• Breaking: World’s longest railway tunnel opens to public in Switzerland

    11/Dec/2016 // 403 Viewers

     

    THE first scheduled train to pass through the world’s longest railway tunnel arrived in the Swiss city of Lugano more than 30 minutes faster than usual on Sunday, thanks to a shortcut that took 12.2 billion Swiss francs (12.3 billion dollars) and 17 years to build.

    Departing from Zurich, the train was the first to carry members of the public through the Swiss Alps since the Gotthard Base Tunnel was formally inaugurated more than half a year ago.

    The official ceremony in June, attended by various European leaders, was followed by 5,000 safety tests before authorities could approve the tunnel for public transport.
     
    “We have been training for a long time and are happy we can finally get started,” the head of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Andreas Meyer, said.

    The 57-kilometre tunnel was designed to boost environmentally friendly cargo traffic on rails across the Alps and to better connect industrial hubs in Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

    It replaces Japan’s 53.9-kilometre Seikan Tunnel – between Japan’s Honshu and Hokkaido islands – as the world’s longest rail tunnel. It takes 17 minutes to pass through by train.


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  • Migrant crisis: Germany sees massive drop in asylum seekers

    11/Jan/2017 // 389 Viewers

     

    Although the number of arrivals was down in 2016, the number of applications actually rose

    Germany says 280,000 asylum seekers arrived there in 2016, a drop of more than 600,000 on the previous year.

    The German interior minister said that the decrease was due to the closure in 2016 of the Balkan route and the migrant deal between the EU and Turkey.

    The record influx of 890,000 people came as migrants and refugees travelled through Greece and the Balkans.
    They headed for Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered a temporary open-door asylum policy.

    Her decision to suspend EU rules on registering asylum seekers in the first EU state they entered was aimed at the growing number of Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, but large numbers of people of other nationalities made the journey too.

    Migration has become a heavily politicised issue in Germany ahead of federal elections in the autumn. As voters punished her CDU party in regional polls last year, Mrs Merkel acknowledged that the migrant crisis could have been handled better.

    "This shows that the measures that the federal government and the EU have taken are taking hold," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. "We've been successful in managing and controlling the process of migration."

    Syrians made up 36% of the asylum claims in 2016, followed by Afghans, Iraqis, Albanians, Iranians and Eritreans. - BBC


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  • Leading British scientists warn leaving EU will hurt funding

    11/Jun/2016 // 388 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JUNE 11, 2016: (DGW) - A group of Britain's most eminent scientists have endorsed the campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union, saying that leaving could damage research, Reuters has reported.

    In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, published on Saturday, 13 Nobel Laureates including John Gurdon, Peter Higgs and Paul Nurse said the EU allows scientists to move freely and collaborate in ways that would be lost if Britain votes to quit the 28-member bloc. A referendum will be held on June 23.

    The scientists also say that European funding would be cut if Britain voted to pull out of the 28-member EU.

    "Brexit assertions that the Treasury will make up this shortfall are naive and complacent, given that successive governments have allowed Britain to languish well below the OECD and EU averages in its research investment as a proportion of GDP," they said in the letter.

    Continuing  the letter says ,"Science...flourishes in environments that pool intelligence, minimize barriers and are open to free exchange and collaboration."

    Most polls ahead of the referendum have painted a contradictory picture, with neither side establishing a consistent lead. A British exit would have profound implications for politics and the economy in Britain and beyond.

    The "Remain" campaign has received the backing of many well-known business leaders, big companies and banks as well as institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. Its "Leave" rivals have attracted less support from the ranks of big business.

    However, on Friday billionaire entrepreneur James Dyson came out in favor of Britain exiting the EU, a significant endorsement for the "Leave" camp.


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  • EU approves labelling of Israel settlement products

    11/Nov/2015 // 179 Viewers

    The European Union on Wednesday said it backed the labelling of products from Jewish settlements, in a move that Israel has warned will harm the peace process with the Palestinians.

    At a meeting in Brussels, the European Commission, the EU's executive, adopted 'the Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967," said an EU official.

    Drawn up over three years by the European Commission, the guidelines mean Israeli producers must explicitly label farm goods and cosmetics that come from settlements when they are sold in the European Union.

    Israeli officials were briefed ahead of the decision and some suggested it was anti-Semitic.

