 2013 |
The Obama administration faces a possible confrontation with Europe over reducing carbon emissions when representatives of 191 countries gather this month in Montreal to develop global standards for aviation emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights are growing at a steep rate, and nations participating in the International Civil Aviation Organization meeting said they hope that it leads to strong, enforceable standards. So far, the chances appear slim, according to observers.
August 21, 2013 |
LONDON -- European nations agreed Wednesday to suspend the export of any equipment to Egypt that its security forces could use to suppress opposition to the military-backed government, but they will continue to provide economic aid to the turmoil-ridden Arab nation. “We do believe that the recent operations of the security forces have been disproportionate,” said Cathy Ashton, the top diplomat of the European Union. But she called Egypt “a crucial partner” whose people deserved continued economic assistance, especially the “most vulnerable” residents and those trying to build civil society.
August 14, 2013 |
LONDON -- Europe's economy is showing signs of recovery for the first time since 2011, according to figures released Wednesday by the European Commission. The second quarter of 2013 showed distinct if fragile 0.3% economic growth collectively over the previous quarter for the 17 countries that share the euro currency. The improvement was driven chiefly by Germany, where gross domestic product grew by 0.7% over the previous quarter, and France, with growth of 0.5%. Consumer spending, manufacturing and exports appear to have grown in both countries.
August 3, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 33 years, was reelected president in an election declared a "farce" by rival Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe's electoral commission announced Saturday that Mugabe, 89, had received 61% of the vote, compared with 34% for Tsvangirai, the current prime minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, or MDC. The vote has been condemned as seriously compromised by the largest local observer group, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network.
July 24, 2013 |
Hundreds of anti-gay demonstrators in the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro may have set back their country's bid to join the European Union on Wednesday with their rock-throwing protest against a gay pride march. At the first known pride event in the Balkan enclave, angry demonstrators outnumbered those marching for gay rights by at least 10 to 1, according to news reports of the clash in the Adriatic Sea resort of Budva. Montenegro, one of the most conservative and macho bastions in the tradition-bound region, last year began negotiations with the 28-member EU for eventual membership.
July 20, 2013 |
RIMINI, Italy - You think we have it bad, caught between a stagnant economy and gridlocked politics? Then take a trip to Europe, where the economy is going not sideways but backward - and the politics are too. Europe's numbers should be familiar by now, but they're still awful. In the United States, President Obama's much-derided stimulus package helped end our recession in 2009; in Europe, with no comparable stimulus, the recession isn't over. Unemployment in the 17 countries that share the euro is higher than 11%, and it's still heading up. The International Monetary Fund says the Eurozone's economies won't start growing again until next year, if then.
July 18, 2013 |
Monsanto Co. said Thursday it will largely drop its bid to grow some of its genetically modified crops in Europe. The world's largest seed-maker has nine pending applications with the European Commission, the executive body for the European Union. A spokesman said the company plans to withdraw eight of those applications. The requests "have been going nowhere fast for several years," said Brandon Mitchener, a spokesman for the St. Louis-based company's European entity. "There's no end in sight ... due to political obstructionism.