    "This is a technical measure, not a political one," one Commission source who declined to be named said on Tuesday. "The occupied territory is not part of the sovereign state of Israel, so goods cannot be sold as 'Made in Israel'."

    The EU does not recognise Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, lands it captured in the 1967 Middle East war. It says the labelling policy aims to distinguish between goods made inside the 
    internationally accepted borders of Israel and those outside.

    Britain, Belgium and Denmark already affix labels to Israeli goods, differentiating between those from Israel and those, particularly fruits and vegetables, that come from the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. Now all 28 EU member states would have to apply labels.

    While there is no EU official wording, goods must carry the word "settlement" on the label when sold in European shops. If an Israeli farmer refuses, a retail outlet can do so, as the European Commission has sufficient information about where goods come from.

    Israel's ambassador to the European Union, David Walzer, warned it could make difficult peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians harder and the EU might no longer be a welcome broker.

    "We made it very clear that we welcome EU contributions to the peace process," Walzer said before the decision was formalised. "This might force us to reconsider that."

    A second Commission source said the guidelines were requested by EU governments who sought clarity on existing EU labelling rules and that the five page document of some 12 paragraphs did not constitute new legislation.

    Since 2004, Israeli settlement products have not benefited from trade preferences to the European Union, while for all countries the EU has agricultural legislation that requires labelling of the origin of fruit, vegetables and honey.

    Industrial goods, including processed food, are not subject to mandatory labelling under EU law, but can be voluntary.

    Israel's Economy Ministry estimates the impact will be about $50 million a year, affecting fresh produce such as grapes and dates, wine, poultry, honey, olive oil and cosmetics.

    That is around a fifth of the $200-$300 million worth of goods produced in settlements each year, but a drop in the ocean next to the $30 billion of goods and services Israel exports to the EU annually, a third of all its exports.

    (REUTERS)


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  • OPEC latest report shocks BUHARI, throws Nigerians off balance

    11/Oct/2016 // 1710 Viewers

     

    A massive oil glut may weigh on world markets deep into next year unless the OPEC producer cartel makes good on its promise to cut output, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

    The oil price has recovered steadily since OPEC said last month that it would reduce production, with details to be hammered out at the cartel’s November meeting, and such a deal would “speed up the process” of working off global oil inventories, the IEA said in its monthly report.

    “Even with tentative signs that bulging inventories are starting to decline, our supply-demand outlook suggests that the market — if left to its own devices — may remain in oversupply through the first half of next year,” the IEA said.

    “If OPEC sticks to its new target, the market’s rebalancing could come faster,” it said.

    Initially greeted with scepticism among analysts, OPEC’s agreement to cut output has gained traction in the oil market, with the IEA noting that the oil price has risen by 15 percent since the cartel’s announcement on September 28.

    Oil prices rose to their highest level in several months after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country, not a member of the cartel, was ready to align with OPEC’s push to limit oil output.

    In morning European trade Tuesday, both WTI and Brent held well above the key $50 (45 euro) level per barrel, at $51.31 and $53.04, respectively.

    “The waiting game is over,” the IEA said. “OPEC has effectively abandoned its free market policy set in train nearly two years ago.”

    – ‘Free-wheeling’ no more? –

    OPEC members, led by kingpin Saudi Arabia, have been pumping oil at record levels to gain market share over higher-cost rivals, in what the IEA Tuesday called a “free-wheeling strategy”.

    The Paris-based agency said that crude supply from OPEC’s 14 members stood at an all-time high in September.

    The cost has been a dramatic fall in the oil price since 2014, causing acute financial pain for all producers, “even those with hefty financial reserves, such as Saudi Arabia”, the IEA said.

    Producers lacking such deep pockets, like Nigeria, have been plunged into budgetary and foreign exchange crises.

    But OPEC may finally be turning the page.

    “Now with the market share war coming closer to an end, we can say that the worst for oil is behind us,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, a brokerage.

    At its September meeting, OPEC said it had agreed to cut its supply by up to 750,000 barrels per day to between 32.5 and 33 million barrels per day.

    While the IEA did not make any predictions on the chances of OPEC following through on its pledge, its report implied that all oil price bets are off should OPEC fail to deliver.

    With record OPEC production outweighing some output declines, notably in the US, “the net result is a massive oil inventory that is keeping the market under pressure”, it said.

    AFP


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  • President names Paolo Gentilo Italy's new prime minister

    12/Dec/2016 // 252 Viewers

     

    Italy's foreign minister has been named the country's new prime minister following Matteo Renzi's resignation in the wake of a referendum defeat.
     
    Paolo Gentiloni, 62, was asked by President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday to form a new centre-left government that will guide Italy to the elections that are due by February 2018.
     
    A close ally of the outgoing premier, Gentiloni now has to put together his own government team in advance of a parliamentary approval vote expected on Wednesday.
     
     Gentiloni was already meeting speakers of the lower house and the Senate.
     
    "The process involves a series of consultations that will take approximately a couple of days," she said.
     
    "Following that, he will announce whether he has been successful or not."
     
    In a brief statement, Gentiloni said there was an "urgent need for a fully functioning government" to address a series of pressing international, economic and social issues.
     
    Among those is a looming crisis in the troubled banking sector as well as the ongoing relief efforts after a series of deadly earthquakes between August and October.
     
    Mattarella turned to Gentiloni after opposition parties rebuffed overtures about a possible national unity government. The president rejected opposition demands for an immediate election.
     
    "Not by choice but out of a sense of responsibility, I will be forming a government based on the outgoing majority," Gentiloni said.
     
    Renzi, who had been in power for two years and 10 months, resigned last week after voters overwhelmingly rejected a package of constitutional reforms on which he had staked his future.
     
    The populist Five Star Movement, which has led calls for immediate elections, said it would boycott Wednesday's vote because the new government would have no legitimacy.
     
    "This government is not even worthy of a vote against it," said Giulia Grillo, head of the Five Star group in the Senate.
     
    All major parties have called for election as soon as possible.
     
    But before any vote can take place, Mattarella has said Italy needs a new electoral law to replace one that applies only to the lower house and could be declared illegitimate in January by the Constitutional Court.
     
    Elections are not due until 2018 but could be called as soon as parliament finishes rewriting the electoral law. Gentiloni said he would "facilitate, if possible, the parliamentary forces' task of quickly defining new electoral rules".
     


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  • N'Delta Crisis: FG says secret meeting ongoing with militants as recession bites harder

    12/Dec/2016 // 437 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 12, 2016: (DGW) Infomation available exclusively to DailyGlobewatch says secret peace meeting is ongoing between Niger Delta militants and the Federal Government as the economic recession bites harder resulting from what government sources say was worsened by attacks on oil installations in the region.

    No fewer than three meetings have taken place in the last few months between the Federal Government being coordinated by the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Mohammed Mugono (rtd) and the militants in Abuja after being certified and cleared by Joint Task Force to ensure that the right people are being dealt with by the government.

    However, our source disclosed that one of the groups , the Iduwini Volunteer Force (IVF),  one of the groups operating along the coasts of South-western Delta State and North-western Bayelsa State, insisted that  the payment of the 13% derivation be paid directly to the oil-bearing communities rather than the state government adding that the state governors often divert the funds.

     

    While confirming the discreet meetings and discussions  between the parties, our source  held that  “We have been meeting and interfacing with the government through the office of the NSA. We have told them that the last amnesty programme did not carry many genuine groups along. So, after clearance, several groups have been meeting with them, though there is no definitive conclusion on the discussions.

    “As far as you are cleared by the JTF, and they (security agencies) know you have antecedents, you are allowed to be part of those they are talking to. But we have also told government to be consistent.

     


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  • Breaking: Nigeria, 51 other Commonwealth countries to benefit as UK set to soften visa regime, amend border control system

    12/Feb/2017 // 62615 Viewers

     

    The United Kingdom is proposing to amend its border control system to give preference to citizens from 52 Commonwealth countries which includes Nigeria.

    According to forty-five members of the UK parliament, Commonwealth countries may get fast-tracked visas to the UK after Brexit if the proposal sails through.

    According to UK Telegraph, the suggestion was made in a letter addressed to Amber Rudd, home secretary.

    The letter said Commonwealth stood with Britain when it faced “existential threats”, but that UK has left its allies in the cold as it “pivoted to Europe”.

    “I am writing to urge you to extend the hand of friendship to our Commonwealth partners,” the letter read.

    “In the previous century, Commonwealth countries stood with Britain as we faced existential threats from abroad but as we pivoted to Europe, increasingly, our Commonwealth allies were left in the cold.

    “The lack of consideration for Commonwealth citizens is at its starkest at our border. While EU citizens are collecting their luggage or exchanging greetings with loved ones, our Commonwealth friends wait tirelessly in the ‘All other passports’ queue.

    “Firstly, signs at border control that class every non-EU national as ‘All other passports’ should be changed to ‘The Commonwealth and all other passports’. This is a small step but one that can be enacted quickly.

    “Secondly, the government must commit to examine ways to reduce wait times for Commonwealth citizens entering the UK, perhaps through the use of dedicated Commonwealth border control gates.

    “Entry processing may not be as quick as in the EU channel as several of the 52 Commonwealth nations require a visa for travel to the UK however, this would send out an important message about the value Britain places on its relationship with the Commonwealth.”

    They also suggested that Commonwealth citizens be allowed access to the registered traveller scheme, which would allow them access to use UK/EU lanes and reduce time spent waiting in line.

    “Finally, access to the Registered Traveller Scheme should be further expanded to include additional Commonwealth countries. This programmee, predominately aimed at the business traveler, allows some foreign nationals who meet specific requirements to register and use the UK/EU lanes and e-passport gates, dramatically reducing the time spent waiting in line,” they said.

    “Home secretary, you are in a position to effect real, positive change in our relations with our Commonwealth partners. It would be a shame to let this opportunity pass us by.”

     


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  • Tension as US military tanks storm POLAND, the largest US military reinforcement of Europe to counter a more aggressive RUSSIA

    12/Jan/2017 // 666 Viewers


    US tanks and armoured vehicles along with more than 3,000 US soldiers start arriving in Poland on Thursday.

    They are part of President Barack Obama's response to reassure Nato allies concerned about a more aggressive Russia.

    Their arrival comes just days before the inauguration of Donald Trump who has signalled he wants to improve relations with Moscow.

    It is the largest US military reinforcement of Europe in decades.
    More than 80 main battle tanks and hundreds of armoured vehicles have already arrived in Germany and are now being moved into Eastern Europe by road and rail.

    The US Armoured Brigade will also carry out military exercises in the Baltics, all part of President Obama's response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine and to reassure nervous Nato allies.

    The plan is to rotate forces every nine months.

    But the election of Donald Trump has raised questions as to whether this heightened US military posture will continue, BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale reports from Poland.

    Mr Trump's nomination for defence secretary - Gen James Mattis - is likely to be asked about the new administration's attitude to Russia in his Senate confirmation hearing later on Thursday.


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  • Italian police swoop on international 'jihadist network'

    12/Nov/2015 // 310 Viewers

     AFP/File | Investigators said the network was trying to free Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj -- also known as Mullah Krekar -- pictured here in 2007

     

    ROME (AFP) - 

    Italian police on Thursday announced a swoop on a European jihadist network that was allegedly planning to try to spring its leader out of detention in Norway.

    Seventeen people were targeted in the raids across Europe -- 16 Kurds and a Kosovan. Six of them have been arrested in Italy, four in Britain and three in Norway.

    Several members of the group have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for the Islamic State group, police said.

    Investigators said the network was trying to free Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj -- also known as Mullah Krekar -- who is listed as a terrorist by the United States and United Nations.

    Giovanni Governale of the Italian police's Special Operations Group told journalists the operation had "dismantled an integrated cell that included -- in addition to Italy -- Britain, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Germany".

    The network developed "on the 'dark web', little-known (Internet) platforms that we have managed to penetrate," Governale said, adding that the swoop has allowed police to scupper "a process of recruitment, of sending (fighters) into combat abroad".

    Governale said the network "was about to continue sending many other jihadists abroad; it was about to carry out attacks, including suicide bombings, to try to free their chief, Mullah Krekar".

    The 59-year-old, a Kurdish Iraqi, has been living in Norway since 1991.

    He has been at risk of deportation since 2003 after Norwegian authorities ordered him to be expelled as a threat to national security.

    While courts have upheld the ruling, Norwegian law bars him from being deported to Iraq, where he risks the death penalty.

    Krekar also founded the radical Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, but insists he has not led it since 2002.

    Source: AFP


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